Saturday, August 31, 2013 Corset Review is proud to be the largest retailer of corsets. CorsetChick headquarters is located in sunny South Florida.   We are obsessed with corsets, with a side of lingerie and other related items :)

Why shop with us?    
-  Largest Variety of both regular and plus size corsets
- Crazy selection of hosiery, skirts, lingerie, clubwear, and much more to go with your corset order.
- Lowest prices on all items.   
- Lightning fast shipping + best service

My Review:
Unfortunately, I got the biggest size available, and it still was too small. I was a bit disappointed that for a site that promoted plus size corsets, they really didn't have too many. I'll admit I'm a big girl, but I've found other corsets that fit me. Plus, the bigger the size, the less variety there was, which I was a bit disappointed about.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Water Sign Review Tour

The teachers taught us how to kill and made us dream for death. It is the only place the Struggle leads. And even it was a lie.

I am too old to be a child. Still too young to be a soldier. But I am trapped as both.

My name is Ayax, though some call me the Water Sign – and this is the story of how I died so that the world might live.

In a future torn apart by catastrophic climate change, biological warfare, and geopolitical upheaval, corporations have taken over the role of nation states. Protected by the re-purposed United Nations and their dreaded Peacekeepers, these corporations and their mercenary armies wage endless wars across all that remains of civilization. And hidden in this chaos, someone or something is stealing children and programming them to fight. The warriors that emerge at age fourteen are vicious and unlike any the world has ever seen.

Exploited by his teachers, and pursued by others who would use him for their own ends, Ayax must navigate our dystopian future filled with treachery, unlikely allies and forbidden AI technology. Is he the Water Sign as the Kafkari believe he is, or merely another experimental weapon?

He gestured that we should approach the shutters, and when we did, I saw them. They were a dirty bunch. Though they obviously couldn’t understand each other, they played in mixed groups, herded by a handful of harried-looking clergy. All were far younger than Father Gregory, probably close to the JDF’s mandatory enlistment age, and they scolded, calmed, and instructed through the many languages with a familiarity that suggested language imprints like ours. Somehow the chaos never quite boiled over into an outright riot and I thought once or twice I even heard the words of mathematics and poetry being recited to the scraggly bunch.

Balls, scraps of rope, flimsy little kites, and tiny plastic men and creatures were passed around in long chains of haphazard bartering, cherished for a moment before given up for some greater precious thing.

It was a very poor school. It had none of the rigor of the Garden.

“This is what happens,” the monk said, suddenly by my side and observing through the shutters, “when our young men and women are killed by these unending conquests. Their children are left behind. And the State has little time for the poor.”

“These are all ...” I started, unable to hide my shock.

“Veterans’ children. We are just one of the thousands of orphanages in this city, young man. And I assure you, this is just a fraction of those others still living on the streets, begging. Most don’t willingly come to places like these.”

He watched his children with sudden fondness. But the melancholy never disappeared from the rasp of his voice.

“The more clever ones will end up in a kibbutz perhaps. Most do not. They stay here, underfed and under-taught until they reach enlistment age. A rare few stay behind—like the ones teaching out there, submitting their lives to God and their forgotten brothers and sisters.” The note of pride was unmistakable but quickly replaced. “Most go back out on the streets though. To be thieves usually, or prostitutes.”

“That is vile,” I told him.

“Indeed,” he said, gnarled fingers curling around the curving black iron of the shutters. The shadows patterned his face in a frightening way, and I saw the girls tense up.

“This is Jerusalem. Not the old city. Not the Knesset. Not the Temple or the New Basilica. This. Generation after generation. It never changes. It will never change.”

My Review:
I'm at a loss of how to rate this book. I've been sitting on it for a few days, and I'm still not sure. This is probably one of the most thought-provoking and difficult books I've ever read.

