Review: Flintlock by Ashley Nixon

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Barren Reed hopes to protect the Orient from his tyrant uncle, but his plans to make the King’s life a living hell aren’t supported by the Elders of the pirate community. As it stands, Barren has earned the Elders’ disdain for his carelessness, and they threaten him into exile if he makes one more mistake. Barren’s not the only one feeling the Elders’ wrath—they don’t trust Larkin either. Worse, Barren can’t comprehend Larkin’s wish to have a relationship with her father, and the secrets she’s forced to keep create a tension that may pull them apart forever. When the Pirates of Silver Crest begin to die, bullets laced with dark magic are to blame. With more and more of these weapons infiltrating the Underground, discovering who’s behind the dissemination is no easy feat. As fear and tension mount among the people of the Orient, Barren and his crew find themselves in a race against time to stop the spread of dark magic before the world of Mariana spirals into collapse.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT: Larkin lay against Barren, her head on his chest. She couldn’t sleep, though her eyes were heavy. It was so quiet in his cabin. She was used to sleeping in the hatch in a hammock in the back, where the groan of the ship was loudest. Then there was the heat of Barren’s skin. She’d come to know his warmth, yet she’d also come to know the absence of that warmth. Right now, there was energy between them that had gone unacknowledged since they’d closed the door. Strangely, it made her restless. She also had questions about this trial. What did it mean that one of Barren’s brethren had come to escort him to Sanctuary? What did it even mean to have a trial among pirates? By the way Edward looked at her, she suspected she might have something to do with this. “Will they take you from me?” she asked quietly, sleepily. Barren was very still. She watched his chest rise and fall with the breaths he took. After a moment, she felt his fingers tangle in her hair. “Is that what you fear?” he asked. “It is one thing I fear,” she said. She feared being taken from him. She feared being sent back to Maris. “In truth, I do not know what the Elders have planned for me,” he said. “Do they want to hurt you?” “They will not kill me,” said Barren. “I am not a traitor.” “But what you’ve done, it is punishable by the Elders?” She knew by the silence that Barren did not know how to answer that question. “By the code, I’ve done nothing wrong.” The code was a set of rules created by the Elders of Silver Crest. Larkin had once mocked the idea of pirates abiding by any type of law, but she’d come to learn that all Pirates of Silver Crest, even those touted as the most ruthless, were loyal to the code. It ensured that the pirates protect Saoirse, freedom. “Why call you to trial then?” “Because I’ve done something they do not approve of.” Larkin pushed herself up and stared at Barren in the darkness. His features were passive. It seemed so uncharacteristic. This should make him angry, because to her, it sounded unfair. “So in truth this is against the code,” said Larkin. Barren chuckled and sat up. “The Elders advise and protect the code, Larkin. To say they do anything against it is blasphemy.”

She regarded him for a moment. Barren’s loyalty to the code of Silver Crest was strong, which meant his loyalty to the Elders would be matched. “I was under the impression the pirates of Silver Crest lived a life dedicated to Saoirse,” she said. It was one of the first things she’d learned about Barren, how important Saoirse—freedom—was to him. “If that is so, why do these men seem to have power over you?” “The Elders are men and women,” Barren said. “They are the eldest among us, those with the most experience, and they have no power over us, only wisdom.” “So they call you to trial to impart wisdom?” This wasn’t making sense. A trial meant that Barren had been charged. It meant there were consequences for actions. He knew this just as well as she did. “Larkin,” he said and he ran his fingers over her cheek, tangling them into her hair, and secured his hand at the base of her neck. “I don’t want to talk about this right now. It’s in the future, but we’re in the present.” He pulled her to him, and their lips crashed together, sending heat through her body, diffusing the tension that had built between them in the silence. His mouth moved from hers and trailed her jaw and throat. When he wrapped his hands around her thighs and pulled her to him, she forgot her frustrations—all she wanted to know was how she could be closer to him. The heat from his skin was addictive. It filled her senses, made her desperate. He twisted, and she yelped as she found herself on her back with her legs still around his waist. He loomed over her and paused to stare, seeming completely focused, yet lost at the same time. She liked him like this. She often had power, but here she was in control. He would do anything she asked, bend to her will. So she reached for him, willing this distance between them to close, and he obliged, meeting her lips with a carnal growl.

