Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Book Review: "The Case of the Fickle Mermaid: A Brothers Grimm Mystery," by P.J. Brackston

About the book:
New York Times bestselling author P.J. Brackston sends Gretel off on another adventure, all grown up and investigating a series of mysterious disappearances off the coast of Germany.

Gretel -- yes, that Gretel -- is now working as a private investigator in 18th century Bavaria. Her professional interest is piqued when she begins to hear whispers of mysterious goings-on off the coast of Schleswig-Holstein: Sailors are disappearing, and there are rumors of mermaids and sea creatures and all manner of slippery, sea-based happenings.

Ordinarily, Gretel's interest in sea life does not extend beyond that which is edible, doused in butter and garlic, and already on the plate before her. However, funds are low, and the captain of the ship Arabella makes a tempting offer of good pay and a free cruise in return for her detective services.

With a splendid new wig packed, Hans as her bodyguard on the journey north, and the promise of two weeks of fine dining and erudite company whilst sailing around the picturesque Friesian islands, what could possibly go wrong?

My thoughts:
Brackston's Brothers Grimm Mystery Series is so much fun! I was first introduced to it when I read the previous book in the series, Once Upon a Crime. (See my review here.) I enjoyed it so much that I was thrilled to hear that Brackston had produced another mystery for her heroine, Gretel, who has the personality of Miss Piggy from the Muppets. In short, she's a riot! Gretel's obsession with her looks and her finances, her bumbling brother Hans, and the miserable accommodations aboard the ship do not deter her from solving the mysteries that have plagued the Arabella. Since Gretel is from a fairy-tale land, you can expect to find real mythical creatures in this novel, along with a lot of laughter. The Case of the Fickle Mermaid is highly entertaining, with mystery, humor and action aplenty.

P.S. If you prefer more serious fare, I highly recommend the books in Brackston's Witch series, too!

About the author:
P.J. Brackston is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Witch's Daughter; The Winter Witch; and Nutters. She is also the author of Gretel and the Case of the Missing Frog Prints and Once Upon a Crime. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and is a Visiting Lecturer for the University of Wales, Newport. Brackston lives in Wales with her partner, Simon, and their two children.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this book to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Julie Klassen’s "The Painter’s Daughter" Coloring Contest

14385-PAINTERS DAUGHTER contest meme 
Grab your colored pencils because Julie Klassen is hosting a coloring contest! Stop by the contest page to download and print The Painter's Daughter coloring page and channel your inner artist. One master colorist will receive a signed copy of The Painter’s Daughter, two grown-up coloring books (Enchanting English Garden and Live Loved), and a set of 24 Prismacolor colored pencils.

Scan and email your entry to Amy Green with the subject line “The Painter’s Daughter Coloring Contest” to enter the first round of judging by December 8. Then stop by Julie's Facebook page beginning December 10 to vote for your favorite (and tell your friends to vote, too)! The winner will be announced at Julie's Facebook event on December 15 at 7 p.m. CST. Ready? Set. Color!

Book Review: "The Golden Braid," by Melanie Dickerson

About this book:
The one who needs rescuing isn't always the one in the tower....

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man. She paints beautiful flowering vines on the walls of her plaster houses. She sings so sweetly she can coax even a beast to sleep. But there are two things she is afraid her mother might never allow her to do: learn to read and marry.

Fiercely devoted to Rapunzel, her mother is suspicious of every man who so much as looks at her daughter and warns her that no man can be trusted. After a young village farmer asks for Rapunzel's hand in marriage, Mother decides to move them once again -- this time, to the large city of Hagenheim.

The journey proves treacherous, and after being rescued by a knight -- Sir Gerek -- Rapunzel, in turn, rescues him farther down the road. As a result, Sir Gerek agrees to repay his debt to Rapunzel by teaching her to read. Could there be more to him than his arrogance and desire to marry for riches and position?

As Rapunzel acclimates to life in a new city, she uncovers a mystery that will forever change her life. In this Rapunzel story unlike any other, a world of secrets and treachery are about to be revealed after seventeen years. How will Rapunzel finally take control of her own destiny? And who will prove faithful to a lowly peasant girl with no one to turn to?

