Audiobook Review: The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

Audiobook_Review       The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley Narrated by Katherine Kellgren Summary: 

The-FirebirdTwo Women.

One Mysterious Relic.

Separated By Centuries.

Nicola Marter was born with a gift so rare and dangerous, she kept it buried deep. When she encounters a desperate woman trying to sell a small wooden carving called “The Firebird,” claiming it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof.

But Nicola’s held the object. She knows the woman is telling the truth.

My Review:

I need to start by saying that Katherine Kellgren is amazing.  Her narration is elegant and impressive.  I guess that’s why she’s so popular.  The characters all had distinctive voices and the proper accents.  There are characters from all over Europe in this book.  There are Scottish, English, Irish, and Russian characters that sometimes show up in scenes together.  It is never confusing.

This book is great.  Susanna Kearsley very cleverly switched back and forth between the 1700’s and today so smoothly that you don’t realize that it’s happened.  I’ve read a lot of historic fiction.  Most of what I’ve read has two stories taking place: one in the present and one in the past.  I’ve found that usually the switch is abrupt and happens at the end of a chapter.  In this book, however, that doesn’t happen.  Nicola, and former boyfriend turned current possible love interest Rob, can see the past.  This way both stories are intertwined.  The transitions are very smooth.  Rob can also see other things.  I won’t spoil it for you.  It’s a great part of the story.

Nicola’s journey begins when she accidentally touches a carved bird that a woman brings into the gallery where Nicola works.  She sees that the woman is telling the truth about the origins of the bird.  Nothing the woman says can be proved so they can’t sell it for her but Nicola can’t stop thinking about the woman and the bird so she decides to look into it.  She sets out to visit the woman but when she realizes that it’s possible that she won’t be able to see what she needs to see she takes a detour.  She ends up visiting Rob a former boyfriend who she met while taking part in a study that explored the psychic gifts they both possess.  They’ve treated the gift they share very differently.  Rob explored his and Nicola treats hers like it doesn’t exist.  Thus Rob’s gift is more developed.  Nicola’s problem stems from her grandfather who has the same gift.  He was experimented on and had to flee Russia.  You just want to give him a big hug.

Anna’s story, the 1700’s story, felt so real and now I know why.  There are a few pages at the end of the book that explain that she used some real people in the story.  Anna’s father for one.  I think it adds a great deal to the book.  The other characters in this book feel like they were alive too.  The author fit everything together perfectly.

I bought this book some time ago and now I’m wondering why it took me so long to listen to it.  It was fantastic.  I can’t wait to read the other books that I have by Susanna Kearsley.temp (8)

PicsArt_1375992730999PG-13  There is a sexual situation that happens off stage but is hinted to leading up to it.  You should be safe if you are listening to this around children.

Try these other books with strong female characters:

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The Darkest Dream

18717384The Darkest Dream 

by Michelle Brewer

Book Blurb: 

In one dark and fateful night, everything about seventeen year old Lucinda Malone’s life changes. Having already lost both of her parents, Lucy loses the one remaining person she can rely on—and, worst of all, she loses her to a darkness she never knew existed, but to which she had always felt drawn.

The moment Lucy discovers that there’s another world existing within her own—that vampires and casters aren’t just mythical beings—she feels nothing. Nothing but a quiet acceptance. For as long as she can remember, she’s dreamed of the darkness. She’s felt its pull, calling out to her—but it isn’t until she meets Darren O’Connor—the vampire who saves her life—that it all begins to make sense. 

My Review:

I am really not sure where to start here.  For most of the book Lucy and Darren were held up in a hotel room after just meeting because some bad vampires were looking for Lucy. She instantly falls in love with Darren and of course he feels he is no good for her. Sound familiar.  Don’t get me wrong, this was a pretty good book and I am curious enough to find out where it leads in the next one.  However the hole time I was reading it I was thinking twilight ripoff.

After everything that Lucy has been threw in here life (her mother dying, her father dying, being emancipated so she can live on her own before graduation), you would think she wouldn’t be as naive as she comes across.  There a few hints that she should catch on to, but for what ever reason she doesn’t.

Darren’s character has lived a long time and done many things.  Most of them not good, and if it wasn’t for the witch I get the impression that he probably would still be doing them.  He leaves Lucy in the dark about a few things, which I always have a problem with.

Overall it’s not a bad read and we will see where the story leads.Jessica




PG-13 death and destruciton





About the Author:

5153570Michelle has been an avid reader for as long as she can remember, and it was her love of reading that led her to want to become a writer. She lives in Michigan with her husband and their one year old son (as well as the crazy cat), with whom she loves spending her free time laughing until she cries. Whenever she can find a bit of time to spare, she enjoys watching a few of her favorite TV shows.





