Month in Review: February 2013

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It’s the end of the month, and time to put things into perspective, I guess. Well, there were tons of reviews on I Heart Reading in February, not so much other posts though. I’m hoping to get more variation into the posts.
Here’s a rundown of our reviews we had in February:

  1. A Game of Cat and Mouse by Astrid Cielo
  2. Shifty Business by Olivia Hardin
  3. Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black
  4. Ash by James Herbert
  5. Adventures of a Ghost Hunter by Adam Nori
  6. New Zealand with a Hobbit Botherer by Annette and John Gisby
  7. Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati
  8. Love/Life: Hot in Houston by Renee Curtis
  9. One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf
  10. So You Want To Hunt Ghosts? by Deonna Kelli Sayed
  11. Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason
  12. Mark of the Witch (Boston Witches #1) by Jessica Gibson
  13. Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
  14. Chasing The Witch (Boston Witches #2) by Jessica Gibson
  15. Eighty-Eight Keys by Catherine Lavender

Book Review: Eighty-Eight Keys by Catherine Lavender

eighteightkets_10032012_oneTitle: Eighty-Eight Keys

Author: Catherine Lavender

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Leah is a young woman who is trying to break free from a strict religious background and pursue her dream as a pianist in the world of show business. While trying to find her independence her heart is held captive by Jason Rowe, a local basketball star who established an organization to help troubled youth. When Jason is found murdered in his home, Leah is determined to get answers from a closed investigation. During her state of emotional turmoil, Leah finds comfort not only in the melody of her music, but in the arms of a married man named Calvin. With her dreams at her fingertips, Leah is tangled in a web of lies and deceit. Despite the fear of learning the truth, Leah has to realize that only the truth can set her free.

A dead lover, with a trail of broken hearts…
A married man, with a double-life…
A dream chaser, with a killer at her heels…
A piano, with eighty-eight keys…

I’m having a hard time coming up with a proper rating for Eighty-Eight Keys. The book is a romantic murder-mystery with main character Leah stuck in the middle of something she barely understands. Her lover, Jason, was murdered. Now Leah is left to pick up the pieces. The police has no clue as to who’s done it, and the trail has reached a dead end. Occupied with hosting a charity gala for the foundation Bright Horizon, a foundation Jason helped established, she’s caught in the middle of schemes and plots. Rosa, the mother of Jason’s son, little Jay-Jay, helps out at Bright Horizon as well, and she’s the last person Leah wants to see.

But then Leah gets knocked out while at work and Tanvir, one of the other employees, gets attacked and falls into a coma. It looks like whoever killed Jason isn’t done with them yet. There may be more murders before the culprit gives up. Leah has to find out why and who, not ust for her sake, but also for Jason’s. Meanwhile she tries to get over Jason by dating another man, Calvin, who happens to be married. As Leah tries to solve the mystery, she also tries to find who she truly is.

My main issue with this book were the characters. Some of them fell kind of flat, like Coach Turner and Tanvir. We’re introduced to them, but that’s all. Their purpose in the book is minimal at best, so I didn’t understand why some parts of the book were from their POV. I think it would’ve made more sense to leave that out, since they’re small, insignificant characters anyway.Marla, Calvin’s wife didn’t have much personality either, yet again she gets some scenes from her POV. I actually felt sorry for her, and I didn’t mind her scenes, but I’d rather the story would’ve been more focused on the mystery at hand than dwelling off into several directions.

Some of the other characters do have personality, like Calvin, Leah’s newest love interest. To be honest, I barely understand the reason why Calvin would be introduced in the book in the first place. Making the main character likeable isn’t going to be easy if you have her snooping around with a married man, so this overly complicates things. Leah isn’t the most likeable person in the world from the get-go, but this just made everything worse for me. If actual feelings are involved then I can live with ‘home wreckers’ and adultery, but here it seemed so…random. Calvin is a pretty awful character. What little personality traits he has, they’re all awful. He’s the kind of spineless jerk who can’t stay faithful to one woman, and who can’t stand being on his own, so he jumps from date to date, cheating on his wife Marla like it’s a national sport. While that makes him an awful person, it actually had the potential to turn him into an interesting, dynamic book character. However, he fell a little flat, and this made his actions incomprehensible and random at times. I disliked him from the get-go.

