Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Wish I was a Platypire Reviewer

With all the negativity on Facebook and in the indie world, I thought it would be nice to take a step back from all the drama and talk about something positive. So I will be doing a series of posts (that I have not really put a ton of thought into because this idea just came to me in the shower) about some positive things in the indie community. And I thought I'd start with one of my favorite blogs.

If you don't already follow Platypire Reviews on Facebook, you should. They post a lot of really cool stuff. During banned books week, they posted several awesome articles about banned books. Their reviews are generally fairly brief and to the point, and they are absolutely not afraid to tell it like it is. Also, they rate books with platypires instead of stars. That alone should entice you to follow them.

So why do I wish I was a Platypire Reviewer? I mean I've got a blog to review for already, so what makes them so special? But the Platypires are that group of "kids" that I want to be a part of, the one that I follow around the halls at school just hoping that they'll notice me and include me in their shenanigans. They have their shiz together on their blog. They're organized (and I so am not). And they just seem to have a lot of fun with each other, and I just really want to be invited to the party, even if it means being bossed by Joood Hooligan, the supreme ruler of the Platypires, all the time.

A part of me believes that if I didn't have this blog, they would invite me to join them. This is the same part of me that is sure if I were to ever meet Channing Tatum he would want to have his dirty way with me. And the same part of me that continued to follow the same group of people around school even though they only ever called me when they had absolutely no one else to hang out with. I'm just not quite cool enough. But I will continue to aspire to be like the Platypires. And again, if you don't follow them on Facebook, you should! - Katie

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

30 Days of Christmas - Day 22 - Hot Package by Lynn Raye Harris

I feel like I started this novella forever ago and it really was like four days ago when I started it, thinking I would get it read quickly and stay on track, and then stuff just kept interfering, and then in the interest of trying to stay caught up, I chose some shorter stories to read for review first. It should not have taken me 4 days to read though.

Genre: Erotic Romance/Holiday
Published: February 1, 2014
Pages: 93
Ages: 18+


When public relations expert Olivia Reese stumbles onto evidence of a dangerous conspiracy right before Christmas, there’s only one man she can call for help. Billy “The Kid” Blake is a member of an elite military unit—the Hostile Operations Team—and he’s Olivia’s former lover. 
Billy never forgot the sexy woman who rocked his world—and his bed—before she walked out on him. Now that she needs his help, he’ll do anything he can to keep her safe. But as time runs out and the snow piles up, can Billy and Olivia work together to thwart a lethal plot against the Pentagon without getting involved again? 


This is the first book that I've read in Lynn Raye Harris' HOT series, and that is actually okay. Hot Package works just fine as a stand alone novella, although I may have enjoyed it even more if I had read the previous two books in the series first. At no point did I feel like I was completely missing important information though. All of those bases were covered.

This is a second chance romance. Both of these characters came into their original relationship as damaged goods, both from emotionally scarring childhood experiences. And when the times got tough, they went running, well one of them did. We are treated to a lot of backstory in this novella that gives us a great understanding of these two characters, and it's hard to fault them for their actions, regardless of how dumb those actions seemed. 

Going into this book I was expecting a lot more action than I got (although I think that's partially due to the last two action packed stories I read for this little challenge I set for myself). In reality, I probably would have complained about there being too much action and too little story if I had gotten as much action as I was expecting. The way this story was told was really almost a perfect blend of action and story. 

My one complaint is that the conflict resolution, where there should have been all kinds of action and maneuvering (or at least a spectacular last minute rescue), was wrapped up very quickly, with minimal description. I would have liked a more detailed account. 

Overall I give this novella 4 out of 5 stars. It provided a complete story with plenty of backstory to give us an in depth look at the main characters, it had a good blend of action and description, and it didn't rely on sex to move the story forward. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that enjoys a good suspenseful erotic story. - Katie 

Buy the Book

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

30 Days of Christmas - Day 21 - Eleven Winters in Purgatory by Shannon Celebi

I am still behind, working on getting caught up (possibly before I go to bed tonight depending on how late my husband gets home from work and if he wants to watch SOA when he does.) So today I chose a short story, like really short, but it definitely packed a big punch.

Genre: Holiday
Published: December 20, 2013
Pages: 13
Ages: 14+
(My estimate)


"There never was Christmas in our house. My daddy wouldn’t allow it. Still, the year I turned eleven, I made a little paper tree in school and hung it beside my bed, way down low where no soul could see it, and fell asleep each night praying for Santa Claus to come..."


