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Book Review: The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno May 30, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 5 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of The Secret of A Spicy Jalapeno on Kindle!!

Description:

Beyond the urban sprawl of a Pacific Northwest city lurks the peculiar little town of Providence and in it, an organic farmer named Joe Parker. Joe’s lurid story, or rather this particular piece of it, begins when Sheriff Caine fashions the big idea to grow jalapenos, albeit with questionable methods. The gritty scheme is plucked from the undercurrent of the sheriff’s self-righteous mind and carried out with the help of Joe’s skill, two local agents, and a coroner. Everything is progressing as planned. That is, until Vera Cruz, a prostitute and girlfriend of a drug dealer, is delivered late one night on Joe’s doorstep. The new houseguest suddenly complicates his routine. The woman bunking on the rear porch not only threatens to upset the jalapeno operation, but also Joe’s conviction about what is rightly just and intrinsically wrong. Will Vera save Joe or lure him further into depravity?

My Review:

The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno by Charlie Courtland is a truly unique story that will leave you wanting more! In the small town of Providence, the crime rate is climbing and the local jail is feeling the strain from the full cells. When given the ultimatum to either raise taxes to build an addition onto the jail or early parole inmates, Sheriff Caine sets a plan in motion to not only keep his town safe and the crime rates down, but to make a little profit. In order for the secret plan to take place, Sheriff Caine enlists the help of a few close friends, including Joe Parker who has perfected his craft of being an organic farmer. Given a little time to work his magic, the Sheriff and Joe have the town feeling safe and the threat of raised taxes gone.

Joe Parker is a complex character who may do questionable things but has a great heart. He is shy, sticks to himself and is the guy in town that everyone finds a little creepy because they don’t know hardly anything about him. Being taken in like a son by Sheriff Caine, Joe is perfectly happy with his isolated life and loves living on his farm and growing the best Jalapenos the area has to offer.

Vera Cruz is a woman with a troubled past who done whatever was needed to survive the cruelties of the street. She is desperately trying to escape the controlling grasp of her low-life drug dealing boyfriend Robby. Recognizing that the path she is on is only going to lead to her demise, she steals Robby’s car and doesn’t look back. Her plan is short-lived however when she is pulled over and the cops find Robby’s hidden stash of cocaine that was concealed within the dashboard. With nowhere to go, Vera gives up information that will bust Robby in return for police protection. Vera is taken to Joe’s farm where she ends up in the middle of Joe’s questionable world.

The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno is a breath of fresh air to the horror genre, filled with gruesome goodness that will keep you hooked. The budding romance between Joe and Vera balances the horror nicely and adds a bit of sweetness to this unusual tale. Even though both Joe and Vera have done questionable things, they understand the situation and each other and meld perfectly, just like Jalapeno Jam.

This book does contain graphic descriptions and should be read by mature audiences only.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

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Party Like It’s 1889! – Winner May 29, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Giveaways.
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This past week I had the honor of participating in the huge month-long party held by 1889 Labs! Every person who left a comment on my Party Like It’s 1889 post was entered to win a digital copy of Hungry For You by A.M. Harte! And the winner is…

* James

Congrats James!!

If you weren’t lucky enough to snag a copy of this awesome book, you can get your own copy of Hungry For You on Kindle, currently only 99 cents!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win a copy. Remember that your comment also scored you an entry into the grand prize giveaway where you have the chance to win a brand new Kindle!

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Hidden by Shalini Boland – Winners! May 26, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Books, Giveaways.
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Thank you to everyone who came out and entered the giveaway for Hidden by Shalini Boland! I’d also like to thank Ms. Boland for contributing her books for a giveaway!

Winners were selected using Random.org. Emails have been sent to the winners and will have 48 hours to email me back to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected.

And the 2 lucky winners, who will each receive a digital copy of Hidden are…

* Kara M.

* Sara H.

Congrats to the winners! After claiming your prize, I will forward your emails onto the author who will be sending you a digital copy of Hidden via Smashwords coupon :)

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: False Refuge May 25, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of False Refuge on Kindle!!

Description:

US Army reservist Alex Swenson has gone AWOL to avoid Iraq duty. He’s fled to the Big Island of Hawaii, where he finds himself attracted to cute and wily Kanani, a crime-world survivor searching for a better life. Yet Alex’s old army buddy, Jerry, is hot on Alex’s trail.