What’s worse is that I disliked Jason as well. All right, he never makes a real appearance in this book except through memories – he’s dead the moment the book starts- but that doesn’t mean I can’t come up with my opinion about him. And my opinion is that he’s kind of a bastard. All right, they can try to blame Rosa as much as they want about trying to tie him down to her, but in all honesty, he was the one who chose to have sex with Rosa, which ended up in Jay-Jay being born. Rosa is a fierce woman, but she clearly loves Jay-Jay. Yet Jason was determined to ‘take his son and run’. Right, because that shows he’s the best Dad ever, and a responsible adult. The excuse for this woudl be that Rosa threatened to do the same. Two wrongs never made a right before, and it doesn’t happen here either. I actually thought Rosa was more likeable than Jason, and while I understand some of the nasty feelings toward Rosa, I thought she had every right to feel nasty feelings toward Leah as well.

But Rosa isn’t the only woman Jason cheated on Leah with. He was also having an affair or something – it’s never really mentioned if it was a full-blown affair or not – with Claudia, a mysterious woman who once send him a love letter. So really, I have no freaking idea why Leah, Rosa, or anyone else would like the man. He clearly clarifies for the title of ‘scumbag of the year’ along with Calvin. Jason keeps on telling Leah he’s not ready for a full relationship and the troubles that come with that, yet he’s willing to settle down with Rosa and his little son. He keeps Leah on a string, and it angered me.

Then there’s something else. Leah. She’s the main character of this book and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to like her. I just couldn’t. It’s not that she’s mean or anything, but she’s just so ignorant. She acts like a sixteen-year-old girl instead of a grown-up woman. She goes around and dates Calvin although she knows he had a kid, without once bothering to wonder what could possibly have happened with the kid’s Mom. Even when she finds out Calvin is married, she happily goes on dating him after throwing a tantrum. Uhm. Right. That move certainly didn’t add to her credibility. She never really stops to think about Jason’s son either when she’s dating him, or the consequences it might have on the little kid that his Dad is seeing other women. And the moment she lands in Vegas, she instantly starts dating yet another guy, forgetting all about Calvin, Jason, etc. First of all – the meeting with Austin, the Vegas guy, was weird. I wouldn’t trust that, but Leah, although thinking he’s a creepy stalker at first, quickly changes her mind and hangs out with him. Why is every guy she meets interested in her? And why does she have to say yes to every person who asks her out? On top of that, her mind isn’t focused. She’s supposedly still mourning over Jason, but when she’s with Calvin or Austin, it sure looks like she’s moved on rather quickly. She’s trying to find who murdered Jason, but meanwhile she’s focused on her own journey to finding herself. I truly supported the latter, and thought that, especially for a character like Leah, some soul-searching would be great, but when Tanvir was attacked, it seemed logical to me she’d jump on the case and try to solve it asap. Why? She’d been attacked earlier, and the attack on Tanvir was obviously a lot more brutal, so wouldn’t she at least have considered herself in danger?

Oh, and that said, when Tanvir was attacked and put in a coma, the police was pretty much absent, like through the rest of the book. Even if they have no leads, the police handled the case rather disinterested here, and I don’t think it would happen that easily in real life. There’s protocol, and if a friend of a recent murder victim was brutally attacked, the police would look into it.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff. Because there is a lot of good stuff here too. The idea behind the book was intriguing, the build-up suspenseful. If the book had focused only on the murder mystery, or more profoundly on the murder mystery, it would’ve probably gotten a higher rating from me. As it stands, the plot is a bit all over the place. There’s the murder, the upcoming gala, the many murder suspects lining up, Leah doing her soul-searching. It would’ve worked if the book had been longer, but in its current form, it’s too much too soon, and it makes the book hard to follow. I was trying to find out who’d done it – like I usually do with mystery books – but because of the various directions the plot took, I had trouble focusing on the mystery. However, when it’s revealed who’s done it and why, and all the strings come together, then the plot starts to make sense. There are still some storylines left unresolved, but the main plot ties up nicely.

The writing itself was good, but it could use another proofreading round. There were about ten places I counted – and my grammar isn’t perfect either – where there should’ve been commas that had been left out. That aside though, the pace is solid, the style isn’t too flowery or descriptive, and the author obviously has a rich vocabulary and isn’t afraid to use it.

