Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett

Degrees of WrongDegrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I decided to go with a five star rating for a few reasons. One, it was the kind of book that kept me up reading past my bedtime. Two, I loved the world-building. I liked that while it was set in the future, it felt like it could be happening now. Lastly, the romance was very swoony!

So, I admit I didn't like Elyse at first. Mainly, because I'm married to a military man and have a lot of respect for the military. So her initial behavior towards the military personnel rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn't witty, it was bratty. BUT, I pushed my personal views aside and once we got past that part I actually grew to really like Elyse and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I ended up enjoying the book.

Elyse is a doctor and working on finding a cure for the new Black Death virus that is sweeping the globe. She is put into protective custody on an underwater military base where she continually butt-heads with the gorgeous captain, Nicoli Marek. The romance between Elyse and Nicoli was a big focus of the book (which, being a romantic, I loved) and I loved their relationship! One thing that made me love Elyse was how strong she was in her morals and unwilling to compromise them, "My morals are not influenced by the people around me." Nicoli is in an arranged engagement, one formed for purely political reasons only, and Elyse refuses to be the other women. Their circumstances throw them together though and the sparks fly. (view spoiler)

Going into this I thought it was a standalone, so I wasn't quite prepared when the book ended the way it did. I'm sure there will be another book, there has to be, and I'm hoping it'll be about Nicoli's brother Ryon. He was great!

Overall, this was a very fun read! It was well written, well paced and the setting and characters all brought together to make a unique and memorable story. Definitely one I'd recommend to all my friends!

Content
Romance: Clean
Language: Mild
Violence: Mild

Source: Thanks Jessie for the loan, loved it!

View all my reviews

Friday, March 27, 2015

Swoon Fest Finale


Today is the last day of Shannon’s Swoon Fest. It has been such a fun month. I’ve loved reading her books again. I’ve read her Fircrest series a few times, but there were a few from the Alpine series I hadn’t read until this month. It was fun filling my month with her books, they never disappoint. This week for Rafflecopter I asked some questions about how people found Shannon, what they’d like to see next and so I thought I’d share what was submitted.

The number one place people heard about Shannon’s books…Amazon. Second place, was through book stores/libraries, a few through blogging friends and Goodreads. I personally found Shannon’s books through Amazon, you know how they give recommendations “if you like that, then you’ll like this” type thing? Well, they recommended You Belong With Me so I gave it a try and fell in love! I’ve been a devoted fan every since. The winner for favorite book…My Sweetheart!.

I don’t know if Shannon takes recommendations, but here are some of the fun suggestions we received on what people would like her to write about next. For me, I’d love a dystopian novel (maybe since I’m just in that genre-mood right now, but I think she’d write a great dystopian type book.) Other suggestions were:

*A contemporary western set in Montana
*A crossover with the Fircrest crew mixing with the Alpine crew
*Fantasy
*Another witch series
*More werewolves
*More Firecrest (which, from what I understand we still have five more books to come)
*More books set in the Alpine series
*Soul Searching update
*Medieval
*Regency

As for favorite quotes, we had a lot of great submissions. I decided to share one of mine. It comes from You Belong With Me, “Beauty isn’t a one size fits all. No one is more or less. We’re all just different, which is good, because so are men.” I always loved the quote. So much time is wasted comparing ourselves to other people, when we are all beautiful in our own ways.

I just wanted to give a big thanks to Katie, Kathy Jo and Heidi for all their help with this Swoon Fest. It was so fun working and chatting with you behind the scenes. You really helped make this a success and so much gun! A big thanks to Shannon again for not only written such fun, swoony books, but for participating and helping make this a fun event.


$25 iTunes Gift Card
Brandi Dagwan

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Casting Reveals



It's out final character casting and bio post! This week we are featuring the characters from The Alpine Series! Funny story! We have been having SO much fun doing Swoon Fest that we literally forgot we had not cast this series yet! Lol! But guess what?! I think it actually worked out in our favor because we were able to ask Shannon who SHE saw as each of the characters! She was SO much fun to work with on casting and I absolutely LOVE who she picked! Take a look and tell us what you think!

