Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Witch Hunter by Nicole R. Taylor

The Witch Hunter (Witch Hunter Saga #1)The Witch Hunter by Nicole R. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Witch Hunter by Nicole R. Taylor is the story of four friends, Zac, Sam, Liz, and Gabby, who happen to be three vampires and a witch. Zac has a knack for getting himself into trouble and dragging his friends along with him. After Gabby calls on Aya, the Witch Hunter, for help getting Zac out of some trouble, things really get interesting.

As for the characters, my favorite was…Zac. Yes, I know he's kind of a jerk sometimes, but…hey, who doesn't like the bad boy? Sam is way too goody-goody for my taste, and Liz and him fit together perfectly. I also really like Gabby. She was not so sure of herself at the beginning of the story, but she was definitely finding her place towards the end. Aya, of course, was pretty awesome. I love a girl who can kick some butt.

There was a lot going on in this book. Vampires, witches, werewolves, you name it! Add them all together, and you have a fun, action packed story.


View all my reviews

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Witch Hunter by Nicole R. Taylor

Book:  The Witch Hunter
 
Series:  Witch Hunter Saga #1
 
Author:  Nicole R. Taylor

Genre:  Urban Fantasy / Paranormal

Page Count:  300
 
Available From:  
Amazon    
Smashwords

Book Description:   I was born into the world covered in blood, and that's exactly the way I left it.

Ever since, I have been damned to walk the boundary between life and death alone. Unwillingly turned and left to my nightmare, I have seen men commit countless horrors and committed many of my own.

My origins shall remain unknown, my true self hidden. I have been called by many names, but in this life I am known as the Witch Hunter. I have been asleep these past 150 years, until I was awoken by a haunting call.

Zachary Degaud was twenty three when he died. The problem was, he didn't stay that way.

Present day, he's just another vampire with another unremarkable story. That is, until he manages to provoke a two thousand year old witch named Katrin, who wants to make him pay in the most horrible way imagined.

Along with his brother Sam, newly made vampire Liz and their only witch ally, Gabby, his only chance for survival is to summon the ancient and unpredictable vampire known as the Witch Hunter.

Zac is just looking for a way out of his psychopathic witch problems, but instead will find himself falling head first into a blood feud that has stretched thousands of years.

Aya has been asleep for the past 150 years, until she was awoken by a haunting call. The witch she has been hunting for thousands of years, Katrin, has resurfaced and marked a young, annoyingly arrogant vampire by the name of Zachary Degaud. Unless she does something, he will die a slow and painful death. He has given her an opportunity to end the witch, but does she want to help him or leave him to his fate?

Zac will get under her skin like no one else has and she just might find herself making the ultimate sacrifice before he is gone forever.

They will both have to
choose sides and look deep within themselves before the end. But, what Zac learns about himself, will surprise him most of all.


My Rating:  4 of 5 stars
My Review:  The Witch Hunter by Nicole R. Taylor is the story of four friends, Zac, Sam, Liz, and Gabby, who happen to be three vampires and a witch. Zac has a knack for getting himself into trouble and dragging his friends along with him. After Gabby calls on Aya, the Witch Hunter, for help getting Zac out of some trouble, things really get interesting.

As for the characters, my favorite was…Zac. Yes, I know he's kind
of a jerk sometimes,
but…hey, who doesn't like the bad boy? Sam is way too goody-goody for my taste, and Liz and him fit together perfectly. I also really like Gabby. She was not so sure of herself at the beginning of the story, but she was definitely finding her place towards the end. Aya, of course, was pretty awesome. I love a girl who can kick some butt.

There was a lot going on in this book. Vampires, witches, werewolves, you name it! Add them all together, and you have a fun, action packed story.


View all my reviews


About the Author:  Nicole R. Taylor is an Australian born paranormal, fantasy and contemporary fiction author. She is a graduate of the University of Ballarat Professional Writing and Editing programme and is a former music memorabilia sales person and grocery merchandiser.

She currently lives in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia with a two year old rescue cat named, Burger. She enjoys reading, writing (of course!), traveling and a little too much chocolate. One day she hopes to sky dive, but has to work up the courage first.

The first in her new paranormal fantasy series, The Witch Hunter Saga is currently available in e-edition and print.

Learn more about her writing at:

www.nicolertaylorwrites.com
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads

 ____________________

Character Profile, Zac and Aya:


Sometimes inspiration comes from the most random places. I was asked a while go by a friend (one of my beta readers) how I came up with the character of Aya.

It was when I was listening to one of my favorite bands ever, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, that I found her. I knew I wanted to write something new but had no idea where to begin. Then this song came on and when I listened closer to the words and it sounded like a character that I could write about. I had a scene floating around in my head for a while, but no ultimate story attached to it. (It was the scene where Zac and Aya first meet and what happens next - I won't give it away!) I was really into this album at the time and the song stood out and the rest is history.

I don't really know who the Aya is in the song, but she inspired a band to write a song about her, who in turn inspired me to write a whole series of novels.