Modest Musings

Modest MusingsWelcome to Modest Musings!

This is were we will tell you what books we have acquired this week.  Whether it is through purchases, NetGalley or one of our many book list emails.  Please feel free to tell us what you think and if there is a particular book you are interested in seeing a review of.  Hope you enjoy!

Jessica’s Modest Musings

81Ob-gQeufL._SL1500_Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight – Litigation lawyer and harried single mother Kate Baron is stunned when her daughter’s exclusive private school in Park Slope, Brooklyn, calls with disturbing news: her intelligent, high-achieving fifteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, has been caught cheating.

Kate can’t believe that Amelia, an ambitious, levelheaded girl who’s never been in trouble would do something like that. But by the time she arrives at Grace Hall, Kate’s faced with far more devastating news. Amelia is dead. 

Seemingly unable to cope with what she’d done, a despondent Amelia has jumped from the school’s roof in an act of “spontaneous” suicide. At least that’s the story Grace Hall and the police tell Kate. And overwhelmed as she is by her own guilt and shattered by grief, it is the story that Kate believes until she gets the anonymous text: 

She didn’t jump.


Broken by CJ Lyons –Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, Scarlet has come to terms with the fact that she’s going to die. Literally of a broken heart. It could be tomorrow, or it could be next year. But the clock is ticking…

All Scarlet asks is for a chance to attend high school—even if just for a week-a chance to be just like everyone else. But Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with each slammed locker and vicious taunt. Is this normal? Really? Yet there’s more going on than she knows. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does… 

17287570The Tinker’s Daughter by Jamie Sedgwick – Breeze is an outcast, a half-breed orphan born into a world torn apart by a thousand years of war. Breeze never knew her elven mother, and when her human father is recalled to the war, he leaves her in the safest place he knows: in the care of a reclusive tinker.

The Tinkerman’s inventions are frightening at first -noisy, smelly, dangerous machines with no practical use- but when the war comes home, Breeze sees an opportunity. If she can pull it off, she’ll change the world forever. If she fails, she’ll be considered a traitor by both lands and will be hunted to her death.




The Selection by Keira Cass – For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

9275658Legend by Marie Lu – What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. 

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. 

Lynn’s Modest Musings 

18836842Who Killed Bob Teal? And other Detective Stories by Dashiell Hammett – contains fifteen detective tales by Dashiell Hammett (1894-1961). Often regarded as one of the United States’ most successful detective writers, Hammett created the characters of Nick and Nora Charles (THE THIN MAN) and the hard-boiled detective Sam Spade (THE MALTESE FALCON).

• The Assistant Murder
• Arson Plus
• Who Killed Bob Teal?
• Afraid of a Gun
• Bodies Piled Up
• Death on Pine Street
• Mike, Alec, or Rufus
• Night Shots
• Nightmare Town
• One Hour
• Ruffian’s Wife
• The Man Who Killed Dan Odoms
• The Second-Story Angel
• The Tenth Clew
• Zigzags of Treachery


Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins – Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She’s aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn’t until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He’s the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?

83927Cocaine Blues: A Phyryne Fisher Mystery by Kerry Greenwood – Honorable Miss Phryne Fisher solves theft in 1920s London High Season society, and sets her clever courage to poisoning in Melbourne Australia. She – of green eyes, diamant garters and outstanding outfits – is embroiled in abortion, death, drugs, communist cabbies – plus erotic Russian dancer Sasha de Lisse. The steamy end finds them trapped in Turkish baths.



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Casquette Girls by Alys Arden –After the Storm of the Century rips apart New Orleans, Adele Le Moyne and her father are among the first to return to the city following the mandatory evacuation. Adele wants nothing more than for life to return to normal, but with the silent city resembling a mold-infested war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normal will have to be redefined.

Mother Nature couldn’t drain the joie de vivre from New Orleans, but the flood waters recede, and the body count continues to rise. Someone or something is draining life from its residents. Events too unnatural – even for New Orleans – lead Adele to an attic that has been sealed for three hundred years, and the chaos she unleashes threatens not only her life but everyone she knows.

Caught suddenly in a hurricane of eighteenth-century myths and monsters, Adele must quickly untangle a web of magic that links the climbing murder rate back to her own ancestors. But who can you trust in a city where everyone has a secret, and where keeping them can be a matter of life and death – unless, that is, you’re immortal. 

127455The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch – An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld’s most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined. 

