What the Lady Wants

Image from My Addiction is Reading
 
Contemporary Romance
Date Published: December 14, 2015
 
 

The heiress…

She’d wanted him since she was eighteen. Four years away hasn’t cooled the heat Doyle arouses in her, which means it’s time for Thea to take the former Marine by the horns and open his eyes to everything he’s missing. What will it take to prove that she’s not some untouchable porcelain doll, but a red-blooded woman determined to finally get her man?

 The bodyguard…

Honor forced Doyle to consider Thea off-limits. Keeping her that way was proving much more difficult. Every time he turns around she’s there, wreaking havoc on his senses, making him think about long, sweaty nights and how good she would feel wrapped up in his arms. How long could a man be expected to ignore the woman who calls to his every secret desire?

 The danger…

But Doyle has a secret that could jeopardize not only the first fragile bonds of love, but Thea’s very life. Will he be able to act before it’s too late for them both?

EXCERPT:

Ridiculous, really, since the man didn’t have a clue. He either treated her as a museum piece to be safely guarded and surrounded in bubble wrap whenever a tiny bump loomed on the road of life, or he treated her the same way her had when he’d first come to work for her father: like a big brother. A very domineering, overprotective big brother.

Ugh!

Thinking of Doyle in the big brother role had been all well and good when she was thirteen, but she’d grown up in the nine years since then. Too bad Doyle seemed to have missed that little fact. When she looked at him now, she didn’t see the guy who taught her to hold her breath so she could swim underwater for two whole minutes, or who had sat up with her all night while she cried her eyes out after her dog had dug under the fence and then been hit by a car.

No, when she looked at Brennan Doyle, she saw a tall, darkly tanned man whose military training showed in every disciplined line of his well-toned body, whose intelligence and wit shone from twinkling hazel eyes that could stop a girl dead with one look, whose very presence in a room could start her heart tripping in a triple-time beat no salsa could match. She’d racked up more sweaty dreams about the man than she cared to count, starting when she was sixteen and didn’t even understand what sweaty dreams were all about.

Doyle, her big brother? Not in a million years.

But knowing how she felt didn’t change a thing about how he felt. Or didn’t feel. That was the part that made her the craziest. She didn’t know if that spark of something she sometimes thought she saw in his gaze meant anything or if she was just pathetically projecting what she wanted to see into those beautiful, see-into-your-soul eyes.

Thea sighed, putting aside the sketch pad and turning on her laptop. It wouldn’t hurt to do an Internet search for interior design firms based in Denver, Pueblo, and maybe even Colorado Springs. At least it would help to keep her mind off of the what-ifs and maybes that surrounded her turbulent feelings regarding what to do about Doyle. 

Attracting men was not something she’d ever really gotten the hang of. Rebuffing them, now that she had gotten down to a science by her second semester at college, right after the Dave Disaster. He had been her first, and only, lover and it had been, well, a disaster. She’d caught him cheating. He’d accused her of being frigid and needy, and she’d lost whatever small amount of self-confidence she’d started with. After that, it had been easier, and safer, just to avoid relationships altogether.

Attracting men was more Lillian’s tour de force. If only Thea could ask for Lil’s help. But that would mean admitting to her friend that she was still hung up on Doyle after four years of silent denial. Maybe she should write to Dr. Phil. Dear Dr. Phil; There’s a sexy ex-Marine living in the guest house on my parents’ estate, and I dream about him every night in enough detail to make Hugh Heffner blush, but I don’t know how to tell him I want to tear his clothes off and have wild monkey sex with him until neither of us can walk straight. What do I do?

A faint shudder ran through her. Okay, what she definitely shouldn’t do was think of Doyle and wild monkey sex in the same sentence. The same paragraph. The same time zone. With a groan, Thea saved her search results and shut down the computer. She needed help all right, and it was time to swallow her pride and ask for it. The hardest part was going to be finally confessing the truth to her friends.

Image from My Addiction is Reading
Nika Rhone has been fascinated with storytelling from the moment that first book was placed in her eager little hands, starting a lifelong love affair with the written word.  Eventually, though, reading other people’s stories just wasn’t enough, so she started to write down her own.  The magic of creating brand new worlds and the people who live in them keeps her hard at work thinking up the next set of characters she can torture before giving them their happy ending.  She lives in her hometown on Long Island, New York with the two men in her life: her super-indulgent husband and their outrageously spoiled shelter dog.

