Thursday, May 31, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Collector by Victoria Scott

Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple, weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag.

Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment:
Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within 10 days.

Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky, Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect—he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector, and uncover emotions deeply buried.

Meet Victoria Scott!
Victoria Scott is a YA writer with a die-hard affection for dark and humorous books. Her work is represented by the fabulous Laurie McLean of Larsen-Pomada literary agency. She has a master’s degree in marketing, and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas and Teen Shiver.

Her first YA book, THE COLLECTOR, will be published by Entangled Teen in 2013. And her short story, FOUR HOUSES, is available now through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

She currently lives in Dallas with her husband, Ryan.

Connect with Victoria:

Add The Collector to your TBR pile on Goodreads!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Review: Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

Title: Hemlock
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Genre: Paranormal YA
Series: Hemlock #1

Hardcover, 416 pages 
Published May 8th 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books

Purchase book||Amazon||Book Depository 

Source: Publisher

Mackenzie and Amy were best friends. Until Amy was brutally murdered.

Since then, Mac’s life has been turned upside down. She is being haunted by Amy in her dreams, and an extremist group called the Trackers has come to Mac’s hometown of Hemlock to hunt down Amy’s killer: A white werewolf.

Lupine syndrome—also known as the werewolf virus—is on the rise across the country. Many of the infected try to hide their symptoms, but bloodlust is not easy to control.

Wanting desperately to put an end to her nightmares, Mac decides to investigate Amy’s murder herself. She discovers secrets lurking in the shadows of Hemlock, secrets about Amy’s boyfriend, Jason, her good pal Kyle, and especially her late best friend. Mac is thrown into a maelstrom of violence and betrayal that puts her life at risk.


Mackenzie a.k.a Mac Dobson lost her best friend Amy to a werewolf attack five months ago, a white werewolf to be exact. After Amy’s murder, the string of attacks disappeared, but then it begun again. Senator John Walsh, Amy’s grandfather wants to find Amy’s killer so he brought in the trackers. The trackers is an anti-werewolf group, who doesn’t care whether you’re actually infected or a werewolf sympathizer…it’s one in the same to them. Anyone who is infected either bitten or scratched is supposed to turn themselves into the Lupine Syndrome Registration Bureau. Amy been plaguing Mac’s dreams, and Mac thinks the only way to stop the dreams is to find Amy’s killer. With the help of Jason, Amy’s ex-boyfriend, her best friend Kyle, and some unlikely allies, Mac sets out to find this ‘white wolf’.  As Mac starts to unravel the truth behind Amy’s murder, she discovers that everyone around her been keeping secrets of their own; even her best friend Amy.

I love anything werewolf, so I was really excited for Ms. Peacock’s debut novel Hemlock. This book was more of a murder mystery with the addition of werewolves, rather than a paranormal book about werewolves. When I first read the synopsis, I thought it was going to be one of those cookie cutter types of YA that have been floating around….but I was wrong! This book is more than just werewolves, it’s about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, prejudice and love all wrapped up a well-written and well-plotted novel. The characters were all very life-like, and the emotions that they experienced leaped off the pages. I remember getting teary-eyed a couple times throughout the novel. I like Mac, our main heroine right off the bat. She’s so devoted to her friends and family, strong-willed, and does everything in her power to protect the people she cares about. Other readers talked about a love-triangle in this book, but I didn’t really see it as a love-triangle. Mac has feeling for one of her guy friend, and her other guy friend likes her (although she didn’t even know). There was never a moment in the book where Mac was conflicted on who she wanted to be with.

I loved everything about Hemlock, the characters, the world-building, the writing style and the eye-catching cover. The pacing was good; I was sucked into the story and the emotionally charged dialogue. There was a lot of twist and turns as new information were revealed. When I found out who the killer was I was flabbergasted. I never once suspected that (BLANK) was killer; the author did a good job at keeping the suspense.  I finished this book in less than 3 days; it usually takes me longer with other books. I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. Even if you’re not a werewolf fan, you definitely should still pick this book up because it will not disappoint. The book ends on a cliff hanger, so I am dying to read the next book!