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi’s most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr’s underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying…


Turned at Dark by C.C. Hunter

tnTurnedAtDarkTurned at Dark

by C.C. Hunter

Book Blub:

Independent and strong-willed Della Tsang hadn’t believed in ghosts until she saw her dead cousin darting into the shadows of an alley. She hadn’t believed in vampires until in the dark of that same night she is turned into one. Introduced to a strange world of supernaturals, she struggles to accept this new reality. Unfortunately, the boy she loves senses something different about her and can’t accept her. Should she follow her vampire cousin’s lead-walk away from everything she’s knows and loves-and fake her own death? Or should she set her pride aside and ask for help from the camp leader of Shadow Falls-a camp where supernaturals go to learn how to cope with their powers. Either way, her life as she knows it, will never be the same.

My Review:

This is a quick read (about an hour) but it is well written and gives us a wonderful glimpse at Della’s previous life. It is a prequel novella to Born at Midnight.  It was sad, a little funny and a perfect start to this series.  It’s always nice to see how someone became what you know them as.  Della is a strong female character that knows what she wants and as it turns out isn’t afraid to go after it. She doesn’t go the comfortable route and takes the one she believes is right.  I recommend this quick read.Jessica





About the Author: 

cchunter_hatC.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she’s still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central.

C.C. would love to hear from you. Because of deadlines, it may take her a day or so to get back with you, but she will reply.

Author Interview: Cara Rosalie Olsen

We recently interviewed Cara Rosalie Olsen author of Awakening Foster Kelly.  She was just as kind and gracious as her main character and she answered all of our questions with flair.  We start off, as always, with five silly questions to get us started. Enjoy the interview.




1) Do you like your coffee hot or iced? Most definitely hot. We – my husband and I – are unabashed coffee connoisseurs. Coffee is the third family member around here. Mr. Olsen has the beans shipped to our home from all sorts of exotic countries and then spends 30 minutes in hula-hoop motion over the stove roasting them. I personally owe much of what I do to coffee. It is that sweet siren call by which I am lured out of bed each morning. In case I don’t say it enough, thank you, Coffee.

2) What is your favorite color? Ooo. I love color; it’s tough to choose only one, but you are demanding it of me so I must. True turquoise. Not blue, not green, but the fervent blend of two tealy tones into one rich, royal hue.

3) Your bio says that you would have taken over as CEO of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory if you were not a writercandy_pic. What is your favorite candy? Another tough one. Whew, you’re really grilling me! I think . . . Yes. I absolutely must pick two; because there is chocolate, which is a type of candy, and then there is candy candy, which includes an assortment of sweet and sour and gummy and chewy and hard and soft. Twix and Skittles.

4) Do you kill bugs or set them free? Of course I set them free! . . . . . down the drain, the toilet, the sink. I bet there’s a gloriously soggy kingdom reigning in our pipes.

5) If you could travel back in time where would you go and why? Although I would be tempted to pick a completely different time period, something quieter, modest – an era during which people were forced to look one another in the eye when they wanted to have a conversation, I think, honestly, I would go back and speak to myself around age 12. I think it’s the magic age. We are very much still children, dreaming with unfettered hope, of becoming firefighters, actresses, doctors, and astronauts. By the time we reach 18, we are a bit exhausted. Sarcasm and doubt have trickled in, and all our dreams are a touch too wry. If I could, I would speak to 12 year-old Cara and tell her, perhaps, not to listen to the critics or even too closely to the opinions of well-meaning folks, but to pay special attention to the Voice within her heart – the One telling her she is loved no matter what, no exceptions, and the world is hers to explore and claim, but first she must fail on epic proportions, and then decide it was the only way to do it, really. Then, when she reached 25ish, she wouldn’t have worried so much about getting it right, always getting it perfectly right. Because all masterpieces look like messes before they’re finished.





1) Some of the characters in your book have unique names. Did you intend for them to be different or was it a happy accident? I am very intentional about names, so yes, that was planned. In fact, the entire book, which was written in no less than 5 years, began with the idea of writing about a character with a first name for her last and a last name for her first, and the sort of havoc – both funny and detrimental – this might have on a person. From there, Foster Kelly came alive on her own (well mostly; sometimes she was incredibly shy and difficult and we had these very serious chats, but ultimately I decided she needed Emily Donahue).

2) It’s great as a reader to have a mean girl (or boy) in a book to hate but it could be argued that Foster is her own worst enemy. Where did the character Vanya come from? Was she changed by Foster’s courageous intervention? I would completely agree with you that Foster is her worst enemy. I was conscious of not working a “villain” into the story purely for the sake of having one. Vanya – originally Hannah – plays a specific role in Foster’s development; however, and not unlike Foster and really every single one of the characters, she is broken. She is hurting and scared, and by contrast to Foster who is self-deprecating and plagued by shyness, Vanya is fallaciously conceited and attempts to quiet the hateful voices using malice and evil. Vanya is quite envious of Foster; though, if you told Foster that, she would laugh nervously, then blush, then try and sneak out the back door when no one was looking.