On one hand, I did enjoy reading this as a dystopian future, making the connections between our world and this one. At times chilling, it wasn't over the top, "repent or this can happen!", in-your-face social commentary, but elements were there all the same. I also liked the author's writing. I must say, for a debut novel, this is extremely impressive. A lot of debut authors either aren't very good writers yet, or they try and tone down the story to make it more palatable and popular. C.S. doesn't try and water his story down, and his prose is amazing, which just makes this an even better read.

However, at times, I had to take a break from reading, and I did cry while reading this. This is not an easy read, and I don't think anyone would be able to read straight through without having to take a break. I had to skip bits of the story that just got too violent or uncomfortable for me. The story also got really confusing at times, and I had to keep going back and re-reading things to understand. 

All in all though, this was a good book. Will I ever read this book again? Maybe in a few years or so. Would I recommend it? I would, but I would also caution readers. This is not a book for everyone, and if you can't handle violence with kids, then don't read. I'm not giving this a rating right now, because I still don't know what to rate it. Part of me never wants to read this again, and part of me thinks this deserves to be a bestseller. But one thing I've learned is that sometimes, books that make you think and leave you conflicted are some of the best books out there.

C.S. will be awarding an ebook (international) of science fiction novel REVISION 7 by Booktrope author Terry Persun at each stop to a randomly drawn commenter, and a grand prize of a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card will be awarded to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

August 27: Long and Short Reviews
August 28: It's Raining Books
August 30: Sharing Links and Wisdom

Author Bio and Links:
Casey S. Samulski, born May 31, 1985, is an American author - The Water Sign (2013) is his debut novel.

Casey studied literature as an undergraduate at Sarah Lawrence College before moving to New York City. There he worked as a freelance journalist covering the arts, local and national news, and public policy while continuing to work on his fiction. In 2009, Casey moved to Los Angeles where he currently resides. He has also studied applied Jungian psychology, the superflat movement in the arts, and quantum physics.

Casey began writing fiction at age seven and claims to have failed to complete more than one hundred novels before finishing his first, which he sold one month later to Booktrope Publishing.

Barnes & Noble

Woolzies Dryer Balls Review

Woolzies are 100% pure new zealand wool dryer balls that do everything that conventional fabric softeners do plus they reduce drying time by 25%. They are money back guaranteed to last for at least 1,000 loads!

Woolzies have no chemicals at all and are also hypoallergenic so are safe even for people with wool sensitivities.

My Review:

2 stars

I was not a big fan of these. While they did help soften my load of laundry, so do my fabric softener sheets, so the main appeal of these for me was the decreased drying time. My drying time was barely affected, even after multiple loads. My drying time was decreased 5-10% at most, nowhere near the stated 25%. 

I think this is a great concept that just didn't work out.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Review

There are hundreds of Bookoos across the world helping people buy and sell online without having to worry about shipping and the hassle that comes with it. Basic Bookoo membership is free but you can also buy a premiere membership.

Bookoo's premiere membership includes much higher visibility to browsing buyers, the ability to post multiple images to an item, and the ability to post more items than a basic account.

My Review:
4 stars

This was a cool site. I’m a member of several sites where you can get rid of old stuff you don’t want anymore, one of which is now defunct, and the other of which is more of a site for getting rid of stuff you don’t mind paying to ship. Other sites charge fees and are a hassle, so I’ve been looking for a site that makes getting rid of your old stuff easier, so when I heard about Bookoo, I had to give it a try.

Bookoo was relatively easy to use The site was nicely designed, and it was easy to post my stuff for sale. I could search for items by category or keyword, as well as location. Also, this is a good site for listing big items (i.e. cars, bikes, etc.) that you wouldn’t be able to list on other sites.

Now, my only problem is that this is pretty new. Which means that not everywhere has a Bookoo yet. You can start a petition for one in your area if you want one, but you will have to do some grunt work to get it set up. If you’re in a big city, it should be easy to trade and sell, but living in a smaller suburban area meant that there just wasn’t a lot of options for me. Very few people in my area are on Bookoo, so unless you’re in a big city or get lucky, there’s not a built in audience already using this. 

