Review: A Night at the Bishop House by Ronda L. Caudill

Title: A Night at the Bishop House
Author: Ronda L. Caudill
Pub. Date: Sept. 5, 2012
Acquired: From author.
Find "A Night at the Bishop House":

It was a stormy June night and Victoria Long was forced to spend the night in the spooky Bishop house on the outskirts of town. It is a night that will haunt her the rest of her life.

~My Review~
If you're in the mood for a eerie--but clean--short Halloween read, then right now, I suggest purchasing A Night at the Bishop House. Besides the fact that it's currently free, this short story is sure to give you some entertainment.

A Night at the Bishop House is the tale of a lady named Victoria who, on her way home from a party, is forced to drive past the dreaded Bishop House, which is more mansion than house. She HATES the Bishop house and absolutely refuses, under normal circumstances, to go past it. But, tonight, fate has decided she has no choice.

Once there in the house the reader is given a rather monotone narrative of Ms. Long's adventures and personal discoveries in the haunted mansion. The narrative, itself, is one of my biggest issues. I don't feel like when I was reading the story that I was actually in Victoria's head. I feel like I was reading a script or her, rather unemotional, diary entry.

That said, however, the tale did definitely keep my interest. The story wasn't particularly scary, but was more along the vein of suspense or mystery. I think it's because of this and because the descriptions were plentiful that I really did enjoy this book. I feel like Ronda was stringing me along for a good thirty minutes, while I was just diligently waiting to see where I'd end up.

Remember, it's free on Amazon! Check it out, read it, let me know what you think!

~My Rating~

~About the Author~

Ronda L. Caudill grew up in the small rural town of Glade Spring, VA and married her high school sweetheart. They have been happily married for 23 years. She has two wonderful daughters. Ronda earned her Ph.D. in Education from Capella University. She is the author of Birthright (A Nobleman Novel), and short story A Night at the Bishop House. Ronda is currently working on the sequel to Birthright entitled The Choice.

Webpage / Twitter / Goodreads

Guest Review: Skylark by Meagan Spooner

Title: Skylark (Skylark #1)
Author: Meagan Spooner
Pub. Date: Aug. 1, 2012
Acquired: From author.
Find "Skylark":
Amazon / B&N / Fishpond / The Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.

Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed barrier of energy enclosing all that’s left of humanity. For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children's innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

Forced to flee the only home she knows to avoid life as a human battery, Lark must fight her way through the terrible wilderness beyond the edge of the world. With the city’s clockwork creations close on her heels and a strange wild boy stalking her in the countryside, she must move quickly if she is to have any hope of survival. She’s heard the stories that somewhere to the west are others like her, hidden in secret—but can she stay alive long enough to find them?

This is the first ever guest post at Captivated Reading, and I'm super excited to have one of my greatest friends on here, giving her opinion.
So, please, say hello to Missy, and tell her what you think of her review!

~Missy's Review~
So, it’s my first guest review here at Captivated Reading. Woo! Not gonna lie, though— kinda feels like the first day of junior high, wondering if it’s gonna be awesome, or if I’m gonna end up with my head in a toilet. Here’s hoping my head stays dry.

Anyway, I read Skylark by Meagan Spooner. From the get-go, this part fantasy, part dystopian, part steampunk story pulls the reader into a world where magic exists as “The Resource”— power harvested from citizens of the last known city on earth to run its machines. The narrative follows Lark, a teenage girl with serious abandonment issues after her older brother’s disappearance, as she discovers the shocking truth behind the horror that is “harvesting” and the terrifying world outside the Wall of the city.

Truthfully, and I’m sorry to say this... I was a little underwhelmed. At first (and let’s keep that in mind, please).

After the initial excitement and intrigue of Part I, I found myself wondering when things were going to get really interesting, you know? Lark, as a main character, isn’t as likable or as strong as I would’ve expected from someone with her history. And as Part II began, with Lark venturing beyond the Wall all alone, I even got— dare I say?— a little bored.

Enter Oren. Ah, Oren. Story-saving, life-altering, cannibal-slaughtering Oren. As soon as Lark meets Oren, a wild boy living outside the Wall, the tables turn. Oren is instantly captivating and mysterious, admirable and heartbreaking. He is, quite frankly, what made this book for me. He singlehandedly turns Lark from a somewhat-flat main character into a compassionate heroine, and takes the story to a new, can’t-turn-the-page-fast-enough level.

And never mind the ending. Twist-o-RAMA.

For me, I can liken Skylark to waiting an hour for a meal at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. I tapped my foot for a little while, sure. But then my Oren-filet came. Worth. Every. Minute.

