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.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crimson Shadow: Noir by Nathan Squiers

This book was intriguing. It didn't present as a story about vampires at first. I saw a young man, almost grown, living with impossible memories of being viciously abused by his stepfather. The abuse escalates until he witnesses his stepfather kill his mother during a beating. Now, with both parents dead, he's living with his grandmother. Unable to escape the memories and seeing no way out of the bullying at school, Xander places all his hope in a nightly ritual of Russian roulette. I found this to be uncomfortable to read. Teen suicide attempts are a serious matter, and the author handles it simply and with a deft hand.

I thought I knew what to expect of this book when it took a turn, well, sideways. A mysterious boy starts showing up with warnings of danger. Not long after the warnings begin, he wakes up in a hospital having been brutally beaten by bullies. Xander learns his grandmother died in an apparent mugging, and someone really does want him dead. Rescued by strangers from a second attempt on his life in one day, he passes out from his injuries.

When he wakes up, Xander learns secrets about his family that his grandmother had kept from him in an attempt to give him a normal life. But how normal can that life be when you live with a voice in your head that can take control of your body if you let it? There really are vampires and other creatures out there. Xander has a choice to make and the rest of his life depends on what he chooses. The biggest one will give him a better chance at staying alive. He must not only choose to become a vampire, but what kind.

The author has a way with words that envelopes the reader and draws you in to Xander's world. This isn't the typical spin most vampire stories get, not even those that have "good" and "bad" vampires. Squires has come up with a completely new take on the vampire mythos, given it depth and richness, creating a worldscape rich in detail and promise. And he delivers. I like seeing a new twist on an old favorite. I'll be checking out some of his other books.

This book is available at Amazon.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tolomay's World and the Mountain of TEGI; Tolomay's World - Book 2 by M.E. Lorde

This story is so rich in detail it's a joy to read. Candidates are coming through faster as conditions in the past deteriorate more rapidly. In the next group that comes through is Sandra, a selfish girl with her eyes set on Kenter, in spite of being told repeatedly he's not interested. Hurt when she sees Sandra kiss Kenter, Tolomay flees and finds herself kidnapped by people she had no idea were on Clean Earth.

Taken to their home underground, Tolomay learns there are hundreds of people, if not thousands, living here. She has a lot to learn too. Tolomay gets many surprises from these new people, not all of them good. She is mocked and belittled for believing Tarron is her father, and her actions are strictly controlled. Why do these people say they are her family? Do they really accept her as a long lost relative, or is something more sinister going on that she isn't be told about? Who finally believes in her comes as a surprise.

I enjoyed the way the author portrayed the evils of society in a microcosm. Greed arrogance, self-serving behavior are all very evident. In the Mountain of TEGI, we see the very worst that can happen when a few people put themselves in charge of what everyone else is allowed to do, have, and believe. Tolomay is ridiculed as ignorant because she didn't grow up with these people, yet manages to hold on to her dignity. And why do the keep referring to her as a goddess?

How she lost and regained her sense of self makes for an engrossing story. How she learned to survive and stay mentally and emotionally strong kept me turning page after page. I loved this second installment of Tolomay's World as much as the first book.

Lorde took the story in a completely different direction from the Pool of Light. Instead of people who have learned the lessons of the past, Tolomay must face the horror of a people who refuse to change lest they lose the power they have over others. Once again Lorde gives us a young girl who not only won't give up on herself, what she knows is right, and the boy she loves, but continues to grow as a person as well. I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series, Tolomay's World, The Splitting of the Trunk.

This book is currently only available at Amazon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Another Way to Bleed by Susan Harris

This book definitely hits all the bells and whistles for a paranormal story. Things have changed in the world; the human population now knows there's more out there than they realized. Vampires, demons, fallen angels, witches, and who knows what else. Whole cities and islands have been surrounded with a magical barrier, creating prisons for everything you don't want to meet when you're alone in the dark.

Rescued by Luka, before the vampire that converted her mother had a chance to also convert her, Cassie has been in training and working as an assassin of rogue vampires and other out-of-control things that go bump in the night. When she accepts a mission from the queen demon herself, her life is about to get interesting.

