Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Midnight Moonrising by K. S. Haigwood

A smooth continuation of the prequel, Midnight Moonrising is her best work yet. Mena finds she must negotiate for control of her own body with the wolf that lives within her. She also learns someone within her pack has betrayed her. The question though, is whether at least one of the betrayers has stayed behind to work against her from within.

Her wolf has taken an almost immediate interest in the police detective investigating the death of her husband. Mena doesn't share her interest. In fact, she'd much rather be making the with Phoenix, master of the local vampire clan. Mena wants to change the rules that werewolves and vampires have lived by since they were created. Not everyone is on board with this.

Haigwood has brought a new twist to the werewolf genre. A new shifter must name their wolf within of being bitten or their wolf inside would begin to take over. Mena just knows her wolf is hiding something, but what is the one thing she won't share. There's more, but that would just spoil the fun if I gave it away here. Needless to say, from the moment Mena learns this, the tension just ramps up and time is running out.

Haigwood has once again delivered a beautifully executed story. Her characters continue to develop both in the history each has and their dreams going forward. Once again, there's everything you've come to expect in any story with her name on the cover.

I received the book late Monday evening and read it until I left work. Got home, read until I couldn't see straight (about 1:30am). Got up yesterday morning and finished the book. Yeah, it was that good. I had to sit back and absorb what I'd read for a bit before I could comment on it.

So what do I think? Impeccably written. Beautiful editing. Great characters (my favorites are Mena and Phoenix) and a few things I've not seen in shapeshifter stories. There is no "down time" in this book; something is always going on. She grabs you and there is no letting go. If you've read her work before, you are going to just love this series! If Haigwood is a new author for you, get the prequel, Accepting the Moon. Although only 70 pages, it's definitely worth taking the time to read.

There were a couple of places where the wording was a bit awkward, but not enough to create any major hiccup in the reading. I found one error missed by her betas and editor. Not a big deal, but it does mean I can't give her five stars. Ohh, but I really want to. As it is, 4 stars isn't a bad thing. Can't wait to see what happens in the next book.

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

This book is available from Amazon (US, CA, UK, AU) and Barnes & Noble.

Accepting the Moon: Prequel Moonrising (Book 0) by K. S. Haigwood

In this introduction to a new series, Haigwood has introduced an aspect of werewolves that I've not previously seen. That's pretty hard to do since stories set around shapeshifters are pretty much my favorite reads. It's pretty typical that shapeshifters in any story are long-lived. Haigwood has made that optional. Huh? Yeah. The new shifter must accept the "gift of the moon" on their first shift to receive a more impressive gift than long life. Nooo, I'm not telling you, that would be a spoiler. I don't do those.

All the elements that signify a great story from her are present: great characters, conflict, a touch of romance, and a few surprises. Mena, married for twelve years finds out not only that her husband has been cheating on her, but that he was also keeping an even bigger secret from her. You could call it a life changing secret. There's an entire world out there that she never knew existed, and it gets exposed in a pretty spectacular way.

I've been reading Haigwood's books for two years now and for me, this has the promise of being her best series to date. Impeccable story-crafting paired with beautiful editing leave me anxious to get my hands on the next book in this series. I think you should do yourself a favor and grab this one. It's definitely worth it. 5 stars

This book is available from Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU) and Barnes & Noble.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Academy: Introductions (Book 1, Ghost Bird Series) by C.L. Stone

Every once in a while, I come across a book I truly cannot put down, Introductions was just such a book. There was not one dull moment from the first page to the last. A simple desire to prove her mother's warnings that the world is out to kidnap, rape, and/or murder her drives Sang Sorenson out of her house late one night and into the pouring rain. Her goal, spending the night in an unoccupied house on her street, is derailed when an unknown neighbor's dog runs her down. So begins her introduction to a very special group of boys and her own confused awakening and introduction to the wider world.

Stone is absolutely an excellent storyteller. Rarely have I come across a book that captivated me so quickly and thoroughly. As she says in her "cheat sheets," this is a very slow moving story. The first book takes place during the last week of summer prior to the start of school. If you're wondering whether anyone can find much to write that only covers a week's time, yes. She can and she does. While the timeline of the story may move slow, that by no means indicates the story itself is slow.

As much as I love the story, the same cannot be said of the book. Yes, there is a difference. The story is the creation of the writer's imagination. The book, however, is the finished product, more on that in a moment. Her characters have a depth to them I've seldom seen in Young Adult stories. The trials she places in Sang's path show how fully she understands her audience. She takes a fifteen year-old girl raised in an emotional vacuum and thrusts her into the midst of seven boys with an exceptionally tight friendship. There are secrets that they can't share, but which she brushes aside having secrets of her own.

As for the book itself, the quality of Stone's writing far surpasses the quality of the editing. Several errors made it past all of her beta readers and editor. Interestingly, there are no spelling errors. This leaves me thinking that either the author has excellent typing skills, or someone used spellcheck. Having said that, some of those non-misspelled errors are words that are incorrect, others are wrong word choices for the place in which they are used.