All in all, I think that Bookoo has promise. I love the idea of this site, especially since I haven’t run into any fees yet for using Bookoo (though I did receive a premium account for free), so you can keep all the money from your sales, which is always a bonus. Again, this site is still growing. It’s at about the child stage right now. It’s not brand new, but it’s also not very well-known or widespread yet. I will definitely use this site more in the future, and I can’t wait to see how Bookoo grows.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Shadow of Perception VBT

What happens when negligent plastic surgeons receive a taste of their own medicine…?

Chicago investigative reporter, Eden Risk, receives an unmarked envelope containing a postcard ordering her to watch the enclosed DVD…or someone else dies. No Police. After Eden watches the DVD, a gruesome, horrifying surgery, she turns to the private criminal investigation agency, CORE, for help. Only she hadn’t expected that help to come with a catch. Her former lover, Hudson Patterson, has been assigned to the case.

Hudson would rather have another CORE agent handle the investigation. Two years ago, he’d screwed things up with Eden…bad. And as more DVDs arrive, Eden and Hudson find themselves not only knee-deep in a twisted investigation, but forced to deal with their past, and the love they’d tried to deny.

Excerpt (Hero’s POV):
Hudson cleared his throat and eyed Eden’s cat. “I’ve only seen cats that size at the zoo or in the jungle. What the hell is it? Besides big and ugly.”

“Don’t talk like that.” She cupped Fabio’s only ear. “He’s sensitive.”

Eden had to have snapped at some point during the past two years. Literally. Since when did this woman, this no bullshit, headstrong woman, become all sensitive?

“Whatever, Dr. Doolittle,” he said, hiding his irritation. She could let her guard down, shed her hard as nails persona for a frickin’ cat, but she’d never bothered to make the effort with him.  During those months they’d been together, she’d come willingly to his bed, or she’d invite him to hers. Their pillow talk had been fun and sexy. They had exchanged stories, but never secrets. And after a while, that had bothered him. For the first time…ever, he’d been intrigued by a woman and he’d begun to trust enough to want to give more of himself than he’d ever been willing to in the past. Unfortunately, despite the intimate moments they’d shared, she had kept herself guarded. Instead of trying to find a way to break through her barriers, he’d gone and screwed everything up with her. He’d regretted that night for over two years. And the mistake she’d promised him she would never forgive.

Kristine, thanks so much for stopping by. So, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you for hosting today! I’m a stay at home mom of four kids (11, 10, 7 and 2). My life is crazy hectic. Between taking care of my kids and all that they are involved in, my two dogs and my career, I’m constantly on the go. I enjoy gardening (just don’t look at this year’s attempt at the veggie garden), am also a bit of an exercise freak, and I love kicking back and relaxing by our fire pit. My days and schedule can sometimes be so complicated. When it’s time to unwind I like to keep it simple!

How did you get started writing?
I began writing shortly after my first son was born. While I loved being a new mom, I needed something to keep me busy between diaper changes and feedings. During that time, my mom happened across an article in the paper that talked about a local writing group. She’d suggested I check it out, but at that point I didn’t take writing seriously. It was just something to do to pass the time. Five years later I met a woman who was part of that same writing group (Northeast Ohio Romance Writers of America). I attended a meeting and left totally inspired. From that point on I never looked at my writing as a hobby, but treated it as a career. It’s been twelve years since my mom cut that newspaper article out for me. Between my family and career, I’ve been truly blessed and this serves as a reminder that my mom always knew best!

What was the inspiration for your book?
Shockingly, the reality TV show Toddlers & Tiaras. I happened to catch a bit of an episode and because I was stunned by the idea of child beauty pageants, or rather the length kids and parents would go through to do them, I knew I had to somehow weave it into a book. Shadow of Perception isn’t about child beauty pageants, but I used the premise of the pageant as a jumpstart for the story, then took it to another level. I added an angle that will probably have most people reconsidering plastic surgery. Myself included, and I wrote the book!

