Friday, December 20, 2013

Cover Reveal - Wolf's Bane by Ash Krafton

~ Cover Reveal ~
Wolf's Bane 
(Demimonde #3)
by Ash Krafton

About the Book:

Sometimes, when life gives you lemons, all you can do is try to avoid paper cuts. 

Since becoming oracle to the demivampire two years ago, advice columnist Sophie has battled werewolves and survived a vampire attack (or two). However, not only was she powerless to save her lover Marek when he slipped to the brink of evolution, she also witnessed his transformation into a falcon, the symbol of Horus United.

Sophie’s quest to save Marek is further complicated when rock star Dierk Adeluf – who also happens to be the king of the Werekind – invites her backstage after a concert. Just when it seems she will find respite from heartache, Sophie is bitten by a werewolf and Dierk decides she is destined to be his queen.

Sophie is caught between the demivamps she loves and the Were who commands her to love him. Throw in his jealous wanna-be girlfriend—a true bitch if ever there was one—and an ambush by witches, and there you have the big mess that Sophie calls her life. And, hello? Her soul mate is still a bird.

She’s supposed to be the girl with all the answers, but Sophie needs more than a little advice--she needs divine intervention.

Available Spring 2014! 
Find other Books of the Demimonde series at:

A
bout the Author:

Ash Krafton is a writer of all things speculative fiction. She believes spectacular endings make the best beginnings… Why not? One billion black holes can’t be wrong. 

Her first novel, Bleeding Hearts: Book One of the Demimonde, is available through Pink Narcissus Press. The manuscript earned finalist distinction in several Romance Writers of America 2011 competitions and has earned several other awards. The follow-up, Blood Rush (Demimonde #2) was published in 2013 and the third installment, Wolf's Bane (Demimonde #3) is expected mid-2014. Her fantasy novelette, Stranger at the Hell Gate is available through the Black Rose line of The Wild Rose Press. 

In addition to novel-length fiction, Ash enjoys writing poetry and short fiction, some of which earned awards and distinction in several national competitions. One of her poems was selected as a Pushcart prize nominee. She’s a member of Pennwriters, RWA, Pikes Peak Writers, SFPA, and the Maryland Writers Association.

Ash resides with her family in a rural town in the heart of the Pennsylvania anthracite coal region. She’ll never leave, either, because coal is just another example of a spectacular ending waiting for a brilliant beginning. (It’s kinda fitting.) And because, like a black hole, once you’re in… you can never get out.


Ash Krafton

Connect with the Author!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Book Review - Just Right by Krystal Shannan

Just Right 
by Krystal Shannan
Published 2013
48 Pages

Marci Garret has watched everyone around her get married and move on with their lives. Now in her 30s, she accepts her friends' advice, and joins the 1Night Stand dating service. But this isn't your ordinary dating service. 

Everything about Marci's date, as arranged by the mysterious matchmaker, Madame Eve, is carefully constructed. A romantic adventure awaits! But what Marci encounters is even more unexpected! 

A quick read, and an imaginative contemporary romance, Just Right packs in a lot of plot for a short story! And it is a fun story, with great characters, and plenty of steamy love scenes!

R
eviewed by Stephanie 
★★★
4.5 STARS      

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Review - Once Broken by H. Anne Henry


Once Broken (Dove Creek Chronicles, #1)
by H. Anne Henry
Published 2013
290 Pages

I am always thrilled to find an amazing debut novel by an indie author that is compelling, exciting, and perfectly paced. Once Broken offers all of this and more. The kind of urban fantasy tale I crave, the story blends romance with adventure and suspense, then wraps it up into an enchanting (albeit gritty) world of vampires, vampire hunters, werewolves, and other intriguing supernatural creatures.

Remington "Remi" Hart is not like other young women. A great tragedy has left her emotionally broken and guarded, but also tough and capable... skills she will need to tap into as a hunter with the Amasai. Remi explains:
"Killing vampires and protecting the average citizenry through a sort of secret police force for the supernatural world was never supposed to be a family business."
And yet, here she is, suited up with wooden stakes in her boots, and various other hidden weaponry, gearing up for a war. But why Dove Creek? On the surface, it looks like any other small town. Instead, a supernatural crossroads settled in near the town -- no one knows exactly how long ago -- leaving a blurred veil through which demons eventually figured out a way to enter into the Mortal Plane.

Remi's father, John McCoy, was one of the first Amasai. But that was a long time ago. Remi and her allies are now facing new challenges as the veil continues to thin… and the stakes are getting higher than ever. Alongside Remi is the head of the Amasai, Hugo -- tough, fearless, and loyal. Remi's partner, Gabriel, has plenty of surprises up his sleeve, while Alex, Jocelyn, Casey, and others have their own reasons for fighting, and their own secrets.

There was so much going on in this book with all the different creatures and re
alms, but I never felt lost. I was intrigued with the characters' backstories, and fascinated by the reveals along the way. The build up to romance allowed for a natural, realistic progression that resulted in some amazing, and ultra steamy, love scenes. 

I'm so excited about this book, and thrilled to find a new author with such talent and potential. It makes me want to shout from the rooftop so that when the author becomes well known I can say, "See! I knew it!" It also makes me wish I could rate this fantastic book higher than five stars. This is one of my new favorites, and if you love urban fantasy as much as I do, you should definitely check it out.

