Thursday, March 27, 2014

*Blog Tour* for "Mask of the Swan" by Terry Maggert

Title: Mask of the Swan (The Fearless, Book Two)
Author: Terry Maggert
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Thriller

Release: March 2014

Killing immortals is easy. Becoming one is hard.
When three lovers (Ring, Waleska, and Risa) take a vacation after losing a fight with an elegant monster named Elizabeth, their time for healing is cut short by a new threat, and this time, innocent blood will spill.
Reaching for the crown of Hell, Elizabeth gathers Archangels around her to fuel her power-mad ascent—but she has powerful enemies who will fight her every step of the way, including Delphine, the 2400 year old succubus hooker who knows that inside her beautiful body rests a very human soul. Joined by an honorable priest who finds himself in the middle of a war he never knew existed, and a demigod and his partner, the stage is set for another round in the battle to determine how much of Ring, Waleska, and Risa is still human, how tough their immortal side can be—and how far they are willing to go to protect the people they love from the reaches of a creature who would burn their world to ashes.

Tasked with killing immortals, Ring, Waleska, and Risa live rather unconventionally, a fact that the author reminds us of far too often. Risa is the brains, much like Velma from Scooby Doo, an expert at research and riddles. Ring is the brawn, sort of like Fred, except his traps seem to work most of the time and they're not physical traps. And Waleska is like a strange hybrid of Daphne and Shaggy, absolutely gorgeous, but she comes off quite slovenly at times and definitely has Shaggy's appetite. They even have their own Scooby in the form of their Great Dane, Gyro, although he stays at home when they're out hunting from what I can gather. 

I found this story to be mostly interesting, except for the near constant allusions to the fact that Ring gets to sleep with both Risa and Waleska; those really started to get on my nerves and didn't add to the story at all. For me, the time spent focusing on their sexual situation would have been better spent getting me more connected with Elizabeth's archangels. The archangels seemed to be mildly significant to the story, but we hardly spend any time with them at all to the point that it was hard for me to even remember what made each one special. It would have been nice to have time to develop a relationship with them, because even though they were minor characters in the whole scheme of things, they weren't just extras to be killed off willy nilly.

I enjoyed the build-up and suspense of the story. I found myself trying to piece together the clues, and figure out the riddles to determine just what it would take to get rid of Elizabeth once and for all. I frequently found myself coming up with the answers before the characters did, but that's not particularly uncommon, and it's probably intentional on the part of the author to help make us feel smart; it kind of works. I was a bit disappointed in the ending though, as it seemed very anticlimactic after the build-up leading there. I agree with the way it ended, because it kind of makes sense for that to be what it took, but afterwards I was left feeling like "Really? That's it." I was really just expecting some more epic fighting or something.

Overall I give this book 3.75 out of 5 stars. It was very interesting and I didn't have to force myself to keep reading just to get through it, and it was pretty well written, but there was so much focus on a relatively insignificant detail (the sex triangle) and not enough focus on slightly more important factors. I would definitely still recommend it to others, but be forewarned that you'll probably get annoyed with Ring for focusing so much on how he gets to sleep with two women.