REVIEW: Flintlock is outstanding! This book has adventure, romance and suspense all wrapped up together. Since this is the second book of the series, the story begins with Barren, the ship captain, and his crew being warned by the Elders for careless crimes. They threaten Barren with potential exile if another mistake is made. The ambassador takes them in since someone has made a threat against the king’s life and Barren and his crew have been asked to stop it from being carried out. During Ambassador Cove’s gala, he is shot in the chest by a mysterious bullet before problems start to arise tenfold as the crew discovers the bullets are laced with black magic. Barren is now faced with losing his crew, his friends and his life when he makes the final decision to investigate the Underground for the creator of these bullets. He captures the assassin and goes to Mariana where Larkin must return as a disgraced Lady in order to protect the pirates from further anguish. Will Barren’s carelessness get in the way of Larkin’s return to her father? What will the pirates find with their investigation…and could it be more than they originally bargained for?

I really enjoyed reading this story. My favorite characters in this book are Barren, Larkin and Leaf. Leaf is the Elf prince that befriends Barren in the first book. He is wise and/or skilled in several things like fighting, healing and compassion. While Barren may be careless, Leaf is Barren’s savior in many ways. The Elf prince protects his friend from many mistakes along the way. There is loss in this book which tore at my heart upon reading it, but it is understandable and somewhat of a necessity for change in certain aspects. Larkin is a constant reminder to Barren of his inability to trust. He cares deeply for her; however, he struggles with trusting her to follow through with orders that will keep her safe and away from danger.

I give Flintlock a five star review because the author created an entirely new world, new ideas, originality in plot and several intermingled and emotionally complex characters that all have a part to play in this adventure. The kings, the pirates, the Elves and the Underground are all describes vividly enough to where I was able to see what the author wanted me to see. This book is geared toward a young adult audience; however, it is not gender specific. It would be preferable to read the first book in the series and then this one since it is in a sequential order of events; however, it can be read as a standalone.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. When she’s not writing, she’s hard at work on her Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology, working out, or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

CONTACT ASHLEY NIXON: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

 

Review: Heartfelt Lies by Kristy Love

ABOUT THE BOOK: Loving Cassie was effortless. She was a thirst I couldn’t quench.

She was everything I needed, but nothing I deserved. I failed her more times than I could count.

I lied relentlessly. And she always forgave me.

Until she couldn’t.

Maybe I deserved to be left behind.

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Jax swept me off my feet with his disheveled hair and his easy smile. I loved him fiercely. He made me believe in the fairytale.

Then the walls crumbled around me. The lies never ended. I left him behind. I had no choice. I mourned the loss of him.

But I moved on. I created a new life, Now, I was marrying someone else.

Where do we go now that he’s back?

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

REVIEW: Heartfelt Lies is … heartfelt! The agonizing pain that both Cassie and Jax endure make them seem like they aren’t capable of being in a strong and committed relationship. Cassie has a son named Ben who originally meets Jax after several months of dating. Jax seems like he is the perfect gentleman and the relationship seems to be perfect, then a death in the family due to a drug overdose causes several problems and emotional turmoil. When Cassie realizes that she is unable to commit to the destructive path that Jax is heading down, she fears for his safety but must keep Ben her top priority. What is to become of their relationship and how can Cassie ever trust Jax to be who she needs?

My favorite character in this story is Ry. Even though she is Jax’s sister, she does see things clearly throughout the entire story and does not take sides. She loves both Jax and Cassie unconditionally and realizes that what they have together is something worth fighting for…even if they don’t believe it themselves. I really enjoyed reading about Roxie which is Cassie’s sister. She is full of humor and seems to know a lot about relationships…even though her past is a little rocky. Both women are wonderful complimentary characters and have wonderful personalities.

I recommend this story to primarily women, since it is a young adult romance novel. Heartfelt Lies is book two in the Undone Series; however, it can be read as a standalone. I thoroughly enjoyed reading both Cassie and Jax’s perspective of their lives, together and separate. I rate this novel with five stars because the information is original, the story is emotional and captivating and the characters are interesting.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: From the time she was old enough to form words into sentences, Kristy Love has been writing stories. She attended La Roche College and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Writing. When she’s not writing, Kristy can be found with her nose stuck in a book or spending time with her family and friends.