Reviewed by Stephanie

5 STARS


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review - Blood Roses by Lindsay J. Pryor

Blood Roses (Blackthorn, #2)
by Lindsay J. Pryor
Published 2013

400 Pages

I have to say, I love this new series! And this installment hit it out of the park! Like the first book, it grabbed me and held on until the end. What I loved most was the forbidden love between sworn enemies, who were thrust together by circumstance, only to discover that they could not resist each other. Such a great, angsty story! I loved it!

Vampires, werewolves, and other third species, who have been banished to Blackthorn, face the worst of the worst: thugs, criminals, you name it. But in Blackthorn, the law of the land is survival of the fittest, and the weak don't stand a chance. Caleb Dehain knows this better than anyone. He has carved out his own empire in Blackthorn, and everyone knows not to cross him. Caleb rules supreme, and he has no need for outside assistance. But when his own brother becomes tainted by consang blood, everything changes. And then Leila enters his domain… He knows she is different, and he knows he can never allow her to leave. 


Leila is most comfortable locked away in her library, reading her spell books that were left to her by her grandfather. She avoids conflict and intimacy at all costs. She has never left the safety of Summerton. But when she receives a panicked call to save her sister, who has been missing for four days, she has no idea what awaits. All she knows is that she has been summoned to Blackthorn
, along with one of her spell books, to heal a vampire… her sworn enemy. 

This story offers twists and turns around every bend! It kept me guessing from start to finish! 
Caleb and Leila are intriguing characters, who cannot deny their connection (despite their greatest efforts)! New elements were added to an already enchanting world, where vampires, witches, werewolves (and more to come, I am sure) live together, inharmoniously, with humans. I feel an uprising coming, and I cannot wait to be front and center when it happens! A great book and series, I am eagerly awaiting the next installment!

Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Kelli

5 STARS

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book Review - Marked by Destiny by Lisa Cardiff

Marked By Destiny
by Lisa Cardiff
Published 2013

228 Pages

I really enjoy reading books about fae. They are such arrogant creatures, always conniving, and stabbing each other in the back! This story held my attention, and was very entertaining! 

Kalen, the Supreme Chieftain, and Prince of the Tuatha De'Danann tribe, is sent by Queen Donaugh to protect and retrieve Avery Conner, who is half fae/half human, to bring her to the fae court in a parallel world. She is believed to be the one who will be able to access the fae's Four Treasures: the Stone of Destiny, the Sword of Light, the Spear of Victory, and the Cauldron of Renewal.

Avery has no idea she is half fae. When she was an infant, she was taken from her mother and native land of Ireland to live with her grandmother in the United States. She always felt abandoned by her mother and resented her. And so, when her mother becomes ill and is on her deathbed, Avery decides she needs to see her one last time. She makes the trip back to Ireland, only to discover everything about her life was a lie.

Kalen knew Avery as a child and always felt a pull toward her. He has his own agenda for helping Avery, but has a very difficult time resisting the connections he's always felt with her. Avery is unsure as to whom she can trust, although she instinctively knows she can trust Kalen. 
Can Kalen resist his own ambitions at court, and put Avery's well being above his own? 

This is the first book in a series that I will continue to follow! Very entertaining story and characters! There were some editing issues--extra words, etc--but I imagine this will be resolved before the book is released on December 23rd. Definitely worth the read!

Reviewed by Kelli

★★★
4 STARS

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Review - Death is Overrated by Jeffrey Perren

Death is Overrated
by Jeffrey Perren
Published 2013
302 Pages

How do you solve the mystery of your own death? Dr. Thomas Payne has been declared deceased, and yet he is very much alive. So, whose lifeless body is it that lay waiting for identification? And how can he prove his identity in a foreign land? 

Enter Chief Inspector Mawr, a veteran detective, who also happens to have a beautiful, intelligent daughter. The plot thickens as threads of mystery and suspense weave a web of excitement and anticipation throughout this superbly executed tale. I spent several nights reading well into the night, just to see what was around the next bend! 

A fantastic story that is well written and exciting, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery! I will be looking for other titles by this author!

Reviewed by Andrea 

5 STARS

Book Review - Bleeding Hearts by Ash Krafton


Bleeding Hearts (Demimonde, #1)
by Ash Krafton
Published 2012
372 Pages

When Sophie Galen meets Merek Thurzo at the museum she is immediately drawn to this handsome man with eyes like gemstones and long, dark hair, carrying a notepad and a fountain pen. Sophie is curious about Merek, pondering what he is researching, and wondering what he does for a living. She doesn't ask a lot of questions, sensing Merek's apprehension, but their chemistry is evident. And soon, this chance meeting with a man who shares her love of ancient cultures and antiquities will evolve into something more. But what Sophie discovers about Merek, and herself, will change both of their lives forever.

Welcome to a world of vampires and werewolves, who live amongst the human populations, and whose ancient origins are both interconnected and contemptuous. I had a tough time with Sophie early on, as she seemed to trust Merek too easily, despite the red flags. But soon I realized this was part of Sophie's character, and her story, and something she recognized and acknowledged in herself. Sophie's been on her own for a long time. She knows Merek could be dangerous, but she doesn't believe harm will come to her. Instead, she focuses on Marek's charms, and is swept off her feet and into a world of vampires, demo-vampires, werewolves, and more. 