The Archangel Enoch
“Dr. Mpemba, this arrived for you.” A mousey student worker placed the heavy box on the professor’s desk as he dismissed her with a wave. He inspected the parcel and saw the description as air mail, originating in Ireland according to the label. Ahead of schedule, as always. I am an excellent customer, and it is good of her to show me proper respect. His eyes glittered with greed and something more primal as he closed his office door, locked it, and sat for a gravid moment, savoring the innocuous nature of the brown box. It was a Friday, which meant that he would not have to wait to use his newest acquisition as the club would be crowded with veterans and newcomers and the undecided who had not yet sampled his unique brand of experimentation and discovery.
Enoch Mpemba had arrived in South Florida two decades earlier, leaving the killing grounds and hierarchical bloodbaths of his native Liberia behind without a second thought. A naturally industrious student, he had quickly demonstrated superior math skills as well as an uncompromising need to explore the relationships between religion, economics, and all of internecine warfare that those forces could cause. Less than a decade later, he possessed degrees in all three fields, earning his doctorate in economics with surprising ease, a discipline that would prove a boon to someone who had a rare combination of intellect, will, and the depravity to use all of his gifts for purposes known only to him. A handsome man with the deep brown, even coloring of his ancestors, Enoch had striking cheekbones and eyes of impenetrable depth that women found compelling, and later commanding. He quickly realized upon becoming a professor that women were, for him, a wholly renewable resource, limited only by his finances, which were meager even for someone of his title. Enoch changed all of that in one single evening, when he discreetly taped a young student doing unspeakable acts in his living room, her flawless, youthful body on display as he defiled her in every possible way, even finishing his performance with a hard slap to her mouth, felling her, and laughing at her shock. He had not even disguised the act of turning off the camera that had filmed the entire sporting affair, and two weeks later, he had arranged to see her at a local coffee shop. He cheerfully informed her that he would be showing the footage of her enthusiastic participation to her xenophobic parents, who he had discovered, showered her with regular checks as their only, precious child finished what was, in his eyes, a meaningless degree in nursing. During the encounter, each salacious wiggle of her youthful hips were punctuated with animalistic groans that were at odds with her solidly demure exterior, a fact that he valued in the amount of $500 per month, until she left school. After that Enoch had serenely informed her she could be assured that he would destroy the digital film. He was, after all, an honorable man, he had asserted, watching the uncontrollable sobs jerk his victim’s shoulders up and down like a piston. The memory of her submission was as erotic as any of her orifices had been during their play, and he had pleasured himself often at the recollection of her tears. Until the next victim, and the next. Eventually, the professor who had lived in a small apartment had purchased a townhome on a lake in a gated community. Still, his appetite for the flesh had not dimmed, so he began to expand his search. Finally, emboldened by his exploits, Enoch forayed into the fringes of society, where he found that the sexual appetites of others could be safely expressed, even augmented within the subculture known simply as The Lifestyle.
What an inadequate word, he mused, thinking of the blossoming that he had witnessed within his own libido. Moving quickly within the accepted participants of the clubs and private parties, Enoch began to find simple promiscuity lacking, even with married women whose husbands watched, craven, impotent in the face of his sexuality, but still titillated by their very weakness. It was a feeling that grafted to his needs at once, and he began an immediate exploration of that new and welcome addition to his encounters. The final piece of his sexual puzzle arrived in the form of a dominatrix visiting from Ireland, or Denmark—he was never truly certain, but he did recognize the moment she began to unpack her beautifully constructed leather goods, all custom-made, purpose-built, and designed to inflict shame and heighten his orgasms in ways he had not dreamed possible. After an evening of enthusiastic debauchery with her, he confirmed two salient facts that would shape his actions from that moment forth. He had not one ounce of submission within his body and spirit, and the surest means to physical pleasure of the highest order, for Enoch, was to visit shame and degradation upon others until even their safe words could not grant them respite from his lust.
So before him sat a package, unopened for the moment, with a new device of his own design, crafted by the Irish or Danish scrivener who was virtually enslaved to the woman who had taught him that pain and pleasure are fruit of the same tree. A careful knife cut along the edge of the parcel, feeling the contents shift ever so slightly, and he spilled the paper-wrapped item onto his desk. He then discarded the box onto the floor with the same disdain that he showed his special students, and swallowing once in anticipation, feathered the heavy paper apart.
Flawless. It was art of a largely unseen quality in this discipline, and he turned the codpiece over gently, almost as if handling a new lamb, admiring the sullen gleam of the wine-colored leather, the metal thread holding everything perfectly with nary a scratch on the heavy hide. But it was the ring of custom-crafted studs surrounding the open crotch that shone like nightshade, each dense, bronze stud forged separately and then freed from burrs with hand tooling. There were twenty-nine in all, a symbolic number mocking the amount of years he waited until he began to feed his true, inner passion. He had no doubt that with each thrust, the metallic punishment of the codpiece would result in a unique calling card, cicatrices of the initials GM branding the recipient as just another conquest in the memory of a man who was slowly but surely, edging ever closer to the abandonment of what little conscience he had left. He felt an awakening in his groin, and the pressure against his linen pants quickly grew nearly intolerable as his hand moved to his lap to reassure his cock that soon, they would begin their night’s work. “Oh, they will have to wait their turn when I wield this. Yes, all of the soft ones will give me a turn.” He spoke quietly, his words clotted with arrogance and lust.
“I see your newest addition has arrived. Mind if I give you my professional opinion?” She asked him this with the familiarity of an old friend, and he was startled, but only for an instant. Enoch leapt back in his chair, drawing himself up with operatic intent as he began to open his mouth and berate the woman who dared interrupt him in his office. That speech was truncated as one of her gloved hands snatched the codpiece from his desk and the other struck him on the temple, a deafening blow that made his vision flash white as he sagged to the floor, slipping from his chair without resistance.
“Now, Enoch. I asked you nicely, and yet you’ve proven to be quite boorish. Those are hardly the manners one would expect from a doctor, are they?” The invasive woman somehow made the honorific an insult, leaving him awash with anger, disgust, and an inability to act. I’ve been cuckolded in my own space. Who is this creature? Looking up from the floor, he saw a stunning woman in her thirties, dripping with confidence and wealth. Her brown eyes were flecked with gold, and she had her dark hair pulled away from a face that Enoch was certain could make men capitulate to her every wish. She extended a regal hand to him, waving for him to accept it and rise, but as he reached for her, she kicked him once, hard, in the testicles, crushing the wind from him in a shocked gasp. He doubled sideways, white hot pain gripping him from balls to brain, and through it all, he heard her calmly speak to him as one would address a naughty dog.
“Gather your things, Doctor. Your erstwhile careers are henceforth concluded, and I have need of you. If, that is, you prove your worth to me. Have you been to New Orleans?” Her voice was conversational, friendly, and utterly without haste. For the first time, Enoch knew true fear, and he also intuited that this was an emotion wielded easily by this woman. Struggling to a sitting position, she knelt daintily, looking at the leatherwork that had dominated his thoughts so soundly she had slipped into his office unseen. Or had she?
“May I arise, Miss—?” he began in his most diplomatic tone given his excruciating discomfort.
“Elizabeth. You may address me as Elizabeth, if we’re being familiar. I will inform you when we are not being familiar. You would do well to pay attention to my tone. So much can be gleaned from inflection, don’t you think?” She smiled wickedly at him.
“Yes, Elizabeth.” He recovered some shred of confidence quickly and made as if to stand. Her hand lashed down and out, striking him soundly in the mouth, and he fell again, but this time he had the sense to remain still.
Seeing his intentions to stay on the floor, she turned to the door and tossed the codpiece at him, striking him in the face. “Bring that. I will have need of it later, on the plane. You training will begin immediately.” She paused for a thoughtful moment. “You may want to consider some stretching exercises, Enoch. I intend to shed light on your innermost secrets.” She laughed a musical, repugnant noise from a beast that is in complete control of an underling. It was a sound that Enoch knew very well indeed, but from the other side.