I wouldn’t say this book ties up neatly. Neat isn’t really my thing. Contemporary usually deals with people and situations, and in real life we hardly get the pretty red bows. But in my opinion, we get something better. We get scars. And from those scars we witness something intricate and stunning and round. We witness healing. Our own, that of those we love, and also those who have hurt us. As far as Vanya and Foster are concerned, I leave this particular resolution to the reader’s discretion. Me, I like to believe Vanya took a moment or two after being confronted with undeserved grace and love to evaluate her behavior, and where her life is headed if she doesn’t find the strength to forgive and in turn allow herself to be forgiven.

This moment, though, is about Foster. It is about her, infused with wisdom and enlightened perspective after what she has been through; but even more than that, it’s about Foster having the strength to enter into an uncertain situation, with someone not at all safe, and putting fear aside and doing what she must in order to fuse this inveterate wound, to move on, move forward, just move. Truly, I think this is one of the greater, spherical moments in the book, though it’s hardly ever spoken about, as it sort of naturally pales in comparison to Foster and Dominic, our two protagonists.

bookshelf_img3) Every reader we know has a picture of what their fantasy library would look like. exists for a reason. Does the library in the chateaux resemble yours? Oh, my. Well, you know what I’ll be doing when I finish here. What a name! Yes, absolutely. The library in the Kelly’s chateaux is my dream library fully realized.

4) When I go back and think about the book I realized there was at least one instance that I should have known something was up. Did you leave us any clues to the amazing ending? I am smiling. Because, yes. Absolutely I did. I do a little jump and heel-clap every time readers’ send me a note after finishing, letting me know how everything, now, makes so much sense. The reader, having been utterly confused for the majority of the book, feels an overwhelming achievement at the newfound clarity, and I just adore this. If I had to choose one thing I love most about Awakening Foster Kelly as a whole, it is that there is almost more for the reader reading it the second time around. Which, at 672 pages, I know is asking a lot.

5) Did you know the ending was going to be the ending the whole time you were writing the book? No. And this was probably the most tragic, burdensome, maddening epiphany I have ever had. I almost wanted to forget I thought it. Just pretend it never happened. Poof! Gone. My husband is largely responsible for cultivating what is inarguably the most talked about aspect of the book. Further, he is wholly responsible for my not chucking the idea out the window along with some choice words. I mourned. I railed. There were times when I thought “I can’t. I just can’t do that to my readers. It’s the worst, ever. Ever-ever-ever-EVER.” But then . . . the more I thought about it, the more I allowed myself to embrace the journey as a whole, let go of my control, and accept Foster for Who She Is, the more I realized how beautiful and perfect it was. It made the most sense of anything I had written. Those who love this book are either devastated by the ending or enchanted by it. And I love that, because whether this negatively or positively affects the review, I can take solace in that the reader was moved to feel passionate; they felt rescued or pitched off the side of a cliff. Readers, I love you either way!

6) Can you tell us about your next book Much As Funny Loves A Laugh? I must confess to you: I am absolutely dreadful at summarizing my books. I LOVE writing book reviews, but my own, well, it’s like my tongue shrivels up and every word flicksCRO_MAFLL out of a wrinkle like a dead fingernail. Not pretty. So I’ve pasted the blurb below for you, which is the result after days (weeks) of thinking and editing and thinking and more editing. Then, more editing.

It’s Valentine’s Day. Raegan Delaney Morrison is eagerly preparing to give her ten year-old heart away in the form of pink and red construction paper, Elmer’s glue, and a sequin for every thought she’s ever had about Christopher; he is the boy next door, and he’s been Raegan’s best friend since they were old enough to grab sand and make a meal of it.

With confidence, Raegan declares her love, certain Christopher must feel what she feels: tingles in his toes, butterflies in his stomach, and this magnificent all over sickness that sort of feels like the flu. And Raegan knows that once their ardency is out in the open, the sooner they can get to the good stuff: holding hands at school, sharing pudding, discussing who they’ll invite to their zoo-themed wedding . . . there’s only one small problem.

When does anything in life ever go according to plan?

A bewildered Raegan is left to confront the first of—what will inevitably be many—life’s cruelties. But perhaps not all on her own.

When Raegan meets Sue for the first time, she doesn’t comprehend the rarity sitting before her, disguised in dirty flesh and bones; all she knows for certain is there is something very different about Sue. What appears to be written and resolute to minds awakened by judgment, remains clean and potential to a child’s uncluttered eyes. Raegan is drawn to Sue; into her world without walls.