Danger is lurking, as the demi-vampires are seeking out the one soul who can save them from eternal damnation. The last one was killed during the Salem Witch Trials. Finding herself in the middle of something powerful, Sophie can't help but wonder if she's in over her heads. But she's been lost for so long, and with Merek she finally feels a sense of belonging. Unsure of Marek's true intentions, she pushes forward, and discovers that what's hidden beneath the surface is indeed much more than she bargained for. 

This was a great story with awesome characters! I really loved Merek--loyal, fearsome, and powerful in his world. As for Sophie, she grew on me as the story unfolded, and by the end I was totally rooting for her! I could feel the chemistry between them, which is why I was disappointed with the behind-closed-doors love scenes. Sharing all aspects of their relationship would have added to the story, and without it I definitely felt like something was missing. But I enjoyed this fascinating tale, and look forward to seeing what will happen in the next book! 

Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Stephanie

4 STARS

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Event - Ebook Giveaway: Order Restored by Ioana Visan


Contest begins December 5th, hosted by the author, Ioana Visan!


Enter to win one of five ebook copies of 
Order Restored
The Impaler Legacy, Book #3
An Exciting Fantasy Vampire Saga Series
by author 
Ioana Visan

Book description:

Despite their five centuries at war, the pandurs and the vampires work well together when they ally against a common enemy. Led by Little Council member Liana Cantacuzino and a thousand-year-old vampire Maximilien Hess, they descend on South Island, New Zealand, to search for the new breeds’ base.

With Dr. Jesse Carver kidnapped by the new breeds and Liana’s feelings for him muted thanks to Hess’ compulsion, Liana is forced to act like Jesse means nothing to her while she is dying inside. Asked by the new breeds’ leaders to betray her cause and losing the support of her people one by one, she needs to destroy the new breed-making facility before her entire world falls apart and everyone has to run for their lives.

Read our review for the first book in the series, The Impaler's Revenge, by clicking here!

Read more about the third book in the series, Order Restored, on Goodreads!

Order Restored 
(The Impaler Legacy, Book #3)
Available Now!

About the Author:


Award-winning writer Ioana Visan has always dreamed about reaching the stars, but since she can't, she writes about it! She made her debut in English with a short story published by Every Day Fiction, and also has one included in Evolved Publishing's "Evolution: Vol. 2" short story collection. After fighting the apocalypse aftermath in "Human Instincts", she played with shapeshifters in “Blue Moon Café Series: Where Shifters Meet for Drinks”, and then she dealt with vampires in “The Impaler’s Revenge”, before tackling longer works like a fantasy trilogy and a science fiction series.

Ioana Visan is the winner of the European Science Fiction Society’s Encouragement Award at Eurocon 2013.

Learn More About
Ioana Visan
Amazon

Contest has Ended
Thanks for Entering!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cover Reveal - Wicked Waves by Sharon Kay


Wicked Waves
Solsti Prophecy, book #2
by Sharon Kay
Available 
January 21, 2014!

About the Book:

Making dagg
ers out of raindrops is only the tip of the iceberg for Brooke Bonham. As one of four women who can control the elements, her ability to manipulate water packs a deluge of potential. Eager to learn more, she’s frustrated at the precautions she must take to avoid the wrong kind of attention on Earth. 

Kai's duties as a Lash demon have kept him busy on Earth for nearly two hundred years. Fighting? He was born to do it. Females? They're drawn to him. And Earth? The perfect place for him to avoid supernatural bounty hunters.

Though the two of them mix like oil and water, Kai senses that beneath Brooke’s frosty exterior hides a vortex of simmering passion. He’s determined to thaw his ice princess.

Forced to work together in the immortal realm, they track a rogue Lash demon at the helm of a widespread kidnapping operation. All too soon, Kai’s dark past catches up to them. Time runs out as a second enemy, bent on revenge, vows to stop at nothing short of Brooke’s enslavement and Kai’s death. As they and their foes stalk each other in a demonic game of cat-and-mouse, will her evolving skills and their fledgling bond be enough to save them?


Read our review for the first book in the series:
Wicked Wind

About the Author:

Sharon Kay was bitten early by the writing bug. At age twelve she wrote a short story, about a magic ring, that won a statewide contest. With her nose always in a book, she read the most novels for her age group in her local library’s summer reading program.

In her teens, writing took a backseat to fashion, as she was determined to find clothes different from what everyone else bought at the mall. And what she couldn’t find, she created. She learned to sew, worked in a fabric store after school, and spent her spare time with a needle in hand. Her black and orange prom dress is still one of her favorite creations.

Sharon lives in the Chicago area with her husband and son, and didn’t expect to write again. But Wicked Wind and the Solsti series formed in her head one weekend and refused to stay quiet until she put pen to paper. Her characters tend to keep her up at night, as they banter, fall in love, and slay endless varieties of power-hungry demons.


Connect with the Author!

