Crimson Heart by Heather McCollum – Interview & Review

Crimson Heart by Heather McCollum – Interview &  Review

 

Crimson HeartAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository

Description:
Elena has spent her entire life hiding her family name while walking the thin line between lady and servant in a Protestant household. Keeping the secret of her lineage has been a success for years, but now, with a new, fiercely Catholic queen on the throne, Elena’s Protestant caretaker is being targeted. And when Bloody Mary discovers Elena’s true identity, she must not only flee to Scotland for her freedom, but also for her life.

Highland warrior, Searc Munro, has secrets of his own. In a family of healers, his own dark, killing magic must never be known. But when his father’s life is threatened, Searc unleashes his lethal power to save him. With his clan’s suspicious glances and whispers plaguing him, he sets off alone, only to find another use for his magic in saving a beautiful lass being attacked in the forest.

Teaming up as exiles, Elena and Searc head toward Edinburg to find refuge. Yet, with a series of ritual killings haunting the city and a traitor attempting to assassinate Scotland’s regent, suspicion turns to Searc. As word of another British heir reaches the country, the two must find a way to trust each other, despite their secrets, before it’s too late.

 

Review:

Crimson Heart is book three in Heather McCollum’s Highland Hearts Series. Now for anyone who knows me, they know I don’t like reading series out of order, but I made an exception for this one and I wasn’t disappointed. I really enjoyed Crimson Heart and Heather’s story telling ability. It was fun, fast paced, filled with danger, suspense, intrigue, magic, and of course a lovely romance. I do believe I’ve now found a new author and I plan to go back and read her previous books in this series when I have the time. In the meantime, I went back and read the book synopsis on the previous books and they sound just as good as Crimson Heart.

Heather does a wonderful job of spinning her tale of a lady in hiding and on the run due to her lineage, and a hero who has a dark form of magic that he fears he will be labeled a monster should anyone find out. The pretense to this story had me hooked from the get go and it just carried me away on a fun and adventurous story that had plenty of twists, turns, danger and comical situations that kept me entertained from beginning to end. From the moment I met both Elena and Searc it was an instant like of both characters. When an author can get me to like characters from my first meeting of them, I know I’m in for an enjoyable read and that the author will spin an exciting and fun story.

Elena is quite the enjoyable female lead. She’s feisty, brave, intelligent and can hold her own with a bow and arrow in a fight. She’s not your typical lady of that time who would swoon at the sight of bloodshed, instead, she jumps right in there and helps out all the while protecting our dashing hero in a kilt. Oh yes, Searc is every bit the sexy powerful Highlander and Elena is the perfect woman for this poor crushed soul. Elena doesn’t see Searc’s magic as dark, demon cursed or however Searc would label himself. Elena was able to see past his magic to the brave and powerful protector that Searc is. Thanks to Elena Searc finally sees that his magic isn’t a curse, but instead a source of magic that allows him to protect those he loves and see no harm brought to them.

Searc, what can I say, he’s your dream come true sexy Highlander, and he’s got a very powerful form of magic. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to protect those he loves and cares for, including Elena now, who’s somehow managed to get under his skin and worm her way into Searc’s heart. He’s so sweet with Elena, and had me melting as I read the scenes with Elena and Searc. Yes, she caused our poor highlander plenty of headaches as she’s quite the headstrong lass and very rarely stayed put when Searc told her too. Those scenes had me laughing out loud, but at the same time falling more and more in love with Searc over his growing feelings for Elena. Just as Elena helps Searc too see his magic isn’t a death sentence, he helps Elena come to terms with who she is, and that she doesn’t need to be afraid of her lineage anymore because he will always be there to love and protect her.

The romance between Elena is slow to build and nicely weaved around all the danger, intrigue and suspense that Ms. McCollum creates in her story. Elena and Searc both fear their lives are doomed due to who and what they are, but in finding one another they come to realize that they can have the one thing they never thought they would, love, and someone to love them unconditionally. Watching them slowly come to this realization, and learning to trust each other is sweet, and romantic and will have you shedding a tear by the end of the book with Elena’s unselfish actions to help Searc. That scene was expertly written and had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what the outcome would be.

I know I’ve found a new author in Heather McCullom, and I think anyone who loves sexy powerful Highlanders, magic, a damsel on the run, danger, and intrigue with a good healthy dose of romance on the side, then I feel you too will have found a new author to put on your TBR list.

Until next time, happy reading everyone.

Reviewed by Marcie

Copy provided by Publisher

Interview beige 2

Heather-Sophie

 

Hi Heather. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions today.We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

 

Heather:  Thanks so much for having me on The Reading Café!

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about yourself? 

Heather:  Let’s see – I’m a mom of three loud and spirited kids, ages 15, 13 and 7. I’m a dog mom of a crazy, rescued golden retriever and wife to my very own Highland hero, Braden. I’m also an author of historical, paranormal romance, an ovarian cancer ass-kicker, and a lover of baked goods fresh from the oven.

TRC:  Have you always been interested in writing? 

Heather:  I’ve written stories and poems since I was little. By high school I was writing romance for all of my creative writing assignments. Everyone thought I’d be an English major. I surprised them all by majoring in Cellular Immunology, a branch of Biology. I said that I didn’t like people telling me how to write. Ha! And now I have editors doing just that and it’s not so bad. It’s funny how I’ve come back around full circle to my first love, writing.

TRC: Is there anything (in general) you find particularly challenging about writing? 

Heather:  Oh gosh! There are so many things, but challenges keep us on our toes, right? Characters who refuse to follow my plot (Highlanders are stubborn) and just finding time to write while balancing a family are the two hardest parts of writing for me.  

TRC: Crimson Heart is the third book in your Highland Hearts series. For those who may not have read the first two books, can Crimson Heart be read as a standalone? 

Heather:  Yes, each book in the Highland Hearts series can be read alone, but past characters come into play in later books. Knowing something about those characters can make the reading more fun. So I recommend reading them in the following order:

HIGHLAND HEART – short prequel to Bk 1
CAPTURED HEART – Book 1
TANGLED HEARTS – Book 2
UNTAMED HEARTS – long novella, I call it Book 2.5
CRIMSON HEART – Book 3

TRC: Can you tell us the premise of Highland Hearts, and how many books do you have planned?

Heather:   Highland Hearts takes place in 16th century Britain and follows the Macbain and Munro clans. The characters journey from the rugged Highlands to King Henry VIII’s court in London and then back up to Edinburgh Castle, which was the seat of Scottish rule.  The series is a cross between The Tudors, Braveheart, and The Pirates of the Caribbean. And what makes it even more fun is the spark of magic within the series. All the women, descended from a magical healer from the 10th century, inherit the ability to move small particles such as blood and tissue to heal a body or air and water to affect the weather. Only women possess the magic, that is until Searc Munro reveals his secret in Crimson Heart.  I only had three books in mind but ended up publishing the prequel and then writing a long novella (Untamed Hearts) to give the reader more fun after Tangled Hearts. So Crimson Heart is supposed to be the last book in the series, although one of the characters at the end of Crimson Heart is begging me to write her story. So I’ll have to see : ) 

TRC: Would you please give us a brief description of Crimson Heart?  

Heather:  Sure! Here is the blurb.

Elena has spent her entire life hiding her family name while walking the thin line between lady and servant in a Protestant household. Keeping the secret of her lineage has been a success for years, but now, with a new, fiercely Catholic queen on the throne, Elena’s Protestant caretaker is being targeted. And when Bloody Mary discovers Elena’s true identity, she must not only flee to Scotland for her freedom, but also for her life.