Contact Information

Website: https://nikarhone.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nika-Rhone-963664003657454/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NikaRhone

Purchase Links

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/What-Lady-Wants-Boulder-Bodyguards-ebook/dp/B018UYNLW6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1449702380&sr=8-3&keywords=what+the+lady+wants

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/what-the-lady-wants-nika-rhone/1123060977?ean=2940157788032

iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/what-the-lady-wants/id1065388598?mt=11

The Mark of the Shadow Grove

The Mark of the Shadow Grove
Author: Ross Smeltzer (Author), Marcus Pizarro (Illustrator)
Publisher: Fantasy Works
Publishing Publication Date: January 15, 2016
ASIN: B0170MK4QK
Cover, Link From Amazon:
My Synopsis: The daughters of Schermerhorn clan are destroyers of men. They are learned women in ways of the Old Religion and keepers of the arcane knowledge. Born a Schermerhorn means that you know the blackest and darkest spells, but it does not mean that you should be performing it.

There is something spooky about reading about dark arts at night, reading this at midnight crept me out. But it is the only time I have to read ebooks, because during the day I reserve my “do as I do example” and read a proper book, with pages. 

The story starts in 1821, where a pompous man named Carver tries to seek a mushroom to advance in his research. With him was his assistant Tom met the target person they came for: a lady who calls herself Schermerhorn. The story takes a dark turn when Carver threw a childish tantrum, revealing himself to be nothing more than a fool who wants glory quickly. Soon, retribution arrives swiftly, and Tom was left wondering.

After that. the years fast forwarded to show Alice Schermerhorn became one of the first female to attend the newly co-ed college. This new chapter in the book shows the advancements of sorts. Initially it was a little dull as Alice tries to adjust to a new life as a student of a University. Things soon take a darker turn when the professor tries to dabble at things that he didn’t understand. Being a Schemerhorn, Alice is drawn to the darkness and left to pickup the pieces. 

The last story was the closing, told by the point of view of a young woman, apparently granddaughter of Alice. It is clear that she was a product of the second story. I am not sure of her motive, but her actions were disturbing as she obeys Grandmother Alice’s instructions to perform a ritual. The ending was scary, although my lack of imagination stops me from wondering too much about what happened next. 

But the fear the characters feel are palpable, each person had offended the spirits by disrespecting their ways. The wrath when the spirits awoken were quick and vengeful, and quite irreversible as well. I think the message here is do not mess with what you do not know. 

The most important lesson here would be one of humility.  Even when told, the last protagonist had somehow failed to comprehend the enormity of her undertaking, and paid dearly for it. While it is not a real ghost story, it is still quite scary when things go bump in the night. 


 

Excerpt:

I saw her close to the fire. I approached her. Instinct—animal’s blood—controlled my fatigued limbs and I felt no fear, though the flames blazed high and the hilltop was forlorn; the night was black as deep water . . . She turned and approached me. “There are no masters here. Only you and me,” she said.


PURCHASE LINKS:

Fantasy Works Publishing        |           Amazon           |           Smashwords


Author Bio: Raised in Chatham, New York, a small town in the Berkshires that looks like the setting for a Washington Irving story, Ross grew up surrounded by overgrown woodlands and tumbled-down, derelict farmhouses. He grew up with an awareness that the past was omnipresent, a slyly pervasive power and a subtle influence on the present.

Ross now lives in Dallas, Texas with his patient and endlessly supportive wife, a hopelessly brainless terrier, and an alarmingly unhinged cat. Ross works as a social studies teacher but writes fiction whenever he gets a chance. Sadly, he seems capable only of crafting stories of the weirdest kind. His imagination—apparently corrupted in adolescence by Hawthorne, Bierce, Machen, Lovecraft, and assorted other misanthropes, weirdos, and purveyors of high strangeness—can only manufacture demented little yarns.

Ross’s fiction has appeared repeatedly in Bewildering Stories magazine, Quantum Fairy Tales, and Enchanted Conversation, an online fairy tale magazine.

Find Ross here:
Website: http://fantasyworkspublishing.com/ross-smeltzer.html
Twitter: @RossTellsTales          


Interview Questions

 

Author Name: Ross Smeltzer

Title: The Mark of the Shadow Grove

Tags or Keywords associated with you, your books, genre: Dark, Historical Fantasy

Questions about Writing

What drew you to writing?
I enjoy the challenges associated with writing. It’s a craft that demands much from those who practice it. It stimulates me intellectually, in a way nothing else does.

I think I enjoy writing speculative fiction because of my own dissatisfaction with consensus reality. The world that is seems very drab to me; I like to enliven in with a dash of magic and madness.

