News, Reviews and Giveaways April 26, 2015

Hello,

It has been crazy around my house for most of April.  I can’t seem to catch up!  But, as always, our review sites have a great lineup of guest post, special features, interviews and giveaways.

Brandilyn from Prism Book Alliance has had a rough weekend.  I did not see a Sunday – coming next week post, but never fear, the dedicated crew at Prism Book Alliance has lined up all your favorite features so look forward to a great week ahead.  Sending positive, healing thoughts to you Brandilyn. :-)

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Guest Post and Giveaway: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

bookscoffeeandcapturedmoments:

This book has been highly recommended to me. On my tbrs list (to be read soon) Check out this guest post and giveaway at The novel Approach :-)

Originally posted on The Novel Approach :

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The Novel Approach welcomes Heidi Cullinan today on the Carry the Ocean blog tour. Enjoy Heidi’s guest post, then be sure to check out the ways you can win some great prizes, including a tour wide Grand Prize. You’ll find details below.

And now, here’s Heidi!

Dividers

This Used to Be My Playground

Roosevelt Park

In Carry the Ocean, the characters go several times into the playground behind The Roosevelt, to play, to sit under trees, to get away from a world too much with them. It will feature more in books two and three. What it will never be, however, is something you can visit. Many things in Carry the Ocean exist in Ames, the town I live in, including The Roosevelt as a renovated elementary school. The playground, alas, is with us no more.

Part of the reason I used The Roosevelt as a setting and feature in the story—and…

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Lazy Saturday Afternoon

This is a little pin cushion cactus that grows wild around our place.

Much more subtle than the larger Prickly pear that we see around the hill country. Love the blooms.  I normally miss seeing them bloom.

Button cactus flowers 4-22-2015

Close up of cactus flowers

 Asclepias asperula, Antelope Horns Milkweed and bee Bee on Milkweed close up

If you enlarge the photo below, it is like one of those seek and find games.
We found seven insects on this milkweed.
Granted it will be a bit grainy when enlarged enough to see the smallest of the insects. This plant supports a lot of life.

Butterfly  bee and other bugs on milkweed

Milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) on Antelope Horns Milkweed (of course)

milkweed bug on milkweed 1

On the next three photos with butterflies,
I used the vastness of the internet to try and identify them.
Hopefully correctly. :-)

Juniper Hairstreak (Callophrys gryneus)

butterfly on milkweed 2 cropped close

Checkered White (Pontia protodice) on Blackfoot daisy (Melampodium leucanthum)

White butterfly on Blackfoot Daisy

I think this is a Southern Dogface -Zerene cesoniahis

Yellow butterfly on yellow wildflower

Unknown tiny insect on wildflower

Small bug on wildflower

China Berry blossoms  – China Berry tree Melia azedarach var. umbraculifera

This is an invasive non-native tree. It’s saving grace for me is the fragrant blooms.
I Love them.

Otherwise, the berries are a mess and the wood is weak.

Chinaberry blooms

wildflowers in vase 2

I hope you have a wonderful weekend,

Melyna

News, Reviews and Giveaways for the week of April 19, 2015.

Hello!

It looks like it is going to be another great week.  Check out the News, Reviews and Giveaways and make your lists.  I have been trying to highlight the individual blogs guests, giveaways and special series or reviews, but my husband is having surgery this week and it’s kind of crazy here.  You know these blogs will have something fabulous everyday.  Enjoy and Happy Reading.

The Novel Approach Reviews

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Reading Highlights – March 2015 Part 5

Axel's Pup by Kim DareAxel’s Pup
(Werewolves & Dragons #1)

by Kim Dare
Published: March 11th 2015
by Kim Dare

LYLBTB 50 star

Blurb:

As the landlord of The Dragon’s Lair and leader of The Black Dragons Motorcycle Club, Axel Carmichael has seen it all and done it all. He’s a respected and experienced dom. Nothing shocks him any more, and nobody catches him off guard.

When Bayden rides up to The Dragon’s Lair on a bike worth more than most men earn in a year, and immediately demonstrates that he has far more attitude than sense, it’s easy for Axel to write him off as a silly little rich boy who’s about to get himself killed.

But, there’s more to Bayden than meets the eye. He’s no silly little boy, rich or otherwise, and werewolves aren’t easy to kill.

Review:

This is one of those books that I could not get out of my head. I thought about the characters, I re-read chapters, I was not ready to move on.

I have a few genres I love and a few not so much. I enjoy contemporary, BDSM and paranormal – not exclusively, just as examples. I tend to not like the sub-genre of shifters. Kim Dare has taken this sub-genre and given it a twist. Axel’s Pup has a contemporary setting with added wolf shifters, which I normally avoid because it just isn’t my flavor, and she made me love it.