All that taken into account, I did enjoy the book. I wish the plot had been more consistent and the characters more likeable, but c’est la vie, and it’s actually quite refreshing to read a book about a main character I don’t like at all. The suspense build-up was solid, the writing was good and the overall reading experience pleasant. For a debut novel, I think the author did rather well. I’m looking forward to reading more books by this author in the future. If you’re a fan of the genre, this is a decent, quick and enjoyable read.

Book Review: Chasing The Witch (Boston Witches #2) by Jessica Gibson

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image25570883Title: Chasing The Witch (Boston Witches #2)
Author: Jessica Gibson
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

After the events of Mark of the Witch, Jilly at last begins to breathe easier though her powers are still growing. But can she harness them in time to confront a new chain of events that threatens to change everything?

Caroline has finally accepted her life as a witch, but when a stranger comes into her life she’s forced to question her family loyalty.

The sisters are thrown together to protect a young girl from the enemy determined to hunt her down. Can they save her — and themselves?

I reviewed Mark of the Witch, the first book in the Boston Witches series last week. While I enjoyed Mark of the Witch, I must admit Chasing The Witch left me feeling much more impressed. The book has a solid storyline, intriguing characters who are well-developed, and an authentic voice. My only two concerns were that I felt transitions between one scene and the other could’ve been more fluent, and that the characters could’ve used a bit more depth. I’m still not that fond of Jilly. I can’t really explain why, but Caroline scores higher in my book. She has more depth and personality than Jilly, if you ask me.

The story takes off about four months after what happened in Mark of the Witch. Jilly is still very much in love with William, and they’re even planning on getting married. We see a lot more of Caroline than we did in the previous book, which in my opinion, is a good thing. Jilly is a goody-two-shoes character, the forever-hero who can’t do anything wrong, and if she does end up doing something wrong, it’s for the greater good or something. While I get these type of characters play an important role, I don’t like them all that much. I prefer characters like Caroline, who are flawed, who don’t always make the right decisions, who make mistakes and actually owe up to them. I think that’s why I like Caroline so much more: for all her flaws, it makes her all the more real to me, less like a character in a book, more like a real person. Caroline’s actions aren’t always examples of best of judgement, and I’m pretty sure some people will end up hating or strongly disliking her, but what can I say? I’m a fan of sympathetic ‘bad’ people, and Caroline is one of those.

The same scenario goes for William and Patrick. Patrick is William’s ‘evil’ brother, who isn’t all that evil afterall. He was painted as the villain in the first book and at the beginning of this one, but thanks to Caroline, we figure out he may have some redeeming qualities after all. Of course this causes another quarrel between the two sisters, and I wanted to punch Jilly for not even giving Caroline a chance to explain everything properly. Anyway, this time around, the villain comes in the form of ancient vampire Sabine and the person she’s working for, who has his eyes set on both sisters.

Mark of the Witch stayed pretty loyal to the general stereotypes about witches, like we see in Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and other TV series. Chasing The Witch distanced itself from what is known, and added uncommon myths and rules, making this book more and more unique, and of course, a lot more interesting to read. The characters were better developed as well. I liked how Caroline and Jilly’s voice differed so much that even from dialogue alone you could find out who was doing the talking. As the story develops, the characters matured as well, coming to terms with who they’re meant to be (especially Caroline, who struggled with being a witch in the first book). The plot reached a higher level as well, making more subplots, introducing more themes, and straightening the bad for a giant climax in the third book.

It’s not usually the case that a second book beats the first. People often refer to sequels in trilogies as ‘filler books’. I doubt anyone could say that about Chasing The Witch. It’s so strong, the plot so decent, that it would be more suitable to say Mark of the Witch was a prologue leading up to this book. I’m giving it a four-star rating and I recommend anyone who likes paranormal romance gives it a shot. I for one am looking forward to the third book in the series.

Release Day Party The Promise

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We’re happy to celebrate the release day party for “The Promise” today, a steamy  paranormal romance novel by author Kim Carmichael.

Read an Excerpt!

He tilted his head. “You look older.”

She forced herself to blink and to remember her goal. “Then I assume I am at last old enough to be a fit for a demon.” She stepped forward, stopping less than a foot away from him. The back of her throat dried out, and she swallowed.

He put his hand to his chin, his gaze taking her in. “This old song and dance. When will you use the brains you have and leave it alone?”

