Gratitude Giveaway Hop: November 15 – 30

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I’m joining the Gratitude Giveaway Hop (November 15th to 30th, 2014), hosted by I Am A Reader.

For this giveaway, one person will win.  This person can pick one young-adult novel or cozy mystery of his/her choice.

Isla and the Happily Ever After Snow White Red-Handed Something Real Atlantia Suede To Rest Heir Of Fire

The books listed above are just my suggestion. You can pick something outside of what I’m suggesting as long as the book is published by December 1, 2014.

This giveaway is open internationally, provided amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.co.uk or The Book Depository can ship the physical book to you.

Please read the terms and conditions before entering.  Winner will be picked before December 10.  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Be sure to check out all the stops on the hop!

Suede To Rest – Diane Vallere

Suede To RestTitle: Suede To Rest
Series: A Material Witness Mystery, #1
Author: Diane Vallere
Published: Berkley, November 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][the book depository]

Unraveling family secrets can be murder in Suede to Rest…

THE FIRST BOOK IN THE ALL-NEW “MATERIAL WITNESS” MYSTERY SERIES

With her career as a dress designer in shreds, Polyester Monroe is looking forward to a fresh start. But as it all unfolds, the pattern to a new beginning looks a lot like murder.

When Poly Monroe was little, she loved playing in her family’s textile store. But after a fatal family tragedy, Land of A Thousand Fabrics was boarded up and Poly never expected to see the inside again. Now, as inheritor of the long-shuttered shop, she’s ready to restore the family business. However her two new kittens, Pins and Needles, aren’t the ones causing a snag in her plans…

Not everyone wants Poly back in San Ladrón, especially a powerful local developer pressuring her to sell—and leave town fast. But even when the threats turn deadly, she’s not ready to bolt. Because Poly is beginning to suspect that the murder behind the shop is tied to a mystery in her family’s unsettled past that she’s determined to solve…before her own life is left hanging by a thread.

So glad I picked this one up when I was in a reading slump…

Suede To Rest  introduces us to Polyester Munroe, a talented dress designer whose life is about to fall apart when playing safe fails to give her the level of ease she desires.

Polyester prefers people to call her Poly.  Although she grows up around fabrics, she likes to design dresses more than picking up the raw materials to sew.  When she becomes the inheritor of the family’s textile store, she has a life-altering decision to make – does she want to sell the store or keep it?

I like that the story is not just about Poly playing the amateur sleuth.  Poly is a believable character who goes about life just like you and me.  She has dreams she’d like to achieve and she’s practical enough to know when she must wear black to hide stains and minimize embarrassment.  A bit on the clumsy side, she has her share of experience knowing when not to act and when to play safe.  I like that in the story, she gradually learns what she is truly passionate about, and it’s wonderful to see her warming up to the idea that there are friendly people in San Ladrón just like everywhere else.

I also like that there is not one but two mysteries to solve in this story.  The villain here seems normal and ordinary, and I have to say, I wouldn’t have suspected if Poly didn’t start re-examining the friendly faces in the neighborhood.

Overall an enjoyable read, Suede To Rest  offers an entertaining introduction to a cast of pleasant, good-humored characters.  I had a great time getting acquainted with Genevieve (the tea shop owner), Charlie (the mechanic), and the Lopezes (the cleaning ladies).  I look forward to meeting them again in the next book.

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Eternal – C C Hunter

EternalTitle: Eternal
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark, #2
Author: C. C. Hunter
Published: St. Martin’s Griffin, October 2014
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com]

Just when Della feels like she’s starting to figure out her life, she finds herself reborn … and her new existence comes with a whole different rulebook.

Della’s secret powers always made her feel like an outsider in the human world. Now, just when she’s starting to feel like she belongs—at Shadow Falls, a camp for teens with paranormal powers—her life is turned upside down all over again. Attacked by a deadly virus, she must make the difficult choice to be reborn. It’s her only chance at survival, but it comes with a price: It irreparably bonds her to Chase, a tall, dark and mesmerizing vampire who makes her laugh one minute and infuriates her the next.