A secretive island haven, Krieger Estates, was supposed to grant Alex a new life and identity, but soon Alex finds that the estates’ amoral founders thrive on absolute power, lockstep obedience, and unjust violence. Fleeing’s no option this time. Alex refuses to play along and it brings his new overseers’ full wrath. To save Alex, Kanani and Jerry join forces with a hard-nosed plan that enlists even the rugged and unforgiving Big Island terrain itself.

My Review:

False Refuge by Steve Anderson is the thought-provoking story of Alex Swenson, an army reservist who has gone AWOL. Having fought for his country, Alex is left to determine what loyalty really means to him and how far he is willing to go. Alex soon makes up his mind that he is done with the violence and suffering and takes action into his own hands by going AWOL in hopes of starting over. He travels to an island in Hawaii where there are rumors that a place called Krieger Estates will help him stay hidden. Alex’s conscience is put to the test when he must decide between staying hidden or risking everything to disarm a gunned robber.

Alex happens to meet a local Hawaiian named Kanani who puts up a good cover of being an innocent local when really she has a dark and mysterious past that she is running from. Instantly drawn too Kanani, they go on the run together in hopes of starting new. Things turn out differently once they reach Krieger Estates when Kanani’s past may be more of a hindrance rather than an attraction. No matter their pasts, Alex and Kanani must stick together and enlist outside help to battle the powers that are demanding their obedience inside the Krieger Estates walls.

Mr. Anderson writes an extremely descriptive tale that allowed me to easily envision the scenery and really get a feel for Hawaiian climate. The descriptive details alone make this book a good read but is balanced out with a great story line as well. I could almost feel the wetness of rain soaking into my pores while reading False Refuge.

There are several issues covered in the book that may leave the reader agreeing, or disagreeing, with Alex and his beliefs on war. Is war needed to secure our freedom, is it just a necessary evil, or is it just a way for certain people to gain more power without having to get their own hands dirty? If you have an open mind when it comes to aspects such as war, I recommend giving False Refuge a try.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Party Like It’s 1889!! Guest Post and Giveaway May 23, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Books, Giveaways.
11 comments

Woot! This week I’m having a party on Juniper Grove! Okay…so maybe I’m just telling you about a super awesome party. Either way, it’s time to break out the party hats and confetti because you have to look the part if you want to join in! Not really…you just have to be able to comment…but imagine how awesome you’d look with a party hat ;)

Today I am excited to be part of the party being held over at 1889 Labs. I’m sure that everyone already knows who 1889 Labs is but just in case you have been hiding under a rock, 1889 Labs is an independent publisher who has made it their goal to bring you the strangest fiction authors have to offer. Sounds awesome already doesn’t it? Well, they have taken the madness to a whole new level and declared May a month to Party Like It’s 1889!

Four authors, four books, four weeks of contests and over ten amazing prizes, including a brand new Kindle! Here are the details:

Every week they will be giving away one 1889 Labs paperback of your choosing, a $10 Amazon voucher, plus some must-have ebooks!

Up for grabs this month only:

3rd Place: A backstage pass! Get an advance ebook copy of the next title they publish in June 2011!

2nd Place: A VIP ticket, granting you access to advance copies of every ebook they will publish this year, before anyone else gets ahold of them! You can’t say no to 10+ free ebooks!

1st Place: A VIP ticket for 10+ free advance ebooks as outlined above and….a KINDLE!!

So want to know how you can enter for your chance to win? Of course you do!

(My 3 year old daughter insists she can read and chooses Hungry For You daily, insisting I take a picture. I blame 1889 Labs for giving extra entries for posting a picture like the one above..lol)

I had the pleasure of reading this week’s book, Hungry For You by A.M. Harte! You can read my whole review HERE

But enough about me and my thoughts. Today Ms. Harte has generously agreed to guest post! Here is what she has to say:

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To Fellow Zombie Haters by A.M. Harte

When I tell people I’ve written a zombie anthology, the most common reaction I get is puzzled disbelief.

“Zombies?” they say. “Like mindless, brain-eating monsters?”

“Yes!” I reply. “But, not quite.” Then I realize I’m only making matters worse, so I hasten to explain: “See, it’s zombie love stories, so they’re not your usual run-of-the-mill monsters. I’ve got swimming zombies, married zombies, zombie swans and even zombie civil rights!”

That’s about the point when whoever I’m talking to begins to back away slowly.

“I’m normal, really!” I call after them, putting on my best puppy dog eyes. “I don’t even like zombies.”

