Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Ash Grove Chronicles Boxed Set by Amanda DeWees

This set contains all three novels in the Ash Grove Chronicles (The Shadow and the Rose, Casting Shadows, Among the Shadows). This was the first time I've actually had a boxed set of any series to read and I have to say I really enjoyed having all the books on hand. I am very impatient when I have to wait for the next book to come out in any series. Waiting for the next book in a series that I really enjoy? That's even harder to do. The trilogy moves seamlessly from one book to the next, making the boxed set an exceptional choice (in my opinion).

The Shadow and the Rose
Joy Sumner is a student at the Ash Grove High School for performing arts. When fellow students dare Joy to go into the old cemetery and take a rose from the grave of the school's founder she meets teen model and former Ash Grove High student, Tanner Lindsey. A simple meeting in a cemetery has greater consequences than she could have imagined. This quiet piece of North Carolina is just buzzing with supernatural energy and things are about to get shaken up more than Joy, Tanner, and the Council could have imagined. Their growing love makes an implacable enemy of Tanner's supermodel mentor, Melisande. She doesn't take kindly to Tanner's straying interest at all. Tense, fast-paced and full of unexpected turns. Learning that Tanner and Joy are expecting a baby puts the young lovers in a perilous and potentially fatal position.

Casting Shadows
In this second book of the trilogy, characters from the first book return to take their place more fully in the story. Joy and Tanner find things have gone wrong in ways neither could have anticipated. The truth behind what Melisande really is and how she stays young is exposed. William has loved Maddie for as long as he's known her. Unfortunately for the young couple, as soon as Maddie realizes that William is where her heart lies, things go wrong in a major way. I loved that we got to see more of Joy's friends. This makes for a richer, more fulfilling story to read. As in the first book, things move at a fast pace and take turns I couldn't have imagined.

Among the Shadows
Joy's father has been emotionally lost since his wife died when his daughter was very young. His grief has led him to conduct dangerous experiments with time. Only hours after Joy delivers their child, the world as Tanner knew abruptly changes. He's no longer married to Joy; she doesn't even no who he is. Their baby doesn't exist and as far as Joy's father is concerned, Tanner doesn't need to come knocking again. To make things even more complicated (or worse), Maddie makes a wish at the foot of the town founder's statue and reality changes even more. Time has been seriously warped and distorted all in the name of love. Alternate time lines, alternate lives for the people of Ash Grove and a succubus with a serious score to settle make for an intense and fast-paced read. If things aren't fixed soon, the town of Ash Grove and the people who live there may cease to exist as he knew them.

I was gifted this boxed set by the author for an honest review. The way each book seamlessly picked up where the last one left off made me very happy to not have to wait for the sequels. DeWees' handling of the shifting time lines and characters lives is nothing short of superb. Each book was better than the previous and I must admit to staying up too late at night to keep reading. And I'm ready to read them again. The entire set is well written, well edited with characters that are a pleasure to connect with. The boxed set is definitely a bonus in my opinion.

This set is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Forbidden Touch by K.S. Haigwood

This story took me a while to get into, but once I did, I was hooked. Ciara is a vampire with a talent for invisibility on a mission. It's her job to track down rogue vampires before they can cause trouble for the rest of the vampire world. She keeps returning to the home of Mitch Foley, a human homicide detective, to give him dreams of murders taking place around his city. She's hoping they will lead him to solve the murders so she can capture the killer. Ciara knows something very important that Mitch doesn't, the killer is another vampire. She's also showing up in his dreams. Ciara has started falling in love with the detective, which could have fatal consequences for Mitch if her clan finds out.

In true Haigwood style, Mitch discovers Ciara, learns vampires really do exist, and is set up to take the fall for the murders. Just to keep things interesting and lively, a love triangle develops between Mitch, Ciara and Dane, a fellow vampire and clanmate. The love triangle develops slowly and believably as the story moves along showing Haigwood's deft hand throughout.

With four main characters and minimal supporting cast, the story is intensely focused and picks up speed fairly quickly. Murder, mayhem and a woman in love with two completely different men. The twist at the end (what book written by Haigwood doesn't have one?) pulled at my heart. If you enjoy vampires, murder mysteries, and paranormal romance, this is your book; it has all three components written in Haigwood's definable style.

Well written and well edited. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

You can pick up your copy from Amazon. This is a worldwide link that will automatically redirect you to your local Amazon.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Piper LeVine, A Gypsy's Truth by Eris Kelli

Piper LeVine grew up believing she was the daughter of Senator LeVine and his wife until strangers came knocking one night. Sent to live with her grandmother at the only place that felt like home, Piper learns she isn't exactly who she thought she was. Not only that, but reality includes a whole lot more than she could ever have dreamed.

This new reality includes the truth about herself, her birth mother, werewolves and a promise made by her birth father that leads to problems for everyone. Piper has to learn a new culture at the same time she learns to control and use her magic. The question isn't whether or not she'll have time, but how many will die before she can learn what she must.

Piper is a teenager through and through, struggling to handle a new way of life and problems she has trouble accepting. She quickly learns that what may be borderline acceptable where she grew up is highly offensive in her mother's world. Now she not only has to learn a new culture, but figure out how to earn forgiveness. And with everyone angry and offended, finding someone to sponsor her in her new world is going to be a daunting task.

The author offers a variation on vampires I haven't seen before, which I always enjoy. Give me something I love and give it new twist is a win-win for me. I found this book one day while I was cruising Barnes & Noble out of boredom. I enjoyed this story so much that I promptly went looking for the rest of them. Thankfully (for my serious lack of patience for the next book), the others were already out and available.

While I did enjoy the book, there were some errors missed in editing that ended up costing a star in rating. Although there were no spelling errors, there were just enough grammatical and punctuation problems (a handful or two) that it created a few hiccups in reading. I would have loved to have been able to give this book four stars, but couldn't. The errors were distracting, but because they didn't ruin the pleasure of the story, I still highly recommend this book.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. At the time of this posting, this book is free on both Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. The Amazon link will automatically redirect you to your local Amazon.

The Barker's Dozen - Reminiscences of an Early Police Dog by Robert Warr

This book was a delight to read. Instead of Dr. Watson telling of Holmes' cases, we have Snuffles, a Springer Spaniel sharing a dozen of Inspector Richard Thompson's. While not a bumbling oaf, his Inspector is no Sherlock Holmes. Snuffles helps the Inspector solve his cases in some less than conventional ways. Snuffles shares his stories with Isobel Fraser, a young American heiress in exile because her parents don't approved of the young man she wishes to marry.

Murders, poisonings, and theft are all part and parcel of a police Inspector's life. With a partner likes Snuffles, how can he go wrong? Seeing the clues and evidence from a different perspective puts Snuffles in a position to give his Inspector a decided advantage in solving what ever crime comes his way.

A delightful bit of storytelling that had me smiling. In spite of this being a series of crime solving stories, the author had a unique enough approach that I enjoyed the book. This book was both well written and well edited. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

Pick up your copy at Amazon. This is a universal link that will automatically redirect you to your local Amazon.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Good Side of Sin; Save My Soul Book 3 by K.S. Haigwood

In this third installment of the "Save My Soul" series, Haigwood holds nothing back. Josselyn wants nothing more than to find Malcolm and  bring him back to heaven. The Council however, has other plans for her and they are not to her liking at all. People are dying and their souls are being stolen. The Council has questions. Not only do they want the answers to their questions, but they also want the solution. All the evidence is pointing to one of the "special cases." When Josselyn learns she's being sent to figure out what's going on, she engages in the biggest case of 'foot in mouth' of her existence.