Lilith wants her missing son found and brought back. In exchange, she'll learn what her mother kept secret to her death - the identity of Cassie's father and a prophecy. Betrayed by learning who else knew of the prophecy and kept its knowledge from her, she runs away. Secrets are revealed that leave you thinking, hmmm.

I actually found myself laughing at a few points thanks to Cassie being such a smart mouth at times. It gets her in trouble at times, but I love it. A short story that reads well with a fantastic turn at the end, this book is a great starting point for a series. I'm looking forward to seeing what she'll give us in the next installment of this series.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My bottom line? As soon as it's available for Nook I'm getting it. This book is only available at Amazon right now.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My World, My Words by Erin Urban

A first offering from a second generation writer, this book is in one way, what you might expect from a young girl's first steps in expressing herself. Nonsense poem is light and silly, and it made me laugh. I loved it! Nobody is perfect reminded me of my own time in junior high and high school when I didn't quite fit in, yet her poem let me look back and finally smile about it, laying a painful ghost to rest. She is so smart for her age.

She writes beautifully about what she knows. Her prose comes openly from her heart and a few pieces instantly became favorites when they touched my soul. I found myself going back to Blue is... to read again and again. Mason reminds me of my own dog, a chow mix that would intimidate everyone, but go belly up for tummy rubs as soon as he decided he liked you.

There is a blossoming maturity to her words that isn't expected from someone only twelve. You can't read The last time without believing a sensitive soul wrote those words. Although I write it, I rarely read poetry because I find it difficult to connect with. This young author made me smile and feel glad that I took a chance and bought her book.

The level of maturity in her short story at the end amazes me as she presents a sobering look at gangs and gang violence. The writing is an eloquent warning of where life in a gang can lead. I found the strength in her story a promise of the future this young author can have if she continues to write. For my part, I hope she does. There is talent here waiting to burst out and be expressed.

This book is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Rest Inn Peace by Bonnie Bernard

Like nothing I've read before. Wow. I'm not sure where to start. Bernard wastes no time in getting things moving. There is nothing "usual" about this book, from the Inn and its customers, to the characters in the town and surrounding countryside.

Page one. A knife wielding, seven foot tall Native American threatens the new owner of the Inn. Eh, what's so unusual about that? He's a fairy! With pink wings! Yeah, I know what you're thinking because I did too. What kind of book did I just get myself into? And it just gets crazier from there. (If you've read her Midnight Hunter series, this is off the Richter scale different.)

The girl next door who manages the Inn takes an instant dislike to the new owner. That's okay, it's mutual. Unfortunately for him, she gets along just great with his daughter. In spite of being able to see the supernatural world, he's in full denial. Wanting his daughter to fit in and be 'well adjusted' he insists everything she sees is just her imagination.

This book starts out with a bang that continues all the way to the end. What a fantastic cast of characters. There's a motorcycle riding ex-con with custody of his teenage daughter (these two are a hoot before anyone else comes into the picture), Syndy the grotesque (do NOT call her a gargoyle), more fairies, a grounded (sort of) dragon with a thing for fresh vegetables (and has no problem taking them from the garden), talking animals including a cat that wishes everyone would just stop with the cat jokes already, ghosts, and zombies. Oh yeah, let's not forget the talking grass. Say what?! I'm not telling you about everyone; I have to leave a few as a surprise.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Bottom line? If she has any more like this, I want them. This book is fun and full of surprises. Need something to make you smile or even laugh? This is your book. Disbelief meets the supernatural and loses. And everyone is laughing watching it happen. Well, the ones he isn't infuriating are laughing. Shake your head, go 'omg', but get this book.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Interview with an Author - Lavinia Urban

Lavinia Urban is the author of the Erin the Fire Goddess series. She is currently working on a novella and the fourth book in the series. The main character is named for the older of her two daughters, Erin, also a published author in her own right, who was being bullied in a new school. Lavinia wanted to show her daughter that "she is special and to believe in herself and that things will get better." (Quoted from the 'Message from the author' in the beginning of each book.) 

Her portrayal of the new student being bullied is painfully accurate. She brings heartfelt honesty in Erin's responses to her situation as the new kid in school and how she makes a place for herself. Although written with a teen audience in mind, these books are simply good reading. In spite of being a very different type of fantasy, this series captured my interest every bit as much as the Harry Potter series did. Her books have won a place in my box of "favorite authors." You know, that special box you pack so you know where the best books are when you move.

