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text 2017-09-20 13:05
Blog Tour: The Dragon in the Garden by Erika Gardner with Excerpt and Giveaway

 

Today’s stop is for Erika Gardner’s The Dragon in the Garden. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway.

Happy Reading :) 


There is magic beneath the mundane and in The Dragon in the Garden, Siobhan Orsini witnesses it all. No lie can fool her, no glamour or illusion can cloud her Sight. She sees through them all and wishes she could close her eyes. Returning to face her past, Siobhan inherits her grandparents’ house in California’s wine country. She encounters a talking dragon, a hot fallen angel, a demon lord, a Valkyrie, and, oh yes, her ex-boyfriend. And that is just in the first twenty-four hours.   It’s time to find out why she has this power.   Siobhan seeks out the Oracle and learns that only her Sight can help mankind navigate the travails of an ancient war. Our world is the prize in a battle between the dragons, who would defend us, and Lucifer’s fallen angels, who seek to take the Earth for themselves. Using her gift, she will have to make a choice that will decide humanity’s future.

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Before I could run, Ian caught one of my arms with a painful twist. Unlike earlier, his expression exuded neither neutral nor curious. It had turned predatory. The hatred in his eyes, no longer veiled, burned. Something had changed. I swallowed hard. My mind raced. The conflicting kaleidoscope of images filled my vision. I struggled to move, but stayed immobile in his impossibly strong grip. Terror built then exploded inside me. Ian roughly grabbed my shoulders and spoke intently, “Haroa. I see you, Watcher.” “Lo, Innon!” I spun at the powerful shout, breaking Ian’s grasp and the visions’ hypnotic spell. The man I had helped yelled at Ian in fury. “No, Innon!” Ian stepped back. His face contorted with rage. “Turel, I found her. I see her. This is my right.” The dark-haired man folded his arms. He radiated authority. “No, for now I see her and there are laws that will not be broken. The human Haroa shall be present. She is in my Sight and in Our gaze. You will submit or pay forfeit, Innon.” The two men locked stares. I gasped as the man called Turel began to glow. The light, the sunshine in his eyes suffused his entire being. Shifting waves undulated above him. The area above his back and shoulders concealed a pocket in reality. As Daisy once hid her bulk from my five-year old self’s eyes in the garden, Turel masked his wings. Turel’s light grew brighter, more dazzling than a morning sunrise. He barked a command. “Hit’alem, Innon, I say begone.” Ian shot one more covetous glance at me and disappeared. “Holy shit.” Tim sat up and stared at us, his face dazed. I shielded my eyes with one hand as I stared at the glory of an angel revealed. Turel cupped one hand under my chin, tilting my face to meet his gaze. He kissed one of my cheeks and then the other. His expression softened as he regarded me. “Siobhan Isabella Orsini, my blessing is on you,” he intoned. How did he know my name? “My name is Turel. I am one of the Two Hundred Fallen. We are the Observers of this war. You have my blessing and my protection as foretold. May you always see true. Shalom.” He pressed his lips to my forehead. “I can offer my blessing and my protection over your home,” he offered. “Do you wish me to include your garden, too?” I opened my mouth, but for once, nothing came out of it. I tried again. “What?” “I say unto you, do you want me to include the garden?” Thinking of Ian in my yard earlier, I found my voice. “Yes, I need my garden protected.” Turel winked at me. “Good girl."

 

Erika is a sixth generation San Franciscan of Irish descent. She attended the University of California at Davis and completed degrees in Medieval History and Biological Sciences. A lifelong lover of books and a scribbler of many tales from a young age (her first story was completed at age five) she turned to writing full-time in 2011.   On a personal level she loves spicy food, twilight, dark chocolate (with sea salt-yum!) and nickel slots at Vegas. Erika lives for time with friends, a nice glass of red wine, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” & “Doctor Who” and good conversation. Her favorite things to do are running, cooking, reading, needlework, gardening… and of course, writing. Erika's music of choice is heavy metal. To pick her out in a lineup you should know that she is very short, fairly loud, and has dark eyebrows. The rest, as her hero Anne McCaffrey once said in her bio, “is subject to change without notice”.   Erika resides in Northern California with her incredibly hot husband, their three amazing kids, and their chocolate Labrador named Selkie. To reach Erika regarding her books, wine recommendations, or to debate which Iron Maiden album is the best (clearly, it’s Brave New World)

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!
 
