Friday, December 19, 2014

This Year Christmas Will Be Different

This is a bit of a departure for me - something new and different.  I've recorded a short (three songs) CD of original Christmas music, featuring yours truly on guitar and vocals.  I like my Christmas music the same way I like my books - bittersweet and real feeling, and that's the vibe I was shooting for.  There are free (full length!) samples of all three songs at the CD Baby link, so you needn't feel obligated to buy if you just want to check it out!  

This is a "just for fun" project for me, but I would like to share it with you, my very dear reader friends, as we head deeper into this emotional and celebratory season.  The CD is available for download in MP3 format at these fine music providers:

Friday, November 14, 2014

What's Left of Us, by Amanda Maxlyn Happy Release Day!

I'm excited to help treasured author Amanda Maxlyn share the release of "What's Left of Us", the heartwarming conclusion to What's Left of Me. Make sure to check out the teasers, pick up your copy and enter the $100 Kate Spade Gift Card GIVEAWAY below!

For more fun & giveaways, come join our Facebook Release Party & Blog Tour Event ~ Friday, November 14th

Book Title: What’s Left of Us
Author: Amanda Maxlyn

The heartwarming conclusion to What's Left of Me.
Love found me three years ago.
I’m cancer free, happily married to the love of my life, and working toward my dream career.
Our life is complete. Perfect, really.
Or is it?
I’ve always wanted a family of my own, but never dreamed I could have one. Now Parker’s ready to make my dream our reality.
But sometimes our dreams are haunted by our deepest fears. Fears of failure, having a child, and in our case … death. How do I help the person I love get over his fear when I’m still trying to overcome that same fear myself?
Together we must learn What’s Left of Us.

To Read the Prologue and First Chapter - CLICK HERE

Life works in mysterious ways.

Four years ago I became known as the girl with cancer.
I refuse to cry.
And I refuse to give in.
A relationship with a man is the last thing I’m looking for right now, but one night with Parker changes everything. He is persistent, and he knows what he wants. Me.
He doesn’t treat me like I’m fragile.
But he doesn’t know, and I’m not ready to tell him.
What if it changes everything?
Tragedy found me when I was seventeen.
Love found me when I was twenty-one.
My name is Aundrea McCall, and this is my journey.

I am the mother of two little boys, married to the love of my life, and living in one of the smallest towns in Minnesota. When I’m not chasing or cleaning up after my boys (yes, all three), I can be found writing or snuggled up with my kindle, a glass of wine, and spending time with my fictional friends and family.
I am first and foremost an avid reader! I love to read anything romance from paranormal, young/new adult, contemporary, and even yes, (wide eyes) erotic/BDSM.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gage, by Tess Oliver - Happy (belated, oops) Release Day


After nearly losing his friend in a logging accident, Gage Barringer is convinced now more than ever that he needs to find a different job. But his side business of breaking colts at the small Montana ranch he inherited from his grandfather doesn't earn him enough money. He has his mind set on running The Raven's Nest, a popular bar and restaurant near his ranch. The original owner has died and Gage is waiting for it to be put up for sale. But there is a five-foot-four, brown eyed, obstacle in his way, an obstacle with lips made for sin and a voice made for breaking hearts. And Summer Donovan is one road block Gage Barringer won't be able to find a way around.

Gage is a full length novel, and although it's part of the Barringer Brothers series, it can be read as a standalong.

Fred's Notes

I have a super soft spot authorcrush for Tess Oliver.  Her sweet and sassy YA's such as A LIttle Less Girl, and Safe Landing, were some of the first inides I read, way back in the halcyon days of 2011 (it seems so long ago, right?). And although she's shifted her focus (can't blame a girl for following the market, right) to steamy adult contemps, she's retained that charming style and inventiveness that are her trademarks.  I sorta missed the release day boat on Gage (sorry dear Tess!), had my dates messed up.  But that's no excuse for you missing the awesomeness that a new Tess Oliver delivers.  I'm gonna do a Rafflecopter, below, and give away a copy of Gage, and just because I love it so much, a copy of A Little Less Girl, too.  You don't have to do anything but leave a comment here to enter, just click and hope!

