Monday, August 3, 2015

Review & Cover Reveal: The Touch of Betrayal and For Love Of The Enemy by Taryn Scarlett

Genre:
Adult Fiction, Erotica, Retelling, Romance, Historical 
Publication.Date  July 28th 2015
Pages:104
Published By:  The Studio, a Paper Lantern Lit imprint
AuthorTaryn Scarlett

A Touch of Betrayal on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the author  in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

http://www.amazon.com/Touch-Betrayal-SIN-HONEY-novella-ebook/dp/B00ZB2P7VY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1438612581&sr=8-5&keywords=a+touch+of+betrayal http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-touch-of-betrayal-taryn-scarlett/1122098669?ean=9781508016755



For fans of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent comes the second novella in the scintillating SIN & HONEY series featuring the Bible’s most powerful and seductive women…

So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength.”—Judges 16:6 
Delilah would do anything to escape her past.
Falling for Samson only got in the way.

Taryn Scarlett’s lush reimagining of Samson and Delilah uncovers the hidden truth behind the girl who became the most infamous seductress in history. 
Delilah has come to the quiet valley of Sorek to start a new life, but when a man blackmails her with a devastating secret, she learns that not all sins can be buried in the past. In a dangerous bargain for her freedom, she agrees to seduce Samson, a notorious killer threatening the region—and if she can’t uncover the secret to his strength, she’ll forfeit her life

But Samson is different than any man she has ever met before: godlike in his strength but guarding a passionate vulnerability that draws Delilah to him. Will she betray the man she has begun to fall for—or will she betray her own heart for freedom?
(Goodreads)

She was only a woman. They were weak to think she could pose them any threat. 
Then again, they were weak. And her body did gleam like a bright bronze sword. Her lips were an infamous poison. Her hair was a net to entrap them. She had blood on her hands. 
As long as they called her beautiful. So long as they paid. 



     The Touch of Betrayal was a very pleasant surprise. I don't usually read biblical retellings - I tend to shy away from any sort of books dealing with religious themes or revolving around characters we know from the Bible. It's mostly because, from my personal experience, many of them are either preachy or offensively dismissive. Seeing how this wasn't just a retelling, but also a romance with elements of erotica, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. I am, however, extremely happy to report that the second installment in the Sin & Honey series completely blew me away!

     In this novella, Taryn Scarlett focuses on the story of Delilah, the seductress who helped take down the invincible Samson. Delilah is one of the dangerous temptresses is the Hebrew Bible. She is known for having sexual relationships with various men in exchange for goods and money. She is also famous for seducing Samson, discovering his weakness and betraying him. And yet, despite the significant role she played, we do not know much more about her, her origin or real motivations. And that is where Taryn Scarlett steps in with her retelling of Delilah and Samson's story.

     The Touch of Betrayal is very captivating, written in a fluid and enjoyable prose, and really well balanced. It's erotica, but a very mild and tasteful one, focusing more on the romance and attraction, than sexual acts. I thought Taryn did a fabulous job portraying Delilah's character and making her a more complex and relatable heroine. Delilah is no longer this one-dimensional, loathsome, money-obsessed whore. Now, we can see her for what she truly is - a girl trying desperately to survive. She's scared, lonely, vulnerable and so very human, you can actually sympathize with her.

    Because this is a romance, it's hard not to mention the drool-worthy Samson, who can pick up huge trees without even breaking a sweat. He's an eye-candy through and through, and Taryn did an awesome job describing both his physical attributes and his emotional complexity. He, too, is a multi-dimensional character. Samson was given supernatural strength by God to execute vengeance on his enemies, the Philistines. He has only two weaknesses - one of them are untrustworthy women.

     The Touch of Betrayal comes with a great twist. Taryn Scarlett doesn't just retell the well known story, she expands on it, gives it more depth, more meaning, and throws in a couple of very pleasant surprises. I really loved this version of Delilah's story and will definitely be reading all the other novellas in the Sin & Honey series.