She's a patient killer, a timeless hand
The choke of the falling sands
She's a proven saint with a witches tongue
The gods of war at her command

It was those few words that I drew on and created a whole person, desire, history and purpose for. I don't know what she would have been like if I didn't hear this song.



Zac is the ultimate flawed hero.

He desperately wants to do the right thing, but he believes himself incapable. The only thing that seems to hold him together is his brother, Sam. He's a smart ass, talks back like nothin' else and is, on most occasions, reckless. He plays at being the 'bad boy' but is it really just a defense mechanism?

When Aya suddenly appears, she is the one puzzle he cannot solve. Trying to solve her is the most frustrating and alluring thing he's done in decades and it drives him mad.

Aya is the ultimate poster child for revenge and self-sacrifice. She'd dedicated her afterlife to hunting witches, and procured a pretty scary reputation for it. She's killed and compelled her way through her existence and has never let anyone close. Her secrets are too great to let go to anyone. She truly believes that she is the only one who can be trusted. Until she meets Zac, she doesn't understand that there are others out there that could become her family. She doesn't believe at all.

It was inevitable for their characters to develop feelings for one another.

On one had you have Aya, who's this solitary figure, a secretive, powerful vampire who people call The Witch Hunter. She's feared. She doesn't need any help surviving on her own. Even after all the time she's been around, these feelings she has towards Zac are strange to her. She's killed and compelled to keep her secrets and letting someone else in? Well, that's the worst possible scenario for her.

And on the other hand you have Zac, who's this tortured soul, keeping everything at arms length because he just doesn't know how to deal with it all. He's an asshole because he doesn't want people to know how unhinged he really is. He's looking for something, but he doesn't know what. He feels like his whole life is just going around in meaningless circles. He's completely and utterly lost. But, he won't confide in anyone. Not even his brother. Not even himself.

The interesting thing is what they will do once they realize they have developed these feelings? Will it bring them together, or tear them apart? Who will fight it and who will pursue it? Will it be happily ever after, or will it destroy them all?

I guess you'll just have to read to find out.
____________________
 

  
 

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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Swept by Becca Lee Nyx

Swept (Swept Trilogy, #1)Swept by Becca Lee Nyx
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Swept is the story of three high school friends, Crystal, Ryan, and Kelly, going off to college together and their experiences therein. Focusing mainly on Crystal, the story is told in varying viewpoints going between her, Ryan, and the mysterious Gabriel. The storyline itself is a lot of fun with all the adventures of being on your own for the very first time.

I think this book has a lot of potential to be great, but I felt like it was missing some key elements. I would have loved to have more of the story and less of the random sex. Don't get me wrong, the sex scenes were amazingly hot, but they didn't seem to fit well into the story. If they would have been integrated as part of the storyline rather than having the story built around them, it would have flowed easier and fit better overall.

I also would have loved to have more background or insight on the characters. It was really hard for me to connect with them, and there were too many personality inconsistencies to make getting to know them possible. For example, in the beginning of the story Crystal is portrayed as the geeky, innocent, kind of the "good girl" of the group. Yet a few chapters later she is having sex with everyone and their roommate as well as making plans to string along two guys she doesn't want to have to choose between, neither of which she is in love with. There was no transition from the beginning Crystal to the end Crystal.

Overall, like I said there is a lot of potential in this story, and I think it could be great. It is a relatively short story, so elements could easily be added to it in order to flesh out the characters more and give them sustenance without making the story overly long.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Mobster's Vendetta by Amy Rachiele

Mobster's Vendetta (Mobster, #3)Mobster's Vendetta by Amy Rachiele
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the third book of the Mobster series, the saga continues as Antonio tries to take care of family business while trying to leaving Megan out of it, to keep her safe. Unfortunately, Megan is already in too deep into the mob world and won't be left behind, not when she can help.

There are so many things I love about these books. First is Antonio and Megan's relationship and how it evolves over the course of the books. He is deep into the mob, the son of a Mafia boss looking to take over the family business when the time comes. In the first book, Megan is innocent to the things going on around her. By the third book, she is aware and accepting of what Antonio does and even willing to help do whatever she can to keep him safe. She's grown up a lot through the pages and that shows through their relationship and her relationships with others.

Second is just the story itself. I admit I do not really know anything about mobsters, their code of ethics, or their language, but the author does such a great job immersing the story in details that she make it completely believable.

Third is Vito. He is the kind of friend everyone needs. He sees what needs to be done and does it, no questions asked. He's always got Antonio's back, no matter the cost. I am glad we got to see more of him and get to know him better in this book, and I look forward to his story coming soon.


View all my reviews

Skin Games by Adam Pepper

Skin GamesSkin Games by Adam Pepper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sean O'Donnell is an excellent protagonist. He has a strong character, but he is not perfect. He makes bad decisions. On the outside he is the classic "bad boy," but when you understand why he does the things he does, lines get blurred. At times during the story, I was not sure if I should love him, hate him, or just feel sorry for him. But, Sean is a man of his word, always keeping a promise no matter the cost. But when he falls for the mob boss's daughter, things get rough.