**Thank you HarperCollins for sending me this book**

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox Giveaway


Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels like the most unpopular girl in her school. The kids all tease her, and she never seems to fit in. But when Kristina receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself magically transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals and the evil Queen Sentiz.
In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she's honored as "the chosen one," the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz's control. But it's not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous "Magic Warble," in its final resting place. She must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen's "zelbocks" before she reaches her destination. Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, and an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.

Genre: Middle Grade, ages 9- 13 year-old
Approximately 267 pages, with 1-2 pictures per chapter
Book is available on Amazon for only $2.99 (e-book)!

About the Author

Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario
Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother, and a Dutch immigrant father. She now lives in Western Washington with her husband, Russ and their three children, Toby, Kristina, and William. Her other family members are a Chihuahua, named Pipsy and two cats, named Frodo and Fritz. Besides being an author, Victoria is a home-schooling mother of twelve years and an elementary school art teacher of eleven years. In her spare time, Victoria enjoys managing her two older children's Celtic band. She also loves writing, reading, painting watercolors, hiking, good movies, and just simply hanging out with her family and friends.

Victoria Simcox on Twitter.


Victoria has generously offered The Magic Warble (e-books) to 3 Short & Sweet Reviews followers! If you would like a chance to win a copy, friend Victoria on her blog and/or Facebook and leave your email address in the comments section.

Open Internationally, giveaway will run until Sunday, May 27th and winners will be announced Monday, May 28th. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Review: The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich

Title: The Midwife of Venice
Author: Roberta Rich
Genre: Historical-fiction
Series: Stand-alone (?)

Paperback, 352 pages
Published on February 14, 2012 by Gallery Books (First published on January 1, 2011)

Books can be purchased here on Amazon or Book Depository 

Source: Book provided by publisher for review

Summary(via Goodreads): Hannah Levi is renowned throughout Venice for her gift at coaxing reluctant babies from their mothers—a gift aided by the secret “birthing spoons” she designed. But when a count implores her to attend to his wife, who has been laboring for days to give birth to their firstborn son, Hannah is torn. A Papal edict forbids Jews from rendering medical treatment to Christians, but the payment he offers is enough to ransom her beloved husband, Isaac, who has been captured at sea. Can Hannah refuse her duty to a suffering woman? Hannah’s choice entangles her in a treacherous family rivalry that endangers the baby and threatens her voyage to Malta, where Isaac, believing her dead in the plague, is preparing to buy his passage to a new life. Not since The Red Tent orPeople of the Book has a novel transported readers so intimately into the complex lives of women centuries ago or so richly into a story of intrigue that transcends the boundaries of history.

 Review: The Midwife of Venice, tells the story of Hannah a midwife living in the Jewish ghettos in Venice 1575. Hannah is renowned for her ability to cajole babies from their mother’s womb, thinking she is exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable. What many don’t know is that she uses a special ‘birthing spoon’, which she had crafted (makeshift forceps) from her own design. If this knowledge was ever revealed, she can face charges for witchcraft. Late one night, a Christian man and his brother show up at her door in the Jewish ghettos seeking her assistance to deliver his first child. The Conte is in desperate need of an heir, and will do anything to ensure his son is born or his family inheritances will be stripped away. His wife has been bleeding to death trying to deliver their baby for two unsuccessful days. However, it is illegal for a Jew to deliver a Christian child and those who are guilty can be tortured or face a death sentence. Hannah reluctantly agrees to assist in return for enough money to free her husband Isaac, who is being held prisoner on Malta.

The book is written in third-person but the chapters alternate back and forth between Hannah in Venice and Isaac in Malta. I really like the way the book was formatted, readers get to see both side of the story as Hannah and Isaac do everything possible to return to one another. This was an extremely well written novel and you can tell how much research went into the book. Everything was so descriptive and realistic; it’s like a movie playing in your mind. I don’t usually read historical-fiction, but after reading the interesting synopsis, I’m glad I gave it a go. While readers get to enjoy a suspenseful novel, they will also be fascinated and somewhat disgusted to learn what it was like to be a midwife in the 16th century. The process of delivering a baby and the descriptions of complicated birth had me cringing a couple of times…kind of gruesome. Overall a great read, it had good-solid characters, and an attention-grabbing plot. This book is all about love, betrayal, faith, and the difficult choices we have to make. Highly recommended to readers of all genres.