Had this book received the editing that matched the quality of the author's writing, I would have gladly given her five stars. However, because of the errors, I can only give this book three stars.

This book is available at Amazon (US, UK, CAAU), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Just a little note...

As you can see, it's been a while since I've posted a review or interview. Things have been a little crazy and hopefully are finally setting back to what ever passes for "normal." You'll probably start seeing me promote books for authors in the near future. What do you think? Would you like to see that here?

I'm slowing becoming known to the Indie authors on Facebook as they find my Facebook page and request reviews from me. I find that both gratifying as well as a bit scary. Gratifying because people are taking note of what I have to say and believe my opinions on books is worth listening to. Scary because, well, for the same reason. But these authors are very much worth my time to help bring their works to your attention. Time to pull some more picks from my library I think you should read.

This time I'm choosing: Becky Corwin-Adams, Bonnie Bernard, C. R. Everett, and K. S. Haigwood. Their books are always well written, well edited and they've never disappointed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Available August 31st from Brandy L. Rivers...

From the author of the Others of... series comes Changing Destiny, book four in the Others of Seattle. Rivers knows how to weave a tale and this one is sure to be another "just can't put it down."

Changing Destiny (Others of Seattle Book 4) is available for preorder now everywhere, and will be released August 31st. Get your copy now. You definitely don't want to miss this.

Googleplay -

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Destiny: Tempest (The Destiny Series, #1) by Mia Morgan

Where to start... There is a story in here somewhere, but the book is so riddled with errors that slogging through fifty-one pages was a chore. The errors start on the first page with incomplete sentences and just go on from there. The lack of spelling problems leads me to think the author used spellchecker. The abundance of other errors has me convinced the author failed to not only use beta readers, but also failed to proofread her own work.

There is far too much narrative about the company billionaire John MacBeth works for, so much so that it began to feel as though I were reading a different story altogether. There are sentences with extra words that confuse the reader as to what is being said (i.e. the author changed what she was going to write mid-sentence and failed to reread what she wrote).

So what can I say about the storyline, such as it is? Korinna is a bar waitress who picks up extra income working high-end events because she's very good at what she does. Her ex is a sleaze who likes to think she'll marry him and there's a billionaire attracted to her. There is potential here for a decent story. It just isn't there yet. Not even close.

The bottom line is this is not yet a story. This is a work-in-progress that should be pulled from all booksellers until it has been properly edited. I am grateful this story was free. Had I paid for a book in this condition, I would be much less happy about it than I am now.

Because this book was released before it was ready, I can only give one star. That being said, I cannot in good conscience recommend this book in its current condition.

Witches' Waves: Duals and Donovans: The Different, Book 4 by Teresa Noelle Roberts

Who doesn't love a good story? How about a good story with a twist you haven't seen yet? So when I tell you I found just such a story, you better believe I'm going to shout it out. If you follow me at all, you know I love my shifter stories, right? Everything I've read to date has been all about wolves, bears, big cats. Predators one and all. Well, hold on, because I'm here to tell you there's more to shifters than that. What about something that's cute and playful, say... otters? Yeah, Roberts gave us sea otters as shapeshifters.

The thing that caught my interest was bringing together a blind witch, a playful sea otter shifter and a surfer running from his heritage, although admittedly it was the sea otter that grabbed me the hardest. I've peeked at the blurbs for the previous books, so I know this isn't the only time she's pulled out the unexpected for shifters.

Our heroine is a blind witch who is also a powerful seer. The problem? Meaghan's been held captive most of her life and used for her visions. She is about to put her foot down after learning the Agency wants to use her visions to capture the "child of five bloods" for their own less than honorable purposes.  Her solution is to escape and die, but that doesn't turn out quite the way she anticipated. Instead, she is saved by an otter and taken to safety to the Donovan's where an entirely new world is opened to her. (Cue dramatic music and evil doers.)

A failed suicide attempt (to protect the innocent), a playful otter (who'd rather be a doctor) and a surfer (afraid to answer the call of his heritage) make for an interesting story. What I know of otters is very limited, mostly to how playful they are. She managed to convey otter characteristics very well. Roberts has given a different twist to my favorite aspect of the fantasy genre. The story moves quickly; there are absolutely no boring parts to wade through. Her writing is captivating and everything you could want from an author. All the expected elements of a good fantasy novel are there, plus a bit of mystery and romance to keep things interesting.

Roberts' writing is impeccable and the editing spot on. I downloaded this book August 7 and finished it the same day (or rather, night). I literally had to find time in my running errands to pull into a parking lot to read more. That led to lunch out and reading some more. It was nearly midnight when I finally finished the story. The bad thing? I had to be up at 4a for work the next day. It was completely worth it though. She had me at the blurb and once I finished the book, I wanted the rest of them. Payday can't get here fast enough for me now.

For her writing, editing, character development, suspense, well... everything, I'm giving her five stars.