Enoch stood, shivering. He did not think that she was referring to his past, and his body began to anticipate a most unwelcome night.

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Book 1 in the Fearless Series


Author’s Bio:  

Born in 1968, I discovered fishing shortly after walking, a boon considering I lived in South Florida.  I had the good fortune to attend high school in idyllic Upstate New York, where I learned the meaning of winter-- and how to seize the whole of summer.

After two or three failed attempts at college, I bought a pub. That was fun, because I love beer. However, I eventually met someone smarter than me (a common event), but in this case, she married me and convinced me to go back to school -- which I did, with great enthusiasm. I hold a Master’s Degree in History, and live near Nashville, Tennessee with the aforementioned wife, son, and a herd of various critters. When I’m not writing, I teach history, grow wildly enthusiastic tomato plants, and restore my 1967 Mustang.

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Review of "Immortal Blood" by Magen McMinimy

When a luck eating leprechaun named Zander steals her luck, Isabelle "Izzy" Moreno finds herself incredibly accident prone and under the protection of the incredibly hot Light Fae Warrior Bain. Although reluctant to go to the Middle World where the Light Fae live at first, a near death experience convinces her that she desperately needs the help that only Rowan, the Light Fae Queen, can give her. She soon finds herself enchanted by more than just the scenery in the Middle World, but will Bain return her affection?

Izzy is the first woman that hasn't succumbed to Bain's charms and when he finds himself tasked with protecting her from a string of unnatural bad luck he can't help but try to break through her barriers. There is just something about this feisty human that he finds incredibly appealing. But will her shortened life expectancy keep him from finding true happiness for the only time in his long life?

This is the first book in the Immortal Heart series and it perfectly sets the stage. We learn at least most of the rules of the Fae without them coming off sounding pedantic, and meet many of the major series characters slowly enough to develop a connection and really get to know them so we don't forget their names and significance (unlike how I feel every Christmas with my in-laws meeting all the aunts and cousins at once. After seven and a half years of marriage I still can't remember everyone's names). Then there is the meat of the story. I didn't want to put my Kindle down, and I realize I've said that in a lot of my reviews lately, but I've been having a string of really good luck when it comes to books and they really have held my attention that strongly.

You can tell from the beginning that Bain is a real hot-head and then you add Izzy's Latina spice and it makes for a real combustible mix. I love their interactions and the way they seem to butt heads on just about everything at first. As their connection grows, it actually feels like more time has passed than the story indicates. And this isn't one of those stories where one minute the girl just can not stand the guy and then BAM, they're in bed together and the orgasms make them fall deeply in love forever. You can really feel the connection building between them, and the sexual tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife, even after they've done the dirty for the first time.

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for pulling me deep into the story and not letting go. I would definitely recommend it to any paranormal romance fan out there. - Katie

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Review of "Donners of the Dead" by Karina Halle

I think we all know the stories about the Donner party that got stuck in the mountains, caught by snows on their way to the west coast. Trying to survive they turned to cannibalism, but what happens to a person that eats human flesh? Is it so hard to believe that they may develop an unnatural taste for it that makes them more monster than man? Karina Halle didn't think so, and after reading this book, neither do I.

I desperately wanted to read this book because zombies (horror is my absolutely favorite genre and it's kind of impossible to have zombies without at least a little horror), but with how many un-read books I currently own, I just couldn't justify buying it when it went live. So when I saw a giveaway for a copy, I entered and got lucky. I was thrilled and the book did not disappoint me.

Meet Eve, a half-Indian and half-white eighteen year old woman who has basically been raised by her racist white aunt and uncle (of course just about everyone was racist back then and they didn't see anything wrong with that. Miss Halle did a good job of portraying the reigning group mentality of the time) after her father's mysterious disappearance in the Sierra Nevada mountains years ago. Treated like Cinderella by her uncle because of her mixed genes and her gender (because woman in general were second class citizens back then too), her life isn't really her own. When a group of five men shows up on their doorstep wanting to hire her for her supposed tracking abilities, her father was one of the best trackers around, her uncle jumps at the chance to make a quick buck since any money she earns while living under his roof is automatically his. They set out into the same mountains where he father disappeared and find far more than they bargained for, well more than some of them bargained for at least.

