Not One…Not Two…But Three Reviews!

Just call it a very, very, very early Christmas present. Or something like that. I’ve been lucky enough to get some extra reading in lately, and I’ve been busy giving reviews to the best books I’ve read over the last few weeks. And as I haven’t posted here for a while, I thought I’d bundle them altogether, so you lovely folks can have some ideas for what to snuggle up with as the weather gets colder. 😉

 

A Pound of Flesh (A Robert Young of Newbiggin Mystery, Book 1)

Stuart S. Laing

51babnptmnl

I could not put this book down. I love historicals, but I’ve never actually sat down with a historical that’s also a crime thriller, or one where you feel so transported through the use of a local dialect. The characters were well-rounded and interesting to get to know, and I loved the use of Scots for their speech – it really gave the ‘feel’ of actually being there, and I think putting the speech into modern English would have taken something away. The setting was amazing as well, every twist down an alleyway and shadowy building made me feel like I was not only back in Edinburgh, but as though I was back in the 18th century to boot. There were twists and turns in the story I never saw coming either, and a few points where I was on the edge of my seat or chewing my nails.

My only niggle (and reason for dropping a star) is that some of the book was a little difficult to read due to missing punctuation or spelling errors. It didn’t pull me away from the story (the story is too good for that!) but it did mean I sometimes had to slow and re-read a couple of sentences. But, knowing this is the author’s first book, I know that can happen and it won’t stop me from getting and reading the rest of the series at all.

Overall, Stuart S. Laing has produced a wonderful look back into a period and place that comes with a good smattering of drama, crime, and deliciously Scottish dialects. This is a real storyteller’s work, and the story is woven so effectively, I promise you won’t be able to put it down as soon as you start. A really fabulous book from start to finish.

A FABULOUS FOUR STARS!  Grab your copy HERE.

Bittersweet (The Kaveesh, Book 1)

Tyffani Clark Kemp

bittersweet_ebook

Let me start off by saying I NEVER read YA books…and that makes absolutely no difference when it comes to how much I love this book! The characters (especially Lira) drew me in from their first tension-filled conversations, and they were complex and balanced enough to be seen as young adults, making realistic situations, but keeping enough seriousness to convey their particular situation.

I love the world of the Kaveesh that Tyffani Clark Kemp has created too. It’s imaginative, but meshes with our world in a way that makes the strange feel believable. The twists and turns are exciting and keep the pages turning, and keep you guessing with who is going to do what next – especially Mother Cora! Watch out for that one.

Overall, the relationships between the characters make this book. There’s tension, romance, humour, nostalgia, horror – every possible type of person is here, but the book never feels crowded, or like there are too many characters at once. The way the story is constructed, it allows for almost several stories within the book at the same time. The storyline is great, the characters are memorable, and the flow is brilliant. I urge anyone who enjoys sci-fi/dystopian YA to pick this up now, because you won’t be able to put it down once you start reading! I couldn’t give this less than five stars.

A FANTASTIC FIVE STARS! Grab your copy HERE.

The Searching Bride (The Emberton Brothers, Book 3)

Karen Aminadra

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00100]

Karen Aminadra’s Emberton Brother’s series comes to an end with this book, but it does not go out with a whisper. Quite the opposite! While the characters are, as ever for me, my favourite part, it is the emotions that truly bring this story to life. The characters are well-rounded and complex, and learning more about both Louis Emberton and Martha Coleman was wonderful. Martha is definitely my favourite heroine of the series, because you find out so much more about her in this book – she is not merely a romantic and a little naive, but loving, hard-working and practical as well. The emotions are so skilfully woven into the over-arching story that they become a part of it, both pulling it along and adding real depth to the situations the characters find themselves in.

As ever, the romance was believable and sweet, but because of the characters involved it had an extra depth that wasn’t as prevalent in the other two. As ever, I was willing the pair to come together happily for the end, but I was also wrapped up in so many other heartfelt events in the book that I had hardly any breath left! There were some parts where I wished perhaps we could have lingered longer to explore the story there (such as in Dover), but that is more personal taste, and the book didn’t need to do that at all. The descriptions are, as ever in Aminadra’s style, enough to give you a vivid picture without giving away all the details.

I cannot say enough good things about this book; it is a perfect ending to the series, and as brilliantly-written as the other two. If you enjoy sweet Regency romances, drama, and complex characters, these are the books for you. I cannot give this book any less than five stars.

A FANTABULOUS FIVE STARS! Get your copy HERE.

A Bit Of Pot Luck!

Hey, everyone! 🙂 Bit of a post today for a new reviewing group – and we’re looking for reviewers!

Love reading? Love FREE books in the genres you enjoy? Then you need to come over and join the new Facebook group that aims to make reviewing fun for everyone! Pot Luck Reviews needs more reviewers, so just click on the link below and join up. They work almost like ‘blind reviews’, in that you never know what book you’re going to get! Simply state which genres you like reading, how many books you’re happy to review each month, and that’s all there is to it. Each month, you will receive a random book in a genre you love, and all you have to do is give it an honest review.
So that’s it! Why are you still reading this? Click here and start enjoying more books! 😉

https://www.facebook.com/groups/potluckreviews/

potluck

Review and Interview for Under The Desert Moon

Good morning folks! Well we have a new stop in here today, for Under The Desert Moon, by Emma Meade, with a review and interview! So sit back, grab your coffee, and enjoy the post! 😉

Emma Meade lives in rainy Ireland. She loves vampires, slayers, witches, ghosts, aliens & shadow men (or at least the youngest of the Shadow Men), and regular people who live extraordinary lives (think Slayerettes and you’re on the right track). Books, DVDS & TV show boxsets take up lots of space in her home, and she collects all the Point Horror books she can get her hands on. Writing supernatural short stories and watching marathon re-runs of Buffy are some of her favourite ways of escaping reality.

