Friday, August 8, 2014

Novella Review: Wind-Up Hearts by Stan Swanson

Wind-Up Hearts
by Stan Swanson

Genre: Romance / Steampunk

Ages: 14 and up

I received an e-copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.


If one’s heart is constructed of metal and considered indestructible, can love and romance still find a place within? That is the question facing Henry Thackery who spends over a hundred years pursuing the woman of his dreams—Emily Harding. After Henry and Emily become recipients of the Merganthol Circulatory Assistance Device, we follow their journey from 1875 to the present day and Henry’s unflinching quest to convince Emily (the love of his life) to become his bride. Will Henry be successful in his pursuit of love or will Emily ultimately “break” his indestructible heart? A tale of romance more than science fiction, Wind-Up Hearts will tug at the strings of your heart whether it be mechanical or flesh and blood.

My Thoughts:

Aww... This novella is so sweet and so sad. It is the beautifully written tale of two friends, the very best of friends, who meet once a week to have lunch, talk about their lives, and wind up their clockwork hearts. The same as they have done every week for more than a hundred years. This is the sort of idea that I wish I had thought of first, just because I like it so much.

I am a die-hard romantic with steampunk tendencies, so it was almost inevitable that I fall in love with this story. Add word-perfect writing and I was hooked. There isn't a whole lot I can say about the story without spoiling anything because it was so short. It's a quiet story, made up of conversations between not-quite-lovers as they watch the world go by. It was a joy to watch their relationship unfold. But don't take my word for it. Read it yourself. Maybe cry a little at the end, just like I did.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.

I give it a 2.10 for 3 swearwords; two mild, one middling.

I give it a 1.10 for mild sexual references.

There was no violence in this story.

                              Lieder Madchen

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Blog Tour Book Review: Hold Still by Lisa Regan

Hello! Thanks to Innovative Online Book Tours, I am participating in the blog tour for an interesting Indie mystery novel. Please feel free to say hi and let me know what you think. :)

Hold Still
by Lisa Regan

Genre: Suspense / Mystery / Romance / Indie

Ages: 18 and up

I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review as part of a blog tour.


Three men are viciously assaulting Philadelphia's prostitutes, and it's up to veteran detective Jocelyn Rush to stop them.  She catches two, but they won't betray their partner, the most dangerous of all, and the attacks continue, striking closer to home. Jocelyn's only real clue comes when a monster from her past resurfaces--now she must race to connect the demons of her past with the villain of her present--before the sadistic attacker sets his sights on her.

My Thoughts:

I enjoy a well-written, well-thought-out mystery, and Hold Still certainly qualifies. A series of hints, clues and red herrings was laid out in a subtle (but not too subtle) manner, leading the reader to a perfect 'Aha!' moment when the culprit is revealed. Not every mystery has one of these moments, sometimes because the author is trying too hard to surprise you or not trying hard enough, which makes it all the more impressive when an author manages it as well as Lisa Regan did.

Jocelyn Rush, the hard-edged heroine, caught me immediately with her reaction to her daughter being inadvertently kidnapped when someone carjacks her. It was a very telling scene that neatly displayed multiple facets of her personality while also snagging my emotions, all in the first chapter.

The minor characters were also cleverly written. Some of them were immediately likable, where others were more the if-I-met-you-in-real-life-I'd-strangle-you-on-the-spot type. My favorite was probably Kevin, Jocelyn's partner, who had a fun sense of humor. The love interest, Caleb Vaughn, was likable enough, but he didn't show up until the middle of the story and, honestly, the romance was not the best part of the book. It wasn't bad, just a bit perfunctory.  

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I wouldn't call it 'fun' (it's too dark for that), but it was an interesting story, skillfully told. I can definitely see myself reading more by this author in the future.

Rating System: Profanity, Sexuality and Violence
1 (mild) through 10 (extreme). Ratings may contain spoilers.

I rate it a 8.10 for quite a bit of swearing, including quite a few f-bombs.

I give it 7.10 because, although there is only one mildly descriptive sex scene, there are many references, innuendos, and sexual insults throughout, as well as several instances of rape, none of which are graphically described.

