Recent Reviews...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Tour!! A Review of Horse Charmer Plus a Guest Post by the Author, Angelia Almos

Genre: Young Adult (Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: May 17, 2011
Publisher: Thoroughweb Press

The Blurb:
A gifted princess. A special horse. A quest for the truth.

At sixteen years old, Cassia would rather spend her days in the royal stables than in the royal court. But as the eldest child of King Robet and Queen Sarahann she obediently performs her duties as the Princess of Karah.

Her safe world changes forever when her father is murdered in the neighboring kingdom of Vespera. Cassia grapples with his loss as her mother prepares her for her new role as queen. Her first task - she must travel to Vespera to marry a prince she barely knows to fulfill the treaty her father signed just before his death.

Nothing is as simple as it seems with political intrigues and unusual powers shadowing Cassia on her search to find out who killed her father and why.

My Review:
Horse Charmer by Angelia Almos was a perfect read for any horse lover. It brought me into a world where horses are a huge part of every day life and a special part in the heart and mind of the main characters, Cassia and Luki. The characters, both 2 legged and 4 legged, are easy to connect with and relate to. They're even easier to love. While reading, I disappeared into Cassia's life and felt what she felt. Because of the relationship and communication with the horses, this is one of those books I really wish was possible. The romance was slow and sweet, and I'm looking forward to more as it progresses. I hope there are more books planned. Horse Charmer is a must read for all horse lovers.

Horse Charmer by Angelia Almos was provided to me by the Tasty Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

Guest Post by Angelia AlmosHorses & Writing
Horses have always influenced my writing. When I first started to write in my teens I was  at the peak of my horse craziness. Riding everyday, competing in multiple horse events, and riding in lessons and on friends horses in addition to my own. All of my first attempts at short stories and novels featured horses prominently. 

In my college years, horses often found their way into one story or another, but I also  started writing stuff where a horse wasn’t a main character or there weren’t even horses in the story at all. I was expanding my horizons as they like to say. Reading different genres and writing different genres. Now, I have stories where a horse(s) might be a major character, horses might make a small appearance, or not appear at all in a book. Just depends on the book I’m writing.

One of the cool things about writing young adult fantasy is being able to include all types of horsey characters. My one rule when writing YA is to write the books I would have loved as a preteen and teen. My love for equines is often reflected through the eyes of the heroine.  

Horse Charmer is very special to me because it has lots of horses and includes one very special horse, Kristy (or Kali in the book). I got Classy Lady Kristy when I was fourteen years old and had decided I wanted to show in jumping and eventing. She was a five year old Anglo-Arab mare who had her basic training, but was extremely “hot” as people like to say. Basically she was very hyper and would rather walk instead of stand, trot instead of walk, canter instead of trot, and gallop instead of canter. Faster was always better. This led to a lot of conflict between the two of us when it came to schooling, but she was also one of the sweetest and most loving horses you would ever come across. And brave, I can’t forget brave, in any sort of emergency or semi-emergency situation I could count on her behaving exactly as I needed. I included her best traits in Kali – brave, loyal, athletic, and a stamina that never seemed to end.
About the Author:
Writing Young Adult, Space Opera, and Horsey Nonfiction as Angelia Almos. Writing Steamy Paranormal Romance and Romantic Suspense as Angie Derek.

To learn more about Angelia Almos and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Cover Reveal!! City of the Fallen by Diana Bocco

Genre: Adult Fiction(Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: June 20, 2013

The Blurb:
Five years ago, vampires came out of hiding and took over the world. It was meant to be a quick enslavement but it turned into a bloody battle that brought humanity to the brink of extinction.

Isabelle Bryant is one of the “lucky” survivors, now living in hiding, scavenging for food through deserted towns.

And she’s tired of it.

So she’s devised a plan: find the king of the vampires and drive a stake through his heart.

Except that wickedly sensual king Marcus is nothing like the monster she expected. And while landing on his bed was part of the plan all along, discovering that he might hold the key to humanity’s survival certainly wasn’t. The catch? Saving humanity also means ensuring vampire survival. It means giving up hope for a return to a human-ruled world.

As sparks fly and hate becomes heat, Isabelle must pick a side -- before the darkness devours them all.