Website
Blog
Twitter
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon

Hello Emma, it’s a great pleasure to have you here, welcome to my blog!
Hi Miranda, thanks a million for having me here today.
Your newest novel, Under the Desert Moon, sounds really interesting. Can you tell us more about it?
I’d love to. Erin Harris is a typical small town girl, dreaming of the day she finishes high school and can make her own way in the world, far away from the people she has grown up with and the little town of Copperfield, Arizona. Out of the blue, a movie crew arrives to shoot a vampire film, and Erin gets a job on set as a photographer. She finds herself drawn to the drop dead gorgeous, lead actor, James Linkin and sparks fly between them. But James is no ordinary guy. He’s hiding something, and Erin is determined to discover his secret.

So what inspired this novel?
I’ve always loved YA, supernatural novels, especially stories featuring a human/non-human romance, so I just had to go and write my own book. Like Erin, I spent many of my teen years daydreaming out windows, imagining myself in a different place and longing for the freedom that comes once you leave secondary school. Erin is a strong character and I wanted to write about an independent girl readers could relate to, one who understands that it’s great to fall in love and experience a relationship, but also wisely knows not to hang all your hopes and dreams on one man, especially at the tender age of seventeen.

What books do you read? Do you read books in your genre, or books very different from it?
I read across many genres but I am always drawn to novels with a supernatural slant and review them frequently on my blog: Emma’s Ramblings on Supernatural Fiction. Reality can be a tad boring at times, so what better way to escape the monotony of daily life than by spending time in an exciting world of urban fantasy filled with magical creatures of the night. I’m telling everyone to look out for an amazing author, L.H. Cosway who wrote Tegan’s Blood and Tegan’s Return. Her vampire novels are some of the best I’ve read in years. I see big things happening for this woman.

If your book was made into a film, who would play your main characters, and why?
What a dream come true that would be. For Erin, I imagine a younger Amber Tamblyn, the way she was in her Joan of Arcadia days. Amber has a down-to-earth, no nonsense air about her. Erin is quite an ordinary girl, but she has spirit and an inner strength, and I think Amber could portray her well. For James, it’s a tough one. I’ve said before that I’d like to see Will Estes from Blue Bloods try his hand at playing a bad boy, but I’d really like an unknown to take on the role of James.
What advice would you give to others who wanted to become indie authors?
Enjoy the experience, but do your homework. Research self-publishing before you hit the publish button. Buy a book like Catherine Ryan Howard’s Self-Printed and follow her instructions. Before you even think of publishing, make sure you have written a good book. Edit as much as you can, send it to beta readers who do not know you and can therefore give you an honest critique, edit it again, and hire a professional editor. Find a cover designer to create the artwork, then it’s time to tackle the formatting of your book for ebook and paperback and decide what distribution company you’re going to go with: Lulu, Amazon, Smashwords etc. Take your time. I know sometimes us writers are simply itching to put our book out there, but do your novel justice, and get it right.
What is the best part of publishing yourself?
If you could be a character from one of your books for a day, who would you be and why?
I’d be Alex from Night Sighs and Night Whispers. She’s a smart, independent vampire with a rock star for a boyfriend and she gets to travel wherever she pleases. Life is good for Alex, filled with adventures and a sizzling romance. To walk in her shoes for twenty fours would be a thrill.

Where can we find your novels?
Well, Under the Desert Moon is my first novel to make it into print, and you can find it in all the usual online bookstores. I have one other book, a collection of short stories, Night Sighs that is also available online. Though it should be noted that Night Sighs is for adult eyes only.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I’m working on two novels at the moment. One is a follow up to Night Sighs called Night Whispers and the other is a tale of love, witches and small town life.
You can find out more about Emma Meade on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. Thank you for being here, Emma, any parting words?
Thanks for being a lovely host, Miranda. I’ll have to stop by again for another chat and a cup of tea. 

17 year old Erin Harris spends her time daydreaming, hoping to escape her small town life in Copperfield, Arizona. When a movie crew arrives unexpectedly to shoot a vampire film over the summer, Erin’s small town world changes forever.
Erin is positive she has seen the star, James Linkin before in a thirty year old TV show. He hasn’t aged a day. How is this possible? Erin is determined to find out, but how will James handle the scrutiny of an all too intelligent teenage girl?
Purchase links:

Barnes and Noble
Amazon
Soul Fire Press

Good Points

I loved how this book, first of all, drew me in from the first page with its fantastic descriptions. The author has a very unique voice, and this comes across. Her storyline was also unique, and very different from the large majority of vampire novels that are currently published. I also liked that her vampires were not quite the modern type floating around pages now, but they lent something of the old vampires to themselves. The dialogue was well written out and evenly-paced, drawing the reader in just little bit by little bit, until you were eager for more in the next chapter. I also loved that the romance between the two main characters was not insta-love, or perfect in any way. It had its problems, and this made it a little more realistic.

Bad Points

While the dialogue was good, I would have liked to have seen a little of it cut down in places. And there was a lot of being told what was there, rather than shown. It would have been nice to have been given those few pointers in showing, and leave my imagination to do the rest, but this wasn’t hugely noticable.

Overall

This was a fantastic read, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a new vampire novel where the relationship is just a tad more believable, and the vampire is likewise. I thought this was a great read, and I would definitely pick it up again, and pour through its pages.

I give this book……4/5 Stars!

Review of When Empires Fall by Katie Jennings

Evening all! Sorry it’s a late one today, but this post will be up all tomorrow as well, so it’s a super long one. Pull up your favourite chair, (why were you standing at the computer, anyway?) grab a delicious drink, and read today’s review! You can grab your copy of When Empires Fall here from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall…

In America, kings are not born, they are made. Men with ambition build their own empires and it is their heirs who carry the torch of tradition, generation by generation.

The Vasser Hotel Empire rose out of the ashes of an Industrial era, cementing itself in the very heart of America’s greatest city, New York. Through the drive and courage of one man, a legacy was born that would last more than a hundred years.

That is, until word got out that one of their own was murdered.

Sixty years of lies will come crashing down in flames of treachery and blood, and the truth will send shockwaves through an entire nation. Now the newest generation of Vasser heirs will have to deal with the consequences, or else allow their legacy to burn to the ground.