JH: First I’d like to offer my congratulations. I saw your post on Facebook that your daughter Erin has published her first book. That’s a pretty big accomplishment at 12 years. Do you think the two of you may collaborate on EtFG books in the future?
LU: Honestly…… NO lol. Gosh that sounds so bad. But my series is my baby and Erin and her sister do inspire me to write with the little things that they do. Erin has written a poem for Kasey-ray in my series. I also print off my work and ask her what she thinks and whether certain things are working but that is it. She is actually working on lots of her own stories.

JH: How long have you been writing?

LU: Feels like all of my life but I would say seriously writing I was 12, I think. I remember in my teen years I had written several books in a series and poems. I had sent them to lots of different publishers and got them all back saying they did not accept unsolicited documents. Quite disheartening when you are so young and it is the exact reason why I have supported my daughter Erin as I want her to know that if you dream hard enough they will come true.

JH: In the message from the author you put in the front of your books, you tell readers you get your inspiration from your daughters. Your character, Erin, starts out very shy and withdrawn because of her birthmark, while Kasey-ray is very outgoing and likes to run. How much of the real life Erin and Kasey-ray find their way into your characters?

Erin the Fire Goddess:The Beginning
LU: Excluding age my girls are very much like their characters and I have adapted the characters on how I see my girls growing and blossoming in real life. For example Erin was bullied at the last primary school she went to but she overcame it. But during this time she became very withdrawn, now she will stand up to anyone. She is still allergic to sport though lol. Kasey-ray is very similar to her character as well especially in the ways where she hates school work and reading and would rather be outside having fun.

JH: Do any other of your characters have real life counterparts?

LU: No just Erin and Kasey-ray

(I also had questions for some of her characters)

JH: Jessica, in Erin the Fire Goddess: the Beginning, you took an instant dislike to Erin as soon as you saw her. Did you really dislike her that much or was it all Justin’s doing?

Jessica: No comment

LU: Hmmm now this I cannot answer ;) You need to read Jo’s Story: An Erin the Fire Goddess novella which should be available as soon as I get a cover made J

JH: Okay, do you think we’ll see you again?

Jessica:  Yes ;)

JH: Any idea when?

Jessica: I’m not allowed to say or I may get killed off ;)

JH: Dr Hammersmith, when you gave Erin the final test, why did you feel it was unnecessary to make sure Jessica didn’t get hurt?

Dr. Hammersmith: It may look like that from a certain angle ;)

LU: Nice try but you can’t speak to this character ;)

JH: Erin, you didn’t trust Dr. Hammersmith after your final test. Why would you trust him to help you at the beginning of Torment?

Erin: Because I have recently uncovered who he really is and I am sure he is trying to make amends and the way I was feeling I just wanted the pain to stop and I didn’t care how.

JH: Louise, why did you decide to continue to pursue Sean after learning he and Erin were a couple?

Louise: I was always told that if you really want something in life then you should not let anything get in your way.

JH: Louise, do you think what your aunt is doing is right?

Louise: Of course. My aunt is wonderful. She’s always been there for me and putting my best interests first.

Joyce: Ms. Forrester, more than once you tell Erin that ‘you see the truth in everything.’ Is that your special talent then?

Ms. Forrester: Possibly

LU: Jo’s Story: An Erin the Fire Goddess novella will give you this answer

Erin the Fire Goddess: Betrayal
JH: Ms. Forrester, I get the impression that you know more a lot more about what is going on than you’re sharing. What can you tell us about what is happening to Sean?

Ms. Forrester: I have been around for longer than you can possibly imagine. Sean is under a spell.

JH: (Ms. Forrester) At the beginning of EtFG: Torment, you tell Erin that Mr. Thomas is just a “big friendly ogre.” I get the feeling there is more to that statement than would first seem to be. Would you care to expand on that?

Ms. Forrester: *laughs* I think I will keep you guessing.

JH: Sean, your feelings for Erin are pretty intense. Don’t you think you’re both a little young to be thinking of each other as soulmates?