I rate it 7.10 for murder, attempted murder, rape and assault. Most of the violence is not graphically described.

About the Author:

Lisa Regan is a crime fiction author.  Her first novel, Finding Claire Fletcher won Best Heroine in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards 2013.  It was runner-up for Best Novel.  It was also a Digital Book Today Best of 2013 ebook selection.  In December 2013, Finding Claire Fletcher and her second novel, Aberration were #1 Amazon bestsellers in the Kidnapping and Serial Killers categories, respectively.

Lisa is a member of Sisters In Crime.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. 

·         Website    Blog    Facebook   Twitter - @lisalregan    Goodreads

Buy Now
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Thank you for stopping by!

                   Lieder Madchen

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Crush Series Blog Tour: An Excerpt from Crush by Lacey Weatherford!

So, if you follow my blog you may have noticed I'm a bit of a Lacey Weatherford fan, particularly when it comes to the Crush series, so I am very excited to be participating in the Crush Series Blog Tour! I get to share a steamy little scene from the first book with you guys. :) Enjoy!

CRUSH Scene: Hunter-

She lifted one and studied it with a small smile before reaching for the next one in the pile. “These are really good, Hunter. You’re quite the photographer.” 

I held still, my heart racing, knowing if she continued far enough she’d see what I’d been doing. I would totally come off as the jealous boyfriend—something I didn’t want at all. She made her way through until she reached the images that were facing down. 

“Those are the bad ones,” I said, moving to stop her. “I’m just going to put them in the shredder.” 

 “Don’t do that.” She placed her hand over mine, stilling me. “Let me see them first. All the others were so good.” 

I was desperate, racking my brain for a way to distract her from continuing. “Cami . . . ,” I let my voice trail off, and she glanced up at me expectantly. “Yes?” 

I closed my eyes for a second. “Forgive me,” I whispered when I looked at her again. I grabbed her cheeks and pressed my lips to hers. 

Sparks exploded at the simple contact between us, and I found myself sliding my hands down to her shoulders so I could pull her closer. I wrapped both of my arms around her back and pressed against her, walking slowly forward until she was pinned against the door. Her fingers move upward, locking around behind my neck. She opened her mouth, allowing me access, and I happily invaded, licking and tasting what she offered. It was heaven. 

She made a soft moaning sound in the back of her throat—or maybe it was me—I wasn’t sure anymore as her hands made their way up into my hair, digging in as she kept me pulled tightly to her. My palms moved lower, cupping her bottom and lifting so she could wrap her legs around me. She did so as if she’d done it a thousand times before, and I moved to trail kisses across her face and down her neck. She tossed her head back, arching. “Finally,” she breathed out as her hands traveled over me.


So, what do you think? Curious as to what Hunter is hiding? Look below for links to my reviews of the series and to places where you can buy your copy and try the books for yourself. Right now Crush is free in e-book form, so you can start it right away. :)

Crush by Lacey Weatherford
Book 1 - Crush Series

Cami Wimberley has a plan, and that plan includes no room for boys—especially the big time party animal, Hunter Wilder, no matter how handsome and charismatic he is. She’s beautiful, a senior, extremely talented, gets good grades, and is working her way toward her dream college to be a musical theater major. Everything is perfect.

Hunter Wilder does not want a girlfriend—that would complicate his life way too much right now. He especially doesn’t want this girl, Miss-Goody-Two-Shoes, so how come he can’t keep his eyes off her? He tries to keep her at arms length, but fate seems to keep pushing them together. Before long, it’s obvious to everyone they’re crushing on each other. 

As sparks begin to fly, Hunter finds himself sinking deeper and deeper into hot water. Soon he’s scrambling to keep Cami from discovering his dark secret—one that can destroy their entire relationship.

My Thoughts on Crush


Smitten by Lacey Weatherford
Book 2 - Crush Series

Life is good. Cami is away at her dream college with her dream man by her side. She thinks if she can just get through with meeting Hunter’s family that everything will be perfect. Little does she know that life’s about to turn upside down again when Hunter is called to infiltrate a gang whose specialty is chopping and racing cars. His contact happens to be a beautiful curvy girl who is the gang leader’s sister and he has to pose as her boyfriend. Communication with Cami is basically forbidden to help keep his cover.