Purchase Links

Amazon    Barnes & Noble    iBooks  

Add Gage on Goodreads Today!

Rafflecopter Time, Oh Yeah!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Happy Release Day - Relentless Rhythm, by Michelle Mankin

Michelle Mankin is excited to share her new release Relentless Rhythm (Tempest Series)! Make sure to add to your Goodreads, order your copy & enter the GIVEAWAY below!

Release date: October 9, 2014

Come join our Release Day & Blog Tour Event

The one she really wants is out of reach.
The one he really needs is already taken.
Dizzy Lowell, rhythm man for the rising rock band Tempest is a wizard on the guitar and a wonder with women. But the hookup specialist hides his emotional scars beneath his suave exterior. He never lets anyone truly touch him.
April Reynolds, the confident bartender of the Diamond Mine, knows her way around a cocktail, but Dizzy has her all mixed up. She knows what’s safe. She’s tired of settling, though. It would be so easy to fall under his spell.
Except for that ring around her finger.
Two searching souls separated by a thin metal band.
Some dreams are dangerous.
Some secrets shouldn’t be shared.
Sometimes what we wish for most can never be.
*Each book in the Tempest series features a different band member and can be read separately, but would be even more enjoyable if read in order**

Tempest series:
Irresistible Refrain: & Audible:
Enticing Interlude:
Captivating Bridge:

Michelle Mankin is the author of the Black Cat Records series of novels.
Romance with subtext.
Reimagining classic stories with sexy rock stars and thought provoking issues.
For many years she worked in the insurance industry as an underwriter. Somehow, the boredom didn't kill her but the hours and hours of looking at facts and figures provided ample time for her mind to wander.
Black Cat Records in Vancouver provides the central backdrop for all of Michelle’s current novels. Love Evolution, Love Revolution, and Love Resolution are a Brutal Strength centered trilogy, combining the plot underpinnings of Shakespeare with the drama, excitement, and indisputable sexiness of the rock 'n roll industry.
Things take a bit of an edgier, once upon a time turn with the Tempest series. These pierced, tatted, and troubled Seattle rockers are young and on the cusp of making it big, but with serious obstacles to overcome that may prevent them from ever getting there.
When Michelle is not prowling the streets of her Texas town listening to her rock music much too loud, she is putting her daydreams down on paper or traveling the world with her family and friends, sometimes for real, and sometimes just for pretend as she takes the children to school and back.
Brutal Strength series:
Love Evolution:
Love Revolution:
Love Resolution:
Connect with Michelle Mankin on Facebook:
On Twitter:
On her website:
Receive the Black Cat Records newsletter:
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Killian McRae's With God Intentions (Pure Souls Series, Book 3) - Happy Release Day!

Killian continues her clever, witty and smokin' hot Pure Souls Series in this latest installment, and it's not to be missed!


The last time Dee saw his father, his wife Carol lay dead at Zeus’ feet. He vowed never to return, but someone has to rescue Riona from his crazy Greek God family. At least this time the visit should be brief: he just has to sponsor Jerry, find the keystone, and get the hell out of Olympus. Crossing paths with feisty quartergod Anwen Yates proves how the best laid plans sometimes don't mean jack. Seems Anwen has a couple of demons on her tail, and Olympus with its demon-free climate would be the perfect place for her to hide out. The fact that Dee finds her frustrating, funny, and sexy as hell has nothing at all to do with his decision to bring her along. Nope.