Book Review - A Victory that Counts by Ioana Visan

A Victory that Counts (The Impaler Legacy, #2)
by Ioana Visan
Published 2013

116 Pages

The Little Council of Romania is waging war against a new vampire breed. The story takes us to New Zealand, where things get very gory. The female lead, Liana, has developed a very benign relationship with another character, Dr. Jesse, while her relationship with the arresting, and very quiet, Maximilien Hess has taken the backseat. 

I love the parallel worlds in this series, where humans coexist with vampires. And I love the introduction of a third vampire species in this book--a new, super
-enhanced vampire. But after the first book I was anticipating more romance between characters--more passion and angst--which seemed like a natural progression. Instead, the love scenes were behind closed doors, leaving me wanting more. After the first book, I was hoping to see things spice up between Liana and Maximilien, but I guess that isn't going to happen.

The story is interesting, but different from what I expected. Still, it is well written, and I will continue with the series for that reason. I am hoping for more romance, along the lines of the first book, as the series continues!

Reviewed by Kelli


3.75 STARS

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Good Grammar and the End of Civilization

by Suzanne Lysak


Recently I was flipping through television channels and landed on an old episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” In the episode, Ray Barone sat in his mother Marie’s kitchen---having persuaded her to fill out curriculum forms from his daughter’s elementary school under the auspices of getting her homework load reduced. In the process, much to her horror, she discovers Raymond never read “Tom Sawyer.” He counters that he read sports books instead and since he works as a sportswriter “that’s how I got to be where I’m at.” She looks at him in disbelief: “You’re a writer and that’s how you use the English language?” He goes on to scoff at the fact that, yes, what’s the big deal—so he ended a sentence with a proposition. “Preposition, not proposition!! Oh my god!!” Marie bemoans. “This is the end of civilization!”

I feel Marie’s pain. Each semester I teach news writing basics to a new batch of undergraduate and graduate students, who typically range in age from 18-24. I’ve noticed that about half of each class struggles with the basics of grammar. The most common issue is the use of pronouns (the infamous its vs. it’s) and also the punctuation of quotes (i.e. the placement of a comma inside the end quote).

Several students have asked me why I am so “picky” about the details. Honestly, I’ve been tempted to overlook some grammar errors once the quality and clarity of their writing improves. But then I remember—grammar is the foundation of writing. If the foundation is shaky, the words are not going to hold up. So I continue circling and correcting the grammar errors—very old school, I am told.

As one who appreciates and pours over the written word, I have a hard time with shortening and abbreviating, and I have to admit—I campaign against it. It really is an uphill battle. Since texting is now the preferred mode of communication, shorthand like “u” and “ppl” have creeped into students’ 
“regular writing; I’ve even come across “gr8” and “b4” in essays.

Since Twitter has become an important tool in journalism (with both positive and negative consequences) I also have to address the matter of personal versus professional tweets. First, I remind students---social media posts can live forever, so don’t tweet foolishness. But then we talk about how tweeting to your family and friends is different than tweeting as a working professional. Sure it’s only 140 characters—but, I tell them, it’s still a reflection of your writing. And your writing is your most important skill—never shortchange it.

So do I get through? Sometimes. Over the last few years I’ve had a handful of students ask me for resources that can help them improve their grammar and punctuation. I happily refer them to various online courses, podcasts and books. By the end of the year, when they are approaching commencement and sending me their cover letters and resumes to review—I am usually circling and correcting fewer misused pronouns and misplaced capitalization. It’s progress, and I’ll take it.



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review - Whore by Cara Faith Donovan

Whore 
by Cara Faith Donovan

aka Michelle Hughes
Published 2013

214 Pages

I absolutely loved this clever book! The title was brilliantly interwoven into the story, popping up again and again in different contexts. Alluring and enthralling, I was taken from the beginning! Initially, I feared it might be cliché (i.e. a virgin girl swept away by a billionaire alpha male), but to my pleasant surprise it was anything but! Instead, it evoked a range of emotions. I laughed, I cried, and at times I was thoroughly appalled. But the story flowed naturally from one scene to the next, resulting in a completely original, well written, and captivating tale. Well done!

Laura Burns is a 20-year-old coffee shop waitress in dire straits (see what I mean about cliché? But don't let the beginning fool you!). Her self-centered mother has abandoned her for husband number five, leaving Laura with a meager savings and a mortgage to pay. All Laura wants is a stable life, and the ability to go to college. But her mother's selfish behavior has repeatedly set Laura back from her goals. Laura is innocent, slightly damaged, and presents in a way that moved me. I have to say at this point how much I loved this character! I cried for her on more than one occasion, and felt my heart breaking for her needless suffering.

Laura meets Taylor Ross, who introduces himself to her as the son of a customer who has recently passed away. He states that his father wanted Laura to be taken care of, and to have her education expenses covered. Laura thanks him but refuses the offer. Instead, he offers her a job that seems too good to be true, as a way to assist her with her education costs… but his plans involve more than Laura's innocence and lack of experience can understand.

Unique and clever, with well developed characters, this book was humorous, moving, and infuriating all at the same time! The author did a fantastic job with pacing, and in the unveiling of mini reveals throughout the story. I enjoyed it immensely! A must read!

