Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wolf Trouble Paige Tyler & Character Spotlight

Ask Xander!

Paige Tyler’s sexy, action-packed SWAT series is back this August with the release of Wolf Trouble! To celebrate this latest release, Corporal Xander Riggs has agreed to sit down for a Q&A with us:

What’s the one thing you would bring with you on a desert island?

A satellite phone. Because I sure as hell don't want to stay there.

About the author:

Paige Tyler is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com

Excerpt:

Xander had to pick his jaw up off the floor of the training room when Gage introduced the newest member of the SWAT team. He didn’t know what to expect, but it sure as hell wasn’t Officer Khaki Blake. Tall with an athletic build and just enough curves to fill out the SWAT T-shirt, she had the biggest brown eyes and softest looking lips he’d ever seen. She had her dark hair back in a bun, so he couldn’t tell how long it was, but he’d bet money it fell past her shoulders. She smelled way too good to be believed, too—like a slice of frosted spice cake in a uniform.

Shit. He was practically panting. If he didn’t get a grip soon, he was going to start drooling.

He gave the other guys a covert glance to see how they were dealing with her scent and was stunned to see that none of them reacted at all. Why not? His nose wasn’t that much better than theirs. He knew for a fact that several of the other guys—Cooper Landry and Jayden Brooks specifically—could smell a hell of a lot better than he could.

Maybe everyone was so mesmerized by finally getting to see a female version of their kind that the rest of their senses had stopped working.

Gage had left it up to Xander to fill the guys in on what had gone down at the meeting with Deputy Chief Mason while he’d headed home to get ready for his trip to Washington State. While the guys had been pissed that the top brass was playing politics with the team, they’d been intrigued at the idea of adding a female werewolf to the Pack.

They’d bombarded him with dozens of questions, none of which he could answer. Was she as fast and strong as they were? Did her abilities manifest themselves in completely different ways? Would she be as aggressive as they were and able to handle herself in a fight? Were there more like her out there, or was she the only one?

Not all the questions were so general. Brooks wondered what she would look like, Max Lowry wanted to know if she would smell like them, and Eric Becker… Well, Becker just wanted to know if she liked to wear yoga pants. God, that kid had an obsession with those things.

Xander had told them what he knew—that no one except Gage knew a damn thing about female werewolves. And Xander wasn’t so sure how much their commander knew, either.

While Xander was lost in thought, Gage turned the floor over to Khaki, who was currently explaining how much she appreciated the opportunity to be in SWAT.

“I know I won’t be handed anything, but I look forward to proving to every one of you that I belong in the Pack and on the team.” She spoke in a light, lilting voice that surprisingly filled the large classroom. Xander could definitely pick up the Midwest accent, so she probably wasn’t originally from the Pacific Northwest. “I’m not asking for anything from you but a chance to do prove myself.”


Title:  Wolf Trouble
Series:  SWAT: Special Wolf Alpha Team /2
Author: Paige Tyler
Publication Date:  August 4/15 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  352pgs
Genre:  paranormal romantic suspense
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

He's in trouble with a capital T

There's never been a female on the Dallas SWAT team and Senior Corporal Xander Riggs prefers it that way. The elite pack of alpha male wolfshifters is no place for a woman. But Khaki Blake is no ordinary woman.

When Khaki walks through the door attractive as hell and smelling like heaven, Xander doesn't know what the heck to do. Worse, she's put under his command and Xander's protective instincts go on high alert. When things start heating up both on and off the clock, it's almost impossible to keep their heads in the game and their hands off each other...

My Review:

Tyler definitely outdid herself with this one. I thoroughly and completely enjoyed the first novel in this series, but this new instalment will take both the shifter & the law enforcement worlds by storm. The fast paced story had me on pins and needles throughout. The suspense was unnerving. I couldn’t put the novel down for a second without trying to guess what would happen next. The intertwining storylines added even more complexity to the tale.

I loved finding out so much more about what it means to be a werewolf in Tyler’s SWAT world. It’s such a unique take. The variations and permutations within the pack itself creates a diversity rarely seen. It also adds to the plot of the story, allowing each character to have their own unique area. Being a werewolf is intrinsic to all the major players in the story, while also being an unknown to almost everyone outside of it.

And let us not overlook the explosive chemistry between the main characters in this story. As individuals these two were engaging characters, but together they become unforgettable and inseparable. Readers get a sneak peek into their relationship since we get to know them as they get to know one another. I loved how they would die for each other, yet would also die to be with each other.

Tyler has definitely created an explosively fast paced novel that combines all the best of romance with life on the edge as a SWAT member. Give it the twist of her unique werewolves and you have a definite winner.

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Blue Steel Chain by Alex Beecroft

Title:  Blue Steel Chain
Series:  Trowchester Blues #3
Author:  Alex Beecroft
Publication Date:  July 27/15 by Riptide Publishing
Length:  250pgs
Genre:  m/m contemporary romance
Shelf: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

At sixteen, Aidan Swift was swept off his feet by a rich older man who promised to take care of him for the rest of his life. But eight years later, his sugar daddy has turned from a prince into a beast. Trapped and terrified, Aidan snatches an hour’s respite at the Trowchester Museum.

Local archaeologist James Summers is in a failing long distance relationship with a rock star, and Aidan—nervous, bruised, and clearly in need of a champion—brings out all his white knight tendencies. When everything falls apart for Aidan, James saves him from certain death . . . and discovers a skeleton of another boy who wasn’t so lucky.

As Aidan recovers, James falls desperately in love. But though Aidan acts like an adoring boyfriend, he doesn’t seem to feel any sexual attraction at all. Meanwhile there are two angry exes on the horizon, one coming after them with the press and the other with a butcher’s knife. To be together, Aidan and James must conquer death, sex, and everyone’s preconceptions about the right way to love—even their own.