But dark secrets are buried deep within the family itself, and everyone has an agenda. Love of family and forbidden passion will set off sparks in a powder keg ready to annihilate the empire, but it may also be the only thing keeping them whole.

When reputation is everything, it will take all they’ve got to save themselves from their own undoing.

 

Good Points

Where to begin? At the beginning, I suppose and the first beginning must be the front cover. It’s stunning! And it really caught my attention. I don’t normally go for novels like this, as I think of them a bit like soap dramas in book form (and I don’t watch soap dramas), but this one was very different. From the first page, I was swept up by Katie Jennings’ depth and colourful descriptions. The characters were fantastic, and they really drove the story along; a grand story of the trials and tribulations of them and their hotel’s fortunes. The pacing was perfect, feeding you just enough to get you flicking over to the next chapter, but not giving away everything at once. And the ending! It was-well, it’s certainly left me waiting for the next book. 😉

 

Bad Points

If I had to be really, really picky, I would say that the beginning was a bit slow for me. Not that it wasn’t written well; slow starts are just not my taste. But I can see why people who like family saga novels generally would probably prefer that to build slowly to the drama. Also, I wondered if some of the characters were a little young for the storyline. Not that you CAN’T have 20-somethings running a hotel; I’m sure lots of them do. But most of the characters seemed to be within this age bracket, and I would have liked to see some older characters in there, to give it a more realistic feel.

 

Overall

This is a brilliant start to a great new series. I was hooked immediately, and I can’t wait to get my eager hands on the next one. Katie Jennings is a talented author, and I highly recommend this book to anyone-even if it isn’t your normal genre. This is one of those books that is worth reading even if it’s not normally your thing, if only for the quality of the writing and storyline.

 

I give this novel…..4/5 Stars! 

Review and Giveaway of Fey Touched by Erin Zarro

Good Thursday morning to you all! We have a great post for you today. Not only do we have a review of Fey Touched, but also a giveaway to win a FREE kindle copy! The giveaway will be open for three days only, so scroll down and take a look! You can grab your copy of Fey Touched from Amazon US, Amazon UK and at Turtle Duck Press.

 

Two sisters.

Asha is the Queen of the Fey, genetically engineered immortal humans who feed on human souls to survive. But she’s running from her people. When she is found by her enemy, one of the Hunters of the Fey, she expects to die. Yet he’s oddly intrigued by her, and Asha finds herself falling in love with him, hoping she can find safety and the home she’s been seeking. Then she’s kidnapped, and everything changes.

Fallon is a Hunter. She’s looking for her long-lost sister, using an addictive drug to search through the stream of time. Her addiction leaves her dangerously exposed to her enemies but, consumed by her search, she doesn’t care…until her fellow Hunters start dying from a mysterious illness. She is torn between duty and desire, and must find an answer before they all die.

What Fallon doesn’t know is that Asha might just be the key to saving them all, if only she can find her.

And time is running out.

 

Good Points

I love the storyline, first of all. A year ago I really didn’t like the sci-fi genre, but because of books like these, it’s starting to grow on me. And the start of the book sucked me in straight away; the was no immediate back story, just straight into the action, which really hooks the reader. I also like that the world Zarro has created is one of her own fantasy, but it also has elements of our world, giving it a grounded feel. Erin Zarro is a cunning writer, weaving three separate storylines throughout the story that ultimately collide towards the end of the story. The descriptions of both the characters and the environment were beautiful, and gave you enough information without bogging the reader down with long lengths about scenery.

 

Bad Points

I really couldn’t find anything in this novel I would describe as a bad point. This is a fantastic first offering from Erin Zarro.

 

Overall

This is an amazing book. A unique storyline, carefully crafted world, vivid characters…there was nothing I didn’t like about this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone, even if you don’t like sci-fi or fantasy…you soon will. I look forward eagerly to the next book that Erin Zarro will bring us.

I give this novel….5/5 Stars!

 

 

 

 

And now for the giveaway! This giveaway is for ONE lucky winner to win a free kindle copy of Fey Touched, and will be open ONLY until 22nd September! So fill in your details below!

 

Review of A Woman Recharged by Rose Blackerby

Good Wednesday all! And how nice to come back after my little break! I had an awesome time promoting Erin, but it’s nice to get back into the reviewer’s seat again for a while. Today I am reviewing A Woman Recharged! You can grab your copy here from Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Diamond Rose is a daydreamer. What if her fondest daydream comes true? Something so out of the realm of possibility, her fantasy didn’t stand a chance of preparing her for the reality.

Maybe then she can have the life she was supposed to live…maybe…if she doesn’t try to drag her old life with her.

This is a story of a woman, suffering from low self-esteem, who believes beauty will bring her the happiness that has been eluding her. If you enjoy reading about the empowerment of a woman who finds her way to inner peace and happiness you will love A Woman Recharged.

Excerpts:
Daniel dries Diamond’s feet:

Diamond endured the cold spray of water as she stood in the outside shower stall situated in one corner of the terrace. The shower was cordoned off from full view of passersby with walls of glass blocking. Daniel was waiting just outside the stall with a huge, heated towel. Dripping wet and clad in the bikini she had worn under her fleece jogging suit, she stepped out into the cool night air. He moved in close. Starting from her top, he slowly rubbed the towel down her chilled and shaking body. When he got to her feet, he knelt down and drew her right foot toward him. He dried it so carefully and lovingly, feelings of being cold melted away. His hand cradled the under palm softly as he gently dried each toe. He lowered her foot with a lingering touch and reached for her other one. Diamond found herself wishing she had more than two. The sensation was so delicious, goose bumps traveled up her leg and her body gave a hard shiver.
“Feeling a bit more chipper?” He looked up at her from his kneeling position. His lifted eyebrows managed to make him look both comic and sardonic at the same time. He had recognized her shiver for what it was; one of enjoyment…perhaps desire.