About the author:

Taryn Scarlett holds a B.A. in Theater and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Her weaknesses are chocolate, floral sundresses, soapy TV dramas, and anything purple. SIN AND HONEY is her first series. You can visit Taryn at www.TarynScarlett.com.

Cover Reveal:


I am extremely excited to be revealing the cover of the third novella in the SIN & HONEY series, For The Love of The Enemy!

COMING 9/1- SIN AND HONEY: For Love of the Enemy (2.99)


FOR LOVE OF THE ENEMY
Since the first day he saw her, he had been waiting for an opportunity to seduce her. –Judith 12:17

Judith fought for justice.
Bagoas reasoned for peace.
Holofernes thirsted for blood.

In this third Sin & Honey novella, Taryn Scarlett explores the provocative story of Judith, a woman tormented by the war in her country—and the war in her heart.

A young widow living in devastated country, Judith is forced to watch as the ferocious Assyrian general Holofernes slaughters her people. Desperate to save her family, she decides to take matters into her own hands: she will seduce the general and get into his bed—where she can kill him, and end the war.

But once Judith steals into enemy territory masquerading as an Israeli defector, she meets Bagoas, a soldier on a mission for peace. Aroused by his honor, Judith has a terrifying choice to make: let her people suffer and die, or sacrifice true love for the greater good.
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Sunday, August 2, 2015

Interview + Giveaway: Persuasion by Martina Boone

I am thrilled to be a stop on the book tour for Persuasion by Martina A. Boon! Today, I have an interview for your reading pleasure, but be sure to check out the additional stops below for more!
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Title: Persuasion
Author: Martina Boone
Series: The Heirs of Watson Island #2
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Magic, Paranormal
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
Beautiful Creatures meets Gone With the Wind

When reporters chasing rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold descend on Watson Island, Barrie Watson discovers more than treasure is buried at the neighboring plantation. A stranger filled with magic arrives claiming that the key to the gifts the Watson and Beaufort have held for centuries, as well as the curse that has plagued the Colesworth family, lies beneath the mansion. But spells go awry and misunderstandings flare, escalating danger that’s been brewing below the surface. To repair the damage, Barrie and Eight Beaufort must repair the rift between feuding families and unravel mysteries that go back far beyond the Civil War. At the same time, they must make sense of their growing and forbidden feelings for each other.

In a tale that is part mystery, part magical adventure, and part forbidden romance, Persuasion explores the nature of threats, promises, and consent, and the way in which history is changed according to who tells the story.

Interview with Martina A. Boone

Welcome to Bookish Lifestyle, Martina!​​ I'm so excited to have you here with us today! ​In tweet form (140 characters or less), how would you describe The Heirs of Watson Island to those who haven’t heard of it yet?

I’m excited to be here! Thank you so much for having me and for giving me such great questions. Hmmh. This is a tough one. How about:

A teen faces mysteries on 3 Southern plantations haunted by forbidden love, an ancient spirit & magical gifts that have became compulsions.

Was Persuasion easier or harder to write than Compulsion?

Much harder! I had originally planned it as a companion novel, telling the same story but from the perspective of Cassie Colesworth. Doing the Colesworth story justice while also continuing Barrie’s story and staying in Barrie’s perspective was difficult, but also ultimately deeply rewarding. I loved getting to spend more time with her and Eight and evolving their romance, and I loved getting to learn more about Aunt Pru, Seven, and Mary. Obadiah, the magician who arrives at Watson’s Landing with dubious intentions, is one of the most interesting and difficult characters I’ve ever gotten to write. I absolutely love him.

What have been the most surprising things about writing this series? (the amount of research or the research in general, keeping the crazy intertwined family trees / relationships straight, etc.)

The research is crazy. There’s a lot more revealed in Persuasion than in Compulsion, but even that is just the tip of the iceberg. I think I probably spent a couple hours of research for every page of this trilogy, and I’ve had to work really, really hard not to let that show. It’s fascinating how intricate some of the connections are between history and folklore when you dig for them, so the learning guides that reveal some of the stories behind the stories are insanely long.