This book is available at Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU) and Barnes & Noble.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Guess who's coming to visit?

One of my favorite authors, Nathan Squiers! Yes, the Literary Dark Emperor himself is coming to talk to us about what's going on in the world of the Crimson Shadow.

I think I've read everything he's written in that worldscape. And ya know what? He just keeps getting better with each book. With each book I read, he draws me deeper into his world. I've called him a bard in his chosen genre, and I truly believe that. I don't think I will ever get enough of the Crimson Shadow. Rumor has it there are some special things in the works too.

He's re-releasing the first book in the series so make sure to stop by and see what he has to say and what's going on. Maybe, if we're lucky, he'll share some special news with us too. Stay tuned because he'll be here the first weekend in August.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Just released Saturday (11 July 2015) by Amanda Kay

I've not read these books yet, but you know how much I enjoy my shapeshifters. Let me know what you think when you've read them.

Fairy Tales with a Twist NOW LIVE! #Amazon #Google #Kobo #Oyster #Scribd #PageFoundry Coming Soon to #Nook #iBooks

A Limited Time Collection, For a Limited Time price of $3.99 (Price goes up to $6.99 on 8/11/15) 12 stories, 10 Book Boyfriends, 1200 Pages of Paranormal Fantasy Romance for 18 and up.

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon CA:
Amazon AU:
Page Foundry:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ultimate Alpha Boxed Set: A BBW and Wolf Shifter collection by Terry Bolryder

I love stories about shapeshifter, especially wolves. Really, any animal will do, but I have a thing for wolves (and snow leopards, but that's another story). I stumbled across this author via Alpha Contender, Part 1 and fell in love. Perhaps because Lindon was my introduction to Bolryder's world, he became my favorite character. Getting a chance to read the entire series as completed stories was too good a chance to pass up. I will admit to disliking books sold as serials instead of a complete story. That being the case, I always wait until the last part is available before reading it. The wait for this particular boxed set was definitely worth it.

Boxed sets are a great thing when you want to read everything in the order the author would like you to read. While each of these can be read on their own, all the gaps are filled with them presented in the proper sequence.

Bolryder creates a believable world for readers. Although I found these to be quite easy reads, there are enough of the right elements to keep me coming back. (I've read Lindon's story a few times now.) For those of you new to these particular books, the series is set around three brothers, all alpha males who may or may not consciously realize they want a mate at the time she shows up. Each brother is subjected to his own trials and tribulations that must be overcome to win the lady.

As each story progresses, Bolryder expands and builds greater depth in the world she (?) has created. We learn more about the world in which these shifters live, their struggle to survive as a race/species. I am engrossed by everything about them each time I open one of these books, but most especially by Lindon, in Alpha Contender.

The only problem I had with these books was the lack of sufficient proofreading and editing. The same errors I found in reading each of these stories separately are present in the boxed set. Proper names pop up without capitalization. Some sentences read as though they completely missed editing. It was disappointing to have these distractions in what otherwise would be a perfect escape from reality. I can easily see how Bolryder has acquired such a following. Her males are the ultimate providers and protection. They are the perfect fantasy male. The women feel cherished by the end of the story.

Ultimately, when it comes down to rating the boxed set, I have to take everything into account, not just whether I enjoyed the book(s). Did I enjoy them? Absolutely! The fact that I keep rereading them would give them an easy 4 stars, maybe even 5. Unfortunately, the errors do impact the level of enjoyment for me. Because of that, I can only give this book 3 stars. Had these stories received the level of editing they needed, I would have gladly given a higher rating.

At the time of this review, the boxed set is only available at

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blood... on the Moon by D. Michelle Gent

A throwback kept hidden by his parents from the rest of wolfkind shows us why they are hunted down and killed when their existence is discovered. Jack is a major player in the story as we watch him succumb to madness inherent in being a throwback to become the infamous Whitechapel killer. His instability became evident in childhood, yet his parents protected him hoping he would both remain undiscovered and eventually be "cured."

Gent has a real talent for weaving multiple plots into a story so seamlessly that her work is a joy to read. Hazel not only has to ferret out hidden throwbacks, but decide whether her Sentinels should find the killer or risk Wolves being exposed by letting the Hume police find him. Add to the mix an event that only happens every 500 years.

I still find Red to be my favorite character, perhaps because I connected so well with her in Deadlier... than the Male. Gent's characters are believable, complex people. The atmosphere of the story pulled me right in. It was so easy to immerse myself in this story. I found this book, as in Deadlier... than the Male to be very well written and impeccably edited. A great read that anyone with an interest in werewolves would enjoy.

I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars

This book is available from Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Sold by Brad Lee Hayword

I enjoy a good horror story every once in a while. I'm a big fan of Stephen King, John Saul and a couple of others, so I'm not quite sure what was off about this book for me. The writing was there for the most part. There were places where it seemed to drag a bit. This story just never pulled me in, so I found reading this to be almost a chore. I'd get through a few pages and set it down, pick it up, read another page or so and set it back down again. It took over a month for me to get through this book.

