The Alpha’s Mate (The Wolvers #1) by Jacqueline Rhoades

THE ALPHA’S MATE (The Wolvers #1) by Jacqueline Rhoades

THE ALPHA’S MATE by Jacqueline Rhoades

THE ALPHA’S MATE is the first storyline (May 2012 release) in The Wolvers series by Jacqueline Rhoades.

Former librarian 32year old Elizabeth Reynolds was on sabbatical and moving to Rabbit Creek. Locating her new place was a bit of a nightmare, but finding herself in the arms of a complete stranger made everything worthwhile. With her car stuck in the mud and strange animals in the forest, Elizabeth hope she hadn’t made an awful mistake. Spending the night at a complete stranger’s home would take on a whole new meaning when she found herself fighting off a pack of wolves while a fire raged all around.

Marshall Goodman is the chief of police, owns the local specialty mill and alpha male of the pack. His attraction to Elizabeth is instant, but the signals she is sending are confusing all of the males.  At some point, Elizabeth is under the mistaken notion that Marshall is already in a committed relationship with his cousin Henry, but it is Marshall who believes she knows they are wolves.

Elizabeth was introduced to the local folks but Charles Goodman, Marshall’s brother seemed to take a special interest in the new resident of Rabbit Creek. Thinking that Marshall was gay, Elizabeth made a half-hearted attempt at seduction, but realized that Charles wasn’t the man for her.  But when a beaten and bloody woman is found in her front yard, Elizabeth must contact Marshall hoping to save the young woman’s life.  And to Elizabeth’s amazement, she will find a shifting wolf that was once Marshall Goodman.  But it will be the women of the Creek that take Elizabeth aside and tell her the story of their wolves.

There was a fight brewing for wolver territory and Alpha.  Fires, assaults and bullets wounds would find Elizabeth with a house full of shifters and an injured wolf to care.  Marshall was the Alpha and he had to protect his wolves and his territory, and for all intents and purposes, Elizabeth was his to protect.

Elizabeth was an unexpected gift to the Alpha and his Pack. They told her tales of their matings and stories about the townsfolk, and Elizabeth decided to write a story of their lives-without the paranormal content. But Marshall also had a job to do and the marijuana grow-ops were taxing his time and his men.

Charles made it a point to introduce himself to Elizabeth’s family. Suave and sophisticated, Charles hoped to find a mate in Elizabeth, and something about the man drew her like a moth to a flame. As the alpha of his own Pack, Charles was committed to moving forward and modernizing their ways, but animosity between the brothers ran deep and long.

The fight for possession would turn personal. When Marshall was injured trying to protect Elizabeth, it was Max ( the young woman found injured) who would explain the reason for the alpha rage.  There was something about Elizabeth that drew the other alpha males around but the circumstances had changed and now it was an act of revenge.

The Goodman family had a gift.  As Alpha, Marshall’s gift was needed whenever there were injuries and wounded wolves, but there was no one around when Marshall needed help.  Elizabeth knew that only one other male in the family would be capable to heal the man that she loved, and by calling him in, she may have sealed her fate. But Elizabeth believed she was no Alpha’s Mate and insisted it had all been a mistake.

A challenge had been issued for the Alpha position, the Pack and its’ mate, and Elizabeth was the prize.  When another alpha claimed the rights by an ancient Pack law, it was up to Elizabeth to figure a way to save Marshall, the Pack and her life. A little research and a couple of friends in high places, Elizabeth found a loophole that would hopefully benefit Marshall’s pack and see the rightful Alpha back in charge.

THE ALPHA’S MATE is a romantic adventure about a Pack looking for a mate (for its’ Alpha) and thinking they had found her in Elizabeth Reynolds. The major character development is smooth, but there are a number of secondary players that get lost in the mix.  Sometimes too many characters and names make for a confusing storyline and at times I had to go back and double check.

Jacqueline’s version of the mating heat adds a twist that at times had me worried as to the direction our heroine was heading, but in the end, the Alpha finds his mate and his heart.  The Alpha’s Mate looks at the magical allure of the shifter wolf and why we love our storybook alpha males.  A great start to another series by Jacqueline Rhoades.

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Reviewed by Sandy




Kendare Blake-Interview with the Author

Kendare Blake-Interview with the Author


TRC:  Hi Kendare and welcome to The Reading Café.  Congratulations on your new release in the Anna Dressed in Black series-Girl of Nightmares.  We would like to start with some background information.


Would you please tell us something about yourself?


