Monday, 27 April 2015

Stagecraft by Michelle Scott

StagecraftStagecraft by Michelle Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second book in the Bit Parts series, Stagecraft is an excellent followup to the first. In this story, Cassie once again finds herself in the middle of vampire politics. And what problematic business vampire politics is. I love the complicatedness of the supernatural world in this series, with protocols that must be kept and rules that must be followed, many unknown to the human world, and you just never know who you can really trust. And Cassie, of course, is unwittingly thrown right into the middle of it.

The characters in this story are, once again, fabulous. Cassie, true to character, is concerned more about her friends and family than herself. She is selfless and loyal to those close to her. My favorite, though, is Isaiah. There's just something intriguing about him…tall, dark, mysterious.

This story was action packed with plenty of twists and surprises to keep things interesting. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


View all my reviews

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Q & A with Lydhia Marie

AMANI: Remember
by Lydhia Marie


From the first time Amya gains consciousness in a hospital, she tries to remember the train of events that landed her in a coma, as well as the lost memories of more than eleven months of her life. But her struggle does not stop when she wakes up. The world around her is falling apart. Her best friend Samera needs her help and urges her to work for the Protectors of Amani again and her friend Xander is the victim of a Rascal’s bite. A Rascal only needs to touch somebody in order to feed on their humanity: their energy, their youth, their dreams… But when they bite you, there is no going back.

Using her ability to Sojourn—to project her soul into people’s bodies—and Samera’s capacity to Travel between Dimensions, Amya risks her life and integrity to save a loved one. Little does she know that her friend might be lost forever.

Paperback, 370 pages
Expected publication: May 8th 2015


Find it on Goodreads
Pre-Order from Amazon


Read It & Read: November 3, 2015

Lydhia Marie was born in a small town in Quebec, Canada. She discovered her passion for writing later in life during her last summer as an English student at Bishop’s University. To be honest, she wasn’t much of a reader before she started her degree, but this hate for words transformed into a passion for reading and then morphed into a need for writing. Strange but nonetheless true.

After finishing her first draft, she attended a three-week creative writing course at the University of Oxford, where she realized that her first manuscript was very badly written. Fortunately, the idea behind the writing was “so unique and different,” according to an early critique of the novel, that she decided to write the entire manuscript anew, from a blank page to the epilogue.

She enjoys books that transports her into a new world and characters that are both original and relatable. But most of all, she loves spending time writing or reading with her dog, Bookie, on her lap, looking adorable with his legs in the air and his belly ready to be rubbed.

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13719140.Lydhia_Marie

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LydhiaMarieAuthor
Website:  http://lydhiam.webs.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/LydhiaMarie


Q & A with Lydhia Marie

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
What I like the most about the main characters in AMANI: Remember is that they would go through anything to help and save each other. For them, family isn’t about blood, it’s about the people who stand by you no matter what happens or what you become. No matter what challenges the main characters face, they trust that they’ll overcome them together.

Q:  Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
I designed the cover for my book and I really enjoyed the process. I went through almost 10 different covers and watched several Youtube videos to improve my skills on G.I.M.P. Of course, I still have a lot to learn, but the cover I was able to create fits the concept of the book and that’s all I could hope for. I don’t know how it works when an author doesn’t design their own cover, but I strongly believe that the cover has to be made by someone who knows the novel very well. Otherwise, it might be pretty and all but it certainly won’t convey a meaningful message about the book.

Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot.
It’s hard to say because I could write almost anywhere, unless there’s a lot of noise and people bothering me. So I guess the ideal spot is a silent room where I’m allowed to bring my dog and drink a lot of tea. I once went on a trip in the Lake Districts in England. After a day of hiking and reading on beautiful hills, I was able to retreat in my dorm where only a few people were chatting, and I started writing. I had seen the most extraordinary landscapes and my imagination was at its peak… and that was one of the most inspirational moments of my writing career. So I guess that as long as I’m focused and inspired enough, anything is possible.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
I was once told that to be a great writer, you don’t need to write well from the beginning, but you need perseverance and enough character to keep honing your craft and then, eventually, you might not stink. And then, maybe, you’ll be worth reading. I don’t believe I’m there yet, but I do believe that the story I tell is interesting and unique enough to be worth reading. As for the writing, I have a life-long plan to become a great writer.

Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
There are so many answers to that question. I believe that I first wanted to be a spy. I remember spying on my family members during family gatherings. I even kept a secret journal in which I noted what they were doing and what might be their intention behind those actions. Then, I wished to be a ballet dancer, and after a while, an actress. That lasted until my second year at university, when I decided to write and fell deeply in love with my keyboard.

Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
A good hardcover will always win in my heart because it’s harder to break and I’m a sucker for smelling the pages before I start reading a book. However, a Kindle is very useful when you want to travel light or when you’re backpacking. I don’t want to think about the weight of my backpack it I were to fill it with all the books I downloaded on my Kindle. Paperback is cheaper, though, so I guess all three formats are important, depending on your budget, your way of living, and your personal habits.

Q:  If you could be any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?

As much as I’d love to be able to read people’s thoughts or become invisible whenever I want, the greatest superpower for me will always be to fly. I envy birds and butterflies. I envy their freedom and wish sometimes that I could just follow them for a few days and see the world from up there.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I thought I’d dislike it at first because it’s written in letters only, but I really like Charlie’s character development and it’s so rare these days in books for teens that I can’t help but enjoy it. There are many life-changing quotes and ways to see life, too. No wonder why it’s so popular!



Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Q & A with Tara Ellis



Bloodline
Forgotten Origins Trilogy, #1
by Tara Ellis


Page Count: 240
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi


Sixteen-year-old Alex has always suspected her father’s death wasn’t random, but she never guessed how deep the mystery runs or what it involves. When a rare meteor shower is followed by a highly contagious infection, the people she once knew so well start acting like they have a similar purpose that doesn’t include her. Alex can now only rely on her friend Chris and loyal dog Baxter as she plunges into a strange, new world predestined since ancient times. Wandering the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, deciphering cryptic messages left by her father, desperately searching for a cure-will Alex have the courage and faith to even survive?


Find it on Goodreads
Amazon

Read It & Reap: November 12, 2015

 
I LOVE to read. I was one of those kids that was never without a book. Or two...or three. If I had a spare minute, whether in class or on the bus or late at night when I should have been asleep; I was reading.

I also always wanted to be a writer. I wrote my first short story when I was eight on an old typewriter and lots of whiteout (the kind you had to hold in front of the key and re-type to make it cover it).

Finally, at 43, I have accomplished my dreams. Thanks to the Indie platform and I have published six books (so far) and I am absolutely thrilled to be able to connect with other like-minded authors, and especially readers here on Goodreads. That people are reading my stories and enjoying the worlds I am creating exceeds my expectations, and I'm looking forward to where this might take me.

Now...for those that like the more formal blurb: :)

Author Tara Ellis lives in a small town in beautiful Washington State in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys the quiet lifestyle with her husband, two teenage kids and several dogs. Having been a firefighter/EMT and working in the medical field for many years, she now teaches CPR and concentrates on family, photography, and writing young adult novels.

Website: http://taraellisauthor.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7457338.Tara_Ellis
Trilogy Box Set: http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Origins-Trilogy-Bloodline-Heritage-ebook/dp/B00V2TS744/ref =asap_bc?ie=UTF8



Q & A with Tara Ellis

Q: Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
In the first book, Bloodline, the main characters are Alex, Chris, Jacob, and Baxter. Alex is your typical sixteen-year-old girl, except for that she’s not hung up on herself, and is a bit of a tomboy. Early in the story, she meets up with Chris. He’s an older boy at school that she knew briefly a couple of years before through a youth group, but hasn’t talked to very much recently. While Alex is half Egyptian (this is significant to the story), Chris is three-quarters Native American. He’s a very levelheaded, intelligent guy with big goals after his upcoming graduation. Jacob is Alex’s ten-year-old little brother, and he’s very dear to her. Since their fathers passing two years prior, he’s needed some special attention, and they are quite close. He’s smart for his age, and ends up playing a key role in things. Then…there is Baxter. Baxter is a Golden Retriever, and I have to admit that his part in the whole trilogy is something that evolved as I wrote it, and I absolutely love him. I believe he’s one of the many elements that make the saga unique. (But I don’t want to give too much away!)

Q: 
Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
Mel at melchelldesigns.com has designed all of my novel covers for me. I think she does an amazing job, which is why I keep working with her! I’m in a bit of a unique position, since I am also a photographer. I have provided some of my own images to incorporate into the covers, and it’s helped create what I see in my mind’s eye. Mel has a way of taking my vision and turning it into something even better. My daughter is actually on the cover of Descent, the third book in the trilogy. I couldn’t find a picture of a girl holding an automatic rifle (critical for what I wanted), so I made my own!