Chase already knows too many of Della’s secrets, and being eternally bonded to him is the last thing she wants. Even worse, she doesn’t fully understand what their bond means. Is the attraction she’s started feeling for Chase real—or does fate have something else in store? And what does that mean for Steve, the hot shapeshifter whose kisses make her weak in the knees? Now Della’s battered heart is about to take another hit. While investigating her latest case, she discovers shocking evidence about her father’s dark past, making her question everything she believes to be true … and her place in the world she loves.

Eternal  is the second book in the Shadow Falls: After Dark series.

Della continues to be my favorite character.  I like that she cares for her cabin mates, Miranda and Kylie.  She may not know how to hug another person without feeling awkward but she surely knows when to stop Miranda from doing stupid things like eating too much ice-cream!

From the synopsis, we know Della has two love interests.  While the story seems to favor one over another, I’m still not sure if both Steve and Chase are good enough for her.   The problem with these guys is that they have one thing in common – they like to omit sharing important details with Della, and then they blame her for not trusting them!  I may not know a lot about guys but I surely think Della deserves someone who is way better, don’t you think?

What I love about this installment is the part about the rescue mission.  Della is amazing here – she literally kicks ass – and I just hope she’ll be offered her dream job working with the authority soon.

A wonderful installment with action, suspense and unexpected revelation, Eternal  gave me the perfect excuse to stay up late and keep the fireplace roaring.  I just wished we’d learn more about Della’s father’s side of the family in the end, but given the ghastly circumstances, I bet we’ll find out more of the family secrets very soon.

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One Potion In The Grave – Heather Blake

One Potion in the GraveTitle: One Potion In The Grave
Series: A Magic Potion Mystery, #2
Author: Heather Blake
Published: Signet, October 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][the book depository]

From the author of the Wishcraft Mysteries

Carly Bell Hartwell’s love potions are always in demand in Hitching Post, Alabama, the wedding capital of the South.…

When Katie Sue Perrywinkle walks into the Little Shop of Potions, Carly is surprised and delighted to see her old childhood friend. Katie Sue fled her hometown and a troubled family over a decade ago. But she’s not back for a social visit. She’s come to settle a score with Senator Warren Calhoun, who is in town for his son’s high-profile wedding.

But before Katie Sue has a chance to voice any objections, she’s forced to forever hold her peace. After finding her friend dead, Carly vows to find her murderer. Were the corrupt Calhouns willing to go to any lengths to avoid a scandal? Did Katie Sue’s family take the term “bad blood” to a whole new level? And why did the bride-to-be come to Carly for a love potion? As Carly gets closer to the truth, a killer is planning a very chilly reception.…

I’ve enjoyed reading the Wishcraft Mysteries by Heather Blake.  When I saw the release of the  Magic Potion Mysteries  last year, I grabbed and devoured the first book A Potion To Die For in one setting.  I liked Carly as well as her family and friends, and when One Potion in the Grave was out last week, I bought a copy.  I’m happy to share that I like this one even more than  A Potion To Die For.

Carly was the owner of the Little Shop of Potions.  She’s a healer and she’d been using her gifts to help many people.  When her childhood friend Katie Sue Perrywinkle paid her a visit and later on found dead in the woods, Carly knew she must do something to find out why her friend was killed.  What she didn’t expect was the danger she’d be in when she started sleuthing around.  Could she uncover the truth?

I must say Carly wasn’t the smartest amateur sleuth that I’ve read but I liked how loyal she was to her family as well as her friends.  She loved coffee and anything chocolaty, and I liked that she’d get her mama some sweet pastries when she knew her mama was under stress.  It’s really fun to watch her interact with her aunts – her aunts could be extraordinary dramatic and hilarious – and I had a few good laughs when she talked with her friends, Ainsley and Caleb.

The Perrywinkles weren’t the cleverest bunch and the Calhouns?  They were calculating!  They wouldn’t mind using their money and connections to get what they wanted, and so you could imagine how frustrating Carly was when many of her potential leads turned out to be dead-ends.  There were a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and when the truth was revealed, I liked that it brought out more goods than bads – I just loved the people living in this place called Hitching Post!

