Sunday, 30 September 2012

Revamp by Beck Sherman

RevampRevamp by Beck Sherman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The dark had brought us visitors.

That line right there is pretty creepy, and it sets the story up well. Revamp is the story of Emma and how she deals when the world goes to hell around her…or rather, goes to the vampires. I really liked Emma. She was a tough character. Even though she wanted to sometimes curl up in a ball and cry, she picked herself up and did what she had to in order to survive. Her sarcasm and dry humor kept the book entertaining. The supporting characters were well written, too. They grew on you as you learned more about them.

Sherman is an excellent storyteller. In this book, the present was broken up by flashbacks to how it all began in order to help you understand things better. This is a tricky thing for authors to do, because it can so easily backfire, but it worked with this book. I enjoyed the author's writing style, and the plot was fast and engaging. I would most definitely recommend this book to fans of Stephen King.

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Omega Option: Rise of Draconis by Rick T. Hodges

The Omega Option: Rise of DraconisThe Omega Option: Rise of Draconis by Rick T. Hodges
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Omega Option is action packed from beginning to end. I really enjoyed the world created in this book. The author let his imagination run wild and brought it all together for an amazing effect. The attention to detail and descriptive writing style allows the reader to easily paint a picture in their head as they read.

The characters are completely solid and well-developed. I really enjoyed getting to know each of the team members individually before they were brought together for the expedition. I think that added a lot of personality to the story and makes the reader feel more connected to each individual character. I also love the team dynamics and how the individual team members were able to fit together. Sometimes I think it's hard for an author to bring so many characters together closely as a group and still keep their individuality, but it is done quite well in this book.

As I said, this book is action packed and full of adventure and suspense. The author has a knack for keeping you guessing right up until the end. I will definitely be reading more of this series. Thank you to Rick Hodges for letting me read your book!

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Survival by A.M. Hargrove

Survival (The Guardians of Vesturon, #1)Survival by A.M. Hargrove
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was so full of emotion. I laughed, I cried (yep, really did), and then laughed some more!

The characters were well thought out, each with their own personality and each easily identified, which was important in the last chapters where we get different points of view all thrown in together. Surprisingly, the author did a terrific job with that, and it was not confusing at all. You always knew who was speaking all the time; that's sometimes hard to do.

The main character, Maddie, was fun and seemingly carefree, but she had some hurts to get past, namely losing her mom and dad, and really kept her emotions and feelings bottled up. She was so easy to like and so easy to relate to. I felt there were inconsistencies with Maddie's character, though, in that at times she seemed so strong and fiery, able to stand up for herself, and other times it was like she was the one from another planet and too immature for the character that had being built.

Rayn was sweet and caring, definitely a guy you could fall in love with. I loved reading from his point of view the best. He loves Maddie so much but is so conflicted over his feelings for her. In the end, you know that he would do anything for her.

I love having different points of view in a story, and Survival did not disappoint. The author did a great job of transitioning from one point of view to the next without being confusing. The only thing I really did not like was when we switched from Maddie's to Rayn's point of view for the first time we went back and had to re-read everything that had already happened all over again, this time from a different perspective. While that is not always a bad thing, I think that in this book it did not really change anything about the story or give us any new information, other than maybe show us Rayn's feelings for Maddie, which could have been done without going back so far.

One thing that was absolutely amazing in this book was the imagery. The descriptions of the scenery, the mountains, etc., was so beautiful, I wished I was there. The author did a great job creating this world, and even though I'm not a hiker, I could picture the mountains and trails in my head as I was reading.

I really enjoyed the author's writing style. It was simple and easy, which went well with the flow of the story. My only real complaint about this book would be…the end! I cannot believe we were left hanging! Good thing the next book in the series is now out!!

Interview with author A.M. Hargrove:

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The Very Thought of Him by Jessa Callaver

The Very Thought of HimThe Very Thought of Him by Jessa Callaver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short, steamy story is incredibly well written. Short stories, I think, are often so hard to write because it's hard to develop personalities and back stories that are necessary to hold a reader's interest in so few words.

The author did an excellent job in this story building the scene that we read and using descriptive language that helps you to imagine clearly what's happening. Dara's character is very well developed and fun.

There was also a nice little twist at the end that I was not expecting. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

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The Crush by Elizabeth Lister

The CrushThe Crush by Elizabeth Lister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Crush is the story of Jack and Michael. Jack is just looking to have some fun, not a serious relationship. Michael is a college professor and Jack's sister's crush. Jack and Michael are introduced by Amy, Jack's sister, and are instantly attracted to one another. But Amy has plans for seducing Michael herself. Ultimately, Jack and Michael decide to conceal their relationship from Amy, but when she finds out that they have been seeing each other behind her back, Jack must find away to repair his relationship with his sister.

I really liked the relationship between Jack and Michael. It started as just a fling but evolved into something so much more than they had ever expected. Their relationship was intense both physically and emotionally.

I was impressed that the author was able to pull out so many emotions in such a short story. The dynamics in Jack and Michael's relationship and Jack and Amy's relationship were amazing, and the characters were so much fun.

Interview with author Elizabeth Lister:

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Holiday Matinee by Elizabeth Lister

Holiday MatineeHoliday Matinee by Elizabeth Lister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holiday Matinee is a short story that continues the relationship of Jack and Michael, who we met in The Crush.

Holiday Matinee follows Jack and Michael on a date night. This story is very short, and only took me about 20 minutes to read. It was a quick, fun read. I enjoyed seeing Jack and Michael again as they move forward in their relationship, and I hope there will be more stories about them!

Interview with author Elizabeth Lister:

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Afterlife by Eric Edstrom

Afterlife (The Undermountain Saga, #2)Afterlife by Eric Edstrom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second book in The Undermountain Saga was just as captivating as the first. Afterlife continues the story of all of our favorite characters from Undermountain, beginning about six months after the first book, as well as the return of our favorite bigfeet. The story begins with a bang and continues with fast-paced adventure throughout.

I can't give enough praise to the author's descriptive writing style. He really knows how to manipulate words to bring the story to life and bring emotion and personality to the story. The characters are fun and unique. Even the villains in the story are so alive that you want to read more about them.

I absolutely love the world these books are set in. The creativeness and complexity of the society is so much fun to read about, and the myths and legends are blended in nicely. I am very much looking forward to the next book in Undermountain series to see where the characters are taken.

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A Bite's Tail by Veronica Blade

A Bite's Tale (A Furry Fable)A Bite's Tale by Veronica Blade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is absolutely the best twist on a fairy tale I have read! The story was fun, quick read. It was the Cinderella story being retold with enough twists and originality that it kept me entertained. The characters in this short story were so very well developed, each with their own unique personality.

Cydney is a young werewolf struggling to keep herself under control. Her biggest fear is hurting someone she loves. She knows how much this hurts, as it has happened before.