What are you currently learning to further develop your craft?
I’m experimenting with shorter forms of fiction and am currently crafting works of flash fiction and very short stories: yarns under 1,000 words. I like the limitations these forms impose on the writer: boundaries are a boon to creativity.

Do you prefer creating short stories, or novels?
I much prefer the short story to the novel. Too often, the “single effect” the writer can achieve in the short story is dissipated in the sprawl of the novel. I agree with Ambrose Bierce’s acerbic characterization of the novel as “a short story padded.”

What Genre do you write and why?
I would say my writing dwells in the shadowy borderland between dark fantasy and horror. I don’t really care for genre labels, but I’d say most of my works falls within the Gothic tradition. I just can’t help but fixate on twisted Tim Burton-esque trees, dilapidated ruins, and scimitar-shaped moons. I suspect my early enthusiasm for Hawthorne and Lovecraft congealed in my subconscious and is now quite ineradicable.

 

Questions about Reading
What kind of books to you enjoy reading?
I’m an agonizingly slow reader, so I generally favor short story collections over novels. Also, I like reading books about the history of food. I’m an unapologetic glutton, and I like to know where–historically and culturally-speaking–my food and drinks are coming from.

Do you have a favorite author(s)?
Among living authors, I’d say, without hesitation, Margaret Atwood. She’s a deft prose stylist with a poetic sensibility and she has a healthy contempt for the notion of sacrosanct “genres.”

Questions about You
What is your favorite pastime?
Cooking. I enjoy cooking because it rewards a mixture of experimentation and careful-planning. It suits my obsessive personality.

What is your favorite hot beverage?
Coffee. I could live without anything else, but I strongly suspect I’d die without regular infusions of steaming tar-black coffee.

What is your favorite meal?
If I had to create a single meal, I’d be torn between a bowl of Chana Saag or a thick slice of wheat bread toasted to the color of scorched meteorite. The latter is the guiltiest of my many guilty pleasures.

Do you enjoy Chocolate?
I like very dark chocolates. The ones that deliver an intensely woody and acrid sensation, when they melt on your tongue. I should probably just gnaw on a piece of bark instead.

What season most inspires you?
Fall. I am assuredly one of Ray Bradbury’s “autumn people.” Also, I enjoy sweaters, apple cider donuts, and horror movies of dubious quality.

30 Fun and Strange Questions
If you could pick one food to eat for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?Indian food. I am a vegetarian and the Hindus have, thankfully, developed an elaborate and complex cuisine that is simultaneously compassionate to animals. Also, I like my food aggressively-spiced.

What inspires you?
Trees, preferably dead ones. Mushrooms. Lizards. Cephalopods. These are things from which I derive unreasonable pleasure and infinite inspiration.

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume alone?I’m a fanatical and unapologetic cat man. I melt at the sight of dozing kittens.

 

What did you have for breakfast?
Steel-cut oatmeal, sprinkled with cinnamon. I eat this 6-7 times a week, without fail. I am not, it goes without saying, an exciting or experimental person.

What’s your favorite 80’s song?
Tom Tom Club’s “Genius of Love.”

Which Harry Potter house would you belong to?
I’m fairly certain I’d be conscripted into Ravenclaw, but I’d be happy to be included in any of the the houses but Slytherin. That house seemed to be composed entirely of sociopaths-in-training. They needed to undergo some form of collective therapy.

Your Irresistible Love

Your Irresistible Love is a heartwarming story starring Sebastian Bennett and Ava Lindt, Bennett Enterprises is a big company selling high end jewelry, where everything is designed at made in the workshop next door. Jewelry is something you give to someone you love, and when it comes to love and romance, nothing is too expensive. That was how Sebastian Bennett’s idea became big.

Then you have Ava Lindt, a marketing consultant hired to provide a fresh view on things. Ava herself is an orphan who had always looked after herself, which is a contrast to Sebastian’s close knit family of six boys and three girls. The girl’s got strength, and nerves of steel. 

From the beginning, they hit off, it was just a matter of time before Sebastian wins the romance ‘game’ they were playing. Ava’s reluctance was not due to him being unattractive, but it set up a plot that would come into play later. But the cat and mouse chase was fun and quite endearing. I like the fact that Ava didn’t immediately jump into the covers, or Sebastian was playing too much bad guy stint.

Like most romance stories, it is touching, there are things that the guy does that is lovely, or something the girl gives up to show how much she loves him. In Your Irresistible Love, it is love that runs the story, but not just romance; family plays a big part too. I totally like how there are minor plots at play, it changes the way the story goes, but not enough to damage outlook.

