Top Ten Tuesday with Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List

My TBR is huge and it gets bigger ever day. I really think I need to quit my day job just to read all the books on my list! Here are the ten most recent books I added to my TBR!

Review and Giveaway - Twice Upon A Time

Fairytales don’t always happen once upon a time. Fables don’t always have a happy ending. Sometimes the stories we love are too dark for nightmares. What if waking Sleeping Beauty was the worse thing the Prince could have done? What if Rapunzel wasn't in that tower for her own protection—but for everyone else’s?

Assembled by The Bearded Scribe Press, Twice Upon A Time combines classics and modern lore in peculiar and spectacular ways. From Rapunzel to Rumpelstiltskin, this unique collection showcases childhood favorites unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Both traditionally-published and independent authors will take you on a whirlwind ride through fairytale and folklore, myth and majick. Cherished stories are revisited and remastered into newly-treasured tales of hope and heartache, of adversity and adventure.

Featuring stories from Bo Balder, AJ Bauers, Carina Bissett, Rose Blackthorn, S.M. Blooding, Rick Chiantaretto, Richard Chizmar, Liz DeJesus, Court Ellyn, S.Q. Eries, Steven Anthony George, Dale W. Glaser, Jax Goss, K.R. Green, Kelly Hale, Tonia Marie Harris, Brian T. Hodges, Tarran Jones, Jason Kimble, Shari L. Klase, Alethea Kontis, Hannah Lesniak, Wayne Ligon, RS McCoy, Joshua Allen Mercier, Robert D. Moores, Diana Murdock, Nick Nafpliotis, Elizabeth J. Norton, Bobbie Palmer, William Petersen, Rebekah Phillips, Asa Powers, Joe Powers, Brian Rathbone, Julianne Snow, Tracy Arthur Soldan, C.L. Stegall, Brian W. Taylor, Kenechi Udogu, Onser von Fullon, Deborah Walker, Angela Wallace, and Cynthia Ward.

Edited by Joshua Allen Mercier. Cover artwork by Luke Spooner.

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A new published friend asked me to review her short story in the anthology Twice Upon A Time and I could not turn her down. I am so proud of AJ Bauers and all the work she has done in the past year to achieve her dreams! She moved to a brand new state and started going to school to pursue her dream of creative writing - leaving her family, friends and a career behind. She is already making strides with her first story published in Twice Upon a Time!

  • This book is amazing. The anthology has so many amazing re-tellings of classic fairy tales. Plus, with the amazing collection of authors and writings, this book has something for everyone.
  • The fairy tales go beyond your Disney" classics, spinning off the true Grimm's tales and other folklore pasted down by the generations.
  • The stories also span all genres - young adult, sci-fi, historical, contemporary, supernatural and even some post Apocalypse goodness!
  • Specifically for AJ Bauer's story, it is a re-telling of Jack and the Bean Stalk in the style of a space opera. I love the dry wit of Jack, especially as he starts the story writing his own eulogy. AJ Bauer creates a masterful world where Jack, the somewhat misfit - the nicknamed "Screw-Up" has to step up and save the world - or at least his little part of it.
  • There is nothing to gripe about, if you don't love one story, move onto the next! The book is pretty large, so I would almost suggest the ebook version just for ease of portability and lack of hand cramps!

Week Recap - Knocked Down Again

I spend this entire week battling a cold, again. Argh. I feel like I have caught more sicknesses in the last year than I have in the last 10. I think I need to do some major overhaul on my immune system, because something has to give. The only good thing about being down and out is lots of time to read and catch up on Netflix. I finally got into House of Cards - man that show is intense!

This Week on A Flurry of Ponderings:
Monday - Review of Friday Night Knitting Club
Wednesday - Waiting on Wednesday with The Prom Goers Interstellar Excursion
Friday - Review of Duff
Saturday - Review of Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Sunday - Cover Reveal - Alice's Portrait & Giveaway

This Week I Read:

Cover Reveal - Alice's Portrait and Giveaway

I'm excited to share the cover reveal of Alice's Portrait by Juliette Harper, the third book in the Lockwood Legacy series. This is an adult contemporary mystery that is also very focused on family, small town and ranch life as well as some clean romance. 

About the Book:
A year after Kate, Jenny, and Mandy Lockwood inherit The Rocking L, the sisters try to concentrate on their collective and individual futures. In the previous book in The Lockwood Legacy series, Baxter’s Draw, the women made startling discoveries about their father’s secrets, but are mistaken in their belief that everything has now come to light. In Alice’s Portrait, the ghosts of Langston Lockwood’s past once again confront his daughters, forcing them to re-evaluate their understanding of their father and of what it means to be a Lockwood.