My Review:

I will admit that this is my first foray into this author’s writing. I found the premise to be unique without being completely out of genre, the romance believable, and the characters likeable. Romance and caring are everywhere as tensions run high and the characters’ pasts collide in the present. I enjoyed the concept that everyone’s relationship should develop in the manner that suits the participants, rather than those around them. It was a refreshing change.

I appreciated the realism and originality of the characters in this novel. Their situations were one of a kind, yet their reactions and personalities were easy to understand. I enjoyed that I could question the characters’ choices Beecroft creates likeable characters.

Beecroft has combined polished, inviting writing with a storyline that was remarkably unique in such a manner that readers will be pleasantly surprised. This was definitely a novel that I really enjoyed reading.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Interview with author Vanessa Vale

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?I write Historical Western Erotic with steamy hot cowboys and women who love them. While I do write erotic, I do have a bit of a moral streak in my stories. None of my books have any kind of hanky-panky until they are married.

Q ~ What’s one habit that you have that you’d like to break?I talk really, really fast and I'd love to be able to talk slower. I also crack my knuckles but the chances of me ending that habit are slim to none!

Q ~ If you could go anywhere, real or imagined, where would it be and why?I'd like to ride the Orient Express. Perhaps not the present version, but the one in your mind that has all the fancy details, delicious food and linens.

Q ~ Ebooks, paperbacks, or hardcovers?I like all three. I like an ebook for travel and I love to go to the library and choose a real tangible book.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?It was a dare. How hard can it be to write romance? Ha!

Q ~ Do you have any writing rituals that you follow? I like to sprint write. I connect with a fellow writer and share our word tally, then write for thirty minutes straight, then share our word tally again. This is a ritual and definitely motivating!

Q ~ What are your five favourite verbs to use during a love scene?Wow, this one's tricky! Thrusting. Plunging. Savoring. Craving. Needing.

Q ~ When you write, do you try to reach a specific word count or simply write until you are done?When I sprint write, I try to get in as many words as I can. Usually I write until I'm interrupted by life.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release, Their Captivated Bride, and what inspired you to write it?Their Captivated Bride is Book 3 in the Bridgewater Menage Series. It takes place in Montana on a ranch where menage is the norm. Cowboys with honor, intergrity and very specific needs find their brides. Since I write fantasy, why stop at one cowboy when you can have two (or three as in Their Captivated Bride)?

Q ~ What was the most difficult part of the process while writing Their Kidnapped Bride?Three men!

Q ~ What characters did you find yourself especially drawn to and why?While the men are strong and protective, they have their own weaknesses and I always try to make sure those come across in my books. So in Their Captivated Bride, I really love Simon.

Q ~ You’ve written works outside of this series as well. For you, do they compare to one another? Do you have a favourite or do they all stand out in their own way?I think they all stand out. Each couple, as I said before, wait until marriage to consummate their relationship and the buildup to this is always so steamy. I like the spark that happens between each couple and then building it throughout the story. If I had to pick a book, I'd say The Lawman.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?Sweet Justice comes out on July 27 (very soon!) and is about a Bounty Hunter and his 'catch'!

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?Write. Get your rump in a chair and just do it. Then do it again.

About the author:

#1 Amazon Bestseller Vanessa Vale writes escapist fantasy (aka erotic romance) in the form of historical westerns. Everyone loves a cowboy--at least she does! A cowboy who knows what he wants and isn't afraid to take it. Oh yeah.

She lives in the West where she has lots of subject matter to drool over...

Connect with the author
website - Twitter: @iamvanessavale - Facebook

A bit about Their Captivated Bride:

“When it was three against one, I was always going to be overwhelmed.”

The Bridgewater way of two men marrying one woman is uncommon in the Montana territory. But three men marrying one woman? That is unheard of, especially for beautiful Olivia Weston. Her fate, it seems, will have her married to one man – a man she doesn’t love.

But when her betrothed treats her in a cruel manner, she rejects him and not long afterwards catches the eye of three handsome and virile ranchers. Cross, Rhys and Simon are as different as three men can be. But they have one thing in common; they are determined to offer Olivia the protection of marriage and the promise of endless carnal pleasures.

Olivia worries that her instant attraction and hasty agreement to marry three men stems from a defect in her character. What kind of woman not just love three men, but make the most intimate parts of herself available to their lustful attention? The chemistry between them is like lightning. Can she deny it? Or will Olivia submit to become the most sated Bridgewater wife in this ongoing ménage series?

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Pleasing the Boss by Vickie Valentine

Title:  Pleasing the Boss
Series:  Billionaire Obsession #2
Author:  Vickie Valentine
Publication Date:  July 21/15
Length:  88pgs
Genre:  erotic romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Hell in the company of Damon Baxter was blissfully hot.

He named the poshest nightclub in town after the color of his eyes. A conceited and narcissistic gesture, to be sure. But after one night in his bed, I didn’t care about his arrogance or his money. I only cared about his chiseled body, and the masterful way he used it to please mine.

I offered him a single night of pleasure, but when he demanded another in that deep and sexy whisper, what could I say? He was my boss, and I always aimed to please…when it pleased me.

He didn’t care that I broke his rules. But was I ready to break my own?

My Review:

Lust and chemistry vie with alpha maleness & betrayal in a manner that will leave you reeling. Valentine combines the best and worst of all aspects of humanity in this intriguing and unforgettable instalment of her serial. I was captivated by her detailed and intricate storytelling, and floored by the plot that embodied both erotic romance and rising above one’s past. Her descriptions were phenomenally detailed while still allowing readers to use their imagination and place themselves in the middle of the tale.