About the Author:
I've been a fan of all kinds of dark creatures since I was a kid (even before I discovered Stephen King at the age of 10). If it crawls in the night and tugs at your covers while you're sleeping, chances are I've written about it. It's probably no surprise that I'm a big fan of old buildings, urban exploring and things that go bump in the night. Oh, and Halloween, of course -- but that should go without saying.

Growing up, I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I ended up not pursuing a degree in Archaeology (although I toyed with the idea for a while) but I did become a huge lover of travel and history. Aside from traveling to all corners of the world, I've also lived in five countries in three continents -- including three years in Siberia and two in Vietnam. I'm currently living in Thailand.

I have a soft spot for animals (which is why you can be sure that in my stories, the dog will always make it) and right now have three wonderful -- but slightly crazy -- dogs in my life. And yes, they move with me from country to country. Too bad dogs can't accumulate frequent flyer miles!

In my other life, I also write nonfiction: articles, books, and even quizzes for the Discovery Channel website. I really can't help it -- I'm a nerd at heart and love research and discovering new things. Could be the Indiana Jones in me pushing me along.

When it comes to life, I'm pretty fearless. I figure life is too short to live it too safely -- so I take risks and I try to have fun, whether that means snowshoeing in the middle of Siberia or going ghost-hunting in an abandoned asylum. And yes, I've done both.

To learn more about Diana Bocco and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Meet Kat from The Coven by Verdell Walker!

Genre: Young Adult
Date Published: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Self

The Blurb:
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.

Meet Blaze!
Author Note: This is an interview with Katherine “Kat” Grey, the heroine of my novel The Coven: Fire and Ice and human love of Maximilian “Blaze” Ward. 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. Enjoy!

What is your family like?
My parents are Claire McDonough and Nicholas Grey. They divorced when I was younger. I’m super lucky because they still get along really well. A lot of my old friends in Cali have divorced parents that hate each other. I’m glad mine aren’t like that. 

My mom is wise, warm, funny, and a terrible cook. After she and Dad divorced, she moved to Massachusetts and pursued her dream of becoming an artist. She’s pretty successful and her paintings are really amazing. It was a little awkward at first when I moved in with her, but now we‘re super close. I’m glad she’s in my life now – I can talk to her about anything. 

I miss my dad Nick like crazy since I moved to Massachusetts. To a lot of people, he can be downright intimidating – big time lawyer, Harvard grad, dyed-in-the-wool Republican. It’s funny to me because 

I know him as this goofy guy who loves practical jokes and fishing. He can be a little overprotective at times, but I guess that’s what dads do. 

What is the thing you are most proud of?
The GED tutoring program I started at Mercy House. Mercy House is a home for runaways, mostly abused teenage girls who got mixed up in drugs and prostitution. My friend Bronwyn and Q [a member of the Brotherhood] tutors there too, as well as some other kids from Milton Academy. The first group of girls I worked with all just earned their GEDs last week – that was an incredible feeling. 

If you had a day to do anything you wanted, what would you do?
Riding horses with Blaze at his family’s lake house. It’s the most peaceful place in the world. I always ride Ariel, a gray Arabian.  Blaze has a black stallion named Baltazar. He’s had Baltazar since he was a foal and they’ve literally grown up together – it’s really sweet. 

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be? 
Too many to count. I hurt a lot of people back in California by being a bully. I’ve been able to get in touch with some of them on Facebook and stuff, but some people won’t respond to my messages. I don’t blame them; I’d probably be skeptical too if I was in their shoes. 

What is your most prized possession?  
My talisman* that Blaze gave me. It’s a gold necklace with rubies. It’s really extravagant so I mostly just wear the main ruby on a plain gold chain. I never take it off, because it makes me feel close to Blaze. That’s because the ruby carries his essence – he’s never far away from me when I have it on. 

What do you find really grates on your nerves?
Stuck up, pretentious people who think that they are better than everyone else. Don’t get me started. 

What is your greatest fear?
I’ve got two. The first is Blaze getting hurt – or worse – fighting in the Brotherhood. It’s something I have to deal with on a daily basis and I try really hard not to think about it too much. He’s a great fighter, but I still obviously get worried. My second greatest fear is not living a meaningful life. When I say “meaningful”, I mean not making a positive impact on the world. I think it would be terrible to die without having made at least one person’s life better. 