This tale of almost terror had me hooked from the title because of my thing for zombie books, and movies, and plant based iPad apps. I probably found this story less horrifying than it actually was because of my fascination with zombies and horror books in general. It really takes a lot to scare me. As far as horror stories go, "Donners of the Dead" had a fairly predictable outcome overall, but I was still quite anxious for the survivors to get to that point, and there were a few instances where I actually wasn't so sure of who the survivors would be (and I really have a knack for picking horror story survivors). I would have read this book in a single day had my Kindle battery not died on me.

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for being so entertaining and well-written. I assure you, if you like suspense and a little bit of horror, you will definitely like this book.

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Review of "The Ghosts of Nagasaki" by Daniel Clausen

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway, and I'm glad I did. This is not a book I would have normally picked up unless I found it at my local thrift store, but I don't find very many indie books there.

"The Ghosts of Nagasaki" is not a horror story and it's not exactly about the after effects of the atom bomb blast (that's what I was expecting based on the title because I didn't read the synopsis), but rather it is the story of an American ex-patriot living in Japan, where he finds his ghosts, and some ghosts that maybe aren't really his. Maybe the ghosts have an easier time existing undetected in a place that has seen so much death. Maybe the combination of freedom, money and booze just led to a major introspection or psychosis on the part of the narrator. Whatever the reason, he has invited us along on his journey of self-discovery.

Like the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz, our narrator is in need of a heart. He walks, talks, and breathes, but feels as if he has a leaden weight where his heart should be. Growing up an orphan, he's never allowed himself to get attached to people until he meets Debra, who is taken away from him far too soon, a victim of the bureaucratic process. When he finds that he's grown into one of the bureaucrats he hates, he's compelled to start writing his memoirs to come to terms with the ghosts he met while teaching in Nagasaki.

This book is very surreal, changing times seamlessly so it's hard to keep track of what time frame in the narrators life we are currently in. One minute we'll be in a nomihodai in Nagasaki, and the next we're in the narrators high rise apartment in Tokyo. It truly feels like we're in the narrators head though, traveling into madness right there with him. I could relate to the narrator's feelings of connection with the ghosts of Nagasaki's past. Obsessed with Shusaku Endo's "Silence" (which I really want to read now) which is about the persecution of Christians in Japan, he meets the ghosts of the characters and sets out to help them find salvation or at least peace. Living in Germany, I too have encountered the ghosts of a persecuted religion when visiting Dachau concentration camp. You can't help but feel the spirits.

This is a heavier read and certainly not for everyone, but if you're willing to take a trip into madness, it is a wonderful book. Overall I give it 4 out of 5 stars for being well written and really making me think. - Katie

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Review of "The Gathering" by S.L. Dearing

Thirteen years after the third world war devastated American, and I assume the rest of the world, we've started to rebuild. It's a time of peace and overall cooperation. Every six months the various colonies of California gather for ten days to trade goods, stage friendly baked goods competitions, party, and just relax. This gathering is taking place in Lia Fail (pronounced fawl), home of the pagan queen Alia Stark and her brood of children. But an evil like nothing we've ever seen is lurking in the shadows waiting to strike. Will the gathering end in disaster?

If you took "A Game of Thrones," "Divergent," and "The Stand" and smooshed them together, you would get "The Gathering." The overall feeling is very medieval, the Starks even live in a castle, but then they mention solar panels or the LAPD and you remember that this is actually set in the future, not the past. The vendor stalls set up for the gathering and the talk of the stage had me picturing the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, although in retrospect it's just as likely that the stage would be more appropriate for a Justin Bieber concert, or maybe somewhere in between. I like my original image though and to me it seems very fitting under the circumstances.

This story pulled me in from the beginning. The introduction had me waiting to see when certain characters would appear again in the story and I didn't actually figure out who they were until after I had finished reading the book and saw the introduction posted on a Facebook page a few days later. That's when I had my ah-ha moment, and I love when a book sticks with me so much that I can still have those ah-ha moments even after I've finished and moved on to reading other books.

The mystery of the story starts fairly early on and it's not blatantly obvious for a while who the "bad guys" are. I was less than thrilled with how neatly the teenagers coupled up, everyone ending up with exactly who they wanted to, well almost. That was the part of this fantastical story that I found to be just too unrealistic. I may have been infected by "A Game of Thrones" though, causing at least a part of me to NOT want everyone to end up happy.

Overall I give "The Gathering" 5 out of 5 stars for being so engaging, well-written, and original in it's own way. I look forward to reading the next book in the series when it comes out. - Katie

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Review of "Captive" by Brenda Rothert

After being devastated by the loss of her pregnancy, Kate eventually joined a grief support group where she met Jason Ryker, star hockey player. On thing led to another and eventually they got married. That's the watered down version, if you want to know how they got here (and I'm sure you do) go purchase "Bound" at Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords (It's only $.99). The wedding wasn't the end of their story though. That's where "Captive" comes in.

Desperate to be a mother and give Ryke children, Kate becomes pregnant, sure that this time will be different. When tragedy strikes, it puts their marriage through the ringer. Will this be the end for Kate and Ryke, or will they fight through the pain to achieve their very own happily ever after?