Instead of fighting back, Langston took off his hat and ran a tired hand through his graying hair. “Don’t talk about Alice,” he said. “You don’t know enough to talk about her. As for your Mama, there won’t be any peace for me over what I did to her, but she’s at peace, Jenny. I can at least tell you that.”

“That’s supposed to make me feel better, Daddy? Really? I know Mama is at peace because she was a kind, gentle woman. As for you, I hope you walk the earth for eternity and enjoy your own tailor-made brand of hell.”

“I reckon I probably will,” he said, the words filled with tired regret. “I always thought if there was an afterlife I’d find my Alice, but she isn’t here. I probably deserve that, but it’s bitter gall, little girl. It’s bitter gall all the same.”

“I’ll ask you again. What do you want, Daddy?” Jenny said, her voice ice cold.

“What I want is for you to make your peace with it, Jenny,” he said. “You got my temper and my gifts. Those things come from me and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it. You’ve got real talent. Only thing I could draw was my Alice, but you see the world with clear eyes. My art came from anger and pain, but yours comes from your soul. Let that out, daughter. That’s what I want.”

“You don’t know a damned thing about my soul,” she snapped.

“The hell I don’t,” he said mildly. “I was like you once, before I let life drive me over the edge. Fiery, passionate, idealistic. Being like me won’t hurt you, Jenny. You’re too strong. Katie, she’s tough and capable; she’s a thinker and her heart is as big as Texas when she opens it. But you, daughter? You’d spit the devil in the eye and dare him to cart you to hell. God knows you spit me in the eye.”

“You drove me away from my home! I was 17. I was alone and scared but I had to get the hell away from you. Do you have any idea what that was like for me, Daddy?”

“You should thank God I drove you away, girl,” Langston said. “Everything you went through out there is why you can be here now. Lead your life, Jenny. You and that Baxter boy, you got a future. There’s no coincidence him being a Baxter, you just don’t realize it yet.”

“Damn you,” she said. “Josh is right. You are haunting us. Dead or not, tend to your own business.”

“The dead always haunt the living, girl,” he said, standing up. “You got a hell of a lot more ghosts to worry about than me. Deal with them.”

As he started for the door, Jenny said to his back, “Daddy, did you ever love me?”

Langston turned, his hat in his hand. “I loved all my girls,” he said. “Problem was, I hated myself too much to show it. Look under the bridge, Jenny. You’ll find what you need to know there.”

Don’t miss out on the first book, Langston’s Daughters, only .99 cents in ebook!

Baxter's Draw, book two in the Lockwood Legacy is out now!

About the Author:
Juliette Harper is the pen name used by the writing team of Patricia Pauletti and Rana K. Williamson. Like the characters of their debut series, The Lockwood Legacy, Juliette is a merging of their creative energies.
Pauletti, an Easterner of Italian descent, is an accomplished musician with an eye for art and design. Williamson, a Texan from a long line of hardheaded Scots, knows the world of the Lockwoods like the back of her hand.“We decided to write under a pen name because neither one of us by ourselves could have created Kate, Jenny, Mandy, and their world,” says Pauletti. “Juliette is a little bit of us both. We want to be her when we grow up.”

“Patti teases me that I just don’t want to own up to writing a book with romance in it,” Williamson adds, “but that’s not true. I like the Lockwood women and the way they tackle everything life throws at them. And before we’re done, they’ll be ducking a lot. I imagine coming into the office every day and saying, ‘Okay Juliette, what’s going to happen now?’ She tells us, and we get it down on paper.”

$50 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Ends 4/14
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Review of Breathe, Annie, Breathe

Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

"Breathe, Annie, Breathe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet." — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You 

I aspire to be a runner, I actually have a 10K coming up in May that I really need to train harder for. I saw Breathe, Annie, Breathe around blogsphere and when it was featured on the shelf at the library I decided I needed to pick it up.

  • Annie was interesting. I could see how she would react to losing her boyfriend the way she did. I would also blame myself and sink into myself.
  • I liked the way that Annie really progressed through the book and figured out who she is and even more importantly, who she wants to be.
  • Jeremiah was such a cutie. I loved his character and wanted more and more of him when he wasn't in the book. I felt like he was unlike so many of the other male character I have read in other books. He was so unique and that make him really intriguing.
  • The book was really a testament to how hard it is to train for a marathon and what it really takes to push your body to extremes. I thought it was realistic and well done.
  • No major gripes, it was a simplistic story and easy read. I enjoyed reading it once but probably would never pick it up again.