And that admission generally only confirms my insanity.

Why would an author write about a subject they hate? Why, especially, would an author write love stories about something they hate? I can’t blame people for thinking I’m crazy.

To be perfectly honest, no one is more baffled than me that my debut is a zombie love anthology. I hate zombies. Not only do I scare easily, but I have terribly vivid nightmares. Prior to publishing Hungry For You, I had never read a zombie book nor seen a zombie film (and I still haven’t done the latter!).

So what makes a normally sane girl all of a sudden decide to write love stories about something she hates?

Two words: sheer stubbornness.

I was invited to submit to a zombie love flash fiction competition. My initial reaction was along the lines of “psh, no way, ew!” but as soon as I decided I wouldn’t take part, the little devil-muse on my shoulder whispered: “Why not?”

Why not, indeed. I couldn’t think of a single reason that didn’t make me look like a coward.

Part of the joy in being a writer is experimenting with different themes, different styles, different genres. Sticking to one narrow little writing box is like going on holiday to the same place every year. Sure, there’s comfort in familiarity, in knowing what to do and where to go, but you are missing out on so many new experiences.

Writing about zombies was like visiting an exotic location. Oh, you know of Zombieland, and that other people go there, but it never crosses your mind to go there yourself. And all of a sudden I realized I wanted to go to Zombieland. I wanted to be the adventurous traveler. I wanted to see and touch and experience this foreign new world. Even if the trip turned out to be absolutely awful, at least I would know.

So I wrote my first zombie love story. And pretty soon I found myself visiting Zombieland again. And then a third time. And then a fourth. Soon I had to get a new passport because all the blank pages were covered in visa stamps.

And you know what? I’m still utterly baffled that I’ve enjoyed writing about zombies so much. They still terrify and disgust me, but I’ve come to realize that there’s a lot more to zombies than you can learn from a guidebook.

So do me a favor. Visit Zombieland. You never know; you might enjoy the trip, too.

——-

A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and enjoys procrastinating over at amharte.com.

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This week, until May 28th, there is an e-book copy of Hungry For You up for grabs here on Juniper Grove! For your chance to win, simply leave a comment on THIS post telling me what your feelings about zombies are. Your comment will also get you an entry to win a $10 Amazon Voucher, a paperback of your choice from 1889 Labs and an entry to win one of the grand prizes! And remember, the more you comment, the more chances you have to win!

Visit 1889 Labs to find out all the ways to get entries into the giveaways!

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Hungry For You May 23, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 5 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Hungry For You by A.M. Harte!!

Description:

Love is horrible. It’s ruthless, messy, mind-altering, and raw. It takes no prisoners. It chews you up and spits you out and leaves you for dead. Love is, you could say, very much like a zombie. In this haunting short story collection, anything is possible-a dying musician turns to tea for inspiration; a police sergeant struggles with a very unusual victim; a young wife is trapped in a house hiding unimaginable evil…. With “Hungry For You”, A.M. Harte explores the disturbing and delightful in an anthology that unearths the thin boundary between love and death.

My Review:

Hungry For You is a collection of short stories by A.M. Harte. The common thread that holds all of these stories together is love. This love is the warped, dark love that walks the line between life and death. I think A.M Harte said it best when she says, “Love is, you could say, very much like a zombie.”

The stories that Ms. Harte has created takes a new approach on zombie love. What if being a zombie was common and couples not only had to deal with every day situations but had the added stress of decomposition to worry about? A perfect, and somewhat humorous, example is A Prayer to Garlic. Told from the wife’s point of view, A Prayer to Garlic tells the story of what concerns a wife, who happens to be a zombie, has when her mother-in-law is coming over for dinner. But this isn’t your average zombie couple. Mog and his wife happen to prefer pork over human meat which goes against everything the zombie mother-in-law stands for. Let’s hope the garlic will disguise the pork and the mother-in-law won’t notice the difference.

In The Perfect Song, Ms. Harte reminds me that there may be more than one way to become a zombie and affirms my decision to not drink tea at the same time. When a batch of contaminated tea is released as an herbal alternative to anti-depressants, Michael decides to give it a try in order to take his mind off of his current situation. Michael just wants to make Valerie proud of his music and in turn, proud of him. But how does a zombie stay focused when he is determined to get his next fix?

And last but not least, the story in which this collection is named after, Hungry For You. This story takes a much different approach than the rest of its companions. Ms. Harte shows us that there is more than one way to skin a rat…or in this case, more than one way to feed a zombie. In Hungry For You, zombies do not crave flesh, but rather crave sins of the flesh. It pays to have a pretty face as only the elite survive in this tale.

