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Saturday, March 28, 2015

{Book Review} Possess by Sarah Dalton

Possess (Mary Hades #2)Possess by Sarah Dalton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fantastic sequel to book one, Mary Hades. It picks up right after the events of the last book, but rather than continue the story line directly, we are moving forward and focusing on the next step in Mary's life, one that she had no choice about.


Her parents have decided to house swap (permanently) with a little old lady who owns a rather large estate called Ravenwood. Both drawn to and kind of repelled by the house, Mary and her mother quickly become obsessed. With strange little things, an odd neighbor, and her BFF Lacey by her side, Mary is quickly pulled into the history of the house by way of a journal.

Lots of great tension and anxiety and a revelation about Mary's mom, this was a fab sequel to Mary Hades and I cannot wait to read the next installment!

View all my reviews

Sunday, March 1, 2015

{COYER #2015HW) Reading Assignment Update and some personal notes

Hello all! Do you remember me going crazy for the newest YEAR LONG COYER? (Click here!) Well it's well under way already, but you can still join!

I am late with my update post as my computer fizzed out and my work has a lock down on all things social media! I just recently got a new computer and am catching up with some blog posts.

For January, my reading list included:

  1. Devil's Metal by Karina Halle
  2. Emilie & the Hollow World by Martha Wells
  3. Emilie & the Sky World by Martha Wells
  4. Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson
I will come back to link all reviews to Goodreads, etc. Some are still in scribble form in my notebook! Annnnnnnd then I have to share to Netgalley, too. Man, not enough hours in the day or brain cells left in my brain! 

I'm having a grand time with COYER, even if I've been lacking on reviewing properly here on the blog. I just finished my last Feb Assignment Read and am ready to charge into March's reads.

February's Reading List included (no links to reviews yet because of other things going on):

  1. Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson
  2. Cold Blooded by Amanda Carlson
  3. Red Blooded by Amanda Carlson
  4. Heart of Iron by Bec McMasters

I'm sure you saw my blog post on my health. I have to catch up with reviews on most of the above books (my notebook is a hot mess of scribbles. I'll try to crank out a paragraph at least for each book before entering the hospital).  Surgery is this week and my friends have supplied me with some books to read as well as some physical ARCs I was happy to be granted!

March's Reading List is continuing in the steampunk fashion:

  1. Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross
  2. Girl with the Windup Heart by Kady Cross
  3. Miss Education of Dr Exeter by Jillian Stone
  4. Outcast by Adrienne Kess
I'm excited and happy to be having these as "assigned reading" because I really do need to knock out my Netgalley list and these are all such awesome reads. Seriously. I requested them so I should like them, and so far so good! 


Hi Everyone! 

I know things have been quieter here lately and for that I apologize. I've had some life changes, including a new job, that has definitely changed my ability to read and blog. And I'm sorry to say that it will become even quieter here.

My blog is going on a short hiatus starting now and, unfortunately, even if I've signed up to do a spotlight or a review, it will be on the back burner. I'm pretty sure I've let all my blog coordinators know, but my mind is a bit preoccupied so I'm not sure. My apologies if this is your notice. 

I've been diagnosed with colon cancer and am having surgery this week to remove a chunk of my colon. With any luck, that will be the end of it and after my hospital stay (4-6 days) and recovery period (4-6 weeks), I'll be back to work and able to pick up blogging etc., again. If the outcome is different than I hope, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it! 

Of course, I'm a reader and will be reading throughout my recovery. But I'm sure it will just be review notes scribbled in a book until I find time to upload them later! Or perhaps no reviews at all and just reading for pleasure!

In the meantime, I wish you all happy readings and happy blogging! 

See you on the flipside! 

A_TiffyFit's Reading Corner

Monday, February 16, 2015

{Blog Tour} THE STILLNESS OF SKY by Starla Huchton - with review and giveaway

The Stillness of the Sky
Author: Starla Huchton
Series: A Flipped Fairy Tale
Genre: Fantasy /YA
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Feb 2 2015
Edition/Formats: eBook & Print

"Once upon a time, my life was certain: it was insignificant, and it was cruel. But I refused to let it define me, no matter how great the cost.
Once upon a time, I made a wish. The world I knew grew wider than the sky and higher than the stars, and I listened to the voice within me, reaching out for freedom.
Once upon a time, my wish became my fate, and my destiny the hardest lesson to learn: kindness may be the most difficult path, but it can save entire kingdoms.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book to read and review honestly for the purposes of this book tour. No other compensation was offered nor would have been accepted.