Kendare:  Well, let’s see…I’ve got two cats and a horse, but the horse lives away from me, at eternal summer camp. We recently discovered one of the cats is gravely ill. We’re preparing for a very tough time around here.

TRC:  We are sorry to hear that. 🙁

TRC:  Many authors develop their interest in writing at an early age.  What sparked your interest in writing?

Kendare:  The stories I read. They were so much more fun than real life. They still are!

TRC:  What challenges or difficulties have you faced as a writer?

Kendare:  Probably the same ones we all face…rejection. And then some more rejection. And then…rejection. Also a lot of uncertainty, and things being out of my control.


TRC:  Anna Dressed in Blood is your first book in the Young Adult series appropriately named the same.  Would you please tell us about the premise of the series?

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Kendare:  Anna Dressed in Blood tells the story of Cas Lowood, a young ghost hunter set on killing the murderous dead and eventually avenging his dead father (who was eaten by a ghost in Baton Rouge). Along the way he comes across Anna Dressed in Blood, the ghost of a murdered sixteen year old girl who kills everyone who steps into her abandoned Victorian. She turns out to be the hardest fight of his life, and then…hijinks ensue.

TRC: Which genre would you categorize this particular series?  Paranormal? Horror? Urban Fantasy? Or a combination?

Kendare:  People say it’s horror. And who am I to argue?

TRC: The storyline description on some of the book-sellers states for ages 13 and up, yet there is plenty of graphic violence and disturbing passages.  Do you think the age level is appropriate to the storyline content?

Kendare:  The appropriateness depends on the person reading. When I was thirteen I was well into Stephen King and Anne Rice. About a year away from Bret Easton Ellis. But I know some people it’d be too much for. So, it all depends.


TRC:  GIRL OF NIGHTMARES is the most recent release in the Anna Dressed in Blood series.  Would you please tell us about the premise?

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Kendare:  GIRL OF NIGHTMARES picks up a few months after the events of Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas is trying to move on, learning how to stay in one place with his newfound friends, Carmel and Thomas. Unfortunately, Anna doesn’t seem to be willing to let him. He sees horrible visions of her, almost like a haunting. Girl of Nightmares is his quest to find out just what happened to Anna, and to pull her out of Hell is she’s suffering. But finding answers might cost him his life.

TRC:  How many books do you have planned for this series?

Kendare: Two. Girl of Nightmares is the last. I’m 90% sure.

TRC:  🙂

TRC:  What difficulties or challenges have you encountered getting this particular series to publication?

Kendare:  Honestly, it’s all gone so smoothly! The team at Tor has been so supportive, and I have no complaints! Now I have to go find some wood to knock.


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

Kendare:  Once again, knocking wood…I’ve never had writer’s block. But it sounds terrible.


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

Kendare:  Myself mostly. Sometimes friends, or my husband. Occasionally my cat, but he’s super critical.

TRC:  Do you think you have a specific style of writing and if so, will you please describe the style?

Kendare:  Oh wow. I don’t know. Dark? Sarcastic? Gore-embracing?

TRC:  On what are you currently working?

Kendare:  I’m working on revisions for ANTIGODDESS, which is releasing next August. It’s the start of a trilogy that may or may not be called The Goddess War, and it’s about dying Greek gods and reincarnated teen heroes.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Kendare:  I think you’ve covered everything! But thank you, to the readers and proprietors of The Reading Cafe! Great questions 🙂 And oooh, a Lighting Round!


Favorite Food – French food. Sauces. Yes.

Favorite Dessert – Chocolate cake. Dense, but not too rich. With white frosting, or creme fraiche or something.

Favorite TV Show – Right now? Uh….Fringe. Or Game of Thrones.

Favorite Movie – Right now? Uh…The Dark Knight Rises. Or Melancholia.

Last Movie you SawSomething on SyFy called Open Graves. Silly. Fun. Kids playing a game that granted you one wish if you won, but killed you if you lost. Like a way less fun and more boring Jumanji.

Dark or Milk Chocolate – MILK!!! (I’m sorry for yelling.)

(Everyone yells for chocolate) 😉

Do you have any pets? – Yes. Two catsons named Tybalt and Mojo Jojo. Yes, Tybalt was in the books. One horse named Lassie. She’s very belligerent.

TRC:  Thank you Kendare for taking the time to answer our questions.  Once again, congratulations on the release of GIRL OF NIGHTMARES.  All the best on your future novels and storylines.