Remy is a prince who happens to be a vampire. He is longing for his one true love, who seemingly is lost forever. When his father tries to force him to marry, Remy is determined once and for all to find his lost love.

I love the author's take on the different supernatural creatures. Even in this short story each of the creatures are given distinct characteristics. I love that the author gave us details like these rather than just skimming over them. I also enjoyed reading the story from the points of view of both Cydney and Remy. Both are likeable characters, and it is fun knowing what both of them are thinking and feeling throughout the story.

This was a novella, and the ending was almost wrapped up and resolved too quickly. I would have loved to see this as a longer book and have more play to the reunion and the fight scene. Overall, I immensely enjoyed this story and would recommend it to everyone!

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Undermountain by Eric Edstrom

Undermountain (The Undermountain Saga, #1)Undermountain by Eric Edstrom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Undermountain had me hooked from the first page. The story begins with the journey of six kids and one adult who were on a hike in the Canadian Rockies. Their group is being chased by an unknown creature, and they are rescued by…bigfoot. Undermountain tells the adventures of Danny, Breyona, Em, Wa, and Shiv as they discover that sometimes myths and legends are true, and sometimes they are scarier than they ever imagined.

I really enjoyed the author's writing style. The book was well written, descriptive, and imaginative, and it kept me captivated from page to page. The story itself was quite original.

The characters in this story are very well written and seem so realistic. Each one is a unique individual with his or her own personality. I love that each of them was given a background story. It made me as a reader feel like I knew each one personally, which made them easy to relate to and added to the emotion of the story. Even Bronson, who is the guy you love to hate, had his own story. I kind of felt sorry for him at the end…sort of. I really enjoyed having the different points of views. Sometimes it can be difficult to transition from one person to the next with so many changes, but the author did an excellent job with this.

I fell in love with the bigfeet. Their society was so complex with many different levels. The author did such a great job of individualizing each bigfoot so each had his own individual personality. I liked that the author made their societal problems part of the story as well. In the end, even though they felt they were above the humans, it turned out that their society was just as corrupt as the human's was.

The book was long, but it never got dull or tedious. Each page brought something new, making you want to keep reading. The world building in this story was amazing, and I love the complexity of the plot with both the bigfoot and the tangoga. From one page to the next, you never quite knew whom you should be trusting, and the minute you think you know what is going on, another curve is thrown in to keep you on your toes. I am definitely looking forward to more novels from Eric Edstrom!

Interview with author Eric Edstrom:

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The Goat and the Heathen by Jessa Callaver

The Goat and the Heathen (2nd ed.)The Goat and the Heathen by Jessa Callaver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book I've read by Jessa Callaver, and I loved it as much as the first! She has such a way with words; her descriptions are absolutely amazing.

The Goat and the Heathen is a short story about two roommates who agree to have a threesome, so the more bold of the two finds a guy and sets it up. Needless to say, things get hot and steamy and deliciously romantic.

As I said, the author uses amazing descriptions. It's so easy to picture what you're reading in your head. The writing is clean and very well developed. In writing short stories it's often hard to bring out personalities and get a complete story, but this author does an amazing job. I love the characters she creates. Aja is a little unsure of herself but willing to try new things, Olivia is obviously outgoing and fun loving, and Hayden is sweet and sexy.

I had always wondered about the title of this book…it seems rather odd. But, at the end of the book we get to find out the meaning!

I really hope Jessa will someday write a longer novel, or at least keep writing short stories! I will read everything she writes!

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Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight

Meeting Destiny (Destiny, #1)Meeting Destiny by Nancy Straight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Meeting Destiny is full of action, romance and suspense. I guarantee it will leave you on the edge of your seat wanting more!

The book starts out with Lauren, the main character, getting shot during an attempted robbery at her job. One of the paramedics who respond to the call is Max. Lauren and Max feel an instant connection, but there are some complications that come in between them.

I loved, loved, loved the characters in this story. The author did such a great job etching them out and making them seem real. None of them are one dimensional, even the seemingly background characters. The author gives them expression that makes them easy to connect to. And, wow!, she has a way with dialogue. The conversations in the story never felt forced or fake.

Lauren is tough, smart, sarcastic, caring and loyal. She doesn't take crap from anyone while at the same time always standing up for what she knows is right, even when others may not agree with her. She has a deep concern for her friends and will stand behind them or stand up for them in any situation.

Seth is your typical boy next door and Lauren's long-time "boyfriend." He is so sweet to Lauren, and she loves him, but not like she knows she should. The author does a great job framing out their relationship and their feelings towards one another.

I'm completely in love with Max….I don't know what else to say about him. I love that the author didn't make him so perfect that he was not realistic. Max has his faults, but those things just make him all the more loveable. I really like the fact that even though Lauren and Max felt an instant connection they did not hook up right away. Their relationship was given time to develop, and they were given time to get to know each other.

So, that brings me to the end of the story…and seriously, you'll be running over to Amazon or wherever you buy your books for the next in the series! I'm already looking forward to find out what happens!

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The Perfect Game by John Hansen

The Perfect Game (The Perfect Game, #1)The Perfect Game by John Hansen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Perfect Game is a new reality show (and who doesn't love reality TV), but in this particular show, the game is murder. Viewers can live vicariously through George, the show's star, and watch him live as he stalks his next victim.

This short story was very interesting and unique. The author did a great job in just these few pages of setting up creepy, suspenseful imagery of the TV show and of the people watching it, and there is a twist at the end that you might not expect.

The author has indicated that there will be more in the future based on this short story, and I am looking forward to reading that to see where The Perfect Game is going to be taken.

Interview with author John Hansen:

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Angel Evolution by David Estes

Angel Evolution (The Evolution Trilogy, #1)Angel Evolution by David Estes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Taylor is off to her first year of college where she meets Gabriel. Gabriel is a mystery to Taylor from the very first time she sets eyes on him, and she's immediately drawn to him and his mysteriousness. Gabriel is not what he seems though, and Taylor ultimately has to decide if she can trust him or not.

I love the characters. Taylor and Samantha had such contrasting characters but despite that, or maybe because of that, they were best friends. Gabriel and Christopher thought they were completely different, as different as angels and demons, but in fact they were actually trying to achieve the same goal. Throughout the book I never quite knew how to feel about Gabriel. His and Taylor's entire relationship was based on lies, and he told her so many lies that toward the end of the book he was not even sure what was a lie and what was the truth anymore. He seemed to be at war with himself about what he wanted and what he thought he should want.

I guarantee this book will keep you guessing to the end. Throughout the story you never know who you are supposed to be trusting. I love the different play on the angels/demons and am definitely going to be reading the next two books in the trilogy!

