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 CafĂ© 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.