Four and a half stars from Missy. Peace out.

~Missy's Rating~

~About the Author~

Meagan Spooner grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Hamilton College in New York with a degree in playwriting, and has spent several years since then living in Australia. She's traveled with her family all over the world to places like Egypt, South Africa, the Arctic, Greece, Antarctica, and the Galapagos, and there's a bit of every trip in every story she writes.

She currently lives and writes in Northern Virginia, but the siren call of travel is hard to resist, and there's no telling how long she'll stay there.

In her spare time she plays guitar, plays video games, plays with her cat, and reads.

Webpage / Twitter / Goodreads

Cover Reveal: Hale Maree by Misty Provencher

Title: Hale Maree
Author: Misty Provencher
Expected Pub. Date: Nov. 19, 2012

Hale Simmons dreams of climbing out of her impoverished life, going to college, and getting herself a titanium crash helmet, so she can eventually bust through the Plexiglas ceiling of her crappy life. But for now, she’s just a 17-year-old girl with a flimsy hope, barely getting by with her alcoholic father, Jerry.
But for Hale, ‘crappy’ suddenly takes a nosedive, when Jerry becomes the sole witness to a horrible accident. It is an event which means to effect everyone, especially Hale, who wasn’t even involved.
While the depth of the accident has just begun to unfold, Otto Maree, a prominent business man and old family friend, stands to lose everything because of it. Otto is desperate for Hale’s father to stay quiet about what occurred the night the two men met for a drink. Out of mutual moments of desperation, the two fathers forge a deal. Jerry is desperate to gain financial stability for both himself and Hale, and Otto Maree is more than willing to pay to keep his secret just that.
But deals like this need to be made of the strongest vows and bound with the most faithful of loyalties. Otto proposes a marriage between Hale and his playboy-son, Oscar, in order to assure that the secret remains ‘in the family’. The mystery surrounding the accident continues to grow and Hale struggles against her own mysterious feelings that begin to develop for Oscar, who turns out to less of a playboy, but just as fiercely loyal and dedicated as his father.
As the pressures around her continues to escalate, Hale realizes that she’s got to decide if this arranged marriage is really just a big mistake or an amazing twist of fate, that has been waiting around for this particular accident to happen.

Oh my goodness!!! I can't express how much I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Misty AND her books! If you haven't read any of her work, please go right now and check out Cornerstone
. If you go to my review, I have the links up for the book, there. Or, just check out one of Misty's page links, below. As for Hale Maree, I'm already positive that I'm going to love this book's guts!

~About the Author~

Author of Cornerstone and Keystone, from The Cornerstone Series. Oh, and I like mustard on my eggs.

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Blog Tour: Rua by Miranda Kavi

Title: Rua
Author: Miranda Kavi
Acquired: From author, for honest review.
Find "Rua":

A girl with an unknown destiny.

A boy from a hidden world.

When Celeste starts at a new school in a small, Kansas town, she hears whispering voices, has vivid nightmares, and swarms of blackbirds follow her every move. She is oddly drawn to aloof Rylan, the other new student who has his own secrets.

The exact moment she turns seventeen, she wakes to a bedroom full of strange creatures, purple light emanating from her hands, and Rylan breaking in through her bedroom window.

He knows what she is . . .

So, the synopsis that I read before reading this story was pretty vague and didn't give me a very clear idea of where this story was going to go. Because of that, I was a little bit concerned with what to expect. But, I REALLY shouldn't have been worried in the least.

First of all, I don't like to do spoilers and Ms. Kavi has obviously wanted to keep the main plotline a little bit mysterious so I'll try to keep my review as such.

There was an immediate understanding in my brain, as soon as I started reading Rua that this book was going to suck me in and keep my attention. The three stand-out characters in this book; Celeste, Rylan, and Tink are all pretty amazing in different ways and, therefore, were enough to keep me reading all on their own.

Let's start with Tink.

Tink is the first friend that Celeste makes at her new school. He's friendly, handsome, funny, charismatic, and gay. Right off the bat the relationship between Celeste and Tink is hilarious and endearing. When Celeste needs a friend the most, Tink is there for her no matter what. He is probably one of my favorite "best-friend-of-the-main-character" characters.

As for Rylan. Well, I can safely say that within the first third, or so, of the book I was kind of imagining ways to torture handsome Rylan. As far as main love-interests go, Rylan was failing pretty badly. And then we see a whole new Rylan once Celeste starts to have...well, issues--for lack of a better word. And, I'll say that I do, in fact, learn to love Rylan by the end of the story. Him AND his mysterious, tortuous ways.