Interview with author David Estes:
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Resurrection by A.M. Hargrove

Resurrection (The Guardians of Vesturon, #2)Resurrection by A.M. Hargrove
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Resurrection is the second book of The Guardians of Vesturon series. I actually enjoyed the second book in this series even more than the first. The development of the story and the characters came together well, and I loved the progression of the story.

Resurrection picked up right where the first book, Survival, left off. Maddie was seriously injured and needed immediate help. The only way to help her and keep her alive was to break all the rules (again) and bring her to Vesturon to be healed.

I love the world building in this story, as we got to see more about Rayn's home, Vesturon. The author did a great job creating this world for us and describing it in such a way that it could really be a real place. I also love the descriptiveness of the book overall.

I love the character development from the first book to the second. The characters we were introduced to and loved in Survival are back again. I love that we got to watch them grow and mature as they go through their struggles and learn more about themselves. I really liked reading about the romance between Rayn and Maddie. It was not too rushed, and you could feel the connection between them.

Resurrection has plenty of action to keep you entertained and enough mystery to keep you reading to find out what happens next!

Interview with author A.M. Hargrove:

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Family Care by Jessa Callaver

Family Care (2nd ed.)Family Care by Jessa Callaver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Josie is spending her spring break babysitting for the Sharps, a new family in town. While by all outward appearances the Sharps seem to be the perfect family, up close Josie finds herself in the midst of a cold and distant home. Eventually, Josie finds herself in a difficult situation when she comes between husband and wife.

Family Care lived up to my expectations from this author. The story was steamy, hot, and definitely sexy. The author has such a talent for words. Her writing is vivid and descriptive. She is able to get inside the heads of her characters and she does such a great job of bringing life to her characters.

Family Care is the longest story the author has out to date, and as a result, it is more in depth and more developed than the others. I really enjoyed Family Care and am looking forward to more from Jessa Callaver.

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Dreams of Darkness by Barry James

Dreams of DarknessDreams of Darkness by Barry James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

To say that Jordan is having a bad day is a bit of an understatement, I think. Jordan is having an epically bad day to top all others. Without going into detail and giving anything exciting away, he loses his girlfriend, his cat, his house, oh yeah, and his life, all in one evening. Jordan is about to discover that his life (or death as the case may be) has much more purpose than he ever imagined.

I have been a fan of the horror genre for many years, and this book did not disappoint. The writing style was amazing with such attention to detail that it was easy to picture in your head what was going on. The descriptive language used by the author was equally amazing, describing in detail the creatures, surroundings, etc, and the dialogue was wonderfully written and not forced as can so often be the case.

The characters in the story were very well developed, from Jordan, who is the underdog but stronger than he ever realized, and an overall likeable guy, to Lord Ackerman who is the kind of guy you love to hate. Of course throughout the whole story you're rooting for Jordan not only because of the unimaginable that would happen if he lost, but also because he's exactly the kind of hero everyone wants in a story.

There was so much going on in this book with the plot, which, by the way, was different from anything I've read lately, and the author did a great job leaving you wondering what was going to happen next. I kept imaging I knew what was going to happen as I read, but it turned out I was always wrong, and the author's version was way better than anything I had come up with!

I would recommend this book for anyone who loves horror, and would even go so far as to recommend this book to any fans of Stephen King. I will be eagerly watching for more from this author.

Interview with author Barry James!

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Believe Like a Child by Paige Dearth

Believe Like a ChildBelieve Like a Child by Paige Dearth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Believe Like a Child is the story of Alessa, a young girl who has been sexually, physically, and emotionally abused her whole life. The story starts out right in the first paragraph when Alessa was 7 years old and is being raped by her uncle. We get to watch her over the next few years as she grows up so we understand her background and where she's coming from so that later in the story we can maybe empathize and understand some of the decisions she makes throughout her life.

I'm not quite sure where to even start with this book. I knew just from the book description that this would not be a light, easy read, and boy was I right. It was an emotional rollercoaster, going through each and every emotion you could possibly think of with such rapid succession at times it made my mind spin. At times this book had me laughing out loud, and the next chapter over I would be in tears. It was an engrossing read that I found hard to put down. I just had to know what was going to happen next.

The characters were amazingly written. Alessa was so easy to love as a person. There were times I just wanted to be able to reach into the book and hug her or help her or just tell her it was going to be okay. Watching her go through her struggles and making the decisions she did sometimes based her low self-worth was heart wrenching, and the ending…wow! Definitely not what I thought was going to happen. I won't say anything else about it here because there's nothing I can say that won't give too much away…I'll just leave it at wow!

The third person narrative really worked in that we got to see so many different perspectives, some just for a short time, but those were times where there were things that we really needed to see from a different perspective. As I was reading the book, I was pretty sure I was going to give it a four-star rating rather than five-star, simply because the dialogue did not flow as nicely as I would have liked it to. It seemed just choppy and not realistic, but the more I read the easier it got to read and I did not notice it as much. It also seemed to fit it well with the overall feeling of the story.

The only thing that I was questioning is the time setting of the story. I would love to know what year this is supposed to be set in. Most of the time I thought it was pretty current, as the characters had cell phones and there were other things to make me think that it was a contemporary setting, but at the same time minimum wage was only $3.35, which confused me.

The topics in this book are not things that are usually written about openly and candidly. I think that is one of the things I enjoyed so much about Believe Like a Child, the frank and genuine openness of it. Overall, I enjoyed this story very, very much and am glad I had the opportunity to read it.

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Love Hurts: The Killing of Rose by Holly Hood

Love Hurts: The Killing of Rose (Love Hurts, #1)Love Hurts: The Killing of Rose by Holly Hood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Love Hurts is the story of Sam and Frankie, brothers who happen to be incubus. In the traditional role of the incubus, their purpose in life is to find women to have sex with and feed off of their essence…and then kill them. When Sam falls in love, he tries to fight his true nature so he can be with the woman he loves.

I'm really not sure if we are supposed to like Sam and Frankie, since they're the bad guys in this book, but I loved everything about them. I felt both characters were written well. Sam feels like he is a monster for what he does, and it is easy to feel sorry for him. He hates Frankie's carefree attitude, but Frankie just wants to have fun. I loved the dynamics of their relationship, and although Frankie seemed completely carefree, I think he was caught off guard by Dylan and maybe even had feelings for her, although he doesn't want to admit it. I really liked Dylan's character and hope we get to see more of her and Frankie's relationship in the next book.

As for Rose and Delaney, I found them harder to connect with, and as such, I didn't really like their characters much. Since Rose is the title character, I expected her to play a larger role in the story. I would have loved to know more about her, maybe have some background information written in for her. I was left with so many questions about her that I was a bit disappointed by the end of the book. I wanted to know why she did what she did, i.e., not telling about Sam, why she didn't like change, settling for a mundane life she was not happy in. I started out liking Delaney, but by the end of the book I had changed my mind about her. Again more information would have been helpful, such as why she forgave Sam went back to him. I assume it's because he is an incubus and females are just automatically attracted to him, but we're never told. It could be that she's just a stupid female character, and that's what I left with at the end of the book.