*In the world of The Coven, a talisman is a piece of jewelry, featuring a jewel that contains the warlock’s essence, that a warlock often gives to the woman he loves, be she human or witch. When the woman wears the talisman, the warlock can sense her emotions, be alerted if she is in danger, communicate with her telepathically, and envelop her in a magical defensive shield even when he is not physically present
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.

To learn more about Verdell Walker and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Meet Blaze from The Coven by Verdell Walker!

Genre: Young Adult
Date Published: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Self

The Blurb:
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.

Meet Blaze!
Author Note: This is an interview with Maximilian “Blaze” Ward, the hero of my novel The Coven: Fire and Ice. Blaze is a warlock and is the leader of the Brotherhood, five young warlocks charged with defending witches and humanity from a demonic adversary named Seth.  Blaze falls head over heels in love with Kat Grey, a ballsy gal with a smart mouth and a few demons of her own. Enjoy!

First of all, why do they call you ‘Blaze’? Kind of an odd nickname.
You sound like my girlfriend Kat. It’s because of my speed – I’m faster than the speed of light. That’s my
special power. I’m also a wide receiver on my school’s football team.

Boxers or briefs?
Wouldn’t you like to know.

What is your favorite book?
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. When I read it in English lit, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I mean,
yeah, there’s a monster in it, but it’s not a horror story at all. It has a lot of themes, but what I got from it was the importance of knowing what the limits of your power are. I think it has a lot of parallels for using magic and witchcraft. Just because you can cast a spell doesn’t necessarily mean you should.  We witches and warlocks can grow to be extremely powerful, but we can be twisted by that power if we aren’t careful. It can destroy everything that’s precious to us. It’s an important lesson that we all have to learn. I think that’s why I liked the book so much.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
Kat knows how much I love to draw, so she gave me a sketchbook once. But at the top of each page, she
had written suggestions for what to draw, things that really challenged my skill or stuff I wouldn’t have thought of. My girl is thoughtful like that.

Also, I don’t know how she did it, but Kat managed to get me an autographed game ball from Tom Brady for my birthday. I almost died when I opened it.

Which Brother would win in fight with no magic?
Me, obviously. Etienne is strong but he’s stupid too, so…

What’s the most fascinating place you’ve visited?
Hands down, Cambodia. It’s a really amazing country and the people are so friendly. My family and I got
to tour Angkor Wat. It was incredible. Kat’s never been, so I hope to take her one day to see it.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?
There aren’t a lot of places I haven’t visited but Machu Picchu is high on the list. It’s one of the wonders
of the world, plus it’s really challenging to get to. And there’s nothing I like more than a challenge.

Do you have a recurring nightmare or dream?
Actually, we don’t dream like humans. Ours are more like visions, and they usually foretell the future or
solve some sort of problem that we’re wrestling with.

What’s your favorite spell?
The cloning spell that I created. It basically splits the caster into several copies of himself or herself. It’s
great for when the Brotherhood needs to cover a lot of ground, but it takes a lot of energy to maintain. My dad was impressed with it, so you know it was badass.

Who is your best friend?
It would definitely be Q [Quintavius Grier]. He’s a super genius and he’s my right hand man. I can talk
to that guy about anything. You would think someone that smart would be weird and awkward but he’s the coolest dude I know.

If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
[Sighs deeply] It would be Anna Thomas. She’s a girl I couldn’t save from Dark Ones when I first became
a Brother. They ambushed her one night while she was running. I heard her screams because I was out on patrol near where she was, but I didn’t make it in time. I think of her almost every day. I was depressed for weeks after it happened, but I vowed she’d be the first and the last one they took without a fight.

If you could meet one historical figure, who would it be?
Nobody famous. It would be my great, great grandfather, Sherman Ward. He was a ‘station master’ on
the Underground Railroad. He hid runaway slaves in his barn and his house as they escaped to Canada.  

What is your most prized possession?  
Definitely my black stallion Baltazar.

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I love musicals. Please don’t tell Etienne or Sebastian. The Montgomery brothers have big mouths.
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.

To learn more about Verdell Walker and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Cover Reveals! The Cindy Chronicles by RaShelle Workman

(Click the image to see full size)

Check out the new covers for The Cindy Chronicles designed by Mae I Design!

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal)

The Blurb:
Life sucks.
Possessing magic sucks.
What doesn’t suck? Fashion, Cindy's boyfriend Gabe, and her best friend, Snow White.