Reviewed by Kelli

★★★★★
5 STARS

Book Review - Waking Sarah by Krystal Shannan


Waking Sarah (Vegas Mates, #3)
by Krystal Shannan
Published 2013
194 Pages

Sarah McClain is doing her best to support her best friend, who is preparing for the journey of a lifetime. But it hasn't been easy. Just six months ago, Sarah herself was engaged. As she and her fiancee' prepared to share the news, he was taken from her, murdered, leaving Sarah lost and heartbroken. And now, the troublesome voices in her head that have kept her up at night for most of her life have intensified… voices and dreams and a nagging presence that only sleeping pills have managed to control. After suffering such a great loss, she wonders how she will move forward.  

As her friend's wedding event concludes, she and some of the guests gather at the Woodhaven Inn--a secluded luxury inn, nestled deep in a forested region of Utah, with an abundance of wildlife. Lulled by the beauty of her surroundings, Sarah relaxes enough one morning to share breakfast and a chat with Chris Michaels, who is not only handsome and attentive, but seems genuinely concerned about her well being. Unbeknownst to Sarah, Chris has been assigned to coach her, and to ease her into a world of supernatural shape-shifters… a world that, before today, she never knew existed. So how is he going to convince her that the voice in her head she's been hearing her whole life is her wolf? He has his work cut out for him. But it is imperative, as Sarah's wolf must awaken to the world if Sarah is to survive. 

Sarah is likable, relatable, and stays true to character throughout the story. As she begins her daunting journey into the unknown, you can't help but root for her! We revisit our friends and foes from the first two books, and meet some new supernaturals, too! Vampires and witches add an entirely new element to the story, and the blending of worlds is both seamless and complimentary to the series! 

Of course, we are treated to plenty of the descriptive romance we've come to know and love from the Vegas Mates, complete with all the intimate details! Finally, this book wouldn't be complete without Krystal Shannan's unending humor! Sarah protests, "Damn man … thinks I'm some kind of a freaking magickal werewolf?" Ha! Sarah's journey has just begun, indeed. And whether she knows it yet or not, it will be magickal.  

Available on Amazon


Reviewed by Stephanie
★★★★★
5 STARS

Read my reviews for other books in the series:
Chasing Sam (book #1)
Saving Margaret (book #2)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review - The Impaler's Revenge by Ioana Visan

The Impaler's Revenge (The Impaler Legacy, #1)
by Ioana Visan
Published 2013

107 Pages

I really loved this book! The author is a master at setting the stage for an alternate reality in which vampires and humans largely coexist. It had the perfect amount of intrigue! I was invested in the characters, and anticipated what was going to happen throughout the story, and around every corner! 


The Impaler's Revenge offered up a new twist to the vampire genre, and provided just enough information about the apparently civilized main vampire, Maximilien (not Max!) Hess. My interest was definitely piqued, and it left me wanting more. I know there is much more to Maximilien, hiding under his civilized demeanor, and I am sure we will discover many surprises in future installments! I also loved the female lead, Liana Cantacuzino. She is no simpering female. She is at the top of her Romanian social class: smart, strong, and anything but helpless. She has little time for relationships, which is a nice change of pace from other leads, where the female is often in distress or immediately head over heals for the male. 

Liana is part of the Little Council in Romania responsible for vampire control in her country--a small, elite group of descendants, whose primary goal is to keep vampires out of Romania. Yes, that's right, vampires may roam the world freely, but not in Romania! Instead, the country is protected by tight borders, and a kill-on-sight law. Liana's newest assignment, that has been handed down to her directly from the council president, involves the secret guarding and transporting of a thousand-year-old vampire called Maximilien… a job Liana finds both shocking and distasteful. But when strange events begin to occur around Romania, with vampire attacks, missing doctors, and stolen blood, the plot thickens, leaving Liana with growing suspicions and fears over a sinister plot from within. She is determined to solve the mystery, and to protect her country. 

Definitely worth the read! Although not steamy at this point, I feel it simmering, and we get hints of attraction building between characters. I appreciated the refreshing balance of power between Liana and Maximilien. This looks like a series with potential to build, and I imagine it will only get better! I look forward to reading the next book! 

Reviewed by Kelli


4.25 STARS 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book Review - Swept Away: The First Bloodline by Crystal Smith

Swept Away: The First Bloodline
by Crystal Smith
Published 2013
254 Pages

Taylor James's life was good, very good, especially in the husband department. She had a great one who was smart, sexy, and loving. But tragedy strikes and her husband dies, leaving her world torn apart. Seven years have gone by, where she continued with her routine of chores, going to work, and caring for the kids in a mostly robotic fashion. After her sister convinces her to go out, and to make an effort to start living life again, Taylor meets Damien--six-feet tall and gorgeous! And her world is about to change forever. 

Taylor feels drawn to Damien, soothed by him, and begins to feel like she cannot live without him. He tells her she is his mate, and that they are destined to be together. Forever. Literally… because he is a vampire (with numerous special talents)! Taylor is swept away into an entirely unexpected world, where she learns that nothing is as it seems! 

I was really excited when I started this book! The first 30% was great, but then it just sort of hit a wall. For a while, it seemed that the characters were limited to feelings of love or anger, and the story development became choppy, rather than fluid. Some aspects of the story were rather predictable, trust was given too freely for the circumstances, and the superpowers were a bit gratuitous. Further, the author alluded to a very popular book series throughout--a series that I know and love--which didn't sit well with me. 

The book did have a strong finish, and I liked the ending, cliffhanger and all! Overall, it was a good read, with a strong start and finish. 

Reviewed by Kelli
3.5 STARS

Book Review - Blood Shadows by Lindsay J. Pryor

Blood Shadows (Blackthorn, #1)
by Lindsay J. Pryor
Published 2012

382 Pages

I absolutely lost myself in this book. I loved it! A lot of people are comparing the series to my all time favorite vamp series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood, but it was completely different for me. Blood Shadows swept me away into another world, rather than taking me on a crash and boom kind of ride. I was steadily seduced into an entirely new world of third species beings and government control units for third species beings and I LOVED every minute of it! A very well written book, the author is a true storyteller who does not rush things. I was never confused, even with the introduction of an entirely new world order! Well done! I can't wait to explore more of this world!

Caitlin Parish is a powerful agent in the Vampire Contol Unit (VCU). She has been hunting the master vampire, Kane Malloy, for years. He is very adept at avoiding capture, even with tons of evidence that he regularly breaks VCU laws. Caitlin wants Kane brought to justice, but she has personal reasons to get him alone, as well. Kane allows Caitlin to catch him. Little does she know, he has his own personal agenda in being caught!

I was continually surprised, delighted and enthralled. Wonderfully passionate, well written, and a great start to a much anticipated series! Yay me!


Available on Amazon

Reviewed by Kelli

5 STARS

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Book Review - Charming by Elliott James

Charming (Pax Arcana, #1)
by Elliott James

Published 2013
390 Pages

This was an unexpectedly unique urban fantasy tale, with a fresh approach to the manner in which our world intersects with the supernatural realm. Violent, gritty, and spellbinding, this book held my interest from start to finish! If you love a fantasy escape, this is a very well written book that will take you to the edge and keep you engaged through all the twists and turns. I loved this book! 

As a descendent of the Charming family, John Charming is unique, even by supernatural standards. A knight, thousands of years old, his mother was attacked by werewolves during pregnancy, resulting in John's hybrid state. As such, he was shunned and eventually hunted by the knights, and has lived in hiding in rural Virginia, under a pseudonym. But his powerful senses have never wavered. And so, when a vampire and a gorgeous blonde walk into his bar, John is unwittingly pulled back into a world and a life that he has fought so long and hard to bury. Little does he know, this is all part of a plan… And that, even in the supernatural world, there are elements that are both shocking and fearsome, even to a Charming! 

The magical veil between worlds is thinning in this gritty and grownup fairytale, and what a world the author creates! A solid plot, and fully developed characters, make this book memorable and robust. I will definitely read the next book in the series! 

Reviewed by Stephanie
5 STARS

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review - Welcome to Sugartown by Carmen Jenner


Welcome to Sugartown
by Carmen Jenner
Published 2013

298 Pages

I really loved this clever Aussie romance about the pie baker and the ex-con biker. I know, a crazy match, right? But it worked! It was witty, sweet, and full of angst all at the same time. I never could get ahead of the author to figure out where she was going! But I was totally emersed in the story, and in the both the past and future of the characters. Several times I thought, "No way. There is no way she will go there!" But guess what, she did! She went there, and took me to the edge of my comfort level, maybe even slightly past it! But I couldn't put it down. Well done! I loved it! A great read!

The story is about Ana Belle who lives in a small town where nothing ever happens. She has inherited her mother's pie bakery shop, and gets creative with ingredients as a way to process her feelings. Her best friend works with her and does not have any type of filter between brain and mouth, which makes life interesting for Ana… especially when a gorgeous, tattooed biker rides into town, and shows up in her pie shop!

Elijah Cade (great name!) just wants to ride through life under the radar; a hot meal, a warm bed, no attachments. He likes to work with engines, and lands a job in the bike shop right next door to Ana's. He is a six-foot-three god, and once he has a taste of Ana's pie, he needs more! LOL! The problem is, Elijah has secrets and some impulse control issues. So, what will happen when their pasts collide? There are no easy endings, and the characters have to work hard for their HEA! Definitely worth the read!

Reviewed by Kelli


5 STARS

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book Review - Mercy by Pam Dingée

Mercy
by Pam Dingée
Published 2013
297 Pages

This book had potential, but never really grabbed me and made me forget myself, which is always my gauge as to how much I am going to love a book! But it did have some sweet and funny moments! Great chapter titles, and one particularly funny bar scene, made me laugh! Still, I found a lot of the storyline to be rather predicable. 


I did like Eden! She's a sassy hairdresser at the Hot Mess Hair Salon, who sometimes cusses like a truck driver. She is going through a long overdue divorce from her husband, Dick (Ha! Like I said, some good, humorous moments!). She finds herself floating a bit aimlessly, while staying at her best friend's guesthouse. She is not quite ready to embark on another relationship. Still, she wouldn't mind having some fun!

Dominic "Dom" (Yes, that is his name, but dom is not his game!) is Eden's best friend's cheesy (but hot!) brother. Although he is a sexy guy, he is a total player who has been pining for Eden since long before she was married. And now that she's single again, he doesn't want to miss his chance with her!

The story was entertaining enough, but was lacking development.
And the characters never did quite mature beyond the surface. It left me wanting more… more details, more depth, more, more, more!    

Reviewed by Kelli
★★★
3 STARS

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Featured Author Interview - Catherine Spangler


Featured Author
Catherine Spangler

About the Author

Catherine Spangler is a bestselling and award-winning author of the Shielder series (futuristic romance) and the Sentinel series (urban fantasy). She is a two-time Golden Heart finalist and a RITA finalist, and has received numerous other awards and honorable mentions.

She is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local chapter, Dallas Area Romance Authors. A frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences, Catherine has taught workshops on the creative process, writing techniques, writing paranormal romance, and goal setting. She lives in north Texas with her husband and a menagerie of critters. She loves reading, taking naps on the sofa with a good football game for background noise, eating chocolate, and playing poker!


Books by Catherine Spangler

Catherine Spangler writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and futuristic romance. Her urban fantasy series, the Sentinels; her futuristic romance series, the Shielders; and her other publications include the following: 

Touched By Darkness, Touched By Fire
and Touched By Light

The Shielder Series
Shielder, Shadower, ShamaraShadow Crossing 
and Shadow Fires

Anthology
Demon's Delight

You can read our review for Touched By Darkness by clicking here!

Interview

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to chat with Catherine about her amazing books! We loved the first book in the Sentinel series, Touched By Darkness, and can't wait to read all her books!

MBB: What inspired you to start writing?

CS: I first started writing when I was around 13 or 14. Three other friends and I wrote romances starring current rock stars and us. Then in high school I took a creative writing course. The instructor read my first project and told me I was beyond the rest of the class. He gave me special writing assignments, and even redlined my work and asked me to rewrite with his editorial changes. One of my articles was published in a magazine, and he told me I had talent and to keep at it. That was the beginning!

MBB: How do you begin the process of writing a new book or series?

CS: It's nothing logical! A character will begin “nagging” at me, but sometimes it is a story idea. I don’t usually write things down, but rather let them percolate, and then I just start writing. I’m definitely a “panster” and usually need to write two or three chapters before I have a feel for my characters and the story’s direction. I have to do that before I can attempt a synopsis. I will do research once I know what I want to write—like the extensive research I did on angels and on Chicago when I started my current WIP.

MBB: What do you like most about writing urban fantasy and paranormal romance?

CS: The different worlds and cultures, and the strange creatures populating them. I also enjoy the freedom to create stories not possible in real life. I like to color outside the lines.

MBB: Do you have any advice for other writers who are just starting out?

CS: First and foremost, write! Write, write, write, because that is how you develop your story voice. If at all possible, join a writers group like RWA (Romance Writers of America) or SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America), or one of the many other groups out there. Then you can find local chapters (for RWA), and meet other writers. You need to educate yourself on the business of writing and publishing. If you can find other writers to critique with, that will really help you grow as a writer.

MBB: These are some great tips! What are your plans for future projects?

CS: I’m working on a dark fallen angel series, and a paranormal young adult series. I’ve written part of a humorous Alien book, and I’m considering a 6th book in the Shielder series. There just never seems to be enough time!

MBB: If you were stranded on a deserted island with just one book, what would it be and why?

CS: I don’t think I can name just one book. There are a number of books that are favorites and that I’ve read again and again. They’re my favorites because I love the characters. I identify with the heroine and fall in love with the hero. Because the stories are amazing and intriguing and suck me right in and don’t let go until they release me (sadly) at the end. And, because they all have an HEA ending!

MBB: Is there anything else you would like to add?

CS: I want to thank all the wonderful authors and readers who have supported me over the years, and continue to do so through Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, RWA, and my local chapter, DARA. You are the best!

Thank you Catherine for taking the time to visit, and to share your writing experiences with us! We wish you all the best with the release of the Sentinel series, and look forward to reading all your books!

Connect with the Author!

Interviewed by Stephanie

Cover Reveal - The Sentinel Series by Catherine Spangler

~ Cover Reveal ~
Catherine Spangler's Sentinel Series



Touched By Darkness
Touched By Fire | Touched By Light

Available Now!

About the Books:

Touched By Darkness

After seven years on the run, Dr. Kara Cantrell thought she and her son, Alex, were safe. She was wrong.

Kara settled in the sleepy town of Zorro, Texas, convinced she and her child had escaped the sinister reach of a supernatural underworld. But now dark forces may jeopardize her new life. Her only hope is Damien Morgan, a dangerous, alluring man with superhuman abilities. He and Kara share a mystical link that triggers desires they must ignore. But as they work together to protect her son, and to track the evil stalking them, something threatens to push them toward the edge, to reach out with the touch… of darkness.


Read our review for Touched By Darkness by clicking here!

Touched By Fire

Since a brutal attack on her sister eleven years ago, Marla Reynolds has been emotionally frozen—but one man’s passion could melt her defenses...