As for the plot and the book in general, I really loved the story. I thought it was well thought out and well written. The version of the book that I read was in bad need of editing, mostly grammatical errors, but I'm assuming that will be fixed in the next edition, and if you are able to overlook that, this is definitely a story you want to read. It's not really your typical happily ever after love story, which was a nice change. I will most definitely be looking forward to the next book in the series, especially after the way we were left hanging at the end!

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Ink by Holly Hood

Ink (Ink, #1)Ink by Holly Hood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hope moves out to California with her father and brothers after her parents' divorce. Having a hard time making friends and fitting into the rich and snooty town, Hope meets Slade and Tucker, two guys from completely different worlds. After she starts spending time with both Slade and Tucker, Hope's life takes a dangerous turn, and she has to decide which one of them she can trust…possibly with her life.

I loved the characters in this story. They were very well written, and you felt like you got to know each one personally. Hope is an overall likeable person. I thought the author did an excellent job getting inside her head and describing her hopes, feelings, desires, and reasonings for doing the things she did. Slade was dark, mysterious, and sexy…an excellent combination. I would have loved to have his tats described in detail so I could imagine better what he looks like. Tucker is…well confusing. Throughout the whole book you are not sure if you are supposed to love him or hate him. Obviously, Hope felt the same way. I like how the author was able to make him so open and friendly and yet so mysterious at the same time.

I really loved the storyline. It was very different from the usual boy meets girl sort of thing. I really hope in the second book we get to see more of Oz, Kidd, and the rest of Slade's family. They seemed really interesting. The only thing that really disappointed me about this book was the ending. While I enjoyed how the story played out, I thought it was wrapped up maybe a little too nicely. I know the next book in the series is coming out in a few months (and I can't wait!), but really the way this book ended it could be a stand-alone. It would have been nice to have a bit more of a cliffhanger to keep the reader on the edge.

Ink is the second book I've read written by Holly Hood, and she has quickly made it to my favorite authors list. I love her writing style and the stories she brings to life.

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Shades of Grey by Michael Cargill

Shades of GreyShades of Grey by Michael Cargill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shades of Grey is a collection of three short stories, each dark and unique.

The first story in the collection, Shades of Grey, is told from the perspective of John, a UK government agent. The story takes place in John's mind as he is tied to a chair, and we get to see where his thoughts take him as he waits to be questioned by an unknown captor. The author did an excellent job getting into his character's mind, and I found myself really liking John. The humor sprinkle throughout the story was great and had me laughing out loud a in a few places.

There and Back Again is the story of James, a young man in the British Army during WWII. The story was well written and very detailed. I loved the emotion the author was able to evoke through this short story.

Down the Rabbit Hole, the third story, was by far my favorite. Tom is a young boy with a loving mother, an abusive father, and a dark secret. This story was much darker than the first two, and I loved the way it was played out.

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Black Oil, Red Blood by Diane Castle

Black Oil, Red BloodBlack Oil, Red Blood by Diane Castle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Chloe Taylor is a small-town lawyer who is in the middle of a lawsuit with Big Oil. When her expert witness turns up dead a day before the trial, Chloe begins to realize there may be more to the case than she originally thought. Enlisting the help of detective Nash and her paralegal, Miles, to help her with the case, Chloe quickly realizes that is in over her head.

The first thing that drew me into this book right away was the author's writing style. It is neat and clean, and the story flows smoothly. The second thing that drew me in was the characters. I loved Chloe's sarcastically funny personality, which made it really fun to be in her head. I also enjoyed Nash (the strong and silent type, *swoon*) and Chloe's reactions to him and Miles…Oh, how I love Miles!

Though this book was about a serious topic, the author did such a great job at making it fun to read. There was, of course, a lot of legal information in the story, but the author did an excellent job of making it understandable to the average person. I also liked that we got some inside information on the case in the form of other key player's points of view once in a while. It made the plot that much more interesting.

This book was an edge-of-your-seat type of read, and it had everything you could want from a great mystery/thriller, including greed, corruption, murder, conspiracy, coverups, and of course the sexy good-guy detective and a heroine who fights for justice, all sprinkled with wit and humor.

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Deadly Addiction by Kristine Cayne

Deadly Addiction (Deadly Vices, #2)Deadly Addiction by Kristine Cayne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deadly Addiction has everything you could want in a great book – suspense, romance, an oh so sexy alpha male, a kick-ass female lead…and so much more! I'm not even quite sure where to start with this because I just loved everything about this book.

The characters were written exceptionally well. The author has a way of getting inside of the heads of her characters that is nothing short of amazing. I loved the relationship between Alyssa and Remi from their very first meeting. The flirting was fun, the chemistry was hot, and the sexual tension was done in a way that left you always on the edge waiting for what was going to happen next!

Alyssa is a cop trying to salvage her career after questionable tactics while working undercover. She is sent to the Iroquois reserve on an "easy" assignment to help set up a group of native officers to police the reservation. Alyssa is trying to put her past behind her but is finding out that it is not such an easy task. Remi is half white/half Indian. He has struggled his whole life to try to fit in and has had to overcome many hardships from his childhood. He fights for what he knows is right while at the same time fighting for freedom for his family and his race. The crazy thing about this story is that everyone was doing what they thought was the right thing for the greater good. Even Chaz was doing what he thought was best to help his people.

There was so much conflict and complexity to the story. The humor laced through was great, and the sex scenes were hot!! Deadly Addictions is one of those books where after you've read a few chapters you're hitting your forehead and asking yourself why the hell you hadn't picked it up sooner!

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Pandora's Key by Nancy Richardson Fischer

Pandora's Key (The Key Trilogy, #1)Pandora's Key by Nancy Richardson Fischer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pandora's Key starts out as two different stories. Evangeline's story and Malledy's story. Both are equally captivating and fun to read. Evangeline's life completely changes on her 16th birthday. After going from somewhat awkward teen to someone she hardly recognizes in a mirror, what was supposed to be a special day turns into a nightmare. Nothing makes sense anymore to Evangeline and she has no on to turn to for help…no one she can trust anyway. Malledy is a superintelligent man with a disease that is slowly killing him. He is looking for something that will cure him, and he is willing to go to any lengths to get his hands on that something.

When the two stories finally merge, it was like nothing I would have expected. People weren't who they seemed to be, both for Evangeline and for Malledy. Evangeline gets to the point where she just does not know who she can trust anymore, so she ends up trusting no one, while Malledy did not really seem to trust anyone from the beginning, with good reason.