Girl of Nightmares (Anna Dressed in Blood #2) by Kendare Blake-a review

Girl of Nightmares (Anna Dressed in Blood #2) by Kendare Blake-a review

GIRL OF NIGHTMARES (Anna Dressed in Blood #2) by Kendare Blake

GIRL OF NIGHTMARES is the second storyline  (August 2012 release) in Kendare Blake’s series focusing on the ghost of a young woman murdered over 50 years ago by her witch-mother, and the gruesome and horrific revenge she metes out to anyone who enters the old Victorian home in which she still ‘resides’.

Theseus Cassio Lowood aka Cas is the 17 year old ‘ghost hunter’, a magical familial heritage from his father and witch mother, who goes in search of misbehaving ghosts and ‘kills’ them with the ‘athame’ blade, but his relationship with Anna Korlov is no longer that of hunter and prey, but of friendship and love. Along with his friends Carmel and Thomas Sabin (witch), Anna had saved their lives by destroying the mysterious flesh eating, power absorbing Obeahman. Now that Anna is missing and presumed in Hell, the GIRL OF NIGHTMARES continues approximately 6 months after ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD left off.

Cas has been notified about mysterious ‘accidents’ all occurring in an abandoned barn in Grand Marais, Minnesota. But when the ghost hunters are attacked by the spirit in the barn, it is Anna’s voice Cas hears as the ghost laughs at their fear. Cas hesitates placing both of his friends in harm’s way. He believes he is losing his mind when things begin to show signs that Anna may still be ‘alive’. The athame calls to Cas and he admits that it feels like Anna is calling to him as well. Her spirit continues to manifest in different places and times, but Cas has no way to connect with the other side. He is risking his life with every encounter. What is Anna trying to say?

When the images of Anna become more frequent and alarming, Cas reaches out to Gideon Palmer, his father’s old mentor and Thomas makes a point to connect with voodoo grandfather Morfran. Both men of experience advise Cas it is time to quit but their messages are cryptic and reaching deaf ears. Risking his life for the memory of a dead girl is not worth dying. But when Thomas’s Aunt Riika reveals the truth behind the mystical ‘athame’ and its’ connection to Anna, it is all Cas and Thomas can do but run-something about Aunt Riika isn’t right. But the knowledge she imparts will help Thomas and Cas connect with the dead. Only what Cas discovers is something out of a nightmare and not a dream.

The trio of friends begins to crumble when Carmel realizes hunting ghosts is not on her agenda. But the down time finds Thomas searching for clues and directions to help solve the mystery surrounding Anna’s ghostly appearances. Only now Gideon appears to hold a few more clues to discovering the secret behind the power of the ‘athame’ and it is hidden within the secrets of The Order of the Biodag Dubh.

When Thomas and Cas head over to England to confront Gideon they are surprised to learn that the Order has been watching and waiting. And someone else is waiting in the wings as well. But a trek through the Suicide Forest will test everyone’s power and abilities to see if they survive. Only what greets them on the other side is far more dangerous than what they left behind. Sacrifices will be made, and with the help from an unexpected ‘friend’, Cas is able to free the ghosts from the past, but at a cost .

GIRL OF NIGHTMARES is an interesting story.-A tale of horror, ghosts and a love that can never be fulfilled. Cas takes a journey to the otherside hoping to free the young woman with whom he has fallen in love, only to learn that freedom will come at a cost. The story is a roller coaster of emotions, with some graphic violence and foul language thrown in for emphasis. The series description states for Young Adult 13 years of age and older, but personally I think a mature young adult tag line would be better.

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Reviewed by Sandy

Copy supplied by Netgalley


BLEED FOR ME (Loved By Gods #1) by Cynthia Eden

Bleed For Me (Loved by Gods) by Cynthia Eden

BLEED FOR ME (Loved By Gods #1) by Cynthia Eden

BLEED FOR ME is the first novella (August 2012 release) in Cynthia Eden’s new LOVED BY GODS series. With the combination of both vampire and Greek Gods, Cynthia has blended two of the paranormal storylines most popular creatures.

Terese Lafitte needed blood. It had been one month since she was brutally turned and she had yet to feed, so entering HADES, a popular night club would hopefully find her a willing host. Dressed for a night on the town, Terese knew she had found a source when a gorgeous and sexy man approached her with only one thing on his mind.

Apollo is the Greek god of the sun. The son of Zeus and his lover, Apollo and his sister Artemis were born on the isle of Delos. But Apollo preferred to hang out in his brother’s bar then return to Mt. Olympus. Only today, he was fascinated when a beautiful young woman refused his advances. And it would take a little prodding before Terese would give in to her need.