Oh, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...No, really. Starla Huchton has hit another one out of the ballpark. From the Evolution series to Shadows on Snow, I am a Huchton fan, totally confirmed. I have to read The Endure Series, of which I know that I at least have Maven waiting for me on the Kindle. And honestly, I don't know why I haven't started it yet because Huchton has never disappointed. And THE STILLNESS OF SKY is no different. Brilliantly told, instantly engaging, this was a kindlebruiser for sure.

Starla Huchton takes the well known fairytale "Jack and the Beanstalk" and totally makes it her own. After reading this, I doubt you'll ever think of that tale and not think of THE STILLNESS OF SKY. This is not just a fairy tale, but a tale of becoming. An adventure, a tale of discovery, and full of magic, this is one I'll be re-reading over and over again.

It took my vision a few moments to adjust to the sudden brightness, but when I did, I couldn’t believe the sight in front of me. Stunned, I staggered backwards, all but falling down as my gaze drifted up from the base of the enormous plant that had sprung up overnight.
The bottom was easily twenty feet wide to either side of me, with massive leaves bursting from curled vines thicker than a man’s shoulders were broad. It seemed to be not a single plant, but three twisted around each other, leading up and up into the sky. I followed the trail of leaves spiraling around it like a giant staircase until I lost sight of them in the clouds obscuring the top.
What, by the spirits, was that thing, and how had it come to be there so instantaneously? What enchantment conjured it? Even more, how long would it remain? Eventually someone would notice it and ask all sorts of questions, and I wouldn’t have any answers for them.
I paused, hitting on one word swirling in my mind: enchantment. In running from the wolves, I’d dropped the beans. While I couldn’t prove it myself, I was fairly certain they were some sort of magic. Therefore, the only reasonable explanation, even though it was the most outlandish thing I’d ever entertained, was that the plant before me was the result of the three beans being exposed to soil and water.
“Either you’ve hit your head very hard, lost your mind completely, or found something amazing, Jack,” I said out loud, hoping that talking through the development might bring me some clarity. “As you’re not in terrible pain, let’s discount the first one for the time being.”
My feet moved without my thinking, and I carried on my monologue, trying to puzzle it out. “You might be talking to yourself, but nothing up until this moment has ever given you cause to doubt the reliability of your brain. That leaves one option.”
I stopped walking, marveling at the turn of events. As I watched, a single leaf uncurled from the base of the humongous beanstalk, spreading out on the ground before me like a carpet. Was it a greeting? That leaf led to another slightly above it, and a third and fourth after that. Each was perfectly positioned, one leading to the next.
If ever I’d been given an invitation to anything, that was it.
Not entirely sold on it, I wandered back to where I’d woken, retrieving my pack and cap from between the layers of leaves. The hat was a bit soggy when I placed it on my head, but I was sure it would dry quickly with the heat of day already growing rapidly. Again at the leaf that unfurled before me, I lifted my gaze up, following it once more into the clouds.
“I wonder how high it goes?”
The thought of being at such an elevation, looking out over everyone and everything, cemented my decision. People climbed mountains only to say they’d done it. They built larger and larger structures for no better reason than gaining a closer perspective on the stars. Why should I be any different? How many could say they’d encountered a plant such as this, and how regretful would they feel for having passed up the opportunity?
Tentatively, I set my foot upon the leaf, unsure if it would even hold me. It gave some, but easily supported what little weight I carried. A large man might find it impassable, but for me, a girl of sixteen with years of hunger under her belt, I’d have no cause to worry.
Well, no cause pending the strength of the greenery held out all the way to the top.
As many times as I’d looked to the sky, never before had it seemed so full of promise.
With a firm nod, I started up. After all, what was the worst that could happen? If nothing else, I’d finally know what it felt like to fly.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

{Blog Tour} CITY OF MAGI by Michael McDuffee -- with review

Title: City of Magi
Author: Michael McDuffee
Series: Magi Stone Series (Book 1)
Genre: Industrial-era Fantasy
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: July 25 2014
Edition/Formats Available In: Kindle

At the heart of Astosen, the city of Dein Astos stands as a bulwark for the free world, always on alert to battle Valania’s attempts to bring the republic under continental dominance. Sophisticated and diverse, driven by magic, money, and information, this city of magi teems with tea houses, government agencies, exclusive clubs and risky districts.
Alexander Locke, a great Magi Knight and the hero of the republic, lies dead. His daughter, Zia Locke, reluctantly rises to power, unaware that her father may not have died of natural causes, as everyone believes.
That is, until she is artfully maneuvered into meeting the mysterious and abundantly self-assured Grayson Kearney. A keen judge of character and cunning magus, Grayson rocks Zia's world in more ways than one as he helps tear away the veil of ignorance from her eyes. From lifelong friends to sworn enemies, the new leader of the House of Locke is discovering that anyone could be the next to betray her. What Zia needs is a good intelligence officer at her side. But when everyone has a hidden agenda, can she truly place her trust in Grayson?