The characters were great. Evangeline is your normal awkward teen and easy to like as a main character. Her character was well balanced in that she was not so beautiful and popular that you wanted to hate her, yet she was not so down on herself that you got tired of her wining. I think that's a hard balance to create when writing about teen girls, but the author managed it here. Malledy I think we did not get to know quite as well, but we did get to see his motivations and his way of thinking.

I loved the mythology background to this story. I loved that the author was able to take such a well known piece of mystery and create a unique story to go with it. It was fresh and entertaining, and I guarantee you'll be left guessing about what's coming next until the very end.

Interview with author Nancy Richardson Fischer:

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Lure by Brian Rathbone

Lure (Sam Flock Adventures, #1)Lure by Brian Rathbone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, this book was good. Sam and Shells pretty much partied all the time and were pretty funny together, always getting into some sort of trouble. Sam is a strong female lead who doesn't take crap from anyone and doesn't back down from a challenge.

Sam is an ex-cop turned paranormal investigator, together with her friend Shells. They are called to Lake Lure to investigate some paranormal activity and jump at the chance to get out of town for a while. This story started off good, but ultimately never went anywhere. We saw a lot of Sam and Shells partying, and that's about it. The buildup to the ending was a bit slow, though entertaining, but once we got there it was very anticlimactic. It seemed that throughout the whole book I was waiting for something that never came, and I was left wanting something more out of the book.

That being said, if you're looking for a quick, humorous story about two friends on a cross country trip, this is it.

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Second Time Around by H.A. Caine

Second Time AroundSecond Time Around by H.A. Caine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an enjoyable short story. Jamie is about to open his own bakery and has a chance to meet some of his new neighbors. Matthew and Jamie seem to hit it off, but Jamie is unsure of Matthew's sexual orientation or if he is interested in him.

The characters and the setting in the story were fun, and it was an entertaining story.

View all my reviews

Crimson Midnight by Amos Cassidy

Crimson Midnight (Crimson, #1)Crimson Midnight by Amos Cassidy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Crimson Midnight has it all…sexy werewolves (my personal favorite), vamps, demons, warlocks, and crazy fairies. Oh, and I forgot to mention the action, drama, mystery, magic, humor, and romance…What more could you ask for in a book?

Rose moved to the big city of London to get a fresh start, and with a new job, a city to explore, and old friends to keep her company, everything should be perfect…insert scary laugh here. Rose moves in with a family friend, Flo, and Flo's two sons, and before long she comes to realize that not everyone is who, or what, they seem.

I LOVE the characters in this book. Rose is tough and sassy. She is a fighter and stands up for herself. I am so over the female leads who sit around helpless waiting for the big strong man to save the day. Rose is very much not one of those. But, don't get me wrong…there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a big strong man (or two) waiting on you hand and foot…anyway, back to the book. I really enjoyed Rose's witty personality. The back and forth with her and Harold and Roman is so much fun. Some other characters that deserve a mention are Thistle, who really turned out to be a likable character; Harold, the troublemaker; Raven, the strong but silent type; and Roman…What do I say about Roman? His character is awesome! I love his and Rose's relationship, or lack of as the case may be. Seriously, there is nothing more exciting than a love that isn't meant to be. The authors did a great job shaping each of the main characters in the story and giving us enough background so that we got to know them. I enjoyed having the multiple points of view throughout the story so we got to see the story fleshed out through different eyes.

And did I mention the twists and turns? Heck yeah. Enough to make sure you'll have no clue what's going to happen next. I love being surprised with the ending, and wasn't disappointed here…but I do have one issue to take up with the authors…Did that really happen? You know what I'm talking about, don't act like you don't. Um, I really think you better fix that somehow in book two. And speaking of book two, is it almost finished? It's hard to be patient when I'm dying to know what happens. Could you hurry, pretty please?

Interview with author Amos Cassidy:

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Fix By Force by Jason Warne

Fix by ForceFix by Force by Jason Warne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I was could sum up this book in one word, it would be WOW (capitalized for effect). This is an incredibly powerful story chock full of emotion and drama.

Spencer is a high school senior who feels insignificant and powerless. He comes from a dysfunctional family, including a verbally and occasionally physically abusive mother, and he is being bullied at school with no one to turn to for help. Spencer feels he is alone in the world with his pain, and his greatest fear is of turning into his much-hated father. Spencer realizes he needs to take action to turn his life around, but he is looking for a quick fix with immediate results, no matter the consequences.

Spencer's character was nothing short of amazing. The way the author was able to portray Spencer's feelings of self-loathing, fear, and loneliness on the pages of this book made the story absolutely heart wrenching to read. We were able to get inside his head and were able to see his rationalizations for his actions, and even though he knew the consequences of the steroids and could see them being played out with a negative impact on his health and his friendships, he still thought what he was doing was okay because it would help him get noticed, be liked by other people, and ultimately be somebody.

I loved that we were able to get to know Spencer pre-steroids and then were able to journey with him over the timeframe of the story, watching the consequences of his decisions play out and how those consequences, plus other external forces (family and friends), change his outlook on life as he eventually realizes that he may not be as alone in the world as he thought.

The best kind of book is one that leaves you thinking about it long after you've read the last word. Fix by Force is that kind of book. Ultimately, I am going to recommend this book to everyone I know, as it is the kind of story that every parent and teen should read.

Interview with Jason Warne!

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One Less Warlock by Judith Post

One Less WarlockOne Less Warlock by Judith Post
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think it's hard in a short story to create a unique setting, characters, etc., and still get some sort of story line in. In One Less Warlock, Judith did an excellent job of molding the story in such a way that we got a taste of a distinct world and character personalities, and a complete story to go with it. In this short story Judith was able to pack in witches, vampires, a sexy Were, succubus, voodoo, murder, and mystery, all in only about 20 pages. Pretty amazing.

I enjoyed the story and Babet, the main character, and am looking forward to more of her in the future.

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Solstice by Bryan W. Dull

SolsticeSolstice by Bryan W. Dull
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received this book as an ARC from the author.

Gavin is a vampire hunter. He hunts humans who have been 'infected' and kills them before they fully turn. Gavin, like any good main character hero sort, has a past that continually haunts him. Gavin's past has made him a bit cynical, but he is overall a good guy. When he meets Solstice, he can't just turn her out on her own, no matter how much he would like to. Gavin is the sort of guy that makes a great main character, and he might just be getting his second chance at life.

Solstice is a half vampire, half human. She is alone in the world, and all she really wants is to be normal. She appears sweet and innocent, but there is a danger lurking underneath the surface that we only get a very small glimpse of in this book. I love the mystery surrounding Solstice. Even though she is the book's namesake, we really don't know very much about her, but just enough to peak interest.

I enjoyed the author's writing style. The story flowed smoothly and was easy to read. Gavin's sarcastic wit and humor was refreshing in this dark story. Really the only thing that brought this book down for me was the prologue. The scene itself was powerful, and I really liked the potential there but felt it just didn't deliver. I can't really put my finger on what is bugging me about it, though. It very well could be the third person narration, which I'm not a huge fan of, but I just think it could have been given more force.