Cindy (Cinderella…shhh, don’t tell) was born a witch. It’s part of who she is. But there’s more to her than that. She loves deeply. And has a big heart. She’d do anything for those she cares about, including risk her own life to save theirs.

When her fairy godmother demands she leave Salem, Massachusetts and return to the land she was born to rule, she has two options. Tell her fairy godmother no, and seal a death sentence on complete strangers. Or, leave all she’s ever known behind, including the love of her life, for an unknown land she’s fated to save.

So, yeah, life sucks.
But Cindy is determined to change that.

About the Author:
RaShelle Workman lives on a mountain with her husband, three children, and three dogs. From her back porch she can see the city lights and imagine... She's the bestselling author of the Dead Roses series (Sleeping Roses is being translated into Turkish, and will be available in print wherever Turkish books are sold in 2014), the Immortal Essence series, and the Blood and Snow series.

To learn more about RaShelle Workman and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Book Review: Love's Forbidden Flower by Diane Rinella

Genre: New Adult (Edgy Contemporary Romance)
Date Published: November 28, 2012
Publisher: Midnight to Six

The Blurb:
The heart cares not what society forbids.

Lily nurtures a secret love for a flawless man—the one who is her soul mate. Donovan is gorgeous, charismatic, and delights in all of Lily’s talents and quirks. Their innate knowledge of each other is almost telepathic. Together they interlock like fine threads creating luxurious silk.

But society dictates this picture-perfect adoration is the ghastliest of all possibilities.

As Lily embarks on a quest for the romance the heavens intended, her suitor turns reluctant. Desperate to uncover why Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hiding decayed from a tender-hearted gentleman into a ferociously self-serving, cocky bastard, Lily is prepared for battle when it comes to the salvation of her soul mate. However, Donovan traps Lily in a mental game of chess, leaving her to question his sanity. When Lily’s revelations about Donovan’s destructive alter ego lead to an inconceivable truth, can she help Donovan survive fate’s cruel joke?

Impassioned, witty, and deeply moving, Love’s Forbidden Flower is filled with stunning controversies that will forever haunt your heart.

My Review:

Love's Forbidden Flower by Diane Rinella was an unusual, unique story that peaked my curiosity. I can't say that I've ever read something like it. With that being said,  I just didn't find this story enjoyable. I tried to find a deeper meaning behind their incestuous relationship, but had no luck. Lily seems pretty superficial, and I didn't really think she had the personality type that would even consider this kind of relationship. I got the impression Donovan had some mental issues going on that started long before any feelings towards his sister appeared. Of course, these feelings didn't help matters. I thought maybe we'd find out about an abusive situation that brought them together as a support system for each other, but that didn't happen. I mean, there was abuse, but that started after the fact. The story touched on the idea of soul mates and the possibility of past lives that brought them together in this life, but that seemed like a reach for me too. Christopher was a fun character though. I had high hopes that he would come in, change everything, and save the day. I get the whole: fighting the norms of society thing, but there are big reasons, both medically and psychologically, why it's a bad idea for siblings to be sexually involved, and I just couldn't get past that. I didn't feel like this book spread a good message, and it's not one I could recommend. 

Love's Forbidden Flower by Diane Rinella was provided to me by the Xpresso Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

The Book Trailer: 

About the Author:
Enjoying San Francisco as a backdrop, the ghosts in Diane’s 150-year old Victorian home augment the chorus in her head. With insomnia as their catalyst, these voices have become multifarious characters that haunt her well into the sun’s crowning hours, refusing to let go until they have manipulated her into succumbing to their whims. Her experiences as an actress, business owner, artisan cake designer, software project  manager, Internet radio disc jockey, vintage rock n’ roll journalist/fan girl, and lover of dark and quirky personalities influence her idiosyncratic writing.

She is currently completing the sequel to Love’s Forbidden Flower.

To learn more about  Diane Rinella and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Blitz!! In Darkness We Must Abide by Rhiannon Frater

Genre: New Adult (Modern Gothic Horror)
Expected publication: May 24, 2013
Publisher: Self

The Blurb:

In Darkness We Must Abide is the epic saga of one young woman caught in the dangerous world of the creatures of the night.