Apollo is shocked when he realizes that the woman in his bed isn’t entirely human. But the same can be said for Terese, when she is bested in power and strength by the man from whom she just fed. But when Terese returns to her home she finds that her sire, an elder vampire, refuses to let her go. And it will take a man with the powers of a god, to find and locate the vampire with whom he has fallen in love.

BLEED FOR ME is a story of romance with a happily ever after. You cannot help with whom or what you have fallen in love, and the same holds true for the powerful gods of Olympus. There is a little humor when Ares returns and finds Apollo in the back alley with Terese, and like all brothers, he tends to push the proverbial buttons. Cynthia has laid the groundwork for several more storylines, with the introduction of Artemis and Ares, but we also witness Poseidon struggling to find his own mate as promised by the fates. Probably my only complaint, because it was a novella, the love relationship developed too quickly. I was hoping that Cynthia would tease us with a few more chapters.

LINKS TO ORDER: At the time of the posting BLEED FOR ME is only .99 cents from Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook
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Reviewed by Sandy


Interview & Giveaway with Shana Abe

Interview & Giveaway with Shana Abe


The Reading Cafe is happy to welcome the wonderful Shana Abe as our guest today. Shana has her long awaited release of The Sweetest Dark upcoming in early 2013, and she is here today to answer our questions, as well as tell us about her books.

Let’s begin our interview with Shana.




TRC: Please tell us about yourself?

Shana:I’m a rowdy rebel girl trapped in a grown-up’s body, with constantly changing,
multi-colored hair (right now it’s brown, white, and blue) and a great, great appreciation
for how wonderful my life really is. Plus, I have a really cute boyfriend. 🙂

TRC: You are an animal lover…you have a dog and five rabbits. Interesting do they get along?

Shana: They get along very well, because the dog is sweet and smart and knows to stay away from the bunnies. The bunnies, however, are wildly ferocious and always plotting ways to overtake the world...or at least my house. 😉

Rabbits are insanely territorial. You can’t mix them, so they live in separate areas,every one of them a mini despot. That’s the way they like it.
(They’re all rescues, most with horrific and/or tragic back stories, so it’s

nice to let them rule their own realms now. I’ve been rescuing rabbits for

over twenty years. It’s always an adventure.)

TRC: When and how did you become interested in writing?  Have you always liked to write?

Shana: Like many authors, I’ve been writing since I was able to piece together
the alphabet, mostly short stories and poems and once—quite ambitiously for a seven-year-old!—a play. But it wasn’t until I was a teenager that
I thought I might like to write novels. I wrote my first one at seventeen.

It was very, very bad. So I stopped for a while, did some other things for a few years, then realized that I really wanted to write.Because I hated my office job, LOL. I’ve been so lucky. If I’d known more about the industry before I submittedmy first book to my first agent, I might have been too intimidated to even try.

Thank God for ignorance!

TRC: Would you please tell us your process in writing your books?

Shana: I make it up as I go. I’m not trying to be flip: I really do. Some writers create these amazingly detailed outlines, but I can’t. I get bored with outlines,and I don’t like being confined by rules or even ideas. I typically have a vague notion of how I want the story to go, but that’s about it. I never know what’s going to happen next when I write. It’s one of the aspects I love most about the process. That, and falling in love with my characters, even the villains.

You gotta love them all.

TRC:  When you published Smoke Thief to start your Drákon series, did you know how far you wanted to go in this series?

Shana: I had no clue! (See my answer above about making things up as I go,LOL!)
THE SMOKE THIEF came to me as a stand-alone story.By the end of it, I had an inkling for the plot of its first sequel,THE DREAM THIEF—mostly because of Zane. Even as a child hewas just so compelling, I knew he needed his own story. And then it just kept going. I was as surprised as anyone else.


TRC: A number of our readers, who also follow the Drákon Series have some questions, if you can answer them.

·    Will we ever see again, or know where Christoff, and Rue have disappeared?

Shana: Yes! Rue and Christoff have what I would call an historical role in my new book, THE SWEETEST DARK. They’re not the main characters,but they are mentioned. I don’t mean to be coy about it; I just don’t want to give away too much because it’s part of the plot of this new story. (Also, I’m thinking they still might get an entirely new book of their own,  but I’m not sure about that yet. However, I want to assure everyone, that I do know what happened to them, where they went and why.) In fact, the back cover blurb for THE SWEETEST DARK is an excerpt from a letter in Rue’s voice.