Biding her time with Hades and Persephone, Riona feels like a third wheel to the ancient, troubled marriage. The cherry on the cake? Uninvited angels are subject to death in Olympus, and suddenly her magic has a life of its own! Needing to get her heavenly hexing under control before her hybrid heritage is exposed, Hades helps her find an angelic mentor. And wouldn’t you know it that Azazel brings his newly-minted demon Marc Angeletti along for Riona’s target-practicing pleasure. Or maybe just her pleasure in general…

As the days tick by, the lines of right and wrong, purpose and persuasion, and sin and sanctity begin to blur. Rumors are flying, the Heaven-Hell Accords stretch thinner than a sheet of filo dough, and Zeus grows more cryptic by the day. Riona's angelic instincts throw her libido haywire, Hades makes a Hail Mary pass to save his marriage, and Jerry fears that his may be over before it’s even begun. Meanwhile, the two pillars draw closer to Olympus, and Dee closer to facing his father, his family, and his past. But can he honor his wife’s memory, while evermore wanting to do right by Arwen? The road to Hell is paved with God intentions.

Fred's Notes:

Killian is a brilliant and beautiful writer - her characters, her style and her astonishingly twisty storytelling will rock your socks off!  

Buy Links:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Be My Hero, by Linda Kage - Release Day Review


Eva Mercer’s a mess. She’s single, nineteen, seven months pregnant, and living off the good graces of her cousin. In the midst of a complete attitude overhaul—or at least trying to change—the last thing she wants to think about is men. She’s done with them. For good. Or at least she was until Pick.

For ten years, Pick Ryan has dreamed about this girl. He knows how she smells, what it’s like to hold her in his arms, how she tastes when he kisses her. But he’s never actually met her. He doesn’t even know her name. He just knows she’s the one. It’s his brand of luck that she would walk into the bar where he works on the very day he gets married to someone else.

Pick and Eva come from completely different worlds, and yet the connection they share draws them together too tightly to matter. Nothing can keep them apart—except maybe a three-month-old boy whose life depends on just that. And so, their love becomes forbidden.

Fred's Notes

So, yeah, I always like to do some research when I'm doing a review, and I thought it would be fun to look up the word "hero," since it's become kind of generic for "the good guy," or sometimes even just the male MC, regardless of his nature.  Per Wikipedia (only willing to take this research thing so far, lol) "[a]ccording to Eric Partridge in Origins, the Greek word Hērōs "is akin to" the Latin seruāre, meaning to safeguard. Partridge concludes, "The basic sense of ... hero would therefore be 'protector'."  Well, that suits Patrick Jason Ryan (aka "Pick,") right down to the ground.  From the get-go of this dramatic, sometimes dark, but always sweet story, he's out there in full on defender mode, extending his protective instincts on behalf of the small, the abused and the vulnerable.  It doesn't always work out that well for him, and he's got the scars, dents and demerits to prove it, but nothing is gonna deter that big ole heart of his.  The metal he's sporting might be piercings, rather than shining armor, but there's no mistaking his nature, once his hero sense is activated by the predicament of the defenseless in distress.

But hoo-boy, this here Pick fellow sure doesn't look like a hero, right?  Okay, he's handsome enough (it is a romance, c'mon), but in an unconventional way, with a face full of "hollow dips and lines," punctuated by the aforementioned piercings.  And his rap sheet doesn't add a lot of luster to his resume either.  But that's the beauty of this story (and this whole awesome series, really) - nothing is what it seems at first blush.   One of the things I love about Linda's imaginative stories is that they always have more twists than a bag of Twizzlers.  Eva's pregnant (this happens a lot in Lindaland, btw), but she's not with, or in love with, the baby-daddy.  And Pick's married, but he's not in love with, or even with, his "wife."  And those very basic premises of the plot are not the only surprises Linda has up her apparently capacious sleeves. It turns out there's a reason Eva is so distrustful of men, there's a reason Pick falls so hard for her at first sight, and there's a reason she needs a hero, just when he's around to "pick" up the pieces.  