The family trees are definitely complicated, but really for a small town, they’re not too far out of the realm of truth. I know this from my own experience. I wanted to give my father-in-law a project to do when he was first getting ill and had to give up work. He was mostly confined to the house, so I started him researching his family genealogy. That meant I got to dig into the Boone family tree, and reading through wills, deeds, tax assessments, property conveyances, land grants, etc., it’s completely crazy how interconnected old families can get when they’ve been together in a small area for hundreds of years.

Overall, I think the most surprising thing about writing the trilogy turned out to be how everything connected on multiple levels and what those connections meant. There’s some astonishing science that I dug up that weaves together the history and the magic and makes for a bit of a twist that you’ll discover in Illusion, book three. The main mystery—the story of the Fire Carrier and the gifts and curse—ties right back to that.

What is something you want readers to know about Persuasion? What can we except from book two?

The series is often described as a paranormal romance, but it isn’t. It’s a romantic Southern Gothic, which is a mixture of a contemporary coming of age drama and a suspense story/mystery with supernatural elements. Most people think of William Faulkner or Nathaniel Hawthorne when they hear the term Southern Gothic, but I wrote the series to be more accessible than that, so more like ROMEO AND JULIET meets THE RAVEN BOYS.

Persuasion has more magic, and different types of magic, than Compulsion, and it explores the romance with Eight more deeply. It’s also a bit darker. It deals with some terrible things both in the past and in the present. Barrie is under pressure to break the Colesworth curse, yet there are reasons why she’s reluctant to get involved in that. For obvious reasons, she wary of her cousin Cassie by this point. At the same time, she’s having to navigate what she wants/needs compared to what Eight wants/needs. The temptation is to choose her growing romance with Eight, but she is strong enough not to throw away the duties of the magical binding she has with Watson’s Landing. That’s an important point. Too often, girls and women are still pressured to feel as though their needs, goals, and self-respect are somehow less important.

​Who would attend your perfect literary dinner party (can be anyone - living or dead)?​​

Laini Taylor, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jandy Nelson, Maggie Stiefvater, J.K. Rowling, Baroness Emma Orczy, Harper Lee, Jane Austen, and Ursula K. LeGuin.

Lastly, as a reader and lover of Compulsion I have to know . . . how do you make Eight so swoon worthy?!

LOL! I’m sending you a delighted hug for that! Honestly, I haven’t a clue. I just write him as he is. Basically, I started writing him in Compulsion to be the right guy for Barrie, but he took on a life of his own and I honestly feel so much for him. Hopefully, that’s what comes across. He’s a great guy, strong and sexy but also kind and considerate. What can I say? I have good taste in men (just ask my husband!).
I'm addicted to . . . Nutella and chocolate-flavored tea.
The last book I read was . . . Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo by Ntozake Shange, which is beautiful. I’m just starting Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett though and absolutely LOVING it.

You can find the recipe for Blue Cheese Coleslaw and Sweet Potato Mustard at . . . My street team started a Pinterest board for all the Watson Island recipes and I’ve added some additional favorites. You can find it here: https://www.pinterest.com/arnoldjaime13/heirs-of-watson-island-recipes/

Compulsion

Title: Compulsion
Author: Martina Boone
Series: The Heirs of Watson Island #1
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Magic, Paranormal
Find it: Goodreads | Amazon Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
My Review: Posted February 1, 2015

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

Three hundred years ago, an ancient spirit cursed one of the founding families of Watson Island and gave the other two magical gifts that became compulsions. Arriving for the first time at her aunt’s plantation home, Barrie Watson must uncover the mystery of why her mother ran away when she was Barrie’s age, what has kept Barrie’s aunt locked on the plantation in isolation ever since, and the truth behind a generations-old feud that haunts the founding families. With the help of Eight Beaufort, who seems to know what she wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead. Wrapped in mystery, steeped in atmosphere, and haunted by questions of what it means to be a family, Compulsion is a coming of age story that transcends age and genre.


About the Author


Martina Boone is the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Di-gest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a Tumblr site devoted to news, giveaways, and insider secrets of much-loved and up-and-coming YA series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and children, she enjoys writing books that are a mixture of romance, mystery, history, and contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate fla-vored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.