I love the little sneak peeks at the characters’ histories throughout this novel. I loved getting to know Damon & Sam better as they got to know one another. There’s more than simply lust between them now, making the entire story more entertaining. Trust and caring definitely play a real role here. Oh, but don’t get me wrong. This one is still as hot & erotic as hell.

Valentine’s serial went from great to unforgettable with this instalment. I’ve fallen in love with the characters, who are becoming more developed by the moment, and am dying for the romance that they share.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Interview with Author Gerry Fostaty

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was an actor for twenty years. That was a wonderful way to make a living—except it wasn’t much of a living. Actors work hard, and they hardly work. I spent a lot of time lining up the next job while working on a project. It is like being a hamster in a wheel. Sometimes you feel like you are sprinting and not getting anywhere. Then, a fantastic project comes along and all the nervousness and running become all worthwhile. I spent a long time on the road when I was working, but when we decided to have a family, I knew that I would need to be in town more, or I wouldn’t see my children grow. So, now I have made a transition to writing. Now, I can portray all the characters within the story. With the new book Stage Business, I have taken my own experience in the theatre as a foundation for the story, and taken it in directions I never imagined before.

Q ~ How do you think people perceive authors? How do you think Canadian authors hold up in the mix?
I think people look on authors as separate from themselves. People I have spoken to have remarked that authors are strange because they perceive the world differently than they do themselves. I don’t think this is necessarily so. I think we all see the world, but some are immune to the sensual noise around them, whether that is audio, visual or emotional. They are too busy focusing on their goals to perceive the environment that surrounds them, in the same way that sometimes we are too focused on the destination to enjoy the ride. Authors, and indeed actors too, are also tuned to the small things that make up the music and the painting of everyday life. A good writer will be able to use those items not to introduce the reader to them, but to remind the reader of them, and create a world that is new for the reader while also familiar. Authors are just like everyone else, only they have not forgotten to look out of the car window and notice the scenery on the way to the destination. Canadian authors seem to be my favourites. I read authors from around the world, but the familiarity of the subject matter in Canadian books, as well as the rhythm of the dialogue is very comforting.

Q ~ What is your favourite genre to read? To write?
I don’t really have a genre preference, but I have noticed, recently, that I read genres in waves. One book will spark interest in another and I will read it right away. For instance, I will read historical fiction and it may spark interest in the period, so I will read non-fiction accounts of the period depicted in the book I just finished. Then I may find myself drawn to read a stack of fiction books set in that period. My own writing is only a few years old. My first book was non-fiction. I quickly became interested in the writing process, and my agent suggested I try writing something like a mystery. I had no experience with that but I dove in. Although Stage Business is not strictly a mystery or thriller, it has elements of both. I did enjoy writing it. I have already had numerous requests for a sequel, and a few suggestions for screenplay adaptations.

Q ~ Do you have a favourite author? Do they influence your writing?I have a number of authors whom I find I return to for inspiration. Their ability to use the language to great effect is nothing short of marvelous. Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, and Timothy Findlay create a spell when you read them.

Q ~ How did you begin writing? Was there a single catalyst or a series of events?I have always been a storyteller. My family has a long history of sitting around a table at the holidays and telling stories. These were just accounts of what was going on in their lives, but they would take even the most mundane events, and turn them into entertaining stories. I was an actor for twenty years, too. That’s a form of storytelling as well. You get to work in a co-operative setting and work together to tell a grand story. But, those are someone else’s stories, and I wanted to tell my own. I began with a non-fiction account of a horrible accident that occurred in 1974. I felt I was compelled to tell this story, so that was my introduction to writing a book. Once I experienced the writing process with non-fiction, I found I really enjoyed the discipline. I moved on to Stage Business and found that I became embedded in the story. I really enjoyed the ability to get lost in a world that was my own making.

Q ~ When you write, do you lay out a solid outline before beginning, or start writing and iron out the kinks later?I know where I want the story to go, and how it may resolve, but as the characters develop, some things change.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about Stage Business and what inspired you to write it?My literary agent wondered, after I had written my first book, if I had ever considered writing a mystery. I hadn’t, but I thought maybe she was giving me a nudge in that direction. I am not experienced in police procedure, or detective work, but I thought I could use my experience in the theatre to create an environment where an actor reluctantly becomes involved in a bad situation where he has to use his theatre craft to free himself. Because I have no experience as a detective, I thought that would be the best way to create the story, to have the protagonist bumble his way through the situation as I would have. This poor actor has just landed a great job in a prominent theatre company in Toronto. He can’t believe his luck. And then he is infatuated with the lead actress, but to no effect. She doesn’t even notice him, until she needs his help finding a friend’s son who has gone missing. Of course he will help! Anything to get closer to the object of his desire. It all goes terribly wrong though, and the actor gets in way over his head with petty criminals, raves and drugs. He then has to rely on the others in the theatre company to come to his rescue.

Q ~ What is your favourite part or scene in the novel?I loved writing about the theatre, about actors, rehearsals, and about how actors are a bit different from the rest of the world. I also liked to show the magic of how creating a perception of reality can sometimes be more convincing than the real thing.

Q ~ What is your process for choosing character names?I wanted to choose names that reflected the character, of course, but I wanted to make them current, so that the reader would not be jarred by names that wouldn’t fit in the time they were being read. It is much more difficult than I imagined at first. I also tried not to name the characters anything close to the names of people I worked with in the theatre. I didn’t want them to think that a character was based on them.