She lives with her husband and two girls in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

CONTACT KRISTY LOVE: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Review: Death of the Mad Hatter by Sarah J Pepper

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ABOUT THE BOOK: The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Kobo | iTunes

EXCERPT: The Queen of Hearts kissed the King one last time before the Joker ripped his head from her hands and tossed it alongside the rest of his body. The queen’s personal guards picked up the pieces and clumsily carried the dead king out of sight. No one spoke. Only the sound of a ticking clock interrupted the stunned silence of the night. Standing next to the pool of blood, the queen let a love-letter the king had written slip through her fingers. Appearing out of thin air, a Cheshire kitten, affectionately named Chez, who was distinguished by his white and blue stripes, playfully pawed at the letter. Extending his claws, he shredded it while the queen did nothing. When the Joker bent over and reached for the remaining pieces of the letter, the kitten bit him, drawing blood. Chez’s hair stood on end as he guarded the letter. “If you want to play dirty, may I suggest a play date, Chez?” the Joker asked, inspecting the bite mark. His voice was as innocent as a child, but the look in his beady eyes was that of a psychopath’s. “I have all sorts of modified toys collecting dust in the dungeon.” “Don’t antagonize the Joker, Chez. He is a bit of a schizoid,” Hearts said, picking up the kitten. She stared at the pieces of the love-letter for so long that her eye twitched. “Burn it so that no one finds out that the king loved a seamstress.” The Joker picked up the pieces and fisted them. The recipient of the letter showed through his fingers: Dearest Genevine— He held his hand up to his mouth and blew. Pieces of the letter flew into the air and burst into flames. They flickered and fell to the floor in a pile of ash. “I’m required to scold you for leaving your sharp toys scattered all over, Joker. It’s a pity the king had to pay for your untidiness,” Hearts said, glancing at the guillotine that was drenched in the king’s blood. “Then I shall only take out my biggest toys when you order me to do so… again,” the Joker said and winked. “Since this is a hush-hush operation, I assume you don’t want me to kill the seamstress? Oh! Or perhaps she could have a misfortunate accident as well?” “No, that would be far too coincidental,” the queen said, as a matter-of-factly. “Keep her alive. Isn’t it fitting that she must live, knowing her lover is dead? Oh, and see to it that she never leaves Wonderland. Everything considered, she is still the most talented seamstress in the court, and I’ll need someone sew me a black dress to wear at King Edward’s funeral.”

REVIEW: Death of the Mad Hatter is absolutely magnificent! The story begins with a retelling of past events, an ‘accidental’ beheading of the the king. Wonderland has now been transformed into an ultimate ‘Reign of Terror’ under the Queen’s rule. The Queen invests a great deal of emphasis on the prophecies that are foreseen by Jack and the Joker. The Joker is well-known throughout Wonderland as being purely sadistic and violent in every aspect of the Queen’s court. His method of play is demented and life threatening to those who must face him; however, his role is to assist the Queen with maintaining her reign and power. When Alice Mae falls down a rabbit hole, chasing a rumperbabbit, she is taken to the Waiting Room which leads her into Wonderland. Thankfully, the Mad Hatter is the one who finds her and deems her his next apprentice in candy making…amongst other things. Nothing will ever be the same in Wonderland again. These prophecies consume the Queen’s heart: if the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. When Alice Mae is indebted to the Queen for her betrayal, the Queen moves to strike at the second prophecy, the HATed fool will die twice. But…how does someone die twice? And…what must be done to make the impossible…possible?

I really enjoyed reading Alice Mae’s character. She is colorful, interesting, deceiving and attractive. When she arrives at Ryley’s school for the first time, she has answers that he has been searching out for a long time. Her strength, her strange appearance and odd behavior are Wonderful assets to her when it comes to getting what she wants from the Otherworlders, like Ryley. I also enjoyed the Joker’s character. He tortured Alice Mae for her betraying, using unconventional methods and weaponry like making her dance until her feet bled. Even though he is primarily someone who readers should not like, he really emphasizes the good vs evil tactic altogether, pretty well.

I recommend this story to everyone! Since Death of the Mad Hatter goes back and forth between Ryley and Alice Mae’s point of view, it is targeted to both gender audiences. This is one of the books within the author’s Twisted Fairytale Confessions series, along with Snow White Lies and Locks: Rapunzel Unhinged. I rate this book with five stars because this author is truly talented. Her creativity is raw and original and her ability to twist fairytale stories into another type of story is amazing.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

1. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres? I grew up watching Simpsons and Star Trek… Combo those two and it was an unstoppable force that allowed my imagination to explode. As I grew older I enjoyed reading the Anamorphs Series and dabbled in romance novels… Science-fiction, paranormal, and romance have practically been embedded into my genes. To write any other genre at this point would be futile. I write what I understand and know. My passion lies in the supernatural world. 

2. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym? Of Course the World is Flat was my first novel – print on demand. It was a grammatical nightmare… but a vital stepping stone in my development as an author. “Unspoken Lies” debuted Jan 20th as my first eBook. Devil’s Lullaby will be coming out this summer, the first book in the Ringer’s Masquerade Series. It’s a teen paranormal romance series. My mouth dropped after my editor told me I wrote romance really, really well… I was thinking “yeah, you probably say that to every Jane Doe…” Then she told me she’d email the publisher and see about setting me up with a series. This was all while writing a classical mythology trilogy (with a modern twist) Already into the first book, “Forgotten” I decided I didn’t have enough on my plate and eagerly accepted contract for the RM Series. I write under the name my parents gave me.

3. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them? I’ve had over 300 “no’s” in the two years I’ve been writing. Agent after agent & publisher after publisher sent out wonderful let-downs, “Dear sir or madam” filled my inbox with disappointment, and countless paper cuts littered my fingers with opening rejection letters. I have to admit it was tearing me apart, so I decided to stop sending them out and “pause” my writing hobby. But that pesky imagination wouldn’t leave me alone. I decided to try again after revising my query letter. Honestly, this is a little funny, but I went on a vaca with my hubby to New Orleans and a fortune teller told me I’d have my first publishing deal within the next 4-6 months… she wasn’t wrong.

4. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’? Well, I’m about as green as they come with marketing. Closing my eyes and praying someone reads my book is tempting but I doubt it will have long lasting results. I know many good books never really get known because of poor marketing and other’s that aren’t as good have taken off. I’ve started small, working with small town papers and social networking. I’ve created trailers for my books on youtube – which you can get from my website and facebook page. www.peppersreadingcorner.com & https://www.facebook.com/#!/PepperSarahJ Eventually I was promised a feature in a local magazine Ect in Sioux Falls, SD… who knows how far I’ll be along a year from now.

5. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s? Sookie Stackhouse Series, Anita Blake Series, City of Glass, Hunger Games (who isn’t?) Actually, if you check out my Goodreads page http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5762464.Sarah_J_Pepper You can see all my ratings and favourite books. I also have my books uploaded to that site so if you want to check out excerpts, blurps, or trailers they are shown there too!

BLEEDING HEART PROPHECY: The Jack prophesied: If the king loses his head, then the Queen with a Bleeding Heart would rule the Red Court until Time ceased to move forward. When a second carried on for infinity, every creature in Wonderland would tip their Hat to the misfit girl with a Boy’s name (or was it a boy with a Girl’s name?) who’d end the Reign of Terror. However, it all hinged on the One-Eyed Hare being able to convince an uninspirable Heir that the impossible was indeed possible—like stopping time—and that Love was worth a Beheading. Heads would Roll… Hearts would Break… In the end, would it matter who Reigned? “Reign of Terror—everyone acts like it’s a bad thing,” the Queen of Hearts said, reading the script that Jack, the prophesier, had scribbled on an ingredients page of a violet book entitled, Sweets for the Rabbit Hole Voyager. The Mad Hatter’s crest, M.H. and a top hat, was printed on the top of every odd number page inside the book. Hearts tore the last stanza from the Bleeding Hearts Prophecy, crumpled it into a ball, and smashed it between the pages of The Lazy Killer’s Poisons, another of the Mad Hatter’s works. What a silly notion—dying for love. Ugh! (Cue eye-roll)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Award Winning Author, Sarah J. Pepper, specializes in fantasy and paranormal romance. She unveils the beauty of love in her new adult/young adult novels. Her works envelope dark, paranormal romance – think “happy ever after” but with a twisted, dark chocolate center. Real-life romance isn’t only filled with hugs, kisses, bunnies, and rainbows. True-love can be more thoroughly described in times of darkness and tribulation. It’s in those harsh moments where you see what a person is truly capable of – both the good and bad. Sometimes prince-charming isn’t always on time, and the glass slipper is a little snug. However, it doesn’t mean Charming is not Mr. Right, and who says every shoe is the perfect fit?

CONTACT SARAH J PEPPER: Instagram | Pinterest | Tumblr | Facebook | Twitter

Review: The Lonely Girl by Gracie Wilson

ABOUT THE BOOK: What if one day you woke up and found your heart had been shattered? You lost the one person you loved more than anything. What happens when you learn to move on even though you thought you’d never be able to again? Is it worth the risk to try and let someone in? Is it better to be left alone then take the chance of more heartache? This time will be different. Becca slowly starts to put the shattered pieces of her heart back together only to have it broken again by someone she trusted. Can her heart that was barely healed in the first place be fixed, again? Becca falls for someone new, but will her heart be safe. Will she survive the secrets that come out from the past? Love is worth the risk. Can she really believe that? The question is: is he worth the risk?