 
Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-dragon-garden-erika-gardner-excerpt-giveaway
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review 2017-09-17 23:30
Review: In the Night Garden (The Orphan's Tales Book 1 of 2)
In the Night Garden (The Orphan's Tales, #1) - Catherynne M. Valente

I thought this was a very clever and unique book.  At least, I’ve never read anything like it.  It tells a lot of stories, I couldn’t say how many, but definitely more than a dozen.  However, this is not an anthology.  It’s layer upon layer upon layer of related stories nested inside each other. 

 

The framing story is about a lonely girl who people shun because they believe she’s a demon.  A curious boy approaches her and, over the course of a few days, she tells him two stories.  Each of the two stories takes up about half of the book.  Within each story, some of the characters tell other stories.  Within those stories, somebody tells another story.  These stories often tell the backstory of a particular character, so you’re sort of gaining more and more history, going backwards in time as you go forward in the book.  Periodically, the book returns to the higher layers to continue those stories, and then it possibly goes back into the same lower layers to finish incomplete stories there, or else it starts a new inner story with a new set of layers.  Some of the different branches were only moderately related, but there were lots of little connections here and there which were fun to watch for.

 

Sound confusing?  It really wasn’t.  The first main story never went more than 5 layers deep.  The second main story went up to 7 layers deep a couple times.  When I first realized the structure of the book, I was a little worried that I would get confused, so I started checking myself each time the story went into a deeper layer, recounting to myself the steps that had led there.  I was always able to do so quickly and without confusion, and I think that process helped me keep it all straight in my head.  I could see where some people might find this book disorienting, though.  For me, it may have helped that this type of thought process is part of my day job as a programmer; I kept making comparisons to it while I was reading.  Reading this was kind of like keeping track of the call stack while reading or debugging a program as it progresses forward and backward through layers of subroutines. 

 

The stories all borrow heavily from fairy tales.  This was especially noticeable to me since I had read through The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales earlier this year.  It really isn’t a retelling of any of those stories, but there were lots of little nods, sometimes with similarities and sometimes with twists, and with the tiniest hint of satire.  Unlike many of the Grimm’s tales, however, this book was internally consistent, the characters’ actions made sense, and it never felt silly. 

 

I do still have a little bit of Fairy Tale Fatigue from the Grimm’s book though, so that might have impacted my enjoyment of some of the stories.  Some layers were more interesting than others, so the book didn’t always hold my interest, which is the main reason I’m not rating it higher.

 

Next Book

In the Cities of Coin and Spice by Catherynne M. Valente, the sequel to this book.

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text 2017-09-05 14:45
REVIEW BY DEBBIE - The Garden (Lavender Shores #2) by Rosalind Abel
The Garden - Rosalind Abel

Beautiful Gilbert Bryant designs jewelry for the rich and famous, and he made his escape from his gossipy little hometown of Lavender Shores. However, with so many friends and family, he keeps getting pulled back. When he attends his best friend’s engagement party, Gilbert can’t help but sample one of the new men in town. It’s just some innocent—or not so innocent—fun. Nothing that will even cross his mind once he gets back to his everyday life. 


Walden Thompson dreamed about living in Lavender Shores since he visited as a child. He finally gets his chance, and he embraces the opportunity to start over, to become someone new. He leaves both hurts and dangerous habits in the past, where they belong. When Gilbert crosses his path, Walden gives in to his baser instincts. He can indulge in the carnal pleasures this once and still be okay. 