Hunter, however, can’t stand being away from the girl he really loves, and he sneaks away one night to meet her across town. He doesn’t know the gang leader, Ripper, has suspicions about him already and he’s following him to see where he goes. He surprises Hunter and Cami, and Hunter quickly introduces her as his foster sister who is having some car trouble. He thinks all is well until he discovers he has one serious problem. Ripper likes Cami and decides to pursue her, drawing her into the same dangerous world he’s supposed to bring down.

Can he keep his cover without having Cami get caught in the crossfire? Will the two of them survive having to watch each other fake it in the arms of another? Or will their hot stolen kisses destroy everything?

My Thoughts on Smitten 


Love by Lacey Weatherford
Book 3 - Crush Series

Living happily ever after has always been part of the plan for Cami and Dylan, but when strange things begin happening around the Wilcock household, Cami simply believes she’s becoming forgetful. 

However, when the incidents begin to escalate, both are left feeling vulnerable. Unable to figure out what’s going on, Dylan delves deeper into the mysterious happenings. But when the truth comes out, he finds himself faced with the biggest decision of his life—how far will he go to protect the one he loves?

My Thoughts on Love 


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Chased Dreams by Lacey Weatherford Release Day Blitz!

OK, most of this post is just a copy-paste, internet-wide blitz post, but I feel obliged to add my two cents. I haven't read the book yet, but Lacey Weatherford has never disappointed me when it comes to lovely romantic fiction. Each new book is almost always better than the last, so I fully expect Chased Dreams to leave me speechless.

Lacey and Chase have created a story that is timeless and heartwarming. They truly know how to create a story about love and loss, while doing the series justice and ending it brilliantly! 

–Lisa Markson, The Paranormal Bookworm

Chased Dreams 
Lacey Weatherford & Chase Walden

Book Three  - Chasing Nikki Series

Dreams of the future, dreams of love and happiness, dreams of being able to move on and get past the heartache that still resides in his soul, Chase Walker believes things are finally starting to look up.
But are they really?

When Chase suffers a devastating injury on the football field, his life is thrown into a tailspin once again. Feeling like he’s lost his identity, he struggles with keeping his relationship with Brittney from falling apart, while also trying to find out who he really is inside. 

But when dreams from the past resurface, causing old feelings to rise anew and clash with the life he’s living now, Chase is left to wonder if all he has is Chased Dreams.

Purchase Chased Dreams for $2.99

About Lacey Weatherford 

Lacey Weatherford is the bestselling author of the popular young adult paranormal romance series, Of Witches and Warlocks, and contemporary series, Chasing Nikki and Crush, and Tell Me Why.
Lacey resides in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. She lives with her wonderful husband and children along with their dog, Talley, and cat, Minx. When she’s not out supporting one of her kids at their sporting/music events, she spends her time reading, writing, and visiting with her readers on her social media accounts.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Interview + Giveaway: KaraLynne Mackrory, Author of Haunting Mr. Darcy


It is my very great pleasure to have KaraLynne Mackrory over today to talk about her latest novel, Haunting Mr. Darcy. Please, make yourself comfortable, Ms. Mackrory. Would you like a cup of tea? Coffee?

Sadly I never got a taste for coffee or tea but would not say no to a Dr. Pepper.  You can even put it in a tea cup if you prefer. :)

I loved your previous two novels, Bluebells in the Mourning and Falling for Mr. Darcy. How did writing Haunting Mr. Darcy compare to writing those?  

Its funny that you should ask this because I would not have said the writing process felt different for the first two books but with this one it did.  I felt unsettled and disorganized as I wrote this and not because I didn’t know what I was going to do, or how the story was going to unfold.  It was because the entire plot, and what it required of me was a challenge and a stretch of my abilities.  I would write a scene and instead of finding myself satisfied I felt like I was not doing it enough justice.   

Was much research required for Haunting Mr. Darcy? If so, of what sort? 