Highland warrior, Searc Munro, has secrets of his own. In a family of healers, his own dark, killing magic must never be known. But when his father’s life is threatened, Searc unleashes his lethal power to save him. With his clan’s suspicious glances and whispers plaguing him, he sets off alone, only to find another use for his magic in saving a beautiful lass being attacked in the forest.

Teaming up as exiles, Elena and Searc head toward Edinburg to find refuge. Yet, with a series of ritual killings haunting the city and a traitor attempting to assassinate Scotland’s regent, suspicion turns to Searc. As word of another British heir reaches the country, the two must find a way to trust each other, despite their secrets, before it’s too late 

TRC:  You write both Historical Romance and YA Paranormal Romance. Do you have a preference? Have you ever thought about writing in another genre?

Heather:   I always love the book I am currently writing and the genre follows. I wrote the YA so my teen could read my books as my others are rated “R”. And I fell in love with the fun, snarky voices of my teen characters. But after a few months of slang, I start to yearn for my Highlanders again and usually find myself dreaming of Scottish brogues and brawny heroes in kilts.  I have all sorts of books in my head, waiting to be born. I have a contemporary romance ghost story series, a sci-fi dystopian trilogy, and a memoire based on my Russian grandmother’s life surviving a concentration camp in WWII. Although there is also another Scottish paranormal romance series whispering at me too.  

TRC:  You recently released Siren’s Song, a YA Paranormal romance. Is this a standalone or a series? Can you please give us a brief description of Siren’s Song? 

Heather:  Siren’s Song is definitely a standalone, but I am currently writing a sequel which follows one of the other characters in the book.  Jule Welsh can sing. She enthralls people with her bel canto voice. But it takes more than practice to reach her level of exquisite song; it takes siren’s blood running through her veins. Jule is starting her senior year at Cougar Creek High when her relatively normal world begins to resemble a roller coaster flying through a carnival scare house. Her mother is diagnosed as insane and committed, a psycho-stalker is snapping pictures of her to put into his homemade Jule-shrine, her voice is suddenly putting people into comatose trances, oh and the gorgeous new guy in town, Luke Whitmore, is interested in her . . . but also wants to kill her.  If you’d like to see the book trailer, it can be found here: SS Book Trailer (Psst, the house in the first shot was mine in high school and it was haunted). 

TRC:  You also have a series, Dragonfly Chronicles, which you note on your website that you are thinking about book #5. What is the status on this, and can you please give us a brief description of this series? 

Heather:  Yes, there is a 5th and final book coming in The Dragonfly Chronicles. I have just started writing Sacrifice and hope to release it early next year.  The Dragonfly ChroniclesA powerful Wiccan mother is hunted by a pack of thirteen bound demons. To save her four daughters before she’s killed, she hides each of them in a different time period with one of her magical powers. So each book takes place in a different era with the heroine possessing a different magical ability. In the fifth book, they will come together with their soul mates and the overall story protagonist, Drakkina (a spirit woman), to save the world from the demons.  

TRC:  What are you currently working on?

Heather:   Right now I’m writing the first draft of Sacrifice: Book Five in The Dragonfly Chronicles and also working on edits to the sequel to Siren’s Song, my YA.

TRC:  What is your writing process? Do you like to write at specific times, in a special place? 

Heather:  I’m a very visual writer. I like to see my characters (basic features & strong emotions) and settings (authentic historical details). So I create collages for my books. I take a day toward the beginning of each new project to cut out pictures of landscapes, people and objects that mean something to my story. I paste them on an open folder, poster board or even in a blank book to give me something to glance at while writing.

I’ve also started using a process that Blake Snyder describes in his screenwriting book, Save the Cat. It helps with plotting and pacing. I use a big white board, divided into four acts, and lots of index cards.

I have a lovely little writing desk with curvaceous, slender legs which I’ve named Eleri. I light my stained glass lamp (named Jule) and lose myself in my stories. But on cool days (I live in the south so below 90 degrees is a must) I sit with my lap top on my screened back porch to write. Out there I can listen to the birds and breezes and smell my herb garden. I write best before 3PM, partly because my energy level drops then but also my children are about to come home from school.  Last but not least, I must have a hot chai latte to sip to wake up my muse. She seems to require the taste of cinnamon to produce beautiful narrative and snappy, authentic dialogue.  

TRC:  Many authors have friends or family, that they bounce ideas and information back and forth. Do you have anyone you like to discuss your stories with? 

Heather:  I brainstorm with my 15yo daughter about my YA books. She helps me (while rolling her eyes) with teen slang and attitude.  I bounce ideas off my mom, husband, and girlfriends for my adult books. One of my friends, who is a technical editor in her day job, has become my beta reader and offers fantastic insight and catches my inconsistencies (especially eye color, don’t know why I can’t remember that!).

TRC:  What books, authors or people in your life have influenced your writing? 

Heather:  Every book I read influences my writing, from my first romance The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss to the screenwriting book I read a few weeks ago called Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. Karen Marie Moning opened up the world of paranormal Scottish romance with her time traveling Highlander series. Even Twilight has influenced my YA stories with its dangerous hero.  Gosh – everything has influenced my writing. I lived in a haunted house for five years. That certainly opened up my eyes and my mind to the unusual in the world. And I’ve recently fought and hopefully won the war against ovarian cancer with fifteen months of chemo and a year of recovery. Meeting cancer warriors, watching them quietly battle to save their lives and the worlds of their families, has influenced the themes of my books and ideas of what love looks like. In my upcoming YA sequel, the heroine must learn to handle her fear of dying, something I struggle with myself (not that I plan to die anytime soon : ).  

TRC:  When you are not writing, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

Heather:  Well I’m a full-time mom of three, so my kids keep my interest with boyfriends, learner’s driving permit, hockey practice, soccer practice, horseback riding, gymnastics, parties, school projects, etc. I’m also a dog mom to a crazy rescued golden retriever who requires daily runs to keep her from exploding with energy.  Since I’ve been sick and recovered, my amazing Highland husband and I have started the SHOUT Against the Whisper campaign to educate women about the sneaky, nearly-silent symptoms of ovarian cancer. I knit hats for chemo patients and the two of us run a booth at a popular women’s event in the area each year. We hand out symptom cards everywhere.  What are the symptoms? I’m so glad you asked because knowing them may save your life or the life of a woman you love. I list them in the backs of my books too in hopes that the information will reach more and more women.  

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms every day for more than three weeks, please go see your doctor. My tumor grew to grapefruit size in 5 short months and was spreading.
Symptoms of Ovarian Cancer:
B
loating that is persistent

Eating less and feeling fuller
Abdominal pain
Trouble with your bladder
Ovarian Cancer cannot be detected by a PAP Smear. Additional symptoms may include fatigue, indigestion, back pain, pain with intercourse, constipation, and/or menstrual irregularities.

Other hobbies? I also like watching birds, mild gardening, and baking things I shouldn’t eat on my diet. Let’s see, I also like decoupage, knitting, and all things related to drinking a proper tea.  

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else? 