Extra: At the beginning of the book there’s a map of 16th century Venice with important locations that take place in the book. At the end of the book, readers can also find a glossary and a reader’s group guide. I think it would have been more helpful having the glossary at the beginning, so readers know to use it while reading the book rather than after finishing.  

**Thank you to Simon and Schuster for providing me with this book**

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Interview & Giveaway with Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett, author of the Arcadia Bell series is joining us today to answers questions about her recently released novel, Summoning the Night which is available now wherever books are sold.

 Hi Jenn, Thank you so much for stopping by! Can you give us the “elevator pitch” for Summoning the Night?

Hi, Van! So happy to be here! Elevator pitch: Cady and Lon investigate a 30-year-old trail of ghoulish clues to stop a local boogeyman who’s kidnapping teens at Halloween. (Then I’d have to hold the elevator doors open, so I could add that there’s a big subplot involving Lon’s son Jupe!)

I really enjoyed the plot; the whole snatcher mystery gave me the chills and Goosebumps! Where did you get the inspiration/idea for this novel?

I guess I’ve always been drawn to stories about old crimes that were never solved—killers who go underground for decades, then pop back up.

Was it easier to write the second book this time around, or harder?

Harder. I wrote KINDLING THE MOON for myself. Only one person read it before my agent. But when I was going through revisions and edits of SUMMONING THE NIGHT, the first book was already released. Suddenly there was an audience with expectations. I worried and fretted that I couldn’t please everyone, and had to force myself to block it all out.

I was so glad for more Cady and company, especially Jupe. I remembered I LOL so many times within the first couple of chapters. I also really liked Bob’s character, he was only a small secondary character but he made a lasting impression on me.  Are these characters based off any one you know?

I’m so glad you liked Jupe. He’s my favorite character to write and seems to be a fan favorite. And, yeah, Bob. He was only briefly mentioned in the first book, but I gave him a bigger role in SUMMONING. Bob is an Earthbound demon and Tambuku Tiki Lounge’s best customer. He’s a drunk, not the best looking guy in the world, and he does some stupid things, but he’s got a good heart. You’ll see more of him in Book 3.

What was the writing process like for your second novel? Did you have to do a lot of research?

 I think readers would be surprised just how MUCH research most writers do. Not just big picture research (on demons in different cultures, etc.), but minor things. Like: what’s California law on minors in the bar? And how often would Cady get deliveries? And what time would the sun set in late October in Central California? I research EVERYTHING. It’s ridiculous, really. One of my biggest “d’oh!” moments after finishing KINDLING THE MOON was finding out that pygmy hedgehogs are illegal pets in California. Of course, Cady does a lot of illegal things, so it’s really no stretch that she would have an illegal hedgehog as a pet (and I wouldn’t have changed it, just mentioned it) but the Crazy Research Me dropped the ball on that one.

 Arcadia is a totally Kick-ass character; she’s one of my favorite urban fantasy heroines. Who are some of your favorite urban fantasy Heroines?

That’s awfully kind of you to say! I like writing Arcadia because she can kick ass, but she’s also human and prone to making mistakes. I like that she’s not perfect. So I guess I’m drawn to other UF characters that are imperfect, too, like Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan, Carolyn Crane’s Justine Jones, Stacia Kane’s Chess Putnam.

What other projects can we look forward to reading from you in the future?

I recently finished a historical paranormal romance, so maybe you’ll see that in the future. And I’m considering the possibility of writing a young adult series from Jupe’s point of view.

What are you currently reading right now or what are some books in your TBR pile?

I actually read a lot of romance—especially historical romance. But lately I’ve been reading a British erotic romance author named Charlotte Stein. She’s amazing! If you’re into that sort of thing (steamy), you should check out her book SHELTERED. And on the mystery/UF/horror side of the fence (non-steamy), I just finished THE RESTORER by Amanda Stevens. Really nice Southern ghost story. Spooky.

Do you have any advice to aspiring writers?