Review of Duff

 Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

With the movie coming out and the intriguing trailer, I had to get my hands on a copy of DUFF. My amazing aunt gave me a late birthday present, a gift card to Barnes and Nobel, so I snatched it up.
  • I really liked Bianca. I felt like I could relate and I definitely have felt like a DUFF many times in my life. I have some beautiful friends, so it is hard not to feel jealous or a little less than beautiful once and a while. She was tough, but yet sensitive, she knew who she was, but also knew that she did not have enough courage to be herself.
  • Wesley was great, he was perfect stereotype high school hottie. I enjoyed seeing him let go and actually open up to Bianca. Their crazy banter was fun to read.
  • I liked Bianca's two best friends a lot. They were both so real and great friends. They love Bianca and did not treat her like the way she saw herself after she was called a Duff. They genuinely cared for her and knew that something was up when she was ignoring her.
  • Bianca's relationship with her father was complex, but they genuinely cared for each other. I really liked they way they stuck together and worked out their issues.

  • I was sad that the book was not at all like the trailer. The names and places were the same, but the theme for the movie was completely different. I actually would have liked the book a lot better if it was like the movie but instead it was Bianca using Wesley for sex whenever she was upset or wanted a release. Not really what I wanted to read when I started the book. I did like the ending and the theme of the book, but I was disappointed with the sexual content in the book. I enjoy YA because it isn't normally so sexually charged. I would really rather promote safe and healthy relationships.

Diamond Sisters Book Blitz and Giveaway

The Secret Diamond Sisters (The Secret Diamond Sisters #1)
Release Date: 02/25/14
Harlequin Teen
381 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite.

Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | Book Depository | iBookstore

"Sexy and often electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps." 

"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride." 
--RT Book Reviews

Book Two:

Diamonds in the Rough (The Secret Diamond Sisters #2)
Release Date: 10/28/14
Harlequin Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
All-access doesn't mean no problems.

The three Diamond sisters survived the summer in style after coming to live with their long-lost billionaire father. But making a place for themselves at their exclusive new Las Vegas private school is throwing them any number of gold-plated curves. Savannah's YouTube stardom turns into a Sweet Sixteen reality show extravaganza—with complimentary enemies on the side. Dangerous flirtations don't keep Peyton from a gamble that will risk far more than she planned to bet. And when Courtney and the sisters' archenemy, Madison, uncover two explosive secrets, it will rock even this town of glittering illusion—and turn their lives upside down all over again.

Sisterhood, first crushes, and scandalous secrets explode in book two of Michelle Madow's riveting series, The Secret Diamond Sisters.

About the Author
Michelle Madow was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters series while walking through her favorite hotel in Las Vegas. The next book in the series, Diamonds in the Rough, launches in October. Prior to The Secret Diamond Sisters, she successfully self-published The Transcend Time Saga. A tireless promoter of her work, Michelle is active on social media networks and has toured across America to promote her books and encourage high school students to embrace reading and writing. A graduate of Rollins College, Michelle lives in Florida ... but she loves going to Vegas.

To chat with Michelle and other fans about her books, joinMichelle Madow's Street Team on Facebook!

Author Links:
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COURTNEY DIAMOND The fireworks started before either of them could say anything more, bursts of light shooting into the desert sky, bigger than any firework show Courtney had seen in Fairfield. It was impossible to ignore the electricity bouncing between the inches of space separating her and Brett, dancing across her skin with each boom overhead. She couldn’t stop glancing at him from the corner of her eye. He looked lost in thought, although sometimes she swore she caught him watching her, too. This went on for twenty minutes, and then came the finale—shot after shot of fireworks exploding, without a second’s break between them. Some sored into their air like comets and others spread like meteor showers, filling up miles of sky. When it was over, Courtney was sitting so close to Brett that their arms were an inch from touching. “How did you like it?” he asked, not making an effort to move away. “I loved it,” she replied. “Thanks for bringing me.” Her head felt fuzzy, and she pushed a strand of hair behind her ear, her arm brushing his. She stilled at the touch, and he looked at her with more intensity than he had the entire night. “Are you two ready to leave?” Dawn destroyed the moment, standing up and brushing invisible dust off her jeans. Courtney jerked backward, torn out of her trance. If the others hadn’t been there, what would have happened between her and Brett? She’d never kissed a guy before, but from the way he was looking at her, she felt like he’d wanted to kiss her. And if he had, she wasn’t sure she would have stopped him. She shook her head at the thought. Courtney had never broken a rule in her life. Whatever had just occurred between her and Brett could never happen again.


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