Heather:  Thank you so much for having me here today! Your questions were so much fun! For more information about me, my books and ovarian cancer, please check out my web site at www.HeatherMcCollum.com. I can also be found here:
Twitter https://twitter.com/HMcCollumAuthor
FB https://www.facebook.com/HeatherMcCollumAuthor
Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/hmccollumauthor/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4185696.Heather_McCollum

LIGHTNING ROUND

Heather:  Yay! This is like being a contestant on Family Feud except all my answers are right : ) 

Favorite Food: Haddock burger with cheese and tartar from the pier on Beals Island, Maine. After that, nearly any breakfast food that exists.  

Favorite Dessert: Pie, blueberry, pumpkin, shoo fly, chocolate chess, coconut custard, and so on. 

Favorite Movie: Pitch Perfect 

Favorite TV Show: Big Bang Theory 

Favorite Movie or TV Celebrity: Ellen DeGeneres  

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark, especially with cranberries and nuts in it 

Favorite literary character (not your own): Charley Davidson in Darynda Jones’ Grim Reaper series. She’s hilarious! 

Dog or Cat: Dog, I’ve grown up with them and love them despite their shedding. And unfortunately I’m allergic to cats.   

TRC: Thank you Heather, for answering our questions. The Reading Café wishes you the best of luck with Crimson Heart.  

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Trenton/Worth/Hadrian-The Lonely Lords 10, 11, 12 by Grace Burrowes-a review

Trenton/Worth/Hadrian-The Lonely Lords 10, 11, 12 by Grace Burrowes-a review

The Lonely Lords 10 11 12

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

I know what a shocker right?? I love another set of Grace Burrowes books. LOL I enjoy this series so much that when I write a review for them I feel like I am on gush repeat … She writes my kind of happy, what can I say! WINK!

So this combined review consists of Grace Burrowes Lonely Lords books 10, 11 and 12 (Trenton, Worth and Hadrian). Once again I am drawn to the familiar and much admired formula that Grace creates in her historical romance novels. There is always a sense of maturity with regards to her characters. There are no TeeHee, game playing young ladies, flirting and carrying on in the pursuit of husband finding and scheme plotting and while there is a place for that kind of character, I love that I will not find them here. Her characters have “lived” quite a bit (be it heartache, loss, trauma etc.) and when they meet their soon to be significant other, you really admire the friendship that blooms in the midst of the romance. There is genuine love, kindness, and more importantly TRUTH. It’s truely heart warming and pleasurable to experience our main couple find their way not to just each other, but through their own personal despair.

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TrentonBOOK 10 – Trenton
Lord of Loss
Release Date: April 2014

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DESCRIPTION

After a short, troubled marriage, Trenton Lindsey, heir to the Wilton earldom, finds himself a widower with three small children. His year of mourning leaves him adrift, until his brother, Darius, forces him to take a repairing lease in Surrey. Social conventions require Trent to call on his recently widowed neighbour, Elegy Hampton, Lady Rammel, and as friendship develops, consolation of an intimate sort tempts them both. Just as Trent acknowledges the joy and pleasure to be shared with Ellie, an unseen enemy threatens him and Ellie, too. Can he reach for the love Ellie offers, when some one else is trying to take his life.

REVIEW

Trenton Lindsey is the brother of Darius (the first Lonely Lord of this series and one of my faves) and is taking over the much neglected estate of Surrey. After losing his wife and being left with 3 children, he hits the bottle hard to numb his troubled soul. While his marriage wasn’t necessarily a happy marriage, he did take his responsibilities seriously. When he returns to Surrey he comes across Lady Elegy who has recently been widowed herself. Elegy is carrying the child of her deceased husband and awaiting to find out if she is carrying an heir to her estate. Quickly Tenton and Elegy strike up a friendship soon turned to romance, helping the other heal in companionship. Elegy assists Trenton in fixing up his estate, and Trenton takes on the position of a doting, caring “husband”. This soon leads to deeper feelings and when Trenton bastard of a father makes another appearance, these two have to much to suffer before finding their way to forever.

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WorthBOOK 11 – WORTH
Lord of Reckoning
Release Date: May 2014

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DESCRIPTION

Consummate man of business and rake at large, Worth Kettering, repairs to his country estate to sort out his familial situation, trusting the ever efficient (though as yet unmet) housekeeper, Jacaranda Wyeth, will provide his family a pleasant summer retreat. To his surprise, his household is manage by a quick-witted, violet-eyed beauty who’s his match in many regards.

As Jacaranda and Worth become enamored, the family she’s kept hidden from him, the financial clients Worth feels singularly protective of, and the ragged state of affairs between Worth and his estranged older brother Hessian all conspire to keep Worth and Jacaranda apart. Worth must choose between love and profit, and Jacaranda must decide between loyalty to her family, and the love of a man who values her above all others.

REVIEW

Ah Worth .. the rake. He is a natural flirt that is easy to fall in love with. He has a somewhat bad boy reputation, but meets his match when he comes across Jacaranda a housekeeper on his estate. Jacaranda is bold and does not hesitate to put Worth in his place and call things like she sees it. Due to her spirited ways, Worth sees her a breath of welcomed fresh air. He also insists that she stays by his side to accompany him on his neglected duties as she is the “all knowing force” that makes his estate run smoothly. Little does Worth know that Jacaranda is hiding secrets about where she comes from and who her family really is. As their romance blooms, these truths come to light leaving Worth and Jacaranda to decide if love is stronger than duty. The banter these two share had me chuckling at times and there is nothing more satisfying that reading about a rake falling to his knees for a strong headed woman. Absolutely brilliantly matched! LOL

••••••••••••••••••••••••

HadrianBOOK 12 – Hadrian
Lord of Hope
Release Date: June 2014

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DESCRIPTION

Hadrian Bothwell was never an excellent fit with a religious calling, so when his brother asks to manage the family estate, Hadrian gives up vicaring and returns to his boyhood home.

He’s spent years thinking of Lady Avis Portmaine as the woman he should have fought for, but he finds Avis has become a recluse on the neighboring estate, socially shunned, and more unavailable than ever. If Hadrian wants to win the lady’s heart, he must first win her freedom from a past that will not leave her in peace.

REVIEW

With so many characters in Grace Burrowes Lonely Lords series it isn’t hard to have a fave. This has happened to me a few times. Well for some reason, Hadrian has really stuck out to me and I felt an instant connect with him. Compared to her others, he doesn’t stand out strongly, but I have to admit that after the first chapter, I knew he was special. Hadrian has been recalled to his family estate by his older brother to assume the responsibilities as the heir. Hadrian had lost his spouse years ago and decided to become a vicar (although he really wasn’t molded or any good as a religious man) and live his life in god’s words. When he returns to his estate he comes across a childhood friend who has suffered a terrible trauma in her younger years. Lady Avis is living behind walls, still suffering long terms effects from her past. When she comes across Hadrian, she is absolutely pleased. Quickly these two offer the other companionship that blooms into a romance that should of been years ago. In order for them to achieve their HEA however, they must face the past together and acknowledge truths that are painful to endure. One of my fave couples in this Lonely series for sure!

Again, a predicatable formula that really warms my heart when I pick up a Lonely Lord book. I know I am going to encounter complicated characters that have a past, form a friendship, become lovers and face tragedy to be each other’s forever. When I finish a Grace Burrowes novel I am always left utterly satisfied!

Reading Order-Click on highlighted title to read our review
Darius
Nicholas
Ethan
Beckman
Gabriel
Gareth
Andrew
Douglas
David
Trenton
Worth
Hadrian

HAPPY READING!