His words hit her, but rather than retreating, she moved closer. The energy, the tingle, the wafts of spice encompassed her and lured her toward him. “Never.”

“You were smart last time. Why don’t you release me so I can do what I came here for.” He glanced down at her and then shifted his focus beyond her. “I have needs as well.”

“Tonight I am the one you came here for.” The mention of his last visit stung, but she willed herself to keep going. She ran her fingers up the buttons of his shirt. “You always told me to take control.”

He shook his head. “A lesson you learned well.”

She reached up and clenched his collar in her fist. “I let you go last time, but tonight I am the one you need.”

He grabbed her wrist. “I spared you before. Never forget that.”

She stared right into his eyes. No weakness was allowed tonight. “It’s me, Dolan. Me, or you can be celibate until the decade I do you the favor of dying. I don’t care about your pain.” She tensed, preparing herself for his retaliation.

“I thought I taught you better than to make demands of a demon.” He pressed his palm to the side of her face.

Heat radiated through her body, sending a warning to every one of her nerve endings. “A demon who comforts a child is a failure of a demon in my book.”

His jaw tightened. “That was a mistake. An oversight.”

About The Promise

castleheadTitle: The Promise

Author: Kim Carmichael

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Demon Dolan Ciar exists on three simple words: desire, denial, and destruction. Every four years, he is allowed one night of earthly passion to punish a deserving female. By the time he is finished, his victims are left as willing receptacles for demons yet to come.

Since she was four, a demon has been the only constant in Leora Desmond’s life. He taught her how to seize control, to never give up, and to take whatever she wanted. At twenty-four, her self-centered existence is focused on one thing. She wants Dolan, and she won’t be dissuaded.

A mistake brought Dolan to Leora. A promise bound him to her. Returning once again to ask for his freedom, he is faced with Leora demanding to be his next conquest. The ultimate retribution would be to take from her the ultimate symbol of her selfishness.

Now, Dolan must decide if he can doom her to life in living hell or face his own set of unearthly consequences, while Leora must choose between her pleasure and her heart.

The Promise blurs the line between good and evil, desire and love, and promises and commitment.

Author Bio

Kim Carmichael began writing eight years ago when her need for graphic sex scenes and love of happy endings inspired her to create her own.  She has a weakness for bad boys and techno geeks, and married her own computer whiz after he proved he could keep her all her gadgets running.  When not writing, she can usually be found slathered in sunscreen trolling Los Angeles and helping top doctors build their practices.

 Visit Kim’s Amazon page! http://www.amazon.com/Kim-Carmichael/e/B0098RNFUI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 Giveaway

The author is giving away a globe necklace. The giveaway is US only!

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Book Review: Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

10194514Title: Pushing The Limits

Author: Katie McGarry

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Age Group: Young Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

Echo. Echo is an A-grade student from an upper class family who’s main problem is that her parents divorced, and now her Dad will marry her supposed “Stepmom” who’s a real witch. She sees the school’s councelor because she’s been having some trouble after her parents got divorced. Noah on the other hand, is something else all together. Coming from a not-so-perfect family, he’s the school’s number one bad boy, hopping from girl to girl like a grashopper, scoring bad grades and making one stupid mistake after another. What neither of them expected is how well they fit together, and how their mutual secrets make for an almost unbreakable bond.

The story is told from the perspectives of both Echo and Noah, making for a nice experience. I haven’t read much mixed-POV books before, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. The plot itself worked great as well, in my opinion. It was a lot more supsenseful and thrilling than I thought it would be.

The best part for me however was the kissing and the romance. Katie McGarry sure knows how to write her romances! The chemistry between Noah and Echo was dazzling, and their relationship evolved slowly, which was a great bonus. I hate instant-romance stories. For me, the longer it takes, the better.

But the best part about this book wasn’t the romance, even though that was awesome. It was EVERYTHING. The emotional connection Noah and Echo have, the way they compliment each other, their underlying echoes, the past that Echo can’t remember, Noah struggling to get his brothers back, all that combined makes for an emotional roller coaster that left me breathless.

Then why a four star and not a five star rating? Because sometimes the angst gets to be too much. I can stand a fair share of teenage angst, but to have it roll off the pages every time I turn a page, that’s getting on my nerves. Less angst, more romance.

I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel, and hope to read more about Noah and Echo!