This book was truly captivating (see what I did there?). I was really disappointed when my other half said he wanted to watch a movie together after I started reading because I wanted to continue my rendezvous with Kate and Ryke, but my hubby's fragile ego just couldn't withstand that kind of rejection so Kate, Ryke, and I rescheduled our date. Once we reconnected I barely put the book down. I even cooked with Kindle in hand.

Brenda Rothert pulled me right back into the story, sticking me solidly in Kate's shoes as if they were the ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. I wasn't getting out of them until I found my way back home and actually couldn't think of anything but the story during the times when I couldn't be reading. I traveled on the emotional roller coaster with Kate, going through all the ups and downs; the joy of pregnancy, the loneliness while Ryke was on the road, and the hurt of being left alone after a fight. I felt all the emotions deep in my soul, although I don't think I would have been as forgiving as Kate if not for the scenes from Ryke's POV. The ending certainly made the emotional roller coaster worthwhile, even if it did bring more tears to my eyes.

My only complaint about the book is that there are several instances where the timing of the story is either unclear or possibly inconsistent. For me it was disturbing while reading, but it doesn't really affect the overall feeling of the story in the end.

Overall I give "Captive" 4 out of 5 stars, for being well-written and captivating. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series. - Katie

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Blog Tour for "Underestimated Too" by Jettie Woodruff

Title: Underestimated Too
Author: Jettie Woodruff
Genre: Adult Romance
Publication Date: March 15

WARNING. This book contains: explicit sex scenes (some forced, some not), intense situations not meant for the faint of heart, abuse, adult language and content.

Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is, so they say anyway. Fortunately, Drew loves money. He wasn’t capable of loving anything else. The more money he made, the more he needed to make. Always chasing a deal, that was the most important thing in the world to him.

You rode Morgan’s side of the tracks. Now ride Drew’s. You know the things she went through, things nobody should go through. Is Drew sorry for his part in that? Probably not. He’s not sure things would have turned out the way they did had he been the cute little husband the critics expected him to be. He did do things that hurt her, and regretted a lot of his choices, but tortured himself, wanting to do them still.

You think you know Drew? You don’t know squat. You know what his wife has told you. She couldn’t tell you more than that, she doesn’t know that part of Drew. You want a sappy cliché romance? Move on, this isn’t the story for you. You want all the gruesome details? Stick around, and then you can judge Drew.

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What would you do if you were married to a monster? A man who beat you, sexually abused you, humiliated you, and kept you prisoner in your own home? A man that would be practically penniless without you. In spite of all of that, for some strange reason, you love this man. Maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome and you fell in love with your captor, or maybe you two are actually meant to be together, but life is fucked up and so is your relationship. So you love him, but you want the hitting to stop. What do you do? Seek counseling of course.

I loved how instead of just retelling the story from Drew's POV, the story continued and we got to hear Drew's side of things through counseling. Deidra is probably my absolute most favorite character in these books. Her no nonsense attitude is just what is needed to make Drew toe the line and finally start talking about the past.

We learn a lot about Drew's past, and his past does a lot to explain why he's done the things that he's done to Morgan. Does it make me like him any more? Nope, sure doesn't. I still hate his ass and I always will because in my mind, it is never okay to hit and sexually abuse a woman. I think Morgan is a fool for wanting to be with him, but if that's what she really wants, then by all means, she can have him. At least she's pushing him to go to counseling to try and make things better.

We get a lot fewer of the twisted sex scenes between Drew and Morgan, but that's not a bad thing. Where the big focus of the book is still on the past, replaying the scenes from "Underestimated" would probably end up being more tedious than exciting. And for me the reduced emphasis on their sex life helps to show the growth in their relationship. It's clear that it's not all about the twisted sex anymore.

Overall I give this book five out of five stars because it was well written, it surprised me with it's direction, and the characters are consistent and well developed. - Katie

Excerpt #1:

“You coming soon? The photographer will be here any minute. Do you really want me to dress Nicholas for this?”
“No way, we’re leaving now… Drew?”
“The moving guys left two boxes of papers here for me. Should I bring them home for you?”
“No, I’ll send Celeste after them tomorrow. Come home. Nicky will be awake soon.”
“Okay, but you just called him Nicky again.”
“You don’t have to point it out every time I do it.”
“Yes I do. I’ll see you in a few. I have to run Alicia home first.”
“You should stop and get us some beer. We’ll float around the pool naked after Marta leaves and NICHOLAS goes to bed.”

Writing is more than a passion for me. I write adult books, romance and erotica. I did recently try my hand at a young adult romance, but because of the gutter that my mind seems to fall into. It quickly went into rated R mode. I reside in Ohio. I love living in Ohio, except maybe the cold winters, and the snow, well maybe the hot summers too. Ah hell, I hate Ohio.