As I said above I received an unedited ARC, so there were many grammatical errors and a few timeline issues in this book. I heard that Solstice was picked up by a publisher, so going through that process and an editor should fix all of those issues. Overall I really enjoyed this story and am looking forward to see where the author takes it. Thank you to Bryan Dull for letting me read your book!

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Seduced by Three by Sylvia Ryan

Seduced by ThreeSeduced by Three by Sylvia Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you love a story full of alpha males, this is the book for you. The world as we know it is coming to an end after a major cataclysmic event. Sarge has been preparing for this day for years, even though he never really expected it to come. He knows what he must do to survive, and at the request of a friend, goes after Grace to help her survive too. Grace is the (adult) daughter of a man who taught her how to survive. She is tough and knows how to take care of herself. When Sarge comes in insisting she go with him, she does so reluctantly and only because her father had sent him. Hiding out and trying to survive in a world of chaos, they team up with a couple more allies.

I liked all of the characters in this story. Each is unique and has his or her own personality. I really would have loved to see what all of their lives were like "before." Sarge is the strong sexy type. If there ever was an alpha male, he is it. He tries to control Grace in a way that he thinks is helping her but quickly learns she's not to be pushed around. Van is more sweet and caring. He is still strong and sexy, but more in a cuddly teddy bear sort of way. Luke is the bad boy of the group, silent and sexy. We really don't know much about him except he is the brains of the group, the peacekeeper when things get rough. I really liked Grace throughout the whole story, until the end. She was a strong, doesn't take crap type of girl. She was young enough that she was still trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted out of life but old enough to have learned from past mistakes. Throughout the story she was trying to assert herself and not lose her individuality in the male dominated world she was now living in. However, towards the end of the book she does a complete 180. She turned into everything the guys had wanted her to be in the beginning, which is not her, and the change was really overdone to the point where I was actually rolling my eyes at the book. Together the three men made a whole, everything Grace wanted in a man, and she had to figure that out and come to terms with it. Oh yeah, did I mention the hot and steamy sex scenes!!

I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more from this author.

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Blood Debt by Nancy Straight

Blood DebtBlood Debt by Nancy Straight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been a fan of Nancy Straight ever since I read the first book of her Destiny series. After I finished it, I immediately went to Amazon and purchased the next two books. I would have done that with Blood Debt as well but, sadly, the rest of the series isn't out yet. However, I look forward to the rest of the series with great anticipation. Here's why I love it…

First is the story itself. I think the thing I love the most is the uniqueness of it. The mythology woven into the story is creative and original. I really enjoyed the author's new perspective on the centaurs and gods.

Second is the characters. Camille is a great lead. She is independent, funny and strong. We are introduced to her and given some background on her, and then her world is turned upsidedown. The story follows her as she learns about who and what she really is and what that means for her.

The rest of the characters, from her new family to her new friends to her old friends, are written with dimension, enough that I am looking forward to reading more about them, especially her old friend Daniel.

Last is the author's writing style. She has a way with words that makes the story flow smoothly and fun to read. The story is sprinkled with bits of humor, and there is never a dull moment, holding your attention to the very last word. The story is full of action, mystery, romance and heartache. What more could you ask for?

Interview with Nancy Straight!

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What Kills Me by Wynne Channing

What Kills MeWhat Kills Me by Wynne Channing
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What Kills Me is not just another vampire story…I promise. The story is unique, fast paced, action packed, suspenseful in all the right places, and laugh out loud funny.

Axelia (Zee) is a 17-year-old girl studying abroad for a few months. She takes a chance on a guy who she figures she'll probably never see again, and it ends badly. Now thrown into the world of the paranormal, Zee must figure out how to survive as a vampire; not an easy task when just about everyone you meet is trying to kill you.

I love the characters, especially Zee and Lucas. I really loved their relationship and how it evolved over time. There was no love at first sight, no instant attraction. The way the author brought them together slowly made everything seem more realistic, and the back and forth between Zee and Lucas was hilarious. I loved Zee's personality. She was a great character and easily likable. I am looking forward to the next book in the series to find out what happens!

Check out our interview with Wynne Channing:

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Monday, 17 September 2012

Eden-West by Janelle Stalder

Title:   Eden-West

Series:  Eden Series

Author: Janelle Stadler

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Age: 13 and up

Published:   August 2012

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Smashwords 

New beginnings, new conflicts, and new adventures arise in the second installment of the Eden Series, Eden-West.

Months after his initial journey to Eden, Aiden is learning to cope with his own transformation. His social status has changed, his friendship with his best friend Ethan is in jeopardy because of it, and worst of all, he has heard absolutely nothing from his new friends in Eden. What has become of the world he fell in love with? Are his friends safe? Is the war over? With no answers, and no hope for contact, Aiden decides to focus on his life in his world.

Just as he makes this decision, he encounters a familiar bright light and thinks he knows exactly what it means. Except the light isn’t at all what he expects and neither is the person behind it. When Aiden returns to Eden, it is to a whole new part of that special world, and a whole new set of adventures.

Weeks after Aiden was returned to his own world, Elisa is sent to Nysa, the revered Southern city, to retrieve the one thing she’d rather avoid – Wolf. Captain Turk instructed her to get in and get out - but that is easier said than done. When she finds her missing friend, she also stumbles upon a great deal of trouble. This trouble goes by one name – Markus, the leader of the Sun People.

Follow all your favourite characters as they ready themselves for battle and fight for a world threatened to be destroyed. 

If you haven't read Eden, book one in the Eden Series, you can find it here on Goodreads!


My Fifty Shades of Grey
No not that Fifty Shades, tempting, but no. What I’m referring to are the shades of grey I’ve created in my series, the Eden series. I’m, of course, referring to the reader’s favourite Callum. For those of you who haven’t read the series, I’ll quickly explain.

Callum is the youngest prince of two. His father, the late High King, picked Callum’s brother Jameson to be King after his passing, even though Callum was the likely choice. This left Callum feeling betrayed and slighted, causing him to leave the Capital and join forces with the northern enemy, Brutus the Red, and the sorcerer Aziz. He is essentially the “bad guy” in the novel. Callum, Brutus, and Aziz declare war on Jameson and the rest of Eden, in a bid for Callum to regain his lost crown. 

The kicker with Callum and Brutus is that most readers love them! Yes, they are my shades of grey. Even though they are the “bad guys” I wanted to make them likable. The advantage, on my part, is that readers will develop an emotional attachment to both sides, causing them to become more involved in the war and its outcome. The other important factor in their side is Rose, as most of my readers will know. Rose is a prisoner of war, taken by Brutus and Callum’s army after her entire family is killed. She is kept in Callum’s tent, and a slow bond builds between them resulting in an inevitable romance. 