Release Day Party Awesome Me!

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We’re celebrating the release day for Awesome Me! A Book of Awesome Affirmations for Little Stars. To celebrate, we’re giving away 5 Kindle Copies of Awesome Me!
 
Read an Excerpt
One special me
is clever and kind,
with a generous heart
and a curious mind
 
There’s no need to ask
for I know in my heart
I am the most awesome me,
I’m thoughtful and smart!
 
I can’t be held back
I’m a great bird in flight.
I can reach any goal
I have in my sight.
 

Awesome Me!

Awesome_me_new-187x300Awesome Me! is a book of awesome affirmations for little stars! Written to promote positive self talk to kids, Awesome Me! encourages children to believe in themselves while cultivating love for one’s self, their family, and friends. It emphasizes the importance of connection with the people we love while motivating them to go after their dreams, have fun, be creative, smart, confident, and be the best they can be. It truly is an awesome book that uplifts children in a simple, yet positive way.

 Author Bio

13044_186571738314_4662890_nCherrie Dejolde Bautista is a Certified Empowerment Coach committed to help everyone reach their fullest potential and be the best they can be. Having a technical background who worked as an Analyst/Computer Programmer, she pursued and became certified as an Empowerment Coach in her quest to understand how she can become the best parent for her kids. She realized that in order to raise her kids to be healthy, responsible, confident and successful individuals with a lot of respect for themselves, their family, other people, and life, she needs to empower herself not only to be the best parent, but also to reach her own fullest potential and be the best individual she can be. Being a good role model is the most effective way of teaching, influencing, and nurturing her kids. She teaches her children how to live by letting them watch her do it.

Purchase the book

You can purchase the book from Amazon all over the world!

US:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BC7OZL0

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BC7OZL0

DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00BC7OZL0

FR: https://www.amazon.fr/dp/B00BC7OZL0

ES: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B00BC7OZL0

IT: https://www.amazon.it/dp/B00BC7OZL0

JP: http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B00BC7OZL0

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00BC7OZL0

BR: https://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00BC7OZL0

Giveaway

Win one of five Kindle copies of Awesome Me! This contest runs for a week, and all you have to do to participate is fill in the Rafflecopter form below. 🙂

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Cover Reveal Party The Witch Hunter

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We’re hosting a cover reveal for The Witch Hunter today. The Witch Hunter is the first book in a new paranormal romance series by author Nicole R. Taylor.
Take a look at this gorgeous cover…

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00005]

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.
 