7. Who is your favorite literary character? Schmendrick the Magician, from The Last Unicorn. He is wildly inept and audacious, floundering through life with a gentle sense of humor that completely absolves him of any flaws. He is also kind and noble and slightly ornery, and there is nothing he wouldn’t do for his friends. For these reasons he is one hundred percent awesome. If you have not read this book, oh goodness, I can’t even. I can’t. Just. Go.

8. What is your favorite book of all time? Well . . . but in addition to The Last Unicorn, Outlander is a very close second. Diana Gabaldon’s cast is compromised of the richest, most fleshy characters I have ever come across. They literally leap off the page into my mind. That is not hyperbole. I dream about them. I imagine what it might be like to know Jamie and Claire, to have them as friends. I think my husband and I would get along famously with them. We might never cease laughing. And the writing, the writing is so flawlessly beautiful, sometimes I have no choice but to lay the book on my abdomen, close my eyes, and thank God for creating people devoted to making art with their words. When I read Diana’s art, I am transported.

heart_tree_res9. Who inspires you? Sometimes I feel like I might explode from all the inspiration. Nature, music, books, animals – these all inspire me. I am inspired by the soldiers defending our country. I am inspired by my dog’s unconditional, unwavering loyalty. I am inspired mothers forsaking every comforting liberty, all in the same of raising healthy, intelligent, kind human beings. I am inspired by my husband, who spends his days helping children with special needs function in system not built for their hearts and heads. Mostly I am inspired by Jesus. By His love. That He came as a needy infant, then spread His body on a cross and died the most excruciating death known to man, so I and everyone else could be set free from this brutal life which would otherwise keep me frightened and paralyzed and unable to love myself and love people. I am in awe of my Savior.

10) Is there anything you would like to share with our readers? Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And I would love to meet you. Please don’t hesitate to drop me a note on Goodreads. I hang out there a lot.

And thank you, Lynn, for having me, for writing up such lovely, thoughtful, in depth questions, and for all the cheek-crimsoning accolades for Awakening Foster Kelly. I am honored to be here and so pleased to have met you!

**** The first 10 chapters of Awakening Foster Kelly are available for free on Noise Trade.****



If you missed our review of Awakening Foster Kelly you can find it here.

Awakening Foster Kelly by Cara Rosalie Olsen

16135535Awakening Foster Kelly

Book Description:  If only a pile of wayward curls and the inability to stay on her feet were seventeen year-old Foster Kelly’s most pressing concerns. Unfortunately, stubborn hair and clumsiness is just the tip of it. It was only a mistake, but when at the age of five Foster is told “You don’t belong here” the result is one broken heart. These four carelessly spoken words have shaped and shadowed Foster, and now—a senior at Shorecliffs High School—she seeks the wallflower’s existence, denying herself the most casual of friendships, much too afraid that someone will see what Foster believes is certain: she does not belong anywhere – or with anyone. This reality would continue to suit her just fine, however . . .

Love has a long-standing history of undoing broken hearts.

Like a comet, an unexpected arrival knocks Foster out of the crowded, starry sky, sending her directly into the limelight. Exposed and afraid, she will attempt to regain anonymity; but it isn’t so easy now that someone is watching. He pursues this shy enigma, confronting Foster’s deepest fears head-on, and in the process falls wholly and completely in love with her. But there is something he is not saying; a secret capable of certain ruin. There are two probable outcomes: either he will break her heart once and for all, or he will heal it.

In the end, though, it is Foster who must decide if she is worth mending.



My Review:

I loved this book.  Foster Kelly is sweet and kind.  She is also at war with her self.  She’s invisible to everyone at her school, sometimes literally, and she doesn’t really want to be.  She doesn’t share herself completely with anyone.  I don’t think she even shares herself fully with her parents.  She finds a certain kind of freedom in it.  She feels that she can’t be hurt any more than she already has by people.  We can all relate to that.

This book is told from Foster’s point of view and we get to know her very well.  There were points where I wanted to throttle Foster but this book is about her life and her journey through it.  It’s also about music.  Foster sings but she also plays the piano.  Her music is an important part of who she is.  It’s the running theme throughout the book.

All of this is well and good until she meets a boy that confounds her.  He hates her the second she bumps into him.  (Foster is accident prone.  Who isn’t?)  He hates her completely and when they are paired together for music class he quite simply looses his mind.  It isn’t pretty.  He quits music class.  It also appears that he quits coming to school.  Odd even for a new student.  Eventually he does tell Foster why he completely freaked out.  The explanation is really something.  What I liked about the relationship between Foster and Dominic was that it was complicated.  She was unsure if he even liked her.  It was obvious to the other characters as well as the reader but not to Foster.  I liked that.  There was no sense of destiny.  As in real life, we were left waiting to see what would happen.