Michael and Rainn :

“Whoa. All that thar book learnin and you don’t know two bits?” Michael shook his head in mock disbelief.
“Oh, wait a minute. My dad used to sing a line from some silly song. It went: ‘Shave and a haircut…two bits’. I always thought the two bits part meant it was two things.”
Michael looked puzzled. “What?”
“You know. A shave and a haircut. I thought those two things were the two bits.”
The sidewalk had leveled out to an even grade and Michael sprinted ahead of her. He turned around and faced her, walking backwards. His body jiggled with suppressed laughter.
“Alright. Say what you have to,” she said, eying him warily.
His laugh burst forth. “You egomaniac! You decided you knew what it was without asking?”
She thrust her chin out. “I’m just confident that’s all. Anyway, obviously its an amount of money. Are you going to tell me how much, or are you going to keep jumping around backwards like a monkey on a string?”
He turned and fell back in step next to her. “Depends.”
“On what?”
“On if you spend more than two bits on me for lunch.”
“I don’t know if you’re worth that much.”
“You still don’t know how much it is.”
“Exactly.”
Michael let out his first real belly-laugh in over two years. Surprise washed over him at how good it felt.
“I have an idea. Let’s go to my house for lunch. I’m sure I have some moldy bread and cheese lying around.”
“Wow, you sure know how to win a girl’s heart.”
Rainn held her breath when they neared the old reservoir field. She waited to see if his mood would change. It didn’t.
“Yep, we could deep fry the cheese sammiches in the hunk o’ lard I bin savin for jest the right occasion,” he went on.
“Yum,” she said. “I can hardly wait.

Excerpt is copyright of Rose Blackerby

Good Points

First off, I would like to say this book is much more than a simple romance novel. This is the story of a woman’s transformation, and how that changes her outlook on the world. The characters were vivid and alive, and I loved that they used a very normal dialogue. Lots of stories can be too formal with their characters, but Rose Blackerby has hit the balance exactly. The storyline was unique, and flowed very well, without jumping about too much, or leaving the reader yawning.  This is very much a character-driven story, and the characters kept the novel steaming along very nicely. The romance was touching and heart-felt, and real emotion was poured into it.

Bad Points

The only thing that left me a little confused was the occasional jump from the narrative to what the main character was thinking in her own head. In some places it was a little confusing to work out where it began and ended, and I had to re-read a few sentences. While this wasn’t a huge issue, it did disrupt my reading flow a little.

Overall

I thought this book was a great read. It was a romance, but far from the usual romance, and much more than that. It was one of those books that at the end left you thinking a little over everything that had happened. I enjoyed it a lot, and would recommend it to anyone who loves romances, and also to those who think they won’t, but love character-driven stories. Trust me, you will. 🙂

I give this book……4/5  Stars!

Review and Excerpt of Life Cycle by Zoe Winters

Morning all! As part of Dark Mind Book Tours, today I have an awesome review and excerpt from Life Cycle by Zoe Winters! Enjoy 🙂

 

Immortality can be a bitch…

Tamara has lived nearly two thousand years, trapped by a spell of her own creation. Hunted by her enemy and former lover, she knows there is only one man strong enough to release her from the curse. But will Cain honor her death wish, or keep her for himself, whatever the cost?

Two ancient souls. Two weary fighters, torn between love and hate, forced to decide if the other could be worth living for.

Heat Level 3 of 5.
Some sexually explicit content and innuendo.

You can grab your copy at Amazon.com, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

 

 

 

 

Life Cycle excerpt
Used with Permission.
Copyright 2012 Zoe Winters
Prologue

123 A.D. A hidden cavern near the waters of the Blue Grotto in Italy.

Tamar shivered with her twelve companions. They were about to attempt their most daring incantation. An opening at the top of the cavern allowed the light from the full moon to shine down on them, illuminating their secret gathering and adding its own power to the unfolding ritual.
Salt water splashed on her from a waterfall in the nearby pool. They’d searched for the water of immortality, a legend that had spread since before her birth. Far and wide, people had spoken of water that could make a person eternal and young.
But it wasn’t the water that conferred immortality. It was the creatures that lived inside the water. They were transparent and hard to see, with spongy tops and long tendrils on the bottom that could sting if you got too close. They didn’t die. Instead, they could age backward, reaching the end of their life, and then, without dying, start over again.
“We’ll freeze to death if you don’t hurry.” Tamar glared at the man in the middle of the circle. The irony of freezing to death while seeking immortality caused her to stifle a dark laugh.
“The potion must be altered with other ingredients unless you want to come back as a newborn each time. You’ll find that frustrating,” Jacob said. He was their leader and the best with potions.
Tamar made a face, but huddled closer to her sister, Naomi, for warmth. A circle of salt had been poured around them. Candles were already lit. A large stone had become a makeshift table upon which the coven leader worked. The sea creatures had been pulverized and added to an iron pot. He poured the herbal infusions into the potion.
Jacob passed a sharp knife to the person on his left. “Each of us must contribute blood to the potion or it will fail. The magic is in this creature, but they have no blood. Our blood must bond with this animal if we hope to succeed.”
“Are you sure that’s necessary?” Naomi asked. Tamar nodded her agreement. Cutting themselves and mixing their blood seemed extreme. What would be the consequences of linking together eternally?
“I am sure,” Jacob said, losing patience with their squeamishness. Magic like this had a price, and they all knew it. But the consequences always showed themselves when it was too late.
One by one they sliced the center of their palms with the ritual knife and added their blood. Jacob stirred the concoction with a wooden spoon; it smelled like death. When he was finished, he dipped a silver goblet into the brew.
“We each drink and then we chant,” he said, passing the goblet.
Tamar couldn’t help feeling pride at the chant she’d written. When they’d all drunk, they clasped hands and turned their faces up to the moonlight. The cavern echoed their words back to them. “Da immortalitatem. Renatus sine oblitus. Numquam moriens. Da immortalitatem. Renatus sine oblitus. Numquam moriens…”
And then they all died.
Tamar jolted as oxygen flooded into her body. Something felt very strange. Had the spell worked? She glanced around at her companions, each of them coming back to life one by one.
“We’re all children.”

Chapter One

Golatha Falls, Georgia. The Present.