I love to push my limits in writing, fuel the senses and emotions of my readers. I have some great supporters and love them all dearly.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review of "Trust Again" by Christy Newton

Ellie Oliver manages to escape her abusive, controlling boyfriend in New York to move back home and take over her dad's toy store so he can retire. She has some big plans for making changes to the toy store, which brings her face to face with Jacob Jones. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but there's just something about Jacob that makes her want more than a platonic relationship. Will he break through her barriers and teach her to trust again?

After his wife cheated on him and his mother passed away, Jacob thought it was time for a fresh start in a new place, so he moved to Indiana where his best friend lives. A long time construction worker, he gets a job remodeling a toy store, not exactly what he was hoping for, but it pays the bills at least temporarily. He's not looking for a relationship, especially not with his boss, but there's just something about Ellie Oliver that pulls him in. Will he be able to forget the pain of his past and make a fresh start?

This book pulled me in from the beginning. It started out immediately suspenseful, with Ellie preparing to flee her abusive boyfriend. The suspense quickly passes though when she arrives back in her sleepy little home town in Indiana. It's one of those places where you know nothing really exciting ever happens. But that's just what Ellie needs after seven years in the big city with an abusive boyfriend, a place where she can finally relax and start to let her guard down.

While "Trust Again" was incredibly engaging, I flew through it in just a few hours, I found it really hard to believe how quickly Ellie and Jacob got together. Obviously I knew going in that they were supposed to get together, that's kind of the point of a romance novel, but they moved incredibly fast considering their pasts. Too fast for believability, even in the predestined context of a romance novel.

In spite of that pretty big flaw, in my opinion, the book did have me squealing a little, and hoping for certain outcomes to other issues that arose, and I was anxious to get to the end to see how it all pulled together. Overall I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Review of "Seconds Before Sunrise" by Shannon A. Thompson

Jessica is just a normal high school girl, or so she thinks. She doesn't remember that she's the prophesied third descendant in the epic battle that will take place between the Light and Dark, or pretty much anything else from the past 8 months that she's been in Hayworth. It's supposed to be for her own good, but will it really save her from the evil?

Eric is anything but normal. Human by day, shade by night and the prophesied first descendant representing the dark in the epic battle that will determine who gets to keep their powers. He has a lot to worry about, including Jessica even though he's not supposed to talk to her anymore. She is the one thing that could prevent him from winning the battle, and the last thing he needs is more distractions as his 18th birthday approaches. Will his actions make a difference, or is his fate pre-determined?

"Seconds Before Sunrise" is the second book in the Timely Death Trilogy by Shannon A. Thompson. I loved "Minute's Before Sunset" so I was thrilled (I actually squealed) when she asked me to review "Seconds Before Sunrise." I couldn't wait to dive back into Eric/Shoman and Jessica's story, and it didn't disappoint (actually it kind of did, but not in a bad way if that makes any sense).

"Minutes Before Sunset" left me with a lot of questions and hypotheses about which humans were members of the Light, and "Seconds Before Sunrise" didn't answer ANY of them! That's why I'm a bit disappointed, but like I said, it's not really in a bad way. Developments in this story have strengthened my suspicions, although I was second-guessing myself some too. I love how this series makes me really think and play detective while I'm reading instead of making everything obvious.

"Seconds Before Sunrise" seems to focus a lot more on Jessica than Eric/Shoman, and it works well. With her missing memories and unanswered questions and desire to spend time talking to Eric even though she doesn't remember what he means to her, there is a lot to work with in her life. Then you add her weird dream memories and it's almost like opening up Pandora's box of mysteries. I spent a lot of time wondering if she would ever realize that those dreams were actually memories.

My favorite part of the book, though, was probably when Eric showed up to rescue Jessica Edward Cullen style, although he ended up there by chance (or maybe it was pre-destined) and not because he was stalking her like a psycho.

Overall I give "Seconds Before Sunrise" five out of five stars for being truly engaging, well written, and mentally stimulating. I would definitely recommend this whole series to any YA fan or actual teenager/young adult that is looking for the next "cool" series. - Katie

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog Tour and Giveaway for "Living in Sin" by Isabel Lucero *Exclusive character interview*

Title: Living in Sin
Author: Isabel Lucero
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publication Date: January 1, 2014

**This story contains graphic sexual content and strong language. Intended for mature audiences only.**

Jace Jamison is every woman’s fantasy. He’s a mysterious businessman willing to sweep you off your feet, a tattooed bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and a sexy friend you want to take that next step with. Jace is everything and anything you want him to be. He’s a highly paid escort.

But nobody knows who Jace really is; the man whose dad abandoned him, whose brother was killed, and who had to take care of his mom at a young age. At the age of nineteen, he was living in Sin City, ready for a life away from stress and struggle.

Adrienne has been having a sexual drought since she broke up with her boyfriend. Even then she wasn’t getting fully satisfied. Being an event planner, she’s constantly working at numerous events. Several times she’s seen a man she can only refer to as the God-like creature at her work functions. He’s devastatingly handsome, tall, and has beautiful eyes, but he’s always with a different woman. The last thing she needs is another player in her life.

After a few chance encounters with Jace, her best friend convinces her to just get some good sex out of him and not worry about who she’s seen him with. But what happens when she finds out that he isn’t dating these women because he wants to, but because he’s paid to?