Q ~ What characters did you find yourself especially drawn to and why?I really like all the characters . . . no, really. But, the standouts have to be Bid and Tamara. They really embody the best qualities of the technical people I worked with on stage. There is no question that will go unanswered, and no request for the seemingly impossible will be unfulfilled.

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about the process that went behind the cover artwork for this novel?The broken lightbulb on the cover has a few significances. There is a bulb in the novel that becomes broken, of course, and it is the signal that there is imminent danger. Lightbulbs are also used as a convention to signify a new idea. The fact that the bulb is broken lets us know that perhaps the idea wasn’t particularly a good one. In a theatre, too, there is a lamp that is lit and stands in the middle of the stage when there is no work going on, and when there is no one about. It is there so that if someone does walk on the stage, they can see enough so they will not fall off the edge. This is called the ghost lamp. The last thing is the very faint blue shading in the bottom right corner of the cover. That is to suggest the blue light that is used backstage during a performance.

Q ~ Do you have anything in the works at the moment? Care to give us a hint about it?I am working on a few ideas right now. I have a few outlines in the works, and whichever one reaches out and drags me in will be the next project. One is an idea for a sequel. The reaction from Stage Business will be a big determinant as to whether I go forward with it. So, you’ll have to let me know what you think of Stage Business.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?Read—and read from every genre. Fill your head and imagination with ideas and words from well-written books. Books feed your mind.

About the author
Gerry Fostaty was an actor working in Canada for more than twenty years, and was seen on stage, in film and television. For his first novel, STAGE BUSINESS, published by Deux Voiliers Publishing in 2014, he drew on his experience in the theatre to create a soft mystery/thriller based in Toronto, and involves a group of actors. Gerry’s first book was AS YOU WERE: The Tragedy at Valcartier, a non-fiction account of a grenade accident on a Canadian Forces Base in 1974, published by Goose Lane Editions in 2011.


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Summer at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Title:  Summer at Willow Lake
Series:  Lakeshore Chronicles #1
Author:  Susan Wiggs
Publication Date:  August 1/06 by Mira Books
Length:  534pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  own
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Olivia Bellamy has traded her trendy Manhattan life for a summer renovating her family's crumbling holiday resort. Tempted by the hazy, nostalgic memories of summers past - childhood innocence and the romance and rivalries of her teens - it's the perfect place to flee after her broken engagement. But what began as an escape may just be a new beginning...As Olivia uncovers secrets buried thick with dust, one by one her family return, their lives as frayed at the edges as the resort.

My Review:

Wiggs has created a picturesque and uniquely inviting novel that draws you into the Catskills, allowing you to vacation alongside the characters. Intricate descriptions bring everyday events to life in such a way that I felt as if I were there. The plot of the tale had me intrigued, and the development definitely did it justice.

The multiple steps back into the characters’ pasts, showing how they came to be who they are today, was both informative and completely entertaining. Wiggs gives a complete picture of who each of the characters are, and how their lives intersect one another. Knowing Olivia & Connor’s pasts helps understand how they interact with one another today. Their individuality yet need to prove themselves to overcome their pasts comes about in very different ways, yet holds them together as well. Wiggs not only creates the type of characters that you love getting to know throughout a novel, but the type of characters that you are dying to follow through an entire series. I can’t wait to see Daisy & Max grow up, and I love knowing that we’ll get to see more of Greg and Freddy and Dare.

Wigg’s first novel in her Lakeshore Chronicles launches a series I definitely can’t wait to continue following. This novel captured me heart and soul, introducing me to a world I will be revisiting time & time again.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO & Bon Appétit and a Book with author Catherine Mann

Bon Appétit and a Book with Catherine Mann


Please provide one of your favorite recipes (drink, snack, entrée, etc.) that could go along with the theme of your book (if possible)—or just your favorite recipe in general!

Sweet tea! I’m Southern, after all. And the recipe is so simple. Get a gallon drink dispenser. Place 6-8 large tea bags in the container. Place the lid on tp with the tags dangling out. Set the container in the window sill all day. At the end of the day, pull out the tea bags. Add 3-4 cups or sugar (or your low calorie sweetener of choice) and refrigerate. Especially yummy if add lemon slices or mint leaves.



Title:  Pregnant by the Cowboy CEO
Series:  Diamonds in the Rough #3
Author:  Catherine Mann
Publication Date:  July 7/15 by Harlequin Desire
Length:  184pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

From one-night stand to one huge secret! Only from USA TODAY bestselling author Catherine Mann…

Jewelry designer Amie McNair would do anything for her dying grandmother, including promise to travel with the outsider chosen to run her family's business empire. Simple. All she has to do is keep her hands to herself…and find a way to let the sexy new CEO know she's pregnant with his child.

Preston Armstrong has secrets of his own. But spending a week with Amie has this tight-lipped cowboy longing to open up. Even if his past threatens their future—as a couple, and a family.

My Review:

Have I mentioned how much I love this series? Because I definitely love this series. Mann has created a cast of characters and a premise that has me laughing and cringing in turns. The premise of the series, and this story in particular, has me completely captivated. These characters are living the lives that many of us dream of, while at the same time having to face who they truly are, for themselves, and for their family.

Mann returns to her Diamonds in the Rough series with a flair that really brings it all to life. Mann paints a picture, inviting you to a ball or out on the ranch, yet never hampering your imagination. Readers can fully immerse themselves in the lives of the characters. I love how it`s not all smooth sailing. The realistic ups and downs bring everything to a poignant head at the end.

The romance and fairy tale quality of the story is hinged on the remarkable cast that Mann has created. Amie`s need to prove herself shines through in a completely different manner than Preston`s need to succeed. Together, they create a couple that I truly enjoyed getting to know. I really enjoyed the mix of corporate and personal lives here. Surrounded by their friends and family, this unique cast brought Texas to life.

