Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Promo Tour: The Reader by M.K. Harkins

Note from Dawn: This book is on my TBR, so expect a review within the next month!

Title: The Reader
Author: M.K. Harkins
Series: None
Genre/Age: Paranormal/YA
Publisher: Self-published
SynopsisHunted, shot, and without her memory, eighteen-year-old Ann Baker wakes in shallow water on a deserted Pacific Northwest island. She is soon approached by two young men claiming to be her friends. Something isn’t right, but when gunshots sound, Ann is left with little choice but to allow Devon and Archer to help her escape. Soon she finds herself in their North Bend mountain compound, where the higher evolved humans claim to be mind-readers. While Ann heals, she realizes they believe her to be one of the last and most powerful of all – The Lost One.

She’s welcomed by most with opened arms, but not everyone is happy about her arrival. A jealous adversary has plans for Ann, which spirals the entire Reader community into chaos.

As lies, murder, and betrayal threaten to rip apart the once harmonious mountain dwellers, Ann is thrust into making a decision that could save or devastate not only The Readers, but all of mankind. But there’s just one glitch: by doing so it may require her to make the ultimate sacrifice.

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I reached up and cupped his cheek. I needed a moment to look at him. So handsome, with eyes so dark and intense. It was more than that though. His beauty went right to his soul. One more kiss. I stood on tiptoes to reach his soft, full lips. His arms wrapped around me in desperation, his lips fused on mine, unrelenting. My mission became murky. I was losing myself. I couldn’t leave him.
Closing my eyes, I tilted my head to the ceiling and let the large water droplets plop onto my face, cooling me, but also setting loose a torrent of emotions. The stress of the past couple months seemed to melt away, like the water from my skin. I slipped off the raincoat and tossed it on a nearby bush, wanting to soak in every drop. I’d never felt so alive. I stretched out my arms and laughed. The wind picked up, and my wet hair whipped against my face. Exhilaration and happiness flooded through me.
He felt me and my pain. But he’d rather dump me in the water than answer my questions. Why? Was it really the war he worried about, or was I—what did he call me? Infuriating. That’s right. I got into another Jeep and slammed the door shut. Fine. If he wanted distance, he’d get it.
He took my face in his hands, and our eyes connected, the heat within so intense, it was almost unbearable. Out of breath, I shook my head, knowing I was on the edge. The emotions were too strong, too powerful, I couldn’t contain them.
“Too much,” I said.
“I know. I didn’t know it would be like this…so intense.” His eyes closed, and he rested his head against my forehead, running his hands through my hair. “Don’t be afraid.”
“Yes, but you fight better than any man I’ve seen. You had those two Jacks down in about five seconds. Impressive.” This time he met my eyes and smiled. The adrenaline from the fight had disappeared, and I looked at him. Really looked. Handsome, strong…and he risked everything to save me. Gratitude and something else, maybe affection, swirled inside my chest.
“We have to get going,” the other man said, ignoring my question. I glanced in his direction. Every bit as handsome, but he was dark everywhere his friend was light. Dark hair, dark eyes, and a dark expression. He didn’t look friendly—at all. A shiver traveled down my spine.

Five Favorite Movie Scenes of All Time

by M.K. Harkins 

Note from Dawn: Gifs were added by me!! 

Perks of Being a Wallflower: The tunnel scene with Sam.
perks of being a wallflower

Rent: Seasons of Love. Who doesn’t love this song? 
Image result for seasons of love rent gif

Bridesmaids:  The bridal shop scene. Couldn’t stop laughing. 

Wizard of Oz: After Dorothy slaps the Cowardly Lion and he’s trying not to laugh (Watch for it) 

It’s a Wonderful Life: The end when Clarence gets his wings.
Image result for it's a wonderful life gif wings

MK has always been a voracious reader. After hitting a dry spell of reading material, she decided to write the kind of book she'd like to read. This resulted in the creation of her debut novel, Intentional. (Award for Best Sweet Romance - eFestival of Words- August 2014)

Unintentional, her second book, is based on the life of one of the characters in Intentional. Unintentional was written as a stand-alone book.

Breaking Braydon and Taking Tiffany have both been released. Available on Amazon.

The Reader is MK's latest project, due out 2016.