Q: 
Describe your ideal writing spot.
Well, right now I am sitting in my car writing this (waiting while my daughter is at dance class) and this is NOT ideal! What I prefer, and do best in, is a quiet area of my house where I am not easily distracted. When I’m writing a story, I usually get up a bit early, get some coffee, and sit in my front room where there is some nice, natural light. I also burn a candle…because I’m just weird that way. ;) When I was working on the trilogy, I found that playing some relaxation music (no words!) in the background really helped. I haven’t needed that with my kids’ books, maybe because the plots are simpler and I don’t need quite as much concentration. (The trilogy is very complex)

Q: 
What is the best advice you have been given?
I have been given lots of good advice by other authors over the past couple of years. Aside from the obvious answers (get professional editing and cover designs), I would have to say that it came from another (very successful) indie author. He told me to consistently publish (put out several titles a year) and to be patient. It takes time. (usually) It took him six years and numerous publications before he gained a foothold. Unfortunately, patience is NOT a personality trait that comes naturally to me. But I’m trying.

Q: 
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I went back and forth between a doctor and vet (well, and Princess Lea), but one constant was my writing. I wrote my first story when I was about eight, pecking out the words on my parent’s old blue typewriter. I was reading Stephen King by fifth grade and attended my first writer’s conference in fourth. I knew very, very early on, that to see my writing as a published book was a lifelong dream. I started writing my first, full-length novel when I was sixteen. I finally finished it at twenty, but back then, there weren’t any other options other than finding an agent. This meant printing it out on the old dot matrix printer, finding agents through books in print and mailing the full manuscript off. I gave up very quickly. I finally pulled it out of the shoebox last year, dusted it off, and re-wrote it. (I needed a break from the heavy writing of the trilogy) The Mystery of Hollow Inn is dear to me, and I will admit that I cried when I first held the printed novel in my hands. Yes. I have always wanted to be a published author.

Q: 
What do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I’m old school when it comes to this question. I didn’t even purchase an ereader until after I published Bloodline. I have since downloaded countless books, of course, and read many on it. I believe, however, that there’s nothing that compares to holding a book in your hands. (paperback is easiest) I even like the smell of them. (Is that too weird?

Q:  If you could be any supernatural power, what would you choose and why?
Hmmmm. I’ve thought about super powers before, (flying of course!) but I haven’t given that much consideration in regards to supernatural ones. There are some supernatural elements to my trilogy, of course, but the…um…unique abilities gained are attributed more to an alien and viral aspect, vs. supernatural. I think it would be the ability to read another person’s intentions/feelings. I actually have a bit of a gift already, as far as reading people, and sometimes just ‘knowing’ certain things. So I suppose that if I could, I would chose to expand upon that. It would allow for greater empathy, compassion, and protection.

Q:  
What book are you reading now?
I am in the process of reading three books right now, which isn’t too uncommon for me. In no particular order:
Chains of Prophecy, by Jason P. Crawford
Autumn Moon, by Slade Grayson
Monte Vista Village, by Lynn Lamb


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Q & A with T.B. Markinson

Claudia Must Die
by T.B. Markinson


Claudia doesn’t feel like herself anymore—she feels like prey. Her husband’s hired goons have stalked her all the way to Boston and will only stop their pursuit once she is dead.

Divorce is not an option. Instead, she has stolen a bunch of her man’s money to disappear into another life.

In order for Claudia to live, someone else must die. A lookalike college student becomes the target capable of freeing her from an awful marriage.

The plan goes horribly awry. Instead of murdering Claudia’s double, the assassins shoot the woman’s lover who is the cousin of a powerful Irish mobster. Claudia becomes hunted by all involved. Can she survive? Should she?

Kindle Edition, 126 pages
Published December 8th 2014 by T. B. Markinson



Find it on:  Goodreads        Amazon
Read It & Reap:  April 21, 2015


T. B. Markinson is an American writer, living in England. When she isn't writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. She has published four novels: A WOMAN LOST, A WOMAN IGNORED, MARIONETTE, CONFESSIONS FROM A COFFEE SHOP, and CLAUDIA MUST DIE.

Website: http://tbmarkinson.wordpress.com/
Twitter: 50YearProject
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6182031-t-b-markinson


 


Q & A with T.B. Markinson

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.

Parker is a student, who is brilliant, and yet, totally clueless about everything around her. She doesn’t have friends or family and that’s why Claudia thinks she’ll be the perfect target. That is until Francis enters the scene. He’s the cousin of Parker’s girlfriend, and he’s well connected in South Boston. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t mess with him. And then there’s Claudia who will do almost anything to stay alive. When all three of them collide, it gets a bit crazy.