Read an Excerpt
Gabby had found her grimore, her families’ book of spells and incantations, amongst some of her Grams’ things in the attic. It was only then she began to better understand her affinity with magic.
She began visiting the cemetery near the old Degaud Manor, conducting her ‘experiments’ as she called them, trying different spells and rituals that were written in the grimore. Silly things, like lighting candles, making things levitate and communing with the earth. The last was her favourite; every witch had an earth sense of varying strengths. She didn’t quite understand what it meant, but when she concentrated, she could feel living things around her. Plants, trees, insects.
That was why she was surprised at first when she met the brothers. She was sitting cross-legged in the old cemetery early last winter, feeling the shift of the seasons in the plants about her, when she began to feel uneasy. She understood later that it was her latent power warning her that she was being watched. She was startled when upon opening her eyes, she saw a man standing in front of her.
It was as if he was a statue, until he grinned lopsidedly at her. “Well, well, well. What do we have here?”
Gabby panicked a little. She hadn’t sensed the man at all and she could always feel people when she had her earth sense focused. That would mean that the man was… dead? That couldn’t be right. She scrambled to her feet and took a few steps back.
“Leave her alone, Zac.” Another man had appeared beside the first out of thin air.
The first man, Zac, rolled his eyes, “I wasn’t going to eat her, brother, if that’s what you’re thinking. She’s a witch and I don’t want her to cast any witchy juju spell on me.”
“You’re both dead,” she stammered.
“As a door nail,” Zac grinned.
“Forgive my brother,” the other man said, stepping forward. “I think you know what we are. We can’t hide from you, but we mean you no harm.”
“Vampires,” Gabby said, finally realizing. The only undead creature that she was aware existed.
“Ten points to Glinda,” clapped Zac.
“Ignore him,” said the man. “I’m Sam, the moron is my brother Zac.”
It took her a while to trust the vampire brothers, being their mortal enemy and all. She quickly came to realize that they were different, despite all their faults. Zac was always an asshole and Sam was always kind hearted, but they never hurt or compelled anyone. They’d ingrained themselves into the town as normal young men. Sam had even got a job as a gardener with help from her childhood friend, Alex.
So, when Gabby walked into Max’s, the bar they frequented after work, she smiled when she saw them sitting in a booth along the far wall. “Happy birthday you musty old man,” she elbowed Zac as she sat down.
“Please, don’t remind me,” his eyes rolled in exasperation.
“Can I get you a drink?”
“Go for it Tabitha.” They watched her retreating form. “I’ve been looking for you all afternoon,” Zac hissed, once Gabby was out of earshot.
“I was out with Liz,” Sam fidgeted.
Zac didn’t notice the gesture, he was too busy eyeballing Alistair, who had just walked in. “Uh oh,” he gritted his teeth.
Sam frowned. He knew all too well from his tone that Zac had gotten himself in trouble again. “What did you do, Zac?”
“I didn’t start it, just so you know.”
“Start what?” Sam groaned, like they needed more trouble.
“Big bad, super creepy vampire over yonder is out to get us,” he gestured towards Alistair, who was now over at the bar. “He’s looking for some black haired, blue eyed woman who’s pissed him off and he seems to think we know something about it.”
“Obviously, we don’t,” said Sam, trying to keep his voice even.
“I told him as much, but I don’t think it matters anymore,” he grimaced.
Sam sighed, “You couldn’t help but talk back, could you?”
Zac raised his hands in defence, “Hey, he came in talking like he was out of Lord of the Rings, even you couldn’t pass on the opportunity.” Looking over to Alistair, he noticed Gabby standing next to him. They were talking, and he was buying her a drink! Bloody hell, did she know he was a vampire? What kind of witch was she?
Sam snorted his disagreement, and before he could speak Zac interrupted, “Yeah, yeah. Don’t say it, bro. I get it. We can’t afford to be exposed as blood sucking parasites. Believe me. I get it.”
His brother sighed, “We have another issue to deal with.” Zac raised his eyebrows expectantly. Like they needed more issues with a vampire bent on making their life hell.  “Liz and I had a run in with the werewolves,” Sam said, not looking at his brother.
“Oh, so you want to have a go at me when you’ve been out pissing off the puppy dogs?” Zac scowled. “Did you piss in their territory?”
Sam nodded, reluctantly agreeing with his brother, “Seems like they want to claim the land bordering the manor.”
“Sounds like they already have,” Zac sneered.
“They warned us off, but given any opportunity they will attack us anyway,” he said through gritted teeth. “They’re getting bolder.”
Zac felt the anger rising within him. The dogs had threatened his brother and Liz. She was his brother’s girl, but he had fallen for her just as hard. The only thing that had stopped the wolves from attacking was the fact that the moon wasn’t even half full yet. He was thinking about the many ways to kill the werewolf pack, when Gabby sat back down at the table.
“I see Sam told you about the pack,” she said, when she noticed the scowl etched on his face.
“Wait until you hear who Zac pissed off today,” Sam changed the subject.
“Your boyfriend over at the bar,” Zac inclined his head towards Alistair.
“He’s a…” Gabby stammered, suddenly feeling foolish.
“Yeah,” Zac rolled his eyes. “What kind of witch are you that your witchy compass doesn’t work?”
“It’s serious Gabby. He could expose us all, or kill us. So stay away from him, okay?” Sam warned.
Gabby fidgeted nervously and pushed away her glass, as if she was suddenly wary of drinking it.
Zac snorted, “What, do you think he put a vampire roofie in there?”
“Shut up,” she hissed.
 
 
Author Bio
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 available in e-edition and print from March 20th 2013
 
Learn more about her writing at:
www.nicolertaylorwrites.com
 
She may be contacted by email at:
nicole.this.is@gmail.com
 

Visit her online: www.nicolertaylorwrites.com
twitter.com/nicole_noir
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicole-R-Taylor/452118154855116
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6907729.Nicole_R_Taylor

 

Book Review: Mark of The Witch (Boston Witches #1) by Jessica Gibson

Cover_Shot CropTitle: Mark of the Witch (Boston Witches #1)
Author: Jessica Gibson
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Age Group: Adult (18+)
Rating: 3 stars

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Magic flows through Jillian Proctor’s veins as surely as blood, but so far her life outside Boston has been peaceful. William Morgan blows into Jilly’s life like a hurricane, unleashing her magic and sending her out of control. Unknowingly, William brings an enemy who only wants to posses the power of the witch. Jilly must learn to harness her magic before she loses it – and everything in her life is destroyed.