When she's not writing novels, she likes to spend her free time traveling the world, splashing in mud puddles (She lives in Seattle, what can she say?), watching movies and reading (!)

MK also runs her own business in her current hometown of Mercer Island, Washington.

Author Links:

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review & Blast: When a Marquis Chooses a Bride by Ella Quinn

Title: When a Marquis Chooses a Bride
Author: Ella Quinn
Genre/Age: Historical Romance
Series: The Worthingtons Series (Book Two)
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Format: ebook via Goddess Fish Promotions
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
SynopsisThanks to their large extended family and unconventional courtship, the Worthingtons have seen their share of scandal and excitement. But nothing has prepared them for this...

The Dowager Lady Worthington isn’t quite sure what to make of country-girl Dorothea Stern. As the granddaughter of the Duke of Bristol, Dotty is schooled in the ways and means of the nobility. But her sharp wit and outspoken nature has everyone in a tizzy. Especially their cousin, Dominic, the Marquis of Merton.

Prematurely stuffy, Dom was raised by his cheerless uncle to be wary of a host of things, including innovation, waltzing, and most perilous of all: true love. Still, there’s something about Dotty, beyond her beauty, that Dom cannot resist. But the odds are against him if he intends to win her as his bride. Will he choose loyalty to his family—or risk everything for the one woman he believes is his perfect match…

“Kimbal,” Dom called to his valet.

“Yes, my lord.”

“I shall be dining at White’s.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Dom scribbled a note to his friend Viscount Fotherby asking if he would like to join Dom for dinner. By the time he was dressed and had donned his hat, Fotherby’s answer affirming the invitation had arrived.

A short while later, just as a light sprinkle turned into a persistent rain, Dom handed his hat and cane to the footman at White’s and found his friend lounging in the room that held the club’s famous betting book. William Alvanley, another of Dom’s friends, was seated next to the window with another man staring intently at the rain.

He turned to Fotherby. “What are they doing?”

“Five thousand quid on which raindrop will reach the bottom of the sill first.”

Despite being close with many of the Prince Regent’s circle, Dom could not abide the excessive wagers his friends made. Alvanley would end up ruining himself and his estates at the rate he was going. “Are you ready to dine, or are you waiting the outcome?”

“Famished.” Fotherby tossed off his glass of wine. “Thought you weren’t coming to Town this year.”

“My plans changed.” Dom and Fotherby entered the dining room. “I have decided to take a wife.”

“Wife?” Fotherby choked. “Any idea who?”

“Not yet, but I have a list of qualifications. She must be well-bred, not given to fits of temper or strange starts, quiet, biddable, easy to look at—I must get an heir on her after all—know what is expected of a marchioness. And not prone to scandals. You know how my uncle hated them. I think that about covers it.”

“A paragon, in other words.”

Dom gave a cut nod. “Indeed. I could wed no one less.”

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons, began in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!


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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for honest review.** 

When a Marquis Chooses a Bride was an entertaining read!

Dominic is a character I haven't really seen in the historical romances I've read, recently. Most male leads are rakes (i.e. womanizers) with no real desire to marry, especially making a love match. Dom doesn't want a love match, either, but for different reasons. Raised by his ultra-conservative uncle, Dom's idea of the perfect bride is a straight-laced, well bred, and scandal-free gal who will ultimately just leave him alone.

Boy, is this guy in for a shock when he meets Dotty! Dorothea is a seemingly lesser-classed lady who a marquis would never consider as an appropriate wife. Her animal rescuing, sassy retorting, and liberal political views only add to the reasons Dom shouldn't pursue Dotty. Yet, after a single meeting, Dom cannot get the woman out of his mind.

With the help of a meddling mother and his own curiosity, Dom finds himself constantly in the presence of the woman he should forget about. Dotty, against the advice of her friends, sees something in Dominic that she likes. And their outings are eventful, to say the least. Oh, and there is a lot of dancing, too.

Image result for victorian dancing gifs

After a few meetings, Dom begins to wonder if he should ignore his uncles teachings and marry Dotty anyway. But before he can even begin to contemplate a proposal, the interference of a jealous woman turns everyone on their heads. A proposal is made, but under the wrong circumstances!