Already living in the shadows due to her albinism, Vanora is just a little girl when her older brother inadvertently unleashes a terrible evil from the family crypt that changes their lives forever.

As she grows up in a world where beautiful deadly beings hunt by night, one captures her eye and her heart. Yet, can she trust the mysterious Armando? For there is a powerful entity plotting to claim her when she reaches adulthood in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy, and her enemy has enveloped her in a web of deceit, casting doubt on all she believes to be true. Soon, she will have to fight not only to save those she loves, but also for her very soul.

Rhiannon Frater delivers a chilling adventure once again with this multi-part epic serial with a dynamic cast, old school vampires, bloody action, a smoldering forbidden love, and a terrifying villain set against the backdrop of a modern day vampire war.

This paperback includes all five episodes of the first season of the serial.

The Giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author:
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies trilogy (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege,) and the author of three other books: the vampire novels Pretty When She Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride and the young-adult zombie novel The Living Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. Inspired to independently produce her work from the urging of her fans, she published The First Days in late 2008 and quickly gathered a cult following. She won the Dead Letter Award back-to-back for both The First Days and Fighting to Survive, the former of which the Harrisburg Book Examiner called ‘one of the best zombie books of the decade.’ Rhiannon is currently represented by Hannah Gordon of the Foundry + Literary Media agency. You may contact her by sending an email to

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tour!! A Review of Descendant by Nichole Giles

Descendant (Descendant #1) by Nichole Giles
Genre: Young Adult (Fantasy Romance)
Date Published: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing

The Blurb:
Seventeen-year-old Abigail Johnson is Gifted.

Blessed—or cursed—with Sight and Healing, Abby lives an unsettled life, moving from place to place and staying one step ahead of the darkness that hunts her. When she arrives in Jackson, Wyoming, she is desperate to maintain the illusion of normalcy, but she is plagued with visions of past lives mixed with frightening glimpses of her future. Then she meets Kye, a mysterious boy who seems so achingly familiar that Abby is drawn to him like he’s a missing piece of her own soul.

Before Abby can discover the reason for her feelings toward Kye, the darkness catches up to her and she is forced to flee again. But this time she’s not just running. She is fighting back with Kye at her side, and it’s not just Abby’s life at stake.

My Review:
Descendant is the debut novel by Nichole Giles.There was so much to like about this novel that kept me reading faster than I realized, but there were also a couple things that I didn't enjoy so much. So, I'll start there to get it over with. Abby is a strong character, but she's pretty dense at times. As a reader, you will have things figured out long before she does. I yelled at the book a few times because of this. Also, she was rude to people when it wasn't necessary, like when she first met Kye's father. I would think that would be the time to make a good first impression. Maybe not. I mean the girl is a little stressed. Then there were the bad guys. No matter what, they just kept finding them..instantly... wherever they went. Was this because they kept using a credit card? Now I know it's supposed to be from some royal magic bank account, but still. Isn't it traceable? That was never specified, so it made me wonder how they were always able to find them sooo fast. Okay. That's all of the bad. See? Not so much bad. Now, on to the good. The story line was unique and fast. You have an enchanting romance, evil bad guys, fairies, magic powers, and some humor. My favorite character was Murtagh. He was adorable and fun. I hope we see more of him. I have a feeling we will. Kye was charming. I fell for him faster than Abby did, I think.There was hardly a dull moment as danger always presented itself in some form to keep you on your toes. There are some shady characters who I haven't figured out yet. Can we trust them? They all keep it interesting though and kept me wondering. I'm curious to see where Kye and Abby end up next. I think things are about to get even harder for them.

The ARC of Descendant by Nichole Giles was provided to me from the publicist for review. The opinions are my own.

About the Author:
Nichole Giles had early career plans of becoming an actress or a rock star, but she decided instead to have a family and then become a writer. Writing is her passion, but she also loves to spend time with her husband and children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.