This story was heart wrenching, pretty much the whole way through. Celebi's words were so evocative, I felt like I was a poor eleven year old girl who never got Christmas, and I've thankfully never been in that position before. I spent most of the story praying that someone would call CPS to come take this poor girl away from her emotionally abusive father, so she could have a family that loves her. The only bright point in her life seems to be her old neighbor, Mrs. Pitwick who does what little she can to give the little girl at least a decent Christmas. 

For me this story was kind of reminiscent of "The Little Match Girl." The situations in the two stories are not really the same, but the feelings they evoked in me were. If you're looking for a short story that will really tug on your heartstrings, this is the story for you. It may be short, but it's complete. Overall I give it 5 out of 5 stars. - Katie 

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30 Days of Christmas - Day 19 - It Just Doesn't Taste Like Christmas by Dane Hatchell

I'm finishing up Dreaming of an Undead Christmas with this post. It just makes sense so that I can hopefully get caught up while still operating with limited reading time.

Genre: Horror/Holiday
Published: December 7, 2011
Pages: 62 (whole book)
Ages: 14+


"It Just Doesn't Taste Like Christmas" begins as children at a home are waiting for a visit from a Department store Santa. He brings more than 'Christmas cheer' to spread as the dead begin to walk on Christmas Eve. Those that survive take refuge in a remote family camp, where fate brings lost love ones together.


I wish I could say that this story sucked me in, that once I started I couldn't put it down until I finished. After all, it wasn't very long. I can't say that though. It's another short story, which is exactly what I was expecting about zombies and Christmas. This story was better developed than "The Last Noel" but not much. I felt most connected to Freddy, the little boy who coined the term "It tastes like Christmas" when he was very young. I even got a little sad when he ran into his friend Brian again after the zombie apocalypse Christmas, but I didn't really care if he lived or died in the end. 

Beyond Freddy, there is a slew of other characters at this family Christmas, and I basically don't even remember their names and I just finished reading the story, except John, the uncle that shows up out of nowhere on Christmas Eve and is just expected to save the day, I guess because of his previous military training. He does live up to expectations. The whole situation felt forced and phony though. For one thing, John's pistol had a laser sight. Do people really put laser sights on their pistols? Especially men with military training? It really just came off feeling really fake to me. 

Overall I give this story 3 out of 5 stars. It didn't really get or hold my attention and I barely related to any of the characters. If you like survivalist zombie stories, you would probably enjoy this though. - Katie 

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Monday, December 22, 2014

30 Days of Christmas - Day 20 - The Easter Bunny Saves Christmas

I mentioned earlier that I was probably going to resort to using children's books in order to get caught up on my book reviews. With any luck, this will be the only one required because I should be able to get the novella I have started finished this evening as well.

Genre: Children's/Holiday
Published: December 4, 2014
Pages: 35
Ages: 0-8
(My estimate)


Most people only think about the Easter Bunny at Easter. But Easter Bunny, and his friends, have adventures all year long. 

They live in a place called Easterville. It is a lovely place where the weather is beautiful all the time. Except for 4 weeks in January when it’s winter! Winter is very cold and it usually snows. So Easter Bunny and his friends dress up warm, stop working, and spend all their time playing outside 

Adventures in Easterville, an exciting new series of stories for kids, is lavishly illustrated with pictures on every page. Enjoy reading these stories along with your young child, and laugh along with the funny antics of Easter Bunny and his friends. 

In “The Easter Bunny Saves Christmas”, when Easter Bunny visits his friend Santa Claus at the North Pole he is shocked to find Santa is sick and may have to cancel Christmas! 

Can Easter Bunny learn to drive Santa's sleigh and save Christmas? Or will children all over the world wake up to find a Christmas tree with no presents?


When tragedy strikes the North Pole and Santa finds himself with a horrible cold a week before Christmas, it seems that Christmas will be ruined this year. But then the Easter Bunny steps in to save the day. 

So I thought the idea behind this book was cute, but the delivery is a bit ridiculous, even for a kids book. For one thing, Santa only has a cold, and he basically stays in bed for a whole week and doesn't recover enough to deliver the presents himself? I wish having a cold meant I got to spend even a whole day in bed, I wouldn't even need a week. Small children will not realize this is ridiculous though, so it's not reflected in my rating.

I liked how the author used photographs to illustrate the story. It gave it an almost Claymation feel to it in my opinion, and the pictures were cute. 

I did have one big problem with this story, and it's that capital letters are used sporadically throughout the book, with no discernible purpose. You should all know by now that I'm a stickler for grammar and spelling, and this sort of falls in that category. I can handle the occasional all capital word or phrase to denote yelling. It's not really necessary if the book is written well, but I can handle it. I don't feel like these all caps words were intended to be yelling though, at least not all of them, or I would have spent half the book yelling. Sure, this is a children's book, and maybe it shouldn't matter, except being a children's book means that this is early exposure to writing techniques and it gives the impression that following standard writing rules is not important, and it really is. 

Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it was a cute story, even if it was ridiculous and I would recommend it to other parents and grandparents of small children. I just really had an issue with the excessive unnecessary use of capital letters. - Katie 

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30 Days of Christmas - Day 18 - The Last Noel by Dane Hatchell

I'm late, like way late, again. I'm beginning to think this 30 Days of Christmas books reviews was a horrible idea because I just can't seem to keep up. As it turns out, I don't get a whole lot of reading time in December, which makes this hard to complete. But I will try to soldier on and make it to the end anyway. Just don't be surprised if you get the last few reviews in January :)

Genre: Horror/Holiday
Published: December 7, 2011
Pages: 62 (in the whole book)
Ages: 14+


This year, you can wait for Santa by the fireplace curled up to two undead tales designed to fill you with more chills and thrills than ice filled underwear. "The Last Noel" is an action packed extravaganza where Santa arrives and finds a small town engulfed in undead madness. It's not over once he leaves the town, as the plague of all plagues follows him to the North Pole. Elves, proton blasters, and androids clash as Christmas struggles to survive.


So once again, I'm breaking up a book into segments because I can and because I'm already four days behind on reviews and this way maybe I can get a little bit caught up. The selection for this post is "The Last Noel" a short story about Santa and the zombie apocalypse, basically. Since the apocalypse has started on Christmas Eve, Santa feels it is his duty to do something about it, to preserve the sanctity of Christmas as he sees it. He basically becomes like GI Santa. Unfortunately he doesn't anticipate that the bite his elf received would turn him as well, since elves are immortal, and took him back to the North Pole instead of killing him on the spot like everyone who has ever seen a zombie movie knows he should have done. 

The idea behind this story is interesting. I like zombie stories and movies and plant based iPad apps. The delivery fell really short though. Mostly there was a whole lot of action, and a super simple solution to the problem. I didn't feel particularly invested in the story at any point, and it wasn't even interesting enough for me to finish in one sitting, and the entire book is only 62 pages long according to Goodreads. 

Overall I give this story 3 out of 5 stars, because it was really just kind of meh. It didn't grab or hold my attention and the ending was rushed and simply. I would love to see it rewritten as a full novel or at least a novella, because I really think the idea behind it was great and there is so much more the author could have done with it. If you like really action packed stories, you might find this rather interesting. 

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Saturday, December 20, 2014

*Cover Reveal and Giveaway* Dirty Bad Wrong by Jade West

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     COVER  REVEAL- Dirty Bad Wrong by Jade West

Book’s name- Dirty Bad Wrong
Author’s name- Jade West
Release day-  Around February, 2015
Genre-Erotic Romance, BDSM
Add on TBR Shelf on -  Goodreads


They call him Masque.
I call him God.
The man I want to consume me, own me,
break me and corrupt me.
Yet I've never seen his face.
His body ripples like an adonis, sculpted in steel and
dripping in sin. His flesh is inked with the mark of the
chimera - one body, two very different halves.
He plays hard.
He plays rough.
He has no limits.
He's so fucking dirty bad wrong.
But I love him for it.

Lydia Marsh is always the strong one. The girl who never breaks, and sure as hell never cries. She's got it all - the perfect little life in cosy suburbia, with her perfectly nice boyfriend, and their perfectly sufficient sex life. She's even got her perfect little career plan all wrapped up at Trial Run Software Group.
But when it all falls apart, and Lydia's pretty, green eyes are fixed on a brutally sexual stranger - the man they call Masque - she comes to suspect that being strong isn't all it's cracked up to be.
For now Lydia wants something she's never wanted before...
And she wants Masque to give it to her.

**Warning - this novel contains graphic sex, and hardcore elements of BDSM. There are scenes of violence (consensual) as well as sexual practices some readers may find offensive.
If you aren't turned on by dirty bad wrong sex then please walk on by. Thank you.***


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Jade West is a contemporary erotic author from Warwick in the UK, due to release her debut BDSM novel, Dirty Bad Wrong, in February 2015. Jade is a real life submissive, and former sex chat-line operator, who is plenty used to getting people all steamed up with her dirty mouth. She has a healthy interest in pornography, men in suits and taking 100 strokes with a cane 'Mood Pictures' style.

