Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guest Post and Giveaway: Herbology 101 with author Hailey Edwards


     While writing A Feast of Souls, I researched herb lore because the heroine, Mana, is a spirit walker. In the Araneae world, that makes her a spiritual leader for her clan, one who can walk in between worlds and aid in healing from the spiritual plane. Mana also studies herbology. During the course of the book, she mentions making a poultice to draw infection from a sword wound.
     A poultice, or cataplasm, is a soft mass (made from bread, meal, or clay and medicated with herbs) spread on fabric and heated before being applied to sores or cuts. They are used to draw out infection, treat boils and abscesses or to cure itchy rashes.

     Here are a few cool facts about poultices:
1.      Poultices can also be used to remove stains on porous materials, such as granite and marble countertops and floors.
             2.      Because they ease inflammation, poultices are commonly used on horses.
             3.      Applications for poultices are only limited by their ingredients.

     So my question is this—have you ever tried a home remedy or herbal cure? If so, did it work for you? Leave a comment to let me know and you’ll be entered to win your choice of title from my backlist in any digital format and an Araneae swag pack. Contest is open internationally.

A Feast of Souls Excerpt

     Tonight we fought for our freedom. If we lost…I wanted to know this male’s kiss.

     Vaughn cleared his throat. “We could make up for lost time.”

     “You’d do that, for me?” My smile was impossible to stop. I should be afraid—of him, of this night, of the outcome of two bound prisoners against a score of Theridiidae. “How kind you are.”

     But I wasn’t afraid. Vaughn’s presence enveloped me, kept me safe against all odds. My skin tightened and my head ached as I was forced to consider perhaps it had never been him I feared, but his effect on me. Tradition demanded I save myself for my soul mate. My heart, well, it was less inclined to wait. With no visible aura and no possible future, I gave myself to this moment.

     Vaughn closed the distance between us. “This is not the first kiss you deserve.”

     “Who said this was my first?” I was a warm-blooded female and males had interested me.

     His brow furrowed. “You’re Salticidae.”

     “I am.” I wished my hands were free to shape his broad shoulders. “I’m also waiting.”

     “Then we’re even.” His head lowered. Our breaths mingled. “I’ve waited for this.”

     Surprise parted my lips, and he claimed my mouth with hunger that sank into my bones. One brush of his lips and I was lost. His tongue traced the entrance to my mouth, seeking permission I granted by inclining my head. Desire fogged my mind, the low rumble in the back of his throat making tension coil low in my stomach. Our bodies pressed so close, I realized how well we fit.

     The thrust and glide of Vaughn’s tongue mirrored the erotic turn of my thoughts. No. I could not indulge in this male when I had one of my own somewhere. When the gods brought my soul mate to me, I would not go to him sullied or disgraced for being so weak I gave away my virtue.

     Suddenly the bite of rope on my wrists was a welcome reminder of our circumstances. Over the pounding of my heart, I heard his raw breaths and saw wildness glint in his eyes. I withdrew.

     If our display hadn’t earned us the full attention of our guards, I might have considered a roll in the snow to cool the heat making it hard for me to breathe. Gods’ web he had my mind dazed.

 ****This post contains general information about medical conditions and treatments.
The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such. Click for complete disclaimer.****
About the Author:
Born in the Deep South, Hailey is a lifelong resident of Alabama. Her husband works for the local sheriff’s department and her daughter is counting down the days until she’s old enough to audition for American Idol. Her doxie, Black Ilex, helps Hailey write by snoozing in his recliner in her office.
Her desire to explore without leaving the comforts of home fueled her love of reading and writing. Whenever the itch for adventure strikes, Hailey can be found with her nose glued to her Kindle’s screen or squinting at her monitor as she writes her next happily-ever-after.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Review: A Feast of Souls: Araneae Nation, Book 2 by Hailey Edwards

Born with the ability to communicate with the dead, few things take Mana by surprise. But when a canis lopes into her life, announcing himself as the long-dead father of a childhood friend, she’s shocked. To make matters worse, he has a dire message that she alone can deliver.

Now Mana must face Vaughn, the male who inspired one too many girlish fantasies, and impart the spirit’s message—without acknowledging her source—so the soul can be laid to rest.

With rumors of a burgeoning clan war setting his nerves on edge, the last thing Vaughn needs is for an innocent to get caught in the crosshairs. But the woman he remembers as an awkward girl refuses to leave his side until he’s heard her out. That’s not the only change in her that calls to him. Her kindness soothes his battle-scarred soul—and he craves her in ways a warrior shouldn’t.

When they are both captured, they learn of an even greater threat. The plague devastating the southlands has come to his clan home. And his best—and only—chance to keep his people alive is the female who walks among the dead.

Product Warnings
This book contains one fierce hero with a nose for danger, one stubborn heroine who smells like trouble, and one wolfish spirit who makes most relationships with the in-laws seem downright tame. Fur, fangs and some biting should be expected. But never fear, the hero has a sword, and he knows how to use it.

Publication Date: December18, 2012
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Source: Thanks so much to Hailey Edwards for providing me with a review copy!

Ah! Ok, it was predetermined that I would like this book. As the second book in this series it lived up to my expectations and then some. Sometimes it's hard to adjust to new main characters in a series when you've gotten attached the ones from previous books, but this book has no problems there.

Book 1, A Hint of Frost (my review), centers around Rhys and Lourdes. A Feast of Souls focuses on Rhys's brother Vaughn *gazes off dreamily* I can't say how excited I was that Vaughn was the 'hero' in this book. Even though he wasn't in the first book a whole lot, he stood out as an interesting and complex character. He doesn't disappoint at all. He has to be tough and violent at times, but I love that his one soft spot, his achilles heel, is Mana. Gah! I loved them in this book so much!

One thing I have to say I admire about Mana is that unlike a lot of female characters in romance novels she is really honest with herself about her feelings for Vaughn. She has the inner turmoil of being attracted to him but thinking he's not right for her, without pushing him away. That drives me crazy in books when the girl will be over the top against being with this or that person. Mana can't keep Vaughn at a distance no matter what her head tells her because she is in tune to what her heart is saying.

I think I probably mentioned this in my review of the first book of this series, but I was so impressed by this fact again in Book 2. Hailey Edwards has this amazing gift of writing Romance that is gripping, tension-filled and *way* sexy . . . without being smutty. Plus, the Fantasy element of the novel doesn't take a backseat to all the steamy stuff. The story is an integral part of the characters and their relationships.

If you haven't read anything of Hailey's, you are missing out. She is an amazing author and has a true gift for this genre. An author to keep your eyes on, for sure!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tour Review: Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be

Publication Date: November 13, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: Thanks to the Souther Book Bloggers for allowing me to be a part of this book tour!

The only way I can describe this book is: Adorable. It is simply sweet and scrumptiously adorable. I had a good idea of where the book was going, but there are enough little twists to keep you feeling satisfied with the story.

This book has one of my favorite personality combinations to read: uptight, rule-folllower type of girl and the free-spirited, life-loving dude that inspires her to just be herself. Julia and Jason's relationship is so sweet and progresses so honestly throughout the book. I also loved how Jason isn't exactly what he appears to be on the outside. He can be really deep and considerate and sweet. I keep using that word, but if you read the book you'll see why :)

If you love contemporary fiction that keeps you hooked in, but the subject matter isn't too dark then this is the perfect book to read. It's a quick book to go through, but leaves you feeling warm and happy with how it ends. A good weekend type of book to read :)