This book has all the necessary parts of a horror story: a serial killer who falls under the control of a voodoo queen, haunted house, gullible people. Kate was not the most believable person for me, but then neither was her husband. Regretfully, I was never able to engage with the story and its characters.

I'm of the belief that if someone writes a story, there is a market for that book. Unfortunately, I'm not part of that demographic. Because I never connected with this story, I can only give it two stars.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Ashes (Book 2 The Kindred Series) by Erica Stevens

Having bought the other four books in the series as soon as I finished book one, I was anxious to dig into this one. Ashes picked up where Kindred left off, with Devon rushing Cassie to the hospital. The intensity was ramped up right from the beginning and didn't disappoint. In his stress for her to survive, Devon healed the worst of Cassie's injuries before they got to the emergency room. Now faced with questions from doctors that shouldn't be answered, he has to use powers he'd rather not on unsuspecting humans.

When the rest of her friends arrive, knowledge of what they all are hits each one of them differently. Chris immediately attacks Devon; Luther keeps his opinion to himself while Melissa falls apart. Devon figures out who Luther is not only to Cassie, but to Chris and Melissa as well. Now they each have to come to terms with that knowledge for the sake of their friendship and love for Cassie. (Quite the conundrum she's written here. I love it!)

I can understand why some people might think this is her personal take on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but aside from a few similarities, this is entirely her own work. There's only so many ways a vampire story (or any story for that matter) can be written, only so many ways to write the protagonist. Inspiration must come from somewhere.

Ever wonder where vampire slayers come from? Stevens answers that question in a way that makes complete sense to me. This part of the story really caught my attention. Stevens came up with an original way to answer that question. Kudos for that!

What ultimately brings Cassie's friends around to accepting him in her life is how alive she's become since meeting him. She's no longer going through the motions every day. Backed up by Cassie's grandmother, the teens have no choice but to stay close enough to Devon for him to protect them. Cassie gains a new friend and several new enemies as well as learns more about Devon's past. What she learns explains why he is so unique among vampires.

I bought this book immediately after finishing Kindred, the first book in the series. As soon as I got home from work, I promptly sat down and devoured this one. I had an incredibly difficult time setting it aside for anything; dinner, laundry, supper. Her characters have continued to develop from the first book, as did the plot that took me from one book to the next.

The reality of my reading this series is that I plowed through them like a person needing water in a desert. I just couldn't take time to write the reviews. I absolutely HAD to get to the next book to see what happens. Stevens likes cliff hangers. Me? Not so much. However, I was fortunate in being able to purchase the last four books at one time. So in this case, cliffhangers were no big deal.

I loved this book from start to finish. 4 stars

This book is available from Amazon (US, UK, AU, CA), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Kindred (Book 1 The Kindred Series) by Erica Stevens

I pretty much gave up reading vampire stories figuring I'd seen every plot that could be found in them. Not so. Stevens has changed everything I thought I knew about this aspect of paranormal books. I stumbled across this book two days ago through one of the websites I use to find books to read. Much of my reading lately has fallen into the YA category, and so did this one.

The story opens with two of our three main characters (Cassie and Chris) being spirited away right before their families are massacred in a plot by the elder vampires to eliminate all Hunters and their families. In the ensuing rampage, Cassie loses both parents and Chris loses his father. The kids spend the next several years living with her grandmother and moving around to prevent the elders from learning they are still alive.

The next pivotal event in their lives happens when Luther and his daughter, Melissa, move to town. The three teens begin their training as vampire hunters under their Guardian, Luther. Stevens excels at portraying three teens living a secret life.

Cassie is obviously just going through the motions with no apparent interest in life itself. She takes care of her schoolwork the same way she goes about killing vampires. It's just a job. She's stuck with it. There is no out-clause for her aside from the anticipated early death that is typical for Hunters. Things pick up when Devon is introduced to the story. All of a sudden, Cassie has an interest in something. They are both keeping secrets that if revealed, could bring danger to the other.

Stevens storytelling sets the bar incredibly high for the rest of her books and I wasn't disappointed. Her prose is heartfelt and punches deep to your very core. In part, I was reminded of what it felt like the first time I was attracted to a boy. Devon filled Cassie's dreams much like that boy did mine. She conveyed the angst and tentativeness of a new relationship so well, it was like reliving my first one.

This book grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go even when I reached the end. So much so that as soon as I got off work and could get to a wi-fi connection, I scooped up the rest of the books in the series. Yeah, I had it that bad. As soon as I got home, I dug into the second book, grateful I wasn't at work where I would have the distractions of customers.

The editing, character development, tension, angst, absolutely everything was spot on. To date, I've only ever considered one author's writing to be of bardic quality. I am beyond ecstatic to add Erica Stevens name to that very brief list. If you enjoy vampire stories, you HAVE to pick up this book, and indeed, the entire series. If I ever get around to picking up the print books for home reading, they will have a place in the box of favorite authors for those rare occasions when I move.

