Make Believe Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

This tour stop is ever so slightly different. Make Believe is an anthology featuring stories influenced by its cover image, however, I am a part of Terri Rochenski’s tour and as such am going to be promoting the anthology for her. Read on for my thoughts!

Make Believe – Fantasy Anthology

Publication date: 3rd December 2012

Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski

An impetuous act unwittingly makes Alesuela the fulfillment of the Sovereign’s Blood Oath to their Goddess. In five days, she’ll be forced to make the greatest choice of her life: become the virginal sacrifice already promised, or force the man she loves most to die in her place.

With an impossible choice in front of her, she searches for ways to undo the oath, and in her quest, finds not everything in her life is as she expects.

Goodreads.

Amazon Barnes & Noble | Amazon UK | All Romance  |  Diesel eBooks | Books on Board

Author Bio

Terri started writing stories in the 8th grade, when a little gnome whispered in her brain. Gundi’s Great Adventure never hit the best seller list, but it started a long love affair with the fantasy genre.

Today she enjoys an escape to Middle Earth during the rare ‘me’ moments her two young daughters allow. When not potty training or kissing boo-boos, she can be found on her back patio in the boondocks of New Hampshire, book or pencil in hand.

Website | Blog Facebook Twitter Goodreads

[Review] Sacrificial Oath by Terri Rochenski

The Make Believe anthology focuses on stories inspired by the cover art, the catch: no Red Riding Hood tales, and the story must have a happy ending. A dozen different scenarios pop into my head just from a glance so you can imagine the variety included within the anthology.

Terri Rochenski’s publishing debut is within Make Believe. You’ve seen the blurb above so I don’t need to go on about the story itself which played out well, though the ending felt a little like a deus ex machina however it was a nice ending so I won’t complain, especially when you consider Terri’s talented writing. I very much can’t wait for her newly contracted fantasy series with J. Taylor Publishing in 2013! This little taster for Terri Rochenski has convinced me of her worth as a fantasy author. Watch out for this one, guys.

Giveaways

This giveaway is hosted by Terri but you can enter on Once Upon A Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also win an ebook of Make Believe right here. Check out not only Terri’s publishing debut, but the other talented authors in the anthology too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

[Review] The Twelve Days to Christmas by Michele Gorman

Warning: The following review and/or blurb may contain or does contain spoilers for previous books in the series.

Author: Michele Gorman
Series:
 Single in the City #3
Genre: Chick Lit
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 120
Published: September 2012
Source: Review copy from author
Amazon (UK/US) | Book Depository | Book Finder
Goodreads

First Sentence
This wasn’t your normal proposal.
Blurb

“What if his proposal had an expiration date?”

Hannah’s in a bit of a pickle. In twelve days she flies from Hong Kong to the US with Sam, where he’s finally going to meet her parents… and ask to marry her.

Since overcoming a rather rocky patch in their relationship (which was totally his fault), he really is a new man, and they’re completely in love. The problem is, she feels panicky every time she contemplates matrimony. Which is perfectly normal, isn’t it? Isn’t it?! She has no idea but she’s got to find out before he pops the question… because she’s not 100% sure she’s going to say yes. Which will make for a very uncomfortable family holiday. He’s got to ask her before they go. So Operation Proposal begins.

As time ticks down to their flight, Hannah realizes that her own secrets are threatening their future. Before she can be happy with Sam, she’s got a lot to learn about herself in the twelve days to Christmas.

Thoughts

Well now. I wasn’t expecting that. At the end of Misfortune Cookie we saw Hannah make a break from Sam who was just too hurtful to her. Yes! That was a great thing! I was so happy to see her liberate herself but then between then and The Twelve Days to Christmas, I don’t know how this happened, but suddenly Sam is going with her to meet her parents and she is positive that he’s going to propose but wants to be sure before he asks her dad’s permission so proceeds to try to convince him in various hilarious ways (the trip to the Chinese sex shop was my personal favourite) to propose beforehand so that she knows how she will react and not waste a journey.

It’s a very quick read being a novella at only 120 pages long and features a strongly happy ending which every Christmas book needs. I enjoyed reading it a lot and felt the rewritten ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ lines at the start of each chapter really added to it. Not only do they provide a festive feel that I wasn’t sure I felt with the main story, but they made me giggle.

I am quite sad that there won’t be any more books in the Single in the City series but I am glad that we saw more of Hannah than just what we saw in Single in the City. There are too many chick lit standalones that leave me longing for more so thank you to Michele for that! And The Twelve Days to Christmas progressed and wrapped up Hannah’s story fantastically well.