The explanation of Dominic’s melt down is directly related to the end.  I’m not going to really talk about the end of this book.  It is mind bending and it took me several days to digest.  The size of the ending is in direct proportion to the size of the book.  It is long but the payoff is huge.  The ending is also completely dependent on how well we get to know Foster.  If you skip through the book reading quickly you won’t have the same experience that you would have if you read carefully.

Let’s compare some long books.  Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer is somewhere around 754 pages.  The Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling is in the neighborhood of 759.  By comparison Awakening Foster Kelly is not long at all.  Especially if we compare it to The Stand which comes in at around 1153.  Don’t let the length of this book scare you off.  It’s worth the investment.

This book is clever, charming and without question will be on my list of the best books that I’ve read this year.


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Look for our interview with Cara Rosalie Olsen tomorrow.







PicsArt_1375992730999PG- This book is a drama with complicated Foster situations.  There are no sexual situations.  There isn’t any violence except for Emily, if you read the book you’ll understand.  She was my favorite character after Foster.





I had a couple of favorite quote from this book.

“If Murphy’s Law and Bad Luck had a child- you’d be it.”  Dominic to Foster about all the crazy things that happen to her.

The final line of this book is one of the best closing lines I’ve ever read.

“Our story, it’s not for the logical, certainly not for the unimaginative; it belongs to the dreamers.” -Foster


If this book sounds good try these:

AllusiveCursed (Voodoo Nights)The Hollow

Modest Musings

Modest MusingsWelcome to Modest Musings!

This is were we will tell you what books we have acquired this week.  Whether it is through purchases, NetGalley or one of our many book list emails.  Please feel free to tell us what you think and if there is a particular book you are interested in seeing a review of.  Hope you enjoy!

Jessica’s Modest Musings

19546930Till Death and Beyond by Lyn C. Johanson – Till Death and Beyond is a sizzling tale of two souls bound by destiny in a cruel plot to separate them forever…


Amira is the strongest witch on the face of the earth, with psychic abilities no others possess. And yet, she is but a slave to the whims of the gods. Forced to be born anew every time she fails in fulfilling an ancient prophecy, Amira is desperate to break the vicious cycle.


Plagued by the memories and guilt over his family’s demise, Raven lives for the sole reason of restoring his younger brother. And kidnapping a witch is only the beginning—for he intends to right the wrongs of his past by any means necessary.


Bloody Little Secret by Karly Kirkpatrick – 17-year-old Vicky Hernandez has a big problem. She’s dead. Or not quite. After discovering she’s been turned into a vampire, she tries to settle into a quiet suburb of Chicago and return to a normal life. 
If only she could stop wanting to bite her boyfriend. Not to mention she is dying to find out who turned her, and why. She doesn’t have to wait long before they come to her.


The End Came with a Kiss by John Michael Hileman – My friends and I used to laugh about the zombie apocalypse, the absurdity of it. But when it came, it was nothing like the movies had portrayed. We couldn’t have had it more wrong. There was no gore. There was no blood or tearing of flesh. It was the most beautiful thing the world had ever seen, and that was what took us by surprise. We were not prepared to have our destruction lure us in like a harlot. You see, the end did not come with a scratch or a bite. It came with a kiss.

Inescapable by Nancy Mehl – Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, her family, and her faith with plans never to return. Five years later, Lizzie finds she’ll have to run again. False accusations at her job, a stalker, and a string of anonymous threatening letters have left her with no other options. This time, however, her escape is back to Kingdom, her hometown. 

18802174Wake for Me by Isobel Irons – When Viola Bellerose breaks up with her “up and coming” Irish rock star boyfriend, the feisty winery heiress takes it in stride—by making out with a hot stranger and accidentally crashing her Mercedes into the East River. Whoops.

Somewhat unfairly, in her opinion, Viola now spends her days in a coma, trapped inside the prison of her own body. With each passing day, she finds herself becoming more lost in a world of vivid and terrifying dreams, in which a tall and tortured doctor often appears in a romantic role.


Lynn’s Modest Musings

20804029Lore: Tales of Myth and Legend Retold by Brinda Berry, Karen Y. Bynum, Laura Diamond, Jayne A. Knolls, Theresa DaLayne, Cate Dean – A collection of six folklore retellings that will twist your mind and claim your heart.

SHIMMER: A heartbroken boy rescues a mermaid… but is it too late to save her?

BETWEEN is about a girl, a genie, and a ton of bad decisions. 

SUNSET MOON: Eloise doesn’t believe in Native American magic–until the dreamcatcher spiders spin her down an unknown path.

THE MAKER: An incapacitated young man bent on revenge builds a creature to do it for him.

A BEAUTIFUL MOURNING: The story of a Maya goddess torn between duty and love, and the ultimate sacrifice she must make to achieve true happiness.