Makeover

Taking Chances

The Broken Road

Do Over

                                                   Character Interview

This weeks Character interview is of Iris and Trey from the Alpine Series. Katie's choice! katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com

Iris & Trey
What do you like to do on a romantic date?
          Motorcycle ride up the canyon.
What do you like most about each other?
           Trey: I like that Iris has a mind of her own.
           Iris: I like that Trey likes that about me.
What is your favorite way to spend time together?
           Trey:  Eating Ben and Jerry's on the couch
           Iris:  Kissing
What are  three things on your bucket list?
           Trey:  Start my own company, have two more children and race my Ducoti on the Salt Flats.
           Iris:  Open an art studio for disadvantaged children to come and learn and create, I'd also like to race my Ducoti on the Salt Flats and I'd like to cut my hair super short and bleach it bright white on the tips.
What is “your song”?
         Wild Women Do by Natalie Cole
Beach or Mountains? Mountains!
Book or Movie?  Iris: Movie,  Trey: Book
What is the craziest date you’ve been on?  
        We rode our bikes up to  Park City and spent the day skiing. On our way back home, a deer jumps out in front of us and we both almost crash.  Scariest date anyways.
How would you describe each other to someone else in three words?
        Trey: Wild, Amazing, Perfect.
        Iris: Perfect, Perfect, Perfect


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Gabbing With Guymon: Week Four

This is our final week for Gabbing With Guymon. I have really enjoyed our weekly Q&A's and getting to know Shannon better. I loved hearing the story of how she came up with her pen-name, Katie Lee O'Guinn. Getting to know Shannon through these interviews has made me appreciate at her books all the more.

What superpower do you wish you had? Can I say all? Okay, I’ve always thought Professor X from the X-Men was cool. The ability to not only read minds, but control them. My kids’ rooms would always be clean.

Best date you ever had? Worst date? Ugh. Dating. The best date I ever had was in college. I went dancing with a guy named Kevin and it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on a date. The worst? It was New Year’s Eve and I froze to death standing outside up in Salt Lake. Thought I was going to die waiting for it turn midnight.

Where would you rather go on vacation, Hawaii or Alaska and why?
Hawaii. Hands down. It’s hot, I could learn how to surf and eat roasted pork and watch beautiful Polynesian men dance with fire. They don’t do that in Alaska sadly.

With such a large family, where do you find time to write?
I write when my kids are in school or late at night. During the summer I wake up early and get a few hours in before they wake up. Being a mother is my number one priority for sure.

If you could have your choice of actor to play Harry from Werewolf Dreams, who would you choose?
I’m thinking Bradly Cooper.

How did I pick Katie Lee O'Guinn as my pen name?
I picked Katie Lee O'Guinn as my pen name because I was doing a lot of family history at the time and I found out about this amazing woman. She's my Great Grandmother and she had a very interesting but sadly short life. She was the daughter of a Cherokee woman and an Irish immigrant. She fell in love with a son from a well off family and they got married and had a family. She came down with Tuberculosis and died at a very young age leaving her children motherless and her husband a widower. A couple years later, her husband died of exhaustion and poor health. Many people assumed it was from a broken heart, which left my grandmother an orphan. My heart has always gone out to her and so I wanted to pay tribute to a woman who never had the chance to see her children grow up.

What is your favorite snack while writing?
My favorite snack while writing is: Kombucha ( a probiotic drink) and pistachios. I know, not cool, and not chocolate but I'm trying to be healthy!

What is my favorite thing to do with my family?
I love going to Bear Lake with my family. No TV, no computers, just sand and water and sun.

How do I get inspiration for my stories?
I get inspiration from everything around me. I have so many interesting people in my life and the world we live in is fascinating so there's never a problem coming up with inspiration.