Sean: I didn’t plan on this. To be honest I wasn’t even interested in having a serious girlfriend of any kind this time a couple of years ago but when I came into my powers something inside me changed and bit by bit things started clicking into place -Erin being one of them.

JH: Sean, what do you see going forward for you and Erin?

Sean:  I can’t actually see the future but I hope it is happy.

JH: Erin, I'd like to pose the same question to you. Don't you think you're a little young to be thinking of each other as soulmates?

Erin: If I am honest I never expected to ever get a boyfriend. I have had many crushes growing up but that is all they would ever be. I used to dream of having a dream romance like all those ones I have read about in books. I knew when Louise came onto the scene it was all too good to be true.

JH: What do you see going forward for you and Sean?

Erin: I am not sure. I don't want to get hurt again. It's weird to think that I actually love this guy. It is love right? I've never been in love before and this is never anything I have ever felt before and when I saw him kiss Louise it was as if someone has reached inside me and ripped my heart out. I don't ever want to experience that again. Yes Sean was under a spell, but I don't know much about spells or even that much about the supernatural world. I still have so many doubts which I need to deal with. I am not sure if I can ever trust Sean 100% again.

JH: Wow, I'm sorry to hear that. I really hope things work out for you and Sean.

Erin the Fire Goddess: Torment
JH: Erin, why were you so surprised when Scott and Dr. Hammersmith tell you that Jo is part witch and part fairy? I mean, you already believe that part of the townspeople have special abilities because of the meteorite in the lake. Why did you think this wasn’t possible?

Erin: Come on fairies and witches? Growing up I was read plenty of fairy tales and soon realized, at the time, that they never existed. I think before finding out about Jo I was still struggling to deal with the fact that some people actually did possess superpowers. I often expected to wake up and it all be a dream.

JH: Scott, why have you kept your relationship with Jo as secret?

Scott: I didn’t, no-one actually asked if I was in a relationship.

JH: Having learned what your Aunt Linda is up to, do you agree with her?

Scott: *Shrugs*

JH: Are you really only getting close to your sister and aunt to help Erin and Sean?

Scott: *Shrugs*

JH: Jo, will you be staying in Galladale and will we be seeing any of your family in the future?

Jo: *Smiles* Most definitely. 

JH: Back to you, Lavinia. Torment took a couple of pretty surprising turns at the end. What can you tell us about the next book in Erin’s adventures?

LU: I have just completed writing Jo’s Story. I absolutely love this girl. The story stems from her childhood right up until the end of book one in the series. It should hopefully tie up a few lose ends and no doubt open up a few questions.

Now as for the next main book, I have had my characters screaming at me. I know it will have something mentioned about the ground floor. Kate is going to get over her fear of going into Dr Hammersmiths building as well. She realises that she must put Erin first and that she has to deal with the ghosts that haunt her.

JH: When can we look for the next one?

LU: Next year some time. I not sure exactly when but hopefully early 2014

JH: What do you like to do whe you aren't writing EtFG?

LU: I love reading - a lot.  I am also a  big gamer. I love playing games.

JH: Is there anything else you would like your readers to know?

LU: Just expect the unexpected J

JH: So here’s a random, off the wall question for you. If you could be any character from a book you’ve read, who would you be?

LU: I would want to be Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, except I wouldn’t marry Ron ;) I love, love, love Harry Potter. If not I would be a teacher J

JH: What is it about that character that made you choose her? 

LU: Honestly I am not 100% sure. Maybe because I love the way she has grown

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find this series online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Book one is free at all three booksellers.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Coming Soon!!

I'm so excited! One of the new authors (for me anyway) has sent me the cover art for his upcoming book, Tolomay's World and the Splitting of the Trunk, to be released this fall. So I'm sharing it with you. I haven't read book two, Tolomay's World and the Mountain of Tegi yet, but it's definitely on my list.

I have to be good and read things in the order that I offered and was sent the book. It's only fair. But right now, there's a lot of little kid inside me that's begging me to just take a peek. I can't. Must be fair. As one author has repeatedly said when she's excited about something, "I'm doing the Snoopy dance." You really must check out his series.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tolomay's World and the Pool of Light; Tolomay's World - Book 1 by M.E. Lorde

A beautiful story combined with a cautionary tale of what we may face if we don't start taking care of the planet we live on and the resources that are left.

Tolomay comes from a time on Earth where the planet and all on it are nearly dead. Human life is about to go the same way, all thanks to greed and carelessness. A few people have developed a way to send someone into the distant future as a means to preserve humankind. Only their youth can be sent forward to an Earth that has recovered yet still bears the scars of destruction.

Several children in their early teens are selected and trained for the trip forward, but when the time comes, only Tolomay survives. Alone in a strange new environment, surviving through trial and error, Tolomay faithfully revisits the place she landed, waiting for the next group of travelers. With increasingly less hope, Tolomay builds a life for herself alone, with only her pet lizard, Carmella, to keep her company.

It's three years before more travelers arrive and Tolomay finds herself in the unique position of being younger than the new arrivals, and in charge. She must become their healer, provider, protector and teacher. Sparks fly as everyone adjusts to the new situation. Learning to live with others after three years alone is not easy. Learning to do so while trying to understand emotions she's never experienced and her father never explained makes things even harder.

What began as a leisurely read built into something I couldn't put down. At the end of the book, the author promises this is only the first of a planned series of seven. I am very much looking forward to the second book in this series, Tolomay's World and Mountain of Tegi.

I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. You can pick up your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Let's Conquer Paris (Lunch Break Funnies, Humor Book Series) by Oleg Medvedkov

I have to say, the title really is accurate about what you will find when you open the cover. This book is a collection of very short stories, or possibly better to call them anecdotes since each one is only a couple of pages long. Giant squirrels and a misunderstood Minotaur of mythology (he just wants to be your friend)  kept me smiling. And yes, I did laugh a couple of times.
The stories are short enough to keep this book in your desk at work when you need to shake off what you're doing for a few minutes and dump your frustrations so you can go back to what you were doing in a better mood. He ties each of the stories together in a way that keeps everything relevant and yet stands well on its own. The stories are light, witty and (were I a doctor) just what the doctor ordered.

Now, ordinarily I wouldn't advocate keeping reading material in a car with the deliberate intention of reading, especially for the driver. But in this case, I would be willing to keep a print version of this in my car for those horrid traffic jams caused by construction or the imp of the perverse. Definitely a mood lifter.

Normally the books I tend to read are lengthy (500+ pages.) It was refreshing to read something light that not only made me smile, but kept me smiling and reading! I would love to see what else this author has written and plan to keep my eyes out for new books from him.

I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. You can find this and the rest of his books in the "Lunch Break Funnies" series at Amazon.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Erin the Fire Goddess: Torment, Book 3 by Lavinia Urban

So much to say and so much I can't without giving everything away. Urban's growth as an author is evident with each new installment of Erin's story. In her acknowledgements, she tells Lee Clark that "patience is a virtue." I guess she'll be telling me that a lot now, too.

The queen of cliffhangers and anticipation has me antsy for the next book and she's just not writing it fast enough. This is a problem inherent with falling in love with the characters and worldscape of a series. The only distraction from the wait is to read someone else's work until book 4 in the Erin series is finally available. (Do you remember the midnight madness when a new Harry Potter book came out? Yeah, I have it that bad for this series.)

Erin's return to school after the disastrous loss of control at Sean's birthday party is just as bad as she feared. Now she isn't just mocked for how ugly her birthmark makes her, the other students treat her as a pariah. It's only with the support of Kasey-ray, their friends and unexpected support from a couple of teachers that she is able to continue going to school

Louise still has Sean and he seems to be getting worse. Without telling Erin, everyone decides to kidnap Sean, hoping that keeping him from Louise will bring him to his senses. Except there's more going on than they anticipated. Louise is really not playing nice and her aunt is up to her elbows in this mess.

Dr. Hammersmith confirms their suspicions as to what is wrong with Sean. The gang (again without telling Erin) decides to do some investigating. Maybe they can find out how to bring him back to normal. With Justin at the helm, they get their answers. Unfortunately, the answers only lead to more questions. They also increase everyone's fears for Sean.

When I got to the end of the book, I was thinking "really?!" with my head cocked sideways. I thought about what had just been revealed and then about a few statements made by one of Erin's teachers. Urban now has her foot squarely on top of my favorite genre. Fantasy. She was already close with her reveal about the meteor in the bottom of the lake and its effects on the residents of Galladale.

I hope she keeps Erin's story going for a long time. Hey, maybe there will be spin-off. There's some possibilities here, don't you think? Hmm?

At the time of this posting, this book is currently only available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Talented; Talented Saga - Book 1 by Sophie Davis

A combination of natural disasters and leaking nuclear power plants have brought the world to a post apocalyptic state. Initially caused by leaking nuclear material, some humans were born with Talents, mental and psychic abilities of varying strengths. The country is divided on the issue of mandatory testing and training. Renegades have taken control of several southwestern states and seek to expand their influence.  This is the world in which Natalia Lyon lives.

Hidden in a closet by her mother, ten year old Natalia Lyon witnessed the brutal slaying of her parents causing her to unleash formidable mental powers killing the entire team that attacked her family. She is rescued from the carnage and taken in by the director of the McDonough School for the Talented, Danbury "Mac" McDonough and his wife. All she wants in return is revenge for the death of her family.

Seven years later, Talia Lyon has graduated from the McDonough school for the Talented and has been accepted as a pledge for elite Hunter Training. She's one step closer to achieving her goal, killing Ian Crane, the man responsible for sending the team to kill her family.

Accepted as the third and final member of a team, Talia becomes confused by feelings for team member Erik, especially since she loves Donavon. As training intensifies, Talia learns that even being a mind reader won't give you access to all the secrets someone else is hiding. Not everything or everyone is what they seem to be as she faces at least one betrayal.

This is as much a paranormal romance as an action story with secret missions. A nice mix of psychic,  extreme mental acuity and morphing (shapechanging) abilities. A country divided is at war with itself. This book was an easy read for me. Davis provides some of Talia's memories in places that flow well with the story along with enough history of this worldscape to understand why things are the way they are.

If you're looking for a "blood and gore" action story, this won't be the book for you. Both the action and romance of this story are suitable for teens or a YA audience. Talented is the first book I've read by this author. Though not quite as riveting as some books, I would still read this again.

This book is available free for Kindle at Amazon and for Nook at Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hell's Gift; Save My Soul - Book 2 by K.S Haigwood

 Wow. I just couldn't put this book down. Rhyan was my favorite character from Save My Soul, the first book in this series. I was very glad to see him get a book of his own. Miserable since his charge chose to spend her life with her soulmate instead of him, Rhyan is striking out at everyone. But angels are people too, and the archangels have finally had enough. They take a  drastic step to bring him to his senses.

Feeling sorry for himself and not in a mood to accept any sympathy or understanding from his friends and fellow guardian angels, Rhyan finds himself cast into Hell after making a few hate filled statements. Stripped of his angelic powers, he must complete a task in order to save not just his own soul, but someone very special. His soulmate and wife.

Making an ill-advised deal with Lucifer himself, Rhyan sets off to find his way out of Hell. Of course, since we're talking about Haigwood's universe here, nothing is as straightforward as you think. An old foe returns and help comes from unlikely quarters. Desperation definitely makes for strange bedfellows.

If you liked Save My Soul, then you will definitely enjoy Hell's Gift. Have a seat and buckle up, because you're about to go on a wild ride. Oh please, let book three not be too far into the future.

This book is available for Kindle at Amazon, and for Nook at Barnes and Noble.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Save My Soul; Save My Soul Series - Book 1 by K.S Haigwood

Kendra Larkin, professional photographer and rappelling enthusiast has just run out of time. Her latest adventure has landed her squarely on the operating table of the very handsome, very eligible Dr. Adam Chamberlain. Not able to understand why she is there in the first place, unable to open her eyes, all she can do is lay there listening to everything going on around her.

Moved to ICU after surgery, she has a most interesting encounter with a pair of angels. As it happens, they are guardian angels, hers and the good doctor's. Her guardian angel, Rhyan, tells her they are there to take her to heaven. Ceon is the doctor's guardian angel. He, on the other hand, isn't quite so eager to take Kendra and has a proposition for her.

Kendra learns that everyone's conscience is divided into good and evil. Each side is guided by either a guardian angel or guardian demon. The two are in constant conflict with only one goal, to win that person's soul for either heaven or hell. Coen tells her the doctor has stopped believing in God and is a lost soul. Since neither angels nor demons can interfere with free will so Coen is asking for Kendra's help. If she is willing to help Adam believe in God again, she will have her life back.

Of course, there's a catch. She only has a week in which to succeed. Coen has been a little short-coming on the finer details of the agreement. If she fails, she not only loses her life, but very possibly her soul as well. He has broken more than one rule in his efforts to save Adam's soul.

When Kendra tells Adam that she was saved so she could get his life back on the path to God, he rudely dismisses her claim. Waiting in the wings is the doctor's guardian demon. He is more than ready to believe she survived the surgery to have time to revive the doctor's belief in God.

Staying true to her flair for the unexpected, Haigwood gives us the anticipated curve ball when Coen exposes Rhyan's love for Kendra. How can Rhyan guide Kendra when he wants her for himself? What happens when Kendra starts to fall in love with Rhyan? How can she possibly straighten this tangle? Kendra has more than enough to handle being loved by her guardian angel, a friend who only acknowledged his feelings when he thought he'd lost her, pursued by evil to keep her from saving the doctor's soul, and rebuffed by the doctor himself. And let's not forget the doctor's guardian demon who sets himself as a romantic distraction.

Will she avoid the pitfalls and help Adam renew his belief in God, accept Rhyan's love for her and go to heaven with him or say yes to his guardian demon before she realizes who he is? An enjoyable paranormal romance I've already read twice. Haigwood just keeps on going. I'm looking forward to the next novel in this series. This book is available free for Kindle at Amazon and Nook at Barnes and Noble.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Erin the Fire Goddess: Betrayal, Book 2 by Lavinia Urban

An eventful summer with Sean, Kelly and the twins is quickly over. Erin is still learning to control the fire within. Kasey-Ray has fallen in love with Sean's friend, Justin, and learns she too has a special power. Her great-grandmother's missing diary mysteriously falls from the shelves one afternoon courtesy of an invisible man. Reading from the diary, Sean and Erin learn not everyone in Galladale is who they seem to be.

School has started and change is in the air. The birthmark that has stained the left side of Erin's face has nearly disappeared. So much so that now classmates are talking to her instead of taunting her. Two new students help end another classmates jealous confrontation with Kasey-Ray. In the course of things, they each reveal their own secret abilities and friendship blossoms.

But what good is a story without some kind of conflict. Urban comes through again in flying colors in the person of Louise Clarke. A new girl in school who claims she can have anyone she wants, Louise sets out to prove it during lunch one day, not caring that the boy she uses to make her point is already in a relationship. Now she has her sights set on the one boy who doesn't want her, determined to take Sean away from Erin.

The final year in school brings surprises and reveals long held, painful secrets. Why does Erin feel she can trust the invisible man when he finally reveals himself? Why does Sean not trust him? How far will Louise go and can Erin stop her?

Once again, Urban doesn't disappoint. She shows a deft hand with her character's strengths and weaknesses. I've read this book twice so far, and am certain I'll be reading it again. Book three, Torment, can't come out for Nook soon enough. I've been on pins and needles.This book is available for Kindle from Amazon, the Nook from Barnes and Noble, and other eReaders from Smashwords.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Erin the Fire Goddess: The Beginning, Book 1 by Lavinia Urban

 This is the second time I've read this book and I still really enjoy it.

As the story begins, Erin's parents inform her and her younger sister, Kasey-Ray of the family's impending move to their parent's hometown of Galladale. Urban gives a heartrendingly accurate portrayal of a young girl on the cusp of womanhood, ostracized by society for a birthmark that stains the left side of her face.

Erin has only known love and acceptance from her immediate family. From both schoolmates and society at large, Erin has only ever heard she is ugly, deformed, and not worth befriending, cementing her low opinion of herself. While her sister bemoans in full dramatic fashion how she'll be leaving all of her friends, Erin is cautiously hopeful the move will bring friends at the end.

The opposite proves true as the girls finish the year in a new school. Immediately, a classmate threatens her for catching the attention of Sean, a handsome young man two years older. She's told both not to look at him and to stay away. The torment continues, culminating in an excruciating beating that leaves Erin injured and unable to move.

Erin doesn't understand what this beautiful boy could possibly see in her when he could have any girl for the asking. Painfully confused about what is happening, Erin challenges Sean and her parents to explain. Out of this comes truths about her family she could never have imagined, friends she never believed she'd have, and a love she never thought to experience.

Is she strong enough to believe in herself? Will she learn to control the fire or will someone die from the anger born of her pain?

A beautiful story that parallels how society judges others based on appearance. Heartrending and hopeful with a touch of the paranormal. I would read anything she wrote. Five stars.

This book is avaiable free at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Eternal Immortality; Eternal Series, Book 2 by K.S. Haigwood

Second installment on the Eternal series. Woh.

This book backtracks slightly into Eternal Island to Abe's and Ariana's wedding reception, giving us a brief memory jog of how the first book ended. I found this to be a great tactic since I can't just read the last few pages of a book, even if it's one I've already read just to get up to speed for the next volume of the series.

Unaware how much his long time friend hurt Rainey when he left the island without a word seven years ago, Abe invited Deus to his wedding. Deus himself is unaware of how deeply Rainey's feelings for him go or that he is in love with her. And so begins the dance of Rainey protecting herself from further pain and Deus trying to understand what he did wrong and win her back.

Ah but that's not all. In Eternal Immortality, Haigwood shows us she can throw a wicked good curve ball, and not just once. Everyone who made it through the first book (more or less) alive comes back, but not everyone is who they seem to be.

A curse is lifted. Love is challenged and fought for on more than one front. Allies are found, as are angels, demons, and bears. (Oh my!) Well, the bears are really shapeshifters, but what do you expect on an island where all people paranormal are accepted as long as they live and let live. And there are angels, and demons do come to play, or fight.

Ariana's powers continue to develop and provide surprises for her friends. A new player declares his love for her and fights in unscrupulous ways to win her over. The biggest curve ball Haigwood throws in this book, of course, comes at the end and straight out of left field, if you'll forgive the baseball reference. (Sorry, no spoilers here.) Needless to say I was in shock.

I have read three books by this author so far. In this book, Haigwood has shown herself to be an author to watch, follow and read. My only disappointment came at the end of the book when I learned I would have to wait until June 2014 for the third book. This book is available at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

One caveat. This book does contain a couple of brief, moderately explicit scenes I feel are not suitable for younger readers. Paranormal romance for 17+.     

Eternal Island; Eternal Series, Book 1 by K.S. Haigwood

I started this book on Saturday, September 7 and finished it the next day. By the time I reached page 20, I knew I wanted the rest of the series as soon as the books can be published and made available for Nook.

The book starts with our female protagonist (Ariana) in a coma since being told her husband of less than a year has died in an accident. There's just one problem; she's missing and no one knows how she left or who took her.

Go back three days to a meeting between the male protagonist, the High Vampire (Abe) and his witch/psychic adviser (Rainey). He rules Eternal Island. She has visions (warning of trouble) and he has come to dread her requests to see him. This time is different. He has a chance at true love, but only if he's willing to make a choice immediately. If not, he will spend the rest of his existence never knowing love and everything that goes with it. Choose. Now.

In a sarcastic moment of disbelief, he says yes. As soon as Rainey shows him an image of the comatose Ariana he falls. Hard. It's Rainey's job to go to the hospital, wake Ariana and convince her to fly back to Eternal Island with her.

At the beginning of the book, the author tells us, "Eternal Island - A place where vampires rule, witches play, danger lurks and dreams really do come true." Fair warning that even when two hearts are helplessly drawn to one another, it will still be a bumpy ride. Take one 900+ year old arrogant, world weary vampire. Mix in a mind-reading, witch who is also a power hungry vampess. Throw in the ghost of a dead husband. Now add unexpected, newly awakened, seemingly limitless witch powers for Ariana. Stir well and you have a recipe for humor, angst, tension, deceit, and a love that can last forever. If every one survives the treachery. And who gives the bride away had my romantic side crying.

A paranormal love story on a island where vampires and witches sought refuge from persecution, made invisible to normal human perception. Paranormal romance for 17+.

I've read two books now that are the first in different series by this author. I'm hooked. This book is available at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.