I didn't especially like Eva back in The Price of A Kiss, the delightful first book in this series.  She was kind of a B, and a conniving one at that, not above sabotaging her cousin Reese's happiness just for ... well, for whatever.  But there's so much more to her story than that, it turns out, and her believable growth as a character and person is one of the real delights of this read.  Linda has a knack for keeping it fresh and real feeling - I think it comes from her seeming effortless ability to play with genre conventions in a way that's fun and still emotionally impactful.  And no doubt about it, this book is an emotional read at times, as these two fatefully and fitfully find their way into each other's wary and war-weary arms.  Some dark events undergird and permeate this read, but I think they're handled sensitively and with the gravitas and respect they deserve.   Reading Linda reminds me a bit of  Shakespeare's comedies, where misunderstandings, secrets, hidden identities, overheard conversations taken the wrong way, and a host of other events are nonetheless unable to keep two soul-mates apart.  There's a palpable sense of relief and cathartic closure as our two heroes (that's right, they both deserve that title) overcome every crazy obstacle fate (and Linda) throw at them (sorry if this is a spoiler, but if it is you're in the wrong genre my friend).    As Pick so eloquently says at one point, "My happily fucking ever after certainly wasn't going to come to me, so I guess I'd have to keep working my ass off to make up one of my own."  Well said, sir, and well done.  A hero's salute to you, and to the enjoyment of reading the latest installment of this clever, rich and rewarding series.

Who's That Girl?

I grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now I live in Kansas with my
husband, daughter, and our nine cuckoo clocks. My life's been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing's always been a major part my world, and I'm so happy to finally share some of my stories with other romance lovers.  (That's Linda's officical bio - I happen to know that she's also a librarian, which makes her all the more awesome and admirable!) 

Linda Links

And Check Out This Awesome Rafflecopter Giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much to Tasty Books Tours for including me in this awesome celebration!

Link to Follow Tour: 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Some Beautiful News for Every Ugly Word, by Aimee L. Salter!

A New Amazon/Alloy Entertainment Imprint Launches Today, with Aimee L. Salter's Every Ugly Word and Two Other Titles!

So ... some pretty exciting news for long-time friend of the blog, Aimee L. Salter!  Here's the Press Release announcing the creation of a new imprint, where Aimee will be among the first three titles issued: 

Today, Amazon Publishing and Alloy Entertainment, a division of Warner Bros. Television Group, announced a digital-first imprint that will focus on young adult, new adult and commercial fiction.
The new imprint, named Alloy Entertainment, will be part of Amazon Publishing’s Powered by Amazon program. Powered by Amazon enables publishers and authors to leverage Amazon’s global distribution and personalized, targeted marketing reach.
Alloy Entertainment, a division of the Warner Bros. Television Group, develops and produces original novels, television series and feature films.  All titles in the new Alloy imprint will have the advantage of being part of group that aggressively supports and promotes its properties.
In fact, more than 75 of AE’s books have been on The New York Times bestseller list, including The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Luxe, Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, and The 100.
Every Ugly Word will be one of the first of three titles to be released under the newly launched imprint.
Alloy Entertainment will also look for opportunities to develop acquired titles as television series, feature films, and digital entertainment.

Every Ugly Word

Every Ugly Word (f/k/a Breakable) follows 17 year old Ashley who is relentlessly bullied at her high school and by her own mother, and is helplessly in love with her best friend, Matt, who is bullied by his father.

She seeks help by looking to her future self, “Older Me” who supports her through it all and teaches her to love herself. But is she really seeking “Older Me” or is she looking within herself for the answers?

When Ashley looks in the mirror she can see and talk to her future self. “Older Me” has been her support system through her relentless tormentor’s bullying, her unstable mother at home, and her forlorn love for her longtime best friend. But when Ashley discovers “Older Me’s” betrayal, she is targeted in the worst way and impends her last chance with Matt. She’s done with hearing every ugly word.

About the Author

Aimee L. Salter writes novels for teens and the occasional adult who, like herself, is still in touch with their inner-high schooler. She never stopped appreciating those moments in the dark when you say what you're really thinking. And she'll always ask you about the things you wish she wouldn't ask you about.