Your Irresistible Love maybe a predictable romance, you may know the ending before you even start. But the journey, that is one that warms your heart, and give you hope that true love exist.

Amazon Buy Links

Your Irresistible Love: 
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1OsoxV9
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1W9Tqmj
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01AL3GQRQ/
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01AL3GQRQ/
 
Your Captivating Love
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1SjKj3r
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1UQOuSc
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01AL6WWEY/
Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01AL6WWEY/

In the Belly of the Elephant

Image From My addiction is Reading
Non Fiction / Memoir
Date Published: December 18, 2013
 
Everybody needs to run away from home at least once. Susan Corbett told people she was out to save the world, but really she was running — running from her home as much as to anywhere. Like many women, she was searching for meaning to her life or for a good man to share it with. In Africa, she hoped to find both.

Compelling and compassionate, In the Belly of the Elephant is Susan’s transformative story of what happens when you decide to try to achieve world peace while searching for a good man. More than a fish-out-of-water story, it’s a surprising and heart-rending account of her time in Africa trying to change the world as she battles heat, sandstorms, drought, riots, intestinal bugs, burnout, love affairs and more than one meeting with death. Against a backdrop of vivid beauty and culture, in a narrative interwoven with a rich tapestry of African myths and fables, Susan learns the true simplicity of life, and discovers people full of kindness, wisdom and resilience, and shares with us lessons we, too, can learn from her experiences.


My Review
I am not one for memoir’s, it tells of someone else’s life, and honestly I may learn from it, but it is not mine to live, nor my decisions would be the same. Susan Corbett’s life in the poorest parts of the world is no coincidence, she has a loving family that she is somehow running away from. When you read it, her Mormon father was not that bad, a little overprotective like all fathers are, but that’s just normal.

Her book has her story, but in between she had included some African stories that are passed down verbally. One of it, is about an elephant that had swallowed two kids, and then their mother. I had wanted to follow that story more than Susan’s. 

But soon I was more engrossed with Susan’s description of Africa, and her problems when she tried to help the villagers. It became clear that she wants to be the good guy, but the guys there paints her as the bad guy trying to pretend to be good. The mere mention of certain authorities had everyone riled up.

Life in Africa is not for someone who is used to all the comforts first world money and buy, Susan has to suffer through a lot of pain, knowing that all her efforts might be in vain, and in the end, she did not make a difference. 

I would like her to know that, with this book, it does. Letting readers know the problems that they are facing, how double standard things can be in a ravaged place. Yet, despite having nothing, they gave everything they have to a guest. If that is not love, I do not know that love is. 

So, do give this book a go, and hope that Susan’s love would spread, and she would finally succeed in helping improve the lives of people she wants to help .


In the Belly of the Elephant: A Memoir of Africa

 

 Prologue

Liberia–March

The first time I met Death was in a tiny bush-town called Foequellie. It was said that the bush devil who sometimes came to town, dancing to a chorus of drummers, was Death. But he was just a local man dressed in rags and a wooden mask.

On a blue morning of sailing clouds, I crossed the clearing that separated my house from the two-room clinic—the only health facility within a 20-mile radius of thick bush and rain forest. A breeze carried the voices of chatting mothers and crying babies. It was Under Five’s Day, the weekly clinic for babies and children up to five years old. Well into my second year as a Peace Corps volunteer, I worked there, giving nutrition demonstrations and vaccinating children.

Awake from my morning cup of Nescafé and ready for the day, I passed through the dappled shade of a cottonwood tree. This was the town’s Ancestor Tree where the ghosts of great-great-grandfathers, great-aunts, uncles, and cousins hid in the hollows of the trunk with the snakes and spiders, and high up in the branches among the leaves and the ricebirds. The Ancestor Tree loomed next to a red dirt road that twisted its way around the clinic, past my house at the end of town, and on through hillside plots of rice, potato greens, and cassava.

Women with babies tied to their backs in cloth slings gathered at the clinic door. They entered and stacked their yellow “Road to Health” cards in a pile that reserved their place, and then sat on benches to wait their turn and catch up on local gossip.

James, the clinic janitor and local translator, joined me in the waiting room, a 20-by-10-foot space with a dirt floor and mud-plastered walls that smelled of baby pee and sweat.

We said our good mornings; then James explained the causes and treatment of diarrhea. I stood in the center, squeezing oranges into a bowl. As I demonstrated the pinch of salt and teaspoon of sugar needed to make rehydration fluid, a woman came in with a round-faced little girl in tattered shorts and cornrow braids. The two of them sat at the end of the bench, and the little girl laid her head on her mother’s shoulder and closed her eyes.