In Axel’s Pup, wolf shifters are a minority with extreme limitations on their lives due to laws that keep them from forming packs by allowing no more than two adult wolves to live together. The pack hierarchy is still in their mindset but there is equality in how dominance is viewed. Dominance is not just because one is male. I loved this. The parallels to prejudice and persecution of people or groups in the real world are similar and I felt like this made the plight of wolves more real than other shifter stories I have read.

When Bayden enters Axel’s pub, The Dragon’s Lair, he is looking for a fight. It is not at all what one would expect but because of Brayden’s pride, natural distrust of humans, tendency to not communicate and situations he puts himself in, he gives everyone the impression of being a brash, rich kid looking for trouble. Axel sees something else and is intrigued and patient enough to try and get to know Brayden better.

I adored Bayden. He has taken the oppressive laws and worked within a mindset that allows him to feel like he is making choices about what happens to him. He considers himself a free wolf even though no human in this world would consider his choices as one that a free person would make. He is a very strong wolf that is also submissive, but this is as complicated as everything else we find out about Bayden. He needs an Alpha, someone he feels deserves his respect and submission. When he meets Axel he senses this, but how could he ever submit to a human? Bayden wants to believe that Axel is not like all the other humans he has encountered.

Axel is a wonderful character. He owns a biker bar/BDSM club. He is a strong alpha male without coming across as the stereotypical Alpha male. He is comfortable with who he is and he is able to look past what Bayden is presenting to everyone and see more. He does not just see a wolf, although he works hard to understand the differences in the way Bayden views the world as a wolf compared to humans.

This was a difficult review for me as I felt I would not be able to do the story justice. It is very much a contemporary paranormal romance heavy on the D/s theme with subjects that touch a nerve in the real world, with its portrayal of inequality and injustice for a group of people out of fear of that group.

The story is well written and pulled me in. I loved watching Axel and Bayden’s relationship evolve. The secondary characters are intriguing and I am looking forward to more of their story in future books.

Happy Reading,

Melyna

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Reading Highlights – March 2015 Part 4

Pop Goes the weasel by Stephen OsbornePop Goes the Weasel
(Pop Goes the Weasel #1)
by Stephen Osborne
Paperback, 200 pages
Published: August 10th 2012
by Dreamspinner Press

4-star

 

Blurb:
Patrick Weasley, aka Weasel, is a fun-loving college student with a wealthy homophobic jerk stepfather and a best friend, Jake Winston, who’s just as gay as Weasel. When Jake’s aunt dies, many from the publishing world-including Jasper, Weasel’s weasel of a stepfather-gather at Winston Manor for the reading of the will, and Weasel is obligated to tag along.

Turns out all he has to do is three things: 1) swap the wills so Jake’s uncle inherits the house instead of the gardener, who’s also an old enemy of Weasel’s; 2) secure a publishing contract from author Cecily Talbot; and 3) hook Jake up with his deceased aunt’s male nurse. But what he ends up doing is 1) falling for Tony, one of the food servers; 2) accidentally affiancing himself to Cecily; and 3) fighting with Jake, who thinks he was making a play for the nurse.

To make matters worse, every time Weasel and Tony start to get intimate, Jasper is right around the corner. So when burglars come to steal a valuable piece of art, Weasel must 1) use all his ingenuity to keep the painting safe; 2) dis-engage himself from Cecily; 3) unite Jake with the nurse; and most importantly, 4) pursue Tony to an elusive happy ending.

Review:
I am not sure where to start. This was the most over the top comedic book I have read in a long time. I have read laugh out loud funny before but not with this particular delivery, it’s almost slapstick, not to say that is a bad thing. It had me laughing quite a bit.
Patrick Weasley is a carefree college student, looking for a good time, ready to harass his step-monster (step father) at any opportunity yet not enough to lose his Corvette. He is gay but his parents do not know and he plans on keeping it that way, at least until he graduates.
His best friend’s grandmother dies and he is to be there for the reading of the will with his step-father and as support for his best friend Jake. Jake wants Patrick to set him up with his grandmother’s gay male nurse, his step-father wants him to get a book contract secured with a young woman who is determined to marry Patrick, gay or not. There is also a plot to change out the will so the Uncle is secure in his inheritance and keeps the gardener/policeman/Patrick’s nightmare bully from high school from inheriting anything. And there is a very sexy young man named Tony who is on staff during the weekend activities that catches Patrick’s eye. Whew! Unfortunately, Patrick attracts trouble where ever he goes and nothing goes as planned. It is a comedy of errors and a fun romp of a story.
If you are looking for something light, humorous and a bit over the top with fun likeable characters, this is for you.

Happy Reading,

Melyna

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