·     In the last installment The Time Weaver, Amalia had visions of her own brother (Kimber) murdering members of a rival Drákon tribe. Are we to believe that Kimber is power hungry like the other council members, or will he be more like his peaceful father? 

Shana: Kimber’s not power hungry, per se. But he’s definitely ruthless whenhe needs to be. He perceives the rival tribe as a direct threat to his own,and most specifically one member of that tribe (who does end up beingpretty evil, as you’ll recall). So it’s more a matter of he’s going to do what he must to ensure the survival of his own family and his species. He doesn’t want to kill. But he will if he feels he must. It’s part of both the honor and the burden of being the Alpha: he must be strong enough to protect the tribe,  and he must make the unsavory choices no one else will make.

·  Will we ever see this family reunite, and live out their lives without fear of capture, imprisonment, possible death etc…by the council members whom rule the Drákon. Will Amalia be forced to continue living a life of exile, or will she someday be allowed to live in peace with her human husband Zane?

Shana: Wow. Um….

Anything is possible. I can absolutely envision a time and place where the entire family would reunite. The truth is, I sort of like Amalia and Zane in exile, because they get to live in such cool places, LOL. If and when Rue and Kit show back up, they’ll have a huge secret to reveal (again, I’m not trying to be coy; you get a big hint of it in THE SWEETEST DARK).

Those were all awesome questions!

TRC:  Tell us a little about The Sweetest Dark.  Do you consider this a continuation of the Drákon series, or if this will be the start of a new series focusing on Lora?

Shana: It’s both, actually. I’d say it’s the beginning of a new stand-alone series,but also one that dovetails into the Drákon Series in a subtle sort of way.It’s not necessary to have read any of the previous books to understand  the new series. Everything’s fresh, including the characters and the setting.

It’s the story of Eleanore Jones, an impoverished orphan living in 1915 London. She’s always felt different from the rest of the people she’s known; she hears songs no one else hears, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with what can only be described as a dangerous voice inside of her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

Lora has no idea she’s one of the last of the drákon. As World War I begins to take its toll and London’s children are evacuated from the city, she’s shocked to discover she’s been selected as the new charity student to the elite Iverson School for Girls on the southern coast.

Iverson was great to write about—an eerie, gothic castle with ghosts and secret tunnels and mean girls and not one but two extraordinary boys nearby who are suddenly, acutely interested in Lora.

Jesse’s the school groundskeeper: beautiful, mute, and aware at once of who and what Lora is. 

Armand is the elegant aristocrat who can’t figure out why he’s drawn to thisstrange new girl, but can’t deny that he is, deeply so.

But there’s still a war going on, and peril is never that far way. Lora’s going to discover she needs to embrace her powers at last, or risk losing everything (and everyone) she loves.

TRC:  Do you have any thoughts of a new series in a different genre?

Shana: I do! It’s bubbling at the back of my mind. I can’t indulge in it just yet, though. I’ve got to finish Eleanore’s series.

TRC:  Who is your favorite Female Character in your books?

Shana: Oh, lord. I have no idea. They’re all amazing to me. Rue for herdesperation and originality; Lia for her cleverness and kind heart. Avalon, from THE TRUELOVE BRIDE, who was my first brilliant, deeply magical heroine.  Eleanore too, because she’s pretty much me when I was sixteen, both awkward and confident, someone who is trying hard to figure out not only the hidden mysteries of herself but also the vagaries of the real world.

TRC:  We know you love to read...who are your favorite authors you enjoy reading?

Shana: I know it sounds geeky, but I’ve always loved Shakespeare. (I even majored in drama in collage, I love theatre so much.) Loved the Harry Potter series. Really liked The Hunger Games. But it seems I’m always on deadline; I haven’t read for pleasure in so long, it’s disgraceful. There are so many wonderful authors out there.

TRC:  Who is your muse?

Shana: I don’t know! It’s not a person or a thing. Maybe it’s more a state of being.  Of relaxing, letting go. Allowing the creativity to come without judgment.  That can be incredibly difficult.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Shana: Just that I’m so happy to be doing this interview, and I mean it. I’m so, so grateful that you all are reading this, and that you care about the stories. I love what I do and hope I get to keep doing it, and that certainly won’t happen without you all. So thank you!


Favorite Food: My mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. But I’m a vegetarian now, so that doesn’t happen much anymore.