Celeste is spunky, kind, sensitive, and COMPLETELY out of her element. She basically gets thrown into a new school, falls for a boy that doesn't exactly deserve her affections (at first), and then starts to experience some extremely strange occurances in her life.

There are a couple instances where I felt like I didn't know who to trust in Rua. I loved that because it made the story all the more complex. I'm so glad I read this story! I'm so glad that Ms. Kavi picked this particular mythology to focus on (No, I'm NOT telling). And I absolutely cannot wait for the second book in this series!

My Rating:

“Rylan?” she whispered into the dark. No answer. She sat down at her desk chair to wait for his return.
“Don’t sit. We need to go.” He was back, holding the window open for her. Her bedroom door was closed.
“Quit showing off,” she said. He went out the window first then helped her down. “Where did you go, anyways?” she asked.
“Just made sure your parents were in a deep sleep, that’s all.” He took her hand then led her through the forest again. It was much easier to navigate with shoes and socks. She followed him, expecting him to lead her to his parked car. But instead, he stopped.
Keeping her left hand firmly grasped in his right, he pulled her close, then rotated her body until they were face to face. He took her other hand with his free hand. Their faces were only inches apart, and she was painfully aware of how close his body was to hers. She looked up into his face.
He said nothing, but watched her with golden-flecked eyes. In the dark, they had some subtle luminescence.
He said nothing, and she stayed still.
Finally, he spoke, in the lowest voice she’d heard him use. “Please be careful. We can’t trust her.”
“Okay,” she said.
“I want to try something.” He dropped her hands, but replaced them with something better. He wrapped his arms around her waist then pulled her against him. Their bodies pressed together, spreading warmth to new places in the cold night.
Her breath caught in her throat.
He leaned closer. “Do you trust me?”
“Close your eyes.” His breath moved the baby hairs framing her face.
She did, expecting his lips to press on hers in the dark. Instead, her body was ripped violently into motion, like taking the first drop-off on a roller coaster.

~About the Author~

Miranda Kavi is a YA and Paranormal/Urban Fantasy author. She has worked as an attorney, an executive recruiter, and an assistant in a biological anthropology lab. She loves scary movies, museums, and is hopelessly addicted to chocolate. She lives in the Houston area with her husband and daughter.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Blog Tour: Birthright (The Dark Gifts) by Willow Cross

Title: Birthright (The Dark Gifts)
Author: Willow Cross
Acquired: From author, for honest review.
Find "Birthright":
Amazon / B&N / Smashwords

For one-thousand years, Druid prophecies foretold of a young witch destined to alter the fate of both human and immortal alike. This witch-turned-vampire would be capable of harnessing the supernatural abilities of both and, in a bloody rise to power, would rule with unwavering control. Unwillingly thrust into a world she never dreamed existed, Liz Markum is catapulted into an ancient war between rival vampire factions. She must choose between those she loves and the ever-present darkness attempting to devour her very soul. Only one question remains: Will Liz claim her birthright or surrender to the dark gift? One choice. One chance. Two destinies.

From start to finish this book didn't stop entertaining. I honestly cannot think of one dull moment in this story.

Liz and Michael meet and within a few pages, Liz has been turned into a vampire after a kiss and ONE bite. And, that's just NOT how it's supposed to happen. Just so you know, this is NOT another Twilight. So, if you read "vampire" and it scares you off a little...don't let it. While there ARE vampires, this is no "dreamy-vampire-love-story".

Okay, so Liz has been turned into a vampire and for a while it looks as if she and Michael will be enemies. Again, this is not the case. After Liz's full transformation there is an instantaneous love and bond between her and Michael. And it's all a result of him turning her. An act which is forbidden by the vampire Council.

From here, the book turns into a story of politics, intrigue, and mystery surrounding not just Michael and Liz, but a cast of a few other very lovable characters, as well.

Birthright kept my interest the entire day or so it took me to read it. The ONLY complaint that I have is that the story between Michael and Liz sort of took a backseat to all the rest. I would've really liked to see and get to know more of these two.

But, there was still an amazing story here. One worth reading if you enjoy all things paranormal with a pinch of surprise!
My Rating:

~About the Author~

Willow Cross resides in Arkansas with her husband, two children still young enough to live at home, an enormous cat named Bitsy, and a neurotic dog named Tank. Her home has been known to host the occasional ghost and several of her friends profess to be witches. Although she dearly loves Vampires and Werewolves, they are never invited for dinner.