The Twelve Days to Christmas can be read without having read the first two in the series, in fact if you look towards the end of the post I have linked a review from somebody who has done this, but I honestly think that this series is best as a whole and you’ll enjoy it much more if you’ve read all of Hannah’s expatriate adventures.

If you have enjoyed Michele’s books or would like to purchase them as a gift for somebody, she is more than happy to inscribe with Kindlegraph or a signed bookplate. Go here if you’re interested.

Other reviews of The Twelve Days to Christmas can be found on Tifferz Book Review, who hasn’t read the rest of the series, and Book Binge.

The Single in the City series:

1. Single in the City
2. Misfortune Cookie
3. The Twelve Days to Christmas

On My Wishlist #17

Hosted by Book Chick City.

If I Die by Rachel Vincent

Goodreads

I finally started reading the Soul Screamers series and OH MY GOD I LOVE IT! I think I prefer it to Morganville in some ways. I have 1-4 already (I won them in a big giveaway – aren’t I lucky), but I’d really, really like to get book 5 to read alongside them!

The Map of Time by Félix J. Palma

Goodreads

I’ve wanted this utterly genre bending novel for a long time now. Some kind of.. steampunk time travel featuring famous names from history and.. oh there’s so much in there. But this cover is simply gorgeous. I’ve loved all of the other covers but this one takes the biscuit for me.

Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Goodreads

In the past week, I’ve started coveting anthologies. Zombie, urban fantasy, steampunk, fairy tale.. it doesn’t matter. I want them all. I have no clue where this has come from because I’ve never really got on with short stories in the past but I’ve found myself craving the short bursts of whatever genre goodness. I think this one may be my most wanted. Steampunk and full of fantastic authors? Yes please.

A Little Christmas Fiction

Hooboy. I have it firmly implanted in my head that this is crap so yeah, be nice, ha! This is just a little something I wrote during NaNoWriMo to post here around Christmas. It features the characters from my main NaNo story fairly early on before much has happened with a little festive flair. Things to know beforehand? Ellie is from our world and ended up in this fairy tale world known only as ‘the Kingdom’. Enjoy. :)

Guest Post: Cicada Holiday Short

Eeeh! So excited for this post! I mentioned to Belle that it would be awesome if she wrote a little short story on how the Cicada cast of characters spends Christmas and here it is. You may have already seen it as it has been posted on a few other blogs as well but still I hope you enjoy! :)

This is the Christmas pre-Cicada, so if you haven’t read Cicada yet (which you should), there aren’t any spoilers just plenty of holiday fun.

Cicada Holiday Companion Story

By Belle Whittington

Christmas in our small, inconsequential, southeast Texas town is usually a cold and rainy time of the year. In retrospect, the snow and sleet that covered everything, including the haunted forest, in a blanket of white must have been a harbinger that everything was about to change. However, at the time we thought it was a good omen. At the time we thought that all the sadness of losing our father and brother would finally disappear and we could recall the memories of Christmases past without shedding tears or hiding the pain under a pillow at night when all the rest of the world had fallen asleep, dreaming of sugar-plums and Santa Clause.

And so we filled Sprinkles with the spicy, sweet aromas of Christmas, drawing in customers with candy canes painted on the front windows and strings of twinkling lights swirling around the shrubs in front of Mom’s bakery. Giant gingerbread men dangled from the branches of the Norfolk pine tree that Andrew had bought at the Willis Boy Scout Christmas tree lot, and strands of popcorn and gumdrops adorned the tree, forming giant Ws from the blinking star on the top to the piles of the deceptively-wrapped empty boxes stacked beneath the decorated boughs.

Mom closed the bakery early on Christmas Eve. Most of the regular customers had already picked up their boxes of decorated, spicy gingerbread men or bags of sugar-sprinkled Christmas cookies, so there was no reason to stay open when we had a party to prepare for at home.

I’ll always remember how weird Everett had behaved the days leading up to Christmas. Well…weirder than usual, I should say. But it was a good kind of weird, just like all of his weirdness was. When Mom and I arrived at home from the bakery, he was already there, attempting to shovel the newly-fallen snow from the driveway and sidewalk. Mom tooted the horn on the van, and he spun around, raising a hand to wave at us. He slipped on the ice and tumbled off the top step onto the snowman he and Andrew had made earlier.

“Bug Boy, you’ve killed the snowman!” I giggled, bounding out of the van and offering to give him a hand.

“I’ll build a new one…just for you,” He pulled me down into the snow with him. Tumbling off the mound that had formed the base of the snowman, I landed on my back and Everett on his elbow above me. “I’d do anything for you,” his blue eyes blinked behind his foggy, snow-covered glasses.