Not everything is as it seems. New characters are introduced and old ones come back. Lucifer, sore loser that he is, is out to not only disrupt things as much as possible, but to break free from the prison where he was sent to live in exile from heaven. Josselyn is being forced to work with Thoros, the man she loves with all her heart and the one who broke it. She and her friends need help solving the puzzle. More surprises are in store for our group of heroes when they learn who they will have to ask for help. 

This book explodes with all of Haigwood's favorite elements. Romantic and sexual tension, betrayal, mystery, double dealing are all wrapped up in her signature wit and humor. Her characters are fun and easy to engage with. She had me laughing out loud a few times. I'm always happy to read a book from this author. I know she'll have curve balls waiting around the corner to pop out when I least expect it.

I feel very lucky to have been a beta reader for this book. Haigwood is an immensely talented writer who brings her worldscapes to life with characters I thoroughly enjoy. Her story telling skills have grown with each new novel she writes. If you enjoy paranormal romance, you'll definitely enjoy this book and the series. 

You can pick up your copy from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Available December 10 - re-released with a new cover!

Three Days of Rain by Christine Hughes is being re-released with a new cover! The book with its new cover will be available on December 10, only 7 short days from today. I've already read and reviewed this book. As you can tell from the cover, this is a love story, but not how you'd expect the average romance novel to play out. With many thanks to the author, I am excited to be able to share with you an excerpt from her book. Read on and enjoy. A link to get your copy will be provided when the republished book is available.

Tiny excerpt - Grabbing the nearly empty bottle of Jack from the counter, he walked toward the back of the house. He finally turned on the lights when he reached his bedroom. Unscrewing the cap, he took a long pull. His eyes were drawn to his old guitar sitting on the stand, covered in an inch of dust. Stepping over the piles of laundry that littered his bedroom floor, he picked it up and stood in front of the mirror. He lifted the strap over his head and let the Gibson fall in front of him. It still fit as it had two years ago. The last time he played was the night before his life went to hell. His eyes burned with the memory. His throat burned as he poured the rest of the alcohol. He removed the strap and held the guitar by the neck. His eyes shifted to the stand in the corner, but as pain and heartache overtook him, he lifted the guitar above his head and smashed it into his reflection. 

Description: Just when he thought his life was turning around... Things haven’t been easy for Jacob Morgan. Persecuted by the ghosts of his past, Jake lives each day just going through the motions, barely getting by. Then Lily Burns comes to town and befriends him. As Jake starts to heal, he begins to hope that he has finally overcome the mistakes and tragedies that have tormented him for so long. But just when he thinks his problems are solved, his past comes back to haunt him, and once again, Jake is confronted by situations he is ill-equipped to handle. Can Jake hold on to the progress he has made, or will the lies, guilt, and secrets he’s tried to ignore shove him back into an abyss from which there is no escape?

 You can get your copy from Amazon starting December 10.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Erin the Fire Goddess: Jo's Story (#3.5) by Lavinia Urban

I love this author. I don't care that she writes books geared for a teen and young adult audience. I know with her name on the cover I'm in for a great read, characters I love to both love and hate, and the unexpected. This book takes us through Jo's childhood and her years of working with Dr. Hammersmith where we finally learn why she's really working for the doctor.

The story opens with Jo telling about growing up in the fairy community hidden in the forest outside Galladale. With her mother dead at her birth and a father blaming her for her mother's death, Jo was living with relatives at an early age. Having seen the good her uncle has done in his job for others, Jo decides she wants to follow in his footsteps and become a lawyer. Fate has other ideas for the immediate future.

Jo goes to work for Dr. Hammersmith, one of her father's more important clients. On one of her days off from working with Dr. Hammersmith, her former teacher tells her there are things she wants to be told of if Jo should learn anything about them. Once the characters from previous books reach their teen years, Urban takes us quickly through crucial events in the first three books from Jo's point of view. We learn what happened to Jessica after Erin's final test of her powers.

Were you paying attention in the first three books? Urban gave clues to some of the characters being more than you thought at first look. Some of those clues culminate in revelations in this book. Jo's history is revealed and we learn Erin is very important, but why? This is definitely not a stand-alone book. You won't get the full impact of this story without first reading the other three. Believe me, you WANT to read all of them. I know book four is coming out next year; is it next year yet?

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Three Days of Rain by Christine Hughes

This isn't your ordinary love story. And because I don't do spoilers, I have to be careful what I say to not give anything away. This book is both hard to read and compelling at the same time. (How the heck did she manage that one?) The story starts with the kind of guy many women won't admit to dreaming of. You know, the stranger who pulls over to change the flat tire just because he's a nice guy? Yeah, that one.

Jake met Lily doing exactly that. Flat tire by the side of the road and no cell phone signal. So he turned around, headed back to her, changed her tire and went on his way. What he didn't know was that Lily was going to bring a change to his life the whole town had been waiting two years to see happen. (Don't you just love small towns?) He has a lot of pain and anger to let go of that he's been holding on to for two years. It seems he isn't the only one, but until Jake can let go, no one else can put their pain in the past either.

By the time I finished the last page, I was reeling. This was an amazing story in that it doesn't follow the path of a book typical for its genre. The book is so well written that it uncharacteristically for me, pulled me in. Not only was I up too late reading it last night, but I opted to finish the book before moving on to what I was supposed to be doing at work. The characters are believable and easy to engage with (or hate, as the case may be). I just don't get hung up in love stories. Something about this one wouldn't let me go.

What do you want from a book in this genre? Love, pain, complications and a nice resolution? Try adding hate, guilt, death, drug abuse, and alcohol. This story has it all, including the small town where everyone not only knows everyone, but everything about everyone. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. (The cover art is being redesigned and is unavailable at this time.)

So... honestly? She can't get the next one out soon enough to suit me. I have certain titles on my Nook that I just don't archive after reading. When I got to the last page, I knew this would be one of them. As a romance story, the nice guy needs to be popped upside the head. But I have to stop so I don't spill it all. If you enjoy the genre (and she may have convinced me to try others in this vein) you will absolutely love this book. Get it, read it, tell your romance story friends about it. I never thought I'd be giving five stars for a romance book, but this one is not your typical love story. Hughes has earned every one of them.

This book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Crimson Shadow: Sins of the Father by Nathan Squiers

In this second visit into the worldscape of Crimson Shadow," Xander and Marcos, his friend and mentor are the sole remnants of the once proud Odin clan. Together they attempt to continue the work Xander's father started while taking out rogue supernaturals for the council. With his training finally complete, it's now Xander's job to hunt down rogues as Marcus gets the assignments. With a lot of pent up rage over the hand life has dealt the year-old vampire, he's more than happy to vent on the rogues of the Mythos world too stupid to stay under the human radar.

His best friend and confidant is happy to have him back in her life. As the young witch still looks out for her friend, their relationship changes and grows, giving Xander hope that his feelings for Estella may be returned. His nightly visits with her are where he finds a few treasured moments of peace. Even those  visits aren't completely at ease. He fears his willpower is weakening each time she offers to let him feed from her, that she will see the monster he believes himself to be and fear him.