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Cover Reveal: Weaving Magic by Mindy Hardwick

Title: Weaving Magic
Author: Mindy Hardwick
Find "Weaving Magic":
Amazon / B&N / iTunes

He loves magic. She loves romance. But the biggest illusion is the one Shantel and Christopher perform together. Sixteen- year- old Christopher fights to stay sober while fifteen-year-old Shantel struggles in the aftermath of her mother’s death and seeks refuge in a fantasy world. But the unacknowledged roots of their problems refuse to stay buried and soon, the two are headed toward a deadly magic trick. Can Shantel and Christopher move beyond magical illusions to find love?

~About the Author~

Mindy Hardwick enjoys writing romance for teens and tweens including; STAINED GLASS SUMMER and WEAVING MAGIC. Sometimes, you can catch Mindy writing contemporary, sweet romances including: LOVE’S STORMS and LOVE’S BID. Mindy runs a poetry workshop with teens in a juvenile detention and credits the teens for the inspiration behind WEAVING MAGIC. You can see some of their poetry at: Mindy is included on the Washington State Teaching Artist Roster and holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College. She lives in Seattle and is hard at work on her next romantic tale.

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Blog Tour: Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Title: Flight (The Crescent Chronicles #1)
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Pub. Date: Aug. 16, 2012
Acquired: From author, for honest review.
Find "Flight":
Amazon / B&N / Smashwords

Sometimes you just have to take flight.

A summer in New Orleans is exactly what Allie needs before starting college. Accepting her dad’s invitation to work at his hotel offers an escape from her ex-boyfriend and the chance to spend the summer with her best friend. Meeting a guy is the last thing on her mind—until she sees Levi.

Unable to resist the infuriating yet alluring Levi, Allie finds herself at the center of a supernatural society and forced to decide between following the path she has always trusted or saving a city that might just save her.


The moment I read the synopsis for this book, I knew I'd love it! Which is why I agreed to read and review it. I am so glad I did!

Flight is a book that I would consider to be in the "New Adult" genre, as opposed to the "Young Adult" genre. This is mostly because of the age and maturity of the main character, Allie.

Allie is fresh out of high school and out of a relationship. She's visiting New Orleans to spend the summer working at her dad's newly purchased hotel. But, as soon as Allie and her best friend, Jess, arrive, mystery surrounds the group of people that Allie and Jess meet.

Alluring, handsome, and extrememly sure of himself, Levi is obvious interested in Allie...Right from the get-go. He makes himself perfectly clear. However, Allie has decided to put a boy-ban on her life. No relationships. So, of course, it takes a bit for any sort of relationship to really happen between these two.

I have to say, though, that there was no point in this story where I got bored. I feel like I was always finding out something new about the characters. And, what a group of characters!

After Allie decides to give Levi a chance, the story just takes off. I won't say anything else, because I really don't want to give anything away, but there were some SERIOUS plot-twists that had me reeling. Things that I NEVER saw coming. The secret that makes Levi different from regular people is pretty. Dang. Clever.

I loved all of the characters--even the crazy, evil ones because they really added to the story. I loved the plot and where Ms. Ivy took me throughout the story. I honestly never saw most of what happend, coming.

My Rating:

~About the Author~

Alyssa Rose Ivy lives in North Carolina with her husband and two young children. Although raised in the New York area, she fell in love with the South after moving to New Orleans for college. After years as a perpetual student, she turned back to her creative side and decided to write.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Blog Tour: Mother of Pearl by Kellie Coates Gilbert

Title: Mother of Pearl
Author: Kellie Coates Gilbert
Pub. Date: Sept. 1, 2012
Find "Mother of Pearl":
Amazon / B&N / Abingdon Press

Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as the high school counselor in her close-knit community. Then, without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.
Barrie’s attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail. Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when Pearl shuts her out . . . or when the unthinkable comes to light about her nemesis, the football coach.

~About the Author~

Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who writes with a sympathetic, intimate knowledge of how people react under pressure. Kellie’s books tell emotionally poignant stories about women in life-changing circumstances. She writes about messy lives . . . and eternal hope.
Kellie currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas.

Her latest book is the Christian fiction, Mother of Pearl.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Release Day Blitz: Awaken by Kristen Day

Today is the release day of the second installment of the Daughters of the Sea series, Awaken by author Kristen Day!

Title: Awaken (Daughters of the Sea #2)
Author: Kristen Day
Pub. Date: Oct. 2, 2012
Find "Awaken":

The sacrifices we make have the power to shift the very fabric of who we are, and ultimately who we are meant to be…

After learning of her true destiny as the intended Leader of the Tydes, Anastasia Whitman must now embark on a perilous quest to the Underworld before the age of eighteen in order to plant the seed of immortality and complete her essence to become a true Sea Goddess. But before she can make her legendary journey, an unexpected new student transfers to Lorelei; initiating a sequence of events that will unravel Stasia’s new life, and test the boundaries of her relationship with the mysterious, dark, and sexy Finn Morrison. The line between the Underworld and the Living begins to blur as gruesome ghosts, morbid reveries, and pure evil haunt her waking hours as well as her sanity. Once the details of Finn’s own startling destiny are revealed, the dangerous secrets he’s been hiding will threaten the very love Stasia believed to be indestructible. As time begins to run out, she will be forced to choose between the one she loves and the destiny she cannot escape.