Best advice I can give is to carefully listen to all of the advice that other writers offer, then ignore 99% of it. You can’t break the rules until you know what they are, but that’s the end goal: to break them. The best authors do it with panache while being true to their own voice. It’s harder than it sounds!

Finish this statement: You’ll enjoy Summoning the Night if you like…

Hmm… it’s hard to compare it to another book or series, and it crosses several genres. So I guess I’d say that you’ll enjoy it if you like: occult weirdness, quirky but believable characters, a dash of horror, a few laugh-out-loud moments, and a love story that takes more than one book to tell.

Thanks for stopping by Jenn! If you haven’t read the Arcadia Bell series yet, what are you waiting for?! ! Kindling the Moon, the first book in the series was one of my top reads of 2011, and it’s no surprise that Summoning the Night is my top so far for 2012!

Books can be purchased here on Amazon or Book Depository

Jenn has kindly offered to giveaway (1) book to a follower of this blog! Winner can choose the first book in the series, Kindling the Moon or the second book in the series, Summoning the Moon. 

Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL, as long as Book Depository ships to your country. :) Please fill out the rafflecopter below. 

Must be a follower of this blog. 
Extra Entry: Leave a question/comment for Jenn 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Review: Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett

Title: Summoning the Night
Author: Jenn Bennett
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Arcadia Bell #2

Paperback, 324 pages
Published on April 24, 2012 by Pocket Books 

Book can be purchased here on Amazon or Book Depository

Where did I get this book?: e-arc provided by author, but I did purchase a physical book for myself.

Summary (via Goodreads): MAGICAL TRICKS. DEMONIC TREATS.

After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia (Cady) Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year- Halloween- when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community. The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no. 

Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trial of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers- and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy. 

Reivew: Where to begin? I think my last review for the first book in the series started something like this LOL. I won’t recap the story like I usually do, since the blurb does a splendid job already.  The first book in the series, Kindling the Moon was one of my top books of 2011 and I was so excited to jump back on the wagon with Cady and company. While filled with excitement I couldn’t help but wonder, will this book be as good as its predecessor? The verdict, Mrs. Bennett delivers another outstanding novel that as wonderful as the first book, everything that readers love about the first book is brought into the sequel. The world building is as enchanting as ever, and is strong without needing so many paranormal creatures like other urban fantasy series out right now.  There are only three type of people that occupy Cady’s (Arcadia) world; magicians, demons and humans. What make this series are the characters and secondary characters.  Cady and Lon are still in the early stage of their relationship, I love that we see a realistic relationship, as it’s slowly builds (don’t worry there’s nothing boring about their relationship). Cady and Lon are still learning about one another, and when they have problems they talk and work it out.  We also get to see more of Jupe, Lon’s son who is hilarious! He is so charming, outgoing, and super funny you can’t help but love him. He definitely shines whenever he’s in a scene. He’s so smart and wise for a 14-year-old and at the same time he can be a total teenager.

The plot this time around gave me chills and Goosebumps (the good kind!), the snatcher picking off Hellfire club member’s kids…around Halloween?! Just when I thought I figured out who the snatcher was in the book, Mrs. Bennett surprises me yet again with the different twists/turns. The book is nonstop action, part mystery –part humor and even has its tender moments.  I don’t remember the last time a book  was able to make me smile one minute, tear up and cry the next and then laughing out loud all within a couple of pages. Cady, Lon and Jupe will always have a little place in my heart, and even the secondary characters  like Bob the sometime drunk earthbound and Hajo an earthbound junkie made quite an impression on me and I hope we get to see more of them in the future book. I look forward to the next Arcadia books to see where this little family goes and anything else Ms. Bennett writes.  This is a brilliant urban fantasy series, if you haven’t started it you’re totally missing out. This book has a REAL couple and thank goodness no love triangles, intriguing world-building, a great plot line, and interesting secondary characters. Mrs. Bennett unique writing style will definitely evoke your emotions whether she tickling your funny bone or pulling at heart strings….which is something not many authors can do that.

A little note to the author: Thank You Jenn for writing such an amazing story and for sharing your characters with us readers! You’re an a talented writer,  we all impatiently wait till the next Arcadia Bell book J