Tam perched on the bar stool in her kitchen, still as death. Her third cup of Earl Grey tea cooled on the counter, ignored. Normally the warm brew calmed her nerves, but nothing would comfort her today.
She’d read her tarot cards, tea leaves, and scried with a bowl of water and sea salt. Everything she tried gave her the same morbid story. The death card glared back at her, mocking, and though she’d told many others—sometimes truthfully, sometimes not so much—that the death card didn’t always mean death, she knew this card said her number was up.
Jack—as Jacob was called now—was back, and he was after her. She fought to keep the tremor out of her hand as she raised the tea to her lips. He wouldn’t offer her a quick death. It would involve a cold stone slab, bleeding to death, and having vital organs removed. Ritualistic, because ritual was how you got the most effect out of stealing a fellow magic user’s power.
Tam had considered herself a cycler since the night she was reborn in that cavern nearly two thousand years ago. True to Jack’s word, each time they died, they came right back in their own younger body, looking for all the world to be about twelve years old—an inconvenience to say the least. Tam had been shuffled from orphanage to orphanage each time she began a new life cycle.
This last time she’d gotten lucky and been adopted by a well-to-do family who had taken her in and put her through a good school. The thought was nice, though pointless, given how many times she’d already suffered through school.
Cyclers kept their memories, their sense of continuity. They were effectively immortal, just like the rare breed of jellyfish they’d discovered so long ago.
Jack had only been actively hunting the other cyclers for a few centuries. He’d gone power hungry, convinced he could stop the cycle altogether and achieve true immortality by draining the power of his coven. Magic users aged differently—the more magic, the longer they could live. But it wasn’t just that. She knew him. He had an angle—something more than a personal quest for immortality.
If murder was his new hobby, his purpose for gaining all that power couldn’t be good. If he was going to get her anyway, suicide seemed the smarter option. It would free her to be reborn the normal way and keep her safe from a more brutal death at Jack’s hands.
But it wasn’t so simple. There were two ways she could die for real—and two ways only: at the hands of another cycler, or through magical means by a very old preternatural being, such as a demon or vampire at least a few thousand years old. Those were hard to come by, and their killing methods were usually too creative for Tam’s taste. She wanted to break the cycle, not be tortured.
Either way, she’d managed, through this latest cycle, to stifle the suicidal urge. Until now.
The image of the demon she’d chosen formed in her mind. Cain. The very first incubus. If he couldn’t kill her, nobody could. And he hated her. It should be simple enough to get him to agree, assuming she could find him. She’d dropped him in front of his badass pals a couple of times already with energy balls. He was probably plotting her death at this very moment.
Anna might know where to find him, since she was mated to a demon, but Tam hadn’t seen her best friend in three months. It wasn’t as if Tam had directions to the demon portals or a way to get through to their dimension even if she did. If Anna surfaced in the human dimension, Tam could do a spell to locate her, but who could say when that would happen? And would it be before Jack reached her?
Deep in her gut, she knew she was going to die—either by Cain’s hand or by Jack’s. As arrogant as the bastard was, Cain’s methods would at least be pleasurable. Bleeding out and organ removal versus orgasms. Gee, how do I decide? They both sound so glamorous and exciting.

***

Cain snarled as he passed through the portal point into Cary Town, Washington. The filmy dimensional doorway shimmered and then fizzled out of existence as he moved through the forest away from it. He couldn’t believe he’d allowed himself to be summoned by the vampire king. Half-breeds.
He’d thought his business with Anthony was finished when Cain had delivered his don’t mess with us again or there will be a war speech the last time they’d met. But now there was a bigger evil brewing, something that risked the living standards of all the factions—and possibly their lives.
Even his newly turned succubus and her werewolf mate would be at the meeting, which was going to be awkward to say the least, given that they all hated Anthony. And the feeling was mutual. How this was going to go with everybody in one room, he couldn’t say. Officially, the werewolf pack was banished from Cary Town. If someone saw them slinking through the night to Anthony’s penthouse, things would get entertaining.
The demon nodded at the guardian in the lobby of the Cary Town Luxury Apartments. This meeting was being kept on the down-low. The Preternatural Council had been shut out. Even most of the vampire king’s coven didn’t know he was fraternizing with the enemy and holding a secret meeting in his former penthouse residence. Cain stepped onto the elevator and pulled out the key he’d been given to gain access to the sixth floor.
The door at the end of the hall was answered by a vampire who looked more like a butler. “They’re on the roof by the pool, sir.”
Cain took the stairs two at a time. His presence announced itself as the metal door clanged against the brick. All eyes went to him, and he smirked.
“Well, well, looks like the gang’s all here.” And what a motley crew they were.
Anthony stood at one end of the table beside an overhead projector and portable screen that had been plugged into an outlet embedded in the brick.
At the table were several familiar faces. Beside Anthony was his human mate, Charlee. Coming around the table was Cain’s brother, Luc, and his annoying mate, Anna. Then there was Jane, the new succubus who was mated to Cole, the Cary Town werewolf pack alpha. The rest, he didn’t know.
“You’re late,” Anthony said, bristling. “We’ve been waiting, and Charlotte needs her rest. The baby takes a lot out of her.”
Cain’s eyes cut to the vampire’s mate. She was so pregnant she’d pop any day now. If this meeting was about her and her spawn, heads were going to roll. If he didn’t care about a half-breed, he sure as hell didn’t care about a quarter-breed.
“I was detained. These things happen. Lovely little school teacher. I made some third graders very happy today. Or they’ll be happy tomorrow, anyway.”
Cole growled from his seat beside Jane. “You killed a woman, you mean.”
Cain chuckled. “My god, man, what is it with you and this obsession with killing? Which one of us is the demon? Perhaps amongst your kind third graders are happy when their teacher dies. She’s… just a little spent. She’ll have to take a sick day tomorrow.”
He dropped into a chair at the end of the table where he could most easily glare at and annoy Anthony. Since Cain wasn’t killing him right now, annoying him would be the second best thing. He didn’t like that Anthony was in charge of this meeting. The vampire king was practically a child next to Cain’s eight thousand years. It should be seniority rule.
The vampire cleared his throat. “Sitting next to you is Father Hadrian who is one of mine… And over here is our resident sorcerer, Dayne, and his lovely werecat, Greta.” Anthony leered at the brunette beside the sorcerer and Greta gripped Dayne’s hand tighter.
“Therian, not werecat! You know I hate that term,” Greta hissed.
“Whether you like it or not, it’s accurate.”
“Really, Anthony?” Charlee said, an irritated expression on her face at her mate’s goading.
The vampire chuckled. “What? Is it my fault your friend is so easy to mess with?”
He took a clear plastic sheet with writing on it and placed it on the overhead projector. “I apologize for being so vague as to the purpose of this meeting. Half of you are officially enemies, but if I go to the Preternatural Council with this, my vampires will all know, and I’m not prepared for it to go public yet. We can go back to hating each other after we’ve eliminated the threat.”
Anthony flipped on the light of the projector, and an electric buzz filled the silence. “I had this letter reproduced onto a transparency for our purposes. In case the context doesn’t spell it out to you, we’ve been contacted by Jack the Ripper. He’s still alive, and he’s one of us.”
“You couldn’t just use a computer program?” the werewolf asked. Cole was the most tech-savvy of the group.
“Don’t try, it won’t get you anywhere,” Charlee said.
Dear Boss,