About the Author

Michael McDuffee is a science fiction and fantasy author from Raleigh, North Carolina. He moved around the United States long after his formative years and spent time in Philadelphia, Seattle, and DC, before moving to the San Francisco Bay Area. His first series, Those Who Die Young, was designed and conceived to be published exclusively in online platforms, utilizing the freedom of the new distribution network to explore a story that would never have been possible before, the long-form serial.
His first feature novel, City of Magi, is a fantasy adventure set in a magically-powered industrial society. Get it exclusively on Kindle now!

 Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review on this tour.

First, my apologies to the author. My computer fried a few weeks ago and I've been having difficulty borrowing one to try and get my posts done! So many apologies that this is late on the tour.

On to the review! To start, this was a 5 star read for me. I don't think the blurb does justice to the story lying within the pages of this book. It was truly a wondrous experience! I really like the way the author wrote this novel, starting off in the "present" and whipping back to Grayson's childhood. I felt like the world was built seamlessly as we flipped back and forth between the present and the past, learning about the characters, how relationships were built, etc.

The action was fantastic, but I really loved how Grayson's magic worked - how he sees it, how he masters it, etc. Not to mention to learn about his feats, how he runs his network, etc.

This was a hell of a way to start a series (Note the "Book One" in the byline!) and I, for one, am looking forward to reading the rest. Totally hooked, I'm chomping at the bit for more!

Applause started from the corner of the room farthest from both Zia and Flores, quickly spreading throughout the chamber. Zia cringed when the room began to flicker from the gallery full of reporters taking pictures of her. Flores vanished into the crowd.
Eventually, Thayer’s gavel was heard over the applause.
“Well said, Citizen Locke,” he said over the dying cheers, “and welcome to Quorum.”
Thayer read off his other reports to a far less interested crowd. As the minutes dragged on, Zia grew tired of the stares and left. She wasn’t two steps out of the auditorium when she was blinded by flashes.
“Lady Zia! Over here, Lady Zia!”
“Is it true that you have spies in the Valanian army that tipped you off?”
“Did you ignore the DoD’s requested investigation?”
“Was it easy to take control of your first Quorum?” 
“Did you only argue because of the ancient rivalry between the houses?”
“Did you get a new haircut?”
“Did you address Flores by his first name as an insult?”
“Has the rivalry begun anew?”
Zia tried to raised her hand to ward off the cameras. How the hells was she supposed to get through this? Part of her wanted to knock them all over. 
Keegan was usually the one who pushed her way through a crowd like this, but he was waiting back at the office. Except for the small reporters’ gallery, only Citizens were allowed into Quorum. She had figured it would be a waste of Keegan’s time to simply wait outside. She might have been right, had she not been dumb enough to stand up to Flores. Damnable force of habit.
“Lady Zia!”
“Over here, Lady Zia!”
She could barely hear their voices any more. Questions ran together into one incomprehensible roar of noise. One voice boomed above all the rest.
“Citizen Flores—were you attempting to undermine faith in Council for financial gain?”
For an instant, the swarm of reporters silenced. They quickly sought out the origin of the shout, a lone reporter in a dark brown coat and a wide-brimmed hat at the door farthest from Zia. He confronted an annoyed Flores. The swarm ran across the room to Flores as he exited the auditorium.
Zia’s breathing slowed. She closed her eyes and counted to five. Lesson learned: never go to Quorum without an escort. She took one more breath to collect herself, and did her best to walk towards the exit without attracting attention. 
The reporter in the dark brown coat and wide-brimmed hat appeared from behind a column as she passed. Her right hand reached for the hilt of her sword by reflex. He tipped his hat and smiled. It was Grayson.
“Think you’ve got the energy to head back to the office, or would you rather just get a cup of tea and head home?”
All of Zia’s breath rushed out of her at once. “Kearney.”
He pulled off his coat and threw it over her shoulders. He was wearing a slimmer trench coat beneath it. He plucked his hat off and sat it on her head. 
“I know it’s not your style, but it couldn’t scream reporter any louder. We ought to be able to get out without being noticed by the second crowd.”
“The second crowd?” she asked.
“All of those guys,” he nodded at the swarm around Flores that was starting to fan out to other Citizens as they filed out of the auditorium, “have one of these.” He tugged on a bright yellow tag hanging from around his neck. “Quorum press pass. Very hard to get—even the Observer only gets two. There are, of course, several score more reporters outside who have been tipped off about what happened.”
She didn’t object when he pushed the hat down further on her head, then looked her over. He brushed the hair back from her face, an oddly intimate gesture, and tucked it back over her ears.
“Pardon the intrusion,” he said as he stepped forward and put his arms around her to tuck her hair back under the coat, “but your hair is too identifiable. That should be enough for us to make a quick getaway. Shall we?”
She caught his fingers as he turned away. He stopped and looked up at her. “Kearney?”
“Yes, Lady Locke?”
“Oh gods,” she grimaced, “please don’t call me that now.”
He was smiling. “Then call me Grayson.”
She finally laughed. “Fine. Grayson—”
“Yes Zia?”
“Thank you.”
He gave a half bow. “I do what I can, Milady.”
“I said don’t—”
“I didn’t call you Lady Locke.”
She punched his arm as they made their way out the door. “Just for that, you’re buying the tea.”
Outside, the waning sun revealed exactly the scene Grayson had foretold: no fewer than forty reporters, all men, all young, and all dressed in variations of the trench coat and hat that she wore. The group looked up at them as one, a pack of hunters waiting for prey. They turned their attention back to their cameras as soon as they registered Grayson and Zia as not being people of note.
She heard a gruff, clipped, quiet voice from just beside her. “I hear Locke should be out any minute. Don’t let your camera out of her face until I say so, Jameson.”
Zia turned to look for the voice, but Grayson took her hand and nodded to the brim of her hat. From the corner of her eye she could see a small inlaid stone above her head on her right side. She couldn’t help but smile. Grayson had put an ear on the reporters. The stone continued its transmissions as Grayson led her around the corner of the block to a line of waiting stonepush taxis. Ordinarily, at this hour, the crowds would be too thick for anything but rickshaws, but the streets were cleared for Quorums.
“Just keep the flashes going. Get a lot of shots, whether we get a statement out of her or not. We’ll figure out what narrative the story needs later. I want a shot of her angry, surprised, scared, whatever you can get.”
“My gods,” Zia whispered as the taxi boy started to push off, “they’re like vultures. Who did you put this on?”
“That,” Grayson answered, “is the one and only Denny Alexander of the Observer.”
“D.A. in D.A., that Denny Alexander?”
“The very same.”
She looked back over her shoulder at the rapidly shrinking pack of reporters. “I always like reading his articles. And the editorials too—he’s one of my favorites.”