What’s the one genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
Horror. When I was a kid, if I knew a horror movie was going to be on TV that evening, I’d become physically ill. Seriously. What’s funny is that my ten-year-old son is the same way. For a while we didn’t want him to even watch Scooby-Doo. I obviously overcame that fear and am always looking for a good horror movie or novel. The reason I’d like to write a horror? I want to see if I can scare you.

Are there any genres you won’t write? Why?
I LOVE historical romances, but I won’t write one. The amount of research that goes into writing a historical is WAY too intimidating for me! I do plenty of research for my suspense and contemporary books, but to be able to keep the language, the clothes, the setting, ALL of the historical aspects true to the story…wow. My hat goes off to those who write historical romances. Keep ‘em coming!

So, what are you working on right now? Got any releases planned, or still writing?
I’m currently wrapping up Shadow of Vengeance, book 3 of my CORE Shadow Trilogy, which will be released October 8th. In this story, CORE agents have to stop a killer who, for the past twenty years, has been preying on male students pledging fraternities. The heroine in this book is Rachel Davis, who played a significant role as CORE’s forensic computer analyst in both Shadow of Danger and Shadow of Perception. The hero is Owen Malcolm, who was in Shadow of Perception. I truly love these two characters. And the bad guy? Well, I always love writing those characters!

Alright, now for some totally random, fun questions.
Favorite color?  Hot Pink
Favorite movie?  Jaws
Alright, you have one superpower. What is it?  I can clone myself—I’m talking multiple times!

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
All of my heroines have a little bit of me. In Shadow of Perception, my heroine Eden has control issues. She’s OCD about her eating and exercise. I’m not the extreme portrayed in the book, but at one point in my life I’d been pretty close. In Shadow of Danger, my heroine Celeste can bake some awesome chocolate chip cookies. There are very few things I can bake, but chocolate chip cookies? Put it this way, I want to be on Food Network’s Chopped just so I can get to the dessert round and bake them (my husband caught me timing myself—if you know the show, you know what I’m talking about). This character also collects garden gnomes, which I do, too. Even in my contemporary romances you’ll find a little bit of me peppered here and there. I don’t purposefully do this, it just sort of happens.

That’s all from me, thanks so much for taking the time to stop by!
Thank you for having me!

My Review:
4.5 stars

This was a wonderful, intriguing, suspenseful book that kept me constantly on my toes, and kept on shocking me, even to the end. I don't even know where to start with how much I loved this book, especially since I don't want to spoil any of the surprises.

First off, the plot twists. Now, I'm a finicky reader. I often read multiple books at a time, because few books can hold my attention all the way till the end. And the longer the book, the harder it is to hold my attention. Shadow not only held my attention, but I couldn't put it down. Just when I thought I had all the answers, another twist would be introduced. Whether it was a bump in the relationship between Eden and Hudson, a stalker, or a peek into the murderer's mind, things never got dull. The ending shocked me as well. I thought I had it all figured out, only to find out just how wrong I was. Usually, when there is so much going on, the story can get bogged down or way too confusing. Very few writers can pull this off successfully, and Kristine is one of them.

Secondly, the characters. I liked both Eden and Hudson, but the real show stealer was the murderer Michael. Usually most bad guys are psychotic, off their rocker, etc. Michael wasn't. You saw parts of the story through his POV, and once I heard his motivations for doing what he was doing...well, I was conflicted. Part of me was abhorred at what he was doing, and yet I also wanted to root for him. Most authors just make the villain a bad guy, end of discussion. Here, the villain was a father trying to get justice for his dead daughter. He was a good man changed into this monster. And...well, I can't go in to much more detail without totally spoiling it. Suffice to say, Michael was a multi-dimensional villain, with both good and bad, and out of all the characters, he definitely made the biggest impression on me. Kristine wrote him beautifully, and I give kudos to her for such a well-written villain.

Now, the only thing that I had a bit of a problem with was the violence. Let's just say, reading about all the torture one of the victims went through...yeah, wasn't expecting that. Also, the romance is secondary here. It was more of a mystery/procedural than a romance book, which I wasn't expecting, but I still ended up liking it.