Favorite Book (not your own): WATERSHIP DOWN. (Not because it’s about rabbits! Anyway, it’s not really about rabbits,  but rather the human condition.)

Favorite character (male & female) not written by you: I love pretty much all of Barbara O’Neal’s heroines, and all of Laura Kinsale’s heroes.

Favorite Movie: Serenity

Favorite TV Show: Hmm. I don’t really have just one: The Mentalist (Simon Baker!), Hawaii Five-0 (hot guys! great scenery! bad acting!), 30 Rock (Tina Fey!); not necessarily in that order.

Last Movie that you saw: Toy Story 3 on cable. I don’t get out much!

TRC: Thank you, Shana for answering our questions. We look forward to continuing to read your books, and for you to come back to visit us when the Sweetest Dark is released in early 2013.

Shana: Thank you so much! I had a wonderful time answering your questions! 🙂

If you want to learn more about Shana, you can visit her at the following links:




Shana has graciously offered to give three members of The Reading Café a chance to win a copy of one of her Backlist books.   

1.  You must be a member at The Reading Cafe. If you are not a member, please register using the Log-In at the top of the page, or by using one of our social log-ins.

2.  If you are using a social log-in e.g. Twitter, please leave your email address along with your comment.

3.  Please post a comment on the interview post and say hello to Shana.

4.  Giveaway open U.S. Only

5.  Contests runs from August 30th – September 3rd.


Shana Abe – Biography/Bibliography

Shana Abe – Biography/Bibliography


Shana Abé was born in Texas. She spent much of her childhood living in Colorado, with a brief stint in Mexico as a foreign exchange student, and, at age seventeen, lived in Japan as a model. Throughout her childhood, Abé wrote, completing what she calls "The Silliest Romance Novel Ever" during her free time during modeling shoots. Her writing focused on romance, as those were the types of books that she most enjoyed reading.

She later attended college in Los Angeles, graduating with a degree in drama.  Her second novel, also a contemporary romance, took third place in a writing contest. She sent the book to several prospective agents, many of which responded with questions similar to "Nice voice — but what line are you writing for?" Unwilling to try to fit her writing into some of the rules that governed contemporary romances, Abé chose to concentrate on historical romances. For her first attempt at a historical romance, the newlywed Abé chose to tell the story of her own romance with her husband, set in medieval times. The manuscript was purchased by Bantam Books and published as A Rose in Winter.

Many of Abé’s subsequent novels have also been set in the medieval time period. Abé chose the time period because of its “great sense of dichotomy….It inspires thoughts of grandeur, of courtly grace and chivalrous knights — but at the same time there’s a gritty, raw aspect to the period that just cannot be denied.”

Abé has received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, and has been nominated six times for Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards, winning twice.



Drakon Series

  • The Smoke Thief (2005)
  • The Dream Thief (2006)
  • Queen of Dragons (2007)
  • The Treasure Keeper (2009)
  • The Time Weaver (2010)

Novels (Historical Romance)

  • A Rose in Winter (1998)
  • The Promise of Rain (1998)
  • The Truelove Bride (1999)
  • Intimate Enemies (2000)
  • A Kiss at Midnight (2000)
  • The Secret Swan (2001)
  • The Last Mermaid (2004)



Catching Up with Carolyn Arnold

Catching Up with Carolyn Arnold

The Reading Cafe is happy to have Carolyn Arnold with us today.  Carolyn has just released Sacrifice, which is her third book in her Madison Knight series.

Let’s talk to Carolyn now.


TRC: Hi  Carolyn.  Thank you for taking the time to visit us at The Reading Cafe, to discuss your new release “Sacrifice”, as well as to give us an update as to what you have in store for us for the remainder of the year and in 2013.


TRC: Sacrifice was released on August 1st.  This is the third novel in your Madison Knight series.  For those people who may not have read this series, would you please give us a brief description?

Carolyn: The Madison Knight series is designed as a stand-alone, which means you can read these books out of order and still pick up on the series’ characters and the storyline.

Major Crimes Detective Madison Knight, fueled by determination to find justice for the victims, is a strong, independent female amidst a career dominated by men.  If you love a female lead, I invite you to meet Madison for yourself.

Madison Knight series in order:

TIES THAT BIND, 1st in the series, available now
Meet Madison Knight as she and partner must pull together to stop a potential serial killer.

JUSTIFIED, 2nd in the series, available now
See the softer side of Madison Knight in Justified as she’s assigned to a case on Christmas Eve. 