Keeping his job a secret from Adrienne seems easy at first, but when she begins meeting people he knows in his escort life, and they begin getting closer, he knows he has to tell her before someone else does.

When their worlds entwine, and confessions are made, will they be able to work through it? Will she be able to push aside his sins and focus on the good in him? Will Jace get what he’s never had? A woman who wants him despite what he’s done. Or will living in sin cost him what he never knew he wanted?

*An erotic, contemporary romance*
*Book one in a series, but can be read as a standalone.*

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Living in Sin starts with a bang, literally. I have never read a book before that goes straight to the sex, not even straight up erotica that barely bothers with a story line, so this was quite different for me, and I loved it. It is clear from the beginning that Jace is a man that really knows his way around a woman's body, but you wouldn't expect any less from a successful male escort in Sin City now would you? What isn't clear is if he knows his way to a woman's heart.

Adrienne is a successful event planner, and she's seen Jace at a few of her events, always with a different woman. Naturally she finds him attractive, because who wouldn't, but she doesn't want to get involved with a man that is obviously just a player. That is until her friend Emilie convinces her that she deserves to have a little no-strings attached fun with the God-like creature.

This book had me hooked from the word go (what can I say, I like me some hot sex). My initial impression of Jace was not favorable, but I generally pay little to no attention to the synopsis of books before I read them, and I didn't really think about the title either, so I didn't realize that he was a male escort. I thought he was just a cocky bastard. I quickly grew to love him when I saw the error of my ways though. There are so many layers to his character that blend together to make him pretty much the perfect male specimen. We should just clone Jace Jamison and get rid of all the other men (don't tell my husband I said that.)

"Living in Sin" was very well written, in my opinion. It has drama and suspense, that while they don't happen in most people's lives (because most people aren't male escorts), are actually very believable and even relateable. Did I yell at Jace for being an idiot and not being up front with Adrienne sooner? Of course I did, out loud (it startled my children, and then I was reprimanded by my four year old because I should not say that word), but real people do that, and the story would have been a lot more boring. I honestly can't think of a single book where the characters don't keep secrets from one another because no one really wants to read about people being up front and honest all the time. Sure we want it in real life, but it's just not that interesting. Then there were the glorious sex scenes. Ms. Lucero did not skimp on any of the delicious dirty details.

Overall I give this book 5 out of 5 stars (because the other girls say I'm not allowed to give it any more stars than that), because I was hooked from the beginning and captivated through the end. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the Escort series. Keep reading for my exclusive interview with the guys from the Agency. - Katie

Character Interview

Why did you become an escort? Are you really just in it for the sex? 
Nico: *Yells* We're all in it for the sex! 
Troy: The money isn't bad either. *laughs* 
Jace: Well, I wanted to get away from NY and not have to worry about money. I came across information about escorts, and as soon as I was legal, I moved here, and well, now I don't struggle. *smirks* 

What's the most you've ever charged a client? 
Marc: It all depends on what the client wants. We can get booked for weekend trips, or even longer than that. For a weekend trip, you're looking at anywhere between six to eight thousand dollars. We get 80% of our hourly/weekly rates. 

Do you get physical with all of your clients? 
*In unison* No. 
Troy: *laughs* Not all women want sex, they just want company or to have a date to a work party. 

How do you feel emotionally when the clients expect you to be more physical? 
Troy: If a client wants to be physical, we know, and we're okay with that. We don't let our emotions get involved with any clients. You just can't. 

Have you ever fallen in love with a client? 
*laughs* No. 
Jace: Like Troy said, we can't let our emotions become a problem. 
Marc: Plus, it's rare that you have a client you'd actually be attracted to or interested in in your personal life. Sometimes our personalities don't match, but you have to do your job. 

What is the strangest activity a client has requested? 
Nico: *laughs and slaps Marc's shoulder* I think Marc wins this, at least recently. He had a woman have a sploshing fetish. Look it up. 
Marc: Shut up, Nico. Don't remind me. *everybody laughs* 

How do you make sure the woman is satisfied before you finish? I'm sure some of our readers have boyfriends or husbands that could use some tips. 
Troy: Look, if a man can't satisfy a woman before he comes, then he's a terrible man. *everybody laughs* I'm just sayin', it's easy. You have to learn what a woman likes and what she doesn't. Do everything she loves, and control yourself. It's not that hard. 

How do you get through an evening if your client is really ugly? 
Nico: Think about the money. *Marc smacks him in the head.* 
Marc: More often than not, you'll be with someone you aren't attracted to, but our job is to act like we are, make them believe we want them and only them. It's an acting gig, really. 

What do you do if you run into a client outside of work? 
Kade: It doesn't happen a whole lot. Some people just come in from out of town. Plus, it's a big city and it's rare to see a lot of the same people, but it does happen. I recently ran into somebody I had been with, at a restaurant. She blushed and gave me a nervous wave, but she was with somebody, so we didn't talk or anything. 
Jace: Some of these clients are regulars, so it's not too weird to see them more than once anyway. 

Do you have limits on what you will do with clients? If so could we get some examples? 
Nico: We'll do almost anything. Whatever the client wants. Almost anything.