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The Purgatorium Box Set by Eva Pohler

Title:  The Purgatorium Box Set
Series:  The Purgatorium 1-3
Author:  Eva Pohler
Publication Date:  July 3/15
Length:  582pgs
Genre:  YA Suspense
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

An experimental psychologist and a teen who wants to die...
When seventeen-year-old Daphne Janus goes to what she thinks is a getaway retreat with her best friend and next-door neighbor, Cam, she doesn't know her parents have sent her there as a last-ditch effort to save her from committing suicide. Daphne blames herself for her sister's death and feels she has no right to be alive. Dr. Gray and her staff use extraordinary methods to treat the patients that come to their remote island off the coast of California: they terrify them into loving life, with the theory that the survival instinct overcomes the death wish. Their methods may save countless lives, but do the ends justify the means?

Follow Daphne's experiences through the different levels of the doctor's "games," and decide for yourself.

My Review:

This story had me hooked from the first chapter. This suspenseful and exciting story had me guessing and running alongside the main character, engaged in an unimaginable journey. Pohler’s seamless writing and engaging storyline make it very easy to immerse yourself in this atypical story. She presents a well-developed history and mythology of the island that the characters find themselves on. It all combines into an in-depth story that’s intensely enjoyable while making you think.

This novel was spooky and eerily entertaining. Pohler’s phenomenal descriptions of the natural world leave you breathless while her fantastically imaginative storytelling keep you hooked. The story’s smooth forward flow pulls you in. The symbolism behind various aspects of the story adds an extra layer to the tale. Not only is this story suspenseful and grippingly entertaining, it also has a huge psychological impact on the reader. It opens your eyes to the possibilities and realities around you. I repeatedly asked myself if the end justified the means. I found myself laughing regularly. Even when events seem a bit over the top it’s still easy to see and feel the real possibility behind it. Pohler also had me crying towards the end of the story. I will warn you, however, that this novel picks right up where the last left off. As a reader you’d be missing a great deal by not reading the first novel in the series first. And it’s worth the read.

I really enjoyed the gradual character development, as opposed to a large information dump. You get to know the characters well and personally without feeling like you’ve read their biography. It all seems so natural. You also get to know the main character even more closely because you are on a journey of self-discovery with her. I really appreciate how the main character grows and an individual. Pohler really lets you get inside her head. You see her weighing the pros and cons, battling her demons, and becoming a more rounded and understanding individual (even if I may not always agree with her decisions). The supporting cast is so varied that there is someone for everyone to connect with, and for everyone to throw a bucket of water at. Everyone was uniquely yet fully developed to create a well rounded cast.

My overall thoughts? Oh. My. Gods. Could you just imagine?

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Loving Lucas by Violetta Rand

Title:  Loving Lucas
Series:  Lies & Leather #1
Author:  Violetta Rand
Publication Date:  July 5/16 by Loveswept
Length:  208pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Perfect for fans of Abbi Glines and Monica Murphy, Violetta Rand’s explosive new Lies & Leather series kicks off with a red-hot motorcycle racer who rides hard and plays for keeps.

Twenty-one-year-old Karlie Augustine is a survivor. She’s smart and tough, but she’s in too deep with a bad boyfriend who isn’t above breaking her spirit—or her body. Luckily, help arrives in the form of a leather-clad, motorcycle-riding hunk on the right side of the law. Lucas Lafontaine is pure muscle, a Corpus Christi cop who ignites something primal deep within Karlie. And when he offers her room and board in exchange for housekeeping, she finally starts to feel safe again.

As their arrangement turns deliciously decadent, Lucas gets hooked on Karlie’s killer body and fighting spirit. He wants to heal the pain he sees behind her eyes, but to protect her he needs to keep her close, especially now that her psycho ex won’t take a hint. Even as Lucas fights his own battle for custody of his young son, he knows that what he’s found with Karlie is real—and that he’d do anything to protect the woman he wants to take to the finish line.

My Review:

What a ride! Rand took me on an emotional, heartbreaking, at times bone breaking journey through love, loss, redemption, and friendship. I loved the indepth stories for each of the characters. Their pasts are as important to the current events as their present choices. Rand mixes chemistry and sheer sensuality with the hardships of overcoming abuse and missing family. It broke my heart to watch the characters go through these trials, yet the story was so heartfelt and hot that I was hooked. That said, I found that everything was tied up in just a little bit too neat of a bow at the end, after the turmoil throughout the story, and the difficulties that preceded it. This was a fantastic story and a great launch to this new series, but it just seemed to be missing a dash of Rand’s usual flair. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this novel, but it was missing the ‘can’t put it down’ quality that this author usually has.

The characters in this novel were quite well developed and fun to get to know. My heart broke for Karlie. Her past would be something very difficult to overcome. I loved the patience and compassion that Lucas has for her, even as he’s trying to work through his own issues. The supporting cast was quite unique as well. Karlie’s best friend definitely made me giggle a time or two, while Craig & Mariesela’s appearance will bring a smile to the faces of all those who enjoyed Rand’s foray into the Devil’s Den.

All in all, this was a fantastic, heartfelt, hot & hard hitting novel that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to others. I can’t wait to see where Rand goes with this series from here.

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Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning

Title:  Bloodfever
Series:  Fever #2
Author:  Karen Marie Moning
Publication Date:  October 16/07 by Delacorte Press
Length:  303pgs
Genre:  paranormal/fantasy
Shelf:  borrowed
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

I used to think my sister and I were just two nice southern girls who’d get married in a few years and settle down to a quiet life. Then I discovered that Alina and I descend, not from good wholesome southern stock, but from an ancient Celtic bloodline of powerful sidhe-seers, people who can see the Fae. Not only can I see the terrifying otherworldly race, but I can sense the sacred Fae relics that hold the deadliest of their magic.