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P.S. If you like stories set in a small town with people who are mostly friendly and a little quirky and wild, you’ll have an enjoyable time reading the Magic Potion Mysteries.  There is currently a book giveaway (US only) at Lori’s Reading Corner (end date: October 21).  So hop over now, and Good Luck!

Unbreakable – C C Hunter

UnbreakableTitle: Unbreakable
Series: Shadow Falls: After Dark, novella
Author: C. C. Hunter
Published: St. Martin’s Griffin, September 2014
Source: received a copy from publisher
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com]

He isn’t everything he says he is.  He’s even more…

Who is Chase Tallman, the newest member of Shadow Falls? What made him into the sexy, mysterious vampire he is today? And what led him to Della Tsang?

Step back in time and unearth the secrets that haunt him.

The secret of how he became a vampire—and how he knows so much about being reborn.  Secrets about his first love, his family–and what steers him toward Della, the beautiful, complicated girl he just can’t seem to stay away from. The one who makes him want things he thought he’d given up on long ago.

It all began with a research study, a palm reader, and a plane crash that sent him on a quest…for a love that’s unbreakable.

If you’ve read Reborn,  you’d know Chase Tallman was a new student at Shadow Falls.  He’s a vampire – a sexy, mysterious one – who seemed charming, dangerous and very capable of bringing out the cranky side of Della.

In Unbreakable,  we got to see Chase before he became a vampire.  He was an ordinary teen who loved his family and had a crush on his sister’s best friend.  He was fiercely protective and I liked that he didn’t back out of awkward situations and was always ready to take a stand even when things were tough and uncomfortable.

The novella is short.  It’s about 55 pages long but it helps me see Chase at a new angle.  To be honest, I didn’t know if I wanted to get to know Chase when I read Reborn.  He seemed to be a guy with an okay personality but he didn’t sound appealing to me.  But now that I get to know him a little better, I feel more eager to pick up book two and find out if he’s really on the good side.

Can’t wait to get reconnected with Burnett, Della and their friends in October 2014…

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Sisters’ Fate – Jessica Spotswood

Sisters' FateTitle: Sisters’ Fate
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #3
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Published: Putnam Juvenile, August 2014
Source: bought a copy
Links: [goodreads][amazon.com][bookdepository.com]

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she’s torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she’s certain she can never forgive Maura’s betrayal. And now that Tess’s visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

Since reading  Born Wicked,  I’ve been wondering about the kinds of awful things that might happen to turn the sisters against one another in the grand finale.  I got my answer in Sisters’ Fate.  And while it’s heartbreaking to witness all the brutality, chaos and deaths, I loved this book so much that I’d made a note in my planner to carve out time in the upcoming weeks to re-read the entire series.

The ending of Star Cursed  (book two) was agonizing.  Cate was deeply hurt and I wasn’t surprised to see her unleashing her anger in this installment.  It’s quick to see who Cate’s true friends were and I liked that we got to see some blossoming friendships among the witches living in the convent.

With Maura continued to act as though she knew what’s best for all witches, it’s not difficult to imagine how antagonistic things were among the sisters.  Tess was troubled by her nightmarish vision and when her bigger sisters kept fighting so much, she didn’t know who to turn to for comfort and support.  And it certainly didn’t help when Cate was exposed and became the most wanted witch in all of New England!  Things went downhill from there and the prophecy was ominously fulfilled, with heart-wrenching moments that made me gasp, cry and sigh.

In the end, I felt I understood all three sisters in ways I’d never expected.  They were all courageous, brave and powerful in their own way, and I felt I learned so much about sisterly bond through reading this series.

While I’d hoped to see what New England might become when Tess grew older, it’s satisfying to learn that most things ended on a hopeful note.  If I could make a wish, I’d wish that a spinoff series would be written featuring Tess as the main character.

Would you like to see more of Tess?

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