I strongly suggest everyone who enjoys zombies, love stories or even just twisted tales to read Hungry For You. It’s a guarantee that you will love most, if not all, of these stories.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Featured Author: Shalini Boland May 23, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Featured Authors.
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Today I want to shine the Author Spotlight on the author of Hidden….Shalini Boland! MS. Boland generously allowed me to interview her to find out all about her book Hidden and her writing habits.

Welcome Shalini!

~*~*~*~

Without giving too much away, can you tell us what Hidden is about?

Hidden (Marchwood Vampire Series) is a paranormal romance that spans the centuries from modern England to 19th century Paris and ancient Cappadocia. The novel begins in gritty urban reality, but soon descends into horror, romance and historical adventure.

Sixteen-year-old Madison Greene is in foster care until one day she inherits a fortune and a house with a cellar full of danger. Eighteen-year-old Alexandre Chevalier lives in 19th century Paris. On an archaeological expedition, he discovers a lost underground city where his life changes forever.

Their lives entwine, but someone is watching and waiting. The story ramps up to an explosive ending.

How long did it take you to write this book?

The initial story took six months of intensive scribbling. But then the edits took another six months.

What was your inspiration to write this book?

I’ve always wanted to write a vampire novel, ever since I fell in love with Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire series back in the nineties. My inspiration for Hidden, came from a newspaper article about a family who had to leave their house due to a bat infestation. There was a local outcry as the bats were protected by law and the poor family could no longer live there. I thought: Hmm, bats in the attic … how about vampires in the basement?

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

I’ve been told it’s an ‘irresistible fairy tale’.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always written in some form or another. When I was eight I won a poetry competition and I carried on from there.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Two separate stories which I weave together into one novel. I’ve done this in all three of my books.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to spend time outdoors with my family (when it’s not raining!) or curl up in bed and read.

What does your family think of your writing?

They love it and hate it. They’re constantly telling me to hurry up as I’m late for everything – my fingers always seem to be glued to my laptop.

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

By panicking that they wouldn’t like it. Then my husband told me not to be so stupid and we opened a bottle of wine.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?

Take a deep breath and prepare to have your life taken over by the written word.

Do you hear from your readers much?

I’m a newly published author, so it’s a novelty for me. I just had an email this week from a reader who had finished Hidden and wanted to know when book two was coming out.  I need to get writing!

What do you think makes a good story?

Good characters and a burning need to know what happens next.

What is the last book you read?

I’ve just finished reading The Bringer by Samantha Towle. It’s about an angel who ‘brings’ people to heaven. I really enjoyed it.

If you could take any book and rewrite it, putting your own twist on it, which book would it be and why?

I liked The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, but the ending just seemed to fizzle out. I’d have liked it to have a bit more oomph!

Is there anything you need in order to write? (ie music, silence, chocolate)

Chocolate’s always good whether I’m writing or not. Oh, and I like to be warm – a fire in winter is very inspiring.

Do you have any writing projects you are currently working on?

Yes. My next novel is called Outside – a post-apocalyptic road trip romance for teens (try saying that really quickly three times). It’s set in the near future where everyone lives in closed-off communities behind perimeter fences. Beyond the perimeter, the UK is lawless and dangerous. The eBook should be out by early July.

Do you have a favorite method for writing, getting ideas, working out plots, etc?

Nope. I wish I did though. My writing methods are all a bit random.

How many books do you read a week/month?

Usually about 4-8

What does the word success mean to you?

It means different things depending on my mood. Sometimes I feel as though I’ve achieved success just by having published a book which people enjoy reading. Other times, I want to be a ridiculously successful multi-million selling author. (Aah, a girl can dream…)

If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?

Haha! It would probably say ‘Be nice to me please’.

~*~*~*~

Thanks Shalini for stopping by! Here is a little more about Shalini:

Before kids, I was a singer songwriter signed to Universal Music. But writing fiction has taken over my life and now I’m a mother of two noisy boys and an author of teen novels. I write the kinds of books I love to read – gripping young adult adventures with a spattering of romance and a sprinkling of horror.

Shalini can be found at the following places:

Website

Twitter

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: The Father’s Child May 20, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 3 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of The Father’s Child on Kindle!