Reviewed by Rachel T

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Born of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

Born of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

 

Born of Fury

Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository / BAM

Description:
Setting: Ichidian Universe

The war is on…

Counted among the fiercest Andarion warriors ever born, Hauk is one of the five founding members of the Sentella- an organization that has declared war on the League that rules the Ichidian universe with an iron fist and terrifies it with an army of well-trained assassins. Hauk’s enemies are legion, but he fears nothing and no one. He will do whatever it takes to survive and protect his Sentella brethren.

Sumi Antaxas is one of the best assassins the League has ever trained. In her world, failure is not an option and she has never met a target she couldn’t execute. So when she’s assigned Hauk, she believes it’ll be a quick and easy mission.

But nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and Hauk is far better trained and skilled than his dossier shows. More than that, as she pursues him, she stumbles upon the key that will bring down not only Hauk, but the entire Sentella organization.

In the race to report her information, she is overtaken by enemies out to end her as effectively as she intends to end Hauk. Now her only key to survival is the one man she’s been sent to kill. And Hauk doesn’t trust her at all.

The only question is, will he help her to live… or send her to her grave.

 

Review:

OMG Sherrilyn has done it again. Born of Fury is book 8 in her League series and another fantastic addition to it. I have so much floating around in my head that I want to say I just can’t figure out where to begin. It rocked, and blew me away with everything.  I finally learned about Hauk and the Andarion culture . Ever since I first met Hauk in the beginning of the series in Nykerian’s book I’ve been intrigued by him and wanted to learn more. I’m so happy he finally got his story told, and what a story. Born of Fury had me howling with laughter many times, well at other times I wanted to slap a few characters silly and give them a beat down for their treatments of Hauk, and of course other times near tears over some scenes.

Once again Ms. Kenyon spun her magic and pulled me in from the first scene. She had me sitting on the edge of my seat, turning page after page wanting to see what has going to happen next, and then of course when I get to the end of the book I’m sad because I know I have to wait an entire year before I can read the next installment and be entertained by this wonderful cast of characters and brilliant story telling and world building by my favourite author.

I absolutely love this cast of characters in The League series and was so happy to see all of them return in this one to help their friend Hauk. The banter and chemistry that Kenyon creates with these characters to me is the driving force of the series. Her characters literally run away with the story and keep the reader riveted to what’s unfolding on the pages. On top of the core group of Sentella members making appearances in this one, Ms. Kenyon now introduces us to the next generation of League characters in the kids. If what I saw in Hauk’s book with the kids is any indication, I feel she can keep writing this series forever. The kids are just as amazing and bring laughter and trouble wherever they go, just like their parents. Let’s just say there’s never a dull moment when this motely crew get together. Sorry I got a little off track there, it’s just so hard to keep focused on just Hauk and his story because everyone who makes an appearance adds a little something to the story to keep it entertaining.

Hauk, absolutely love this character, he’s everything I hoped for and more. He’s fearless, intelligent, powerful, sexy [(in Sumi’s words, her sexy beast ;-) ]and will do anything and everything to keep those he loves safe and secure from his enemies. Including giving up his chance at love, and doing right by his family and following through with Andarion customs where his dead brother’s widow is concerned. Now don’t even get me started on her, I couldn’t stand Darianna, and absolutely loved the scene where Sumi handed her butt to her. I was so happy to see Darianna got what she had coming to her in the end. Sumi is a brilliant heroine and I absolutely loved her as Hauk’s mate, even though she was sent in by the head League Commander to take him in and eventually take down the Sentella. It isn’t until we learn more about Sumi that we see why she is with the League and why she takes this assignment. The poor girl really had no choice because if she didn’t do what her commander ordered, she’d never see her daughter that was taken from her when she was born.

I loved the romance between Hauk and Sumi, and the way Kenyon writes it and develops it is nothing short of magic. Even though they are constantly fighting their way out of situations and dodging their enemies, somewhere along the line both learn to trust one another and realize that they are stronger together then alone. Somehow they find the time to show each other how they really feel and their romance takes flight from there and no matter the problems Hauk knows he’s going to face back home from his family, he’s not willing to give up his Sumi. Even though Hauk is Andarion and there are customs to follow, he’s willing to suffer the consequences, and Sumi is no different. She never once wavers once she commits herself to Hauk and she stands up to everyone who opposes their union, or tries to bring harm to Hauk. She may not be Andarion born, but Sumi acts and handles herself like a true Andarion warrior and lady where Hauk and his grandmother are concerned.

This was an amazing addition to an already amazing and very creative series from Sherrilyn Kenyon. Each one of her characters brings their own special personalities to each story and this one is no different. Hauk is the type of character you can’t help but admire and love. His loyalty knows no bounds and he will do anything and everything to keep those he holds dear safe. I absolutely loved the scenes with him and Darice (his nephew), Thia (Nykerian’s girl), and Sumi’s daughter Kalea. In these scenes we get to see a whole other side of Hauk that endears us even more to him. Even though he’s a fierce Andarion warrior, he’s also got a very loving and nurturing side to him and we see it come out in these scenes, and also with Sumi. There isn’t a single thing I didn’t love about this story. The only thing that made me sad was when I read the very last line because I knew I’d have to wait a whole year to read the next book which I’m sure is going to be just as good as Hauk’s.

Until next time, happy reading my Kenyon Menyons.

Reviewed by Marcie

 

 

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The Purest of the Breed by Tracy Tappan – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

The Purest of the Breed by Tracy Tappan – Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

 

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The Purest of the Breed
The Community series – Book #2
by Tracy Tappan
Release Date: June 27, 2014

Purest of the Breed 72dpiAmazon

Description:
Plagued by enemies from above and below ground, a group of Vârcolac warriors fight a desperate battle to keep their secret town safe from invasion

A different place to find her dreams…

The night Marissa Bonaventure is saved from vicious kidnappers by special operative, Dev Nichita, her life is changed in ways she never could have imagined. Brought to the safety of an underground “research institute,” she’s offered a hefty sum of money to stay on and work for a year, money that will allow her to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning a restaurant. But the surreal events that unfold in the strange community of Ţărână soon make her wonder if all is what it seems. When the shocking truth about Dev is exposed, Marissa faces an impossible decision. She loves Dev deeply, but committing to a Vârcolac is a forever proposition, and the only way she can be with Dev will require her to throw away her one chance to redeem a miserable past.

The man he wants to be…

The night Dev Nichita rescues Marissa from the claws of the Om Rău demon race, he knows she’s meant to be his mate. Lying to her about his true nature feels wrong, but he needs time to make her fall in love with him before he reveals that he’s a different breed of human being. When that secret finally comes out, their relationship is shattered in ways Dev hadn’t predicted. A 100-year-old betrayal rises up to threaten their future together—devastating every member of his family—and Dev’s own angry withdrawal becomes a nearly insurmountable obstacle. Then the Topside Om Rău enemy threatens a catastrophic breach of the hidden community, and Dev must call upon all his power as he races against the clock to save the most important people in his life.

 

Review:

Good grief !!! I love this series, and hope there is more to come. What an awesome ride. Got totally sucked in from book 1, devoured this one, and now I want more !!!

So……

DEV, our hero, was in the first book, and he was a secondary character in that one, and I hoped he would get a book. Marissa, our heroine, is human and has DNA that will make her compatible to mate and bear children with the Varcolac. The Varcolac are the vampires that live underground; they are more civilized than the Topside Om Rau. Although both races kidnap human females. The Varcolac woo and win their females, the Om Rau don’t.