BOOK LINKS: Audible | Goodreads

REVIEW: The Lonely Girl begins with a recollection of the tragedy that occurred several months ago when Becca lost her best friend and boyfriend, Michael. She is graduating high school soon and must decide where she would like to attend college. Her brother, Alec, persuades her to visit him at Lakehead where he attends, while also playing on their hockey team. Becca originally has doubts about this decision since this school is the one that her and Michael were planning on attending together after graduation. After the accident, Becca starts dating a boy named Dillon who quickly becomes controlling and completely infatuated with her; therefore, he doesn’t hesitate to let her know that he will make her regret her decision if she leaves to Lakehead with her brother. She couldn’t be happier to get away from him! When she gets off of the plane, she meets Keegan, Alec’s best friend and roommate. The feelings that were once reserved only for Michael come crawling out of the shadows of her heart with Keegan’s presence. During her college visit, she also meets Jake who quickly becomes her new best friend. With all of the men in her life, will she survive the pressure and jealousy that begins to arise? Will she regret the decision that she has made?

I enjoyed this story; however, Becca’s character really hit a nerve. With everything that has happened to her, she feels like she deserves all of the pain that comes after the accident. I felt like she complained a little too much instead of attempting to find strength. She let her emotions get the best of her; however, I didn’t feel that this was the best psychological reaction that comes after loss. In my experience, loss causes depression and anti-social behavior. The way that she spewed out all of the details of her life to Jake so quickly did not seem complacent for that particular scene. I did really enjoy Dillon’s character as well as Jake’s character. Both were fun to read about even though Dillon’s personality was drastically darker than any of the others.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance/suspense novels. In my opinion, this story is targeting a young adult audience. I rated The Lonely Girl with four stars due to the extensive creativeness, originality and ability to capture my attention with the building suspense. The pace was steady and the story was well written. As conveyed previously, I did really enjoy the story in it’s entirety. I was shocked at the ending because it was, in my opinion, unpredictable; however, I do look forward to reading the next in the series called The Broken Girl.

Gracie Wilson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Look for her in the trees enjoying nature’s wonders, traveling to see the latest animal conservation, or at aquariums all around the world. This girl loves nature and all animals. She has many pets and is always adding new additions. The more the merrier in her mind. Sitting under the shade reading a book, letting the world around her pass by, while she is safe in her bubble of imagination. Well, that is where she’d love to stay. She is a softball player, can be talked into the occasional Karaoke and loves going out to dance. She is a first generation Canadian living in Ontario. Her family is from Scotland, so finding her in the hot sun for very long is unlikely, but give her rain and thunderstorms and she’s golden.

CONTACT GRACIE WILSON: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Review: Salvation and Secrets by L A Cotton

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Chastity Falls was supposed to be Ana Parry’s fresh start. But what started as her salvation soon became her undoing. Four months after losing the very thing that gave her reason again, Ana is back at Chastity Falls. Holding on by a thread and trying hard to forget about Jackson isn’t easy when she’s determined to uncover the Donohue’s biggest secrets. Jackson Pierce knew he was playing with fire when he pursued the girl with pain in her eyes. But there was something about her and he just had to know more. Walking away from Ana was the hardest thing he’s ever done, and four months on, he refuses to forget. He can’t. Rising tensions with Reibeckitt Valley mean Ana is still in harm’s way and, this time, Jackson is determined to protect her—at all costs. Loyalty drove them apart, but will secrets piece them back together? Or tear them apart for good? Salvation will be earned, secrets will be unveiled. Welcome to Chastity Falls.

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Kobo | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

REVIEW: Salvation and Secrets begins where Loyalty and Lies (Book 1) ended. After the summer, Ana is no longer a freshman. Now, she is a sophomore at Chastity Falls, but she is determined to not make the same mistakes from the previous year. When she first met Jackson, she was lost and wasn’t looking to be dragged into anything that would put her in danger. Jackson’s family, the Donohue’s, warn him about the implications of choosing Ana over the family; however, the damage may have already been done. When Ana goes out on the town to let off some steam and enjoy the company of her girlfriends, it comes back to Jackson that she could be in danger because of their history together. What hoops must Jackson jump or what loyalties must he face to protect her, to protect his family at all costs? Does he have to make another choice that he may regret?

My favorite character in this story is Dennis. He is on the football team with Jackson, but does not suck up to Braiden Donohue like every other player. Dennis befriends Jackson and helps him with Braiden’s temper as well as Ana’s salvation. Since she starts to fall into that deep depression from her past loss, Jackson must figure out a way to save her. Dennis keeps Jackson’s secrets safe which is the best thing that Jackson could have ever asked for, a friend in the inner circle.