I’m back. You didn’t take the threat seriously last time. Shame on you. Did you not understand my joke? It wasn’t for the common people. It was for the others. Was “from Hell” not a big enough clue? It’s where we all are, after all.

When I’ve killed the other cyclers, I’ll change the world. There are 13 of us, a perfect coven. The first kill was an accident, the second an experiment. Whitechapel was only three. You were wrong. It wasn’t five. Those and others were copycats all wanting Ripper’s glory.

Since then, there have been four more, but I’ve been quiet as a mouse, giggling at my funny little games. With you in power, I thought I’d make this interesting. Only three left to kill; catch me first or Hell is mine.

Yours Truly,

The Cycler

Don’t mind the new trade name. The old one was stale, and this one will give you something new to chew on. A new mystery to solve. Do better this time. The stakes are higher now.

P.S. Have fun when the human media gets this letter. I’ll give you a head start. Tick, tock.
Cain read the letter on the projector once, twice, and then a third time. “Why did he send this to you? And addressed the same as the original letters? And what the fuck is a cycler?”
Anthony seemed annoyed by Cain’s tone, but he answered anyway. “I believe I’ve met him before. At previous points in my history, I’ve chosen to blend with the humans, exploring various ways of living to satisfy my boredom. During the Whitechapel murders, I worked for the London police department under an assumed name. But a few decades before that, I owned a small fish shop. All my other employees called me by the name I was using at that time, except one. He just called me “Boss.”
“There was something off about him. I suspected he was a magic user, but it was more than that. The way he gutted a fish… it was so clean. Surgical, almost. Even being a vampire, this guy gave me the creeps. But I never realized he knew I’d joined the London police or that the letters might be for me. He must have discovered what I was. He was playing games then; now I think he’s ready to end this. Which brings me to your other question. Does anybody besides Hadrian know what a cycler is?”
There was a consensus of head shaking.
“Father Hadrian, perhaps you could tell us about your experience.”
The priest poured a glass of wine from a bottle on the table and took a leisurely sip. “When I was turned in 1955, my first meal was a blonde witch—maybe in her twenties. Her name was Tamara. I left her corpse and went to hunt for more. When I returned to the church, there was a young girl, maybe eleven or twelve or so with the same blonde hair and the same eyes, wearing the same dress as the woman I killed. She told me she was a cycler. She was powerfully magical, much more so than I thought even a woman in her twenties should be. Magic users do age differently, so I can’t be sure of her age before I killed her.”
The hair on the back of Cain’s neck stood up. There were millions of women with that name, and probably plenty of blonde witches with it as well, but his experience with Tam had always been one of confusion over how she could take him down so easily with a flick of her wrist.
The demon glanced at Anna, wondering if she’d made the connection, but the idea that Father Hadrian was speaking about the Tam they both knew hadn’t penetrated for Luc’s mate.
“Anna, do you understand yet why this involves you?” Anthony asked.
Her eyes widened but she maintained her denial. “No… I… Why would it involve me?”
The vampire laughed and shook his head. “I forget how recently you were introduced to our world. Your friend has been keeping a monumental secret from you. Tam is the woman Father Hadrian met in the fifties.”
“That’s not possible. I mean… we grew up together. Since we were kids…”
“Since you were about twelve?”
Anna shut her mouth and looked down at her hands.
“That’s what I thought. She must have died and started a new life cycle right around that time. We’re still not sure exactly what that means.”
The vampire king turned to the sorcerer and werecat. “Dayne, Greta, did you do the research I requested?”
Dayne nodded. “I might have a theory. Since magic users are human, we’ve always been a wild card. Up until now, we’ve kept ourselves mostly secret from normal humans and considered ourselves part of the preternatural world, but if Jack gets enough power, he could sway magic users to his side. I think he wants to expose the preternaturals and fight. He’s absorbing power from his kills to make it easier.”
Greta interrupted. “I don’t think anyone considered there could be magical and ritual significance to the way Jack the Ripper was killing. The killings got more complex, but if he was experimenting with the most potent methods for power absorption, that would happen. He could become unstoppable if he kills the other cyclers.”
“He’ll also be a true immortal,” Dayne said. “The more power a magic user has, the more slowly they age. Considering the nature of what he is already, my suspicion is that he’d become unkillable. He wouldn’t have to start over in a younger human body like what Hadrian observed with Tamara.”
Cain stared at the table. He squeezed his eyes shut as images flashed in his mind of Tam being ritualistically and gruesomely murdered. He didn’t know why it pissed him off so much.
“Cain?” Anthony said.
The demon looked up, startled at being included in the discussion. He tried to maintain a bored mask, but he couldn’t stop his hands from balling into fists or the heat from the glow in his eyes. “Yes?”
“We need you to protect the witch in your dimension. It’s the only place we’re guaranteed she’ll be safe. This affects everybody. If he kills all the cyclers, and magic users come out of the closet, they’ll band together, which risks your demons as well.”
Magic users were a demon’s one weakness. Demons were exempt from death and could heal any injury—true immortals, but they could still be trapped by a curse. They could still feel the weakness and suffering of starvation. They could still be hurt.
All eyes were on him, waiting for his response. He didn’t know how he felt about the little blonde witch, but if anybody was killing her, it was going to be him, not some cheesy magical serial killer with a world domination plot, and not one of Anthony’s thugs, either.
“I’ll protect her,” Cain said, avoiding eye contact with the others. This was killing the shit out of his reputation. There were dramatic gasps and whispering, but he ignored it.
“Of course, killing her would be more expedient… if you could find a way to make her stay dead.” The vampire king’s tone was bland.
“No!” Anna said.
“Anthony!” Charlee said.
“I said I’d protect her,” the demon snarled, finally meeting the eyes of everyone at the table. He dared them to start something with him.
“We’ll also need you to get her to tell you everything about being a cycler. We still don’t understand how or why they exist or the extent of their powers,” Anthony said.
Cain growled. “Watch yourself, half-breed. I could take you out without blinking. I’m sure you want to survive to be a daddy.”
Charlee’s hand went protectively over her pregnant belly, as if the child were in danger instead of the cocky vampire standing beside the projector screen.
Anthony glared. “Don’t forget, I have magic users in my employ. I have a coven of vampires that stretches across North America and contacts with vampire leaders all over the world. Our numbers are far greater than yours. Let’s not make this personal. We’ve got a bigger enemy to fight.”
Cain was bored now. “Are we done here? I’ve got a witch to collect.” He stood, already turning toward the door.
“Cain…” It was the first word Luc had spoken since Cain had arrived. “Take Anna with you. She knows where the witch lives.”
That would make things easier.
Luc’s mate recoiled, gripping tight to his arm. “What? No! Come with me,” she said.
“I should stay for the rest of the meeting. My brother can’t harm you, remember? You can’t hold a solid form without me,” Luc said.
When she’d given her soul and became a demon’s mate, she’d had to die first. It made her existence somewhat ghostly. Only her mate could give her a full, solid form. Gradually, she would gain the same powers as Luc, but it was a lengthy process—centuries. Anna looked from Cain to Luc a couple of times. She finally sighed and let go of her mate.
Cain headed for the door. He didn’t bother waiting for her, assuming she’d follow. And if she didn’t, he’d just have to find the infuriating witch on his own.