Over the next few hours, James and I worked with Francis, the local physician’s assistant and clinic “doctor.” We weighed babies, treated skin and stomach ailments, gave out malaria medication, and vaccinated against smallpox, whooping cough, and tetanus. Morning cool gave way to the heat of day, and the rooms grew stuffy. Sometime before noon, I walked back into the waiting room to call the next in line.

The woman with the little girl took her daughter’s hand to lead her in. The girl, about five years old, tried to stand but collapsed. Her mother caught her, and I ran to grasp the girl’s arm. Her skin burned, and her lips were chapped and dry. She breathed out a rattled sigh, and her head lolled to one side.

“Frances! James!” I called, and they came in an instant.

James laid the little girl down, her skinny arms and legs limp against the floor. Frances bent his ear to her nose, then felt her wrist for a pulse. He looked up at us and shook his head. Her mother began to wail.

I knelt, unable to believe, unable to understand. In my two years at the clinic, this had never happened. I had never seen a person die. The spark of the little girl who had been with us only a moment before was gone.

Without thought, I propped her head back, pressed my mouth over hers, and blew my breath into her limp, dehydrated body. Her skinny chest lifted then deflated. Francis pumped her chest, and I blew into her lungs again, then again.

There was no ambulance to call, no emergency room to whisk her to. This was the only place. We tried for a while longer until Francis put his hand on my arm.

“She is gone,” he said.

Her black irises were dull, as if a door at the back of her eyes had shut, blocking out the light. But her skin was warm and smelled the way children smell, an earthy sweetness that no amount of dirt can hide. Francis gently pressed her eyelids closed. The bleat of a baby goat echoed across the clearing.

Amidst the mother’s wails and the silent grief of the other women, the muscles of my throat closed into a fist. The woman had brought in her child, sick with dysentery, dehydrated, dying, and she had sat and waited her turn. Why hadn’t I noticed when they first came in? Why hadn’t I done something sooner? I looked around at the faces of the women and children who still crowded the room, and I started to cry. The mothers all turned to me, eyebrows raised, mouths open, as if they realized for the first time that I, too, was made of flesh and bone.

A week later, several of my students put on a skit at a school gathering. A young man lay on the ground while another pantomimed blowing air into his mouth. Everyone laughed, inviting me to share in the jest.

Foolish Miss Soosan, thinking that by blowing, she could chase away death.

My flushed cheeks and blank face must have moved them. They patted me on the back and spoke kind words; the way one treats someone who simply doesn’t know any better.

Foolish Miss Soosan, crying because she could not make someone stay when they had already left.

 

 

 

Omnilogos (The Omnilogos Series Book 1)

Omnilogos: Extended Edition (The Omnilogos Series Book 1) Author: MMichele Amitrani
Publisher: Michele Amitrani; 1 edition
ASIN: B015HR1KKO
Cover and Link from Amazon
Synopsis from Amazon: “I am a collector of hopes and peregrine truths, a shepherd of thoughts, ideas, projects and dreams too important not to be realized. I’m an abstract concept that has no body, no smell, no boundaries, no shape and no color. I am the Omnilogos.” So it is forged, a Science Fiction saga that gave birth to a legend, a tale about the life of a man with one project that will change mankind’s future forever. Ten stories about his life, his sorrow, and his quest to gather the resources and the people needed to claim our place among the stars. This is Wei’s story. This is the world of the Omnilogos.


Wei Wang is a genius, the story starts with a young Wei’s journey towards space exploration after witnessing the launch of Atlantis in 2011. Since then, he was on a mission to allow humans to travel to space inexpensively. I applaud the noble idea, and how Wei executes his plans are nothing short of magnificent and befitting a genius. 

While the story is extensively researched and intensely debated, I have to admit that I had struggled reading Omnilogos. From page one, I know that the author’s writing style is not one that I am comfortable with. Too many cryptic hints before a reveal, too many words to show a point. This is not even Dicken’s style, which I loathed, this is just trying to make the characters sounds smart, but in actual fact, once you read properly, boils down to ineffective use of words. 

As Wei moves towards the constructing of Polaris, he had numerous businesses and organizations come together to fund the project, which is still expensive. The argument is real: why should tax payers fund expensive trips to space that has no positive effect to the community? The hyperist in Wei wants to allow humans to have that opportunity at a lower cost. Wei somehow manages to make everyone work together, not knowing about each other.

This is a hard one, while I myself had trouble enjoying Omnilogos to its maximum potential, the story is not lost to me. Space exploration is no doubt a field that is expensive now, and how affordable space travel could impact on human life in the future. No doubt this would be  a great book for the Hyperist, those who wants to see people being able to travel in space.