This book starts off where the last one ended. Dev and his warriors off to rescue those women. The kidnapping of Marissa and 2 other women was a little hard to read, but it brought home how different the three warring factions are. Marissa and her fellow slaves are rescued by Dev and his team. The fight scenes are fast and furious, but had moments where you would chuckle. Especially, the one liners the Varcolac would throw out.

Dev felt an instant attraction to Marissa, but put it down to the smell of unattached dragon females produce. Dragon females are human women with compatible DNA that match both the Varcolac and the Om Rau vampires.

All Marissa ever wanted was to have her own restaurant. And the thought of owning one in Tarana, which is the underground city in which the Varcolac live, and the Om Rau keep trying to break into,was too good to turn down. She liked the idea of maybe spending time with Dev, what she didn’t bank on , was spending FOREVER with him. And that to stay with him, meant giving up her dreams, and being bitten by a vamp!

We have a lot of the original characters from the first book, so it felt more of a continuation of the whole story, rather than a new book. And we also had a few new threads added as well

Both Marissa and Dev have their own issues and hang ups, and they do hamper the couple from getting together. But I liked that they don’t get down and naughty within the first few pages. Dev HAD to work at gaining Marissa’s trust. And when I mean issues I mean ISSUES !!!! (mothers who hate you, and sisters that sabotage your every dream, and wish you dead)

There were the usual bad guys posturing and doing their usual sneers, and a few OMG moments.I do see a few females being taken in the future (hint hint hint at more books)

So to round this up, I totally recommend this series. If you like your alpha males with a bite and growl, then The Purest of the Breed is the book for you. Oh …. When is the next one out ?

Reviewed by Julie B.

Copy provided by Author

 

guest post

The Character Couch

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in the action-packed movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” are a husband and wife who don’t know each other are assassins. The movie opens with these two sitting in front of a therapist, squirming with discomfort; we guess this is as much from the possibility of having to bare their souls—something an assassin can’t do—as from the idea of talking about a marriage that has obviously been filled with lies. Either way, it’s going to be entertaining. And, oh, yes, the therapist kicks off the session with a bang.

“How often do you have sex?” he asks.

“I don’t understand the question,” Angelina Jolie returns, dead-pan.

“Is this on a scale of 1 to 10?” Brad puts in.

“So is 1 very little,” Angelina continues, “or is 1 nothing? Because, technically speaking…zero would be nothing.”

So it seems that Bran and Angelina haven’t been having sex for a while.

We can hardly believe it.

The episode is funny, touching, and intriguing, which is exactly the tone of my reader-focused website, The Character Couch (www.charactercouch.com), where fans can suggest their favorite romance couple to be brought into a therapy session. Yes, this is therapy, but these sessions are anything but angst-ridden. They are written in the same spirit as “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” drawing us in to be a fly on the wall and peek at something we normally wouldn’t be able to see.

Will there be amusing bantering in these sessions, a sense of firm, quiet resolve, poignancy? Sure. All of it. Every session is different, but always attention-grabbing.

Don’t you find that the best books always stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page, leaving you hungry for more? I know I go crazy waiting for the next novel in a series to come out, and I figured other readers felt the same. So I came up with an idea that would combine my two loves—of doing therapy and writing romance—in a way that would provide innovative, free entertainment for fans. Today, I share about my unique endeavor.

What could we expect to see if you had “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” on The Character Couch?

LOL. Well, I think first you’d see the therapist secretly getting moon-eyed over Brad Pitt! And could we blame her?

Therapist Regan Malloy has been so exciting to create. I’ve already morphed her to fit a multitude of romance sub-genres. She’s been a French ex-pat from a time travel romance, a bespeckled Brit from a contemporary racehorse romance, a saloon mistress in America’s old west, and a wizened crone facing down a couple of vampires.

Regan also brings her own struggles into the session, whether that’s fear or uncertainty, confusion about her clients, or maybe just a verbal blunder of some sort. So, each month, the therapist is as different as her clients.

It’s all about keeping the site dynamic and entertaining!

That does sound like a great deal of fun for readers.

Oh, definitely. I always pose questions at the end of the session, too, because fan involvement adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience. Readers get a chance to join the “analysis” and tell me and the participating author what they think. This month for NY Times bestselling author Deborah Cooke’s paranormal romance, SERPENT’S KISS, the debate centers around the impending parenthood of the hero and heroine. Will they be able to handle it? I’m impressed at how thought-provoking and insightful people’s comments have been.

It’s a fantastic time.

It seems that this site also benefits authors.

Without question. The commentary I was just talking about offers an excellent way for authors to increase their social reach; comments are managed through Facebook Plugins which means that the discussion is laterally posted on Facebook, so that the topic matter can be seen by all of a fan’s friends—which means thousands!

The Character Couch is an innovative way for authors to market their books, and they’ve been really creative with their use of it. Many authors run contests, where fans are asked to vote on which couple from one of the author’s romance series they’d like to see go into therapy. Several lucky participants win prizes, and the book with the most votes earns a session on The Couch. This kindles fan enthusiasm even before the session is posted!

The procedure for readers is very user-friendly: people just click on the “Suggest A Book” icon in the side bar of the site and input their choice—anytime!

Readers don’t have to wait for a contest to make a suggestion!

This month author Deborah Cooke is using this session to encourage readers to sign up to be notified of the launch of the final book in her series, FIRESTORM FOREVER. I track numbers through Google Analytics, and the response to these kinds of requests is always really good.

You write the sessions, though, don’t you?

I do. It’s a process that requires a great deal of attention to detail on my part in order to represent absolutely correctly another author’s characters. No pressure, right? Not one word goes onto the site without an author’s full approval (authors can go to the FAQ section on the site for more detail).

And so far, so good! The testimonials page glows with the praise from alumni authors.

This has been one of the most satisfying parts of this endeavor for me; it means I’ve succeeded in honoring their stories, and that feels terrific.

How does a session typically end?

Oh, there isn’t a “typical” with these sessions. That’s another fun part. Every month, it’s a new journey, and you never know at what point you might laugh or get a clench of emotion in your chest. Or where a surprise might pop out at you.

Like the ending to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”

During the course of the movie, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have discovered that each other are assassins. With the truth out, there’s hope for their marriage now. They end up in front of the therapist again, recapping, still spouting off to each other, but in a way that makes us chuckle; we know they’re going to be okay. The therapist seems to agree, talking about how marriage takes work, but—

Brad interrupts to say, “Ask us the ‘how many times did you have sex this week?’ question again.”

“John,” Angelina Jolie scolds quietly, while Brad Pitt proudly flashes ten fingers outside of Angelina’s sight lines.

Oh, yes, expect fun surprises!

 

theauthor

Tracy Tappan 300dpi
Tracy is the award-winning author of gritty romance, her books spanning genres across paranormal (The Community series), military suspense (The Wings of Gold series), and Historical (The Baron’s War trilogy). During nearly twenty-five years spent as a military wife, she lived all over the United States and in Europe, enjoying seven years overseas in the diplomatic community, first in Rome then in Madrid, until she settled back in San Diego. Tracy holds a master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling, and has used this background to create a fan-based website called The Character Couch, where romance’s favorite couples are brought into a fun session with therapist, Regan Malloy. Her debut paranormal novel, THE BLOODLINE WAR, is a Bronze Medal winner for romance of the prestigious Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY). Available on Amazon:

Tracy loves to keep in touch with readers. You can follow her on Twitter at @TracyTappan, Facebook at Tracy Tappan Romance Author (http://on.fb.me/1hs0Z3L), or mosey around her website at www.tracytappan.com and write to her at Tracy@TracyTappan.com.


giveawayTracy is offering an e-copy of the Purest of the Breed to two (2) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. LIKE Tracy Tappan on FACEBOOK for an additional entry

6. Giveaway is open to USA only.

7. Giveaway runs from July 22  to July 26, 2014

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Poison Promise (Elemental Assassin #11) by Jennifer Estep-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Poison Promise (Elemental Assassin #11) by Jennifer Estep-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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Poison Promise
Elemental Assassin #11
by Jennifer Estep
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy
Release Date: July 22, 2014

Poison Promise Aug 14

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 22, 2014

Gin Blanco is hard-nosed, sexy, and lethal. Nicknamed “The Spider,” she’s a stone elemental assassin who brings her unique mix of magic and tact to every assignment, no matter the target.