Q:  In your opinion, what makes a good, strong female character?
In one word: honesty. That doesn’t mean the character has to be honest. It means as an author I’m honest in my portrayal. For me, the best characters, male and female, are flawed characters, who are mostly good, but not entirely.

Q:  Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?

I’ve worked with a few designers, but recently I discovered Erin Dameron-Hill / EDHGraphics. She is currently re-designing Claudia Must Die and I’m super excited to release it soon. For me the process is easy since I just have to tell her enough information to give her a sense of the mood of the book, the types of characters, the settings, and such. I’m clueless when it comes to the design aspect and I know that, so I stay out of it as much as possible. I’m always amazed when I see what designers come up with. Such a talent.

Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot.
Hmmm…I would love to have a beach house so I could listen to the waves crashing as I write. Currently, I write in my London flat and I hear street noise all day. In my head, though, it’s the beach.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
I’ve been given a lot of advice, but the best is quite simple. Never give up.

Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I used to prefer paperbacks. I love opening them for the first time and hearing the spine crack. Lately, I prefer my Kindle. I’m getting older and it’s so nice to be able to enlarge the font and to adjust the light of the screen. I can read for longer hours without straining my eyes. And when I get into a book, I don’t like setting it aside.

Q:  If you could have any superpower, what would you choose and why?
The power to heal. Too many in this world suffer.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I’m about halfway and I’m loving it!

A Star is Born by Sable Hamilton

A Star Is Born (Stardust Stables, #1)A Star Is Born by Sable Hamilton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Star Is Born is a quick, enjoyable read that is written for young adults, but will be enjoyed by anyone who likes horses.

Stardust Stables is a training facility for teenage stunt riders and horses to be used in the entertainment industry. Stunt riding requires perseverance, patience, hours of training and skill. Kami was recruited for her horse riding accomplishments, but is she up to the task? She is the new girl and is required to do the grunt work which includes mucking stalls...not exactly glamorous work. Kami has an audition to be a stunt double for a movie. Has she mastered the techniques needed for the role?

Kami is a nice, young girl who loves horses and riding. She is not afraid of hard work and is willing to help others. I, as the reader, was able to see Kami go from nervous and homesick to confident and well trained. What an interesting look at working stables, stunt riding and the movie industry. I would definitely recommend it.

View all my reviews

Friday, 17 April 2015

Jaguar Pride by Terry Spear

Jaguar Pride (Heart of the Jaguar, #4)Jaguar Pride by Terry Spear
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Melissa Overton and Huntley Anderson are both jaguar shifters and operatives for JAG Special Forces who are on a mission to catch poachers in the rain forest of Costa Rica. They capture two poachers, but the ring leader was able to escape. How did they allow him to slip through their fingers? Will he be too elusive to catch? Melissa and Huntley are on his trail again when they are able to save shifter cubs, but the poachers get away with the parents of the cubs. Can they rescue the parents before it is too late? This mission has been more than they bargained for...they are special agents, not baby wranglers. Close quarters, two cute cubs, and two agents with their hands full can lead to some sticky situations. Will mutual respect and attraction blossom into something other than a romp in the rain forest for Melissa and Huntley?

Melissa and Huntley make a good team. They both know when to let the other take the lead on the mission. The chemistry is sizzling between them with plenty of hot love scenes. Jaguar Pride is one fun, action-packed, steamy paranormal read that I have come to expect from Terry Spear. I enjoyed this journey into the rain forest with all its exotic animals, and I look forward to the next adventure.

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                                                                        About the Author:



Love, love, love romance, the paranormal, hunky Highlanders with their delicious brogue and hot kilts, so Terry Spear writes about those hunky Highlanders both in medieval times and as wolves in contemporary times. Jaguar shifters too! And young adult urban fantasy. And romantic suspense.

She grew up reading mystery, adventure, mythologies from around the world, ghost stories, the paranormal, fell in love with Dracula and Wolfman, and felt they needed loving too. Everyone should have someone to love. Which means her stories always have a HEA.

USA Today Bestseller residing in Central Texas from Sacramento, California who creates award-winning teddy bears too!



