Sunday, November 26, 2017

Becoming Charlie: Part 1 by Kristie Haigwood

As a first book in the YA genre, Haigwood has outdone herself. I have read every book she's put out so I know exactly what I'm saying here. I devoured every chapter as she posted it to and had to go back multiple times to read everything. She addresses multiple societal concerns with a deft hand - bullying, body shaming, anger all receive her treatment in a way that leaves you hopeful.

This story is told from Charlie's point of view and in doing so, we learn a lot about being on the outside of school cliques. Haigwood doesn't waste any time at throwing Charlie to the high school wolves. They crudely and cruelly put down her under-developed body. One begins to grope her when her secret crush spectacularly comes to her rescue. Following him are the rest of the varsity baseball team and several faculty.

From this point on, Sean challenges Charlie's perception of herself. Both are keeping secrets from everyone but their families. You might be thinking, "How many twists and turns can a YA story take? I mean, really. These are teenagers!" Yet each new chapter posted on Wattpad was devoured within minutes of learning it was up.

I would never have guessed this genre could be so all engrossing. I should have known better because I know Haigwood's work. Silly me. This is more than an excellent read. "Becoming Charlie" offers gentle lessons on getting to know someone before judging them, on sticking up for someone who may not be able to do so for themselves. And does it all without preaching, without you realizing there's a lesson here. Without doing anything more than being a fantastic book.

"Becoming Charlie: Part 1" isn't due out until December 5th on Amazon. I've already told her I want a signed copy of the book. Yes, I love the story that much. Her characters are believable. The high school trauma of being on the "outside" is quite accurately portrayed. Although I wasn't invisible like Charlie, I was never part of any "in" group. I stayed on the edges.

Haigwood deserves 5 stars for this book and has them from me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Moonlit Seduction by Megan J. Parker and Nathan Squiers

I seriously disliked short stories at one time. Intensely disliked. It was a long-lived dislike spanning most of my life. It all has to do with being a voracious reader and short stories being, well... short. I finish them so quickly I wonder why I even bothered. Then about three years ago, someone gave me a set of short stories to read and review. And I sort of changed my mind. Her shorts were actually really good! I was truly surprised anything that short could be worth reading.

Yes, I still prefer the tomes, something I can just sink into for hours if not days. Yet, there are still those pesky short stories. And sometimes, you just want something you can finish on your lunch break.

One recently came my way with a request, please would I review their book? Given who was doing the asking, there really was only one answer. Of course! And so began my love affair with yet another  book by the intrepid duo, Megan J. Parker and her husband Nathan Squiers. This one begins a new series (yay!) for them.

A vindictive witch feeling spurned because the man she wants is in love with another. In fact, his wife who also just happens to be pregnant with their first child. Yup, there's a curse, but not just on the man she wants for herself. Nope. Not just on the child in the womb. The witch's plans go much farther than that.

The craft Nathan perfected in his Crimson Shadow series is evident. And don't think I'm slighting Megan's talents either. Megan is an artist with words every bit as much as her husband. What makes this team so fantastic? When they collaborate, there's no telling where one left off and the other began. That is exactly the way it should be. I've long since been saying Nathan Squiers is a Bard. Megan has proven herself as gifted a Bard as well.

When authors as talented as these two put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), you know what comes out will be anything but boring. So what to do about stars, hmm? No matter how much I love their work, my rating standards are published. I must abide by my own words. Sadly, I did find three errors. But for those I'd have have slammed down 5 stars. Regretfully, I can only give them 4.

Regardless, you do want to get this book. Yes, it's a short read. And yes, the stinkers left a cliffhanger on the curse. But you can't go wrong with a book written by this dynamic husband and wife team.

Coming out soon on Kindle Unlimited.

Friday, August 18, 2017

In the Beginning: Charlie by Kristie Haigwood

I don't as a rule write about books that aren't finished and published, but I was sent a link to this story and have been hooked ever since. If I find a book I like, I tend to scoop up as many more by that author as I can afford, especially if there's a series. I can't help it. I just like to keep going until I reach the end. As far as I know, this is Haigwood's first venture in the YA (young adult) genre. I keep telling her she doesn't know how to write a bad story. Well, true to form, she hasn't yet.

This book is being fed to us a chapter at a time on Wattpad, a site where both professional and beginning authors share their work. When you're hooked on a story early on, one chapter at a time makes for an antsy, impatient reader. Haigwood has it covered though. Every addition keeps me glued. Who'd have thought I'd get sucked into reading, and RE-reading an unfinished book?!

So... Charlie is in high school and she's a geek. As in the "in" crowd ignores her until they need her help as a tutor. She's clumsy, awkward, and has a thing for the cutest jock in school. Sean is the jock in her dreams. They're both keeping secrets from each other and everyone else. In a classic "boy rescues girl" scene, the two get together. He's all calm, cool, and collected. She's all nerves, and can't figure out why he's helping her.

In a recent post on Facebook, Haigwood has let us know she's hoping to publish this story in about a month. In the Beginning: Charlie is the first of four books planned for this series. Each book will be written either from Charlie's point-of-view or from Sean's. You really do want to read this story. Haigwood never disappoints, even when it's one chapter at a time. Follow the link and you see what I mean. Hop on the Charlie train, you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Gods and Monsters by Nathan Squiers

Xander continues to work on his father's dream of building a clan of different mythos. Now the leader of the clan, even more weight and responsibility land on his shoulders. Praise and adulation sit uncomfortably on him, but deal with it he must. The mansion is rebuilt and already in use. The clan name still bring pain to my heart when I think about how it came to be chosen, but if I tell you that story, I would be giving you a spoiler from a previous book. In addition to being the head of his own clan, Xander has to deal with hero worship. Could his life be any more interesting? Dumb question when Nathan Squiers is the name is on the cover.

Something new is in the wind and it's brought to Xander's attention by an unexpected source... a quiet, unassuming auric with a serious case of (yup, you guessed it) hero worship. What she points out is disturbing to say the least. (I rather want to theatrically say, "something wicked this way comes.")

Some "unknowns" from other books are answered and new questions arise. And he does that thing we as readers tend to hate the most... he left us a cliff hanger! How could he do that to us

Just when you think an author has reach the pinnacle of their capability, they pull out something to surprise you. Nothing can be taken for granted when a book has Squiers' name on the cover. I was first introduced to the worldscape of the Crimson Shadow in Noir. His writing took me in. He made me feel what he was telling me on the pages, made me visualize the story every step of the way. With each successive book his prose only got better. With each book his ability to pull emotion from me grew stronger until finally, he threw me a left hook that reduced me to tears. Now I'm sitting on the edge of my seat going, What!?!

I know you're waiting for my rating, probably almost as much as he is (I've had the book a while). Once again Squiers proves he's earned the title of Bard in his chosen genre. Not sure I can find higher praise than that for this author. No errors (really... no errors), beautifully written, his characters continue to grow as he introduces new ones to us. There is nothing not to love about this author, this book, and indeed the entire series. What's left to say? Oh yeah, the stars... 5 of course!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fighting for You by Megan J. Parker

After a (very) long hiatus, I am finally back to tell you about more books I've read. I'm a bit behind as I've been interspersing reading with other things... making caramel, looking at gemstones for making the next necklace. You know, things to pass the time.

I'm always up for a book by one of my favorite authors. Megan, and her (now) husband write some of the most captivating stories a reader could ask for. Part of what makes this couple so captivating is that they write in each other's worlds. Of course the rest is the sheer power of their storytelling.

In Fighting for You, Megan takes us into the world of the Russian mafia and an orphan rescued by the man heading the Chicago arm of said mafia. This is given to us as the story behind the now adult orphan as an explanation for why he continues to take part in illegal matches. Why they're illegal is for you to read. Nikolai's world is a rough one with only one goal... win the next match.

Natasha is Rusakov's very sheltered and much loved daughter. When she meets Nikolai for the first time, both their world's are shaken. She is as eager to keep her secrets from Nikolai as he is to keep his from her. When being the daughter of a mafia is your life, trouble and betrayal are never far away.

 There is very little that is sweet about this story, but there is a lot going on that kept me turning the next page. Whether your chosen format is digital or print, there's no denying Megan is an enthralling storyteller. I devoured this book in a very short time, in one sitting. I'm hoping for more to follow this one. I really enjoyed the characters.

This book is by turns tense with secrets that must be kept and taut with forbidden passion. Megan knows how to weave the two into an un-put-downable story. I very much want to give her 5 stars, but there were a few errors that were missed in editing. 4.8 anyone? Sigh. 4 stars it is.

Look for this book at your favorite bookseller.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Giveaway from author Haven Cage!!

Psst...did y'all see? May is my birthday month, AND my Author-versary! I'm doing a Faltering souls bundle giveaway to celebrate.🤤😍
-"A paranormal roller coaster ride that will leave you breathless"...Lorilee, Booksurfer Blog
-"Paranormal romance perfection"...Keri Q, Voodoo Doll Book Blog
-"Out performed any expectations I had," "Highly charged"...Cheystar, Uncaged Book Reviews
-"Very twisty and turny"...Sarah, Buckeyes Book Reviews

📚BOOK 1📚
In FALTER, a dark New Adult/Adult Urban Fantasy novel, Nevaeh Richards thinks she has found a chance to leave her homeless life behind. When the spirit of the only father she knows is wrongfully taken to Hell, Nevaeh is hurled into a world haunted by monstrous demons, rogue Guardian angels, love that is beyond her control, and a soul-threatening choice between the inherent evil inside her and the faltering faith she is struggling to grasp.

📚BOOK 2📚
In Severance, a dark, adult urban fantasy novel from the Faltering Souls series, Nevaeh has to face the overpowering gravity of her choice to save those she loves while striving for strength to fight her greatest threat—herself.

Other sites of availability will include Apple, Barnes & Noble (US and UK), Scribd, Oyster, Yuzu, Blio and Inktera (formerly Page Foundry) once released.
Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter for special deals and promo events!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Prowlers and Growlers Boxed Set - Dark Melody by Megan J. Parker

Boxed sets can be a bit of a gamble, but then so can any single book by a new author. They can also be holders of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. There are some authors whose work I will always read. Their name on the cover tells me exactly what I'm getting, what I'm in for. As soon as I saw Megan Parker had a story in this set, I knew what I was reading first. It did not disappoint.

Megan, you've done it again. You've transported me, not quite to the romances of my teenage years, because this was a bit more adult than that. I love what you've done in Nathan Squiers' and Xander's world. A comfy, more grown-up romance with just enough tension to keep me absorbed page after page. Can I have a David? Pretty please?

My heart went out to Talia from the beginning. She didn't even have a name for cryin' out loud. She created one from the ID number the scientists gave her! Everything she knows of the world came from romance novels, and the few people she came in contact with in the labs. Many things she read she has no frame of reference for as she can't imagine what these things look like! Kept in a cage her entire life, her only frame of reference for behaviors she can expect from other people come from the scientists and romance books.

When the scientists learn that word has leaked of what happens in the lab, everything vital is packed up to be moved. This includes Talia and a fellow captive. Together, though in separate cages and trucks, they are transported in the convoy as the scientists move their operations. An accident and a getaway leave Talia placed where David can find her.

It takes a while for David to believe Talia when she says she's never seen/experienced something. Not to mention being able to trust he wouldn't hurt her when that is her only experience with other people. His friends are interesting themselves, one has quite the mouth on him. Language guy! I mean, really now. What will she think of you?

The pace of the story is steady throughout, something I have come to expect from books by this author. As I said, this is a comfy read. The kind you read curled up in an overstuffed chair, wrapped in a blanket, in front of a fire on a rainy day. Of course there's the requisite bad guy. But you'll have to figure out who that is on your own.

I love this story. I want more, so much more. I want a story for each of David's friends. Oh. And I want a David for myself. (I know you'll get right on that, Megan.) I badly want to give this 5 stars. But there were a couple of snags and errors that make that impossible.

As much as I wish otherwise, I can only give this book 4 stars. This book is part of the boxed set "Prowlers and Growlers" at Amazon. I'll get around to reading the other stories at some point.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Falter by Haven Cage

It isn't often anymore that I come across a book that grips me so tightly that I'm upset to not have reading time at work. Yet that was indeed the case with Falter. I've had this book since late last year and got about half way through when things got busy and I lost my reading time. So I finally pulled everything else to a screeching halt and started the book all over. I am so glad I did.

Falter centers around Nevaeh, a young woman who's been living on the streets from a young age, her only protection an elderly man named George. Given a chance to get off the streets, the two accept jobs in a small restaurant. The owner, Gavyn, gives them both jobs and a place to sleep at night. Shortly after moving into the restaurant, George falls sick. His death is the last normal thing in Nevaeh's life. What began as Gavyn comforting her becomes a desperate hold to keep her away from the demon that shows up to inhale George's soul. Now her life is filled with archangels, demons, guardian angels, a prophesy, and a deep-seated desire to rescue George's soul.

The writing is fast-paced and incredibly intense. I was sucked in once I was a few pages in. As you might imagine from the cast of characters, this is a story of the battle between good and evil. What makes it gripping is how this story is told. Nevaeh goes from total disbelief to grudging belief of her part in the balance.

Cage has woven a powerful story that I think many will enjoy. I set the book down three pages from the end, exhausted and needing to sleep, thinking I knew how it would end. Got up this morning and finished reading. Boy was I wrong. And so... I bought the next book in the series.

The setting is believable in spite of being a paranormal story. The plot is consistently intense even during the (very) brief moments of calm. Her characters are well developed and continue to grow throughout the story. This makes the second book I've read where I wanted to physically grab a character and shake some sense into them. Can't say who without giving away too much. Sorry.

For perfect editing (and by that I mean zero errors folks), consistent plot and amazing characters, and a gripping story that was very difficult to set aside (I'm mean really, I'm passing out with three pages left to read) I'm giving this story five stars.

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