All in all, Shadow of Perception is an amazing read that I would highly recommend. My only advice is to be open-minded, strong-stomached, and not to read this book alone in the dark. And now I'm going to be eagerly looking forward to book 3 in the series.

Kristine will be awarding $5 Amazon gift cards to six randomly drawn commenters during the tour as well as print books to ten other randomly drawn commenters during the tour. 5 will be of Pick Me, a contemporary romance, and a gnome will come with the 5 copies of Shadow of Danger, book one of the suspense series. [US ONLY on the books]). So the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

Author Bio and Links:
I didn’t pick up my first romance novel until I was in my late twenties. Immediately hooked, I read a bazillion books before deciding to write one of my own. After the birth of my first son I needed something to keep my mind from turning to mush, and Sesame Street wasn’t cutting it. While that first book will never see the light of day, something good had come from writing it. I realized my passion, and had found a career that I love.

When I’m not writing contemporary romances and dark, romantic suspense novels (or reading them!) I’m chasing after my four kids and two neurotic dogs.

Books available on:

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Cadence of Gypsies SBB

Three high-spirited 17 year olds, with intelligent quotients in the genius range, accompany their teacher and mentor, Carolina Lovel, to Frascati, Italy, a few weeks before they are to graduate from Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women. Carolina's purpose in planning the trip is to remove her gifted, creative students from the Wood Rose campus located in Raleigh, North Carolina, so they can't cause any more problems ("expressions of creativity") for the headmaster, faculty, and other students – which they do with regularity. Carolina also wants to visit the Villa Mondragone where the Voynich Manuscript, the most mysterious document in the world, was first discovered and search how it is related to a paper written in the same script she received on her 18th birthday when she was told that she was adopted – a search that will take them into the mystical world of gypsy tradition and magic, more exciting and dangerous than any of them could have imagined.

"Ouch!  You're standing on my fingers!"  This from the petite girl with a long, blond ponytail, wearing a nightgown, most of which was pulled up between her legs and tied into a knot at her waist to keep it from getting tangled on the limb where she was perched.   Somewhere above her the sound of a saw and splintering wood filled the darkness followed by a stream of profanity repeated in several foreign languages for emphasis.

"It doesn't look right.  It's supposed to have a rim and a dent."  Clinging to a 12-foot ladder as she pointed the flashlight first this way and then that, the heavy-set girl wearing a nightshirt buttoned at the neck offered this with a slight lisp.

The girl with the blond ponytail giggled.

"What do you mean--dent?!  Let me see that picture."  The tall black girl completely hidden aimed her flashlight toward the magazine that was being thrust upwards through the thick branches in her direction.

"And the top is supposed to be rounded--like a button mushroom," the girl in the nightshirt added, the word "mushroom" sounding more like "muthroom."

"That's because it's circumcised," supplied the girl with the ponytail, from which she removed a small twig and a handful of leaves.

"Shekoo, baboo!”  More profanity.  “Okay.  I know what to do."  The tall black girl disappeared back into the upper-most branches of the tall plant that was more tree than bush.  After several additional minutes, the sawing, crunching, and clipping sounds finally gave way to the more gentle sounds of tiny snips.  And then, silence.

"That's it; everybody down."

The petite girl, with the magazine that had been overlooked in the last confiscation and now wedged firmly under her armpit, started the perilous descent first since she was nearest to the ground, followed by the tall girl.  The girl in the nightshirt eased her way down the ladder juggling pruning shears, a hand saw, and scissors.  Once on the ground, the three girls stood back to admire their work.

"That is one honkin' Peni erecti," said the tall girl causing a fresh explosion of giggles.  "Let's get out of here."  After quickly rolling down the legs of her pajama bottoms, the tall girl grabbed one end of the ladder and, along with her two friends, lugged it and the other tools back to the shed that housed lawn maintenance equipment.  Task accomplished, they returned to their rooms, and to their individual beds, careful not to disturb the other dorm residents, the floor monitors, their suitemates and, most importantly, their slumbering dorm mother, Ms. Larkins.  Within minutes, they fell into a deep, peaceful sleep--the sleep of innocent angels.