There’s a new drug on the streets of Ashland, and its name “Burn” sums up the potent effect it has on its users. When one of her restaurant employees is threatened by dealers of the drug, Gin steps in to set things straight…

••••••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: POISON PROMISE is the eleventh instalment in Jennifer Estep’s paranormal/urban fantasy Elemental Assassin series focusing on assassin Gin Blanco-aka The Spider. Gin is tired of the numerous attempts on her life; the killings; and the threats against her friends and family-but a new drug dealer in town has set his sights on Gin’s sister Bria and Gin is in no mood to stand by and watch the fall out from a new designer drug taking down most of Ashland and Southtown’s addicts and users.

Told from first person POV (Gin) the premise follows Gin as she, once again, must step in and stop a menace that is known as Beauregard Benson-a vampire with a special ability that leaves his victims a shell of their former selves. As the latest drug king pin, Benson likes to make his presence known, and in this, most of the people (humans, vampires, giants, dwarves and elementals) keep their distance lest they too, become a casualty of Benson’s secret powers. As Gin focuses on taking Benson down, she will become a victim of Benson’s tyrannical need to control the town of Ashland.

The secondary characters include all of the people and supernaturals close to Gin –Owen (Gin’s lover); Finn (Gin’s adopted foster brother and BFF); Jo Jo and Sophia (Dwarves); Bria (Ashland cop and Gin’s irritating sister) as well as Phillip, Eva, Roslyn, Xavier and more. The reader will be introduced to a soon-to-be new member of Gin’s team-a vampire and former nemesis whose motives are questionable until the truth is revealed. Gin’s past will come back with a vengeance – a second generation of supernaturals hoping for a piece of The Spider-and in this the next storyline is about to unfold-Black Widow (Elemental Assassin #12).

Jennifer Estep continues to pull the reader into a graphically violent, addicting and detailed series about a reluctant and complicated female assassin who wants nothing more than to spend her days working at the Pork Pit and her nights in the arms of her lover. Jennifer keeps the reader engaged with flashbacks, memories and recounting of previous storyline scenarios that further draw the reader into a series where The Spider will always come out on top but getting there is dangerous and messy.

POISON PROMISE is the build up to, and introduces the next ARC in Jennifer Estep’s intense and compelling Elemental Assassin series. Gin may have thought that taking down Mab Monroe ended that chapter in her life-think again-someone even more dangerous has taken up residence in Ashland and considers The Spider and everyone she knows- fair game in a war of power and control. No one will be safe with the new dealer in town.

If you are a fan of urban fantasy storylines with a kick-a$$ heroine who knows a thing or two about pain and suffering then Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series and POISON PROMISE should be your go-to series when the UF cravings take hold.

READING ORDER

0.5 Spider’s Bargain
1 Spider’s Bite
1.5 Web of Death
2 Web of Lies
2.5 Web of Deceit
2.6 Poison
2.7 Wasted
3 Venom
3.5 Tangled Dreams
3.7 Tangled Schemes
4 Tangled Threads
4.5 Spider’s Nemesis
5 Spider’s Revenge
5.5 Thread of Death
6 By A Thread
7 Widow’s Web
8 Deadly Sting
8.1 Parlor Tricks
8.5 Kiss of Venom
9 Heart of Venom
10. The Spider
11. Poison Promise
12. Black Widow (November 2014)

Copy supplied by Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview

With the release of POISON PROMISE The Reading Cafe would like to welcome back author Jennifer Estep and catch up on what’s new.

Jennifer EstepTRC: Hi Jennifer and welcome back to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of POISON PROMISE. We would like to start with some general questions.

JE: Thanks for hosting me on the blog again! I appreciate it.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

JE: Well, my mom used to take me to the library every Saturday as a kid, so that’s how I fell in love with books and reading in the first place. So I think that wanting to write my own stories grew out of all that.

TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?

JE: I do yoga, hang out with friends and family, read, and watch TV/movies.

TRC: Is there any profession that you would have liked to enter but never had the opportunity?

JE: I always thought that it would be fun to work with animals, maybe in a zoo or as a veterinarian.

Poison Promise Aug 14TRC: POISON PROMISE is your latest urban fantasy release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

JE: Poison Promise is the 11th book in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. It will be released on July 22.

The series focuses on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who can control the elements of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing people and righting wrongs, Gin runs a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit in the fictional Southern metropolis of Ashland. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vampires, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

In Poison Promise, Gin has to protect someone who witnesses a horrible crime, so the story features a lot of magic, action, and adventure.

TRC: Are any of the characters or the premise based in reality or a combination of reality and fiction? Do you add your personality to Gin or any of the other characters?

JE: Not really. I always say that I write fantasy books because I can make up the whole thing. LOL.

I put some small bits and pieces of my personality into Gin and some of the other characters. For example, Gin loves to read, like I do. But for the most part, the characters stand on their own.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the Elemental Assassin Series?

Elemental Assassin Series

JE: As of right now, I’m contracted for 13 books in the series, or one more after Black Widow, book #12, which comes out on Nov. 25. But I hope to write at least a few more books in the series beyond that. We’ll see what happens.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular series?

JE: I think a challenge with writing any series is giving fans of the series all the familiar elements that they enjoy – characters, settings, etc. – while still keeping things fresh and interesting. Whenever I sit down to write a new Elemental Assassin book, I always try to think of new things, including new places for Gin and my other characters to visit in Ashland and new bad guys with new magic for Gin to face down.

TRC: Now that the MYTHOS ACADEMY series has finished, do you have any plans for another YA series?

Mythos Academy

JE: I have been working on a new YA series. It’s going to be called the Black Blade series, and it’s about magic, monsters, and mobsters. The first book will be called Cold Burn of Magic, and it’s set to be released in 2015.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

JE: When I sit down to start writing a book, I have the characters and the big turning points of the story in mind. Sometimes, a character will do something that surprises me, or the story will go in a different direction than I expected, but for the most part, I direct the characters.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

JE: I think a big part of writing an engaging, entertaining story is to enjoy what you’re writing. For example, don’t write a zombie book (or whatever) just because zombies are popular right now. If you try to write a zombie book and you hate all things zombie-related, then it’s going to show in your writing. You’re not going to have fun writing the book, and readers aren’t going to have fun reading it.

But if you write something that you enjoy, then it will show in your writing, and readers are more likely to enjoy your writing as well.

TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?

JE: Well, writing is my full-time job, so if I don’t write and don’t meet my deadlines, then I don’t get paid. There are some days when I don’t feel like writing. When that happens, I work on something else – guest blogs, social media, updating my website, etc. There is always something that needs to be done. Then, maybe the next day, I go back and start writing again. You just have to power through and keep moving forward, even if you are struggling with a character, plot point, etc. Eventually, it will get better.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

JE: Sometimes, I will bounce ideas off my significant other or some folks in my local book club.