When my sister was found dead in a trash-filled alley in Dublin, I came over to get answers. Now all I want is revenge. And after everything I’ve learned about myself, I know I have the power to get it….

MacKayla Lane’s ordinary life underwent a complete makeover when she landed on Ireland’s shores and was plunged into a world of deadly sorcery and ancient secrets.

In her fight to stay alive, Mac must find the Sinsar Dubh–a million-year-old book of the blackest magic imaginable, which holds the key to power over both the worlds of the Fae and of Man. Pursued by Fae assassins, surrounded by mysterious figures she knows she cannot trust, Mac finds herself torn between two deadly and irresistible men: V’lane, the insatiable Fae who can turn sensual arousal into an obsession for any woman, and the ever-inscrutable Jericho Barrons, a man as alluring as he is mysterious.

For centuries the shadowy realm of the Fae has coexisted with that of humans. Now the walls between the two are coming down, and Mac is the only thing that stands between them.…

My Review:

Right from the 1st page, this novel is faster & more suspenseful than the 1st in the series. I felt as if something nefarious was always afoot (and yes, this novel made me want to use the word nefarious to describe it). A sense of darkness and foreboding emanates from Moning’s writing.

The fae become more and more developed throughout this novel. They are no longer a singular concept, but rather a multiplicity of different beings. There are so many different types of fae, each with their own biology, morphology, and end goals. The tidbits about fae hierarchy were also quite intriguing.

I really like how Mac is beginning to grow up throughout the novel, but that it isn’t a miraculous, all at once, change. As a person, I like her a lot more in this novel than when I’d first met her and she’s also much more captivating. Jericho Barros is also becoming even more mysterious and enigmatic. As a major player in the story he has me hooked. I know I probably should, but gads, I love V’lane. He’s quickly becoming a series favourite for me. He’s just so much fun.

This novel was fast paced & suspenseful, keeping me coming back for more. It does end with a definite cliffhanger that left me needing to know what comes next.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Secret Sister by Brena Novak

Title:  The Secret Sister
Series:  Fairham Island #1
Author:  Brenda Novak
Publication Date:  July 28/15 by MIRA
Length:  400pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:



Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why?

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago.

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey's still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk…

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister.

Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?

My Review:

Novak launches her new series with a definite flair in this suspenseful and romantic novel. Novak brings forward all the suspense of a good mystery without the gory bits. It was a truly fascinating prospect. At the same time, she creates an unbelievably sweet second chance romance that really kept me on my toes. I appreciated that I could never quite guess what would happen next, without the feeling that facts and events were coming at me out of left field. All the while, Novak is building the world in which her characters find themselves. She sets the backdrop for this story, and the series, quite well.

I really appreciated how Novak developed each of her characters independently of one another. We don’t simply meet ‘couples’ or ‘families’, but rather the individuals that make them. It made the novel all the more personal. I enjoyed how the characters’ pasts have a direct bearing on their present. They are so much more than just that, however. Their strength and compassion really shines through. I also enjoyed how well developed these individuals were. I love reading stories where you can truly get to know and connect with the characters. This is definitely one of them.

This novel may be the 1st in Novak’s new series, but it’s also a great novel all on its own. Novak has truly created both a mystery and a romance that I won’t soon forget.

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Shared by Her Bears Book 1 by Desirae Grove

Title:  Shared by her Bears Book 1
Series:  Evergreen Heights Clan #1
Author:  Desirae Grove
Publication Date:  June 17/15
Length:  71pgs
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Introducing Book One of the Shared by Her Bears serial, the hot and sexy new series by Desirae Grove... 

Angie Wilder’s past is shrouded with secrets. Since she was a child, she's woken with her sheets shredded and unexplained scratches on her headboard. As she matured, Angie became aware of her seductive power over men. Her curvaceous body lures them, even as she fights the need to succumb to her desires. Warned by her parents that she has a greater purpose in life than falling for one of the local boys, Angie struggles to stay innocent while her body betrays her.

Angie's allure eventually puts her family in danger, and she's forced to flee. Her mother tells her to find a place called Evergreen Heights, and from the moment she steps foot into the idyllic town, she feels like she may have found her true home. Especially once she meets Hank and Woody, the handsome and rugged leaders of the small community. Soon enough it becomes clear that the burly bachelors have been waiting for her their entire lives. Now they just have to convince Angie she doesn’t just belong in Evergreen Heights, she belongs with them.
**This hot and steamy bear shifter menage romance is perfect for the fans of Milly Taiden, Terry Bolryder, Anya Nowlan, and T.S. Joyce**

Author's note: This book contains very steamy and creative adult situations. If you like your romantic bear shifter menage stories with the heat level turned way up, this is the story for you. Enjoy!

My Review:

What a vivid and larger than life story! Grove had me hooked with her spicy imaginings and secretive shifter world. This is definitely a one of a kind premise. I like how the town dynamic and hierarchy is developed. I’m really intrigued to get to know more about this town and its secrets. The foreshadowing has me on pins and needles.

The angst and fear of the main character really jumps out at you. I could feel her confusion and loss. At the same time, her desires were very apparent. My heart broke for Angie at the beginning, and I loved the feeling of hope that she had by the end. The new friends that she’s made were quite intriguing and I can’t wait to get to know them better throughout the series.

This was a hot, fast, unforgettable read. I love Grove’s take on shifters & can’t wait to see how this world continues to develop.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cooking with author Mario Saincic

Author Spotlight for Mario Saincic.