Disguised as a crime novel, this romance was excellently written, fast paced, and easy to follow. Though there may not always be a happily ever after, vengeance is almost just as good.


View all my reviews

Friday, 22 March 2013

Harbinger by Philippa Ballantine - Cover Reveal!

Title:  Harbinger

Series:  Book of the Order #4

Author:  Philippa (Pip) Ballantine

Release Date:  July 30th

Book Description:  The Deacons of the Order are all that stand between the wicked spirits of the Otherside and the innocent citizens of the Empire. They are sworn to protect humanity, even when they cannot protect themselves…

After the Razing of the Order, Sorcha Faris, one of the most powerful Deacons, is struggling to regain control of the runes she once wielded. The Deacons are needed more desperately than ever. The barrier between the world of the living and the world of the dead is weakening, and the Emperor has abandoned his throne, seeking to destroy those he feels have betrayed him.

Though she is haunted by the terrible truth of her past, Sorcha must lead the charge against the gathering hordes of geists seeking to cross into the Empire. But to do so, she will need to manipulate powers beyond her understanding—powers that may prove to be her undoing…



About the Author:  Born in Wellington, New Zealand, Philippa has always had her head in a book. For this she blames her father who thought Lord of the Rings was suitable bedtime reading for an eight year old. At the age of thirteen she began writing fantasy stories for herself.

She first earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Political Science and then a Bachelor of Applied Science in Library and Information Science. So soon enough she found herself working in the magical world of libraries where she stayed for over a decade.

Her first professional sale was in 1997, and since then she has gone on to produce mostly novel length fiction. In 2006 she became New Zealand’s first podcast novelist, and she has voiced and produced Weaver’s Web, Chasing the Bard, Weather Child and Digital Magic as podiobooks. Her podcasts have won both a Parsec Award and a Sir Julius Vogel award.

Philippa is the author of the Books of the Order series with Ace- Geist, Spectyr, Wrayth and Harbinger coming in July 2013.

She is also the co-author of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series with Tee Morris. Phoenix Rising debuted in May 2011 and The Janus Affair came out in May 2012. Phoenix Rising won the Airship Award for best written steampunk, and was the number eight best Science Fiction book of 2011 according to Goodreads.com. The Janus Affair was the seventh most popular science fiction book of 2012 on Goodreads.com. The series continues with Dawn’s Early Light in December 2013.

In addition she is also the author of the Shifted World series with Pyr Books, with the first book Hunter and Fox released in June 2012, and the second Kindred and Wings scheduled for August 2013.

When not writing or podcasting, Philippa loves reading, gardening, and whenever possible traveling. With her husband Tee and her daughter, she is looked after by a mighty clowder of five cats in Manassas, Virginia.

Website:  www.pjballantine.com

Twitter:  philippajane
 



Thursday, 21 March 2013

Special Offers by M.L. Ryan

Special OffersSpecial Offers by M.L. Ryan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think my Kindle is defective. It didn't come with a man. Maybe I should send it back.

The thing I loved the most about Special Offers was the characters…no the quirky humor…no the inventive storyline…I'll have to get back to you on that. Long story short, I loved this book. I knew from page one that I was going to like Hailey. First of all, she has this sarcastic wit going on. She made me laugh through the entire book. I loved being in her head. Second, she is a book hoarder, so I can relate to her. Hailey decided it was time for a Kindle because she didn't have room for any more books (I can sympathize). Only her Kindle came with a "special" special offer…in the form of a man. But, there is a catch – that man, Sebastian, wants to share Hailey's body.

Sebastian is so much fun. I loved having his commentary in the story, albeit inside Hailey's head. The banter between Sebastian and Hailey is hilarious. Alex is a sweet guy, and him and Hailey hit it off right away, which is good since they have to work together to get Sebastian out of Hailey's body.

This story was easy and entertaining, and the author's writing style made me a fan.


View all my reviews

Wolf Protector by Milly Taiden - Cover Reveal!

Title:  Wolf Protector

Author:  Milly Taiden

Book Description:  A woman with a secret…
The Federal Paranormal Unit is an elite squad of supernaturals dedicated to solving missing persons cases. Erica’s gift allows her a special connection with the crime, but it comes at a deep personal cost… Until now, she’s kept her gift a secret, even from the other members of the team. But this case will throw her together with Agent Trent Buchanan. He’s the object of her secret desires, but he’s also a cocky womanizer. She’d rather swim in shark-infested waters with a paper cut than admit she has feelings for him.

A man with one desire…
Wolf Shifter Trent wants Erica more than he’s ever wanted any woman. He’s spent years patiently waiting for her to admit that she wants him too. Working one-on-one in a race to find a serial killer, Trent’s patience and Erica’s resolve wear thin. When Trent discovers the truth about Erica, will he accept her for who she is? And can he protect her from the horrors that her gift brings?
A case that pushes them to the edge…
Erica will have to risk it all if she wants to stop the killer, and when she does, Trent may have to put his own life on the line to make sure his mate is protected…










About the Author:  Want to know about me? Milly Taiden (aka April Angel) was born in the prettiest part of the Caribbean known as the Dominican Republic. She grew up between New York, Florida and Massachusetts. Currently, she resides in New York City with her husband, bossy young son and their little dog Speedy.

She’s addicted to shopping for shoes, chocolate (but who isn’t?) and Dunkin Donuts coffee.

A bookworm when she can get her hands on a good story, she loves reading all Mina Carter and Dianne Duvall among others.

Email:  millytaiden@gmail.com
Website:   http://www.millytaiden.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/millytaidenauthor


Books as Milly Taiden:
Caged Heat
Wynter’s Captive
Halloween Heat III – Mate Event
Fate’s Wish
Sharp Change

Coming Soon
Fever
Wolf Protector

Books as April Angel
Party Crasher
Wicked Valentine – Sizzling Encounters – Book 2
Stranded Temptation
Mr. Buff – Sizzling Encounters – Book 1

Coming Soon
Lucky Break – Sizzling Encounters – Book 3
A Hero’s Pride

Alaskan Nights by Nadia Scrieva - Cover Reveal!


Title:  Alaskan Nights

Author:  Nadia Scrieva

Release Date:  March 25

Book Description:  When Brynne left Alaska, she promised herself she would never go back.

The day after graduation, she got in her beat-up Honda Civic and drove down the west coast to pursue her dream of becoming a Hollywood makeup artist. Growing up in a rural fishing village with dirty, rundown buildings, and dirty, rundown men, she longed for the glitz and glamour of the silver screen. She had no qualms about leaving behind her dysfunctional family and her nowhere-job at her mother's fishing tackle shop. She didn't even think twice about leaving behind the cute boy who came in to buy gear almost every day, shamelessly flirting with her and always leaving a generous tip. Well, maybe she thought about it twice; but she knew that a relationship with Callder Murphy would only be bound to lead her deeper into nowhere. She was sick and tired of being nowhere—and no one.

Brynne set out, determined to prove to the world that she was much more than just a fisherman’s daughter. Unfortunately, her luck and tip money ran out in Seattle when her car broke down. Exhausted from the stress of travel, she decided to take a waitressing job in the city for the time being. “For the time being” ended up being far longer than she would have liked. That was four years ago. Now, a call from home has alerted Brynne to some bad news. She needs to get back to Soldotna promptly, but she has been living paycheck to paycheck and can’t even afford a plane ticket home. Enter a ghost from her past as her knight in shining armor. Unexpectedly showing up outside her restaurant in a red Ferrari, Callder is determined to take her home with him, and keep her there for good.

Perpetually drunken playboy, Callder Murphy, is currently loaded. Of course, that’s only because he stole his big brother’s credit card. He was off in Vegas, doing what he does best (absolutely nothing) when he received the call from home. A name he hasn’t heard in years pulls him out of his mindless haze of stumbling from one wild party to the next: Brynne Ambrose needs his help. Pleasant memories of the rude, tomboyish, and completely adorable girl-next-door come rushing back to him with a vengeance. He drops all of his shenanigans and cleans up his act instantaneously. He uses his brother’s credit card to buy an impressive car, and sets out to win over the girl of his dreams. He knows he’s no good for her, but he can’t stay away.

Callder has been waiting his whole life for the opportunity to be her man, and he’s not going to let her slip away again.

 
About the Author:  Nadia Scrieva lives in Toronto, Canada with no husband, no kids, and no pets. She does own a very attractive houseplant which she occasionally remembers to water between her all-consuming writing marathons.

www.NadiaScrieva.com

www.facebook.com/NadiaFans

www.nadiascrieva.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/#!/NadiaScrieva

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5449630
 
 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Special Offers by M.L. Ryan

Title: Special Offers

Series: The Coursodon Dimension Series #1

Author: M.L. Ryan

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Running with Scissors Publishing

Number of pages: 216

Cover Artist: M.L. Ryan

Available from: 
Amazon Kindle ~ Smashwords ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Sony ~ Paperback Amazon ~ Create Space paperback

Book Description: As soon as Hailey Parrish discovered her husband was cheating with her co-worker, she swore off men. She had to find another job when her boss went to prison for being a pimp in his spare time. Three years later, Hailey still hadn’t gone on a date and she milks chinchilla for a living. Her life is about to get weirder.  

While in pursuit of inter-dimensional miscreants who use their arcane powers to prey upon humans, Sebastian Kess was ambushed and mortally wounded. To save his life, he used his own magic to convert his soul to binary code and transfer it into Hailey’s soon-to-be shipped Kindle eBook reader. When Hailey inadvertently releases him and he inhabits her body, she finally has a man inside her, just not in the way she imagined.

Hailey must come to grips with the existence of the parallel dimension of Coursodon and the realization that magically inclined non-humans walk the world while dealing with Sebastian’s arrogant banter in her head. Her predicament also introduces her to another supernatural, the handsome could-be-the-man-of-her-dreams Alex Sunderland. The action moves from Hailey’s hometown of Tucson, Arizona to New England and across Europe as she and Alex try to return Sebastian to his own body while staying one step
ahead of the criminals who want to keep him where he is.  

Special Offers, the first book of the Coursodon Dimension Series, combines paranormal romance, urban fantasy, a bit of science fiction and a healthy dose of quirky humor. 



My Review
5 of 5 stars
I think my Kindle is defective. It didn't come with a man. Maybe I should send it back.

The thing I loved the most about Special Offers was the characters…no the quirky humor…no the inventive storyline…I'll have to get back to you on that. Long story short, I loved this book. I knew from page one that I was going to like Hailey. First of all, she has this sarcastic wit going on. She made me laugh through the entire book. I loved being in her head. Second, she is a book hoarder, so I can relate to her. Hailey decided it was time for a Kindle because she didn't have room for any more books (I can sympathize). Only her Kindle came with a "special" special offer…in the form of a man. But, there is a catch – that man, Sebastian, wants to share Hailey's body.

Sebastian is so much fun. I loved having his commentary in the story, albeit inside Hailey's head. The banter between Sebastian and Hailey is hilarious. Alex is a sweet guy, and him and Hailey hit it off right away, which is good since they have to work together to get Sebastian out of Hailey's body.

This story was easy and entertaining, and the author's writing style made me a fan.

View all my reviews

 
About the Author

M.L. Ryan is a profes­sional woman — not that she gave up her amateur status, but rather that she is over-educated with a job in which she spends a lot of time writing dry science non-Fiction. In an effort to strength­en the less logi­cal side of her brain, she decided to write some of the many stories rolling around in her head. She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband, son, four cats, two dogs and two adopt­ed desert tortoises.




Blog: http://coursodondimension.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.coursodondimension.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CoursodonDimension
Twitter: @MLRyan1
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3384189.M_L_Ryan


Q & A with M.L. Ryan 

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

A:  The story is told from the perspective of Hailey Parrish, a thirty-year-old divorcee with self-esteem issues and a boring job milking chinchilla for artisanal cheese. Her life gets a lot more exciting when she is inhabited by Sebastian Kess — an egotistical, womanizing, magically endowed enforcer from a parallel dimension — who was previously trapped in her Kindle eBook reader. Hailey can hear Sebastian in her head and he doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to making his thoughts and needs known. Sebastian’s mysterious disappearance is investigated by another supernatural, the handsome, sexy, all-around-nice-guy Alex Sunderland, who mistakenly believes Hailey is somehow involved.  

Q.  Do you have anyone in mind who would be perfect to play Hailey, Sebastian, and Alex in a movie? 

A:  I am asked this a lot, and I am always a bit reluctant to give faces to the characters because the readers should decide what they think Hailey, Sebastian and Alex look like. But if I had to find actors to play them, I’d choose Mila Kunis (but without makeup, otherwise she’s way too hot to be Hailey), John Stamos (he has the right pompous demeanor and dark good looks to be Sebastian) and Alexander Skarsgard (tall, blonde and hot, just like Alex).

Q.  What was your favorite scene to write? 
A:  Hmmm. That’s tough. I think my favorite is when Hailey realizes that Sebastian can see what she sees. She goes to great lengths to ensure he can’t get a peek at her naked.

Q.  What is your work schedule like when you're writing? 

A:  Unfortunately, I have a day job. That means writing is relegated to evenings and weekends. I try to write every day, even if it is just a paragraph or two, and I stick to that schedule. Once, I forced myself to write when I had some nasty upper respiratory infection and a fever. Much to my surprise, the ideas flowed out and I added about a thousand words in record time. Of course, when I re-read that part after I felt better, it made no sense whatsoever. Now I try to be a little less intransigent when it comes to the every-day rule.

Q.  How would you describe your writing style? 

A:  Playful. I find humor in almost everything, even situations that aren’t particularly funny, and my writing reflects this quirk in my personality.

Q.  What do you do to unwind and relax? 

A:  I play soccer on two women’s teams. If I wasn’t slow and unskilled, I’d be a force to be reckoned with. Regardless of my prowess (or lack thereof), I love the competition, the exercise and the team camaraderie. I also find writing fiction immensely relaxing. I suppose it’s because I can immerse myself in the story and forget about the stresses of real life.

Q.  What book are you reading now? 
A:  Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body by Jennie Marts.

Q.  Chocolate or vanilla?

A:  Definitely chocolate. Dark. Bitter. Much like myself, really.


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Sunday, 17 March 2013

In Gods' Hands by Jessa Callaver

In Gods' HandsIn Gods' Hands by Jessa Callaver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In true form, this short story by Jessa Callaver is hot and steamy. The story finds us at the Carnival in Italy with Cassie, who is down on her luck after a fight with her boyfriend. She runs into (literally) a couple of guys and for lack of anyplace better to go, she ends up going back to their hotel with them. However, no one in this story is how they appear, and Cassie gets the surprise of her life.

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The Coven: Fire and Ice by Verdell Walker

The Coven: Fire and IceThe Coven: Fire and Ice by Verdell Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has a lot going on. You have the beginnings of your typical romance - girl and boy meet, girl and boy fall in love - but The Coven has so much more thrown in to the tangle, including witches and warlocks with some pretty amazing powers, a jealous ex-girlfriend, an evil minion intent on destroying humankind and controlling the world, and some wickedly awesome action-packed fight scenes.

Kat moves to a new school for a fresh start and makes some new friends, and a few enemies. She falls hard for Blaze (but hey, who wouldn't?), and they have to fight against the odds to stay together. Kat is an amazing character. She is strong, independent, and does not follow the crowd. Though this was not always the case and it is not always the easiest thing for her, she is determined to make herself a better person. Blaze is used to girls throwing themselves at him, so when Kat doesn't, he definitely takes notice. Blaze is a nice guy, though he finds out he is not perfect. I have gotta say, he has got some amazingly awesome friends. I love those guys! I am very much anticipating learning more about them in future books, especially Q and Cody; they are my favorites.

The Coven also takes on some very tough social issues, such as bullying and suicide. There are more issues incorporated into the story, but these are the two foremost. As I said, there is a lot going on, but the author was able to weave it all together into an engaging tale that was really fun to read.


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Twelve Nights by Carole Remy

Twelve NightsTwelve Nights by Carole Remy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Twelve Nights is the charming story of Angela and Aggie – identical twins who get themselves into some twin trouble. Angela, the 'bad' twin, manages to talk Aggie, the 'good' twin, into answering a personal ad together. What can go wrong?

This is the classic story of an identity switch gone amiss, with many adventures along the way. Sometimes, we as the reader do not even know which twin is which, and it was a lot of fun trying to keep it all straight (believe me, you won't be able to!).

This super sweet and sexy romance will keep you entertained and laughing at the girls' misadventures.

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Who is Candid? by Carole Remy

Who is Candid? by Carole Remy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Who is Candid? is a super fun story that kept me laughing all the way through. Lucy, aka Candid, is on a journey of self discovery and unintentionally takes the whole nation with her. Told through journal entries, emails, and phone conversations, the story follows Lucy and her sordid tales of adventure across the country as she causes trouble everywhere she goes.
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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Q & A with Verdell Walker

Title:  The Coven: Fire and Ice
    

Series:
  The Coven, Book 1

Author:
  Verdell Walker

Genre:
  YA Paranormal Romance

Page Count:
  454


Cover Artist:
  Gabriela Miyares


Available From: 

Createspace
Apple iBookstore  
Sony 
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Kindle 
Barnes & Noble 


Book Description:  After her clique's bullying causes a classmate's suicide, Kat Grey trades the vicious world of the California "in crowd" for the chance to become a better person in Massachusetts. But when she steps in to protect a classmate from being bullied, Kat sparks a war with Hannah, Milton Academy's resident Queen Bee.

Kat's courage and compassion attract the attention of Blaze Ward, Hannah's ex-boyfriend. As they fall in love, Kat discovers that Blaze is more than the boy next door. He's a warlock. He is also the leader of an in-crowd like no other - the Brotherhood, five young warlocks charged with defending witches and humanity from a demonic adversary named Seth.

Kat challenges Blaze to become a better man and leader while he helps her find redemption as she makes it her mission to stop bullying at Milton. But when Hannah teams up with Seth to destroy her, Kat becomes a hostage in the age-old war between the Brotherhood and their greatest enemy. Saving Kat will require more than Blaze's strength and skill; it will
mean breaking one of his kind's most sacred laws. Blaze will have to make a choice: his honor or Kat's life.
 
My Review
4 of 5 stars

This book has a lot going on. You have the beginnings of your typical romance - girl and boy meet, girl and boy fall in love - but The Coven has so much more thrown in to the tangle, including witches and warlocks with some pretty amazing powers, a jealous ex-girlfriend, an evil minion intent on destroying humankind and controlling the world, and some wickedly awesome action-packed fight scenes.

Kat moves to a new school for a fresh start and makes some new friends, and a few enemies. She falls hard for Blaze (but hey, who wouldn't?), and they have to fight against the odds to stay together. Kat is an amazing character. She is strong, independent, and does not follow the crowd. Though this was not always the case and it is not always the easiest thing for her, she is determined to make herself a better person. Blaze is used to girls throwing themselves at him, so when Kat doesn't, he definitely takes notice. Blaze is a nice guy, though he finds out he is not perfect. I have gotta say, he has got some amazingly awesome friends. I love those guys! I am very much anticipating learning more about them in future books, especially Q and Cody; they are my favorites.

The Coven also takes on some very tough social issues, such as bullying and suicide. There are more issues incorporated into the story, but these are the two foremost. As I said, there is a lot going on, but the author was able to weave it all together into an engaging tale that was really fun to read.

View all my reviews


About the Author: Verdell Walker is the author of THE COVEN series. Born and raised in the South, writing has been her escape from reality for many years.

Verdell is an avid sports fan and absolutely devoted to the Green Bay Packers. A gifted cook and baker, few things make her happier than making a meal for her family and friends. Except maybe writing about her favorite boys.   


Blog  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Goodreads



 Q & A with Verdell Walker 

Q.  Tell us a little bit about your main characters. 
A.  Maximilian "Blaze" Ward, Jr. is the leader of the Brotherhood and son of The First, who is the anointed head of all witches and warlocks in the world. Blaze chafes in his role as his father's successor and wishes he could be his own man. But at the same time he takes his position as a Brother very seriously. He’s strong, courageous, and intelligent. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his flaws – he can be extremely stubborn and slow to forgive others as is shown numerous times in the novel.

Katherine “Kat” Grey is Blaze’s human girlfriend. Deeply affected by the suicide of a girl she once bullied, Kat turns her life around and vows to become a better person. She takes a stand against bullying and is not afraid to fight for what she believes in. She catches Blaze’s eye when she stands up to a bully in order to protect a friend, and also because she quite frankly doesn’t fall all over him like other girls do. While she doesn’t have powers, Kat is Blaze’s match in every sense. Kat loves Blaze, but she is also completely independent of him. That was a trait I was keen to show, and something I think is missing in a lot of female leads in YA literature. 

You can learn more about the other members of the Brotherhood
here.

Q.  What was your favorite scene to write?
A.  Note to your readers: If you haven’t read Fire and Ice yet, then skip this part! I have two favorites, really. The first was when Blaze and Kat are in the cave after they’d been attacked by Dark Ones. I really wanted to play up Blaze’s vulnerability; he’s such a strong, brave character and it was fun for me to show him opening up to someone. The second was Kat’s homecoming speech. Her words were the main point I wanted to make about bullying. And it was certainly a demonstration of Kat’s strength and character. She’s standing up for what she believes in and burying the bad person she used to be once and for all.

Q.  How would you describe your writing style?
A.  I don’t think I have one, to be honest. I don’t even think I write in only one style. I try to pick a style appropriate to the story. The story should be the primary motivator for everything – each one requires something different. On a simple level, I strive for unadorned, realistic dialogue for my characters. I’m a big believer in the dictum of “show, don’t tell” and thoroughly agree with Hemingway’s belief that less is more.

Q.  Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
A.  This novel was definitely a vehicle for me to comment on the destructive nature of bullying and its far-reaching consequences. We all need to be cognizant of the power our words and actions have on others. My primary goal as a writer is for readers to be engrossed in my characters and their stories. Beyond this, I also use writing as a soap box to address the issues that I care about. Beyond magic and witchcraft, this series is going to touch on issues that concern me. In Fire and Ice, bullying is a central theme while there is also an underlying social commentary on class. That commentary will be a much bigger focus in the second book, which I’m writing now. Drug use, racial discrimination, poverty on Indian reservations, veterans’ issues, and sex trafficking are all going to factor heavily into the plots of the subsequent books. Those are things I care about, and I want to bring them to my readers’ attention at the same time I’m entertaining them. 

Q.  What do you see as influences on your writing?
A.  My personal experiences and interests are definitely big influences for me. My experiences with being bullied provided a lot of fodder for Fire and Ice. I get inspired by things that I read in the paper and online as well. I think that reading the newspaper every single day is one of the best things that a writer can do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read something in the paper that later influenced my writing.

Of course, you can’t be a good writer if you aren’t a reader too, in my opinion. I’ve been influenced by a lot of writers across genres, all of whom have taught me different things that I’ve used in my own work. Some of the most important for me are Jhumpa Lahiri, JR Ward, Karen Cushman, Orhan Pamuk, John Ajvide Lindqvist, and Naguib Mahfouz.

Q.  Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
A.  In five years I hope to be celebrating the release of the last book of The Coven series and completing my MBA. Hopefully by that point I will have the met the man I’ll spend the rest of my life with too! 

Q.  What do you do to unwind and relax?
A.  After reading, belly dancing is definitely my relaxation mode of choice. I’ve been training in belly dance for about 5 years now. It’s a feminine and sensual dance, but requires a lot of control, coordination, and strength. My teacher’s been dancing for 40 years and she still takes lessons!

Q.  What book are you reading now?
A.  I’m reading “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness, ironically enough. I’ve wanted to read it for a while since I’ve heard nothing but good things about the book. 



Check out each stop on The Coven tour schedule! 

 

Her Loving Husband's Return by Meredith Allard Cover Reveal!

Her Loving Husband’s Return
Book Three of the The Loving Husband Trilogy
by Meredith Allard

“I need to get home,” James said aloud.

He heard shuffling behind the wooden plank that separated his quarters from the rest of the barrack. “We all need to bloody well go home,” he heard. 

What would you do to return to the only one you have ever loved?

James Wentworth’s secret is no longer a secret, and now he and his beloved wife, Sarah, have been separated. While suffering his own internment, James is reminded of his time with Japanese-Americans in the Manzanar Relocation Camp during World War II, and he cannot allow the past to repeat itself. With the help of his friends—Chandresh, Jocelyn, Timothy, even the irreverent Geoffrey—James learns what it means to return, and he is determined to return to his Sarah no matter the challenges—or the consequences. Will James and Sarah be reunited once and for all despite the madness surrounding them? Will James’s most fervent wish be granted? The changes in store for the Wentworths may be irreversible.

Her Loving Husband’s Return

Prologue

In seventy years so little has changed. Then, the gate was taller than the tallest person, electrified, eager to shock to the death. Looming above the fence were eight high-standing towers with armed guards with submachine guns who looked down upon the people as though they could be, should be shot for amusement’s sake. They were at one with the enemy across the Pacific Ocean, many decided. They had to be. They were traitors. They were spies. How else can we separate the good ones from the bad ones? How else can we know the loyal ones from the conspirators? We must round them up like cattle and pen them here where they’re safe from us and us from them.

            Looming above the barracks, higher than the gates, beyond the guard towers, were the mountains. Always the mountains. They encompassed everything within their distance—one vast, jagged, granite wall stretching toward the heavens from the deepest valley in the Americas, cascading Vs flecked with icy snow, unmistakable even through the wintry clouds. The mountains were everything everywhere. If the gates, the guard towers, and the armed military police weren’t enough to remind you that you were a prisoner here, the mountains shouted your helplessness. You are here, the mountains said, and we will trap you here forever.

            I remember when the bus stopped near the guard station, a lonely shack at the edge of the camp, one window on either side, misshapen rocks slapped together with mortar, a pagoda-style roof. The guards spoke to the bus driver and barked directions as though the people inside were orange-clad prisoners linked by irons, but they were only families—fathers, mothers, children, grandparents. I remember the anxiety in those inside the gate, their quick-scanning eyes wide as they drew as close to the barbed-wire fence as they dared, searching those on the other side for missing family or friends. I remember the fear in those outside as they stepped off the bus and shivered in the bitter desert cold. Their clenched hands grabbed hold of family members and they stared without seeing the nighttime landscape of brush and tumbleweed that promised blinding dust storms, the horizon flat until the mountains. Always the mountains. The bewildered people outside clutched their bundles of luggage, all that was left of their former lives. The people from the buses were herded inside, shouted at, tagged and numbered. Already they were losing themselves. When the gate slammed and locked behind them they looked toward the outside as though they would never be free again.

So, yes, I have been here before. I have walked this arid wilderness. I have heard the sand blow a maddened howl in the night. I have seen the white-glow moonlight reflect the saw-toothed horizon. Through it all, the mountains have remained the same. After all, what is seventy years to a mountain range that has watched millennia pass away? Now, the gates are taller since they guess we can jump anything less. Now, the gates have silver coating, the barbs deemed no longer necessary since they guess the barbs cannot pierce our preternatural skin. Now, the military police carry guns with silver bullets, which we secretly laugh at. Now, I am the one who has been carted away, considered too unpredictable to be out among polite society. Yet the barracks, the mess halls, the natural barrier of the mountains between us and everyone else in the world…so much of it is the same. There are nights when I cannot make the distinction between then, when I was here from compassion, and now, when I am the one encaged. But do not worry for me, my love. Now, with this silver-coated gate and these imposing mountains between us, I am reminded all too strongly how I cannot be without you. Soon, Sarah. I will hold you in my arms soon. Be patient this little longer, my love, and I will return to you. I will.
 

About the Author:  Meredith Allard is the author of The Loving Husband Trilogy, Victory Garden, Woman of Stones, and My Brother’s Battle. She is the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, an award-winning literary journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Her Dear and Loving Husband
Book One of the Loving Husband Trilogy
By Meredith Allard

James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties with anyone. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife, Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth's death, James cannot move on. 

Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. Soon James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again? 

Part historical fiction, part romance, part paranormal fantasy, Her Dear & Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.
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Her Loving Husband’s Curse
Book Two of the Loving Husband Trilogy
by Meredith Allard

How far will you go to protect the one you love?

Finally, after many long and lonely years, James Wentworth’s life is falling into place. Together with his wife, Sarah, the only woman he has ever loved, he has found the meaning behind her nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and now they are rebuilding the life they began together so long ago.

But the past is never far behind for the Wentworths. While Sarah is haunted by new visions, now about the baby she carried over three hundred years before, James is confronted with painful memories from his time with the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. Through it all, the persistent reporter Kenneth Hempel reappears, still determined to prove that the undead walk the earth. If Hempel succeeds in his quest, James and Sarah will suffer. Will the curse of the vampire prevent James and Sarah from living their happily ever after?
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