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

JE: I would like to write some new books/series; read more books for fun; and find a better balance between work and everything else in my life.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

JE: Right now, I’m working on Black Widow, Elemental Assassin #12, which will be out on Nov. 25.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

JE: If folks want more info on my books, they can check out my website at www.jenniferestep.com or follow me on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite TV Show – Arrow

Last Movie You Saw – The LEGO Movie

Favorite Musical Group – The Killers

Dark or Milk Chocolate – Dark chocolate

Secret Celebrity Crush – Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan in Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Last Vacation Destination – New Orleans

Do you have any pets? – No

Pet Peeve – People who are rude

TRC: Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of Poison Promise. Wishing you all the best.

JE: Thanks! I appreciate that. Happy reading, everyone!

JENNIFER’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website: http://www.jenniferestep.com/
Blog: http://www.jenniferestep.com/blog/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JenniferEstepAuthor?fref=ts
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580315.Jennifer_Estep

giveaway

Jennifer is generously offering a paper copy of POISON PROMISE to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

4. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

5. Like Jennifer Estep on Facebook for an additional entry.

6. Giveaway is open to USA only.

7. Giveaway runs from July 22-July 26 , 2014

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Wolf’s Castle by Madelyn Hill-a review

WOLF’S CASTLE by Madelyn Hill-a review

Wolf's CastleABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 11,2014

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/

Can he forget the past and embrace the future?

He’s the beast of Lomarcan Castle. Tortured, angry, and bound and determined not to allow Vivian Stuart to invade his lair. Lord Galen Maclean refuses to be endeared to the lovely woman who has landed on his island looking to study alchemy. The island possesses secrets, secrets too horrid to share with the gentle woman. However, her beguiling nature brings light to the darkness of the castle and the few quirky inhabitants and edges into his heart.

Can she tame the beast within him to gain his love?

She was stranded on a remote island, her father dead and dishonored by her betrothed. Still, the lovely Vivian Stuart wears her heart on her sleeve and strives to redeem Lord Maclean. She knows his heart is good and the castle can be filled with love. Through science she learns more about the troubled lord and slowly but surely, the torture lord’s icy heart begins to thaw as Vivian shares the magical healing power of love

•••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: WOLF’S CASTLE is an historical romance novel written by Madelyn Hill focusing on Lord Galen Maclean and Vivian Stuart. En route to the island where Wolf’s Castle stands, to exchange scientific research with the Laird, Vivian and her father will fall victim to one of Scotland’s many storms. Now that her father has died, Vivian and her servants have become unwelcome guests of Lord Maclean- the son of the late Scottish Laird. Lord Maclean has a few demons in his past and believes he is incapable of love.

The premise follows the developing relationship between Vivian and Galen built upon their mutual interest in alchemy-more specifically the process to turn chemicals into gold. But there are others hoping to steal Vivian’s father’s secrets and they will venture to Lord Maclean’s island to take back what they believe is rightfully theirs.

The relationship between Vivian and Galen is slow to build as Galen fights his attraction to Vivian with each encounter. Vivian and Galen’s own histories are marred with betrayal, lies and secrets, and with it will come heartbreak and sorrow when the truth is finally revealed. The sex scenes are limited, mostly implied but the attraction between our couple is a definite plus.

The secondary characters fuel a good portion of the novel-from back histories, to memories and a much needed push in the right direction for our leading couple. The world building includes the history of Wolf Castle and its’ inhabitants; the sights and sounds of the Scottish coastline in winter; and a story of lost love and letting go. The historical language of the time and the Scottish dialect are mostly absent although there are some words and phrases interspersed throughout the novel.

WOLF’S CASTLE is a quick romantic read with a little bit of everything: betrayal, heartbreak, secrets, lies, romance and a little sex. If you are a fan of the historical Scottish romance where the leading man is reluctant to fall in love and struggles with his own demons, then Wolf’s Castle is an ideal read for a lazy afternoon.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

About The Author beige

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Madelyn HillI’m a mom, wife, and writer just living life to the fullest. A Michigan native, I’ve moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to marry the love of my life. Life is exciting, exhausting, chaotic and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love writing historical novels with a Celtic flair. Scotland and Ireland are my favorite locations to set my novels. Nothing is better than a hero in a kilt and a strong heroine to give him the run for his money!

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Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen-Review and Interview with the Author

Ready to Wed by Cindi Madsen-Review and Interview with the Author

Ready To Wed Banner

Ready To Wed
by Cindi Madsen
Release Date: July 22, 2014
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Ready To Wed

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / The Book Depository

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 22, 2014

Is there anything worse than getting jilted at the altar? How about being a wedding planner getting jilted at the altar for your own wedding…on a cruise already out at sea? When Las Vegas resident Dakota Halifax loses her fiance, she swears she’s given up on love altogether. She pours her heart into her weekly wedding advice column and fills her days planning events to celebrate others’ forever love. When her childhood best friend Brendan moves to Las Vegas and they reconnect, she starts to wonder if maybe love could find her again. But then her ex reappears, begging for another chance. Can someone once-burned and twice-shy ever find her way down the aisle again?

•••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: READY TO WED is a contemporary, adult stand alone romantic storyline by Cindi Madsen. The focus of the story is on wedding planner and columnist Dakota Halifax and the mess that is her life. From planning other people’s weddings to writing about the do’s and don’t’s of wedding etiquette, Dakota will find herself on the receiving end of a destination wedding and her fiance refuses to show. Humiliated and heartbroken Dakota returns home to Vegas where she discovers there is more than one person waiting in the wings to take her down.

Told from first person POV (Dakota) the premise follows Dakota in the weeks and days following her non-wedding. From discovering the truth behind her groom’s no-show to a vindictive co-worker at the local paper where she works, Dakota struggles with a place to stay and getting on with her life. Enter Brendan West –Dakota’s former childhood friend and sweetheart, and the man with whom she will fall in love. Dakota and Brendan’s reconnection sparks something deep within each of their souls, but Dakota is a little gun shy when it comes to putting her heart on the line-one again. The relationship is slow to build; there are no sex scenes; but the love story is sure to please.

Cindi Madsen pulls the reader into a charming, sweet and romantic storyline about two people who belong together. Once best friends in every possible way, Brendan’s family moved away from Vegas years before and his return may be just what Dakota needs.

The secondary characters include Dakota’s friend and wedding caterer Jillian; Dakota’s ex fiancé Grant; and a mixture of brides, bridezillas, co-workers and friends.

READY TO WED is a breath of fresh air. No major complications; no erotic sex; no confusing scenarios or bitter exes. Sometimes things happen for a reason, and in this case, not getting married set into motion a string of events that resulted in Dakota reconnecting with the first love of her life.

Copy supplied by the publisher.

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview blue

TRC: Hi Cindi and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of READY TO WED

Cindi MadsenCindi: Thanks so much!

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow Cindi: Goodreads / Website Twitter / Facebook

Cindi: I’m obsessed with music and shoes, love to dance, drink a lot of Mountain Dew, and of course love books!

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Cindi: Thanks to a teacher named Shelley Russell, who got me hooked on reading the Anne of Green Gables series, I was always looking for more books to read. As I decided to give writing a shot, I was lucky enough to meet with a fabulous group of writers and we formed a critique group. Even though we’re all crazy busy now, we still cheer each other on.