I caught myself stroking the side of his face with my gloved hand and a strange sensation sprang to life inside of my stomach, twirling and growing rapidly. “Everett…” I whispered, my breath hanging in the air around us like a mysterious fog.

Before I could say anything else, a snowball thrown by Andrew plastered across the side of Everett’s head. He was immediately on his feet pulling me up with him. The snowball fight that followed was epic!

By the time we were frozen to the bone, Mom was calling us to come inside for hot chocolate topped with fluffs of whipped cream and crushed candy cane bits. A fire burned brightly in the fireplace, and the twinkling Christmas tree lights reflected blurred colorful dots across the walls and ceiling.

“The guests will arrive soon,” Mom said as she plopped a platter of cookies on the coffee table in front of us. “Better grab a cookie while you can. They are fresh out of the oven!”

Everett shoved a chocolate chip cookie in his mouth and mumbled something that sounded like, “omnomnomnom…”

“I better go clean up before everyone gets here,” Andrew said, looking down at his sweatshirt smudged with motor oil from working on his pickup truck.

After he left the living room, Everett rushed to the stack of presents under the tree and plucked a small one from behind a very large green-foil-wrapped gift that was in the obvious shape of a guitar. The tag on the larger present proved what I was thinking. It was to Andrew from Everett. I giggled and shook my head as he made his way back to the couch and sat down next to me.

“This is for you,” he pushed his glasses up with his index finger and handed me the small present that had been concealed behind the large, foil-wrapped guitar. “Open it.”

“Now?” I looked at the square present bundled in striped paper and bound with a bundle of ribbons way too big for a box that size.

“Yes!” He nodded, smiling. “While we’re alone.”

I untangled the ribbon that had been wrapped around the package multiple times and ripped the paper off. Before I could register what it was, Everett blurted out, “It’s an iPod! You said you wanted one, remember? A few months ago…we were at the mall and someone walked by with headphones in, and you said you wanted one.”

“Oh, my gosh! Everett! But it cost so much! You didn’t have to do this!” I said while opening the box to reveal the shiny mp3 player.

“Turn it over,” he said, while guiding my hand. “I had it engraved. See? It says ‘To Blair. From Bug Boy. And I just had that little heart put on there. It’s no big deal. Just a little heart.” He pushed his glasses up again and smiled.

That weird sensation swirled again in my stomach, like fireflies fluttering around a glowing candle. “It’s so pretty, Everett!” I turned it over in my hand once more, stroking the engraving and the little heart. “It’s perfect. Thank you.” Those last two words were almost a whisper.

I meant to turn my face back toward him and hug him. But he was quicker. He placed one hand on my right cheek and his lips found their way to my left one, kissing me once…twice…moving closer to my lips…when…Andrew walked in and cleared his throat, completely ruining the moment.

“Uh…it’s snowing again and David and Natalie just pulled in,” he ran his hand through his ruffled brown hair and stammered awkwardly. “Just thought you’d want to know.”

“Oh, okay,” I blushed, looking anywhere but at my big brother. Andrew walked out, leaving Everett and me alone once more.

“You have to wait to open my present,” I smiled, looking up into Everett’s bright eyes.

A wide smile blazed across his face, speaking more than I could discern. It contained a double-meaning that I couldn’t figure out. So I did the safe thing and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and turned to go to the kitchen where the guests were beginning to congregate.

David’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hargrave, arrived shortly after he and Natalie. Mrs. Hargrave was carrying a large, red poinsettia, and Mr. Hargrave had a bottle of wine in one hand and a box of cigars in the other. They were Grandpa’s favorite cigars, and he slapped Mr. Hargrave on the back while inviting him into the living room for a smoke.

Grandma, dressed in a Christmas sweater and jingle bell earrings, poured more hot chocolate into mugs while shaking her head. She’d been trying to get Grandpa to stop smoking for years, and she had recently gotten him to cut way back on the cigars. He’d usually chewed on a short cigar without ever lighting up. But judging by how quickly he retrieved a lighter from his shirt pocket, it looked like he planned on lighting one up.

Natalie was carrying a brightly-decorated gift bag stuffed with tissue paper and a small stack of Christmas cards, each decorated with a candy cane. She hugged me and stuffed the handles of the gift bag into my hand telling me that it was for me. Then, the excitement got the best of her, and she blurted out that she’d gotten me a manicure kit and some holiday-scented bubble bath. I hugged her and thanked her, knowing that I must appear to be a complete heathen compared to her perfectly-manicured self.