SACRIFICE, 3rd in the series, available now
Madison must risk all, including her career, to bring a killer to justice.

TRC: Would you please tell us about Madison, how you came up with the idea of a murder detective as your heroine?  Can you please also tell us the storyline in Sacrifice?

Carolyn: I enjoy reading and watching programs in the crime genre.  So, when I realized how much I loved writing, it seemed apt I would follow in line with what I chose for entertainment. 

Madison Knight was born because a lot of detective novels, television shows, or movies regularly depict a male detective as the lead and pair him with a submissive, female partner.  I didn’t want that.  Female cops have to be tough; they’re expected to compete at the same standards as men.  And, let’s face it, primarily it’s still a male-dominated careerSo not only do they have the rigors of the job, they are faced with a prejudice from “the boy’s club”.  They have to prove themselves strong and tough on a regular basis, despite being genetically pre-disposed with a more emotional make-up.  The great thing about female cops is they can use their emotion and intuition to pick up on small things their male counterpart may miss.

Here’s a copy of the jacket cover for SACRIFICE:

When the son of business tycoon Marcus Randall washes up on the shore of the Bradshaw River, Detective Madison Knight must sacrifice everything–including her career–to find justice for the “perfect murder”.

With Randall already on the radar of the Secret Service for fraud and counterfeiting, the investigation sheds new light and they require the full cooperation of the Stiles PD. But with power and money to back him, Marcus has a reach that extends right inside the police department.

If Madison’s going to find out the truth, she’ll have to sort through the lies and balance diplomacy with politics.

TRC: How many books do you plan for this series?

Carolyn: I don’t have a set number of books in mind but will keep writing Madison Knight as long as my readers want her, or her personal growth has been exhausted.  At this point, I have 3 released and a 4th written as a first draft.

TRC: What were your challenges in writing about Madison, who is a detective in major crimes division?

Carolyn: Research.  For one, I don’t have a background as a cop, nor do I have family who are.  So in order to make sure that my facts are accurate, this involves a lot of research on police department hierarchy and forensics.  And I never take one source and go from there.  I am careful to cross-reference material on a subject to make sure I have a solid understanding.

As for the politics among the ranks and the relationships, I immersed a part of myself in there.  What did I think it would be like to be a cop?  I built this on facts I had learned but humanized it.

According to a friend I’ve made, who had 30 years experience on the job, he swears I must have been a cop at one time.  As he described TIES THAT BIND, the first in the Madison Knight series:  “Police procedural at its best…. After 30 years as a cop I thought I would be bored with this book in less than a chapter, I was wrong. I just finished “Ties That bind” by Carolyn Arnold. It is amazing. If you like cop stories that are “technically correct”, read “Ties”. The attention to detail is incredible. From a cops perspective the technical details of the story are definitely legit. Arnold really did her homework in “Ties” researching interview techniques, evidence procedures, medical terminology, and legal issues that usually are painfully absent in most police procedural novels. Not in “Ties”, seriously the most technically correct police procedural novel I have ever read. The fictional side was even more entertaining than the facts! The relationships of the characters in the novel are as interesting and thought provoking, as the facts of the police and legal tactics described. I highly recommend “Ties That Bind”. If you want an entertaining, yet realistic read check it out.” 

TRC: Your website says you have another book coming this year… Assassination of a Dignitary.  Would you care to tell us the premise of this book and when are you expecting to release this book?

Carolyn: Assassination of a Dignitary is a thriller and is not part of the Madison Knight series.   It is set to release late fall/early winter 2012.

The following is the book blurb (it may be revised):
Raymond Hunter’s murderous past has returned and demands one final favor. Now, eighteen years later, settled as an accountant and family man, he assumed life would be calm. He thought wrong.  The Italian mafia wants him back.

The directions are simple:  Kill Governor Behler and be out for good.

An odd request since the mafia typically respects dignitaries, but in order to protect his family he has no choice but to accept the job.  He picks the date and location—Niagara Falls, New York—two hundred and forty miles away.  But when things go wrong, his family is kidnapped and he’s given twenty-four hours to set things right if he ever wants to see them again.  With time running out, Raymond discovers the real reason for the hit, and with law enforcement closing in, he fears he may not be able to save them.

TRC: You write a few different genres, such as Mystery/Suspense, Thrillers, Romance.  Do you have a preference?  Is there any other genre that interests you for the future?

Carolyn: My passion is between the mysteries and thrillers.