This book was not gifted for review. 4 stars

Get your copy from Amazon (US, CA, UK, AU), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Protected by the Falcon: The Ancestor's Secrets Book 1 by Erika Szabo

This book was interesting on several levels. I enjoyed the look into another culture, though how much of what was portrayed was real, and how much was a product of the author's imagination, I can't say. That seamless blending is the mark of a good writer. As I have no interest in researching Hungarian culture and beliefs, I will simply say that the touching of their birthmarks (pure Hun marks?) and morning prayers were given simply and eloquently.

Because of her heritage, only Ilona's (deceased) mother could have explained everything she was going through on and after her twenty-ninth birthday. Anyone else attempting to explain something she didn't know was stricken with debilitating pain until they quite trying. This was an unexpected treat. The secrecy about Ilona's gifts, purpose and calling added a delightful twist to what could have otherwise been an average story.

The language of flowers is brought into the story at the beginning of each chapter, although I'm still a bit confused as to how that figures into everything. The story itself is told from each characters point of view as entries into their daily journals. I've not seen this particular treatment of multiple POV's before. I enjoy seeing something new offered in my books. Of course, that everyone was keeping a journal played large in the overall book since this was how the villain kept track of what everyone was doing, feeling, and thinking. Another brilliant move on Szabo's part. The circumstances of the villain(s) are another curveball of Szabo's that I enjoyed.

Initially, I struggled to get into the story. I picked it up and started reading several times, only to set it down again. However, by page twenty, I was hooked and everything started falling into place and making sense. I found the story to be very well written, and flowed quite well. Unfortunately, the editing was not as thorough as it could have been. There are places where a word is missing from a sentence or the word choice could have been better. While these problems did create minor hiccups in my reading, they were not severe enough, nor numerous enough to reduce the rating.

I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review. 3 stars

This book is available at: Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

Monday, March 9, 2015

Guess who stopped by today?

You may or may not know, but Lavinia Urban is directly responsible for this blog. If it wasn't for her introducing me to K.S. Haigwood, the previous author in the spotlight, I would never have gotten into writing book reviews. Cause and effect being what it is, writing reviews led to wanting a blog. See, it's all her fault. 

I met Lavinia through the first book in her Erin the Fire Goddess series. I'm sure we all know language is a fluid thing. It grows and changes much the same way people and nations do. Since we live on opposite sides of the pond (i.e. the Atlantic Ocean) there are some words we define differently. Being the curious sort that I am, I sent her an email asking her to clear up the confusion on a few words. Thus began our Facebook friendship. 

A bit about Lavinia -

           Lavinia grew up in a small town in Cheshire, England, before moving to Scotland in 2000.
She now lives just outside Edinburgh with her husband Ian and their two daughters Erin and 

Lavinia has been writing since an early age, something that both her children have inherited. She started with writing poetry, one of which was turned into lyrics for a song. By the age of 14, Lavinia had written seven books in an unpublished series.

After moving to Scotland she stopped writing for a while. It was only after writing a short story for her eldest daughter's school about anti-bullying and how you should stay in school and learn, that Lavinia felt the yearning to write again; this was also helped by her eldest daughter's thirst for literature when she asked her mother to write her another story. This was how her series, Erin the
Fire Goddess, came about. 

Occasionally, Lavinia has been known to give author talks. If you're interested in attending her next one, you will find her on March 30th this year at WHEC (Wester Hailes Education Centre) in Edinburgh. Let me know if you make it there.

She is currently working on book one of her next series. As her PA, you know I've had a peek. But don't ask, 'cause I'm not telling anything other than it's good. You'll know when it's ready to come out as I plan to shout it from here.

J: Can you tell us what you are working on now?

L: For right now, I am taking a short break from writing the next book in the Erin the Fire Goddess series – which will be epic when done and could be the final book in that series. Currently, I am working on a few new stories but mainly focusing on a new series called ‘Frozen in Time.’ The first title of this will be called Alimanti. Below is a sneak peek:  

Time waits for no man. It has its own schedule and doesn't give you extra seconds or minutes. It doesn't wait for you to say the things you want or do the things you need to. It doesn't wait around for you to say goodbye, to tell someone how much you love them. Before you know it, it is too late and you don't get a second chance for a do over. I know this all too well because last year my mum lost her battle to cancer. She was my rock. She was the most beautiful and loving mother who I loved, and still love unconditionally. But now I'm left with a gaping hole in my chest.

J: Just enough to tease. When can we look for Alimanti?

L: I am hoping that this book will be ready by the end of April (fingers and toes crossed). I have several projects on the go, but after the first book in the Frozen in Time series has been released, I will be going back to work on Erin the Fire Goddess.

Next year (2016), I will be doing my first book signing in Leeds, UK. I've given many book talks to hundreds of people, but I've never been to a signing.