The characters a memorable, each remembers Wei slightly differently, each has different information about the genius. When you read it all, the magnitude of his plot will astound you, and leave you wondering, if there is a real Wei, could he be successful in building Polaris? Thank you to the author for providing the book for a fair review. 

 

Sparked

Sheena Spaleny - Sparked - Virtual Book Tour
Image by My Addition is Reading
YA Light Sci-Fi
Date Published: December 16, 2016
 
 

They weren’t supposed to have feelings.

 

Metal will Clash

In a not-too-distance future, robots composed of metal for bones, electric cords for veins, and synthetics for skin are now available. For purchase. Eighteen-year-old Vienna Avery’s home is going to change forever, now that her mom purchased an Italian Chef Robot to cook and reside in their house.

Secrets will Unfold

The government claimed robots were indifferent, unthinking pieces of metal and elastic—assistance for the help of humans. Vienna never believed much of what the government said. The pieces didn’t always fit. And now Vienna knows why, because she’s uncovered the government’s secret: that robots have emotions, sucking Vienna into the underground world of feeling, thinking, and sovereign robots.

Sparks will Fly

Alec Cypher is everything a robot is not supposed to be: deep, dark, and dangerously human. And for some reason, he wants to save Vienna from the government’s prying, vindictive eyes. Going forward, Vienna will have to learn to trust robots and battle the growing feelings she never thought possible . . . feelings for the green-eyed, soul-searching robot named Alec.

Chapter One

I never locked eyes with a robot before.

Never.

Not once.

I guess I thought it would feel different. But it doesn’t. Nothing is different. It feels the same, the same as looking into a human’s eyes.

I wanted to pry my eyes away but now that I’ve started, I can’t stop staring. Even from this distance, I could tell the robot’s eyes were a honey brown.

They are so close to being one of us. But they can’t be. They can never be us. Or at least, that’s what the government says.

The robot’s indifferent gaze shifted from mine and it strode toward my neighbor’s Lincoln Town Car. The robot’s gait caught with every third step and the elbow twisted incongruently when it opened the car door—the only telltale signs it wasn’t human.

This robot had dark-brown hair, tan skin, and was dressed in a chauffeur’s suit.

My neighbor, Mr. Romero, waved at me as he exited the car, and I just stood there, mouth agape and knees locked.

Mr. Romero frowned but I couldn’t wave back. I couldn’t move. I was frozen to that spot on my porch with my keys dangling from my fingers and my purse sliding down my shoulder.

It was just as the news had said. Everything was. From the eyes, to the nose, the lips, to the hair, it all looked so real. I had never studied a robot that wasn’t on TV; I was always too busy avoiding them. But when they weren’t moving, when they weren’t doing anything, when they were just standing there, they looked exactly like people. Exactly.

Together, they disappeared inside the house, Mr. Romero with his stout frame and wiry black hair, and his robot chauffeur.

I now lived next door to a robot.

The keys felt cold in my hand, and I realized for the last several seconds, my focus had been consumed by the now empty driveway.

Leave it to me to do something like that.

I opened the door and leaned against it as it clicked shut behind me. Everything was changing. And everything would be different.

“Mom, I’m home.” I shrugged off the door and into the family room.

“Be right there, Vienna.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I called back, hoping mom would leave me alone.

“How was shopping? Find anything you liked?” Mom appeared and wiped her hands on her paint-covered overalls. Mom was a die-hard artist. She lived, breathed, and probably ate paint.

At a whole head taller than me, Mom still looked great. Forty-five and thriving was her motto. Mom and I had wispy blond hair, pale-green eyes, and a small nose. Unlike me, her hair was cut in a bob-like fashion, the front angled longer, reaching past her shoulders, where mine was always in a ponytail.

I shook off my jacket and looked up into Mom’s bright, beaming face.

“I only went shopping,” I said, raising my eyebrows. “No need to look that—”

“You’ll never guess what I bought.” Mom practically sang the last word, cutting me off.

Head throbbing, I sucked in a deep breath and dropped my purse on the couch. “I have absolutely no idea.” I wondered how mom would react if she knew Mr. Romero had bought a robot.

“They’ve had nothing but good reviews.” Mom nodded, following behind me as I headed toward my room. “And you and your father are going to love him.”

I rubbed my temples. “I’m sure we will.” How could we not get excited about Mom’s latest painting gadget? “What does this one let you do?”

Paint with two brushes at the same time?

Mom darted in front of me, and spread her arms to block me from going any further.