What has been my favorite book to write?
Before this last month, I would have said, Do Over or Werewolf Dreams, but Pule's story has taken things to a new level and I have to say it was quite the experience.

Thanks again Shannon for taking the time to answer our questions!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday Trivia


This is Katie here, from Katie's Clean Book Collection.
This is the last week of our Swoon Fest with Shannon Guymon,
Take a Chance on Love.
It's been a month full of fun recipes,
trivia quizzes, getting to know you Q&A's,
casting, character bios, and winners!

For the last week of Tuesday Trivia, I've
put together a mix of questions about
Shannon's stand alone books, 
as well as a quiz on some of her
answers from our Gabbing with Guymon
segments. Have fun and if you'd like to,
comment and let us know how you did!
Be sure to enter the giveaways below
for your chance to win!


Quiz created by snapdragon77 with ExamTime

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday Munchies


Hi guys! KJ here from KJ's Book Nook! It's my last post for Monday Munchies for Shannon's Swoon Fest! *tear* I have been going back and forth trying to decide what in the world to post! Should I do Ava's Enchiladas from Taming the Wolf series?! Should I do something from Tai's Diner?! Or should I feature another Iron Skillet recipe?! I just couldn't decide!! And then something magical happened!! I was scrolling through my FB news feed and a recipe just jumped out at me! I just could NOT pass this up! It looked so amazing, and scrumptious and I just HAD to share it! So for the final Munchies post I will be featuring a recipe from Nikki over at Chef In Training. I have never met her nor have I ever talked to her but I do follow her on FB and oh my heck! The recipes she posts all sound SO amazing! Seriously... you should check her blog out! You can thank me later.. ;) Hehe.

So... without further adieu... I present to you...


Samoa Sheet Cake!!

Didn't I tell you that it looks and sounds amazing?! I seriously cannot WAIT to try this recipe out!! My mouth is watering just looking at the picture!! So are you wanting to know how to make this little slice of heaven?! Well then take a look below!! Sounds easy enough, don't ya think?! ;)

INGREDIENTS
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup water
4 Tablespoons cocoa
½ cup shortening
½ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

FROSTING
½ cup butter
6 Tablespoons milk
2½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅛ cup caramel sauce, I used caramel ice cream topping in the jar

ADDITIONAL TOPPINGS
2½ cups toasted coconut, See instructions below for how to make it
7 to 8 ounces caramel, either Kraft Caramel Cubes or from a block of Caramel. I used a block of Peter's Caramel.
⅛ cup evaporated milk
¾ cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening or oil

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Before making the cake, line an 18x13x1 inch cookie sheet with foil and spread shredded sweetened coconut evenly over cookie sheet.
2. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes, checking and tossing coconut regularly, every 2-5 minutes, to make sure all the coconut gets toasted evenly and does not burn. Coconut is done when it is golden brown.
3. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour and sugar. Set aside.
4. In a medium sauce pan, combine butter, water, cocoa and shortening. Bring to a boil. After mixture reaches a boil, add it to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
5. Add buttermilk, then baking soda, then eggs, then vanilla in that order, mixing in-between each addition.
6. Pour into a greased 18x13x1 inch cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.

FROSTING

1. In a medium microwave safe bowl, combine butter and milk and bring to a boil. Stir caramel sauce and then add powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until smooth.
2. After cake has cooked, remove from oven and poke holes in hot cake with a fork. Pour frosting evenly over top. Immediately sprinkle with top of warm frosting with toasted coconut.
3. In microwavable bowl, add caramel and evaporated milk and cook on high in 30 second increments, string in between each increment. Continue to cook and stir until caramel is smooth. Drizzle over coconut.
4. In another microwavable bowl, add chocolate chips and shortening (or oil). Microwave on high in 30 second increments, stirring in between each increment until the chocolate in melted. Drizzle over caramel.
5. Let Caramel and Chocolate drizzle set before cutting into it.

WOWZERS!! Is your mouth watering as much as mine?! Yummy, right?! *dreamy sigh* If this is not a Swoon Worthy recipe I don't know what is!! Let us know if you give it a try!! I am DYING to hear what everyone thinks!! ;)



Sunday, March 22, 2015

Swoon Fest: Week Four


This is the final week of Swoon Fest! I can’t believe how quickly this month has gone by. I wanted to thank Shannon for all her participation and of course for writing such fun books for us to enjoy. Below is the new rafflecopter for this week, we’ll try and include it on our posts throughout the week as well.

Be sure and mark your calendars for March 24-28 because Falling for Rayne will be FREE on Amazon! Let all your friends know as well!

Tomorrow Shannon will be posting the first chapter of Pule’s story on her blog, you won't want to miss that! I always love those teaser chapters. From what I hear, Pule’s story is going to keep us on our toes!!
Thanks again to everyone who has participated and helped make this a success.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Casting Reveals and Other Fun Stuff



Heidi here again, and it's time to get to week 3 of our Casting and Interviews. This week we head back to the world of Fircrest to the Love and Flowers and Love and Weddings Trilogies. We were SOOO excited to hear from Shannon yesterday that book two of Love and Weddings, Pule's Story, is done! We at Swoon Fest are all doing a happy dance and waiting anxiously to get our hands on it! Until then, here are a few castings from KJ at KJ's Book Nook, to help you out while you wait. We hope you enjoy!

                                                           Love and Flowers
Falling for Rayne
Dreaming of Ivy

A Passion For Cleo












Love and Weddings
My One and Only

Matafeo Men
The Swoony ladies and I had a hard time picking our favorite "Matafeo". We want to hear your opinion. Who is your favorite Matafeo in Fircrest and why? We'd love for you to leave a comment below!

TATE


KAM

TAI


 
PULE



                              Character Interview Week 3

This weeks interview is of our favorite witch couple. :) Kathy's choice!! Remember these two??!! A big thanks to Shannon once again for the fun insight to some of our favorite characters!



The Lost Witch Trilogy 
by Katie Lee O' Guinn (a.k.a Shannon Guymon)

Sarah & Zane
What do you like to do on a romantic date?
                  Zane: Sarah likes to pretend she's normal so she loves dinner and a movie. For me? I prefer flying on the beach followed by a candlelit dinner on the roof.
What do you like most about each other?
                  Sarah:  I love that Zane was never scared of me. He's so strong, he never had to be.
                  Zane:  I love that Sarah is the most extraordinary woman I know I'll ever meet.
What is your favorite way to spend time together?
                  Sarah:  Walking through town and knowing we're safe and happy.
                  Zane:  Kissing
What are  three things on your bucket list?
                  Zane:  Visit Europe and meet new witches there. Surf in Australia. Climb Mt. Everest. 
                  Sarah:  Visit Lash and Jenny. Go to Disneyland. Visit all of our friends who helped us beat Charles.
                  Zane:  Except Jericho.
                  Sarah:  Especially Jericho.
What is “your song? Accidentally in Love by the Counting Crows.
Beach or Mountains? Beach
Book or Movie?  Movie
What is the craziest date you’ve been on?
              We were down in Florida for a little getaway and Sarah decides she wants     some Cuban food. So we get all dressed up and we find the best place down by the beach.  Best food I've ever had in my life. We then go on a little chartered boat ride and one of the other passengers is drunk and falls overboard. Sarah dives into the ocean and brings the man up before he can drown, but she had a little too much power flowing so she ends up flying up into the boat with the guy in her arms. I had to use a little mind control to fix a few memories.  But the guy lived and Sarah now loves Florida.  
How would you describe each other to someone else in three words?
                  Zane:  Powerful, sexy and good
                  Sarah:  Ultra powerful, gorgeous and sweet.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Gabbing With Guymon: Week Three

This week we received a lot of fun questions! It is always fun getting Shannon's answers and learning more about her. What a great lady! Keep those questions coming. We have one more Gabbing With Guymon to come!

I love how your secondary characters seem to get their chance as main characters in your other books. Can you give us any clues about who we can expect to see in the future?
I think we’ve all read books before where we fall in love with secondary characters and want to know more. So the way I write my books gives me a chance to tell their stories at some point and at the same time, give a more in depth look at their life and character along the way. I’m writing Pule Matafeo’s story right now, and my 3rd book in the Love and Weddings trilogy will be Tristan Jensen’s story. (Meredith’s brother) I was thinking of ending the Fircrest series with this one, but something huge just happened in Pule’s story, so there’s going to be at least one more trilogy after this one.

Do you paint? I’ve noticed a few of your characters are artists and wonder if you are able to portray they so well because you love to paint as well.
I don’t paint but that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. When I was a little kid if you asked me what talent I wanted more than anything, I would have said painting. I love art so much, I majored in Art History when I was in college. I dreamed of being a museum curator. Turns out nobody can get a job in that field. 

Do your kids try and tell you how a book should go?
I have one daughter who tries to tell me what should happen and what characters should do what. Poor thing doesn’t realize I have no control over these people.

Do you have a master list of all the songs you've incorporated into your books? If so, can you please share?!
I don’t, but the next writing break I take, I will try and figure all of that out. Sorry!

Where do you come up with so many yummy cupcake ideas?
My doctor put me on an anti-inflammatory diet similar to the Paleo diet which means I don’t get any sugar. Any. The sweetest thing I eat these days is an apple. So I’m living out my food fantasies in my books. I love thinking up the yummiest things in the world and letting my characters eat them because I sure don’t get to. 

If you could marry a werewolf or a Samoan rugby player which would you choose?
Can I first just say that I love this question! So funny. I wonder what it would be like to marry a Samoan werewolf - Can you even imagine? But if I had to choose … hmm. Samoan rugby player. Sorry. I’ve seen the Haka. 

If you could enter one of your books for a day, which would you jump into?
My werewolves scare me. Not the werewolves themselves, but there’s always a hybrid somewhere around and those things give me nightmares. So I think I’ll play it safe and head to Fircrest so I can eat at the bakery and then head over to The Iron Skillet and maybe even Tai’s Diner. I would love to meet all my characters in person and get to hold their babies and catch up.

What is one thing on your bucket list?
Traveling the world. I want to see it all. If you could relive any time in your life, what would it be and why? I actually wouldn’t. Strangely enough, I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in my life. I’m writing books I want to write and I’m seeing my children grow up into amazing people who I love and respect and life is just wonderful. (Hard, but wonderful) I wouldn’t even go back one day.

What habits do you wish you could get rid of?
I’m a creative introvert with a penchant for messiness. My desk is horrifying. Piles of papers. Piles everywhere. I wish had the good habit of being able to organize but I just don’t have that gene.

What song could be the soundtrack to your life right now?
I lived – by One Republic. I feel like I’m doing everything I can to live my dreams and experience life and I hope that my kids will do the same.

If you won a million dollars, what would you buy first?
A house by the ocean. I’m not into things really but if I could live somewhere peaceful, beautiful and rejuvenating I think that would be heaven.

If you could eat lunch with any famous person, who would it be and why?
J.K. Rowling. Would love to pick her brain as a writer. She’s fantastic.

What's your favorite movie?
Oh crud. There are so many! I’ll give you an overview: Pitch Perfect, Avatar (Blue people), LOTR series, The Hobbit series and Anything Avengers/Spiderman.

If your life was made into a movie, who would you want to play you?
Julia Roberts. She can roll her eyes almost as well as I can.

If you could be any character in any book, who would you be and why?
Elizabeth Bennett. I want that house and Darcy.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist. The gift of creating something beautiful seemed like magic to me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday Trivia

Hey, this is Katie, back with another week of quizzes! This is my favorite set of series of all. I love all the characters and the food. I especially love the way the characters and food show up time and again in the other books. Since this is a favorite, I've designed a quiz for each of the complete series so far. Take a look and see how well you know your stuff and don't forget to enter your score(s) in the rafflecopter! We hope you're all having as much fun as we are!

Quiz created by snapdragon77 with ExamTime Quiz created by snapdragon77 with ExamTime Quiz created by snapdragon77 with ExamTime

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 16, 2015

Monday Munchies with KathyJo



So if you are like me when reading the Love and Dessert Trilogy, your mouth was probably watering the whole time! And when you got to My Sweetheart you probably drooled just a little bit when you first read Jane's creation of Matafeo cupcakes! I have read several reviews saying how much they would LOVE the recipe for Matafeo cupcakes!

Well... since I was in a creative, baking mood one night I decided that I was going to do MY take on the famous Matafeo Cupcakes!! Yes... you heard me right... MATAFEO CUPCAKES!! YAY!! Are you doing a happy dance?! Maybe just a little bit?! Because I am NOT ashamed to admit I did a MAJOR happy dance and then took a plate over to my neighbors so I did NOT eat them all!! They were THAT good!! And YES!! I am bragging!! LOL. Thank you Shannon for making this happen!!

So... what will you need to make these scrumdiddilyumptious cupcakes?!

Betty Crocker's Milk Chocolate Cake Mix (you can definitely use any of the chocolate mixes but this was the one that I picked the first night)
Betty Crocker's Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Smuckers Caramel Sauce
Lindt Lindor Caramel Truffles OR Caramel Hersey Kisses
Heath Toffee Bits
Eggs
Real Butter
Whole Milk

First I want to share with you a "secret" that I found on the internet. And I have to tell you I will NEVER be following the directions on the cake mix box AGAIN! Are you ready for this?!

Step 1: Look at the directions on the cake mix.
Step 2: Add one more egg (or add 2 if you want it to be very rich).
Step 3: Use melted real butter instead of oil and double the amount.
Step 4: Instead of water, use whole milk.
Step 5: Mix well and bake for the time recommended on the box.

Now... to get the caramel into the center of the cupcakes. I have come up with 3 different options. The first is good old Smuckers Caramel sauce. I spent $15 and purchased a Wilton Cupcake Decorating Kit on Amazon. Best. Idea. Ever! It has a tool that will insert the filling into the middle of the cupcake for you! Or you can do what I did the first time and take an unused straw and poke holes through the cupcakes then just pour the caramel sauce onto them.

Another way you can do it is as soon as the cupcakes come out of the oven you can take a knife and cut an X into the top. Once that is done you will take a Lindt Lindor Caramel Truffle and push it into the center of the cupcake until it is flush with the top of the cupcake. The reason you need to do it as soon as it comes out is so that the truffle will MELT and spread all the ooey, gooey deliciousness into the cupcake!!

And the last way you can do it is with caramel Hersey kisses. You will bake the cupcakes for 5 minutes before you put the Hersey kiss upside down into each cupcake. I personally don't really care of this way because the cupcakes do not rise and look beautiful... they sink and you have a crater in the middle! But some may like that so they can put more frosting on the top! ;) Hehe.

Once the cupcakes have cooled the decorating begins! It's not hard... I promise! But it is OH SO YUMMY! Again.. I used my cupcake decorating kit but you can use a good ol' knife too! Once they are frosted you will sprinkle the Heath Bits all over the top. And no... we are NOT stopping there! For the grand finale you will drizzle the caramel syrup over the top of the cupcake! Oh. My. HECK! It is to DIE for!


YOU ARE WELCOME!!

And as always if you try these make sure to tell us what you think!! I'm excited for someone other than ME to try them and let everyone know just how WONDERTASTICAL they are!! ;) Hehe.

Don't forget to enter to win this weeks prizes!!

 
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