Someone has it out for Xander, leaving bodies around the city with his name on every corpse. The culprit has a very personal vendetta against the Stryker family. Unfortunately for Xander, he's the only member of the family left. The trick is to learn who before everyone he knows is killed, including Estella, the best friend he secretly loves. Help comes from an unlikely, though very determined source. Will it be enough?

Once again Squiers has set a fast pace and kept it going throughout the entire story. I enjoyed this story immensely and am very much looking forward to the third book. The characters are well developed and continue to grow. I would really like to see this series continue on for a while. If you enjoyed the first book, you will definitely enjoy this one. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Immoral: Tales of a Vampire Hunter, One by Zander Vyne

Vampires and vampire hunters have an uneasy truce while they attempt to correct an experiment they now feel was a mistake. Oliver Ripley comes from a long line of vampire hunters, but something about him is different. So different in fact that he hasn't felt as though he were a true member of his family. What is so different about him? Why does his mother keep telling his brother to make allowances for those differences? He has all the charismatic attraction the rest of his family has to ensure his first hunt is successful.

With her ability as a mind reader, Miranda Vladula was the only witness to the death of her sister. Made a vampire by her mother at the age of twenty, Miranda is sure if she kills Oliver, her family will finally embrace her as one of them. She just has to figure out how to do the job without succumbing to his hunter's charisma.

When Oliver and Miranda meet, the attraction is as instant as it is combustible. Now that they have met, both of their lives are in danger, so Miranda takes him the only place she believes to be safe. Paris, to her father, where explanations await that will shake everything he thought he knew about himself, his parents and the world he lives in.

I truly enjoyed this story. I always enjoy coming across a book where the author has provided a twist on an old favorite. Zander Vyne has done just that. She has taken the old pairing of vampires and and those who hunt them and put her own unique twist on everything. There's something so desirable about the vampire hunter that vampires can't resist. At least there is if the hunter keeps their mind shielded so vampires don't know that hot date isn't about to be their last one.

Got a stake? Prop open a window with it. Vyne's vampires are taken down with a kiss and sex. In this first book of a new series, it's as fast paced and full of action as you could want. Someone played with nature and didn't like the results. And now that the end results have come together, everyone has them in their sights. Even better is the peek into book  two at the end of this one. Well written, great characters, I'm looking forward to the next book coming out. If you like vampire stories with a twist, you'll definitely enjoy this book.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available on Amazon.This is a worldwide link that will automatically redirect you to your local Amazon.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sanctuary by Pauline Creeden

Alien ships have been hovering above the Earth and something is finally happening. Rumblings are heard and strange animal-like creatures are seen attacking people. Those who are bitten by the Shisa are infected with an unknown agent that causes them to become violent, seeking only to bite as many others as possible before dying.

Nineteen year old Jennie, her five year old brother, and their father are trying to get back home. Having safely made the trip back home from the hospital, they discover someone has broken in and taken all their food. Their father sets out alone to find more. Unfortunately, he is bitten before he can make it back home.In an effort to protect his children, he boards up every window before the infection takes hold and makes him a danger to Jennie and Mickey. The kids are on their own. Their father's last instructions were to get to the church as soon as Jennie was sure he was gone.

When Jennie and Mickey finally reach the church, they find a few other people have already taken refuge there. The plan now is to give everyone a chance to recover from fleeing the Shisa, then try to make it to sanctuary at the military base on the nearby island. The island doesn't stay the safe haven everyone thought it would be. The Shisa have attacked and the race is on to find the answers to their problems.

Creeden has written a plausible story of an alien invasion while focusing on the experiences of just a few main characters, Jennie and her five year old brother, Pastor Billy and his wife, and brothers Hugh and Brad who are complete opposites of each other. Sanctuary is a well written story of mankind's struggle to survive an alien invader with no apparent weaknesses to exploit. On the one hand, I was disappointed that the ending was left open, and the story was unresolved. On the other hand, I am hopeful that this means a sequel may be coming to take us further. We still don't know the reason for the attack.

While not a story I would normally pick up and read, Sanctuary was interesting. If you enjoy end-of-the world books with a touch of faith, this is definitely right up your alley. The writing was strong and the editing was excellent.I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is sold at Amazon.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Life Over Love by Cheryl Seagraves

This story is both one of tragedy and one of hope. It opens with Brianna checking herself in a mirror, cataloging the various bruises, hating herself and her life. It quickly becomes apparent she is in an abusive marriage and feels hopeless. Brianna has one daughter and another child on the way. She no longer recognizes the man she is married to as the boy she fell in love with when she was a girl of fifteen.

Plans are made so that with help from her mother, she escapes with her children to a shelter where she can feel safe as she tries to build a new life for the three of them. Brianna goes through a lot to build a new life for her children in a home where she feels safe. A new man comes into her life, but the emotional scars left behind won't let her open herself to him until it's almost too late.

The author has clearly captured and portrayed a woman who knows the next beating could be the one that kills her and is ready to escape. A lot is left unsaid in this book, but I don't think graphic depictions of the beatings and her battered body are necessary. The author gives enough detail that anyone with an imagination can easily fill in the blanks. 

Because of the numerous grammatical and punctuation errors, I am reluctant to give this book three stars. However, the story itself was very well written, which does go some way toward compensating for the lack of proofreading. Although leaning toward a two-star rating because of the missed errors, I am giving this book three stars because of the quality of the writing.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Master Wizard (Apprentice to Master) Book 4 by James Eggebeen

I enjoy a good fantasy and this book is certainly that. Master Wizard is the fourth book in a series which the author assured me would work as well as a stand alone story. He was right. The story starts out with a young boy, a teen really, being rescued from a Priest who is all set to steal the boy's magic. Kedrik had been sold to the Temple by his father for a gold piece shortly after his magic came to life.

Safely whisked away to Amedon by Lorit and Chihon, Kedrik is healed of his injuries inflicted by the priest as he was tortured. Kedrick has a lot to learn about his burgeoning powers, not the least of which are the ethics of using your power to force someone else to do what you want. Across the border in Veldwaite, the queen rushes to locate an item of power before the Priests have the chance to find and use it to take over the kingdom. What ensues is a game of cat and mouse as the item is located, rushed off to Amedon for safety, then stolen from its messenger. Now the race is on to rescue the item before it's too late.

Eggebeen has woven some of my favorite elements of fantasy into this story. Wizards, sorceress', dragons, curses and spells all combine create an engaging story. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from start to finish. While the author was quite correct in stating this book would work well as a stand-alone story, I very much want to read the first three books in this series.

Master Wizard is well written with characters that I could easily engage with as well as respond to their various situations. Near perfect editing leaves me struggling to give this book a fair rating. For me, errors would normally result in a reduced star rating. However, due to the fact that there was only one that created a "hiccup" in my reading, I feel comfortable giving this book four stars.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book ise available on Amazon. This is a world wide link that will automatically redirect you to your local Amazon.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Black Eagle Inn (The Three Nations Trilogy) Book 3 by Christoph Fischer

In this last book of the trilogy, we are given a micro view of what it means to live in a nation decimated by a war waged and lost against the rest of the world. The Hinterberger's are a proud family living in Heimkirchen, Germany, farming land that has been in the family for a while and running the local inn, The Black Eagle. All the problems that can beset a country in turmoil are seen in this family.