“What’s going on?” I looked from side-to-side.

“I named him Robotatouille.” Mom nodded as if that solved everything.

“I’m sorry?” I shook my head. What in the heck was Mom talking about? “You named what Robot . . .” My breath caught in my throat. My stomach flipped. “You . . . you did what?” I repeated.

Mom’s eyes lit up and suddenly, it was like all the energy in my body had been stolen from me, sucked out, leaving me dry and empty.

“N-N-N-o,” I breathed.

Mom wouldn’t

“Everyone’s getting one,” Mom said.

My legs shook.

“Did you know Mr. Romero just bought one yesterday?” Mom asked, face glowing while it felt like mine had lost all of its blood. “And you’re going to love him. Look.” Mom winked at me and stepped back to pull a sandy-blond brown-eyed twenty-something-year-old man from behind the kitchen wall.

I couldn’t breathe.

Air was trapped in my body, as I stood there, gaping, into this man-robot-thing’s eyes.

Brown eyes. Sandy-blond hair.

I jerked backward and stumbled into the coffee table.

The robot was right in front of me.

No.

Freaking.

Way.

 

My Review

Vienna Avery does not like robots, that much you can tell from the first chapter/ intro to the book Sparked. Her reaction to a new addition to the family was less than welcoming, and Vienna is not one who likes changes. When the new robot was to stay, things starts happening.

Soon it became clear that Vienna is in trouble, someone wants her and she does not know why. Enter a green eyed robot, saving her and her family with reasons unknown. Vienna soon agrees to flea into the safety of the green eyed robot, and to protect her parents from certain death, Throughout the journey, they learn more about each other, and the other team members who are tasked to protect her.

Vienna’s questions would have answers in good time, when she sparked with the green eyed robot, whom she named Alec, things became complicated. Vienna finds herself taken, and Sparked soon becomes a sci-fi book with psychological thriller killer plot.

I find Sparked a great first read, only I wished that it was just a book, instead of a series. My curiosity that was satisfied had flared up towards the end, when it was evident why Vienna was safe back home. I have to say that it was creative twist, and I would hope to see more of the series soon. 

Wind/ Pinball

Wind/Pinball: Two novels
Author: Haruki Murakami; Ted Goossen (Translator) Publisher: Knopf
ISBN-13: 978-0385352123
Genre: fantasy, contemporary 
cover and link from Amazon
Synopsis from Amazon: In the spring of 1978, a young Haruki Murakami sat down at his kitchen table and began to write. The result: two remarkable short novels—Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973—that launched the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time. These powerful, at times surreal, works about two young men coming of age—the unnamed narrator and his friend the Rat—are stories of loneliness, obsession, and eroticism. They bear all the hallmarks of Murakami’s later books, and form the first two-thirds, with A Wild Sheep Chase, of the trilogy of the Rat. Widely available in English for the first time ever, newly translated, and featuring a new introduction by Murakami himself, Wind/Pinball gives us a fascinating insight into a great writer’s beginnings.

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copy from library

A different cover with different publisher. I don’t know about the one in Amazon, but this one from the library is unique, you’d notice that the covers are in different ways. Pinball vs Wind, two novels in one, separated by opposite printings (is that how it’s called?). The hardcover book is comfortable to read and it separates the two stories well.

That’s the good part, the bad part is that it sucked. This is proof that even great writers like Murakami started out crappy. Wind and Pinball are prime examples of how his perseverance paid off, and how practice makes a writer better. Truthfully, it was not terrible, but just a far cry from his better works. My favorite is still 1Q84, despite its large volume.

The unknown narrator and Rat are mates, and the unknown narrator has lots of thoughts and struggles. Rat is his best friend who wants to write, and the two books tell about the narrator’s life as he boringly trudges along with life. I say he, because ‘he’ has a normal sexual appetite. 

I read it because it is Murakami’s, the prose was rough and unrefined, I struggled to find something I like about the characters, it was almost as if I was introduced to a normal guy who did not even try to impress me. I guess that is why this book is out after he reached a certain fame, because if this were to be his first book, I doubt that he would be successful. 

You can skip this one if you want.

Demon Princess

Demon Princess: Demon Kingdom Fairy Tales Book One 
Author: Kassandra Lynn
ASIN: B019QKN3E4
Series: Demon Kingdom Fairy Tales 1
Genre: paranormal romance, young adult
Cover and Link from Amazon
Synopsis from Amazon: With her father gone and her brother missing, Demon Princess Adriana has to assume the throne, temporarily becoming the Demon King. The procession is underway, and the princess is nervous yet determined … until the unthinkable happens and she is summoned! Somehow, Aldric, a mage-in-training has summoned the princess into the human kingdom. Now trapped, Adriana must hide her identity and escape before she loses her life in the hands of her mortal enemies


 

For starters, I would have loved to see Princess Adriana’s scarlet dress on the book cover, but this one shows the dress she wore sometime after. During her coronation to be the temporary Demon King in the absence of her father and brother, Adriana was afraid that she would not be competent enough to rule.