Image result for queen victoria gifs

I found this book to be an easy read with several funny moments and well developed characters. Even the secondary characters were written well. The pacing was a little slow at the beginning but picked up, eventually.

My major gripe is probably something others might overlook. While I usually like seeing multiple POVs, I do wish the author had left more mystery to this story. It was fine reading about a plot forming but I didn't need to know the exact details beforehand. It would have better to know something was brewing, but be able to make my own predictions. It kind of diminished my enjoyment knowing too much.

In closing... 
A good read with likable characters. I am definitely intrigued by the character from the first book of this series and plan to go back and read their story, as well as future books. 3.5 suns!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read in Middle & High School

This will be my first Top Ten Tuesday! Each week, the hosting site declares a topic and we (the bloggers) are challenged to come up with a list of ten things within that theme. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Books I Read in Middle/High School

There were a few options to choose from this week as long as they were school related. I chose to do books I read while in school. Keep in mind, I began reading beyond my maturity before I finished middle school. That will explain the certain *ahem* adult-age books you may see.

1) My Favorite Book
If I had to pick just one book, this would probably be my favorite. It isn't necessarily an earth-shattering story but it was the most memorable of my childhood. I can still visualize the little house in the side of the hill with dirt floors and the leeches in the creek. 
2) The scary side of life...
Even before I went through my binge-watching horror movie years as a teen, I had already experienced a few years of binge-reading horror books, too. These may not be Stephen King but for a child there is nothing scarier than finding out your neighbors are ghosts that want to kill you. Seriously. Nothing scarier.
3) Pre-teen must-reads!
I had this entire series and may still have some packed up somewhere. My mother subscribed me to the books and a new one came in the mail ever so often. I fell in love with the girls (and their boy crushes) and followed their crazy antics while experiencing my own.

4) Started my obsession.
I read this book in the 9th grade. My middle school-aged brother brought it home from the library and I picked it up for no good reason. I read this thing in like two days and became obsessed. I'm sure no one else can relate to that, right? *snickers*

5) A darker story, this way comes...
This book really surprised me. I'm not sure why I chose to read it when browsing my high school library but I did and this series became a must-read for me. It was the first time I read about a really evil villain. One that scared the daylights out of me!

6) My regretful read.
I regret reading this book! When the first LOTR movie came out, I loved it! Then I decided to read the second book in order to be prepared for the second movie. I shouldn't have. It ruined the movie for me as I found myself comparing the two. I then decided to skip the third book. I did read The Hobbit, though.

7) My first adult romance!
This was my first adult romance book! My mother handed it to me and after this book, I've never looked back! It isn't my favorite of Nora's books but it still holds a special place in my heart because I had never read a love scene before this.

8) My favorite NR book!
Midnight Bayou IS my favorite Nora Robert's standalone book. It's a paranormal romance due to the ghostly events and is set in the bayou (obviously). I mostly liked the Lifetime movie version of this, too, which starred Jerry O'Connell. Yum!

9) First fantasy trilogy.
If I'm not mistaken, this is the first trilogy I read by Nora. It is not my favorite but I read the Circle Trilogy (my favorite) after high school, so I couldn't use it in this list. Still, this series might be my second favorite trilogy by Nora and she has a LOT of them.

10) Mother-daughter read.
My mother began to read this series and couldn't stop talking about it so I just had to try it out for myself. I didn't, and still don't, usually read mystery romances. Yet, I love this series! I think I read all the way to the twelfth book before I stopped. 

It's a strange combination of books, I know. I still have a lot of them on my shelves, waiting until my daughters get older so I can introduce them to my favorite books in the same way my mother did for me. Reading is a hobby we should all strive to pass along!

What is on your Top Ten Tuesday list?

Monday, August 29, 2016

Review & Tour: Taken by Amy McKinley

Title: Taken
Author: Amy McKinley
Genre/Age: Paranormal Romance
Series: Five Fates Series (Book Two)
Publisher: Champagne Books
Format: ebook via Author
Rating: ✺✺✺.5
SynopsisForged through a childhood trauma and cursed by the Fates, Layla vows never to be at another’s mercy. With determination and training she evolves into a deadly weapon and quiets her inner demons—until the prophecy activates, shattering her peace. The gods who want her dead converge and the hunt to end her life truly begins. The skills that Layla honed for protection become an unconscious tool for death and destruction, threatening not only the gods but her family.