THE BARRICADES: When a human girl risks everything to save the life of an Eternal prince, will their feelings for each other change the world they know, or tear it apart?

Complete Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard – Complete Cthulhu, features the tales of Cthulhu Mythos by H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.

Tales by H.P. Lovecraft

The Nameless City
The Festival
The Colour of Space
The Call of Cthulhu: The Horror in Clay
The Call of Cthulhu: The Tale of Inspector Legrasse
The Call of Cthulhu: The Madness from the Sea
The Dunwich Horror
The Whisperer in Darkness
The Dreams in the Witch-House
At the Mountains of Madness
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Shadow Out of Time
The Haunter of the Dark
The Thing on the Doorstep
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

Tales by Robert E. Howard

Dig Me No Grave
The Black Stone
The Challenge From Beyond
The Fire of Ashurbanipal
The Thing on the Roof

Beautiful Demons Box Set, Books 1-3 Beautiful Demons, Inner Demons, and Bitter Demons by Sarra Cannon – 2940148377689_p0_v1_s260x420

Beautiful Demons
In Peachville, even the cheerleaders have a dark side…

Harper Madison isn’t like other girls. She has extraordinary powers, but her inability to control them has gotten her kicked from so many foster homes she’s lost count. Shadowford Home for Girls is her last chance, and she hopes Peachville High will be the fresh start she needs.

But when evidence ties her to the gruesome murder of a Demons cheerleader, Harper discovers this small town has a big secret.

Inner Demons
Becoming a Demons cheerleader was the last thing Harper Madison expected when she moved to the small town of Peachville. She’s willing to do whatever it takes, though, to get the answers she needs about her mother and about her own strange powers.

Now that she’s an official member of the squad, her training can begin. Only, this is no normal group of cheerleaders. The training opens up a new world for Harper. It’s a world of beauty and magic beyond her wildest dreams, but also a world of pressure and impossible expectations.

A world where every secret hides an even darker secret.

Bitter Demons
So far, life in Peachville has been tough for Harper Madison. She’s survived attacks on her life, learned how to control her magic and met the most gorgeous boy with an unbelievable secret. After her latest stunt at Brighton Hospital, life has gotten even more complicated. The Order of Shadows is determined to tighten their control on her life.

The YA Readers Little Black Book by Rachel Higginson, Shelly Crane, M. Leighton, Lila Felix, Jamie Magee, Julia Crane, Amber Garza, Quinn,Loftis, A.M. Hargrove, Cambria Herbert – The YA Readers Little Black Book is compiled of New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling authors with 10 contemporary, paranormal, and sci-Fi YOUNG ADULT full-length novels in one hot little black book. Come and remember your first kiss, first loss, first betrayal, first love. Sweet obsession starts here.

18126904The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah E. Ladd – Patience Creighton has devoted her
life to running her father’s boarding school. But when the enigmatic master of
the estate appears at her door, battered and unconscious, the young headmistress
suddenly finds her livelihood—and her heart —in the hands of one dangerously
handsome gentleman.

Vanities by Gail Z. Martin

Vanities ( A Deadly Curiosities Adventure) by Gail Z. Martin

17315594This was amazing.  The first full novel in the Deadly Cruiosities series comes out June 25th.  I can’t wait.  Until then I’ll be content reading the short stories.

Book Description:

Jewel thief and newly-turned vampire Sorren sets out to steal a priceless brooch possessed by an ancient evil before it sets the Black Dragon loose in medieval Antwerp. 

This series of adventures spans over 500 years, from the 1500s to modern day as a small cabal of vampires and their human helpers battle supernatural enemies to find and destroy dangerous magical items and keep the world safe from dark forces.


Book Review:

If this first story is any indication of what this series is like I can’t wait to read them all.  The story is told from Sorren’s point of view about a hundred years after he’s turned into a vampire.  He sees Antwerp for the first time under slightly false pretenses.  Alard, his maker, told him that they were going to Antwerp for a job that would be “big, dangerous, and worth it.”  As Sorren tells the story, I got the impression that he thought it was going to be a chance to use his skills as a thief.  He had no idea what he was getting into and what it would cost him.

This story is imaginative and vivid.  I could practically feel the locks fall open as Sorren picked them.  I also loved the characteristics that the vampires have.  When was the last time you read a book about vampires that could fly?  It has been a while for me.  The hero of our story can’t fly yet but he can float and the author uses that to the story’s advantage.