 

Good Points

Although this was the fourth book in the series, I read it no problem. You really don’t have to have read the others in order to know what is happening, or to get sucked in from the first page. I also loved that there was a creature used in here that often gets forgotten in supernatural books-an incubus. I enjoyed how the two main protagonists, Cain and Tam, are so like chalk and cheese. This is one of those relationships where you go….”Ah, they’re going to get together-and it’s going to be good!” The storyline was original, and I thought the writing flowed very well, although it seemed a little rushed in places. The dialogue was crisp and fun, and I could hear the character’s voices ringing form the page. It kept me hooked, and I wanted to read it all the way to the end.

 

Bad  Points

Although I love the storyline, I would have liked to have seen….a bit ‘more’. From everything. A bit more heat in the sex scenes (although that might just be me) and a bit more in the threat caused by Jack. I didn’t really buy into that, and it would have been good to see a real build-up for both of these.

 

Overall

Despite the bad points mentioned above, I thought this was a brilliant book, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a new supernatural book. And now I have to read the others in the series!

I give this book….4/5 Stars!

 

 

 

 

Zoe Winters writes quirky and sometimes dark paranormal romance (and dark fantasy). Her favorite colors are rainbow and clear. For updates on new releases and opportunities for contests/giveaways sign up for the newsletter by sending a blank email to: freekept@gmail.com (As a thank you, you’ll receive a free copy of the debut novella in the Preternaturals series: Kept.)

Review of Vigilare by Brooklyn James

Happy Hump Day all! Today we have not one, but TWO awesome authors appearing on the blog. And here is our first, the lovely Brooklyn James, and I’m reviewing her book, Vigilare! Enjoy!

 

Detectives Gina DeLuca and Tony Gronkowski investigate a string of murders among Vanguard’s most loathsome population, rapists and pedophiles. With fed up citizens, the city is on the verge of a vigilante uprising in support of their seemingly superhuman Vigilare with the sparkling emerald green eyes. Friend or foe, Vanguard Police Department has a job to do in bringing the vigilant one to justice, causing their own internal battle with right and wrong, immoral and just. Following their leads, Detectives DeLuca and Gronkowski find themselves pulled into a mysterious world of super blood and super powers, and closer to the Vigilare than ever expected.

It’s a race to the finish between Detectives DeLuca and Gronkowski and the Vigilare to figure out who she is and why she exists. The first in a Trilogy-Vigilare-the one who watches over-comes to light. Where One System Fails, Another Never Gives Up!

You can grab your copy here on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

 

 

Good Points

I loved the creativity that has gone into this novel; the research. It is set in a fictional city, and the vividness of it was fantastic. The characters are the same, jumping off the page. They were most definitely not one-dimensional, and I thought their dialogue was crisp and well-written. The storyline was fast-paced and gripping, racing the reader through a plot that is somewhere between the supernatural and a thriller. The twists and turns kept me riveted, and I couldn’t put the book down until I had discovered the identity of the Vigilare! The characters had to be my favourite of the whole book though, as there were so many different personalities floating across the pages-but Ms James didn’t overload them, at the same time. There were certain scenes in the book that couldn’t be viewed as shocking, but Ms James has written them with care and tact, rather than simply thrusting their shock value in your face.

 

Bad Points

I would say that for me personally, there aren’t any. The only thing I would point out is some sensitive parts of the book-but then I would say don’t read it unless you are happy to read an adult book.