Everett’s dad, Mr. Forster, arrived just as Mom was getting the ham out of the oven. He exclaimed how he was starving and was glad that he’d arrived just in time and plopped a tattered paper bag on the counter just before the bottom ripped open. He reached into the bag and pulled out a vegetable tray, a fruit tray, and a bottle of apple cider. He’d just made a stop by Kroger on his way to our house from the university where he taught history.

As Mom was crumpling the tattered paper bag to toss it into the kitchen trash, Mr. Forster reached into his coat and quickly produced a leather-bound book. He slipped it into Mom’s apron pocket as if to keep from calling attention from the others in the room. Too late. Even though no one else noticed, I did. And I also noticed how Mom nodded and left the room, with her hand stuffed into her apron pocket, and headed for Dad’s study. I made a mental note to search for that little book as soon as I got the chance.

Andrew began singing Deck the Halls really loud and snapped me back into the moment. Before I knew it, David had joined in and Mom, Grandpa, and Mr. Hargrave had returned to the kitchen, singing along. So I had no choice but to add my voice to the chorus, however out of tune it was. I glanced behind me to see that Everett was still wearing that same broad, goofy smile on his face while singing.

I giggled, knowing there would be a time when I would hold onto that memory. Knowing that one memory, surrounded by loved ones in the kitchen on Christmas Eve, with that smile on Everett’s face would get me through a tough time…

Little did I know that it wouldn’t be that far in the future that I would grasp onto that one memory to keep me in the present and give me hope. Little did I know on that snowy, wintry Christmas Eve, that one day, a year from now, I would find myself lying bloody and broken on the jungle floor in South America, grappling with whether I should give up or try to fight for my life.

Little did I know that one memory would make me choose to fight…

In My Mailbox #44

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.

Birthday week! There may be stuff at my new address which I can’t get to just yet, including these which I won on Friday *SQUEE*, but we should be moving in the week so yay. The plan is currently Wednesday and I’m panicking about packing my books while I get this post done. *bites nails and sobs* Even so, I had a mini heart attack when I piled up this week’s books.. I knew I’d picked up a few this week but this is one BIG pile.

Okay so I screwed up taking this picture but I’m on a timescale sadly. Please ignore the grotty drink mats in the corner, they’re more absorbent than anything but keeps my desk clean. That’s basically the £50 Amazon voucher from my dad who is spending no end of money on my car insurance, some new clothes I needed (hooray for not looking like a sack of potatoes), and a few bits we’ll need for the new flat. He bugs me sometimes but can’t say I don’t love him to bits. And my favourite birthday card from dear old Hanna <3 I can only wish that my blog theme looked like that!

The Books

Sneak attack birthday present from Dan:

  • The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey | Goodreads

I’d been pining after this one because I’m in a huge Christmas chick lit mood and this one sounds loverly! So I was ecstatic when it turned up. :D The plan? Massive mug of hot chocolate, blanket, this book, Christmas Eve. Can’t wait!

From The Works:

  • Thin Air (Weather Wardens #6) by Rachel Caine | Goodreads
  • Full Moon Rising (Riley Jenson Guardian #1) by Keri Arthur | Goodreads
  • Blameless (Parasol Protectorate #3) by Gail Carriger | Goodreads
  • Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence | Goodreads
  • Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth | Goodreads

I wanted one last browse in our 2-floored branch of The Works in Leicester before we go and I picked all of these up for £9. I also spotted Mary & Elizabeth, a historical fiction I’ve been eyeing up for a few months, one of the Paige Toon books, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by Claudia Carroll, a chick lit on my wishlist, The Knife of Never Letting Go series by Patrick Ness for £7… but still no Windfall (book 4 of Weather Wardens). I’m only missing that one and the last 3 now! And yeah, I did hold back a little.

For review:

  • Dead on the Delta (Annabelle Lee #1) by Stacey Jay | Goodreads
  • Waking Nightmares (Shadow Saga #5) by Christopher Golden | Goodreads
  • Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner | Goodreads
  • Fracture by Megan Miranda | Goodreads
The first three are from Simon & Schuster. I put my name down as being interested in a few things and wasn’t expecting anything quite so soon so that was a nice surprise this week. And Fracture is from Bloomsbury which I can’t wait to read, it looks great!
The Ebooks

A Clockwork Christmas | Goodreads

A Christmas steampunk anthology from NetGalley. I really, really couldn’t resist and I’m reading it now and I’m bloody terrified of its’ campness! Ha. Needless to say.. it is definitely a romance.

What did you get this week?