To learn more about Nichole Giles and her books, visit her Blog.You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tour!! A Review of Illicit Love & an Interview with the Author, Jane Lark

Illicit Love (Marlow Intrigues #1) by Jane Lark 
(Now titled: The Illicit Love of a Courtesan)
Genre: Adult Fiction (Historical Romance)
Date Published: May 2, 2013
Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing

The Blurb:
Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?
Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress. The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn't hesitate, he helps her flee .He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

My Review:
Illicit Love is the debut novel by Jane Lark. It told a very gripping and emotional story about a woman who has no choice in the path her life has taken. The main character, Ellen, is a fiercely strong woman. She has her moments of breaking down, but what person wouldn't in her situation. While most would become hardened, she still can find it in herself to love. Edward also has tremendous strength to him. He tosses the rumors and Ellen's past aside and sees the real person within her. He's easy to love too. He's like a true Prince Charming. The circumstances these two found themselves wasn't an easy one in the best of time periods, let alone this one where reputation meant everything and was easily tarnished. There were times when the story dragged a little, and I really wish their first meeting had gone a little differently. Overall this story kept me deeply engaged in the lives of Edward and Ellen. As a reader, I really felt for Ellen. I couldn't imagine being in her shoes.

The ARC of Illicit Love by Jane Lark was provided to me by Reading Addiction Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

I'm very excited to have Jane Lark, author of Illicit Love here with us today to answer a few questions.

How long have you been writing?
I hand wrote three chapters of a novel when I was sixteen, but then never did anymore until I was thirty, which was the point I decided to include on my things to do before I am forty list, 'write a novel'. I think it took me two years to write the first, and I have been writing with intent to publish now for over ten years.

What inspired you to write Illicit Love?
The inspiration for Illicit Love came from a real 19th Century Courtesan's memoirs, and her description of her love affair. It was the intensity of her relationship which caught hold of my imagination and made me wish to recapture this in the fictional story within Illicit Love.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
That is a really hard question, because they are in my head, occupying a part of me. Because I write from an emotional perspective I have to be caught up in their emotion too, I really can't separate between Edward and Ellen, I have an equal connection with them.

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
Well, other than my husband and my daughter, hardly anyone knows I have my belly-button pierced. That was another before I'm forty thing.

If your real life was a fictional book, what would you, the main character, be like?
Well, my life has been full of adversity, it has frequently felt more like fiction. Which you'll discover if you read my Ankylosing Spondylitis blog from the beginning, and that's just half of it. But this life has been great for gathering incites to include in books. So, my character, is brim-full with determination, one of life's survivors, someone who insists on seeing life as a full-cup, and gets the most from it.

What book have you read too many times to count?
This question made me laugh, because people think I'm odd when I say, "I want to write books people read again and again", some other authors think it's a strange wish. But to me it means the book is one of those really special books, you'll never forget. I want to write, unforgettable stories. Actually here's a secret, I have hidden a couple of tiny one second points in Illicit Love, so they don't distract form the story, you probably won't even notice them on the first read, and you won't understand them until you read Book 2, so people may feel like going back to read it again. As for my, re-read book, it's Anya Seton's, Katherine.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
Just getting the points of view right, and making sure, even in third person, you are only speaking in a context which is from that character, because this is when the reader get's truly drawn in to the story, when they start to see, hear and feel, through a person.

If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why?
Oh, I used to do that all the time as a child, staring out the school window and daydreaming. But, again, I find that a hard question, now. There isn't a fictional character, there are plenty of real people. I would so love to know what it was like to have circulated in the demi-monde with the Courtesan, Harriette Wilson, who inspired Illicit Love. She had affairs with at least half the House of Lords, and the King, then later blackmailed them all to keep their names out of her book. I would love to have been at one of her sister's parties for these men.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Just how caught up I get in the stories, I can't believe how emotionally involving it becomes. It's like I go through everything my characters go through. Jane Austen used to speak of her novels, as children. I do totally get that, my characters really are living beings inside me. But I think they have to be, if you're going to write really engaging, realistic fiction. Otherwise a story just feels shallow.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Mmmm, when, am I not writing? Or at least that is what my husband and daughter would say.

The only hobby I have which takes me away from writing is researching. My husband and I visit historic houses, regularly, and always stop at the café for tea and cake. Then I discover really amazing odd little stories, like when I spotted a picture at Longleat House. The woman had a come-hither smile, so I asked the guide "Who is it?" It turned out she was the mistress of the Duke of Pembroke, and their elopement is quoted in a diary of the time, about how she and the Duke were overly attentive at a ball in London, and then ran away together, leaving his wife behind. Apparently the duke dressed up as a sailor and they fled to the continent on a boat. Honestly you couldn't make some real stories up. I write about all my research stories on my history blog.