Stalk links.jpg


Jade West is giving away -$10 GC and ultimate swag pack for the winner - notebook, magnet, bookmarks, postcards, earrings

3 more mini swag packs - postcards, bookmarks, magnet

2 pairs of earrings with signed postcards

Thursday, December 18, 2014

30 Days of Christmas - Day 17 - The Gift by S.L. Dearing

I am back on track!!! Yes, that does require three exclamation points. Today's selection is the final story in the Winter Kiss Anthology from the lovely ladies at Rising Indies United, and it has helped to heal my heart a little after Rene Folsom destroyed it.

Genre: Romance/Holiday
Published: December 15, 2014
Pages: 264
Ages: 18+


It’s been eight months since Kate and Matt met, fell head over heels, and moved in together. Now that the holidays are upon them, can they combine their two celebrations and families into one, or will an unexpected problem tear them apart?


The holidays can be stressful under the best of circumstances, but when you're boyfriends mother hates you simply because you're not Jewish, that stress is magnified by about a hundred, at least that seems to be the case for Kate. In spite of that, she wants to get the whole family together, hers and Matt's, for a big celebration on Christmas Eve, which also happens to be the last night of Chanukah. I'm sure you can see where this is going.

This story is told in third person, so we are able to follow all the action rather than being stuck in just one or two people's heads, although we do spend most of the story following Kate and Matt. I like this approach to storytelling almost as much as I like dual POV, although with the current trend in indie books (at the very least) being told in 1st person, this can seem like an awkward way to tell a story because you start to get accustomed to everything being first person. I thought S.L. Dearing did a great job of not making it seem awkward and the story still flowed pretty much seamlessly. 

I was totally engrossed in this story from the beginning. I couldn't wait to see how things played out between Kate and Matt's mother, although I kind of wish Kate's reaction had been different. 

Overall I give this story 4.5 out of 5 stars because it was entertaining, sweet, and a little dramatic. There were a few spelling/grammar errors in the copy of the book that I read though (like four I think), and the conflict resolution felt a bit rushed and simple. I would still definitely recommend this story to anyone looking for a sweeter holiday romance.


Since The Gift is the last story in the Winter Kiss Anthology I feel like I should write some finishing remarks on the anthology as a whole. Here they are. This anthology has a little something for just about everyone. Magen McMinimy's "The Wish" fulfills a paranormal romance fans desires, Rene Folsom's "The Wager" will appeal to the gamer's and nerds, and "The Gift" gives us a story on the sweeter side. All the stories are fairly well crafted, and you just might find a new favorite author. I did. - Katie 

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30 Days of Christmas- Day 16 - The Wager: A Game Changer Holiday Prequel by Rene Folsom

This story is the second in the Winter Kiss: Holiday Romance Anthology produced by the ladies of Rising Indies United. This story is also available on it's on own Amazon. Again, I do what I want, and I wanted to split this up into three days of reviews.  And I'm on a real streak of being late here that I am still hoping to break later today.

Genre: Romance/Holiday
Published: December 15, 2014
Pages: 246
Ages: 18+


You'd think the masks would come off once the ball drops at the New Year’s masquerade, but tossing caution to the wind, Liam and Maci decide to have a bit of fun by continuing to keep their faces hidden from each other during a night full of games and passion.

Get to know these two game-playing lovers before they even know each other in The Wager, a prequel to the new novel in the Playing Games series, Game Changer.


Rene Folsom just ripped my heart out and skipped away with it laughing. Like Regina in Once Upon a Time (yes the t.v. show) Folsom probably has an entire wall of hearts she has stolen from unsuspecting victims. I fear what she is going to do to my heart in the next book in the series, but I find myself unable to resist the pull to read it anyway. 

First of all, I love these characters. Science fiction writing gaming chick and science fiction loving game developer is a match made in heaven. I also personally found them both really relatable, like I'm pretty sure I could be best friends with both of them, we'd be BFF's, except we'd never actually use that terminology for it, and because I just did in a non-sarcastic way, they will no longer even consider being friends with me. 

This story is told in alternating dual POV, which I usually really enjoy, and this book was no different. I like being able to see both sides of the story as it progresses, especially in cases like this one where the story continues through the POV changes, rather than the POV change resulting in a repeat of what we just read. This dual POV really helped me get inside each characters head. 

Overall I give this story 6 out of 5 stars because it made me break my husband's "no book buying in December" rule. I seriously don't even have time to read Game Changer yet, but I have it on my Kindle now. This story equals awesome. 