TRC: When not writing, what do you do to relax?

Cindi: TV & movies. I especially love when I discover a new TV series on Netflix and can plow through several episodes at a time.

Ready To WedTRC: READY TO WED is your latest contemporary romance release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Cindi: I went on a cruise with two of my girlfriends and as we were disembarking in Jamaica, I saw this bride standing all alone & I thought what if her groom doesn’t show up. That’d make one awkward boat ride home. So of course I decided to write a book where that happened, and in order to make it even worse for poor Dakota, I made her a well-known Las Vegas wedding planner.

TRC: Are any of the characters or the premise based in reality or a combination of reality and fiction?

Cindi: Dakota has some similarities to my sister, who was a tomboy as a kid and is now an organizational perfectionist (ie, control freak) I’ve teased her a bit about the control freak part and she’ll admit it, so I figure that makes it fair game. Let that be a lesson. Everyone I care about will eventually be used for inspiration in my books. Lol.

TRC: If you could virtually cast the leading characters –Dakota and Brendan-which actors or models would best represent your ideal image?

Cindi: Dakota would be Rachel Bilson & Brendan would be Justin Hartley. I’ve got a whole Pinterest board with their images & tons of wedding pictures on it if anyone’s interested. (You should be, because Justin Hartley is shirtless in some. Hehe) http://www.pinterest.com/cindimadsen/ready-to-wed/

TRC: Is this a stand alone storyline or a part of a series? If it is a part of a series, how many books do you have planned ?

Cinderella Screwed me OverCindi: It’s a stand alone. Cinderella Screwed Me Over and Ready to Wed both have the romantic comedy aspect and hopefully fans of one will also like the other.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story?

Cindi: I watched a lot of wedding planning shows and I’ve been to Vegas a few times, so that helped me pull those aspects together. I think the hardest part was casino security, and finding out enough to work in Brendan’s job. Other than that, I just felt kinda bad for putting Dakota through being stood up at the altar. Just not bad enough to not do it.

TRC: You also write the YA paranormal –Cipher Series. Would you please tell us something about the series and what plans do you have for the future for your heroine Summer Davis?

Cipher Series

Cindi: The third book, Resolution, came out in February, and that’s the last book in the series. Basically it’s about Summer, who finds out she’s a Cipher—which means she’s supposed to help people resolve issues with their loved ones before one of them passes on. Of course accomplishing that isn’t easy and can be emotionally & physically draining & she has a hard time not getting attached to the people she helps. It’s one of my favorite series, and I have a special place in my heart for Summer and Troy.

TRC: What are your thoughts on writing a series and ending an installment with a major cliff hanger?

Cindi: Patience isn’t a virtue I have, so I usually scream at those books. I think it works for some authors, and I’ll admit I set aside days to read what happens next when the next book comes out if I’m really into the series, but I like to have at least some closure with a heavy side of kissing at the endings of my books.

TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Cindi: I’d say it’s about 50-50 with most characters. Once I get to know them, I kinda know where they need to go, but they also surprise me sometimes. Then there are some characters *cough* Connor Maguire from Resisting the Hero *cough* who refuse to do what I tell them to do.

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Cindi: I feel like we need to experience things that are happening to them like they’re happening to us. I want my readers to sigh, laugh, cry, and fall in love along with my characters. I think part of that is just adding layers to your characters & then showing us the emotion instead of telling it. As writers we sometimes experience so much of our story in our heads that we forget to get it on the page. Good critique partners & editors will help you fix that, though.

TRC: Writer’s Block is a very real phenomenon. How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of writer’s block?

Cindi: Music, walks, & TV. Sometimes I’ll get so close to a project or so frustrated, and all it takes is the right song to spark inspiration. Sometimes I need to go for a walk, get away from the pressure of staring at a screen and think with a side of fresh air. And sometimes I need to relax and watch a few hours of TV or a movie, where I don’t have to be responsible for the story. I use a combination of all three when I’m writing & editing.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Cindi: You should see the conversations I have with Rachel Harris-FB, email, text. We mix it up. And actually, no one should see those because they’re madness & inside jokes & people would question our sanity, but she’s saved me so many times! I also have a few local author friends who I regularly meet up with to chat or talk story. And my husband hears a ton of ideas, most of which he responds to with either 1) have aliens come or 2) add ninjas. I’m not sure why I keep asking him. Haha.

TRC: What three things would you like to accomplish in the next five years?

Cindi: Make all my deadlines, learn to balance time with my family & work better, and travel out of the country

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Cindi: I used to be crazy shy and quiet as a kid. I don’t think anyone would call me either now. Definitely not quiet anyway.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Cindi: I’m starting edits on Second Chance Ranch, the first book in my new Bliss Second Chances series.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Cindi: Jazz hands? Happy dancing? I guess that I like to jam out to music & dance.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food - Pizza

Favorite Dessert – Ice cream

Favorite TV Show – Veronica Mars or Friday Night Lights. Please don’t make me choose between the two.

Last Movie You Saw – Rush. Loved it!

Favorite Musical Group – Paramore & Three Days Grace. Again, choosing would hurt my soul. (I’m not dramatic or anything.)

Dark or Milk Chocolate – Milk chocolate for sure!

Secret Celebrity Crush – Jai Courtney. Guess it’s not so secret now ;)

Last Vacation Destination – New Orleans. Well, it was sorta for work, too, but it was so much fun!

Pet Peeve – Wet socks. I HATE them!

TRC: Thank you Cindi for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on all of your success. We wish you all the best.

Cindi: Thanks so much!

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Cover Reveal-Tempting The Player (London Legends #3) by Kat Latham

Cover Reveal-Tempting the Player (London Legends #3) by Kat Latham

Tempting the Player

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/ Barnes and Noble / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 10, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press

Book three of the London Legends

Best friends make the best lovers.

Libby Hart and Matt Ogden are perfect for each other—as friends. They’ve known each other for ages. They act as each other’s plus-ones. They even share custody of a dog. And if there’s always been a little spark between them, so what? It’s never been worth jeopardizing their friendship.

Professional rugby player Matt is fighting for a starter position with the London Legends—and that’s not the only thing he’s fighting. A crippling fear of flying means he’s struggling to get his career off the ground. He has no time for a relationship, even if Libby does make him ache. As an airline pilot, Libby’s looking for a stay-at-home husband so she can have a family without sacrificing her high-flying career. Matt’s certainly not that man.
But just because they don’t have a future together doesn’t mean they can’t have a right now. When Matt asks Libby for help overcoming his fear, they agree to take a vacation from their platonic relationship—whenever they fly together, they can have sex. It’s the perfect way to resolve all that built-up tension. As long as they can avoid getting a little too comfortable…

Click HERE for our reviews of book 1 and 2 in the London Legend series: KNOWING THE SCORE/ PLAYING IT CLOSE by Kat Latham

about the author

Kat Latham

Kat Latham is a California girl who moved to Europe the day after graduating from UCLA, ditching her tank tops for raincoats. She taught English in Prague and worked as an editor in London before she and her British husband moved to the Netherlands. Kat’s other career involves writing and editing for charities, and she’s traveled to Kenya, Ethiopia and India to meet heroic people helping their communities survive disasters. Find out more on her website: katlatham.com.

 

Site: http://katlatham.com/
Blog: http://katlatham.com/blog/
Newsletter: http://katlatham.com/newsletter/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KatLathamRomance
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