The familiar call of seagulls diving for fish amongst the crashing waves pulled him from his restless slumber. His tired, bloodshot eyes opened and gazed upon that same weathered stone ceiling looming above. As they roamed down the sloped wall where he kept count, he pushed back the agonizing hopelessness encasing his heart. Another long night behind him simply meant another long day before him. He swung his legs over the side of his cot and gently placed his worn feet on the stone floor. It was always bitterly cold in the morning. He shivered as he glanced down at his too-skinny legs and the dirt that clung to his calloused feet. His ragged, cotton shorts now hung low around his emaciated waist and his faded blue shirt had been discarded long ago; traded for a sunken-in, bare chest. He smoothed down his gray hair and thick beard; wondering if today would be the day.

Sighing, he stood and collected the conch shell he kept hidden within a crack in his counting wall. He found the last mark and bent down to add yet another. He never counted days; only nights. The darkness always brought out his worst nightmares and he was continually amazed he had made it through so many. Thousands of marks littered the wall before him; a diary of solitude and sheer will captured forever in stone.

As he did every morning, he padded over to the window and looked out over the rolling sea. The lone window of his small room faced east, allowing him one pleasure amidst the hell that had become his life. Sunrise. At first each sunrise brought only tears to his eyes while the slow ache in his chest grew, threatening to rack his body with a sadness no man should bear. What those brilliant colors dancing across the sky stood for only served as a reminder to his unending loss. Another night bereft of her loving arms. Another day without her magical presence. Over the years the pain had receded, but her memory never faded. Neither did the seed of hope she had planted so long ago. It grew every day, branching out and becoming the only thing that kept him alive. Many nights he had peered out of his window at the white sand far below. He thought of how easy it would be to end this torture and return to her. But he knew he had a bigger purpose and he would not let her down. He would endure and wait until his heart beat no more.

Once a week he was allowed to stroll along the beach and speak to the others. But it was only a brief illusion of freedom. They could feel the eyes that watched their every move. The others had become his only companions. For years there had only been seven. But a couple of months ago, a newcomer had arrived. He could hear her anguished cries at night and her deep despair was evident in the scratches along her arms; the victims of her own fingernails. She too finally succumbed to the seclusion and hopelessness; becoming void of emotion and as hollow as the rest of them. His thoughts moved back to the present and the brilliant ball of light inching its way above the horizon. This is when he felt closest to her. He closed his eyes and called upon the memory of her ever gentle, loving eyes.

“My love, I have lived to see yet another dawn cast its light upon this retched spit of land. Thankfully, this dawn brings new hope for my weary soul. You appeared to me in my dreams once again last night, but for the first time I heard the sweet melody of your voice. You spoke to me and breathed life back into my withered heart. You told me to be patient; to remain steadfast. You assured me the hour is growing near and I know the words you speak are true. Indeed, it is almost time.”

~About the Author~

Kristen Day is a southern belle at heart with a crazy streak that desperately tries to escape at every opportunity. She loves all things nostalgic, rustic, and quirky. She’s been told she sees the world through rose-colored glasses, but she prefers to think of them as kaleidoscope glasses - swirling and morphing reality into something she can digest (who hasn't pretended those pasty lima beans were really kiwi strawberry jelly beans?).

She is the author of the Daughters of the Sea trilogy, which includes Forsaken, Awaken (Oct 2012), and Chosen (Winter 2012). She loves all books, but really enjoys writing young adult, paranormal romances. She’s loved to write for as long as she can remember. Her first published work was her poem Red in second grade (you guessed it - it was a poem about the color red - life altering, right?) that won her 5 gold stars and a spot in her elementary school's poetry book. That's when her addiction to the written word officially began. She was the only kid in fifth grade that actually enjoyed diagramming sentences. Go ahead and laugh - its okay.

When she’s not writing she’s making jewelry, painting, feeding her addiction to sweet tea, watching the Discovery Channel, or going on random adventures in the mountains of North Carolina with her amazing husband. She was born in Boone, NC and graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Marketing in 2001.

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

I read and LOVED the first book in the Daughters of the Sea trilogy, Forsaken! It was wonderful! To read my review, click here.