Visit Aimee’s Website:  
Like Aimee on Facebook:
Follow Aimee on Twitter:

About Alloy Entertainment
Alloy Entertainment, a division of the Warner Bros. Television Group, develops and produces original novels, television series and feature films. More than 75 of AE’s books have been on The New York Times bestseller list, including The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Luxe, Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line, and The 100. AE has successfully adapted several of its properties into hit television shows for broadcast across multiple networks, including The CW, ABC, ABC Family and Nickelodeon. Current Alloy Entertainment television series include Pretty
Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and The 100. AE feature films include Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2, Sex Drive and The Clique, with several additional projects currently in development including Sisterhood Everlasting, The Merciless and The Brokenhearted.

Amazon opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by three principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, and long-term thinking.  Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire phone, Fire tablets, and Fire TV are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

Advance Praise for Every Ugly Word

"Original. Authentic. Heart-breaking....Officially one of my favorites!"
-- Cora Carmack, New York Times Bestselling author of Losing It.

"A gripping story about a teen facing her demons with twists you won't see coming, Every Ugly Word is a chilling and heartbreaking debut with raw emotion searing every page. I couldn't put it down."
 -- Katie Sise, author of The Boyfriend App.

"Every Ugly Word is a punch to the gut from chapter one. The tension and mystery build through every page to an inevitable showdown that left me breathless. With a splintered protagonist you can't help but root for, you'll battle through the worst of humanity's ugliness to emerge at the end dirty and broken and full of hope."
 -- Mary Elizabeth Summer, author of Trust Me, I'm Lying.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Witch Hunter Olivia by T.A. Kunz

Happy Release Day!


In the town of Piedmont Pointe, where paranormal is the norm, a girl can easily get herself in over her head with a single wrong move. Unfortunately for Olivia Adams, she’s about to make several.

Starting over is never easy, but it seemed like the only option to Olivia. The decision to turn her back on the Guild of Witch Hunters, the very group she devoted her entire life to, was one of the hardest things she ever did. It meant leaving her family, her friends, and her old identity behind forever. Coming to terms with what caused her to abandon her duties in the first place was even harder.

While trying to lay low and stay off the Guild’s radar, Olivia finds herself thrust back into her old ways after unknowingly interrupting an assassination hit on a powerful witch. What follows is the last thing she ever thought she’d agree to do—protect the very thing she was groomed to hunt.

To complicate things even further, Olivia begins to develop feelings for a tattoo artist who also happens to be half warlock, and no matter how hard she tries to fight it, she can’t resist her inescapable draw to him. Olivia’s forbidden relationship isn’t her only issue though, because once the mystery behind the assassination attempt starts to unravel, she’s forced to choose sides when the loyalties still tied to her past life are tested again.

So much for the idea of a fresh start.

Purchase Links!

Add Olivia to your tbr on Goodreads today!

And use these purchase links, live today!

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kobo

Who's That Author?

Author T.A. Kunz has always had a fondness for reading thrilling mysteries and action-packed urban fantasies. So, it was no surprise when T.A. decided to write stories that they’d fall into one of those two genres. T.A. lives in Central Florida with two fur babies and a mechanical engineer who also happens to be quite the culinary badass, which there are no complaints about. Being a self-diagnosed caffeine addict, many joke that T.A.’s addiction to Starbucks coffee will likely be their downfall later in life.

Find and follow T.A. here:

Website -  

Twitter - @AuthorTAKunz

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rise Up - Indie Authors Against Cancer, A Benefit Collection

Rise Up, Volume One - An Awesome Collection to Support Beloved Blogger Stephenie Risner Thomas

“We all know how fragile life is, especially when faced with a life threatening illness.” ~Nic, Flirty and Dirty Book Blog.

Fiction introduced us. Reality binds us together.

Stephenie Thomas—co-founder of The Indie Bookshelf—has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer called glioblastoma. Stephenie isn’t only a blogger; she’s a loving wife, and mother to three young boys.

In the independent author community, we have an extraordinary network of fellow authors, and readers. A special group of people who bridge this gap—helping authors connect with readers—is book bloggers. These men and women dedicate hours upon hours to reading and reviewing our works, and spreading the word to help us reach new readers.