Check out my reviews of a few of Jane Lark's other books:

About the Author:
Jane is qualified to the equivalent of a Masters Degree in People Management and is fascinated by the things which craft people's personalities, so she has great fun exploring these through characters. She lives in the United Kingdom near the Regency City of Bath and has just bought her 400 year old dream home. History has always tempted her imagination and she loves researching and also exploring ruins and houses to get ideas. She equally loves a love story.

Jane has always aspired to writing a historical novel so when she was thirty she put it on her ‘to do before I am forty’ list. She completed her first novel ten years ago, never sent it anywhere then started the next. She’s not stopped writing since, and escaping into a mental world of fiction is a great painkiller to help fight off her Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Jane is a member of RWA, RNA, and the Historical Novel Society.

To learn more about Jane Lark and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: Sunshine by Nikki Rae

Sunshine (Sunshine #1) by Nikki Rae
Genre: New Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: January 28, 2013
Publisher: Self

The Blurb:
18 year old Sophie Jean is pretty good at acting normal. Sure, she’s not exactly happy, but happiness is nothing compared to being like everyone else. She can pretend she’s not allergic to the sun. She can hide what her ex-boyfriend did to her. She can cover up the scars she’s made for herself. Ignore anything. Forget anything. Then Myles enters her life, and he has more than a few secrets of his own. When accident after accident keeps happening to Sophie, she can’t help noticing that he’s everywhere. That he knows too much. That she’s remembering too much.

It’s one thing covering up her own dark past, but does she really need to worry about people finding out just how much Myles likes her? Or that despite how much she doesn't want to repeat past mistakes, she kind of likes him back? Not to mention the fact that she now has to conceal that Myles drinks blood-that he says he’s about four hundred years old.

She almost forgot about that part.

But Sophie has no plans to ruin the normal life she has created for herself. She can deal with this little glitch, no problem. Even if word has gotten around to the wrong vampire about Sophie and Myles, even if she’s putting the few people she loves at risk. Suddenly, those who were monsters before are just people, and the monsters? They’re real. Now being a normal human being is the least of her problems. Now she has to stay alive.

My Review:
Sunshine is the first book in the Sunshine Series by Nikki Rae. This is a book that grabs your emotions. Life hasn't been easy on Sophie, and it goes far deeper and darker than her allergy to the sun. While I wanted her to trust Myles more than she did, and at times I even got frustrated at her for not doing so faster. I had to make myself remember what she has been through, because if she were a real person, there's no way she would trust him or anyone. This made her believable to me. Myles is a sweetheart. He's not like any vampire I've ever read about. He's just so darn normal. He's patient and attentive to Sophie. I just wanted to hug him.  This shouldn't be mistaken for weakness though. Myles can be pretty bada$$ when the need calls for it. He's good for her. This book focused a lot on Sophie's mental and emotional healing. The paranormal/vampire aspect wasn't a constant focal point. In fact, sometimes it was easy to forget about that all together, but I think this is about to change in the next book. The romance isn't instant or easy, but it too, is believable. The story just feels very real. I guess that's because of all of Sophie's emotions and inner turmoil. As a reader, I really felt what she felt. The fear, the anger, the shame, rejection.. hope. Her story grabs at those heart strings, that's for sure. Sunshine was definitely a unique and emotional story. I wasn't sure what to expect from it, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a very well put together story with well built characters that I'm anxious to learn more about. I can't wait for  more by this talented new author! Check out my review of Book two in the Sunshine Series, Sun Poisoned!

Sunshine by Nikki Rae was provided to me by the author for review. The opinions are my own.

Check out my reviews of the books in this trilogy!

Have you read Nikki Rae's other books?

About the Author:
Nikki Rae is a student and writer who lives in New Jersey. When she is not writing, thinking, or reading, she is most likely hanging out with her gecko, Neil Gaiman, drawing in a quiet corner, or drinking tea by the gallon. Sunshine is her first book.