I love shades of grey. I think it’s very easy to have a black and white story, where there is a good side and bad side. What’s more difficult as a writer is to create a sense of hesitancy in the reader to really dislike one side over the other. It makes them consider the reasons for the war, and who they actually want to see win; especially when they’re rooting for two characters to fall hopelessly in love. What I find funny is that because of the romance between Rose and Callum, I think a lot of readers tend to overlook his less likable qualities. My grey areas completely fogged over the fact that Callum is still, in fact, a “bad” guy. 

Not only do we ignore the fact that Callum is still killing innocent people, even talks about seeking revenge on an entire city filled with innocent citizens as one reviewer pointed out, but we also ignore the fact that it’s actually very unusual that Rose can love him. He didn’t personally kill her family, despite what some may think. I’ve never confirmed or denied this outright in the story, but I am telling you here that he didn’t kill her family. That doesn’t really matter when you consider the fact that he is leading the men that did. He also takes her from her burning village, along with all the other young females in the village, for the purpose of being brutalized by his men. Of course Rose is saved from this horrible fate because Callum takes a personal liking to her, but again it doesn’t erase the fact that he sentenced girls she would have grown up with to this. Rose even comments on the fact that all the girls suddenly disappear. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened to them. 

Despite all this, Rose still falls for him, and you can’t help but wonder why? And why, as readers, do we find this romantic? Does the blurry line between right and wrong affect the way we see things? Do we, like the character of Rose, turn a blind eye to Callum’s less than admirable qualities because of the idealistic love evolving between them? You also have to stop and question Rose’s mental state at this point. Has the loss of everyone she’s known pushed her to the first sort of safe person she finds in the aftermath? 

All of these questions are not only asked by readers, but by me as well, funny enough. I find Rose to be one of the harder characters to write. When I created this sort of grey area with the northern army, I also opened myself up to a difficult blurred line between right and wrong. For example, why does Rose sit and discuss the war with Brutus and Callum, when the opposing side has her brother fighting for them? You see her inwardly fight with what’s happening, but she never acts out against either of them. On the contrary, not only is she with Callum, but she’s also developed a very endearing relationship with Brutus. You also have to stop and ask yourself, would Callum be like this if he had stayed in the Capital? How much of his hatred is actually from himself, and how much was influenced by those around him? It’s all very controversial for me, which is one of the reasons why I love and hate writing their story.

I still love the fact that people seem to like the other side of the war. I want my readers to be emotionally involved in what’s happening, and being torn between who they want to see win. I learned this from reading other novels where the same thing happened to me. You tend to feel more connected to the characters when you don’t want to see anyone hurt, but know that only one person will come out of the situation as a winner. It’s just a matter of finding out who it will be.

In the third book you will start to see another side to this war, turning it into quite the triangle. What was grey area now becomes a little less grey, and a little more black. You will finally officially be introduced to the, up to this point only talked about, sorcerer Aziz. Until now we haven’t really seen him in person. Brutus and Callum discuss him, but he hasn’t been a big part of the story. Well that changes in the third, and he’s definitely not as grey as Callum.

The other main reason for creating such a shaded area around Callum, aside from tormenting my readers, was that in that grey area there is always the possibility that he can choose either side. It is left to be seen whether he will finally move to the lighter side, or the darker. I guess you’ll have to wait to find out! 

Thanks to Sheri and Making Connections for having me on here today, and being a part of the Eden-West Blog Tour! I appreciate you putting up with my nonsensical ramblings J 


Janelle Stalder



Twitter: @jmstalder                                                     


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Hope's Daughter by Melanie Cusick-Jones

Author Melanie Cusick-Jones stopped by the Making Connections blog today!

Melanie's book, Hope's Daughter, is currently available in exchange for an honest review in the Making Connections - YA Edition group on Goodreads.

Follow this link to be taken to the sign up page.

Hope's Daughter

Author:  Melanie Cusick-Jones
Genre:  Dystopian/Sci-Fi
Pages:  389
Published:  December 2011

Life should be simple for Cassie.

For the small population of Earth survivors who live on the Space Station Hope everything they do is planned and scheduled, down to the cyclical food menus, their roles in the station, even how many children they have.

Despite rigid controls directing her life, Cassie feels more out of synch than ever and worries she won’t find a place for herself within the station community. Perhaps that’s because she’s hearing things inside her head that can’t possibly be real. Or maybe it’s the regular elopements of her peers, heading off to a romantic future in the Married Quarter of the space station, whilst she’s never even been attracted to a boy – no matter how hard her best friend Ami pushes them at her. Then there are the odd questions her work placement partner Balik keeps raising. His questions are just as troubling for her as his distracting smiles and eyes that seem to see inside her.

As Cassie draws closer to Balik she finds that everything else in her life begins to shift. He tells her things that call into question the system they live within. She can't believe he is right, but at the same time she finds it hard to deny the sincerity of his ideas. Could there be a connection between Cassie’s problems and Balik’s questions? The truth will drag them both to a terrifying and deadly conclusion beyond anything they could have imagined.


Thanks for stopping by, Melanie.  When did you first know you wanted to write?
I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with ideas and creative writing, starting odd little stories here and there, but nothing serious. I recently found typed drafts from my ‘vampire phase’, which came after I read Bram Stoker in my mid-teens – they were certainly good for a giggle :)

More than a writer, I’ve always been a reader. It was only when I finished university (having spent four years reading!) that I got the chance to wonder whether I could write a novel myself. And so I started and stopped, tinkered and typed and after several years finally finished the first book I was happy for people to see. 

Tell us about Cassie's character, and do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Cassie’s a little like me, I suppose, which isn’t exactly unexpected – I think most people have at least a little of themselves in their characters. Outwardly she tries to be confident and show she’s in control, which is certainly like me – even though that’s not always the truth! I’m sure her internal procrastinating about some issues in Hope’s Daughter will bother a few readers, but again, I definitely do that a lot: I’m not someone who likes to talk through problems, I tend to roll them over and over, round and round until I work through them in my own head - only now and again do I want to talk about them. For Cassie, she’s scared she’ll seem out of place or weak if she shares her fears, which I think is understandable.

In many ways, who I am now is more like Balik: interrogating ideas and systems, turning them around down to the smallest details to understand the bigger picture – it’s something I have to do for my ‘day job’ and have used the same approach in my writing as well.

How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
The variety of genres and books I read certainly influences what I write about and probably my style as well. As a child I was encouraged to read anything and everything, and I still do. This means I’m influenced by non-fiction and academic writing as much as the fiction authors I read. I think your experiences from life and work also influence you – people you meet and how you view the world are big parts of what you write. I feel I was lucky in many aspects of my life: family, home environment, education; I find it interesting in writing to examine what happens when you change some of the things many of us take for granted.