It’s ironic that you ask about other genres, because lately I’ve been dabbling in women’s fiction.  What started out as a short story may become a novelette or novella.  It’s probably a little soon to promote it, but I’m excited to say when it’s complete all proceeds will go to the Alzheimer’s Society in memoriam of my father-in-law.

TRC: Would you like to share with us what else you may have upcoming in 2012, as well as what you are projecting for 2013?

Carolyn: This year should see the release of ASSASSINATION OF A DIGNITARY, as discussed earlier.  It may possibly see the release of the women’s fiction piece I’m working on as well, but no promises there.

Next year should see the release of the 4th Madison Knight novel, FOUND INNOCENT, and possibly another novel.

TRC: Do you have a specific writing process?  Does it change when you are writing different genres? 

Carolyn: For the most part, I write as if I was watching a movie.  With my mysteries and thrillers, I have a basic premise as to the outcome but that doesn’t mean that by the time I get there that’s how things are.  I’ve been known to get to the end, and say, wait a minute this person’s not the killer, this one is.  It’s fun when that happens.  As it turned out, when it happened to me the clues were in the story all along.  This is the fun part about being a writer—going on unexpected journeys with your characters.

While I’m writing a first draft, I’ll have ideas for scenes or dialogue hit me, and I’ll note this at the end of where I’m at to pick up later.  There are times, however, I sit down to write and have no idea where I’m going next.  But, somehow, the scene(s) flow and before I know it I’ve written a lot of words.  It’s ironic, because those moments when I’m not sure exactly where the plot’s going can turn out to be some of the best writing sessions.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Carolyn: Just that I want to thank my readers.  If it wasn’t for them, my words would fall on a page and grow stale.  My readers keep me going and add further purpose and direction to my life.

Also, I invite everyone to connect with me online, as follows:

Amazon Author Page• WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebook 

TRC:Thank you, Carolyn for giving us an update on what we can look forward to for the rest of this year and next.  Good luck on Sacrifice.   


Sacrifice by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

Sacrifice by Carolyn Arnold – a Review

Sacrifice is Carolyn Arnold’s third book in her Madison Knight series.  Carolyn Arnold continues to make Madison Knight a great crime series, and each book just gets better and better.  Arnold once again shows her knowledge of police procedures, as Sacrifice is a terrific suspenseful detective crime thriller, somewhat similar to JD Robb’s In Death series. 

Madison Knight, our tough wonderful fearless detective, becomes embroiled in a case that will pit her against some major obstacles along the way. A rich scion’s son is found drowned, in what looks like a possible drug related murder. Working with her steady partner, Terry, Madison immediately suspects that her Chief is hiding some important information, as he is friends with the father of the dead man.  In almost every move she tries to take, she knows if she makes one bad move, the Chief will have her fired.  With all that pressure, Madison never falters, as she refuses to compromise her standards.  This does get her into trouble all the time, even with her partner Terry.  But make no mistake, Madison is a terrific detective, hardnosed, and determined;  you know somehow, someway, she will unravel all the complicating clues to find the murderer.

But complicated it is, as Arnold weaves a mystery that has turns and twists almost all the way through to the end.  This is a fast paced story, and you can’t put the book down, as you want to know what happens next.

Madison also has her own personal issues, with her mother, and with her boyfriend, Blake.  I liked Blake, a top lawyer, who seemed to be the one for Madison.  But he is also on the other side, a lawyer representing those who Madison tries to bring to justice.  Is this relationship doomed??  Madison can still rely on her dog Hershey for comfort.  🙂

One of the wonderful things about Arnold’s storytelling, is we continue throughout the book to see how the criminal procedurals work, whether it be multiple suspects, various clues, forensics/dna, other crooked cops, lawyers protecting their clients, etc.  Arnold pulls out all the stops, and Madison is a wonderful heroine.  She isn’t always nice, but she is a murder cop, so what would we expect.  But even with her tough & brash disposition, she is very vulnerable and lonely.  Madison doesn’t really have a great support team; as Terry is ok, a bit better then the previous two books, her police superiors are usually unsupportive, which stinks, as she is a great detective, her love life is a mess, but she has one good friend, and does have Hershey.  🙂 

This was a fantastic story all the way to the end.  I stayed up late to finish this book, as I needed to find out how it would end.  With all the twists and turns, you kept finding yourself going back and forth as to who the murderer was, which was so well done by Arnold.  If you love crime dramas, mysteries, and a tough female cop, this series is not to be missed.  I cannot wait for the next book in this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Author