To learn more about Nikki Rae and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Wake (Watersong, #1) by Amanda Hocking

Wake (Watersong #1) by Amanda Hocking
Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal/Fantasy Romance; Mythological Fiction)
Date Published: August 7, 2012
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

The Blurb:
Fall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

My Review:
Wake is the first book in the Watersong Series by Amanda Hocking. It's also the first book by this author that I've read so far, and I've been wanting to get started on her books for a while. I'm glad I finally did. You're given the point of view of multiple characters through out the book, which I found interesting. It gave me a bigger picture into their lives. There are the beginnings of romances blooming and while they were both cute in their own way, I enjoyed reading the interactions between Harper and Daniel the most. Daniel has a little something that makes me wonder about him.. hmm.. maybe he doesn't even know it yet. He has me intrigued. Gemma and Harper are sisters. Gemma is the younger, more immature sister of the two. However, I feel like she will have to grow up pretty quickly in the next books. Harper is protective and quite a bit overbearing, and while this annoyed me at first, I think these traits will come in handy. This book isn't all warm and fuzzy romances and sisterly quarrels though. That is just two pieces of this story. Wake gives you bloody murders, mysterious mean girls, and mythological creatures to spice things up. The first half was a little slow at times, but you'll want to hang around for the second half. Things are about to get serious. I think there are big things in store for this series. Overall, the reading of my first Amanda Hocking book was very enjoyable and entertaining, and I'm excited about reading the rest of this series and her other books as well.

The Book Trailer:

About the Author:
I live in Minnesota, and I write young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy mostly. The My Blood Approves series is about vampires in Minneapolis, and its available now. I also wrote the Trylle Trilogy, which is a paranormal romance without vampires, shifters, mermaids, fae, angels, dragons, ghosts, or ninjas.

My latest book is Hollowland - a zombie urban fantasy set in the dystopian near future. It's a bit more violent and gritter than my other books, but there is still romance. Mostly though, Remy kicks a lot of butt.

I also enjoy Red Bull, Jim Henson, Batman, Jane Austen, Star Wars legos, and I absolutely hate long walks on the beach out of my intense fear/hatred of wet sand

My favorite authors are Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Alan Moore, and J. D. Salinger, but I don't write anything like them. I have an obsession with River Phoenix, and I've seen Silence of the Lambs more than any other movie, even The Dark Knight. If I were trapped on a deserted island, the one thing I'd take with me would be a boat capable for taking me home.

I'm also the guitarist in a band called the Fraggin Aardvarks, and even though its even twice as cool as it sounds, we haven't had a practice in like two years, so I'm not sure that technically we are still a band. But we never broke up, and it's an awesome thing to tell people, so I'm sticking with it. (We even had a synethesizer!)

To learn more about Amanda Hocking and her books, visit her blog.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Banished from Grace Cover Reveal!

Genre: Young Adult (Paranormal Romance)
Date Published: June 2013
Cover Reveal Organized by: YA Bound

The Blurb:
Nardia is a very special nurse, one with a unique gift. With the touch of her bare hands, she can heal any physical ailment. With the help of her angel guide, Benilde, Nardia has healed her way through countless centuries.

Life should be easy for this attractive (not to mention, immortal) woman, but throw in two handsome men, a coffee addiction and memory loss that dates back to the medieval ages, and you’ve got a life that’s more than complicated.

When she meets AJ at her favorite coffee shop, she can’t help but feel an immediate attraction to him. At the same time, she knows there’s more to his story than what he’s letting on. And then there’s the handsome Doctor Regan, who she feels a connection with, but is she trying to make it more than is really there in order to spare her the heartbreak of being with AJ?

Only adding to her problems is the new resident, Dr. Jeffries, who seems out to get her from day one, and a murder case she can’t help solve without revealing her own secrets.

Can Nardia uncover the secrets of her own past while still moving forward and saving those in need of her help in the present?

About the Author:
Aria was born in the large county town of Orange situated in NSW, Australia. In 2011 she moved to Forest Reefs NSW and settled on nine acres with her husband and young family.

Aria completed her Enrolled Endorsed Nursing studies over a year ago, while completing this course the idea for Fall From Grace came to her. This dream was put on hold till she finished her studies and settled into her new life in Forest Reefs.

Aria travels to a residential care facility and cares for the disabled during the day and at night enjoys her passion of writing YA and paranormal romances. In her spare time she loves to play with her five Siberian huskies who give her great joy.

 Aria enjoys late night walks with her husband and family dinners involving her parents, four other siblings, their partners and her niece and nephews.

The inspiration for her writing comes from her four children, who never give her any quiet time but she would not change this for the world.

To learn more about Aria Williams and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.