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.