Where to find Lavinia online:

Facebook author page
Erin the Fire Goddess Facebook page




On her website




Amazon (UK, US)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Built for Hanging On by Steve Vernon

This is a short story set in a post-apocalyptic world that focuses entirely on an older couple who are seeking safety (?), refuge (?) from the dangerous world that is now their reality. I felt as though I was given a look into a few hours in this couple's life.

I think the author's choice to keep this short was a good one, at least for me. Had the story been any longer I would have become bored with it. There were some problems with the editing that should have been caught before publishing, but otherwise, this was an okay story.

Following the story that titles the book are several more of varying length, but mostly only a page or two each. I'm not really sure what their purpose is for being included in this book unless it's to expose the reader to other work by this author.

The final inclusion in this book is a preview look at another story by Vernon, this one for a full-length novel. As I already have the full-length novel that is previewed in this book, I chose not to read that one. 3 stars

This book is available from Amazon (US, UK, AU, CA)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Half Life by Pamela Kelt

The story opens before the start of World War II as a group of nuclear scientists are brought together in Norway by the Nazis. Science, politics, and romance combine to create an interesting mystery. An explosion rips through the lab before getting even a quarter of the way into the book.

I struggled to stay interested in this book, which really surprised me. I've read three others by this author and enjoyed them all. I am reluctant to abide by my own star rating in the case of this book. The text was flawlessly edited, the characters well developed and the story line showed the level of  research the author pursued. A lot of research went into this story to create such a level of historic accuracy for the reader. In my opinion, that is a sign of both a conscientious  writer and a devoted scholar. That is who I want writing the book if I'm reading a fact-based work of fiction.

Based entirely on the strength of the writing, the development of the book, and quality of the editing, I feel I have to give Half Life 4-stars. I believe there is an audience out there for this book and I sincerely hope they find there way to reading it.

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

This book is available at: Amazon (CA, US, UK, AU), Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A surprise guest author for you today!

Anyone who has been with me since I began this blog will know how much I enjoy the Eternal series by author KS Haigwood. Her characters are everything expect in a novel by her: crazy, intrepid, fallible, arrogant, stalwart, loyal, and just plain fun to hang out with for a couple of hours. With her latest book, Eternal Illusion, now available everywhere, Kristie stopped by for a visit. See what she has to say below.

KS Haigwood

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Chapter 1
Lost in thought, Abe ran a loving hand over Ariana's swelling belly, then grinned when she stirred from sleep and blinked lazily up at him. Wrapping his mind around that – not only had she been his wife for over three months, but was also carrying his child – was too much of a dream come true, one he never wanted to wake up from.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Cambridge. It's fifteen after one."
Nuzzling closer to him, Ariana yawned and let her eyes drift shut. "Five more minutes."
He snickered against her hair and then kissed her forehead. "Take all the time you need, baby, but I have a feeling Becky and Janie will—"
Quick and persistent tapping on the chamber door cut off his words and had him rolling his eyes in irritation.
"—knock on the door soon," he finished through a clenched jaw, his mood swiftly turning sour at the lack of private time the island's residents allowed him to have with his wife. "I can kill them, you know. Nobody will find their bodies. I swear it. Did I ever tell you that I'm a shark whisperer?"
Ariana giggled as she pushed against his body, and when he tried to grab her, she threw a pillow in his face and scrambled out of bed.
He fell back to his own pillow, defeated. "We are going on vacation. No cell phones. No knocks on the door—unless it's room service—and, best of all, no distractions."
Laughing as she opened the door, Ariana greeted her friends with a hug and took the coffee Janie held out with a sigh and a gracious smile. "I love both of you so much."
Abe huffed as he glared at them. "You just saw them yesterday. And you don't need that caffeine; it's bad for the baby."
Ariana took a long sip and winced as the heat bit her tongue. "The only thing that's bad for the baby is my blood pressure going up when his or her father fusses over me too much."
Abe blanched, and started to throw back the comforter to go to her, but thought better of it once he caught sight of Becky and Janie looking at him. Unlike Ariana, he hadn't dressed after making love the night before.
He exhaled in relief as he studied the growing smirk on his wife's face. She was the only one who could, quite literally, drop him to his knees with only a few words. He kept waiting for the spell she had him under to wear off, but with each day that passed, he had only grown more mesmerized by her charm.
Abe raised an eyebrow. "Come here, devil woman."
"Abe," Becky said, laughing. "There's no time—er… take all the time you need, Your Highness," she said quickly, when his mouth flattened into a thin line and his teal eyes locked on her, daring her to say one… more… word.
He would burn that damn clinic to the ground before he would allow anyone to take even one more minute with her away from him. She already worked too many hours as it was. It had started out being only five, but then had swiftly moved up to six, then seven. He had drawn a line at eight, but, more times than not, Ariana stayed at the clinic up to ten hours, even against his wishes and constant phone calls.
He tore his piercing eyes away from Becky and they softened as he met Ariana's smile.
She set the cup down and crawled up on the mattress and into his awaiting arms. She stared into his eyes as her fingers brushed back the hair hanging over his ears, reminding him it was time for a trim. That would take all of fifteen minutes, so what would he do with the other four-hundred-sixty-five minutes she would be out of his sight?
He had some ass-chewing to do, that's what, and he was going to do that first.
"I'll be back before you know it, Abe," she said sweetly, almost convincingly, but he knew better; she'd been telling him that every day since she’d started working, and it had never, ever been true.
Even though he knew arguing would get him absolutely nowhere, he still pleaded his case. "Stay here," he whispered. "Take the day off. I could use a little healing myself." He grinned devilishly.
The only answer he got was a small smile and a long kiss. Abe wrapped his arms around her and pulled her across his body, rolling with her until she was lying on her back and he was looking down at her beautiful face.
He knew she wouldn't concede to his wishes today, but that wouldn't stop him from trying. He had faith that one day she would.
"Sunset, Ariana. Please. I have something I want to show you."
She laughed. "I just bet you do."
He tucked a strand of blond hair behind her ear and softly kissed her lips. Lingering a breath away, he spoke so only she could hear. "It's sort of important and special. It's been in the works for several years, but it's almost complete now. I didn't want to mention it until Roger said you could see it. He sent me a text last night, but you were too exhausted after work, so I didn't say anything. I don't think I can keep from telling you what it is until your next day off, so please don't overwork yourself today, and try to get out of there by eight." He paused for a moment. "And eat light for supper; I'm taking you out afterward."
Ariana's eyes narrowed to thin slits, but there was amusement in them that she couldn't hide behind her fake anger. "You know how much I hate surprises."
Abe knew she could have searched his thoughts in one instant, so he quickly rifled through his memory for the lyrics of Mary Had A Little Lamb, just in case. Mindreading was one witchy trait that could be both a blessing and a curse, but thankfully Ariana tried not to use it too often. For that, he was grateful. It was bad enough that he couldn’t keep his hands off his wife for more than five minutes. Keeping his thoughts off her would be downright impossible.
He kissed her quick and moved away, so she could get up and ready for work. The quicker she left, the quicker he could let out his aggression on someone who couldn't paralyze his vocal chords. "You'll like this one. I promise it won't embarrass you."
"Can we come?" Janie asked, the petite girl nearly jumping up and down at hearing about something new and exciting on the island.
Abe chuckled. "Yeah, you can come. Bring someone, if you like," he said, knowing that Janie had been spending quite a bit of time lately with Ryan from maintenance, and would more than likely want to bring him along. It was killing Lance to see her with the guy, but since he had been the one who let her go, there wasn't a whole hell of a lot he could do about it but mope.
"Who else is going?" Becky asked with a sneer.
Abe shrugged nonchalantly, but he knew she was inquiring whether Will, his brother, was going to be there, and possibly be with Katrista, the girl who had flown to the island on the back of a minion from Hell under the orders of Apollyon, the demon who damn near took Ariana away from him in more than one way.
Just thinking about that night made him want to wrap Ariana in the tight cocoon of his arms and never let her out of his sight, but that had been almost three months ago, and they hadn't seen or heard from the guy since his descent back into Hell. Gloria, their personal guardian angel, was checking in on a regular basis, but she hadn't sensed any evil hanging around the island, either. It was still a struggle to relax, but Abe knew how Ariana hated to be smothered, so he forced his worry from his features, for her.
"I'm not sure, Becky, but if you think I'm going to tell my brother he can't go just because you'll be there, then you don't know me very well." He ignored the hurt look in her eyes and slapped Ariana's butt when she crawled over him to get out of bed. He chuckled when she yelped.