My thoughts:
If you like fairy-tale romances and Christian fiction, this is the book for you! Often, when I read Christian fiction, it feels like the author wrote it as a mainstream book and then awkwardly stuck in a few Bible verses or praying characters to force it into the Christian genre. That is not the case with this book. The Christian elements are smoothly integrated into the plot as Rapunzel learns to read the Bible, and she and Sir Gerek rely on God’s guidance to smooth the way. I really enjoyed getting to know Rapunzel and Gerek as they both had very troubled childhoods, which strongly shaped their adult views and actions. This was a sweet story that young adults and grown-ups alike will enjoy, with plenty of action and surprises.

About the author:
Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany, and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Friday, November 20, 2015

M9B Friday Reveal: Cover Reveal - "The Requiem Red" by Brynn Chapman with Giveaway #M9BFridayReveals


Welcome to this week’s M9B Friday Reveal!
This week, we are revealing the cover for
The Requiem Red by Brynn Chapman
an upcoming Month9Books Title!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!

The Requeim Red

Patient Twenty-nine. 
A monster roams the halls of Soothing Hills Asylum. Three girls dead. 29 is endowed with the curse … or gift of perception. She hears messages in music, sees lyrics in paintings. And the corn. A lifetime asylum resident, the orchestral corn music is the only constant in her life. 
Mason, a new, kind orderly, sees 29 as a woman, not a lunatic. And as his belief in her grows, so does her self- confidence. That perhaps she might escape, might see the outside world. 
But the monster has other plans. The missing girl's share one common thread ... each was twenty-nine's cell mate. 
Will she be next?
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Title: The Requiem Red
Publication date: 2016
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Brynn Chapman


Brynn Chapman is published in Historical and Historical Fantasy Romance for adult books. She also writes under R.R. Smythe for Young Adult Historical Fantasy. She also blogs with the wonderful authors, Grace Burrowes, Hope Ramsay, Alix Rickloff and many others at http://blameitonthemuse.com

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
Title will be sent to the winner upon it's release.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Spotlight on "Elementals: Season One" by S.G. Basu ~ Giveaway for an eBook and $10 Amazon Gift Card

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Title:  Elementals: Season 1
Author:  Author: S.G. Basu
Published:  September 29, 2015
Publisher:   Vinayaka Publishing
Genre:  Science Fiction Thriller
Content Warning:  Mild violence and language
Recommended Age:  15+

Synopsis:  Mayhem is about to visit Löthia.

Löthia is at peace -- after a millennium of genetic tinkering, Löthians’ power over the elements has been obliterated. The Elemental Wars that have plagued their civilization from the beginning of time is now distant history.

But have the Elementals been tamed for good?

Or is this just the quiet before the storm rips Löthia apart once again?

Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Excerpt from Elementals: Season 1 by S.G. Basu:

Nothing during the course of the grouchy summer day indicated that, by the time it was over, seventeen-year-old Anavyx Elon would be accused of the grisliest murder in recent Löthian history.

Dual complete moons blazed across the purple skies of Löthia that evening, and there shouldn’t have been any interruptions to Anavyx’s routine, yet there was.

She heard the faint noise of her bedroom door opening when she was halfway through her shower. Her body, warm from the water cascading down from the canopy over her head, stiffened immediately.

“Moma?” Anavyx called, voice trembling a little as her throat dried up with fear. No one replied.

It couldn’t be Moma.

Alana, her mother, was a top geneticist in the Peaks. Her evening consultation hours ended precisely at 2030 hours, not a moment before or after. There was no reason for her to leave her patients and come into the private section of the house looking for Anavyx.
Maybe it was Dadi.

Anavyx banished that idea with a shake of her head. It was impossible. Her father did not set foot in the house before midnight. Nothing except a calamity would bring him home this early. And even if he came home, he would never venture into her room. So who could it be?

There was no other noise after the door opened. That was the oddest thing—the silence. It made her insides curl up in a tight ball.

Anavyx reached for her robe and having wrapped its flowing expanse around herself, tiptoed forward to investigate. She barely took a step into her room, heart pounding uncontrollably fast and unbearably loud, when she saw him.