 Not much actually.  By now the Regency time period is as beloved and familiar as my own time period so those types of hang-ups weren’t there.  This book, with its paranormal aspect gave me a little freedom to make up a little of what I did not know.  There were of course some minor things to look up, such as the boxing academies in London at the time, fencing techniques and terms, and frequent questions to my hubby about the rules of chess.  The challenge came when I had find ways to break some rules of propriety without breaking them – ie Darcy slipping away (with Elizabeth) during his visit to Longbourn the first time.   

I laughed out loud several times while reading HMD; there were so many wonderful, funny moments. What is your favorite scene, if it isn’t too spoilery to ask?   

Oh gosh! When I paused to answer this question I had one scene pop into my head after another, each fighting for number one.  I dearly love to laugh (as does Lizzy) and it is hard to pick just one.  I love when Darcy has to hide under the bed because the image of that is just too juicy and fun to get out of my mind.  But I think my absolute favorite moment is when Darcy huffs and blusters to move his bed across the room.  His determination is adorable and his distraction to his purpose hilarious when combined with the confusion of his valet.   

What is your favorite ghost story? 

 I do not actually know many ghost stories.  I have not found one that I disliked though.  There is one that I did like a lot and would recommend and it is by Barbara Metzger called An Angel for the Earl. It’s got some similarities to this one and is charming, romantic and sweet. 

What plans do you have for future literary endeavors? 

 I have a number of different book ideas but none that I am working on presently.  When I write a book I tend to binge write so it does not take me long to complete it – only a few months.  For the present, I am simply enjoying not being an absent mother again.  I tend to do very little else but write when I do. 

Is there a story behind Mr. Carroll, butler extraordinaire? He is in every book and I always wish I could steal him away to be my butler. :)

There isn't a story but perhaps a person(s). I am blessed to know a great couple who I have been friends with throughout all my writing.  They are both very supportive and monstrously funny. I patterned Mr. and Mrs. Carroll (butler and housekeeper) after my dear friends Ron and Kayla Carroll.  

And now, for three quick questions: 

Firth or Macfadyen? 

 I have had this one before and I hesitate not to say Matthew Firth or perhaps Collin MacfadyenI like them both at different scenes and should either one show up at my doorstep declaring his undying love, it is understood that my husband will just have to accept this new addition to our lives.  Just kidding. 

White, milk or dark?   

Oh milk, no question. 

Carriage or horseback?  

Now this one depends on the context.  If you asked carriage or horseback to watch a gentleman: horseback pounding across the field no question – with gentleman’s coat tails flying behind him.  If you mean carriage or horseback to watch Wickham be run over: carriage, for it would do more damage, I think.  I would also say carriage if you asked which one I would leave in when Matthew Firth declares his undying love.  

Author bio:

KaraLynne is an amazing mother who never makes mistakes, never gets upset with her children and never ever has a dirty house. Ever. She always has her dishes done and the floors spotless and dinner is always prepared and ready on time. Her kids are always clean, polite, respectful and loving, especially to each other. She never gets irritated with her husband when he doesn’t turn his socks right side out for the laundry and they always agree on everything. She delights in nothing else but to serve her family and never wants or needs time for herself. She takes great care to shower every day and put make up on so that she is always beautiful and presentable. She never wears her pajamas all day or for days in a row and she is the epitome of womanhood. Most of all, she has a great sense of humor and loves to write.
Falling for Mr. Darcy (2012) is KaraLynne’s first venture in to the world of book authorship. Bluebells in the Mourning (2013)  came next and coming in the spring of 2014 is, Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtship.  Although, admittedly a Darcy addict, she enjoys many things, such as: Mr. Knightly, Edmund Bertram, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Tilney and John Thornton.  She is happily married to her own Mr. Darcy and together they share the insanity inducing responsibility of raising four children.





And now, the giveaway! Again! If you missed it when I posted it a couple of days ago, here is your chance to enter to win either a paperback or e-copy of Haunting Mr. Darcy. This contest is open internationally. You can find out more about Haunting Mr. Darcy and read my review here. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway