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Recent Reviews...

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Playing Catch Up! Kissing Coffins by Ellen Schreiber

Playing Catch Up has really been helping me through my ever growing TBR list. I'd like to welcome all other blogs to participate too! If you do, be sure to post your links in the comments section. I'd love to see your Playing Catch Up Reviews, and I'm sure others would too!! *wink*

Want to know more about Playing Catch Up? I'll tell you all about it here!

Kissing Coffins (Vampire Kisses #2) by Ellen Schreiber
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published:  July 26, 2005
Publisher: HarperTeen

Not far from Dullsville, someone's lurking in the dark. . . .

After meeting the handsome and shadowy Alexander Sterling, goth-girl Raven's dark world has a bright, new glow. But as in her favorite movie, "Kissing Coffins," Raven knows that love always has its complications, especially when Alexander has a big secret to guard.

When Alexander suddenly disappears, Raven leaves Dullsville to begin a dangerous search to find him. Can she stay safe, no matter who--or what--she encounters on the way?

Kissing Coffins is the second book in the Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber. There wasn't much that went on, but it kept my attention just enough. Raven still seems so much younger than what she is. She seems more junior high/middle school level. We learn a tiny bit of Alexander's history. How old is he anyway? Have we found that out yet, because I got the impression this time around that he was a lot younger than I previously thought. I still haven't seen much of his personality come out though. Other than appearances, why are these two so attracted to each other? I just don't think this series if for me. So far the books are short and entertaining enough if you need a quick read while you're on a plane or killing time, but they just haven't grabbed me as much as I was hoping.

Check out my review of the first book in this series!

Before I took pen to paper, I was an actress. I attended a local university majoring in theatre and spent a summer in London at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts where I learned about the Old Bard from amazingly talented teachers.

When I returned from London, I relocated to Chicago where I lived for five years. There, I graduated from the Second City Training Center and performed improv, Shakespeare, comedies and dramas--I even sang and danced on a cruise boat--without falling in Lake Michigan! A classmate of mine from Second City and I created and performed a two woman show for a year before I braved it alone doing stand-up comedy. It was during this time I began to write an adult novel about a rock star--I had always enjoyed writing...

Fast forward a couple of years along with a move home where I was performing stand-up at comedy clubs in the area. On a plane to LA to decide my fate-- to move to LA or not to move to LA that is the question, my big bro, Mark, coincidentally with the same last name as mine (author of PRINCES IN EXILE, DREAMS OF THE SOLO TRAPEZE and STARCROSSED) handed me a young adult book he found at the library he thought Id like to read during the flight.

As I read the book, I thought, I can do this!

I returned from LA, and instead of moving there, I wrote my story about the rock star as a young adult novel and called it JOHNNY LIGHTNING.

Mark, my writing mentor, edited JL for me. He was kind enough to send the manuscript to his publisher in Belgium--Facet--and they published it! In Dutch!

I was on a new life path!

I joined a writer’s organization (SCBWI) hoping I could get group insurance and in the back of their monthly mag they posted important publishing news. A fabulous editor named Katherine Tegen was joining HarperCollins and for a short time would be accepting “unsolicited manuscripts.” This means non-agented material. Since I didn’t have an agent at the time, this was big news.

I sent her Teenage Mermaid.

I few months later, I got the letter of a lifetime! I still have it framed on my wall. In 2001 Katherine Tegen at HarperCollins made me an offer I couldn’t refuse! Not only was HarperCollins going to publish TEENAGE MERMAID, but it was in a language I could read and book stores I could walk into!

I showed her my other books and HarperCollins also bought VAMPIRE KISSES and COMEDY GIRL. Katherine’s first year’s listing had already been filled so I was going on the 2003 releases. I had to wait two long years until they came out!

Talk about patience! But it was worth every minute I waited. :)

After Vampire Kisses was published, Katherine asked me for a sequel, and there begins the evolution of the series. I have her, my brother Mark, my parents, and of course all the fangtastic readers to thank for that!

Then in 2006 or 2007, Tokyopop and HarperCollins approached me about making a Vampire Kisses manga. I was escatic! Raven and Alexander came to life in three volumes and at least eight foreign editions. I loved reading manga and it was a dream come true to be creating one!

When I'm not writing about the love affair between vampire obsessed, goth girl Raven and her favorite mysterious dark-eyed hottie, Alexander Sterling, I enjoy working on my other novels, shopping for Hello Kitty items on Ebay and attempting to gain control of the remote from my husband. :)

To learn more about Ellen Schreiber and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on GoodreadsFacebook, and Twitter.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Book Review! Haven by Mary Lindsey

Haven by Mary Lindsey
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing

"We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed."

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.

(Former title: Hide from Me.) 

Haven by Mary Lindsey reminded me a little bit of Nightshade and a little bit of Blood and Chocolate, but at the same time it was its own story entirely. The story is told from Rain's point of view, and he sure has found himself in a crazy situation. He's pretty intense, and it works, because Freddie is even more so. Her life is her pack. She's fighting to keep her place, her image, and to survive within the pack.The wolf(Watchers) pack dynamic was rough and feral, yet complex. Add the Weavers to the dynamic, and it makes things even more complicated. They're a little backwards and uncivilized in many ways, and I think the Weavers have helped feed that mentality to keep the wolves beneath them. There is a lot going on among these two groups, good and bad. Haven was intriguing, suspenseful, and mysterious. I'm not sure if this is going to turn into a series or not, but I can easily see it become one. There is a lot of material to keep going with this one.

The ARC of Haven by Mary Lindsey was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.

When Rain turned back to Freddie, he bit down a gasp of surprise. She’d stripped off her shirt and tipped her face to the moon, eyes closed, like one would do to the sun at the beach. And here he’d thought the landscape was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
The air was still. Eerily still, and her smooth skin appeared to glow from inside in the moonlight—her black lace bra sheer enough to make him a little dizzy.
Without opening her eyes, she said, “Take off your shirt.”
No way in hell was he going to argue with that. He yanked off his shirt, clutching it in his fist, waiting for his next instruction.
He forgot how to breathe when she opened her pale eyes and moved toward him. Her gaze wasn’t focused on his face, though. It was on his chest. Stopping in front of him, she traced her fingers over the ink.
“Raindrops?” she asked, finger outlining one of the shapes.
“Tears,” he replied, again light-headed as she ran her fingertips over his pec.
“For your mom?”
“No. For all of us.”
She stepped back and, for a long time, stared at the tattoo comprised of dozens of drops in a random pattern over his chest, spilling down his ribs.
She traced a scar on his side with the tip of her finger. One of many marring his body from fights. “Your life has been sad.”
And so had hers recently. Maybe that was why he felt so connected to her. Their shared grief, their shared stand against a harsh, unfeeling, screwed-up world. Their shared solitude.
She turned back to the moon and raised her arms. “Do you feel it?”
Well, that was a wide-open question. He was feeling lots of things.
“The moon,” she said. “It’s like aloe when you’re sunburned. Try it.”
He imitated her posture, head back, arms out, but felt nothing other than the throbbing hardness he always felt around her.
“So, what do you think about that legend your aunt told you?” she asked.
He opened his eyes to find her studying him. “That the rock can turn men into beasts?” His mind raced, wondering what would prompt that question and what answer she was looking for. Men were beasts. Horrible monsters at times. He’d seen it firsthand. “I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”
There it was again. That strange warm pull in his chest while she studied him. Like she totally got him—something no one else had ever bothered to do. He’d never been understood or accepted. People saw his size and found out his background and immediately wrote him off as dangerous or not worth the trouble. Not Freddie.
She obviously found his answer acceptable, because she wound her fingers in his hair and hauled him against her for another kiss. Raw, open-mouthed, and hungry. He’d never met anyone like this, who made him burn so hot he thought he might die from need. Recovering from surprise, he placed his hands on either side of her bare rib cage, feeling her body expand and contract with each quick breath. Bones and hard muscle working beneath smooth, soft skin. Skin he wanted to touch all over.
“I like you, Rain Ryland,” she said, dragging her nails down his back.
“Like” didn’t even come close. He was on fire for her. Had thought of her night and day since he first saw those eerily pale eyes and badass attitude. She was smart, strong, and terribly, terribly dangerous, which turned him on like crazy. “I like you, too.”
“How much?”
Something was going on here. Something other than foreplay. “More than I’ve ever liked anyone.” Which was true and unexpected. This was more than physical, which was a terrifying thought for him. Maybe this time he could stay. Maybe this time he’d actually found a home and wouldn’t have to leave everything behind.
He kissed her again, not wanting to think about legends, or leaving, or anything else for that matter. He wanted to just live in this moment as long as it lasted. Running his hands lower, his thumb brushed the unmistakable shape of a condom in her back pocket. He froze, and she smiled against his lips.
“You scared, Sprinkles?”
“Of me?” It was like she wanted him to fear her.
“No.” He pulled back, amazed at how her eyes reflected the moon like clear glass. “Of this.” He gestured to the space he’d put between them. “Of whatever this is.” The intensity of it. The urgency. And worse, much worse—the potential loss of it. He’d never feared losing something before because he’d never had anything worth keeping. This girl, though. She was different. And he wanted her.

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.

Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 "pet" Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the "pet" roaches found a home... somewhere else.

Represented by Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Also writes under the pseudonym Marissa Clarke

To learn more about Mary Lindsey and her books, visit her website and blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.