Some authors take this opportunity to offer advice or promote their books. Even though I have a few completed novels, I don’t feel that I have earned the right to tell new writers what they should or shouldn’t do, especially since I am learning as I go along. And then there is the important issue of me not following trend or rules as outlined by others. My books can be seen by clicking on the links Jonel (thanks, J) has listed throughout this giveaway, review and interview.

So…as one of my mottos is ‘Recipes are rules made to be broken’, I will share a moment in a day of my life.

I love to cook and do it practically every day, and nobody loves my cooking more than my princes. With the recent school holidays, I had the pleasure of having them visit. This insert is one snippet of a typical ‘Saincic male cook-off.’

Enjoy…


Recipe: Creamy Garlic and White Wine Mussels.

Ingredients:

One large onion
Garlic within moderation depending on your ‘after-burn’ the following day
500ml fresh cream
Dry white wine (Enough for the sauce and for you, the chef)
800g of half shell mussels. I prefer the New Zealand variety as they are larger and cook well
Mixed herbs. Italian herbs are fine, but nothing that will overpower the flavour and taste of the mussels
Fish spice

This can be served with pasta - preferably penne, but in this recipe I am using freshly baked olive and feta focaccia.

Method:

“Daddy,” he says, scrunching his tiny face. “Is that onion you are chopping?”

“Yes, Enrique.”

“I don’t like onions.”

“But I always put onions in my mussels.”

“I’ll taste it later and let you know.”

“Okay,” I said, ruffling his hair.

Heat a frying pan and drizzle with virgin olive oil. Add the chopped onions and fry till transparent.

Add the garlic and fish spice.

When the married aroma floats around in the kitchen, sprinkle the herbs and add the mussels. Make sure they are nicely thawed as adding frozen will make the sauce too watery.

Pour a glass of wine (for yourself and not your eight-year-old) and enjoy a healthy sip.

Pour approximately half a bottle of wine in the pan.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, my boy?”

“What can I do now?”

“Finish mixing the focaccia dough and I’ll put it in the oven.”

“But you didn’t give the reader the recipe.”

“They can google it.”

“Okay.”

Looking down at his busy hands, I frown. “Enrique?”

“Yes?”

“How much olives and feta went into the mixture, and how much into your mouth?”

“Enough.”

I have no response.


Reduce the wine by half and add some of the cream.

Once it bubbles, turn the mussels over with a wooden spoon so that the shell is facing up.

DO NOT stir.

Pour in the rest of the cream.

Finish your first glass of wine and pour another.

Allow the sauce to boil and lower the heat.

“Smells good,” says Luciano, walking into the kitchen and straight to the stove. “Did you add onions?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Enrique doesn’t like onions.”

With a raised brow, I reply, “He won’t know the difference.”

“But…”

“Luciano…”

“I know,” he says. “Shut it.”

Keep moving the mussels to make sure each gets enough exposure to the heat and sauce.

“Will you teach me to cook one day?” asks Luciano.

“You already know how to cook.”

“Yes, but not as good as you.”

“I also started when I was ten.”

“Maybe you can cook for Candice,” mocks Enrique, batting eyelids with lashes long enough to make a Hollywood actress turn green with envy.

“Enrique…” says Luciano.

“I know,” replies Enrique. “Shut it.”

Turning back to the stove, Luciano stands on his toes and asks, “Can I taste?”

“Of course you can.”

Dunking a slice of bread into the sauce and putting it into his mouth, Luciano smiles wide. “I wish mommy could cook like this.”

“Well,” I smile. “When you go back home you can make mussels for her.”

“Nope,” he says. “This treat is just for the dudes.”

Allow the sauce to thicken and serve.

Staring at his plate for a moment, Enrique eats a mussel and fills the shell with sauce. After hesitating, he slurps it up.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, Enrique?”

“You’re right.”

“About?”

“I can’t taste the onions.”



Simple and easy, yet leaves a taste that will make you want more and more.

Enjoy J

About the author:

Recipes are rules meant to be broken!

Mario Saincic is a South African born multi-genre author with a passion for life. Starting off in restaurant kitchens and ending up as an architectural designer, he savours every moment, which is apparent in his writing style.

"Inspiration appears at the strangest of times - embrace it."



Archaeology professor by day, backup shooter by night…
On a routine assignment, Ukiyo finds herself dragged into a world of danger and deception when she is forced to pull the trigger and kill a man. Torn between the agency that funds her research and a man she knows nothing about, she has to choose sides in a secret war that dates back hundreds of years.

Guardian, protector, and her own personal demon…
Burislav vowed to watch over her, but hiding his cursed birth right ends up being a secret that could cost Ukiyo her life. When he’s forced out of the shadows after more than twenty years, keeping her safe isn’t as easy as he thinks.
Book Links 

And now, enter this fantastic giveaway with Mario Saincic & Ukiyo.

Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm July 24/15. 
Winners will be drawn July 25/15. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

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In Rides Trouble by Julie Ann Walker

Title:  In Rides Trouble
Series:  Black Knights Inc #2
Author:  Julie Ann Walker
Publication Date:  September 4/12 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Length:  3232pgs
Genre:  romantic suspense
Shelf:  own
Rating: ★★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Rebel with a Cause

Becky "Rebel" Reichert never actually goes looking for trouble. It just has a tendency to find her. Like the day Frank Knight showed up at her door, wanting to use her motorcycle shop as a cover for his elite special ops team. But Becky prides herself on being able to hang with the big boys-she can weld, drive, and shoot just as well as any of them.