Description:

John Truman, a bright, introverted, college student belongs to the New Dawn…he just doesn’t know it yet. The plans of the 300-year-old, Oxford-based, secret society revolve around him, the final piece in their puzzle. He struggles with almost everything – the girl he loves, the extroverted uber-social best friend, his estranged father, and the recurring visions that compromise his ability to interact with others. All John wants is to get through today; all they want is to rule the world.

Suspense, intrigue, mystery, and romance all woven together into one thrilling tapestry. Enter a world where nothing is what it seems and no one can be trusted. Are you ready?

My Review:

The Father’s Child by Mark Adair is a techno-thriller that is jam-packed with twists and turns. John Truman is just an average guy, or at least he seems to be. The book opens with your average college party and John is not the party type. After hiding out for as long as he can, he slowly tries making his way downstairs to blend in among friends. Only things take a wild turn and masked men decide to crash the party. Armed with serious weaponry, they demand that one of John’s close friends, George, step forward or else. Deciding to give himself up rather than see anyone hurt, George agrees and is taken by the masked men, who then leave just as quickly as they came.

Years later, John and another good friend Paul have decided to move and start over. Deciding they should go ahead with the original plans, they want to open their own company. Only John starts having weird dreams and appears to be borderline psychotic. Being able to create complicated computer programs, John sets out on a search to track George’s last steps before he was taken feeling as though he owes it to George to find the truth. Little does he know at the time, but John’s whole life has been planned out for him and he is to become part of the New Dawn.

This book took me a little while to get into it. The beginning starts off great with a lot of action and then there are several chapters where Mr. Adair is laying the ground work, setting up the story and giving the readers details that will be needed later in the story, although there are a couple of spots where there is a little action. On more than one occasion I found myself pushing this book to the side and coming back to it. Once you get through the beginning, it does pick up if you stay with it.

The Father’s Child is a book with two point of views. Each chapter alternates between John and Paul and I found this to be a little bit distracting. I would just be getting comfortable reading the story from one view only to have it abruptly switched to another. John and Paul may be best friends but they have very different personalities and therefore different ways of telling the story.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Book Review: Probability Angels May 20, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in 4 Tree Reviews, Book Reviews, Jaidis Shaw Reviews.
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Get your copy of Probability Angels (The Matthew and Epp Stories) on Kindle!!

Description:

Matthew Huntington’s problems seem to keep growing. Not only is he seeing things in garbage cans but his mentor doesn’t think he’s working up to his full potential, his best friend can’t offer any solace but drunken confusion, and his wife is dying in Central Park. Of course, the fact that Matthew himself died over two decades ago isn’t helping things. And then things start to really go wrong.

Come explore the world of Matthew and Epp and see what a samurai from Feudal Japan has to do with the course of modern physics, what a two-thousand year old Roman slave has to do with the summit of Mount Everest, and what a dead man from Brooklyn has to do with the fate of the world.

My Review:

Probability Angels by Joseph Devon brings to light the probability of certain situations like life and death. The reader is introduced to interesting ‘angels’ who are responsible for inspiring and choosing the fate of their charges. What gives us inspiration when we question ourselves? Who determines the outcome of a struggle in the park? The answer of course are people like Matthew Huntington, who has been dead for over two decades.

Mr. Devon has created a complex world that consists mainly of what-ifs. Within this world there are intriguing characters such as Epp the two-thousand year old Roman Slave and Kyo the Japanese Ronin. Backs must be watched because just as in the real world, there are power struggles and enemies pretending to be allies. Gregor, another Probability Angel who pushed Bram Stoker to write Dracula, is leading a cause to overthrow Epp and his followers who strongly believes that Epp has been in power too long.

Each chapter is broken down into smaller sections, each following certain characters and what they are up to at the time. There were some times that I would be into the story and then it would jump to another part and I would have to wait to get back into the story in which I was pulled. Either way, Mr. Devon does a fantastic job and has created a world that is unique and unforgettable.

My Rating:

Happy Reading,

Jaidis

Giveaways! May 19, 2011

Posted by Jaidis in Giveaways.
2 comments

As a reminder, 1 lucky winner will receive a print copy of Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner-Molaski!

Giveaway is International and will end at 11:59 PM EST on May 31st.

You can check out my review HERE

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1 Lucky winner will receive a SIGNED print copy of Quest of the Demon by M L Sawyer!

This giveaway is USA Only as I will be covering shipping. Giveaway will close at 11:59 PM EST on June 5th.

You can check out my review HERE

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