For the past eleven years, Marla has avoided relationships with men. Then she meets Luke Paxton in a Houston bar and is upended by an intense attraction she doesn’t understand. But Luke does—it is an energy he must harness to achieve his goals. He is a Sentinel, a member of an ancient superhuman race. His purpose on Erth is to track unimaginable evil, and he needs Marla—willing or not—to help him focus his psychic powers. But as Luke draws Marla deeper into a supernatural world, he finds himself torn between protecting humanity—or yielding to the fire of her touch…


Touched By Light


After a brutal attack, Dr. Julia Reynolds is determined to live a solitary existence. But one man who believes she’s his soul mate has other ideas...
For twelve years Julia has been haunted by memories of a horrific assault, and forced to deal with precognitive abilities triggered by the attack. She’s buried herself in her career. However, the arrogant and infuriating Adam Masters threatens her protective bubble, claiming she is a precisely matched conductor—for him.

Adam is the powerful head of the Sentinels, a superhuman race protecting Earth. He believes his intense physical and mental connection with Julia will help locate a missing Sentinel. But Julia resists, unwilling to be drawn into a dark supernatural world, or to give into the sexual attraction between her and Adam.

At the same time, her life is threatened when her psychopathic former assailant is freed from prison and seeks revenge. Julia finds herself torn between running from her demons—and embracing her power and reaching for the light…


About the Author:

Catherine Spangler is a bestselling and award-winning author of the Shielder series (futuristic romance) and the Sentinel series (urban fantasy). She is a two-time Golden Heart finalist and a RITA finalist, and has received numerous other awards and honorable mentions.

She is an active member of Romance Writers of America and her local chapter, Dallas Area Romance Authors. A frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences, Catherine has taught workshops on the creative process, writing techniques, writing paranormal romance, and goal setting. She lives in north Texas with her husband and a menagerie of critters. She loves reading, taking naps on the sofa with a good football game for background noise, eating chocolate, and playing poker!


Contact 
Catherine Spangler!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Book Review - Darkness Before Dawn by Kellie Wallace


Darkness Before Dawn

by Kellie Wallace
Published 2013
236 Pages

While it may be hard to accept a nazi soldier in 1940s Germany as a hero, Max is not a typical cold blooded soldier. And behind his forced, hard exterior is a man with a heart of gold. 

Catherine is a gentle soul whose family has already been through hardships, and yet she still has a strong and hopeful spirit. Set in the time of world turmoil, this is a tender love story that inspires and reminds the reader that love has no boundaries.

I understood Catherine's complicated feelings for many of her family members and childhood friends. Still, I felt the roller coaster of her changing emotions hard to empathize with so quickly. All in all, a touching story worth reading.

Reviewed by Andrea
3 STARS

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Cover Reveal - The Mystical Witch Series by April M. Reign

~ Cover Reveal ~


The Mystical Witch Series

by April M. Reign

Now Available on Amazon!
Coming in 2014:
Trial by Fire

About the Books:

A funny, fresh and sassy, fast-paced series about a young woman whose birthright is princess of the underworld—she’s mad as Hell about it, and is determined to use her powers to beat her father at his own game!

Wi
tch Road to Take (Book #1)

Dhellia has run away from home to escape her undesirable duties as princess of the underworld. A three-month road trip “upstairs” convinces her human-witch side that Earth is where she belongs. Unfortunately, her father isn't seeing things her way. Her brother, who is a soul catcher and her protector, snatches her away and hides her in the apartment of a bumbling wizard who casts a cloaking spell on her, and a geeky vampire rock ‘n roll singer who is allergic to human blood. 

Dhellia gets a job in a law office and suddenly, her future is full of possibilities—that is, until a collision of fate and destiny create the perfect storm, which puts her and her friends in peril. Once again on the run from her father's minions, Dhellia and her friends must find a way to survive while she discovers the powers that lie within her. 

Quest for the Keys (Book #2)

Dhellia is still on the run from her father who wants her to take her rightful place as princess of the underworld, which would include duties that conflict with her compassionate, witty and half-witch personality. 

Dhellia has a falling-out with her sweet but annoying roommates, a falling-in with her handsome boss, Quinn, and a conflict with her brother, Damien, who is really taking a lot of heat from their father for her disappearance. To make matters worse, Damien also disapproves of her growing connection with Quinn, whom he doesn't trust one bit. That alone has pitted the siblings against each other as Dhellia searches for her independence and Damien tries to keep her safe.

While on a quest for the other “keys,” Dhellia recovers two artifacts that contain the most dangerous secrets on Earth, ones that could, in the wrong hands, turn the tables between good and evil. Dhellia gears up to prepare to battle “downstairs” in a way that no witch ever has--aside from her mother. 

Trial by Fire (Book #3)
Coming in 2014!

About the Author

April M. Reign is the bestselling author of The Mancini Saga, The Mystical Witch Series, The Disciples of the Damned Series and The Turning Series. She started her writing career long before she could read or write. While bundled around a campfire at the beach in Southern California with her family, she'd share stories about sea monsters and land creatures.

In her teenage years, authors such as Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jude Deveraux, Anne Rice and many others were the influence that shaped her career as an author.

April lives in Southern California with her two teenage sons, her attention-seeking cat and the glorious beach, which is almost close enough to be her backyard.



April M. Reign

Connect with the Author!