Entrenched in clan turmoil, Thaull’s life hangs at a precipice. He’s faced with a condition known only to his kind, the soul-divide. If not dealt with, his soul will rip in half and he will turn into an unstoppable, ice-cold killing machine. As he hunts the traitor within his Phantom Warrior clan he worsens. A fragile thread of hope remains. The love of a female, freely given, can save him. Through a premonition of an alluring demigoddess, he gambles his very existence in the chance she will be his salvation. ‬‬‬‬

She will go dark from her curse. He will go numb from his. To survive, Layla must risk trusting another or become another.‬‬‬
Sunlight sliced into Layla’s eyes the moment she cracked them open. An impending threat
itched along her skin. Outside, mostly naked and vulnerable, she jackknifed to a sitting position.

Darkness roared to life. No! She’d dropped her guard. Out of the corner of her eye, she just
managed to register Thaull lunge for her before her vision faded.

It was different this time...the reemerging. She took stock of her shaking limbs, the hand
clamped onto her wrist, and the deep rumble of displeasure rattling in a male’s chest as reality seeped into her consciousness.

Her free hand grasped for her knife, her senses expanding, filling. Thaull. She knew his smell, and from last night, his name. Oh gods... What had she done?

Terrified to see the condemnation in his eyes, or worse, the pall of death filling them by her
hand, she slowly turned. Transfixed by the splattered blood covering his bare chest, she
followed the trail up his neck until her gaze landed on his face. His raw carnality hit her like a
blast of heat. Was he always this way? His calculating eyes narrowed, observing her every

Unsure what to say to him, she cleared her throat. “Get out” hardly seemed appropriate.

Before she could speak, he was on her. His mouth forced hers open, his tongue filling her,
fighting for space. He kissed the breath from her, and she was glad for it.

With his hand fisted in her hair, he tugged her head back, staring with an unfathomable look that pierced the depths of her soul. She stood, plastered against him, because he willed it. What just happened?

Amy McKinley is a freelance writer and author of the Five Fates Series. She lives in Illinois with
her husband, their four talented teenagers, and three mischievous cats. You can find her at


Books available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Champagne Books, Kobo, All Romance eBooks, iBooks

Buy sites:

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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for honest review.** 

Mythology meets modern paranormal romance!

Yep! I hadn't read the first book, so when I began reading Taken, I was surprised to find some of the characters were well-known mythological beings instead of made-up ones. It added a sort of nostalgic feeling for me, since I read a lot of mythology in high school.

This book is about Layla, a tough blacksmith who prefers to be left alone. Along with her sisters, Layla has been cursed since birth and the prophecy shadowing her life is about to take effect no matter how hard she tries to fight it.

Thaull, though I'm not sure how to pronounce that name, is living a similarly doomed life. He is being consumed by darkness as his soul begins to slip away. But he finds hope when fate shows him a vision of Layla. He knows he must go to her but fears she may be his undoing if not his savior.

The characters are multi-layered and there are a lot of them. The story is also quite complex, with different worlds and creatures inhabiting them. I found myself having trouble keeping up. This was my fault, entirely, as I have not read the first book of the series. From reading other reviews, I assumed this could be read as a stand-alone or out of order. Now, I realize it wasn't the best idea.

I became confused at times, trying to understand who everyone was and what their roles were. And I did have to re-read a few scenes to really understand them, especially when Thaull first visits Layla. About half-way through the book, I began to enjoy it a bit more.

My only real critique is with the romance. There is a lot of emphasis on the action, the prophecies, the secondary characters, and descriptions of the locations, etc. I wanted more on the romance side. 

Even if the book is not centered around romance, if there is going to be a romantic angle, I think it should be done thoroughly. Thaull and Layla's very first time together isn't even included. It's skimmed over. I would have liked to see more one-on-one time with our couple to make their romance more believable. The ending, however, was pretty enjoyable.

In closing... 
This was a good read with a unique storyline and very well thought out characters. I am trying to decide if I should go back and read the first book before going forward. It may save me some confusion in the long run. 3.5 suns!