It would soon be light; and Wood Rose Orphanage and Academy for Young Women would start another day.

Barbara will be awarding a $25 Amazon or gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. So the more you comment, the better your chances of winning!

Author Information:
Originally from Carrollton, Illinois, Barbara Casey attended the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and North Carolina Wesleyan College where she received a BA degree, summa cum laude, with a double major in English and history. In 1978 she left her position as Director of Public Relations and Vice President of Development at North Carolina Wesleyan College to write full time and develop her own manuscript evaluation and editorial service. Since that time her award-winning articles, short stories, and poetry for adults have appeared in several publications including the AMERICAN POETRY ANTHOLOGY, the SPARROWGRASS POETRY FORUM, THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF POETRY (Editor’s Choice Award), the NORTH CAROLINA CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE MAGAZINE, THE NEW EAST MAGAZINE, the RALEIGH (NC) NEWS AND OBSERVER, the ROCKY MOUNT (NC) SUNDAY TELEGRAM, DOG FANCY, BYLINE, TRUE STORY and THE CHRISTIAN RECORD. A thirty-minute television special which Ms. Casey wrote and coordinated was broadcast on WRAL, Channel 5, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Casey's award-winning science fiction short stories for adults are featured in THE COSMIC UNICORN and CROSS TIME short story anthologies. Her essays, also written for adults, appear in THE CHRYSALIS READER, the international literary journal of the Swedenborg Foundation, and A CUP OF COMFORT ANTHOLOGY by the Adams Media Corporation.

Her two middle-grade/young adult novels, LEILANI ZAN and GRANDMA JOCK AND CHRISTABELLE (James C. Winston Publishing Co.) were nominated for awards of excellence by the SCBWI Golden Kite Award, the National Association of University Women Literary Award and the Sir Walter Raleigh Literary Award.  SHYLA'S INITIATIVE (Crossquarter Publishing Group, 2002), a contemporary adult novel of fiction, received the 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award and received special recognition for literary merit by the Palm Beach County Cultural Council. Ms. Casey’s novel THE COACH’S WIFE (ArcheBooks Publishing), a contemporary mystery, was listed as a Publisher’s Best Seller and was semifinalist of the Dana Award for Outstanding Novel. In 2007 her novel, THE HOUSE OF KANE (ArcheBooks Publishing), also a contemporary mystery, was considered for a Pulitzer nomination, and in December 2009 her novel, JUST LIKE FAMILY (Wandering Sage Publications), was launched by the 7-Eleven stores in St. Louis, Missouri. Her young adult novel, THE CADENCE OF GYPSIES (Gauthier Publications), was released in March 2011 and considered for the Smithsonian’s Most Notable 2011 Books.  It has also been selected by Amazon for its 2013 List of Best Books.  THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PRISSY (Strategic Media Books), a novel for adults, was released in March 2013 and received an IPPY Award for Best Regional Fiction.  It has also been listed as a “2013 Best Summer Read” by Conversations Live Radio and has been placed in nomination for a Pulitzer Award.

Ms. Casey is a frequent guest speaker at writers’ conferences and universities throughout the United States. She is former director, guest author, and panelist of BookFest of the Palm Beaches, Florida; and for thirteen years she served as judge for the Pathfinder Literary Awards in Florida.  She held the position of Florida Regional Advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators from 1991 to 2003.

Ms. Casey is president of the Barbara Casey Agency. She represents clients nationally and internationally in fiction and nonfiction for adults. Her past and present professional associations are numerous and include being editorial consultant for The Jamaican Writers Circle in affiliation with the University of West Indies and Mico Teachers College in Kingston. She also received special recognition for her editorial work on the English translations of Albanian children’s stories.

Amazon Buy Link