She didn’t have to worry about that part though, no sooner than the coronation ceremony begins Adriana was summoned. Somehow, some mage- in- training had managed to summon Princess Adriana as his summon beast. Things get interesting from then on, with Aldric, her new master being ridiculed for summoning a useless human and Adriana being stuck with a bond.

Finding a way to break the bond, Adriana has to keep her identity a secret and enlist the help of Keldrin, a level A mage for help. He is the only one who is always kind to her, and unfortunately he is also off limits, for a lot of reasons.

Book one of Demon Kingdom Fairy tales is even paced, fairly adventurous story about a Demon Princess, but there are a lot of elements waiting to be explored. This is a great start for those who wants to start the journey with Adriana, and watch her grow into someone who is magnificent and strong. But I do wonder if she would be happy, I hope that she will be.  

Aloe Vera 99.9%

20151213_191118.jpgI got this from a relative as a souvenir, Aloe Vera 99.9% soothing gel. I have been told that this cannot be true, because the substance would dry out so quickly if it is that concentrated.

I am not sure how true is this, but after using it, the gel seems to be helping a lot of issues with Prince Brat. His skin has been itchy due to the chlorine in the pool water.

It has been hot here in Adelaide, and he loves a good swim in the public pool, which means that they put a lot of more chlorine and stuff into it.

I have been using this myself, it does not have that soothing feeling you get when you cut open an aloe vera and put it straight onto your skin. This gel dries quickly and leaves no residue, which is something to ponder if you are in the market for aloe vera gels.

Unfortunately, this apparently is a Korean local product, and that relative was lucky to get heaps of it because he bought like hundreds of snail sheet mask. I am itching to ask if anyone had tried this one before and any good feedback.

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of course if you can read Korean… do tell me what it says on the comment below.

Thanks

Fallen Darkness

Fallen Darkness (The Trihune Series Book 2)
Author: RB Austin
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
ASIN: B014V6F90O
Genre: paranormal romance
Cover and Link from Amazon
Series: Trihune 2
Synopsis from Amazon:
The war between Apollyon and the Trihune has begun. Lucas scours the street in need of a fix. He captures his enemy instead of kills. Spins lies instead of truth. Seeks darkness instead of light. So close to the edge with no concern for the fall.
The map was foretold. Its key long lost.
Sent on a mission to find the key necessary to defeat Apollyon, Lucas meets Kate. Fiery, powerful, unable-to-touch-any-object Kate. As his feelings for her grow, the addiction inside him wanes. Until he learns she is not meant for him.
Find the key. Find the way and triumph. His future with Kate is bleak. The darkness, too hard to control. The key, still lost. Can Lucas win the battle raging inside his body in order to win the war rising on the streets?


Book 2 of the series, also given to me by the author, had strengthened my view of the series. The Behn are back with Lucas being the main character of the story. Although I was told that this can be read as a standalone, I can safely say that it is almost true. Almost being the character’s relationships are set in book one, and spilled through to book two. So even though it can be read as a standalone, the experience is better if you follow the sequence. 

Lucas is a Behn who can read minds, during a fight he had unwittingly touched a demon and it had severe consequences on him. Ever since then things were different, he had lost confidence in himself and this has a negative effect on his team mate and Sept.

Now they have a new mystery and a mission. The mystery: why Astoria is becoming a hot bed for the fallen. The mission: find the key to decipher the map.

Kate has a complicated past, on the run from the law, floating from place to place while wishing and hoping that things would be different. She also has special abilities, and that makes things difficult for her at times. When she got a new job, she did not realize that it would change her life forever.

As usual, both characters display marvelous strength and remarkable resilience. I feel bad for Lucas, he has a lot going on for him, and he has always been picking up other people’s emotions that he has not been able to recognize his own. Which was why it was fun (and a little mean of me to enjoy it) when his emotions hit him square on.

The war is just beginning, from the looks of it, this series will intensify and I hope it is Gabe’s turn to find a soul mate. I am so excited! I admit that I prefer Fallen Darkness to Fallen Redemption, only because I like Lucas’ struggle with darkness more than Cade’s. A little sadistic maybe.