I recommend Salvation and Secrets to those who like to read romance, mystery and young adult novels. Since this is book two of the Chastity Falls series, it is not a stand alone and should be read after book one called Loyalty and Lies. I rate this novel with five stars because the story line is original, the pace is nice and steady and the characters are all complex and determined. I look forward to reading the third in this series.

L. A. CottonABOUT THE AUTHOR: Author of mature young adult and new adult novels, L A is happiest writing the kind of books she loves to read: addictive stories full of teenage angst, tension, twists and turns.

Home is a small town in the middle of England where she currently juggles being a full-time writer with being a mother/referee to two little people. In her spare time (and when she’s not camped out in front of the laptop) you’ll most likely find L A immersed in a book, escaping the chaos that is life.

CONTACT L.A. COTTON: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Review: Blood, Spirit & Bone by Camela Thompson

Blood, Spirit, and Bone is dark, suspenseful, and completely electrifying! Olivia, Lucian, Sean, and Josette get swept up in yet another viscous string of crimes scenes which will tempt their strength and trust in each other as well as themselves. Not only do we see vampires, but now there are more paranormal creatures that engulf these characters with a perfect mystery filled with action and an ongoing hunger for more.

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Olivia lives, but Lucian’s part in saving her may cost him his life. A stay of execution is dependent on Olivia’s acceptance of her inheritance—a duty to kill anyone who risks exposing the supernatural to the human world. They walk away from the Vampir Council with Lucian maimed, and Olivia reeling from a new life as something she’d never expected. Will she turn on the vampire who risked everything to save her? Sean Howard survived the battle that stole Olivia’s humanity, but wakes to a nightmare. The world believes Olivia was murdered, and Sean is a changed man. Emotionless, haunted, and losing chunks of time, he holds on to his sanity by the frayed tethers of his children, his career, and the belief that Olivia is still alive. When decayed corpses appear mutilated and Sean finds himself covered in their gore, only Olivia can help him piece together who…and what…he is. But will the truth be too much for even her to handle?

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Goodreads

REVIEW: This story is intense! Olivia, Lucian, Josette, and Sean are back at the mystery solving. Olivia has been newly transitioned and she is quite unpredictable. While Lucian and Josette are tasked with helping Olivia with her father’s legacy, the story unfolds into another slew of crime scenes that are darker than those from the first novel called All the Pretty Bones.
This author is phenomenal with the paranormal and criminal backgrounds for this story. I was very impressed with Olivia’s new characterization. While I wasn’t extremely fond of Josette in the first novel, there is more mentioned about her life in this story. I found that her appeal grew along with Lucian questions that I had from the first novel were answered in this one. My least favorite character from the first novel was Sean; however, his character really captivated my attention and drew me in for this one. Finding him a tad bit annoying in the first of the series, this persona escapes him as he is faced with darkness and the unknown.
I highly recommend this story to everyone who loves suspense, paranormal, and gore. While the scenes aren’t highly graphic, I did find a little discomfort in some of the detail but that just made it harder to put down! In my opinion, this author’s creativity is astounding and her writing style, almost flawless. I rate this with five stars because it is captivating, clever, and electrifying!

Camela ThompsonABOUT THE AUTHOR: When I was a little girl, I loved writing stories about animals doing amazing things. Ducks could speak with humans, and hamsters had a suspicious tendency to follow plot lines that were strikingly similar to Indiana Jones. I grew up, found a career, and got married, forgetting the need to tell stories. A week cooped up in my house with an illness resulted in a random decision to write a novel. That first novel will probably never see the light of day, but it woke up something that had been dormant for years.

 Despite dabbling in many genres, there is a driving force behind my stories. I love writing about women who shine in difficult circumstances. I will back them up against the wall and sit amazed as they manage to come out on the other side stronger than ever.

CONTACT CAMELA THOMPSON: Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Review: Regeneration X by Ellison Blackburn

ABOUT THE BOOK: If Charlotte Rhys Fenn could do it all over, knowing what she knows now, she would be different. Charley leads a comfortable life with her best friend and perfect match, Michael, a man with whom she shares two lovely pet children (canine and feline), and a home in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She’s fortunate to have a caring and supportive family, and two amazing friends, Inez and Becks. Professionally, she holds a secure position as editor of a respected healthcare magazine. Her life is settled, as is her future. Acquiring this existence of hers hadn’t been easy. For at least twenty years she felt like a wind-up toy, methodically following preprogrammed rules—step one … step two. She even imagined herself as a minuscule, but essential, cog inside a big machine with the mechanical brain. No matter what she tells herself, it hasn’t helped since another thought flutters through her mind as frequently: Going through the motions is the same as coasting toward nothingness. It is 2025, the time is right. Technology, in a rapidly advancing world, makes it possible to reimagine the future by recreating the past or, more aptly, by creating another past. Charley must either embrace her well-earned, sedate lifestyle, or invite a change that could alter her future irreversibly. It’s a difficult decision, one that could destroy all she has endeavored for, turning their life not only upside down, but backwards, forwards, and inside out.