Links:
Website
Twitter



Thursday, 16 April 2015

Q & A with J.A. Kenney


Silver Strife (Immortal Quicksilver #1)
by J.A. Kenney


Life . . . Death . . . Rebirth

Quicksilver is an ancient immortal warrior. One of a group of alien beings that were once pure energy, living in the void between galaxies, and who have taken mortal form to influence history.
The Purists, compelled by a zealot prophet, are immortal extremists who will use any means at their disposal to wipe out all mortal life. Qui and her Conservationist brethren have spent millions of years fighting for their survival.
In Silver Strife, Quicksilver has been reincarnated on an Earth devastated by centuries of planet-wide civil war. She awakens in the body of a human Elite named Lini: one of a race of superhumans, bred and trained by a Purist-led government to massacre the remnants of humanity. Quicksilver joins the rebel forces, despite their reluctance to trust a hated Elite, determined to take down the brutal dictatorship that has decimated the human race.
From their first meeting, she is drawn to Captain David Mitchell, the rebel officer who aided her escape from the Elite’s gilded cage. Even after swearing to never love again when her last mortal lover was killed saving her life, she finds herself falling for the honorable and driven soldier.
When Quicksilver crosses the path of an immortal ally on a top-secret mission behind enemy lines, a decision is forced upon her. She must choose between the fate of the human rebels, her mortal lover, and fulfilling her Conservationist oath to protect all mortal life. 
Paperback, First Edition, 298 pages
Published June 21st 2014 by Bottom Drawer Publications



J.A. Kenney lives in Aurora, Colorado, with a breathtaking view of the Rocky Mountains. In the winter, when the sky is clear, and if she stands on her tiptoes in exactly the right spot.

Three cats, a Chihuahua mix who thinks she is a Mastiff, and her beloved husband share her humble abode.

She has been writing since she found out that playing alien witches was more fun than tag. Her stories are a blend of science fiction, fantasy, and romance with strong female protagonists.

When she is not writing she reads voraciously, sings, skis, rides her Harley, and grudgingly assists with home improvement projects.

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8191616.J_A_Kenney
Website:  http://jakenney.com/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JennyAKenney



Q & A with J.A. Kenney

Q:  Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
Quicksilver is the primary focus of the entire Immortal Quicksilver series. The immortals are an energy based life form who in their natural state have neither physical form nor gender. In Silver Strife, Quicksilver is reborn as a member of the ruling caste in a post-apocalyptic future. She is the ultimate rebel, willing to do almost anything to save the mortals she is sworn to protect.

Captain David Mitchell is a soldier to the core. Born in a rebel compound outside of the control of the highly regulated and oppressive Union government. He joined the military branch of the Resistance at thirteen, and has been fighting ever since. He is knight in tattered camouflage, sworn to defend the civilians under his protection, and the men under his command.

Q:  Who designs the covers for your books and what is that process like for you as an author?
The covers for Silver Strife and Slivers of Silver were both designed through my publisher Bottom Drawer Publications. I did have a great deal of creative input into the final covers as well as the overall look and feel of the series. The process involved a lot of give and take, but was quite enjoyable. I have an alternative cover for Silver Strife that I designed with Atomic Fly Studios http://www.atomicflystudios.com who also designed my author logos.

Q:  Describe your ideal writing spot.
Curled up in a big comfy chair with my laptop and music playing in the background. What type of music, depends on what I'm writing.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
Just write. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so when I first started writing I would get caught on a single paragraph for days, editing and revising just a few words over and over. While editing is a vital step, in my experience, obsessing over a few words does more harm than good.

Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to do something creative. When I was very young I wanted to be a singer, actor, and dancer in musical theater. Later I did a lot of sculpting and photography. Finally, I sat down to write my first fiction project and discovered it was the perfect mix of my love of books, and my desire to create and entertain.

Q:  Which do you prefer: hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
For YEARS I refused to buy e-books, convinced I would miss the smell, even the feel of real paper. I have shelves full of both hardcover and paperback books to this day. However, a few years ago I caved a bought a kindle to gain access to books that were only published in that format. Now, I buy all my books in ebook form. The instant gratification and increase in my reading options changed my mind within weeks. I have nearly three thousand titles in my Kindle library now!

Q:  If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you choose to be and why?
I'm finishing up a vampire paranormal so that is very much on my mind. However, I am torn between vampire and cat shifter. I've always been fascinated by vampire myth and legend, but big cats have always been my favorite group of wild animals.

In the end, I would have to go big cat shifter, probably a cougar or mountain lion. They are strong, fast, beautiful animals who are free to roam in the mountains and open spaces.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
I just dove into The Wolf Within by Cynthia Eden, after finishing an ARC of The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor by Paula Quinn. Probably will start into Chained by Night by Larissa Ione tomorrow or the next day. I average about five novels a week in my free time