After hearing the shower come on, he looked back to the two girls standing in the middle of his bedroom. "Would the two of you mind leaving? I'm about to go shower with my wife, and Ariana threw my boxers across the room last night."
He smiled as the two girls immediately avoided eye contact, their faces turning a bright shade of pink in embarrassment at being in the same room with their naked king.
"Go on. Ariana will call you when she's ready to leave. I can't promise you'll be on time for work, so you may want to leave without her." He stopped and huffed when they only stood there with sullen expressions. "What? She isn't yours; she's mine. Go!"
Tripping over their feet, both girls turned and ran for the door.
With a smile on his face, Abe threw back the cover and jogged to the bathroom. He could only see the top of Ariana's wet head, leaned back into the steamy shower spray, eyes closed as she basked in the warmth of the water. He tiptoed around the tiled wall that separated the shower from the rest of the bathroom, and had her in his arms before she even opened her eyes.
Ariana smiled as he touched his lips to hers, and Abe noticed that he couldn't fit his body flush to hers any longer, not with his young growing so rapidly within her womb.
He ran one hand over the soft skin of her belly and pulled her mouth to his with his other by the nape of her neck. A low moan escaped her mouth and he drank in the ecstasy like a wino who had just found a forgotten bottle of eighty-year-old wine in the cellar.
She gasped for air when he released her mouth to devour her neck and that little spot below her ear she loved for him to kiss.
"Abe," she panted. "I'm going to be late for work."
An approving growl rumbled from his chest as her hands slid down to his hips. "Damn right, you are. I told Becky and Janie to go on without you, that you would be there when you damn well got there."
She laughed against his mouth when he claimed ownership once again. "You are such a king."
Lowering his head to explore more of what she had to offer him, he looked from one tempting mound to the other, and finally decided to take the left rosy nub between his lips and softly massage the other with his hand. Decisions, decisions. It was a tough job being a man in love. He often thought he needed at least one extra mouth. Wondering vaguely whether Ariana might be able to witch it on his body, somewhere, he focused on the task in hand.
Ariana's lips parted, and he smiled when a rush of pleasurable sounds echoed off the walls of the bathroom.
With his other hand free, he ran his long fingers over the cheek of her ass, down the back of her thigh and pulled her right knee up to his hip. He wasn't worried about her getting off balance and falling. He had her. He had all of her.
His head jerked up and he crushed his mouth on hers just as he slid through the soft folds of her sex and into his most favorite place to be.
His jaw clamped shut and his hand shot out to brace them against the shower wall when her muscles tightened around his erection.
"Yeeees!" The cry escaped her throat and her nails clawed the skin on his back, but he pumped into her, keeping a steady rhythm and watching her expression as the orgasm threatened to rip through her body. "Abe…" she said, winded, and grabbed his biceps, squeezing the thick muscles and making him grin, "I—I need…"
"I know, baby. Just let it go." He jerked his hand from the wall, pulling her other leg up, and just like a pro, she hooked her ankles at the small of his back and took all of him. His knees damn near buckled.
Aiming to get his own release by the time Ariana's climax was over, Abe growled and quickened his strides. Her body quaked all around him. He was almost there. He was there.
"Take my vein," Ariana whispered.
Pulling a bit back from the rush, he blinked the water out of his eyes and looked down at her in confusion. Sure enough, her head was tilted to the side and her wet hair was moved away, baring her neck and that throbbing vein to him. He jerked his head away, trying to ignore the instant bloodlust and the anger that was quickly boiling up inside him.
"No," he said shortly.
"Abe, please. You need it. I want you to."
He stopped moving inside her and set her feet on the wet tile. Grabbing a towel from the hook on the wall, he threw it around his waist, tying it extra tight, so just maybe it would cut off the circulation in his erection and deflate the damn thing.
"Abe! Where are you going?"
"Not now, Ariana." He threw open the bathroom door and walked into the bedroom, and wasn't a bit surprised to hear she had followed.
"What did I do? I don't understand why you're acting this way. Talk to me, damn you!" she shouted when he only stood at his closet and shoved hanger after hanger to the right. Hell, he wasn't even sure what he was looking for.
He stopped and let his arm fall, but didn't turn around. "You know how I feel about using you as a meeker while you're pregnant. We've had this discussion before, Ariana. Hell, we've even fought about it a few times, but you don't seem to understand or maybe you just don't care; I don't know—"
"You think that I don't care about my child?" she said, and Abe turned around, the muscles in his jaw doing the same workout they did every time their conversation led to him feeding from her. "How can you even say that?" she snapped. "If I felt, in any way, that you taking the amount of blood from me that you need would hurt the baby, I wouldn't ask you to do it." She pointed to her chest, and fury burned throughout Abe's bones. "I know it won't hurt the baby—"
"But I don't!" he roared, causing her to flinch. He shook his head and reached into the closet, grabbing a random shirt and a pair of jeans. When he looked back at her, he was a little calmer, but not much. "I don't know what is good or what is bad for the baby, Ariana, but I can't imagine taking anything from you that the baby needs could ever be a good thing. I won't do it."
He ripped the towel away, and to his delight, either the terrycloth or his pissy mood had done the job, because Mr. Happy wasn't so happy anymore. Without wasting time going to the dresser for boxers, he just shoved one leg at a time in the jeans then buttoned and zipped the fly. After throwing the shirt over his head and pushing his arms through the armholes, Abe finally made his way to the dresser to grab socks.
"Abe," Ariana whispered, but he didn't look at her. He couldn't look at her when he was this mad, especially when it was her that he was mad at. "Abe, look at me. I have to go to work, and I don't want to leave you upset." He still didn't say anything.
Abe put his socks on and located his boots by the bar. Tying the sons of bitches wasn't going to happen with his hands shaking so badly, so he just shoved his feet in, grabbed his keys from the bar and headed for the door.
"Abe! Where are you going? The sun is out!"
"Go to work, Ariana. I'll see you later."
He jerked open the door, then slammed it shut behind him.

Interested? What? You haven't read Eternal Island or Eternal Immortality yet? No worries! I've got you covered! 


 Eternal Island:


Eternal Immortality:


Eternal Illusion:

Like angels, demons, vampires, werewolves, suspense, urban fantasy and romance? Check out K. S. Haigwood's other books.


Like thrillers, suspense, romance and satire? Check out Ella Medler's other books.
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