Buy the Book

Winter Kiss:

The Wager (Amazon)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

30 Days of Christmas - Day 15 - The Wish: A North American Pack and Half-Blood Princess Christmas by Magen McMinimy

I know, I know, I'm late again. Yesterday I had a horrible headache that really interfered with my reading plans for the day. I don't get headaches often, but when I do, I'm a giant baby about them. The book selection for day 15 comes from Winter Kiss: A Holiday Romance Anthology produced by the ladies of Rising Indies United. Sure, that makes this technically only part of a book, but it still counts because this is my challenge and I do what I want. Also, I'm realizing just how challenging it is to try and read a book every single day.

Genre: Romance/Holiday
Pages: 169 (whole book)
Published: December 15, 2014
Ages: 18+


In a forgotten mining town, deep in the Bitterroot Valley, the Montana faction of the North American Pack of werewolves prepares for the holidays. When an innocent wish and a powerful spell is cast, vampires, witches, and weres are forced together for one unforgettable night, causing everyone involved to reevaluate what is truly important and what is needed to make them whole.


This story is a companion story to McMinimy's Half-Blood Princess series and North American Pack series. I would recommend reading at least some from both series before reading this story to fully enjoy it. I have only read the first two books in the Half-Blood Princess series to date (I enjoyed both of them, just have not found the time to read any more), and still felt completely at a loss reading this story. There is a large cast of characters in a pretty short story, and you don't really get to know any of them during the course of this story. I felt like I should start a list just to keep track of how each person is related to everyone else.

Aside from the lack of personal connection issues, this was an entertaining story, full of shifters, vampires, witches, and various hybrids of these. Savannah, the pack's alpha, and her mate Andre, a 3/4 vampire 1/4 witch hybrid, have invited Andre's family to the pack lands for Christmas. Like any normal person, Savannah is worried about impressing the in-laws, and that is pretty much where I started to flounder in this story, because there are a lot of in-laws. Then there is Kishi's, one of Savannah's pack, side story adding even more characters to the mix. I ended up spending more time trying to remember who was who than I got to spend just enjoying the story. There is not a doubt in my mind that this wouldn't have been a problem if I'd read all of the Half-Blood Princess novels and the North American Pack novels though, which is why I would suggest you read those first. 

Overall I give this story 3.5 out of 5 stars because although it was mildly entertaining, it does not stand well on it's own two feet and the ending felt rushed and overly simplistic. I would still honestly recommend this to others, but like I have said twice already, read the rest of the series first. - Katie 

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*Release Day Blitz and Giveaway* Rising by Lisa Swallow

Title: Rising (Blue Phoenix, #4)
Author: Lisa Swallow
Release Date: December 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance / New Adult
Cover Design: Najla Qamber Designs


"Our demons don't want to play but they sure as hell recognise each other"

Three attempts at staying clean after rehab and Jem Jones, Blue Phoenix guitarist, is determined this time he’ll succeed. Haunted by his recent past, Jem throws himself into the one addiction he still has left: music. With Blue Phoenix on a break, he looks elsewhere for a place to channel his creativity and discovers up-and-coming band Ruby Riot.

For lead singer, Ruby, breaking into the music scene could break the cycle of abuse that’s controlled her life since she was a child.  Finding release through music, the growing success of the band has set Ruby on the path to regaining her identity and self-esteem.

Ruby Riot brings Jem and Ruby together, but Ruby's tangled personal life pushes her closer to a reluctant Jem. Living and touring together, Jem and Ruby discover they have more in common than their passion for music. Can this understanding break down the carefully constructed barriers they’re trapped behind? Or is loving somebody too big a risk to take?

When Jem’s past slams into his present, he has to face the reality behind what made him the man he is and why he hurts the people he wants to love.

And as Ruby reaches out to help Jem, she discovers trying to fix somebody comes with the risk of getting cut by one of their shattered pieces.
Jem and Ruby’s story is the fourth book in the Blue Phoenix series. It can be read as a standalone but contains minor spoilers for the other books in the series.

This book includes scenes of domestic violence that are not gratuitously graphic, but may be disturbing to sensitive readers.

Buy Links:

The Blue Phoenix series:

Summer Sky (Blue Phoenix #1):

Falling Sky (Blue Phoenix #2):

Unplugged (Blue Phoenix #3):


Rising (Blue Phoenix #4):



Join the Blue Phoenix Reader’s Group here for first looks at covers, exclusive material and chat about the band!

About the Author:

Lisa is a romance author and writes both paranormal and contemporary, including the bestselling Blue Phoenix series. In between running a business, looking after her family and writing, Lisa sometimes finds spare time to do other things. This often involves swapping her book worlds for gaming worlds. Lisa is originally from the UK but moved to Australia in 2001 and now lives in Perth in Western Australia with her husband, three children and dog.

Stalk Links:


Head over to FMR Book Studio to enter the giveaway.