BOOK LINKS:  Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

SNIPPET: “Outside of work I spend a good deal more time ruminating about one thing or another. Thinking, thinking and doing nothing. If I am being completely honest, I admit I create projects for distraction, which seems to give me a mental break for a short time, until I come up with something else to do. It’s a little obvious—even my husband jokes about it. And I have problems falling asleep. My dreams are strange and I wake up unware of my surroundings.” “I see. Your mind is very active, but you are not. “We’ll get to the details later. For now, tell me of a time when you felt in control of your life and your ability to make life-altering choices. You can start anywhere—a memory of a particular moment you revisit frequently.”

REVIEW: This story is so unlike the novels that I usually read. I automatically signed up to review this before even reading the synopsis because the cover is so interesting and attractive. Sometimes, you just can’t help but prejudge a book by it’s cover! Regeneration X begins with Charlotte Rhys, Charley for short. She is in her fifties and a little regretful of the life that she has led thus far. She is in a marriage which is no longer romantic and fulfilling. With the technology as advanced as it currently is in 2024, Charley feels like this is her opportunity to begin again. She researched the new process of Cell Regeneration which will rearrange her current cell pattern, allowing her to regress back to an earlier age. With her doctor’s assistance, she takes the leap. The consequences of her actions seemed to minimal until after the process has been completed. When she regresses to a 17-year-old version of herself, she realizes that this procedure will change the way the world sees her…including her husband. Since this is a once in a lifetime procedure, will Charley regret her decisions later?

My favorite character in this story is Charley. Her personality is a little ill-perceived at first due to the way she feels. When she starts visiting a psychologist, thinking that depression may have bottomed her out, she finds out that she still has the opportunity to make her own decisions. A light sparks and Charley is no longer the same as before she stepped into Dr. Baum’s office. I really enjoy reading about her self-doubts and the plans that she makes for herself, all for happiness. These situations and issues the Charley must face are real and I am able to relate to some of them.

In my opinion, this book really opens up possibilities of a futurist world, where technological advances make things unimaginable…very possible. While some of the information scares me, I really enjoyed the general concept of this book. I recommend this story to an adult audience; those who enjoy science and women’s fiction primarily since this story is about Charley’s life. I enjoy the pace of the story and the author was able to hold my attention throughout it’s entirety. I found that some of the issues saddened me, but others were enlightening and very much hopeful. I rated this with five stars because it is well-written, creative and interesting.

Ellison Blackburn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ellison Blackburn is a full-time designer/web developer of fifteen years. Ironically, she often waxes nostalgic over simpler days. Her passions include writing fiction and poetry, painting, and collecting vintage thingamabobs.

Raised in Chicago, she relocated to the Pacific Northwest where she currently lives with her husband and three beastly, furry children.

She is a writer of fiction and poetry and the internationally published author of Regeneration X.

CONTACT ELLISON BLACKBURN: Website | Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | Pinterest

Review: Chosen by Jennifer Ortiz

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Cal Reynolds has always been special. He comes from a long line of Hunters – a group of humans gifted with exceptional strength, speed, and magical ability. The Hunters’ purpose is to protect the world from demons from the Underworld. But even among this select group, Cal stands out.

When his strained relationship with his father causes Cal to leave the Hunters, a series of events is set in motion that causes him to discover secrets about himself, his family, and his future that he could never have imagined. In the midst of trying to decipher the pieces left from this chaos, Cal reconnects with Gabrielle Morgan, the only girl he’s ever loved, after a nearly seven year estrangement.

But Cal is Chosen – and that has far reaching ramifications, not only on himself but on those he loves as well. When Cal is faced with the ultimate deception, he begins to realize that he will need to choose where his loyalties, and his love, lie…and the seduction of darkness is almost overwhelmingly alluring…

BOOK LINKS: Amazon | Goodreads

REVIEW: Chosen is a story about a young man named Cal who has to make his way through life as a Hunter. A Hunter is exactly what the name entails. He hunts wild, living, outrageously powerful monsters who no one else can. Lie after lie, the people that he thought he could trust the most are keeping secrets from him. He makes a rash decision to join a force who does not abide by the Hunter’s code. Her name is Simone. Through an unbearable time in Cal’s life, he creates a friendship with Simone that is not entirely founded on trust, but rather respect. He is left wondering how many people know more about him then they are letting him believe? How can he find the answers that he seeks about his family and his purpose?