Now, one of these women needs our help.

100% of the proceeds of the Rise Up anthology (volumes one and two) will go directly to Steph3nie and her family to help them on this unexpected leg of their journey together. 

Inside the pages of this collection, you’ll find amazing works of fiction. But please remember the reality, and help support Stephenie and her family.

Included in Volume One of this collection are the following novels:

What Happens Tomorrow - Elle Michaels
Insipid -- Christine Brae
Bouquet Toss -- Melissa Brown
Can't Go Home -- Angelisa Stone
Point of Submission by Remy Landon
Breakaway by Lindsay Paige and Mary Smith
A Love by Any Measure by Killian McRae
Discovering Lucy - Laura Dunaway
Something's Come Up - Andrea Randall and Michelle Pace
By A Thread - RL Griffin
Honest Love - CM Hutton
Serendipity - Stacey Bentley
Haven from the Storm - Sarah Dosher
Damaged - Nina D'Angelo

Amazon Purchase Link

Maybe Maby, by Willow Aster - Release day!


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Happy Release Day to Willow Aster!


Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Mabel Armstrong is on the verge of giving up. But just when things feel bleakest, there seems to be a shift in the universe. People come out of the woodwork. Her ex won’t leave her alone. An old friend finally tries to become more. Even the cute guy at the coffee shop starts paying extra attention.

Maybe Maby is a heartbreaking, and at times, hilarious story about coping with loss, finding love in New York, and learning to recognize hope in the middle of it all.

Teaser 5 - for release day


I take off running with him not far behind. When we reach the stairs, he swoops me up, takes the stairs two at a time, and tosses me on the bed. He stares down at me.

“Now what?” he asks.

“Let’s not sleep with our clothes on tonight.”

His shirt is over his head with one yank from the back. I lean up on my elbows to watch.

“Your turn,” he says.

“Your pants are still on.”

He unbuttons them slowly and takes his sweet time pulling them down. His thumb loops under the waistband of his boxer briefs and my mouth waters waiting for him to take them off. He says something, but I don’t hear any of it.

“What?” I ask.

“I said—are you sure?” He puts his hand over his mouth and looks at me, his eyes narrowing. After a long pause, he says, without conceit: “When we make love, it’s gonna change things. I want to know if you’re ready for that before we do.”

I move until I’m on my knees in front of him. “Things have already changed for me. I’m ready … if you are.”

He grins and pulls my dress over my head. “Haven’t you been hearing me? I’ve been ready for you for a long time, Maby Armstrong.”

His hands travel down my chest and he unhooks my bra, sucking in a breath when it falls to the ground. He smiles at my yellow thong with black skulls.

“You’re so edgy,” he smirks, getting on his knees while he pulls them off. He looks up at me. “I plan to spend a lot of time in this general vicinity.” He waves his hand over the area from my lips to my thighs. “And especially here,” he whispers, pulling me into his mouth.

I hold onto his hair for dear life. I nearly fall back on the bed, but his hands are gripped on both cheeks, keeping my buns of nothing close to steel in place.

Willow Aster is the author of True Love Story, In the Fields, and Maybe Maby. She lives with her husband and two kids on a tropical beach in paradise. Well, at least part of that is true … the rest is Story Lala Land, where Willow spends most of her time.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Underworld's Daughter, by Molly Ringle

A few years ago I purchased a lovely little lot of books at an auction, and among them was a beautifully bound edition of “Chrysomela, A Selection from the Lyrical Poems of Robert Herrick.” The poems were chosen and introduced by Francis Turner Palgrave, the famous anthologist, and I enjoyed reading the charming and quaintly antiquated prose of his preface. One phrase in particular struck me as being quite apropos of Molly’s style, as well as of Herrick’s poems:

[T]he power to describe men and things as the poet sees them with simple sincerity, insight and grace: to paint scenes and imaginations as perfect organic wholes; -- carrying with it the gift to clothe each picture, as if by unerring instinct, in fit metrical form, giving to each its own music; beginning without affectation, and rounding off without effort; - the power, in a word, to leave simplicity, sanity, and beauty as the last impressions lingering on our minds ...
Let me give an example of why I find Molly’s prose (and okay, maybe it’s not “metrical,” technically, lol, but it IS lyrical!) so enchanting, and so powerfully able to pull you into the emotional world she’s created:

Lute music rose from somewhere near, and the smell of sweet incense and drying autumn leaves curled into the darkening sky. Her feet moved that direction, the domestic magic of a mortal city pulling her in.
Like our dear friend Francis said, simple, vivid and graceful. I love that about Molly’s evocative way with words.

This is the second volume in Molly’s Chrysomelia series (the series’ title is what made me think of the Herrick book, obvs), and it’s not a stand-alone, but rather a welcome continuation of the story that began in Persephone’s Orchard, the first book in the series. It begins, like the first book,in media res,  only this time the “res” is one of sweet intimacy and tenderness, the culmination of the tentative and touching relationship between Persephone and Hades (the originals). And the narrative again moves between the remembered past of Hades, Persephone and their peers, and the story of Adrian and Sophie, the contemporary counterparts of their ancient incarnations. Things aren’t easy for Adrian and Sophie (relationship status: complicated) this time around. The story starts with Sophie feeling “betrayed, or at least left out,” when inveterate trickster Niko bestows the gift of immortality on two others by stealing and sharing with them the underworld orange Adrian meant for Sophie. And Thanatos, the deadly antagonist whose violence ended the first book, has stepped up its game in ways that rock the characters' stability and emotions. The addition of more characters and points of view make this a deeper and more rewarding reading experience than Persephone’s Orchard, in some ways. The character of Hekate (she’s the titular Underworld’s Daughter, btw) both in the past, and in the now, is richly imagined and endearing, full of mystery, grace, intelligence and emotion. She’s just a really cool person, and an awesome addition to the cast. Dionysos (and his contemporary counterpart) is a fun and kind of frustrating character, full of fun and frivolity but also fractured and flawed in ways that make him/her, real and relatable.

“The past is never dead, it’s not even past,” said Faulkner, and that would be a fitting epigraph for this series, in which the events of the past echo and resonate in the now. Molly’s artfulness in setting patterns of relationships and events in ways that illuminate each other, create foreshadowing and dramatic tension is an especially enjoyable element of the book (cf. Demeter confronting the newlyweds in the Underworld with Sophie’s dad discovering Adrian in her room over Thanksgiving break, just for one delicious example).

So just to be clear, I loved this book. But be forewarned, it is the second volume in a three book series (“Frodo was alive, but taken by the enemy,” remember?), and as such, there are unresolved story lines and emotions at the end. I can’t say I was disappointed exactly, but man, it is going to be a long wait till next June.

Who's That Girl?

I’m a huge Molly Ringle fan, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a link to my interview with her from a
couple years ago. Take a read, learn about her other amazing books, and first literary success, winner of the 2010 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Award for worst first sentence!


Last but not least, please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance at winning one of two sets of Persephone’s Orchard and Underworld’s Daughter: the entries are simple. You’ll need to follow (or already be following) three people on Twitter: me (@flybrariman); Molly (@MollyRingle) and Michelle Halket, Molly’s editor at Central Avenue Publishing (@CentAvePub). I’m including Michelle because (a) she’s awesome, and (b) because Central Avenue Publishing has lots of other cool authors you should check out (one of their books I really liked was Across the Hall, by N.M. Facile, here’s my Goodreads review!). And just in case you don’t win my Rafflecopter, Central Avenue Publishing is running a really cool one, with some extra swag thrown in (that Greek coin necklace looks really cool, right?)(the picture is of all their swag, mine's just for the books).  Good luck to all, thanks for entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purchase Links

Amazon Barnes & Noble

For a limited time, Grand Central has priced Persephone's Orchard at $.99, so on the off chance you don't win one, this would be a great time to buy!