Jilly and Caroline are both witches. They’re also sisters, which instantly reminded me of Charmed. The book stays quite truthful to the way Charmed handles witches as well. Jilly makes potions using a cauldron, for example. Whereas Jilly fully accepts her powers and witch-status, Caroline resents her powers and wishes she were normal. This has caused a divide between both sisters, and they’ve grown apart. When their mother dies and Caroline moves halfway across the country, their relationship nearly vanishes completely.

Then the book takes a jump in time. Caroline and Jilly are now adults, and whereas Jilly is still very much in sync with who she is and her powers, Caroline is struggling. Her marriage is falling apart, and desperate for a new scene, she returns home to reconcile with Jilly. Meanwhile Jilly’s life is a lot more upbeat, but she hasn’t found someone to love yet, until William comes along. He’s everything a girl can look for in a man, a true prince charming, a sweet, gentle man.

The downside is that as soon as Jilly meets William, she gets terrifying dreams and visions about the past and about evil creatures called Amaranthines, who much resemble vampires. They get to live forever, and while they don’t have to feed on blood, immortality does to them what it does to all supernatural creatures: make them evil and emotionless. It’s possible for amaranthines to keep their humanity, but it’s rare. The amaranthine who has now set her eyes on Jilly, Sabine, is a powerful immortal who can reach Jilly through her dreams, and turn her life into a living hell.

I liked the plot. It reminded me a lot of Charmed, but the amaranthines made everything more special. They’re unique and original. However, my main problems with this book were a) the characters and b) the pacing. The story started at Caroline and Jilly’s 13th birthday when they got their powers, then jumped in time. I was all right with that, but the next few chapters/pages keep on going at this incredible speed, and it’s hard to catch up. Then when the pacing finally settles down and the real story begins, it’s still not hundred percent right. Now and then, I felt like the chapters weren’t fleshed out enough, and if they were, it was in the wrong places. It wasn’t constant, just now and then, that I felt a certain scene or event demanded more attention, and other, more boring scenes, dragged on.

The characters were also a bit too cut and clean. It’s easy to see who’s the bad guys and who is the good guys. I prefer my villains in shades of grey, here it’s a completely black/white story.

Overall, not too bad. I actually enjoyed reading it, and I thought the plot had great potential. If it weren’t for the pacing issues, this book would’ve gotten a higher rating. Hence why I mentioned the book could’ve used another editing round – a skilled editor would’ve caught the off-pacing.

Starter Day Party Return

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February 18th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

February 20th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

February 22nd: Author Interview @ Andi’s Young Adult

February 24th: Book Review @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

February 25th: Book Excerpt @ Regina May Ross’ Blog

February 26th: Book Excerpt @ Emily’s Crammed Bookshelf

February 27th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

February 28th: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

March 1st: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

March 2nd: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

March 3rd: Book Excerpt @ Books and Tales

March 4th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

About Return

coverTitle: Return

Author: Charity Santiago

Genre: YA Fantasy

For the last three years, eighteen-year-old Ashlyn Li has been running from her destiny. A free-spirited ninja, Ashlyn would rather loot an abandoned city or challenge a fiend to battle than assume leadership of Toryn, her father’s kingdom. However, when a series of attacks reunites Ashlyn with the friends who helped her save the sun three years ago, she discovers that her kingdom is at war and her father has presumed her dead.

Suddenly Ashlyn is faced with not only fulfilling her birthright, but also making sense of her feelings towards two very different men- Drake Lockhart, the enigmatic vampire who captured her heart three years ago, and Vargo, the charismatic assassin who was once Ashlyn’s sworn enemy.

Will Ashlyn ascend the pagoda and become Lady of Toryn?

Author Bio

In February 2011, Charity Santiago’s 7-month old son was admitted to the hospital with severe respiratory issues. While Charity stayed at his bedside, she kept them both entertained by downloading several books on her new Kindle and reading them out loud. It was during this time that Charity learned about Kindle’s self-publishing program, and realized that she had an opportunity to share her writings with the world.