My favorite character in this story is Simone. She is honest, brutal, beautiful and respects Cal. Her friendship means a lot to Cal and is reciprocated with a relationship of sorts. After a falling out, they find their way back to each other. Honesty is the truest form of friendship in this book since truth seems hard to find. My least favorite character are Steven and Isaiah. In my opinion, both characters lacked something. The author has made wonderful, complex characters that convey emotion well. I was captivated and drawn into the story after Cal realized that he wanted something more than to remain with the other Hunters.

I recommend this novel because it was an interesting read. This book would probably be considered Fantasy/Paranormal since it does embrace different types of monsters, angels, demons, shamans and possession. There is explicit language, violence and sexual content within these pages; therefore, I would say that it targets an adult audience. I have rated this story with five stars due to the creativity. It is well-written and in Cal’s point of view. I am interested to wait and find out what the second of this series holds since there is a slight cliff-hanger. It leaves you satisfied but still a desire to read more about Cal’s new adventures as a super-hero.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Coffee addict. Pug owner. Former nail biter. Constant hair color changer. Mother. Wife. Writer. Not necessarily in that order…who am I kidding? Coffee always comes first.

Author of New Adult paranormal romance and New Adult contemporary romance.

I love the color purple. I believe in boys with big hearts and smart mouths and the girls who love them. Life and love isn’t always easy or happy but I still believe in Happy Ever After.

CONTACT JENNIFER ORTIZ: Facebook | Website

 

Review: Fated by Joanne Kershaw

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ABOUT THE BOOK: “No matter the cost, someone must defeat the darkness.”

 Defeated but not vanquished, the foes of light have retreated. But victory came at a terrible cost to Elora Walker, with her friends lost and scattered. Eleven months later and just seventeen, she commands her own Vanguard quad but struggles with a past that won’t release her and a future she hesitates to embrace.

The barriers between worlds continues to weaken, Dark Seekers are emboldened, and David still plans to engulf humanity in eternal night. Elora means to end the threat once and for all but dreads the personal consequences. Will saving the world demand the ultimate sacrifice? And who must pay it?

BOOK LINKS: AmazonGoodreads | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

REVIEW:Vanguard Legacy: Fated is book three of the Vanguard Legacy series. This story begins with Elora retelling incidents and battles that happened previously with her long lost love named Zak. His memory had left him with the impact of his darkness being cast out of his body in an epic battle of good verses evil. Elora has always known the light to be the right path as she followed in her mother’s footsteps; however, her twin sister Siva always followed the darkness after their father. Once it becomes clear that the battle has not subsided, but still clouds their future…Elora must make a rash decision that she may or may not be ready for. She has made several friends over the past years who have become more like family than anything else. Will it be enough to finally beat her father and sister into submission or will death be the ultimate price?

My favorite characters in this story are Marcus and Matthew. Both have risked everything and learned of loss the hard way; however, they still put their all down for the greater good of the Vanguard. The emotion that I felt when scenes unfolded, with these two characters, tore at my heart. I wanted to see a bright future…or rather just a future for both of them. My least favorite character is David. His character seems so miniscule and devoid of any emotion. This is the intended notion that the author desired from her readers; however, his evilness did not sit well with me. The fact that his sacrifices are irrational, making him dangerous for all, even those loyal to him are unforgivable. His character was written well since it left a great distaste for his existence in this story.

Since my emotions were on high with this story, I would have to give it five stars. This novel is very intriguing and creative. The narrative was a perfect pace and it was very easy to read and sympathize with all characters reintroduced. I really need to go back and read books one and two of this series for more of a full comprehension of everything encompassing the Vanguard Legacy. I recommend this series to all who enjoy Fantasy and Action. There is a little romance involved, but nothing explicit and hardly anything other than emotional turmoil brought on by a deeper love once known.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne Kershaw lives in Wakefield, England, with her husband, four young children, and an uppity cat named Dipstick. As a teacher of five- to eleven-year-olds, she spends her days playing at being a grownup, then goes home to delve into Young Adult dark romance and being sixteen again.

Joanne lives and breathes books, whether reading, writing, or marking them. She wrote her first novel in six weeks. Encouraged to submit her work by a friend and fellow YA novel addict, Joanne now finds herself a signed author at Xchyler Publishing.

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