Sunday, September 20, 2015

Lost in Fantasy

I draw in a deep breath feeling the cool night air coat my lungs. The scent of smoke and the tingling sensation does little to calm the chaos swirling in my mind. I blow out the breath and tip my head toward the sky. Hundreds of stars glitter against the velvety darkness. Twin moons shine bright red, signaling the season of harvest has finally arrive at last. Soon the village would be bustling with energy, everyone trying to prepare for months of darkness ahead. Even now, though the sun set hours ago, the dim light of the street lanterns can be seen from where I sit.
A gentle breeze lifts a few loose ends of my hair, causing the lavender strands to stick to my face. Stretching my long legs out in front of me, I let them fall loosely dangling over the edge of the cliff, the jagged brown stones biting into the back of my legs. I welcome the pain. It is a relief to the dread I feel in my chest. The harvest isn’t the only thing the moons hanging overhead signal. They also mean life as I know it is over. In two weeks’ time, I will be forced to leave my home in Maya and become the bride of a man I have never met and the queen of a land I have never seen.  
I scoot closer to the edge, stirring up a small, chalky cloud of dust, and stare over into the emptiness below. The thought of allowing myself to simply fall into the void, is tempting, but it would be no use. Though my death would prevent my fate, my family would pay the price. I could not do that to them, to my father. No, he has given too much, sacrificed too much, for me to throw it all away to selfishly save myself. My family’s safety, their security for generations to come, depended upon me completing this arrangement. I didn’t have to like it, which was not reassuring, but I would follow through.
 In fourteen days, on my eighteenth birthday, I would become Her Royal Highness, Queen Alexandra Romand of the Glade.
-        J. Leite

The last several days I have been reading The Affiliate by K.A. Linde ( This a royal, fantasy story set in a mysterious land ruled by a handsome King who keeps order over a class system set in place to ensure that the people of the land are taken care of and protected. Each class has responsibility and duties which help benefit each other.
I have always liked this genre, a genre where anything goes. The author has complete freedom to make up not only the characters, but the world they live in. There is no need to worry about cityscapes or country settings. The world is anything the author makes it. Mountains of shades of blues, lakes the color of amethyst or a noon sky with two suns on the horizon. The characters can resemble humans or could be completely alien. Civilization can be ruled by a monarch or a tyrant, or by no one at all as the characters rise above the fall of society. Heroes can be regal or ragged. Heroines can be princess or poor peasant girls. The story can take the reader on an adventure through magical lands, alien plants or reside within one town.
The sci-fi, fantasy genre is not for everyone, but for those with wild imaginations and a need for adventure these books offer the perfect place to get lost for a little while.

Happy reading,

Friday, September 18, 2015


               Several months ago, Jess and I decided to put this blog on hold. Jess had a newborn at home, a handsome little boy who was in such a rush to join the world that he arrived five weeks early. At the same time, I was lost on a soccer field somewhere (still am most days) and playing around with the idea of writing a book of my own (completed, but not sure what to do next). We had gone from flat out consuming books at a sickening rate to barely finding the time to read a book a month.
Our decision to place the page one hold was not one made easily. I was disappointed in myself for even having the idea of closing it. Starting the blog was something I had thought about doing for over a year before getting the nerve to finally do it. When the idea first came to me I hadn’t found my love for reading. I simply wanted to find an outlet to write occasionally and a blog sounded like the way to go. But once I started reading like a maniac and following other book blogs it all clicked. Boy, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
If you are not a blogger you may not know what goes into running or participating in a book blog. Registering for tours, signing up for the opportunity to review a book before its release, creating promotional materials for authors and participating in or running giveaways. Sometimes it can be completely exhausting – from trying to complete everything on an overbooked calendar to trying to compete with the “big blogs” - and it’s easy to feel like you are disappointing those you are trying to support, authors and readers alike. The kicker is to try to do all that while juggling a full time job and a family. You either have to be insane or a superhero to keep up with all of that. As far as I know, I am neither.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. It’s an amazing thing to be part of an author’s new release. The best way to describe it is welcoming a newborn into the world. Whether the author is a first time “parent” or they are a seasoned pro with dozens of “children” in the world, each release is unique – a tiny miracle - and each is exciting. Over the last two years I have meet authors who went from strangers to confidants. People I trust with my wildest ideas and someday when they’re on the New York Times Best Sellers list I can say, “I remember when…”.
Since our decision to put the blog on hold there have been moments when I finished an amazing book and wanted to tell people about it, but there was no one to tell. There were moments when I saw amazing news posted by an author and wanted to know everyone’s opinion, but there was no one to ask. There have been new releases I thought the world should know about and new authors I wanted to help, but I didn’t have the means. After having this blog to turn to for two years I felt like, in those moments, I was missing a part of myself. I need to get that part back. I want to share amazing books and authors to the world, even if, in the end, no one reads this.
So, what does this mean, you are probably wondering. Well, Swooning Over Books is back, but the format will be different.
·        Jess and I most likely will not be signing up to participate in blog tours or official book release events. These are very important resources for authors and I support blogs who host and participate in them, however, I feel that I cannot commit to the level of dedication needed to help these tours be successful. It would be a disservice to an author and the hosting blog to sign up for these tours and not be able to give 100%.  
·        The majority of the books Jess and I review will be books we have purchased and read at our leisure. We will not be regularly registering for ARCs or reviewing solicitation for reviews. The books we read and review will be those we have read because we wanted to, not because it was a title listed on our calendar. This may sound harsh and I apologize in advance, but we do not have the bandwidth to help every single author who reaches out for a book review. Receiving dozens of requests and being able to only help one or two makes me feel like a failure and disappointed that have let down the other authors.
·        Giveaways, oh giveaways. Moving forward, giveaways on this blog will be rare. IF we hold giveaway they will be few and far between. Just like most blogs we have done dozens of giveaways in the past, but unfortunately they don’t always work out – and I know you may have heard this before – but you would not believe the number of people who are ungrateful for winning. Once again, I apologize if this seems harsh. The giveaways we have done in the past were for items that we either purchased or acquired at signs we attended. Neither Jess nor I have the personal resources to hold giveaways on a regular basis. So, if you are following for the sole reason that you hope to win free stuff I suggest you unlike/unfollow us.
Moving forward, the post made on this blog will still be book related, but they will not be solely reviews. I hope to find time to post a few times a week, but there many we weeks with only a single post. We will continue to share our favorite books and authors, as well as new authors and books needing a little love. I hope you continue to follow along. Jess and I have missed you.

With love; Happy reading!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Cover Reveal: The Shortstop by A.M Madden

July 13, 2015


  “Quint and Annie sitting in a tree…K.I.S.S.I.N.G.” Quint Lawson and Annie Weber heard that childhood song over and over and it never bothered them. Even though Quint was only five, Annie wasn’t just his neighbor. She would become his best friend and the love of his life. Annie wasn’t interested in dolls, or girly things when growing up. A tomboy at heart, having a boy as a best friend suited her just fine. That same boy captured her heart. Quint had two passions, his girl and baseball. From kindergarten to college, Quint tore up every baseball diamond he played on. His position was shortstop. His talent was undeniable. Professional ball was most definitely in his future, and he was ready for it. Annie would be right by his side. When everything in life is perfect, it’s hard to imagine heartbreak in any form. Quint wasn’t immune to its power. This shortstop had no idea what any form of heartbreak could do to his perfect world. When it hit, there were many casualties left in its wake…the most important one was Annie. Can a person be prepared for, understand, or even endure a misfortune if they’ve never experienced one before? In Quint Lawson’s case the answer is no.  
AM Madden Teaser 4    


Shadow of professional baseball player in action on grand arena

Author bio

Amazon Best Selling Author ~ A.M. Madden's debut novel is Back-up, the first in The Back-Up Series. The series includes Back-Up, Front & Center, Encore, Backstage, and The Devil's Lair Novella.
A.M. Madden is a wife, a mother, an avid reader of romance novels and now an author. In Back-up she aspired to create a fun, sexy, realistic romantic story. She wanted to create characters that the reader could relate to and feel as if they knew personally. A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, she loves getting lost in a good book. She also uses every free moment of her time writing, while raising teenage boys.

Connect with A.M.

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nver, Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

My review:
  I heard about this book a few weeks ago and was immediately interested, simply because anything Colleen Hoover writes is pure magic in print and Tarryn Fisher is super talented.  I have to admit I was nervous about the co-authorship.  How could they possibly meld their two styles seamlessly?  Would I be able to tell who wrote which scenes?  Would the combination be distracting?  I am happy to report no, no and no.  These two authors weaved their talents together so perfectly it was impossible to tell where one ended and the other began.  They are a match made in literary heaven, so much so I feel they deserve their own Hollywood name - like ColRyn or TarLeen.  

Besides the authors' undeniable reputation I knew nothing about this book.  The blurb offers just enough information to appear unique, but vague enough to peak my interest.  It wasn't until I opened the book did I realize it was a plus-sized novella.  This may be one of the only times in life size does not matter.  Do not be mistaken, this book has a HUGE impact in a short amount of time.  

Is it a mystery?  Is it a romance?  Is it a scifi?  Paranormal?  Horror?  Yes?  No?  Maybe?  I don't know!  I feel just as lost as Charlie and Silas,  I wandered around the pages of this book trying to piece together the puzzle with them and then WAM!  It all fades to black and I was left standing on the edge of a cliff hanging on for dear life.  Gah!  Throw me a lifeline.  Just one clue!

Though I am teetering on the edge, I am ready to jump into part 2!  It is early in 2015, but I have a sneaking suspicion this will be one of my favorite series of the year.

Happy reading!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Little Wolf by Amelie S Duncan

Book: Little Wolf
Author: Amelie S. Duncan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When twenty-three year old Tala Velsik appears in a last minute performance art piece, she has no idea that public nudity will be the least of her worries. Wearing nothing but silver paint and a pair of antlers, her body is bared to hundreds of eyes, but one penetrating stare simmers through the others, Adrian Caro.
Adrian is one of the world’s most famous directors and photographers, but with striking features and a body made for sin, most would guess he belonged in front of the camera.
Of course, the last thing Tala needs is romance, even with a walking Adonis. Mounting bills, a dead end job and a set of childhood memories most therapists would pale at; love is low on her list. Assuming, of course, her new admirer allows her to have a say in the matter.
Shocked yet thrilled by Adrian’s passionate domination, Tala can’t help but feel she’s standing on quicksand. For all his wealth, fame and talent, Adrian is tormented by his own demons; hiding secrets big enough to destroy them both.

(I received this book in return for an honest review.)
When I received this book I had completely forgotten what the synopsis was.  I honestly thought maybe it was a paranormal book, you know something about wolves.  I guess that would have been a little obvious, because this is not a sweet werewolf book.  Instead this is a book about a dominate man, his quest to get what he wants - Tala, and her quest to find the strength to be what he needs.

Now I have to admit, I am not sure how I felt about the timeline of this plat.  I mean one page Tala meets Adrian and the next he whisks her away to destination unknowns.  If the author was trying to paint the picture of reality, I think she may have missed her mark.  However, being a work of fiction I will cut her some slack.  What do I know, maybe these things truly happen all the time and I am unaware of it.  There was also one twist about three-quarters in that came out of no where.  While it did help answer a few questions it was odd and maybe a little rushed.

Aside from the timing of the plot I really did like Adrian.  He was dark, mysterious, and passionate with the right amount of Alpha.  While Tala was weak in comparison to Adrian she also had her own strengths, such as her resilience and love for her family.

I am interested in reading another novel from this author.  I am always up to spend sometime with a man like Adrain. :)

Happy Reading!!

Author Bio

Amélie S. Duncan writes contemporary, erotic romances with a dark edge. Her inspiration comes from many sources including her life experiences and travels. She lives on the West Coast of the United States with her husband.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Blog Tour: Tess in Boots by: Courtney Rice Gager

Release Date:
December 2, 2014

Book Links:

Buy Links:

Synopsis: Tess Dougherty plans every aspect of her life right down to the last detail. But she doesn’t plan on running her boyfriend off by bringing up the topic of marriage before he’s ready. And she doesn’t plan to lose her job on the day she’s set to receive a huge promotion. So when her perfect world unravels, Tess makes a new plan: disappear.

Tess packs her bags and leaves her city apartment for a remote vineyard in North Carolina. At first, she’s put off by the slow pace of small-town life in the South. She’s especially irritated by Thatcher, the vineyard’s smart-mouth, dimple-faced farmhand. But she soon begins to appreciate the area’s charm, and Thatcher’s charm, too. She even swaps her trademark heels for a pair of cowboy boots. As Tess spends more time getting to know Thatcher, she finds herself loosening her grip on her old life little by little. Unfortunately, things on the vineyard aren’t as simple as they seem. There’s a secret here, and when the truth comes to light, Tess is forced to reconsider every plan she’s ever mad

Review: (I received this book from the author for an honest review)

Funny, sassy and lovable that is how I would describe this book. I would closely compare it to Wallbanger, which is definitely good company to be in.  

Tess in Boots is the story of finding who you're truly meant to be in the most unlikely places. Looking for a place to escape from her deteriorating life, which is crumbles a little more each day, Tess heads to North Carolina. Hoping to clear her head she never expected things to become even more complicated, but that is exactly what happens once she meets Thatcher. Thatchers handsome, southern charm gets under her skin, but can he find his way into her heart?

The author did an excellent job creating the perfect scene for Tess and Thatcher. I honestly wanted to pack my bags and head to Carl's Creek right away. There were moments when I laughed out loud at the stupid things Tess did. I honestly hope there is more to their story after the end of this book. While the book doesn't necessarily end with a cliffhanger I would line to know what happens next.

If you are looking for a fun book to curl up on a cold winter night I suggest Tess in Boots,

Happy Reading!!


I heard the sound of tires on the wet road, and looked up in time to see another truck slowing down to avoid crashing into the cow. The truck pulled around the cow and stopped alongside where I stood on the side of the road. The driver rolled the window down, and when I saw his face, I wanted to cry.
It was not my day.
“You all right?”
I crossed my arms. “I’m fine!”
“Guess your GPS didn’t tell you to go around the cow, did it, Heels?”
I turned away from him and pulled my phone out of my pocket.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“I’m calling for roadside assistance.”
“Good luck. Cell phones don’t work on this stretch of road.”
I turned around and glared at him. “What?”
“I said cell phones don’t work on this stretch of road.”
“I heard you. That’s insane.”
“Go ahead and try. Maybe you have some fancy magical cell phone.”
I rolled my eyes and turned away again, attempting to place a call. He was right. Nothing.
“Get in the truck, Heels.”
I didn’t budge.
“Come on, now. Get in.”
I turned around to see him hop out of the truck, walk around to the passenger side, and open the door.
There was no way I was getting in his truck.
“You gonna make me stay out in the rain all night?” he asked.
I put my hands on my hips.
“You know,” he said, “it ain’t right for a cow to stand in the road like that. You ever heard of Mad Cow Disease?”
I looked at the cow, then back at Thatcher, then back at the cow.
Was he kidding? I couldn’t tell. What choice did I have anyway? I was soaking wet, freezing, and miles from the vineyard.
I balled my hands into fists and took several strides toward the truck. “Fine. But I’m only coming with you because you look like an idiot standing out here in the pouring rain.” I got in the truck, and he shut the door behind me.
“Well, so do you, Heels.”

Courtney Rice Gager graduated from Virginia Tech with a bachelor’s degree in communication and a minor in creative writing. Courtney is also the author of The Buggy List. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and daughter.