Their few hours together haunt Gilbert, the two-hundred-mile buffer from home no longer shutting out the past or the sexy man he left behind. Walden is just beginning to recover from the smoldering encounter with Gilbert when they are thrust together once more. This time, neither of them can walk away, no matter how hard they try. But when their pasts crash into each other as surely as the magnetism that pulls them together, walking away may be the only option.

 

 

@rosalind_abel, @debbiereadsbook, #M_M, #Contemporary, #Romance, 4 out of 5 (very good)

 

Source: sites.google.com/site/archaeolibrarian/debbie/thegardenlavendershores2byrosalindabel
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review 2017-09-05 09:40
creeping up to 4 stars.
The Garden - Rosalind Abel
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. This is book two in the series, but can be read as a stand alone. Andrew and Joel from book one take part here, and I loved that, but you don't need their story to follow this one. Gilbert is in town for Andrew and Joel's engagement party. He fins solace in Walden, the man who catches his eye at the gym. But it will only ever be sex for Gilbert, right? He doesn't do relationships. Neither does Walden, but it creeps up on them both and neither wants to walk, or commit. But they both have a dark past. Can they overcome that?? I said in my review for book one, The Palisade, that I was looking forward to Gilbert's story, and I was not disappointed. His past, the one he ran from town for, smacks him in the face every time he comes back to town. And he hates being in Lavender Shores for that reason. But he won't let Andrew, his best friend, down. Meeting Walden, and then discovering his profession, and then Gilbert STILL not being able to walk away, is a shock to his system. Walden's past has a darker undertone and one that could well have been a deal breaker but Gilbert is like...and?? I loved how both men fought hard against their feelings! Loved that they battled with their innermost desires and insecurities. Loved that they were able to overcome it all. Again written in the first person, from both men. Because I KNEW this going in, I was aware and able to set my mind in the right place, cos lord knows, I say it often enough that i don't like first person books!! But because I KNEW that, I really did enjoy it. And you do get a better sense of the person in the first. Not sure I would have got it all from a third person book. huh. Check me out! Might actually be getting over it! I've filed this on the Over 18 shelf, because there are some darker undertones, and some might find them difficult to read. Nothing is described in great detail, but you are told about them. I have book three, The Veranda, to read shortly. That is Donovan's book, Gilbert's therapist. I loved their interaction here. I look forward to getting into Donovan's mind! Creeping up 4 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2017-08-26 13:53
This book is awful.
The Garden of Evening Mists[GARDEN OF EVENING MISTS NEW/E][Paperback] - TanTwanEng

A Man Booker finalist and a winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize must be pretty good, right? Wrong. This torturous, unbelievably slow book presumably about a lone survivor of a Japanese war camp who finds peace in an isolated Japanese garden (the only one in Malaya).  The survivor, Yun Ling, seeks out the gardener who created it in order to build a garden as a memorial for her deceased sister.

 

The book then takes a really long time to get anywhere or say anything. Yun Ling negotiates her relationship with the gardener (Aritomo), we learn about his background, what happened to Yun Ling at the camp, why she's building this garden for her sister, etc. It crawls, it hides behind the "beautiful" language (WHY do so many reviews describe this book so???), it just doesn't do anything.

 

As far as I can tell it wasn't translated into English which I initially thought might have been part of the problem. This just isn't a good book and I'm baffled as the high ratings. None of the characters are all that interesting or necessarily even likeable. In itself likeability certainly isn't something I need but it's puzzled me as to what exactly appeals to people about this book.

 

As you can see this really wasn't for me and I'd recommend skipping it. It's been a book I've had for years but finally decided to read it since I guess I was in a historical fiction mood. Definitely wasn't worth buying and this is not an author I'd try again (apparently this is his second book and I even looked into his first book for reading). Tells me that sometimes awards committees have no idea what they're doing. 

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