Man with a Mission

Munitions, missiles, and mayhem are Frank's way of life. The last thing the ex-SEAL wants is for one brash blonde to come within fifty feet of anything that goes boom. Yet it's just his rotten luck when she ends up in a hostage situation at sea. Come hell or high water, he will get her back-whether she says she needs him or not.

My Review:

Walker is the master of combining intense danger, realistic suspense, and chemistry that’s off the charts. This novel was racy, racing, and all out unforgettable. I love how the danger comes to life just as thoroughly as the downtime. Each moment in the novel is unique, weaving together to create an unforgettable whole.

Walker creates likeable characters who are both larger than life and the guy who lives down the street. Becky is one of those paradoxical heroines that you can’t help but love. Her desire to fit in, prove herself, and be there clashes with her femininity and desire for the alpha of all alpha men. I loved getting to know her through all of the trouble that she stumbles into. Frank’s desire to do the right thing, keep his promise and follow his heart lead to some moments that make him endearing, while also making you question the thought processes of all men. It was simultaneously sweet and comical. It also added an extra layer to Frank’s tough operator, alpha male persona. I loved getting to know him on such a deeper level here. And the secret mystery woman was an unexpected addition to the tale.

Once again Walker has created a romantic suspense that stands miles above the pack. I was captivated from beginning to end. This was definitely one of those novels that I never wanted to end.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bridged by Love by Nancy Corrigan

Title:  Bridged by Love
Series:  Kagan Wolves #1
Author:  Nancy Corrigan
Publication Date:  July 21/15 by Samhain Publishing
Length:  207pgs
Genre:  paranormal romance
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Follow his head, he breaks her heart. Follow his heart… he breaks his pack.

From the moment he was born, Nic Kagan’s future was sealed. He’ll accept a mate, have kids, and eventually take over his father’s role as pack alpha. There’s just one problem.

Long ago, his heart settled on Riley, the pack’s human doctor and honorary member. Except only half of him can have her. The other half—his wolf—won’t give a weak non-shifter female a second sniff.

No one—human or shifter—has left a mark on Riley’s soul like Nic. But with his father hospitalized, any hope things could work out between them is slipping away. Yet Riley understands something else about pack life. Power isn’t always a physical gift; love is just as strong. What she and Nic have is worth fighting for.

With rival threats mounting, Nic realizes he can’t simply turn his back on Riley. Though his wolf could tear his heart out for it, he must fight for what he wants before he loses his mate. His pack. Maybe even his sanity.

Warning: Contains a reluctant alpha with only one roadblock between his heart and the woman he loves—biology. And a woman who isn’t giving up on him, even if it means risking her life to fool Mother Nature.

My Review:

Corrigan’s twist on alphas & shifters in general gives this novel a fresh feel. All the intensity we’ve come to love in shifter romances is still there, yet the uniqueness of their interactions makes it really stand out. Corrigan mixes hot sex with pack relations in an intricate way that kept me coming back for more.

The battle of wills between the main characters really stood out for me. Not only was this between each other, but within themselves, and within the pack as a whole. Nic’s duty clashes with his and Riley’s desires in a very explosive manner. Corrigan develops them on multiple levels, giving you a clear look into who they are and where they’re coming from. I also appreciate how Corrigan begins to develop the supporting cast of the series here. We don’t necessarily get to know them in-depth as individuals, but their loyalties and agendas definitely become apparent. They definitely draw you deeper into the series.

This was a very intriguing and captivating start to Corrigan’s new series. It was a hot & spicy read that I thoroughly enjoyed and has left me bated for the sequel.

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Tales of the Winter Wolf Vol 1 by R.J. Blain

Title:  Tales of the Winter Wolf Volume 1
Series:  Witch & Wolf #2.1
Author:  R.J. Blain
Publication Date:  July 14/15 by Pen & Page Publishing
Length:  110pgs
Genre:  paranormal
Shelf:  review
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Long before Nicolina Desmond manifested her powers as a wizard, she was a Normal girl with extraordinary circumstances. In order to prove herself and escape her father’s chokehold on her life, she’s determined to get on the fast track towards an independent life.

However, she never anticipated how meeting Richard Murphy would change her life…

Tales of the Winter Wolf follows the adventures of Nicole and Richard, predominant characters from Witch & Wolf #2, Winter Wolf. Spoilers for the novel are contained within!

Volume One contains the following stories:

Hunted
Nicolina Desmond should have known that her twin’s overly friendly behavior with the eligible Fenerec males would land her in trouble, but she never expected how far young, single werewolves would go to secure a mate.


The Scent of Guilt When Richard is invited to hunt Nicolina’s kidnappers with her father, he jumps at the chance. With Desmond lusting for blood and violence, Richard is forced to toe the line between mercy, justice, and revenge.

Firecracker Charles Desmond’s influence isn’t enough to stop those who are determined to take Richard’s rank through force. With Nicolina Desmond out on the hunt to kill him once and for all, he’ll need a lot more than luck to survive his stay with the Desmonds.

Glitter Richard Murphy has many sides, and Nicolina Desmond is dismayed to discover that he truly has the patience of a hunting wolf and his pranks are just as nefarious as hers. When the bodies of Fenerec turn up in her back yard, however, she might have to kill again, and her target is none other than Yellowknife’s injured Alpha.

My Review:

What a fantastic companion novella to Blain’s Witch & Wolf series. She has created a cute & sweet look at the lives of the characters in Winter Wolf that drew me even closer to them. I was enchanted by the way that Blain mixed the sometimes dark aspects of her stories with a lighthearted writing style to create an intimate whole. These short snipits into the lives of these characters had me hooked throughout.

Blain has once again created an imaginative and creatively brilliant work. This is a must read for all those who enjoy the series.

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