Even if you don’t like vampires (by the way we can never be friends) you will like this story.  It also has a very scary black misty demon that resides inside the brooch Sorren needs to steal.  He is completely evil(the evil spirit not Sorren).  That’s one of the things that I like about the books that I’ve read by this author.  The bad guys are bad.  They don’t have redeeming qualities.  They are not interesting because of the reasons in that Jaguar Superbowl commercial.  They are interesting because they are evil and are capable of anything.  Good old fashioned bad guys.  Gail Z. Martin’s hero’s may be rough around the edges but they are dazzling at their core.

I recommend this short story to everyone!

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PicsArt_1375992730999PG-13 Due to violence.







Original background image: Antwerp, Belgium, Old Street by Lode Van de Velde from 

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Cover Reveal: Mortal Enchantment by Stacey O’Neale

Today, Stacey O’Neale and Phoenix Reign Publishing are revealing the cover for

MORTAL ENCHANTMENT, releasing on May 20, 2014!

Check out the awesome cover and enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card!!!

On to the reveal!

Mortal Enchantment

“Mortal Enchantment spins a unique twist on elemental mythology. This series is not to be missed.”
Jennifer L. Armentrout, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

In Kalin Matthew’s world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she’s built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she’s attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.

To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.

As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more…

Add to your Goodreads TBR!!!

If you haven’t read THE SHADOW PRINCE, you can download if NOW for FREE from Amazon and Barnes & Noble!!!

The Shadow PrinceEvery sacrifice has consequences.

Sixteen-year-old Rowan has spent most of his life living among the mortals—learning to control the element of fire, impatiently awaiting the day his vengeful mother, Queen Prisma, will abdicate her throne. When he finally returns to Avalon for his coronation, his mother insists he must first prove his loyalty to the court by completing a secret mission:

Kill Kalin, the half-human, half-elemental daughter of the air court king.

Willing to do anything to remove his mother from power, he agrees to sacrifice the halfling. He returns to the mortal world with his best friend, Marcus, determined to kill the princess. But as he devises a plan, he starts to question whether or not he’s capable of completing such a heinous task. And what price he will pay if he refuses?

Available for FREE on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Also available in PRINT from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photoshoot-21Stacey O’Neale lives in Annapolis, Maryland. When she’s not writing, she spends her time fangirling over books, blogging, watching fantasy television shows, cheering for the Baltimore Ravens, and hanging out with her husband and daughter.

Her career in publishing started as a blogger-turned-publicist for two successful small publishers. Stacey writes young adult paranormal romance and adult science fiction romance. Her books always include swoon-worthy heroes, snarky heroines, and lots of kissing.

Stacey loves hearing from readers. Follow her on Twitter @StaceyONeale, look for her on Facebook, Pinterest, and GoodReads. You can also visit her blog at

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Realm of Dreams by K.A. Vantana

81XEpL3uwFL._SL1500_Realm of Dreams 

by K.A. Vantana

Book Blurb: 

For twenty years, the Realm of Dreams has been a land ruled by shadows and nightmares, but the day of reckoning is coming. It has long been prophesied that the arrival of a human boy will change the fate of the realm.

Seventeen-year-old Josiah has never believed in destiny, spending his days working for the “family” business until a car accident lands him in the middle of his worst fear-he is living in a nightmare.

When Josiah meets Pentaim, a fierce ninja guardian angel, and is hunted by the realm’s tormentors, he sets out on a journey that will test not only his inner strength but everything he has ever believed.

My Review: 

I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Think of a video game where you have to defeat each level to get to the next and then transfer that into an action packed book with a hint of romance. Josaih, Pentiam and the others are trying to get threw the layers of the dream world to take it back.

I loved the action and adventure of this world.  The detail really lends itself to your imagination.  As they progress thru each level you learn that things are not always as they seem and there is danger at every turn. Each level has it’s own theme if you will and the throne keeper has made the world there own.  The first few levels were rather easy for Josiah, but as they progress they will get harder and harder.  I can only imagine what is in store.  This is leading up to an epic battle at the end and I look forward to it.

In this book Josiah is learning what kind of powers he really holds and together with Pentiam there is bound to be more uncovered.  He has to except that this world is real and he is here to save it.  As he does and his powers start revealing themselves he may be very powerful.  We ended on a cliff hanger and I cannot wait until the next book to see where the journey will take.Jessica

PicsArt_1375992687897PG – a lot of action and a little kissing.





About the Author:

d9539985AmalieVantanaAmalie Vantana wrote her first story at age seven. When many little girls were dreaming about being a princess, Amalie was dreaming about being a musketeer. When she’s not writing adventures, she spends her time with her family, sword fighting with her husband, exploring historical locations, and searching for adventures to be had. Amalie makes her home in West Virginia with her husband.
Amalie writes Historical Fiction, Action Adventure, Supernatural and Paranormal Thrillers.

Twitter: AuthorAVantana
Facebook: Facebook profile