Charity is a native of southeastern Arizona, and a writer since childhood. She wrote her first manuscript, Guinea Pig Code!, at age nine. When she’s not writing books, Charity spends her time wrangling children, watching Sylvester Stallone movies and pursuing a degree in Education.

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Release Day Party A Slower, Lower Leap

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We’re celebrating the release for contemporary romance novel “A Slower, Lower Leap”. Purchase your copy today from Amazon, ARe     or Nook

Read an Excerpt

Logan bathed Colby then dressed him is his best pair of jeans which had been washed at least a dozen times before he’d even been expected to put them on for the first time. In truth, Logan was surprised when Colby hadn’t darted to his room to sit in the corner and rock himself last night from the stress of wearing stiff jeans. Some things just did it to the poor kid and textures were one example. After slipping on his red Master Splinter shirt and brushing his hair, Logan sat him in the middle of his and Lizzy’s bed with a coloring book with strict orders not to move while Logan was showering.

Twenty minutes later, that’s where Logan found him, sitting patiently and perfectly still.

“You okay, little man?” Logan asked, tugging on his best pair of Levis. “You didn’t finish that picture for Mama yet?”

“My cwaon bwoked,” he said, holding up the blue stick of wax. “You said nod mubed. So I waded.”

Logan shook his head and took the crayon from him. “I’ll be right back.”

This happened a lot. Colby could only use one color at a time until everything requiring that color was done then he’d move on. If the crayon broke he had to have another whole one to finish. As a result there were new boxes of crayons all over the house. Logan darted down the hall and into Colby’s room, retrieved a brand new blue one, and hurried back.

“Here you go.” Logan handed him the new crayon and went back to dressing. “And thanks for staying put like I asked. Mama needs a little breathing room today.”

“I know,” he said, making tiny passes inside the lines of a teddy bears ear. “She wowwied abowd me.”

Smart kid. He might not be able to count to a hundred yet, but perception he had no problems with.

About A Slower, Lower Leap

sll3 200x300Title: A Slower, Lower Leap

Author: Lila Munro

Genre: Contemporary Romance

When you’re the last man standing…

Not only was Logan Delaney the last of his siblings to remain unmarried and unsettled, his entire family believed he’d never find a wife. The baby of eight, he’s been dubbed an irresponsible player and told he’ll never amount to a hill of beans. And at one time, Logan may have been okay with those descriptions, but no more. On a quest to prove his worth, he’s spent the entire summer learning the family business, staying in at night, and saving his money. And if his family would stop meddling in his affairs and trying to dictate who he should and shouldn’t be seeing, he might just show them he’s found the one, Lizzy Jenkins.

And have a bad reputation to blame…

Elizabeth Jenkins had always known Logan Delaney existed, but he’d never so much as turned one glance her way until she handed him his butt on a silver platter in three sentences or less over the phone. After that it seemed at every turn there he was and the more she resisted the heat building between them, the bigger the fire got. Until his family interfered. And why wouldn’t they? Between Logan’s legacy and her baggage, they were a disaster in the making.

Can you be trusted with a fragile heart?

But Logan doesn’t run when he finds out about Colby. In fact, he embraces Lizzy’s special needs son and defies the advice of everyone urging him to leave Lizzy alone. But after one moment of weakness, Logan finds himself knee deep in a marriage complete with the little boy whose father bailed before his birth and Lizzy’s grandfather, who needs constant care as well.  Then there’s the man who just might be the demise of it all.

Purchase your copy now!

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Author Bio

Lila Munro currently resides on the coast of North Carolina with her husband and their two four-legged kids. She’s a military wife with an empty nest and takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around for the past fifteen years. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting. Her genre of choice is contemporary romance that spans everything from the sensual to BDSM and ménage. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum and aquarium, taking field research trips, and soaking up the sun on the nearby beaches. Her works include The Executive Officer’s Wife, Bound By Trust, Destiny’s Fire, Salvation, Three for Keeps, the Force Recon series, the Slower Lower series, and the Identity series. She’s a member in good standing of RWA.

Giveaway

The author is giving away paperback copies of the first two books in the series A Slower, Lower Life and A Slower, Lower Life.

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