Sunday, February 1, 2015

{Book Reviews} Emilie and the Hollow World as well as Emilie and the Sky World, both by Martha Wells #2015HW #COYER

Emilie and the Hollow World (Emilie, #1)Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a fun and wonderfully adventurous ride through a world that will absolutely remind you of the adventures in the Jules Verne state of mind. With marvelous steampunk inventions, brilliantly described worlds and different people.

I liked Emilie's determination and courage and cheered as she embarked on her journey, escaping her jerk of an uncle. I also liked watching her discover new peoples and new worlds and how she just absorbed it all and took it in stride!

Wonderful beginning to a new series and one I'm looking forward to continue reading!

View all my reviews

Emilie and the Sky World (Emilie, #2)Emilie and the Sky World by Martha Wells

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really loved how this book picked up in the instant we left off with Emilie as she was about to embark on a new life with Ms and Dr Marlende.

The description of this book as a modern Verne-esque adventure tale is appropriate, and you can expect to enjoy this book every bit as much as the first book. Engaging and fun to read, while this is targeted towards a YA aged audience, I thoroughly enjoyed it as an adult. Plucky Emilie fast grew on me - she is endearing and adventurous and courageous.

View all my reviews

{Book Review}FULL BLOODED by Amanda Carlson #2015HW #COYER

Full Blooded (Jessica McClain, #1)Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This has been sitting on my kindle forever and I am using COYER as my excuse to get to these old Netgalley approvals. My sincerest apologies to the author and publisher for not getting to those series sooner!

I absolutely loved this book. Just when you think you're getting tired of one of your favorite genres, you pick up a book like this and you sigh with contentment as a fresh voice weaves you a story about the paranormal. Jessica is the ONLY female werewolf - born into a Pack, she was feared due to an old myth and protected by her fierce Alpha father against those who wanted her dead. She didn't change at puberty, but she sure did about 10 years later and that is enough to spark a war.

As bits and pieces of lore and history make their way known while Jessica is trying to come to terms with who she is, what she is, and what she is to do now, the suspense builds and builds. This was a kindle bruiser for sure and I leaped from this book right into book two.

And a good thing, too, as it was part of #2015HW for COYER Reading Assignment 2015! If you love werewolf stories and a strong female lead that isn't overly confident but no mewling wimp, start reading this series!

View all my reviews