Have you ever had someone underage try to purchase your services? 
Jace: No, they have to go through the agency, and they're sure to get all the information they need. 

Are you doing anything later? I mean I'm in town for a couple more days and... 
*laughs* *Nico and Kade simultaneously* I'm free! 

I just couldn't resist. You know what they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Isabel Lucero is a military wife who has been lucky enough to travel the world, and see some amazing sights. She has been married to her best friend for ten years, and together they have two of the most beautiful children in the world. She and her husband are Junior High Sweethearts, a couple who are truly meant to be together. One day, their love story might make it into a book.
Isabel is the middle name of the author, and Lucero is her maiden name. Together they create her pen name. She was born in a small town in New Mexico, and was more than happy to move far, far away.

She is a collector of high heels and tattoos, and is highly obsessed with both. She owns a crazy, little Miniature Pinscher who thinks he’s a Doberman. His name is Tyson.
Isabel has always been an avid reader, able to devour books in a day or two. With her now focusing on writing, the reading has slowed, but her love for reading is still there.
Something noteworthy is that Isabel loves to hear from her readers. Never hesitate to get in touch. She’s always willing and ready to talk about anything. If you enjoy this book, she encourages you to not only let her know, but let the world know. Goodreads, Amazon, book blogs, groups, etc. She understands that word of mouth is the best form of promotion.

Author Website:
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Dream Cast


Marc                                         Kade

Nico                                               Troy


Vivian                          Emilie                     Mrs. Roberts

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review of "Sunshine" and "Sun Poisoned" by Nikki Rae


There is a new vampire on the block, and like Edward Cullen he's a teenager and in high school. Unlike Edward Cullen, he doesn't freakin' sparkle and subsist on animal blood (no offense to Twilight fans. I read all four books and the stories suck you, but as far as vampires go, Twilight vampires are really lame). Myles is an almost nerdy teenage vampire just trying to have the high school experience he never got the chance to have, not that he would have had a high school experience had he not been turned because high school didn't really exist when he was a human.

Sophie Jean is not your average 18 year old girl. For one, her parents are rich, but you'd never be able to tell by the way Sophie acts. She is a piano whiz that can play just about anything by ear, which is good since sheet music is like Greek to her. And she's allergic to the sun, a fact her mother desperately wants to change because Sophie's allergies are just ruining her otherwise perfect life.

When Myles transfers to Lucky High School senior year, Sophie wants nothing to do with him. She's been burned enough in the past that the only people she really trusts are Boo (short for Peek-a-Book), his twin sister Trei (pronounced Tree), her older brother Jade and his boyfriend Stevie, and her little half-sister Leena. Beyond that, she doesn't want her reputation as the weird girl that's allergic to the sun to tarnish Myles image. She knows she's not the best person to make friends with if you want to be popular in high school. Myles is incredibly persistent though, seeing something in Sophie she can't even see herself.

"Sunshine" sucked me in. When I first started reading it, I'd planned on just reading a chapter or two and then going to bed, but before I knew it, I was at 63% and it was 2:30 in the morning. I really just didn't want to put it down. Even though I'm nothing like Sophie, and I was really not much like Sophie in high school, I really related to her. I was able to step into her shoes and live a few days in the dark. I was even a bit reluctant to like Myles at first, although he won me over much quicker than Sophie. 

There were a few plot points that were incongruous with the story or just actual life in general that really popped out at me, but I also have a tendency to over think the smallest of things sometimes. Overall I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars for the flow of the story and for having vampires that don't sparkle.

Sun Poisoned

This book continues the story of Sophie, Myles, Boo, and Trei, now in the Big Apple. Sophie, Boo, and Trei's band has managed to land a gig playing at a club in the city that is owned by one of Myles' long time friends. To sweeten the deal, they even get to live rent free in the club apartment complex that includes several practice rooms for the various bands that perform there. This is kind of a dream come true for Sophie as she's always wanted to play piano for a living, and now she doesn't even have to go outside in the sun to get to the practice studio. Myles has even moved in to, to stay close to Sophie who is finally starting to open up a little and let him into her life, but Myles almost has more skeletons in his closet than any vampire should have. Will Sophie be able to forgive him when his secrets finally start to come out, or will she shut down again, maybe for good.

This book felt a little more unreal, but that seems to be the intent. Sophie can't believe her luck that she's getting to play music for a living, and honestly, that has to feel a bit unreal to just about everyone, at least at first. There were also several circumstances that just seemed way too good to be true, including the rent free lodging in New York City, but most of those things are explained in the book, and fit pretty perfectly with the rich vampire stereotype.

I personally started to get annoyed with Sophie's mental issues. While she was making some progress with the help of Myles, she was really quick to regress on him, and it was incredibly frustrating for me. I really wanted Myles to just say "Fine, fuck it. We're through." I'm sure I wouldn't have been happy if he had, but seriously, this woman is aggravating, and Myles the monster is pretty much a saint. 

Overall I give this book 4 out of 5 stars as well. The story line was much more consistent without plot inconsistencies, and it was still quite interesting. I look forward to the next book in the series. - Katie