 

Overall

This is a sexy, fast-paced, relentless, well-crafted thriller, and I look forward to seeing what else Ms James will offer us. It was an exciting book to read, and I couldn’t put it down-almost to the detriment of the dinner! It was action-packed with more thoughtful parts, and I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a thriller with a surprising twist.

I give this book…..5/5 Stars!

Review of a Dangerous Proposal

Good Sunday everyone! I have another awesome review for you today, of Dangerous Proposal by Jessica Lauryn. Enjoy everyone! 🙂

 

[BookStrand Romantic Suspense, HEA] At nineteen, Alec Westwood nearly committed the most horrific of crimes—murder in cold blood—and narrowly escaped the assignment with his life. When a stunning young woman crosses his path wearing the insignia for the organization that recruited him, he vows not to let fate get a second chance. But when the enchantress gives him a kiss that leaves him spellbound, Alec realizes the power she holds is greater than all his strength and fortitude combined. On the run from her psychotic fiance, Lena Benson vows to forge a new life. But when her new friend Jack tells her to stay away from Alec Westwood—the man she believes her fiance hired to track her down—she takes matters into her own hands. Alec may have the charm, but she’s calling the shots, even if that means resisting a man whose eyes and touch rob her, literally, of sense. ** A BookStrand Mainstream Romance

 

Grab your copy from Amazon and BookStrand.

Good Points

My favourite point of any book is always the characters, and these characters didn’t disappoint. They were alive and vivid, and I loved that throughout the plot you didn’t know who to suspect-everyone was under suspicion. The writing was crisp and flowed well, and the storyline was original. The twists and turns were very cleverly constructed, and they pulled you in from the first page.  I loved the author’s creativity, and it was a very enjoyable story. Not to mention there were some very hot scenes within it. 😉

 

Bad Points

I felt some of the plot, while good, was a little weak in places. Some of it seemed as though it had been ‘padded out’ afterwards, not as though it had been worked into the plot.

 

Overall

This was a great book, and I would recommend it to anyone who was looking for a romance with a touch of mystery and suspense to it. I really enjoyed reading it, and the plot kept me hooked throughout, despite the weak points. The twists were fantastic, and kept you guessing all the way to the end.

I give this novel…4/5 Stars!

Review of Gypsy by David Menon

Good morning everyone! Just two days to go until the weekend-it’s getting closer! Now a few weeks ago I interview the lovely David Menon, and reviewed one of his novels. Today I have the pleasure of reviewing another one of his novels, ‘Gypsy‘. He’s also been kind enough to give us a little piece on why he wrote ‘Gypsy‘.  So without further ado, grab your coffee, get settled, and enjoy!

 

‘ … it was a Wednesday morning and I drove down from my home in Manchester to the peak district town of Matlock to meet up with some old friends from nearby Wirksworth. As I pulled up in the centre of town, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gypsy’ was playing on the car radio and it’s always been one of my favourite Stevie Nicks songs so I waited until it had finished before I went on my way. The song is about going back to when life was simple and somehow easier to manage, so I thought, what if I’d come back to Matlock for the first time in years? What if life had been intolerable back then because of lies and catastrophies that had almost destroyed me and I was coming back to finally put things right? Why had I stayed away so long? Why hadn’t I come back in the intervening years? What if I’d become a great success in my chosen profession but there was still a dark secret waiting to try and destroy me again? I’d been a ‘Gypsy’ and gone all over the world but could I cope with more murder, love, loss, and betrayal? These were all the reasons why I’d left town in the first place. And could I deal with finding out the truth about my own identity whilst tracking down a killer from thirty years ago? … ‘

That’s how it happens to us writers … a favourite song on the radio, a town you’ve always found inspiring, an imagination that takes you into some kind of parallel universe. You know how it is, Miranda. And from all that, the story, plot, and characters of ‘Gypsy’ found their way into my head and there was no way I could ignore their story.

 

When Danny Holdsworth returns to Matlock, the Derbyshire Peak district town of his birth, after being away for thirty years, his intention is to find the killer of his best friend, Nigel Slater, who was murdered back in 1982, a crime for which Danny was once a suspect but which still remains unsolved. Now a respected international journalist, Danny decides to use his temporary position as editor of the Derbyshire Times to campaign to finally bring Nigel’s killer to justice. But almost as soon as he’s back he runs into his old flame, Caroline, who’s very unhappily married to Danny’s childhood nemesis, Ben Reynolds. Caroline would like to rekindle her romance with Danny but he’s interested in someone else, someone much closer to Caroline than is comfortable for either of them. Ben’s haulage business is in deep trouble and he resorts to desperate measures with shady Russian businessmen to try and save it, risking the lives of himself and his family in the process, until Danny suggests a way out. Against this background, Danny believes he’s getting close to finding Nigel’s killer when he discovers a connection between the crime and his own identity that shocks him to the core and makes him wish he’d never come home. Some secrets should be left buried with the past.

 

 

Good Points

David Menon mentioned to me that this book ‘was his baby’, and I can see why! I am blown away by Mr Menon’s first offering. The characters were definitely my favourite-and being from the North of England, I chuckled a little at his embittered Northern ladies made their way onto the pages, as I’m sure I know a few! All of them were vivid, colourful, and (I felt) true to life, and I the main protagonist really shone through, with both his good and bad. There was also enough drama in this novel to put any soap opera to shame! You all know I don’t give away spoilers in my reviews, but the main character, ‘Gypsy’, does something to one of the female characters and someone close to her that will make you go, “Uh oh!”. The suspense was cleverly weaved in, and crafted so that you were questioning everything all the way until the ending-which was unexpected and I didn’t see coming at all. The story flowed very well, it was fast moving, but nothing was missed and skipped.

 

Bad Points

That now I’m going to have to read the rest of David Menon’s novels? Seriously, I couldn’t find anything wrong with this novel, and I was impressed that this was his first novel.

 

Overall

This is a wonderful offering, and if you haven’t got a copy yet-go and do it now! The book is a finely tuned detective story, with element of homosexuality, Russian businessmen, vivid Northern women, and the past, all crafted in and delivered in an amazing package. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to devour the story.

I give this book……5/5 Stars!