Giveaways


a Rafflecopter giveaway

You are automatically entered into the grand prize when you enter the giveaway on Bookish Lifestyle!


Additional Stops

Be sure to check out ADVENTURES IN YA PUBLISHING on August 4 for a feature regarding Compulsion's paper back release!

Book Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Mass


Series:
Throne of Glass #2
Genre:
Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Assassins
Publication.Date:August 27, 2013
Pages:448 (paperback)
Published By:  Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Website:Sarah J. Maas 

Crown of Midnight on Goodreads
My review copy:
Bought

Where to get:

http://www.amazon.com/Crown-Midnight-Throne-Glass-Sarah/dp/1619630648/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428938590&sr=8-1&keywords=crown+of+midnight http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/Crown-of-Midnight%2FSarah-J-Maas/1114317571?ean=9781619630642 http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781619630642


Celaena Sardothien is the king's Champion—yet she is far from loyal to the crown, for the man she serves is bent on evil. But working against her master in secret is no easy task. As Celaena tries to untangle the mysteries buried within the glass castle, she can trust no one, not even her supposed allies Crown Prince Dorian, Captain of the Guard Chaol, and foreign princess Nehemia.

Then, an unspeakable tragedy shatters Celaena's world. She must decide once and for all where her loyalties lie . . . and whom she will fight for.

An action-packed and romantic adventure that readers “will never want to leave” (Kirkus Reviews), the next chapter in this smash hit New York Times best-selling series is sure to please Sarah Maas's enormous and ever-growing fan-base–and to set the stage for an explosive third book.

(Goodreads)


"I'd like to debrief you."

"Aren't you at least going to take me out to dinner first?" His eyes narrowed, and she gave him a pout.
"Dance with me, Celaena," he said again, his voice rough.

When her eyes found his, she forgot about the cold, and the moon, and the glass palace looming above them. The secret library and the king's plans and Mort and Elena faded into nothing. She took his hand, and there was only music and Chaol.
Every one of the restraits she'd locked into place after she'd rampaged through Endovier snapped free.

An icy, endless rage swept through her, wiping away everything except the plan that she could see with brutal clarity. The killing calm, Arobynn Hamel had once called it. Even he had never realized just how calm she could get when she went over the edge.


I don't remember the last time I have been so enraptured by a series. I first read Throne of Glass for our January TBR pile read along and LOVED it. Of course, it didn't hurt that I was also reading it in Aruba on my honeymoon, but that's neither here nor there. It took me a few weeks to pick up Crown of Midnight and I couldn't tell you why.

Crown of Midnight is simply an amazing follow up to Throne of Glass. I didn't think it would be possible to be more in love with a book, but consider me wrong. Sarah takes this world she has already so wonderfully crafted and delves deeper into its secrets.

Now that she has secured herself as The King's Assassin, Celaena must play by the rules to stay out of prison and keep those she loves out of harms way. But let's face it, this is Celaena Sardothien we're talking about! This chick is bad ass and plays by no ones rules but her own.

I don't want to say the first half of the book is "slow," because it's not. It's simply not as action packed as the later half. Celaena still kicks ass, banters with Chaol and Dorian, trains, and grows closer to Nehemia. I love seeing her interact with these people and form relationships that we would not have thought possible in the beginning of Throne of Glass. These characters all mean something to her and she means something to them. I don't know if I can pick a favorite among them, because they all add something different to the story and help shape the characters and their choices.

Each and every character, right down to Dorian's cousin Roland (a new character who makes minimal appearances), is fully formed. They come alive on these pages and move the plot along, even if it's something as simple as an off the cuff remark. Nothing is accidental, nothing is random. Sarah has meticulously planed each and every scene, each and every character, to play a pivotal role in her series.

Simply writing this review is enough to make me wish I had my copy of Heir of Fire on hand. I just want need to wrap myself up in a blanket of the Throne of Glass series and not come out until I find out what happens after that ending!




       
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