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About the Author:
S.G. Basu is an aspiring potentate of a galaxy or two. She plots and plans with wondrous machines, cybernetic robots, time travelers and telekinetic adventurers, some of whom escape into the pages of her books.

Once upon a previous life on planet Earth, S.G. Basu trained to be an engineer, and her interest in science and her love of engineering show up time and again in her books.

She shares her home with a large collection of Legos, a patient husband, and resident inspiration and entertainer, her daughter.

Signup for S.G. Basu’s Newsletter

Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • $10 Amazon gift card
  • An ecopy of Elementals, Season 1
Giveaway is international. Ends at 11:59 PM EST on November 30, 2015. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

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Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.

M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz: "Lifer" by Beck Nicholas and "A Murder of Magpies" by Sarah Bromley with Giveaway #T4T


Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T
presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!
Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy,
and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!
You just might find your next read!
This week, #T4T presents to you:
Lifer by Beck Nicholas and
A Murder of Magpies by Sarah Bromley
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!


Asher is a Lifer, a slave aboard the spaceship Pelican. A member of the lowest rung of society, she must serve the ship’s Officials and Astronauts as punishment for her grandparents’ crimes back on Earth. The one thing that made life bearable was her illicit relationship with Samuai, a Fishie boy, but he died alongside her brother in a freak training accident. 
Still grieving for the loss of her loved ones, Asher is summoned to the upper levels to wait on Lady, the head Official’s wife and Samuai’s mother. It is the perfect opportunity to gather intel for the Lifer’s brewing rebellion. There’s just one problem—the last girl who went to the upper levels never came back. 
On the other side of the universe, an alien attack has left Earth in shambles and a group called The Company has taken control. Blank wakes up in a pond completely naked and with no memory, not even his real name. So when a hot girl named Megs invites him to a black-market gaming warehouse where winning means information, he doesn’t think twice about playing. But sometimes the past is better left buried. 
As Asher and Blank’s worlds collide, the truth comes out—everyone has been lied to. Bourne Identity meets Under the Never Sky in this intergalactic tale of love and deception from debut novelist Beck Nicholas.
add to goodreads


“It’s got great action, believable relationships, and a plot full of rebellion and secrecy and lies that won't leave you disappointed.”Angela, Angela's Library

Lifer was a very interesting book that managed to keep me turning the pages…”Bri, Books and Ashes

“I give LIFER five stars out of 5 because of its ingenuity and fantastic plot line. It really will take your breath away. J. Keller Ford, Author



I always wanted to write. I’ve worked as a lab assistant, a pizza delivery driver and a high-school teacher, but I always pursued my first dream of creating stories. Now, I live with my family near Adelaide, halfway between the city and the sea, and am lucky to spend my days (and nights) writing young-adult fiction.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram

FINAL_ A Murder of Magpies_Bromley

Winter in Black Orchard, Wisconsin, is long and dark, and sixteen-year-old Vayda Silver prays the snow will keep the truth and secrecy of the last two years buried. Hiding from the past with her father and twin brother, Vayda knows the rules: never return to the town of her mother’s murder, and never work a Mind Game where someone might see. 
No one can know the toll emotions take on Vayda, how emotion becomes energy in her hands, or how she can’t control the destruction she causes. But it’s not long before her powers can no longer be contained. The truth is dangerously close to being exposed, placing Vayda and her family at risk. 
Until someone quiets the chaos inside her. 
Unwanted. That’s all Ward Ravenscroft has ever been. To cope, he numbs the pain of rejection by denying himself emotions of any kind. Yet Vayda stirs something in him. He can’t explain the hold she has on him -- inspiring him with both hope and fear. He claims not to scare easily, except he doesn’t know what her powers can do. Yet. 
Just as Vadya and Ward draw closer, she finds the past isn’t so easily buried. And when it follows the Silvers to Black Orchard, it has murder in mind.
add to goodreads


The writing will really suck you in and help you feel lost in a different world for awhile.” – Krista, Cubicle Blindness

“The tone, the pacing and ... the atmosphere was perfect.”Paula, Her Book Thoughts

“...a strong addition to the YA world with its brooding tone and strong finish.” – Christina, Ensconced in Lit


Sarah Bromley

Sarah Bromley lives near St. Louis with her husband, three children, and two dogs. She likes the quiet hours of morning when she can drink coffee in peace, stare into the woods behind her house, and wonder what monsters live there. When she’s not writing or wrangling small children, she can be found volunteering at a stable for disabled riders.
Connect with the Author: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!

 Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Forsaken Book Tour: Giveaway for a Clean Teen Publishing Mystery Box or $25 Amazon Gift Card

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Title:  The Forsaken
Series:  The Abandoned Series, Book 2
Author:  C. J. Hart
Published:  November 2, 2015  
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Genre:  YAm Paranormal Romance
Content Warning: Violence and Language
Recommended Age:  13+

Synopsis:  Fear. Uncertainty. Wonder. Those three things are thrumming through me, pounding in my ears and coating my tongue with acid. All words that escape my mouth are wrong; I can’t explain how it feels to not remember—for chunks of my memory and hours of my night to have been erased. Erased? No… forgotten.

How do you forget whether you killed a person or not the night before?

Cassie Spencer’s human life is over, and the resulting consequences are flooding in. As she learns to adapt to her new life, pieces of her honorary family are unraveling. Every day is another spent worrying who Ash will take from her next. Though he’s not the only danger she should be concerned about.

A man turns up dead. Eaten.

The Hunters suspect Ash is behind it—one of his sadistic games. But who is really at fault?

And then there’s the mystery illness Cassie contracts, a disease unheard of by both her father and the elders. Can they find her a cure before her condition worsens?

Not every hero wears a cape. Some wear gray beanies.

Grab a copy of book 1, The Hunted, for FREE on Amazon!

Excerpt from The Forsaken by CJ Hart:


Almost five months ago, our dear leader traded his life, his alpha status, for a human. A weak, pitiful thing barely worth the energy—but good enough to eat, in my opinion. I kept asking myself, Why doesn’t he just slit her throat? Humans are annoying. Wasn’t he bored already? I couldn’t comprehend why, after endless days of playing the doting boyfriend, he hadn’t killed her yet.
But I was wrong.
Even more months ago, years ago, Sebby decided to quit munching on humans and chose to hunt animals instead. That’s when he went soft, lost his spine. He got a job at a record store. What does he think he is now—human?
At the same time, some major changes were snowballing.
The elders decided to allow Seb’s allegiance to the mortal race.
Kat sided with them.
And I decided to torture those they loved the most. Starting with Seb’s new girlfriend. An added bonus was that her father was a Hunter. Anything I did to her, directly and indirectly, he would undoubtedly feel. But when I saw her at the café that day, when Sebby was drooling all over her, I realized the best way to get to her father was to play a little game with her. And how do you make a teenage girl miserable? You kidnap her best friend.
I don’t recall her name, but I do remember her scream. She was a fighter, and she loved to squeal as I peeled her skin off strip by strip. Oh, what a treat it was to smell her fear.
I smirk at the memory, and then I grimace.
Cassie Spencer thinks she’s better than us. Better than me. That she’s good and honorable. It’s laughable, really. Now that she’s one of us, we’re equals. It’s only a matter of time before she screws up again. And I only have to be in the right place, the right time, to catch it.
And it will happen.
She’s the same as the rest of us—whether she likes to admit that or not. She’s a monster. A freak.
The only one who gets under my skin.

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About the Author:

Renée Shearer writes young-adult fiction under the name of C.J. Hart. Renée is a full-time writer who lives in Sydney, Australia, with a crazy pooch named Abbey and a boisterous, somersaulting rescue budgie named Kaleb. Her days are spent living in her fictional worlds and consuming way too much caffeine. She has an (unhealthy?) obsession with all things cupcake- and coffee-related plus Kerouac and YA dystopia/fantasy books. Renée can often be found surrounded by books, marathoning crime shows and munching on vegan goodies, on Twitter (@Renee_Shearer), Pinterest, or dancing in a rainstorm. Renée hopes to one day visit Rio and is currently learning Brazilian Portuguese.

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Clean Teen Publishing Links:

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Giveaway Details:
There is a tour-wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • If US, the winner will receive a mystery box from Clean Teen Publishing
  • If International, the winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.
Ends November 22nd at Midnight (EST). Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer: Susan Heim on Writing is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment.