Mayan Afterglow (Mayan Inferno #1) by A.S. Fenichel

Mayan Afterglow
By A.S. Fenichel

Series: Mayan Inferno #1
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance

They called it The End of Days after humanity met with near annihilation. Ten months later, the real end is coming.

Aileen Grant’s powerful psychic gifts have been nothing but a curse since the day she was born. She’d given up all hope of escaping the demonic grasp of Mictlan, The Lord of the Dead, until an enigmatic thief snatches her out of Hell. With something to live for, she convinces Ian to join her on a treacherous journey to save the world.

Ian Scott is stealing from long-deserted homes when he pulls Aileen’s unconscious body from a strange bolt of lightning. Aileen is the last thing that Ian wants or needs, but her quiet beauty and courageous heart bind him to her in ways he never imagined, and ignite passions he’s never known.

Mayan Afterglow on Goodreads, Amazon
A.S. Fenichel’s Website

My Thoughts:

I read this one on a bit of a dare…well not so much of a dare but a friend thought this book would be beyond ridiculous in many ways so I decided to take the plunge and see what it was about. I went into it with basically no expectations and that was probably a good thing.

Mayan Afterglow was lacking in a few different areas. There was very little character development other than knowing one is a thief and one has psychic gifts and is meant for a greater purpose. You don’t really get to know them or their background and their emotions didn’t carry over to be more than just words on a page. They didn’t come alive. I think part of the reason they didn’t come alive is because the descriptions throughout the book were pretty bland.

Those things aside, I was a little curious during the story and I kept with it. Overall it worked to fill time on a quiet afternoon but it didn’t go much further than that for me.

Overall Rating: 2.5 out of 5

3 Liner Review: Undermountain (The Undermountain Saga #1) by Eric Edstrom

by Eric Edstrom

Series: The Undermountain Saga #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, SciFi

Two teens from different worlds…

Seeking refuge from their troubled home lives, sixteen year olds Danny Michaelson and Breyona Lewis join a group of teens in the Canadian Rocky Mountains for a ten day hiking excursion.

…the encounter of a lifetime…

Six days in, Danny and Breyona come face to face with a creature of legend—an eight foot tall beast they tag as “bigfoot”. But this is no mere animal, and it doesn’t want humans knowing its secret.

…friendship, love, and loyalty…

Swept into the hidden city of Undermountain, Danny, Breyona and their friends find themselves in a race for survival against alien forces determined to take control of the earth.

Undermountain on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Eric Edstrom’s Website

My Thoughts:

I’ve had this book for a while and just never got around to reading it. I’m regretting that now because I really enjoyed it! I think I kept putting it off because I don’t normally delve this far into the world of scifi/fantasy but now I’m kind of wondering what other gems I’m missing by avoiding the genre.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Friday Foodie Affair: Homemade Peppermint Patties

 ...where I profess my love for food and food related things.

Homemade Peppermint Patties

This photo is from the same source as the recipe. 
The rest of the photos in this post are ones that I took.

Serves: Makes about 8 dozen.
1 pound confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
4 ounces,  cream cheese, softened
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Using a mixer, gradually add the sugar to the cream cheese, beat well until incorporated.
I find that it's easier if you start with the mixer before switching to mixing with your hands. I think that's just a flash back to the way my mom did things when I was younger, we always mixed things with our hands. Just a warning though, you will get messy.

2. Add peppermint extract and combine well.
3. Roll dough into teaspoon size balls and place on baking sheet(s) lined with wax paper or parchment. Create a small “bowl” or indention in each ball using a ¼ teaspoon or your finger. Cover with plastic wrap and let firm up in refrigerator for a few hours.

4. When peppermints have firmed, melt chocolate according to package directions (microwave is fine). Fill a piping bag or freezer bag with the corner snipped with the melted chocolate. Fill each mini peppermint bowl/indention with chocolate and let cool.

If you would like to pretty them up a little you can add sprinkles or colored sugar.

5. Refrigerate in airtight container until ready to serve.
Helpful Tips: 
These are from the recipe source
  • When making the cream cheese/powdered sugar mixture, gradually add the powdered sugar until the right texture is achieved. You may end up needing to add a bit more than listed in the recipe, or less. It should hold together, but not sticky.
  • If working by yourself, only make a few balls at a time before pressing the bowls/indention’s to avoid them drying and cracking. The best thing is to work with someone else and have one person roll the balls, while the other follows behind making the bowls/indentations.
  • Be sure to keep main peppermint mixture lightly covered with plastic or a damp paper towel while making the balls to avoid it drying out.
My Thoughts:

I've made homemade candy before so this recipe wasn't difficult for me, it's just a little time consuming. 

The strength of the peppermint is up to you, you may like the more subtle flavor that comes with using the exact amount listed above but I'd suggest taste testing as you go. It took me a little while to get both the flavor and the texture right. I ended up using around 4x the amount of peppermint and more than a pound of 10x Sugar. 

Now on to the flavor. The peppermint candy part is quite tasty but once you get some chocolate in the same It's absolutely delish and it really does taste like a peppermint patty.

Blog Tour: Crossroads by Jonathan Lister

by Jonathan Lister

Series: Demos City #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: J. Taylor Publishing

Book Blurb:

Werewolf. Bar bouncer. Dad. Standard traits for any self-respecting, reformed criminal, living under the radar in Demos City. For Leon Gray, normal is what he wants — for himself and his not-yet-changed teenage daughter.

Playing bodyguard to crusading reporter David Hastings would totally ruin Leon’s peace, especially since Hastings has hired killers on his trail, pros who know how he takes his espresso in the morning, and where Leon lives.

The payoff, though, would fill up Shauna’s empty college fund, and in a battle between opportunity and ordinary, money wins. He just has to keep Hastings alive long enough to cash the check.

If only he didn’t have to save his daughter, too.

As a budding wolf, she’s piqued the interest of a local pack Alpha — one Leon knows will steal Shauna right out from under him the first chance he gets.

Leon isn’t about to give up on his daughter or Hastings, and will fight for both longer than it took Demos City to see werewolves as equals to humans.

He can only hope it doesn’t take a thousand years.

Author Bio:

Jonathan Lister is a full-time writer with work appearing in outlets of USA Today, The HoustonCrossroads: a Demos City Novel is Jonathan’s first book-length work of fiction. He currently lives in the Philadelphia area and continues to drink too much coffee.
Chronicle and many others. A graduate of the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, he’s waited an unspeakable amount of tables en route to having the career he wants, and the ability to the tell stories he loves.

Author Social Links: Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Blog 

My Review:

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Aahh, I do love a good werewolf book *insert contented sigh here*

Crossroads has some of the typical pack 'politics' that you'd find in other werewolf books but I liked that in this one werewolves have been known in the world for a thousand years. It's a nice switch up from a lot of books where their furrdentities (furry identities) are hidden. Werewolves being acknowledges creates a new set of rules and laws which adds to the uniqueness of Crossroads.

Along with the new rules in regard to werewolves, Crossroads also has a big mystery for two of the main characters to solve. There was a lot going on and it was very easy to get caught up in the action and intrigue. 

Not every loose end was tied up at the end and I'm really looking forward to seeing what trouble Leon, Hastings, and Shauna get themselves into in the second book.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

I just wanted to send a quick thank you to Jonathan for stopping by with this great list of books!

The Ten Books That Will Change Your Life

Books change lives. Their characters and wordplay compel people to make impromptu treks across the country, open up a bed-n-breakfast, find out what it’s like to experiment with…um…neckties. Here’s a list of the books that altered the course of my own life in one way or another – the good, the bad, and ones I read repeatedly just to gain some perspective. Check them out; maybe they’ll change yours as well.

#10 Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

You don’t need to rhyme to write a poem?! Blew my tween brain open when I first read ‘Song of Myself,’ which thankfully, some wise English teacher made me do. This book opened up the possibilities for me, and encouraged me, in no small way, to take chances. 

#9 The Return of the King

J.R.R. Tolkien

Everything is at stake in this book, and that’s why it can change your life. Tolkien showed us what it’s like for characters – even the smallest among us – to carry the burden of the world’s fate on their shoulders and triumph in spite of impossible odds. He also shows the lasting effects of war, and how it permanently alters those who must fight in it.

#8 The Dialogic Imagination

Mikhail Bakhtin

Snooty book learning from a dead Russian literary theorist. I understood approximately every third word in college, but I managed to take away one essential truth: the novel is polyphonic. Every interaction triggers a multiplicity of voices in a story, and the writer needs to control them all, or at least acknowledge them, to have a tale worth telling.

#7 Transbluesency

Amiri Baraka

This collection of poet Amiri Baraka’s work exploded the doors on what I thought was possible to do with performance and artistry. The man (who was also my professor for a brief spell) is a master orator and manipulator of language.

#6 The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood

A dystopian future that has a poignant message, Atwood will change the way you see gender relations and our bonds to reproduction. She has this profound economy to her words that is both delicate and a knife’s edge of description.

#5 Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison

My best friend Drew recommended this one, and I read it again in my early 20s. Ellison’s work might be the most important story coming out of the Civil Rights Movement. Battle Royale is a chapter that can function as a short story all on its own. 

#4 True and False

David Mamet

The screenwriter, playwright and director is credited with making the word ‘fuck’ literary. This book he breaks down the job of actors, which is to just communicate the business of the damn play and get the hell off stage. It’s beautiful.

#3 The Black Company

Glen Cook

War stories in a sword and sorcery landscape told from the point of view of the foot soldiers that fought in them. Cook puts you right at the ground level of the action and communicates the real dread of confronting evil wizards and the undead.

#2 The Legends Series

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

My brother turned me on to the Dragonlance books as a kid and I instantly gravitated to Raistlin Majere, the frail wizard with the constant cough and hourglass eyes. This series, which stars Raistlin and his brother Caramon, has it all: hubris, love, loss, destruction, redemption, and fierce loyalty to family. 

#1 I, Lucifer

Glen Duncan

 Ever been hooked by a story after reading the first line? That’s what Duncan did to me in his story about Satan living in the body of a failed writer. I didn’t just read this book, I inhaled it. I’ve lost two copies from lending them to people and I’ll probably end up buying more before I break down and get a digital copy. No one builds character like Duncan does at this moment. No one.  

Tour Giveaway

Cover Reveal: Seeking Her (Losing It 3.5) by Cora Carmack


A few months after being honorably discharged from the military, Jackson Hunt is still struggling to adjust back to the real world. He needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he’s going to keep his own demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal. Bodyguard (and baby-sitter) to spoiled-rich-girl Kelsey Summers isn’t exactly what he’d been looking for, but it’s a chance to travel, to get away from the home that has felt stifling ever since his return. It would be a pretty sweet gig if it weren’t for the fact that Kelsey’s father doesn’t want Kelsey to know she’s being followed. Hunt feels guilty (and a little bit creepy) as he watches her from afar. She’s vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When he sees her falling into the same patterns that he suffered years ago, he decides it’s time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know her is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her,the more he wants her.

Seeking Her on Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Google Play
Cora Carmack's Blog | Facebook | Twitter

This cover is stunning and although I haven't read Finding It (Losing It #3) yet I'm still really looking forward to reading about Jackson and Kelsey.

Giveaway Winners

It's time to announce some giveaway winners!!
The winner of last week's giveaway for the Emerald Hills novella series by Judith Post is...
Erin F.
The TWO winners of my swag giveaway are...
Melaney R.
Ana Death Duarte
Big Congrats to the three of you!
I'll be contacting you today.

Swag Giveaway!!!

I noticed this morning that I have 666 posts in my blog list! I'm not really superstitious or anything but YIKES that's not a good number! So rather than leave it at 666 I'm bumping it up to 667 with a swag giveaway!

I have bookmarks, etc. from recent signings and some I've had for a little while, all of which are in need of a good, book loving home.

The giveaway will run for TWO days and I will pick TWO winners to receive some random swag.

Some of the authors I have swag for are... 
  • Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Wendy Higgins
  • Brigid Kemmerer
  • Cyn Balog
  • Cheryl Rainfield
  • Maria V. Snyder
  • Cora Carmack
  • Tamara Webber
 ...and many more

All you have to do is fill out the form below before 11:59pm tomorrow, November 14th.

State of Decay (Part One) by Peggy Martinez

State of Decay
By Peggy Martinez
Series: Part One of a novella series
Genre: Young Adult, Zombies, Apocalyptic

Despite what you’ve been told, the Apocalypse doesn’t begin with fire raining down from the heavens, nor does it begin with the human race falling down on their faces in supplication before a triumphant god. No, the sounds of the Apocalypse are much more terrifying than that, and I should know…I’ve heard them, and hearing the world tumble into chaos around me is not something I’ll ever forget.

My name is Melody Carter.

A Boeing 767 fell from the sky and wiped out most of my neighborhood.

But, that’s the least of my worries.

My list of “Things I’m Most Worried About” shifted dramatically when my dad told me that charred corpses tried to make a meal out of their rescuers…I’m thinking yours would too.

This is the beginning of my story.
It’s not for the faint of heart.

***This is PART ONE in the ongoing zombie apocalypse novella series, State of Decay. A new story will be released every 304 weeks, until Melody’s story has been told.
State of Decay on Goodreads and Amazon
Peggy Martinez's Website
My Thoughts:

In a way I’m glad this was a novella. There were some errors that jumped out at me and slowed my pace and I wasn’t really emotionally attached to the characters. The ending was actually the best part for me and the only part that got any reaction out of me. It’s also the ending may just have convinced me to continue reading this series.

Overall Rating: 3 of 5

Some Quiet Place (Some Quiet Place #1) by Kelsey Sutton

Some Quiet Place
By Kelsey Sutton

Series: Some Quiet Place #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery
Publisher: Flux

I can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.

Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions…she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one – Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.

Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadow menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?

Some Quiet Place on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Kelsey Sutton’s Website

My Thoughts:

I recently read a book where there are thousands of earths existing on different planes and then I jump into Some Quiet Place where emotions are in human form. What if there really are thousands of earths existing on different planes? What if when we’re happy, afraid, or sad that emotion really is a person standing behind us with their hand resting on our shoulder? Are you feeling Joy as you blog hop on this beautiful Monday? Look behind you because you may see her standing there.

Some Quiet Place was strangely addicting. I didn’t fly through it but at the same time I couldn’t keep my hands off it. I mean, how can you like a character or feel for a character if they have no emotions? How can you get to know them if you can’t experience their guilt, joy, fear, or anything else? I can’t answer those questions for you but know that it’s possible. Kelsey Sutton manages to turn an unfeeling person into a great character. She also makes a great character out of Fear, she makes you like someone whose very presence can make you see all the worst things in this world.

If you’re looking for a young adult book with a unique fantasy element then definitely consider checking out Some Quiet Place.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Shelf Candy Saturday (51): Lost & Found by Nadia Simonenko

Shelf Candy Saturday is hosted by A Night's Dream of Books

Lost & Found series
by Nadia Simonenko
Lost (Lost & Found #1) 

Sometimes you need someone else to help you find your way.

Maria's life was torn apart when she was fifteen, and for seven years she's kept her terrible secret hidden from the world. Now, in her final semester of college, she still struggles against paralyzing fear jsut trying to speak up in class, and the terror and helplessness linger on in her nightmares.

Across campus, Own sees his scars in the mirror every morning while he gets ready for class. They remind him of the broken home he left behind, the father he hates and fears, and the little sister he couldn't protect. Now, in his final semester of college, he's scared that he may have to return to the hell he called home after staying away for almost five years.

When Owen becomes a teaching assistant for one of Maria's classes, they find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other. As the two learn each other's secrets and grow closer, they realize that although they may be lost, they're not along anymore.

This new adult contemporary romance is recommended for ages 17+ due to heavy subject matter.

Found (Lost & Found #2)

All it took was one phone call to tear Owen's life apart. His father is dead and his mother is in critical condition. Even though he feared his abusive father and despised his family, losing them hurts in a way he never expected. Just weeks ago, Owen was terrified that he'd have to go home. Now, there is no home.

All it took was one phone call to shatter Maria's happily-ever-after and bring her nightmare back to life. Maria's estranged brother is coming up to see her graduation and he isn't coming alone. He's bringing Maria's parents, as she expected, but he's also bringing an old friend from college - someone who's haunted Maria's nightmares for seven years. Now, she's about to come face to face with the man who ruined her life.

Will the love and hapiness Maria and Owen found be enough to hold them together as their lives fall apart around them, or will their relationship slip away and be lost forever?

Lost & Found on Goodreads, Amazon (currently .99)
Nadia Simonenko's Website

Dramatic covers for what seem like very dramatic books. I love that they're marketed together on Amazon, listed as Lost & Found. It's quite clever.

Friday Foodie Affair: Author Judith Post Spotlight, Interview, Recipe, & Giveaway

Author Judith Post has stopped by for this week’s Friday Foodie Affair. In this post you will find summaries of Judith’s Emerald Hills novellas, an interview, a recipe that Judith was kind enough to share with us, and a giveaway for an ecopy set of her four Emerald Hills novellas.

Emerald Hills Novella Series

More Than Bonbons

Emerald Hills is a tourist town, with a secret. It has magic tucked here and there in its nooks and crannies. Tana has put all of her time and energy into making her Emerald Hills’ candy shoppe a success. Nate has traveled the world, building his career as a photographer. When he visits Emerald Hills to see his aunt, he stops at Tana’s shop to buy candy and shows her a photo he took of the woman who runs a vegetable stand near town. But Midu’s image has faded from the photo until only her farm stand remains – Emerald Hills’ magic at work. Tana and Nate are forced to work together to save Midu, so that she doesn’t fade for real.

Mallory’s Magical Gourds

Emerald Hills attracts tourists with its quaint shops, national park, and dashes of magic.  Mallory and Leigh co-own Nature’s Bounty, a shop that sells Leigh’s flower arrangements and Mallory’s painted gourds. Mallory’s working on a new batch of gourds to replenish their depleted supply when she looks out her cottage’s window at the park across the stream from her property. The new ranger has discovered illegal traps there, and someone is resetting them. Mallory calls Neil to tell him and finds herself involved with a trapper who has a temper and a ranger who has more charm than she expected. Add in Emerald Hills’ magic, and things get complicated.

Sheri Hits the Right Notes

Sheri Hudson’s in her late 40s and single. She’s come to terms with that fact and is happy with her life as a high school music teacher. But Emerald Hills has quirky touches of magic, and when Morgan Nash, a widower, comes to town, Sheri’s in for quite the surprise.

Sole Responsibilities

Whenever Gino puts new soles on a person’s shoes, his Emerald Hills’ magic seeps into his work, and the person finds a new way to make life more stable. When Evelyn walks into Gino’s Shoe Gallery, Gino’s immediately attracted to her, but his father taught him to never mix flirting with business, and even though the owns and runs the shoe shop now, he knows that’s a good rule. Then he notices how haggard Evelyn’s sandals are, and he realizes that she must be struggling with money. But when he throws in a pair of free flipflops, his magic doesn’t work. Did he lose his gift when he took in his dead brother’s little girl, using up all his good karma? Or does Fate have a surprise for Gino that he doesn’t see coming.


Emerald Hills Novellas on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
Judith Post’s Website

My Quickie Review of More Than Bonbons & Mallory's Magical Gourds 


Welcome to At Random Judith! I’m going to jump right in with the inquisition ;)

Can you tell us a little about your foodie stories?

Adding food to the stories was sort of accidental. I was really focusing on adding a touch of magic to each short romance. I picture Emerald Hills as a tourist town where magic lurks in one shop after another. The idea of singing magic into bonbons really appealed to me. Candy as a cure was a fun idea. I love to cook, so the idea crept into Midu’s produce too. It’s risky eating a carrot cake in a town like that.

Do you have plans to write more stories based in Emerald Hills? Will they have a foodie twist?

I have quite a few ideas for more Emerald Hills stories. They’re all short (about 40 pages), so they’re fun to write between novels. And there are lots of magicks to choose from. In my latest, when Gino resoles a pair of shoes for someone, he actually gives them stronger financial foundations for their lives. He’s Italian, so he also grew up on pasta and sauces. They creep into the fabric of the story.

You’ve written novellas in various genres, do you have a certain genre that you enjoy writing more?

I used to write mysteries, and a mystery plotline still creeps into my stories. But I love adding a supernatural twist – a witch or werewolf, or a bit of magic. Stir legends or myths into the pot, and I’m happy.

What do you like most about writing novellas?

I’ve always liked reading and writing short. I like reading about ideas as much as I enjoy connecting with characters. Short stories can deliver a real punch. Every word counts, and there’s no room for dilly-dallying. Their message can be powerful. I like that.

Sweet or salty?

Does savory count? I have a real fondness for layers of flavors – great sauces with garlic and herbs. But if I had to choose between sweet or salty, I’d have to go sweet. I still haven’t outgrown Twinkies.

Cake or Pie?

Cakes, but it’s really close.

What food could you eat every day?

I love sausage. I love links and bulk. I love it in sauces and for breakfast patties.

What is your favorite foodie movie or tv show?

I rewatch the movie Julie and Julia every once in a while. The idea of cooking your way through an entire cookbook fascinated me. And the food scenes – mmm, they made me hungry.

I also enjoy watching Julie & Julia when I catch it on TV. Thanks so much for joining us and answering some questions!


Pumpkin Rolls

Beat 3 eggs for 2 minutes. Don’t cheat. They have to become thick.

1 c sugar
1 t lemon juice
2/3 c canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)

¾ c flour
1 t soda
1 t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
½ t ginger
1 pinch salt

Mix together. Grease jelly roll pan. Put wax paper in it and grease wax paper.
Do NOT overcook sponge cake.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes in PREHEATED oven.
While baking, lay big dish towel flat and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Immediately turn out cake on towel.
Roll up cake with towel & cool.

While cake cools, make filling:
8 oz. room temperature cream cheese
4 T soft butter
1 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla

Beat with mixer, then fold in 1 c Cool Whip.
Roll out pumpkin roll & spread on filling.
Optional: can sprinkle about 1 c chopped nuts on top of the filling.
Roll back up. Keep cool & let set for a few hours. Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar.


Judith was kind enough to offer a set of her Emerald Hills novellas, for Kindle or Nook, to one lucky winner.

-Fill out the below form to enter
-The giveaway is open internationally.
-Entries must be received by 11:59 pm on November 14th
-Winner will be announced November 15th