What was the first book you read that took your breath away?
The earliest one I can remember is Roald Dahl’s The Magic Finger – it was one of my first ‘read alone’ books to help you develop confidence as a reader, so it still had some pictures, but was a ‘big girl’ book. Even now I recall being disturbed by the story to some degree – it is an unusual idea and if you read it now, quite brutal if you treat it realistically. The illustrations of when the humans wake up with bird wings, and them flapping unhappily outside the windows of their house are still vivid to me. I think that is the mark of a great book: one that keeps you thinking about the story you’ve read, wondering about the characters and not wanting it to end as you reach the last pages. 

What three things could you not live without?
My family would be the most important thing – you share your happiest and best times with them. These days my laptop is also one of the three – it’s where I do the vast majority of my writing, although I also use notebooks regularly for jotting ideas and short pieces for the books I’m working on; but I find myself on Goodreads and blogs and looking at so much stuff on the laptop – I find it hard to imagine how I’d do so much without it. A third thing…? Probably water.

Chocolate or vanilla?
For such a straight-forward question, this is quite tough and took me a while to work out. I’m going for vanilla though, because with the exception of ice cream, I’d always be tempted by the crème brulee or panna cotta before the chocolate fudge cake on a dessert menu!

What are you reading now?
I’m reading The Power of Six at the moment, having just seen I am Four recently (very
behind the times I know). I wanted to know what happened next and I’m enjoying it so far. I’m also re-reading / editing my second book The Rainbow Maker’s Tale, which takes up a lot of my reading time, so that’s it for me. 


About the Author: 

After graduating from The University of Sheffield with an English Literature Masters in 2003, Melanie has been writing fiction - time permitting - ever since.

The Ambrosia Sequence (started in 2008) and The Elementals (begun in 2004) are both ongoing, extended projects each containing several novels, aimed primarily at young adults and hover somewhere in the middle of sci-fi, futuristic and fantasy genres.

'Hope's Daughter', released in January 2012, is her debut novel and the first of The Ambrosia Sequence; the companion book 'The Rainbow Maker's Tale' is due later in 2012, with the sequel 'Outlanders' coming in 2013.

When she's not writing Melanie enjoys the wet weather of the north of England with her dogs or disappearing into a book for a few hours (no surprise there then). Unfortunately, all too often the 'day job' gets in the way of the nicer things in life!

Find the Author:


Buy the Book:
Apple iBooks
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Also available at: Kobo, Sony Reader, Copia, Ebook Pie, Baker & Taylor

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Within The Shadows by Julieanne Lynch

Today is our stop on the Within the Shadows Making Connections blog tour! 

Within the Shadows

Julieanne Lynch (J.A. Lynch)

  July 2012


Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Vamptasy Publishing

Living on the razors edge, Giselle Burgman's life is torn apart by her cheating boyfriend. Little does she realise that he is the least of her worries when her long term friend Alex introduces her to his family and a new, darker world. A world of lies, deceit and corruption. Thrown from one problem straight into another, the razors edge gets thinner and sharper, testing Giselle's sanity and vitality. Not even she can hide when living within the shadows.



Alarming as it might have been, I was quite excited. Sounds pretty crazy, but I think I got caught up in the moment, and being made a fuss of was definitely something I could get used to.

But, as always, reality has a nasty way of hitting you hard in the face.

I walked behind Atarah and Angelika as they led me through corridors that looked like something out of a gothic fairy tale. The walls were a strange shade of pomegranate, its boldness illuminated by softly lit candles. The wooden floors were temporarily covered with a bluish red runner that ran the whole length of the hall. Amaranthine drapes hung over the grand bay windows. The air had a distinct aroma, and although I could not quite place the smell I was sure it was incense. Its strong, fragrant smoke brushed the back of my nostrils, resulting in a few disapproving sneezes.

I sniffled, "Excuse me!" as we entered the hall through a large set of oak doors.

It was a very dramatic entrance. Standing below me were hundreds of unknown faces. A few stood out, but they were strangers all the same. They wore a mixture of black and purple clothes.

The women were dressed in floor-length gowns, their hair pulled back tight and their hands covered by long lace gloves. The men’s attire consisted of black herringbone frockcoats with matching black trousers. All wore purple shirts with black cravats.

I looked around, trying to find Alex, and there he stood with Leonid, in front of an altar.

It was the most spectacular scene I had ever seen. Lighted candles and floral arrangements of violets, orchids, red roses, lilies and irises filled the entire room. The scent was overwhelming.

Silence fell, and all eyes were on me. My stomach churned and panic set in. I wanted to run through the doors and as far from there as I could, but behind me were two large men, standing in front of the doors. They were not going to move for me. 

I stood alone and watched the smile spread across Alex’s face as he ushered me to him.

I must have floated down the stairs, as I cannot remember walking down. The crowd moved as I walked down an aisle strewn with rose petals.

Alex looked amazing. I had never seen him look so handsome. He wore identical clothes to the rest of the men, except that his cravat matched the grey marl in the sash I wore around my waist. His smile illuminated the whole room

and in normal circumstances would have melted my heart, but there was something sinister in his eyes. A deep redness flickered in the light of the candles.

I was so out of my depth.

Taking my hand, he led me to a stone slab in front of the altar. Shaking, my voice quivered as I whispered to him.

"What’s going on?"

"It’s your consecration. Remember, you will be blessed tonight. Just follow my lead."

He was so calm, and it seemed that he expected me to mirror his demure behaviour. I was anything but calm. Sweat began to seep in the palms of my hands. So many eyes were upon me.

Breathe Giselle, just breathe!

Alex, directed me to lie down on the stone slab. I obliged, and rested my body on the coldness of the rock beneath me. Incense filled the space around me; no air just smoky fumes. There were four men, one standing at each corner of the slab and each holding a staff. Their eyes filled with the crimson tide that was visible in both Alex and Leonid. Alex stood back and disappeared behind his father. I was alone with the strange men, each mumbling to himself.

From the altar came the voice of someone I knew.



About the Author:
Fiery Librian Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Julieanne lives in Northern Ireland, where she works on her Shadows Trilogy and other series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University, and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and believes all of her education and reading prepared her for it.

An avid reader, Julieanne has always had an encompassing fascination with folklore. When not writing, she enjoys crime series such as Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS and Cold Case, and loves anything with Vampires, listening to metal, meeting new people, drinking lots of green tea, and sharing her dreams with her children. She is a self-professed goth wanna-be,and is happy when left to write into the early hours of the morning.

Julieanne's YA series, The Shadows Trilogy, is published by Vamptasy Publishing and thus far contains In the Shadows. It follows the war between vampires and shadow creatures. Giselle Bergman, an 18-year old human girl, falls victim to a scheme by one of her closest childhood friends, and embarks on a journey that sees her become the center of a battle between good and evil.