Desperate to own the family properties, Anna drives her brother off. When her father dies, Anna inherits everything and becomes the family matriarch. With her husband off at war, Anna runs everything to suit herself. Unable to have children of her own, she takes in young family members and raises them. She has taken in the propaganda and is a strict xenophobic. She refuses to hire anyone not from her own part of Germany. Religious differences cause strife within the extended family. Relative is pitted against relative in the belief that one or the other will inherit this or that portion of the Hinterberger properties.

Underhanded dealings provide luxury items for the restaurant at a time when they could not otherwise be afforded, and the family prospers. Much like the country at large, the various members of the family are doing what they must to survive and ensure they receive what they believe they are due for their efforts. Underhanded dealings, trickery, poison, creating false documents are all part and parcel of trying to rebuild and survive in the aftermath of a war that leaves many Germans ashamed.

The struggles of trying to survive in a country attempting to rebuild itself and regain respectability as the horrors of its leaders is made public is both heartrending and poignant. Families are torn apart and brought back together. Once again, Fischer has brought to life a world that most of us today weren't alive to witness, and done so eloquently. His characters come to life in a way that draws you into the story. You have to feel for them; he leaves you no choice. Whether those feelings are sadness, disgust, compassion, you must feel.

From a quiet farm to a family and country rising from the ashes back into respectability, Fischer handles everything with a deftness I've come to expect from his writing. Having read all of the books in the Three Nations Trilogy, it is obvious Fischer is passionate and extremely knowledgeable about the subjects of which he writes. His characters are well developed as they are in the other books.

Although the narrative moves slow and is detailed, I believe this is necessary for the reader to fully understand what the family, and in a broader view, Germany itself, is going through. Luck of the Weissensteiners, Sebastian, and The Black Eagle Inn show us a better view of Germany during this time period than any history book I ever read in school. No history can be complete that ignores the citizens of the country being studied. Fischer has done an excellent job filling in important blanks in my own education, for which I give him thanks. This book, and in fact the entire trilogy are thought-provoking, requiring you to question what you thought you knew and understood. You have to feel something. Can any book be ignored that does that?

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Love, Carry My Bags by C.R. Everett

This was a difficult book for me to get hooked into, largely because I'm more of a fantasy reader than of books set in present day dealing with every day issues. The author takes us on a trip through the lifetime of the main female character, Camryn, beginning with high school. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her father and stepmother. Throughout the last couple of years of high school, she is fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with the boy of her dreams that somehow survives the strain of a year away as a foreign exchange student. Things slowly fade away as college and then life itself gets in the way.

Eventually, Camryn falls into a relationship with Glenn. In spite of her misgivings, Camryn very much wants to be married and have children, so she accepts his proposal. His insecurity and need to control everything in his life frequently leave them angry and frustrated frustrated with each other. Camryn eventually comes to realize she is being manipulated and unhappy in her marriage. She has to weigh the pros and cons of divorce and the ramifications it would have not only for her, but their two daughters as well.

Parts of this story hit too close to home, making this book an uncomfortable read for me. On the surface, we see a girl moving through life struggling with a marriage she's not happy in, a lost love she never truly got over, and a man quick to anger. Everett has built a believable story, one that is acted out in many homes and families. For those who enjoy stories that parallel life, I highly recommend this book. If your interests are more to find a brief escape in worlds that can't possibly exist outside books, this is not for you.

Until I read the author's note at the end of the book, I was not aware one of the characters was struggling with undiagnosed ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder). This book was well written and well edited. However, the main theme throughout the story, a couple struggling with marriage, feelings of resentment and everything else that can destabilize a marriage, made this book a struggle for me to get through. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. The Amazon link will automatically redirect you to the Amazon site for your location.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy) by Christoph Fischer

Sebastian is more than a story of a teenage boy who loses most of a leg because of an untreated infection. In this story we are given a look into life as it was in Vienna, Austria just before and during World War I. The Schreiber's are a non-practicing Jewish family that includes Sebastian's parents Franz and Vera, and his grandparents Oscar and Rebecca. The family lives upstairs from the store they own and operate. Franz has run the store ever since his father had to quit working due to health problems. The business is successful due to two main factors, the family are not openly Jewish and the store is located outside the of Jewish neighborhood. Their location allows the family to serve a broader customer base than would otherwise be possible in a time when prejudice against the Jewish population is beginning to stir.

Vera is lovable in her innocent ignorance as she deals with first one doctor and then another. However, she finds strength in her anger when a new friend gives her a way to get rid of the young housekeeper leading Franz astray. Rebecca is eminently believable as the cranky old woman, bed-bound with pain and unable to contribute to the support of the family in any way. Oscar is a dear. Throughout Sebastian's convalescence, he tutor's his grandson to help him keep up with his studies. Franz is the over-worked husband trying to support a family of mostly invalids. Vera helps in the store as her health allows.

The supporting cast of characters that surround the various family members speak to a time when communities banded together to help each other. Nurse Liesl, who gave so much love and support to a frightened young man, and later his mother when the doctor wouldn't commit to anything after the second surgery. Philip Federer, the classmate that brought classwork home so Sebastian could keep up with his assignments. The teacher that helped insure Sebastian had no trouble at school.

Sebastian's lack of self-confidence is a constant theme throughout the story. He must begin to face that demon when his father is drafted to serve in the army. Feeling his handicap will mean he never finds love, he nevertheless does. This is a beautiful story that was a pleasure to read. The very human foibles the characters have, their fears and how they overcome the trials they face makes this book unforgettable.

I have already read one book by this author. This book is definably Fischer with his attention to detail, his depth of character development and way of writing. Lacking the tension of Luck of the Weissensteiners, most likely due to being set thirty years prior to that book, Sebastian is a comfortable read. This book sings to me of a love of history, the time period and the characters.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The Amazon link will redirect you to the Amazon site that serves your country of residence.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Broken Prince; The Broken Ones - Book 2 by Jen Wylie

Wow, where to start? The friends are on the road trying to get Prince back home to Rivenward before it's too late and he dies. The amulet he wore that sustained his magic was stolen by the slavers when he was taken. When Damon ripped the glamor rune exposing Prince as a Fairy, the rest of the friends could see he was suffering from that loss. The only way to save him is to help him get home. That's not as easy as it sounds.

Kei is learning to control his fury on his own, fearful of what may happen to Aro if she continues to take it into herself to calm him down. Aro has been going through some changes of her own. She's sixteen now and maturing. The guys in the group may be her "boys," but she's begun looking at Prince as more than a brother. This story is as much about Aro's stuggles to grow up and lead  her "boy" as it is about helping Prince get home.

Their journey is fraught danger, including one enemy they had no knowledge of. Damon is his usual annoying, cryptic and arrogant self. Along the way to, the friends seek shelter from a major storm in a cave bringing them to the attention of one of the local Were packs. For once, Damon does some good, sending the strange Weres on their way. Along the way, they make new friends and confront more facets of the prophesy.

Prince's situation becomes more dire. Magic is the only way to save him and there is none to be had. Aro takes a desperate chance in creating pack of their own, hoping against hope that it will bring enough magic to save Prince. Love for him drives her to desperate measures more than once, sometimes to his anger. Battles with expected and unexpected foes tests the friends as nothing else can. Sometimes, the only thing those we call family can do to help us is take us home.

This book is fast paced and doesn't let up. I was literally writing the review for Broken Aro while trying to read this book, that's how much I enjoy this series. I started and finished this book in one day, to the exclusion of anything that needed doing. Well written, near perfect editing (I only found one missed error), this book is engrossing. My only problem is having to wait until next year sometime for the next book. Sigh.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The Amazon link will redirect you to the Amazon website that serves your country of residence.

Created; Talented Saga - Book 4 by Sophie Davis

I've enjoyed this series from the first book and have found subsequent novels are each better than the previous. Talia has made a deal with Ian Crane for the help she needs to rescue Erik. Once he's back in friendly hands and conscious, he tells Ian everything that was done while he was held captive. Ian calls in the UNITED council to present to them the evidence they need proving Mac needs to be stopped.

There's a reason the use of the creation drug was banned, but that doesn't bother Mac. He has a vision for the Talented and he's willing to do anything to see it come to fruition. A line is drawn in the sand and Talia is on the other side. Any questions remaining from the first three books are answered. When Talia loses someone close to her, the full scope of Mac's ambition is revealed. She also has to face betrayal from an unexpected direction.

Davis has pulled out all the stops in Created. She hits the ground running from the first page and doesn't slow down until the end. To make it even better ( if that were possible) Davis left one thread hanging at the end leaving me hopeful for a fifth book. She kept me up way too late reading and it was the first thing I grabbed the next day. This is definitely a 5-star book. This is not a stand-alone book. To fully appreciate this story, you really do want to read the others first.

I was gifted an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. The Amazon link will redirect you to the Amazon site that serves your country of residence.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Broken Aro; The Broken Ones - Book 1 by Jen Wylie

Separated from her brothers while attempting to escape when slavers attack their town, Aro wakes to find herself in chains in the hold of a slave ship surrounded by men. Her brothers' plan to disguise her as a young man seems to have succeeded. One of the prisoners, a young man named Kei, offers a bond of friendship and protection, Fey magic that will tie them together forever.

Befriended by six of the men in the hold with her, they struggle to survive when the ship founders and sinks in a storm. One man dies before making it to shore. The remaining survivors gather head out to put as much distance from the sea as possible. The slavers that didn't perish aren't giving up and pursue the group. The friends find a place in town to stay, not having any plans past winter. Avery and Aro both come down with the sickness that has hit so many others.

A book that begins with a dragon thousands of years old soaring in the sky can't possibly go wrong. When that dragon can take human form things just get better. Wylie has all my favorite elements in her story: Fey, Elves, Were, and a prophecy to figure out. I found this to be an easy and captivating book to read. Her characters are fun and easy to connect with. I enjoyed my visit to the worldscape she created so much that I keep sneaking in a few lines of the sequel when I should simply finish this review. Well written, well edited. A 5-star introduction to this world. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The Amazon link will automatically redirect you to your local Amazon website. At the time this review was posted, Barnes & Noble was only offering print versions of this book.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Winter's Heart by Michael Kanuckel

Winter's Heart is set in a post-apocalyptic distant future. Great cities no longer loom on the horizon. Machinery that a technologically reliant society lie, for the most part, quietly rusting away. Humans now lived within smaller walled communities patrolled by guards. More importantly, humankind has learned they share the world with other races. Struggling to support his wife and children, Steven Boughmount and childhood friend Glen Tillson are Hunters, members of a Guild that patrols the land outside the walls of town. Their job is to protect the town from races whose goal is to destroy the humans.

A particularly difficult fight leaves them with a bounty larger than either could have imagined, and spells the beginning of their troubles with the guildmaster. Glen's suggestion to withhold the truth of the value of the bounty is met with resistance from Steven. No one has successfully managed to do so, and those caught cheating the guild are severely punished. Glen eventually convinces his friend to go along with his plan with the expected results.

Guildmaster Ashley confronts Steven with assurances that he knows Steven was only going along with Glen. Veiled threats of harm to his family accompany an offer of forgiveness if Steven and his friend will go into Hekton, a dangerous area from which no known Hunter has gone into and returned. Their only choices are to go or stay. Staying means to be kicked out of the guild, and at best, run out of town, at worst, killed. Not much is known about Hekton except its fabled riches and being over run with the trolls that are reputed to live in the abandoned tree top city.

The author has an easy way with prose that makes this story a comfortable read. Kanuckel's character development is superb with a depth seldom seen in a first novel. He makes it very easy to understand what motivates his characters; you can almost predict how they will react to a given situation. This one is a family man; that is the most important thing to him. The other one is a charmer, a player. That one is a bully, angry, greedy, power-hungry. At its heart, this is a story of one man and his family as they struggle to survive and offer their children a better future than they had growing up.

While the errors were few, that there were some missed in editing is why I can only give this book three stars. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Operation Dark Angel: The Rise of Nicolaitanes (The Apocalypse #1) by Pam Funke

This book is not a genre that I typically read which may go a very long way toward explaining why I had such a difficult time getting into the story. The story revolves around the birth, life and goals of Nicolaitanes Balac and his desire to rule the world. Peripheral characters  are brought into his "camp" to accomplish this goal and become major players in Nicolaitanes' plans.

From a miraculous conception to his meteoric rise to power, the lead male character is quietly ruthless and most of the time, careful to hide the evil within from the people surrounding him.He claims to be working for world peace, but is he really? Why is he bringing together such a disparate collection of individuals? Who is the voice that is talking to people, commanding them?

Once again, I tried to expand my reading "boundaries." Unfortunately, I was not successful this time. The story is well written, and also seemed to be well edited. Without a doubt, the author was meticulous in her research and knowledgeable of her subject as she wove her story. Her characters were believable as was the plot. I was simply unable to connect to either the story or the characters. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Final Hour of the Hunter; Midnight Hunter Trilogy, Book 3 by Bonnie Bernard

Donna, Hunter and all their friends have been enjoying a peaceful two years since the end of the Underworld war. That all changes when Ursula, a vengeful goddess of Chaos shows up making demands. Donna can either provide a lock of hair from each of the twins, or those she loves will start disappearing. Of course, she refuses, Josh and Jaz are the children of two of her best friends.

New characters have come out to play; the Trickster (who stole the original book of prophecy from Raoul and Frederick), Ursula, goddess of Chaos, and Mara (Somebody has a wife they thought had died.). Once again, not everyone is who they seem to be. Alicia (goddess of perfect female beauty) is back and sticking her cute nose in where it doesn't belong, at least according to the rules. But hey, what's a little rule bending if no one else finds out, right?

One by one, people important to Donna start disappearing, each one a little closer to home. Cassie is the first one to go missing and Howie and the kids aren't one bit happy. Bernard has really amped up the volume for the final book in the trilogy. In addition to people going missing, someone is messing with the minds of ordinary humans. Thanks to Ursula, the whole town has just gotten a lot crazier, more paranoid and she's not done yet.

This is the best book of the trilogy with some surprises at the end. I also hope that the ending was just a taste of another trilogy to come. If so, I'm definitely going to pick it up. There were a few errors, but overall, I enjoyed the book enough that I didn't want to see it end. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dawn of the Hunter; Midnight Hunter Trilogy, Book 2 by Bonnie Bernard

Donna is happily married to Hunter and raising their first child, Lucinda. Best friend Mo is doing her best to raise her son, not quite alone. She's a frequent visitor and is now seeing Trent. All is not peace and harmony though. Mo still doesn't like Hunter and the feeling is mutual. She also doesn't like Donna's newest friend, Jacqelina, whom she feels is up to no good. Of course, Mo's right.

Lucinda is kidnapped and Donna gets a visit from the disgraced Underworld goddess of beauty. Alicia tells her she will need the help of the demon Howie Evil to rescue her daughter. Instead of waiting for help from the vampires she and Hunter share the house with like she was told, Donna rushes off like the fearful mother she is to demand his help. The contrary, ornery demon comes through, not only restoring Lucinda to her mother, but rescuing the Prophecy Reader as well.

Howie is such a character. He owns a gun shop and creates special weapons for his supernatural customers. He also hates "stupid" humans. Of course, there aren't any smart ones, but that's beside the point. Howie kept me in stitches. He is so hateful you pretty much have to love him. His behavior is contrary to what he says. He makes it his goal to keep the stupid humans afraid of him, but that doesn't last for very long. Howie is full of Bernard's signature wit. Even though he's a supporting character, Howie is one of my favorite in this story. No matter how rude or offensive he gets, I just can't help smiling.

The Child of the Prophecy and the Prophecy Reader must be protected at all costs. That job seems to be much easier than convincing Donna's and Mo's parents of the need to move in with Donna and Hunter for their own safety. They also have to convince their parents demons and vampires exist.

There is no doubt Dawn of the Hunter is just as engaging as the first book. Bernard has done it once again. There were a couple of missed editing/proofreading errors (less than a handful) that created a hiccup in my reading, but I thoroughly enjoyed this second installment of the Midnight Hunter Trilogy. It was definitely worth my time to reread this book. The 3-star rating is strictly due to the missed errors, otherwise I would have happily given this book 4 stars.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Midnight Hunter; Midnight Hunter Trilogy, Book 1 by Bonnie Bernard

Take a college girl dreaming of a strange man while pursued by another, add a best friend who knows more than she'll admit, throw in a little reincarnation, a few paranormal characters and you have Bonnie Bernard doing what she does best. Welcome to a paranormal romance with a side of prophecy, chaos and revenge.

What's a girl to do when her best friend insists you have to go with her to a club for high school kids? Why, go with her, of course! What Donna McCormick doesn't know about the darker side of town could get her killed. Her best friend didn't tell her she's the bait to catch a serial kidnapper, one who's been grabbing girls from the club that aren't seen again and just happen to fit Donna's description. Anger, hurt feelings, a brief argument later and Donna agrees to be the bait anyway.

There's more wrong in town than tall blonde girls going missing. The police aren't doing anything about it and couldn't care less. Anyone on the force who does, turns up missing. Things are getting strange in town and are about to get stranger and more dangerous. Cryptic warnings from a strange man hiding in the shadows, rescued by the same man after a bizarre encounter with the police and Donna couldn't get any more confused. Her dreams are becoming nightmares that leave bruises behind when she wakes up.

Bernard has created a great fantasy world with a wonderful cast of paranormal characters. She's taken what we thought we knew about vampires and put a new twist on them. And of course her signature wit just makes it even better. I enjoyed this book so much the first time I read it that I immediately bought the sequels and tore through them as well. I've read this book a few times and expect I'll be reading it again sometime. Each time the experience is just as good as the previous.

For me, this was a fun, easy read. I enjoyed her characters immensely. The way they interact with each other kept me entertained all the way through. Dante, Trent, and Samee are a blast. Mo, the best friend is just too much fun, too suspicious of everyone, but a girl couldn't ask for a better best friend. I would so love to see each of these characters get their own book. (Hint, hint, Bonnie).  Make sure to read the other books in the series as well. Definitely worth the time.

This book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. At the time of this review, Midnight Hunter was free at all three booksellers.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Awaken by HJ Daly

The war with Alphamore is over but Esa still isn't safe. There are people out there who fear the amount of power she wields. If they can't force her to use her power for their benefit, they don't want her running around free. And for them, dead is a better choice.

Early on the friends are attacked and Esa is injured. Thomas stumbles upon them in the aftermath of the fight and takes them to his father's home. As he learns something about how hard the last two years have been for Esa, she discovers not everyone is grateful for her part in ending the war. Feared and unwanted at every turn, Esa finds even love can hide the face of an enemy.

Esa still carries the emotional scars from the war and only her trust in Rootu keeps her sane. Only the knowledge that she is all he has left in the world keeps her from completely giving up. Tired of fighting and death, all she wants is someplace to call home where she can live in peace. That's not going to happen. Another power is rising and everyone needs to be afraid. It has its eye on Esa and will use her to get what it wants. Life altering choices are going to be made and death is in someone's future.

Unlike the first book, I was pulled into Awaken immediately and it didn't let go. I am absolutely not a night person. I like sleeping when it's dark out. Yet this book grabbed onto me and didn't let go until the end, at 3:30 in the morning. Then it ended on a cliffhanger. Daly has earned the fifth star with this book. The next one cannot come out soon enough for me. Although the book will stand alone alright, you will get much more out of it by reading Pulse first. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Coffin Girls, Elegantly Undead by Aneesa Price

I read this after having read the second book in the series and I think that's okay. Both books are complete unto themselves, yet work very well together seamlessly. I loved Price's definition of "coffin girls," aka: casket girls. Nope, not defining it for you, you'll have to read the book.

This book has it all and in spades. There's vampires, witches, vampire witches, a voodoo queen, a werewolf and an interesting collection of other supernatural characters. Stirring everything up is one of the most oddball senses of humor I've come across in a book. Price's quirky humor is all over the place, from the poor distraught maid-of-honor, to the ghosts spying on a delegation of witches. She kept it going. Her phrasing is just exquisite. I laughed out loud (?!), and more than once. Things just pop up out of nowhere at you and you can't help yourself.

From a wedding on the plantation to rescuing kidnapped witches from power hungry vampires, there's nothing slow about this story. The characters are well developed with each one having strengths and weaknesses of their own. The fun the characters have with each other kept me smiling. I enjoyed Miss Suzette and her Cajun mama ways of taking care of the girls and anyone else who stepped into her kitchen. Raulf was my favorite character in this story, so I hope I can look forward to seeing him feature in his own book someday.

There were problems in the editing that detracted from the story somewhat, but I was hooked. I enjoyed the story immensely. I really wanted to give this book four stars. Unfortunately, due to the errors missed in beta reading/editing I wasn't able to do so. The three star rating is strictly due to the errors in the book. I am most certainly looking forward to revisiting these characters and enjoying their escapades in future books. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pulse by HJ Daly

This story is set in a post-apocalyptic world sometime after a pulse has taken down the barrier between the "first world" (ours) and the "second world." Although the residents of the second world have always been able to see our world through the barrier, humans have never even been aware of another world existing alongside theirs.

The protagonist in this story is a young orphan girl named Esa. Living on the streets and fending for herself, Esa doesn't trust anyone. A hard life of living on the streets and doing what ever it takes to survive has taught her nothing is free, and trusting someone else can be fatal. Night is coming and Esa needs to find someplace to spend it. Having found shelter from the night and pouring rain, Esa finds she is sharing her shelter with Rootu, a spinner from second world. He rapidly becomes one if the few people she learns to trust.

A war is brewing in second world and beginning to spill over into ours. Elves, humans, mages, goblins, and a host of fantastical creatures will be taking sides fighting an evil that wants ultimate power over both worlds. Someone is looking for Esa and she needs to stay alive long enough to find out why. Along the way she meets people willing to befriend and protect her. A life alone hasn't prepared her for the role she must play in the upcoming war. Visions sometimes let her know how a friend is doing and other time offer dire warnings she has to solve.

I had a bit of a time getting into this book. It wasn't until around chapter 3 I realized I really liked this book. The characters are well developed Their personalities came through very clearly. I loved Rootu and his pets, the way he'd scamper off when he saw something interesting. He's probably my favorite support character. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, the characters did or said something else.

Although this story wrapped up well, there were comments made by characters that lead me to think the author had left herself open for at least one sequel. I haven't looked yet to see if there is a sequel, but I  certainly hope so. I would love to visit this worldscape and these characters again. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. I've only given it three stars because it took a little perseverance for me initially to get into the story. Once there, I was hooked.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Luck of the Weissensteiners: The Three Nations Trilogy, Book 1 by Christoph Fischer

This story begins in the decade prior to World War II, in a small town in Czechoslovakia called Bratislava, and follows two families through the war. I've read several books over the years written both by survivors and first hand accounts of witnesses to the tragedies and atrocities committed during the Holocaust. It was obvious to me from the attention to detail in the story that the author was meticulous in his research. The minutiae of everyday life somehow made the events portrayed much more real to me. Sometimes I feel disconnected when I read, that wasn't the case here. I was grateful for the slow pace at which the story moved in the beginning; it gave me time to absorb what was happening and develop a connection to the characters.

Fischer accurately portrays the cares and concerns of life in this time period for people living both in the city and the country. That attention to detail is reflected in the daily lives of the Weissensteiners and Winkelmeiers. Greedy men gobbled up land and possession that had been taken from Jews without regard for the hardships their former owners had to endure because of that loss.

Fischer captures the tension Jews felt as Hitler's armies pressed closer to Bratislava. Wilma's fear after being attacked on the bridge is palpable. The fear of being discovered as Jewish was very real and the penalties were stiff. I couldn't agree with the Winkelmeiers sending Greta and Ernst back to her family. After all, they were his grandparents. But they too had a very real fear of being discovered in the act of harboring and protecting their Jewish daughter-in-law and grandson.

What Fischer accomplished for me that no other author to date has, was present how rational, thinking people could possibly accept the lies they were being fed about the Jewish people in a way that I could almost understand. That has always confused me. Yet, as I watched how Wilhelm responded to the allegations, and gradually began accepting them, I developed an understanding of how thorough the Hitler propaganda machine really was.

This was not a comfortable nor easy book to read. Given the subject matter, I don't think it should be. I was at times tense, nervous, scared, relieved and hopeful. Although I wasn't able to read the book through without putting it down and getting some distance from the story, I am still giving it five stars. The story affected me deeply and helped me to understand a little better a very dark time in human history.

For me, this is a must read book. We should never forget what was done to so many millions of people. Fischer has given a voice to a sector I'd not yet heard from in this era. Well researched, well written, well edited. An excellent story. I would definitely read the other books in this series. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Secrets of the Malkin by Virginia Ripple

Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Nadine is a social worker that tries to help as many families as possible. She is also a Malkin, a cat that talks with the same reasoning skills as the human she is partnered with. Many humans believe the plague that killed so many was caused cats and they should be exterminated. After narrowly escaping an attack herself, Nadine learns she was only hired to because it was good PR and her belief that she can do any good is broken.

On her way home, she hears a story of a Malkin that can heal the spirits of both cat and human and sets out to try to find the elusive healer. Her journey is filled with danger, new friends and lessons in self-discovery. Can healing happen where there is no trust? Can truth be found in a heart that can't forgive?

This is a great short story that parallels so much in our world today. On the one hand, this was an easy read. I loved the characters in the story and their personalities. On the other, the fear and prejudice made it a little more difficult to read. In spite of that, I want to see where Nadine's journey takes her. I will definitely be reading the other books in this series. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon, and Smashwords.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dragon Wars by Emily Fogle

The story revolves around Danny Warren, a young boy who is frequently bullied by Kevin Brady, "every kids' worst nightmare" in middle school. The one person not afraid to stand up to him is Milly Parker, who has known him since kindergarten. In an attempt to keep Danny off the bully's radar, the principal sends Danny home from school for the rest of the day after a teacher catches Kevin about to punch him. At home, his mother sends him to his room to unpack his things, something he has put off doing for as long as possible.

After his father's death the previous year in a car accident, his mother decided to move to a new house in a new town to escape the memories that filled their old home. All he felt in the new house was lonely and sad; he wanted things to go back to the way they were. While storing his pictures, baseball trophies, and equipment inside a bench under the window, he discovers a hollow space under one of the boards at the bottom. Inside, he finds a box beautifully carved with dragons and a book.

Danny has always loved dragons. Opening the book, he finds a treasure trove in the form of beautifully detailed drawings of dragons and a story of their world. He learns from reading that the way to enter their world is to believe. Just believe. This is a beautiful story about a young boy's trip to a fantasy world with dragons and other fantastical creatures. While there, he is found and befriended by the dragon carved on the outside of the box.

The dragon's world is in trouble and Danny is driven to help fix things. Along the way, he faces trials that place him squarely in the center of a war and finds an inner strength he didn't know he had. This is a beautiful story about a boy who finds the will and strength to stand up for himself as he helps his friends. Well written, well edited, this story was a pleasure to read.

I was gifted this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.While an excellent book, I am only giving it four stars. I enjoyed the story immensely, but I was still able to put it down when it came time to take care of other things. I reserve five-star status for books that pull me in until I've lost all track of time and conscious awareness of anything else going on around me.

This book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Protectors: Destined, Book 1 by Taylor-Grace Davis

Only eighteen, Taylor Scott has moved to England to live with her godfather while studying to be a surgeon. Instead of taking her home with him, he drops her off at what will be her first apartment as an adult. Taylor quickly makes friends with the girl next door, lands a job in a boutique run by a very nice older woman and gains the interest of a good looking young man in one of her classes. All would be great except for the nightmarish dreams that keep plaguing her.

Unknown to Taylor, she has a role to play in the ongoing fight of good versus evil. When she is finally told of her destiny, Taylor refuses to accept it. Evil is hiding behind some very charming faces. Destined is another twist on a familiar plot.

The author displays a lot of promise in her ability to weave a story. Unfortunately, that potential was not realized in this story. Sections of her descriptive narratives are over done and in other places don't contribute anything of value to the story. In its current state, the story does not live up to the claim in the book blurb of being a masterpiece. A great deal of editing/proofreading is needed before it can stand up to that.

Did I like the story? Absolutely. Would I like to read more from this author and this series in particular? Most certainly. I would like to see the next book in the series have proper editing, and in fact, this book would benefit from the same. Had this book been properly edited, I would have gladly given it four stars. The rating is strictly because of the lack of editing. Due to the fact that the story read more like a work in progress, I am not able to do so. I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 2 stars

This book is available from Amazon.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Supernatural Seduction, Coffin Girls Book 2 by Aneesa Price

I have not yet read the first book in this series. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. The primary focus of this story is Sophie, a vampire-witch who is a very powerful but untrained empath, and Sylvain, a fae prince. Sophie is one of the Coffin Girls, a group of vampire witches in service to the Goddess. As part of that duty, they go after supernatural bad guys, rescue kidnapped witches, run a school to train young witches in their powers and run a wedding planning business out of an old southern plantation.

Sophie is drawn to Sylvain, but is unsure if the feeling is mutual. When he notices her empathic abilities threaten to harm her, or worse, he offers to have one of his subjects train her in the use of her empathic abilities. This turns out to be a good thing all the way around because she gets to spend more time with the very sexy prince.

While I did like the story, there were several errors that got in the way of completely enjoying it. There were several places where the incorrect pronoun was used and one or more words were missing from the text. These editing errors diluted what would have otherwise been a great book. In spite of these problems, I do plan to read the other books in the series. Hopefully, the editing/proofreading will be more thorough by the time I read them. Due to the errors, I can only give this book three stars.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Wicked Souls by Sabrina Samples

Spencer very clearly remembers her wedding to David and the year that followed. Driving home after a weekend with his parents, she swerves to miss a man dressed in white standing in the middle of the road and crashes. Spencer survives with minimal injuries while David has to stay overnight at the hospital. The morning after coming home from the hospital with David, she wakes up and finds that he has died sometime in the night. Spencer's life is about to get more interesting than she could have imagined.

Or did he? Visits from an angel, a demon, a trip to heaven. Memories of a wedding that didn't happen, no memory of a love that did, murder, angels, demons, and souls are at stake. Samples has put a new spin on the familiar tale of the war between heaven and hell, angels versus demons for control of earth and all souls. She threw a curve ball at the end that I wasn't in anyway anticipating.

This was an interesting book. The narrative isn't quite smooth in some places, but overall, a good novel for a first time author. If Samples continues the way she started, she will have a promising career as an author to look forward to. I hope she does. I want to see what happens in the sequel. I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble (paperback only so far), and Smashwords.

Monday, October 7, 2013

On Shadowed Wings by Amanda DeWees

Gail, a high school senior is helping out Dr. Sumner, her next door neighbor by babysitting his young daughter, Joy, in the months following his wife's death. Other characters in the story are Darryl, an over-controlling boyfriend and Jim, a quiet young man from an area college studying moths and butterflies on the neighbor's property. This story has love, loss, a beautiful myth about butterflies and a magical Beltane night that helps heals two broken hearts.

This is a very short story in the Ash Grove series. While I enjoyed the story, I was left wishing the book were longer. I'm considering reading the rest of the books to see where this story falls in the series. I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bishop Street by Rene D. Schultz

The story centers around Maggie Gray who grew up in Bishop Street Orphanage. Abandoned at seven when her mother chose a boyfriend over raising her daughter, Maggie is now a successful author. An emotional meltdown and recurring nightmares brings her to the decision to locate and reconnect with three friends she hasn't seen in twenty years.

A private investigator has located each person and provided a brief report on how they are doing. Maggie's journey to reconnect with each person is fraught with tension, memories, and fear. Each of the children were at the orphanage for different reasons, reasons that have left mental and emotional scars that have shaped who they are as adults.

This story is definitely not one in my preferred genre, but every once in a while, I try to step outside my comfort zone and explore something else. I was uncomfortable when the characters had flashbacks of the abuse and bullying that occurred the orphanage. None of the four children grew up unscathed by the abuse or the bullying from other kids.

This was not a story that held me in its grip from start to finish. There were points in the story where I had to set the book down and take my mind off what had been done to them as children. Although outside of my preferred genre, this was surprisingly, a good story. It felt as though the author either had first hand knowledge or researched her subject matter very well.

There were several errors missed in the proofreading/editing phase that got in the way of enjoying the story. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available at Amazon.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

John's LOVE by J.J. Valentin

A story of soul mates reborn to find each other again. John and Sarah say good-bye to each other in heaven as they prepare to be born on earth. But something is wrong when John sees Sarah for the first time at school - he remembers his time in heaven and isn't supposed to. He recognizes Sarah and knows they are meant to be together. Sarah doesn't remember any of their time in heaven.

John and Sarah face one challenge after another. The closeness they developed in high school is challenged by the distance of attending different colleges. Eventually, Sarah tells John she can't handle the separation and breaks it off. Heartbroken, John leaves. Sarah takes up with Lucas and follows him to California. While there, Satan, in his human guise as Lucas, makes every effort to demean her in as many ways as possible. His goal is to keep the young soul mates apart, and make John denounce God.

Although faith is a large part of John's part of the story, it's not so much for Sarah. This comes in to play as she is faced with trials all too often handed to young girls far from home. What follows is drug and alcohol dependency, and prostitution.

This is a sweet story of the redeeming power of faith, love and forgiveness. I found the story an easy read. I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. Due to the errors missed in proofreading, I was unable to give this book 5 stars.

This book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Hunted; Talented Saga - Book 3 by Sophie Davis

Talia's seizures are mostly controlled with a daily shot. However, her mood swings are becoming more rapid and uncontrollable. Erik is standing by her through everything, giving her much needed strength as she struggles to stay in control. She is beginning to ask questions and question the answers.

In an attempt to get her mind off the betrayal and execution of her best friend, the director tells her she will be going with him for the annual testing for Talented children. Already uneasy with how the tests are conducted, twice Talia is told she and Erik must collect a Talented child the parents have hidden. During all of this, Erik has a friend who may be able to provide answers Talia desperately needs.

Secrets are revealed, lies and truths are exposed. Potentially fatal decisions are made. I suspected where the story would go by the title of the book. What I couldn't possibly have anticipated was the way in which the story would get there.There were a small handful of missed proofreading errors in this story, however, by the time I was half way through the book, Davis had such a tight grip on me I couldn't put the book down. How tight? I risked being late to work in order to finish the book. I finished the book and punched in six minutes late.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. With the way Davis ratcheted things up in this book, she has earned space in my box of favorite authors the next time (if ever) I move. Hunted is far and away the best of the series so far. She has definitely earned that fifth star, which I rarely give out to books with errors. Make sure to read the first two books in this series, Talented and Caged. They provide the necessary background to get the most out of Hunted.

This book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Caged; Talented Saga 2 by Sophie Davis

Talia's world has been turned upside down, and this time, it isn't romance, or not entirely. Nine months after being rescued, she still hasn't fully recovered from her failed solo mission to Nevada. Severe injuries and blood loss have contributed to a slow recovery. No one knows what was in the shot she was given when she was taken prisoner. Seizures and leftover weakness have kept her all but a prisoner in her room in the director's home.

Now he needs her help to locate a spy. The very one responsible for her almost dying. Asked to work undercover at the school, her job is to get close to the suspects and figure out which one is guilty. Unfortunately, this puts her in daily contact with Donovan. He's still keeping secrets and he's not the only one. Talia uncovers more than she anticipated in her search for the traitor. More than one person hiding secrets is afraid she will uncover something they don't want her to learn.

Davis has done it again. She captured my interest so thoroughly that I stayed up too late because I couldn't put the book down. Just who is the bad guy in this series has become a good question right about now. Once again I'm caught between wanting to say what happens and not wanting to spoil the book for someone else. I'm anxious to dig into the next book to see what happens and would love to see this series continue for several more books.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.