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

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

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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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How To Reprimand Your Rock Star by Mina Vaughn-Review, Interview and Giveaway with the Author

HOW TO REPRIMAND YOUR ROCK STAR by Mina Vaughn-Review ,Interview and Giveaway with the Author

How To Reprimand Your Rock Star Banner

How To Reprimand Your Rock Star Domme Nation #2 by Mina Vaughn Release Date: July 21, 2014 Genre: adult, contemporary, BDSM

How To REprimand Your Rock Star

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

About the book: Release Date July 21, 2014 In this fun and saucy romance novel, all-star college basketball player Thea dominates on the courts—and off—with a rock star who is determined to win her over.

Thea is a star basketball player at UConn on track to be Rookie of the Year. That is, if she can stay focused on the game. Lately that hasn’t been going so well, as her knee has been bothering her. But that’s not the only thing on her mind…

Ever since rock star Keaton Lowe surprised her in the girl’s locker room, Thea can’t stop thinking about him. On top of his status and enticing ways, he seems to know everything about her. But some of his actions cross the line, and Keaton needs to be punished. Will Thea keep her head in the game, or get distracted by her other favorite pastime—reprimanding her rock star?

••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: HOW TO REPRIMAND YOUR ROCK STAR is the second instalment in Mina Vaughn’s adult contemporary Domme-Nation erotic series. Told from first person POV (Thea) the premise follows nineteen year old college freshman and women’s basketball star rookie Thea as she discovers the dominant side of her sexual nature. Finding rock star Keaton Lowe in the girl’s locker room brings out all of Thea’s dominant nature and the two begin a whirl wind courtship where Thea discovers that Keaton is the submissive to her dominant side.

Mina Vaughn writes erotic storylines that feature female leads in a position of dominance. The story follows Thea’s realization and education both on and off the court that one must take control to be a success and get what you want. In this, Thea will become a force on the basketball court as well as in the bedroom with Keaton Lowe.

The relationship between Thea and Keaton is based on power and control. This is not a story about sadism or masochism. There is no physical use of pain or force. How To Reprimand Your Rock Star is a story about one woman’s self discovery of what she needs and what she wants. But saying that, I did not feel the love connection between our couple-it felt more of a contract based on wants and needs; in my opinion there was nothing intimate or romantic about the relationship although Keaton did attempt to bring some humor into the situation. Thea is a woman with wants and needs, and Keaton is the man to submit to her demands.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley
Reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige 2

TRC: Hi Mina and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of HOW TO REPRIMAND YOUR ROCK STAR. We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

FOLLOW Mina: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads/

Mina VaughnMina: Hey there, thanks for having me! Let’s see, a little about me. I’m a girly-girl who loves makeup—like, I could LIVE at Sephora—but I also like working out and weights and sports. I’m an undercover tomboy, haha. I’ve lived all over New England, but I have had it with the awful winters and I’m considering moving south. I also have a crazy shoe fetish and I’m a foodie and a half.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Mina: Well, I started off writing fanfic, which was a lot of fun, but even before that I was always coming up with stories. My family talks about when I was a kid, I’d coordinate all the play with the neighbors. I’d come up with storylines, characters, and make them all act it out. I’m doing much more grown up content now, but I still feel like I’m playing around with characters and plot lines in the same way.

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

Mina: I love a good cup of tea to relax, and as crazy as it sounds, working out relaxes me. Go figure!

How To REprimand Your Rock StarTRC: HOW TO REPRIMAND YOUR ROCK STAR is your latest contemporary erotic romance release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Mina: It’s the story of Thea, a college freshman trying to find her way and her voice. When she encounters Keaton Lowe in her basketball team’s locker room, she’s drawn to him and the powerful way he makes her feel. The two begin to explore the bondage and domination side of BDSM, with her at the helm. But she has to navigate another two major obstacles—the NCAA Division I tournament and what it’s like to date a world-renowned rock star. Thea’s got a lot on her plate, but luckily, it’s all good stuff.

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

Mina: As for Thea, I had lots of athlete friends in college. I was always inspired by their drive, and their ability to balance being hot chicks with being absolute kick ass sports goddesses. With Keaton, he’s a combination of Green Day’s Billie Joe (spunk, blue eyes, impishness) and Tom Hiddleston (the voice, the swagger).

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

Mina: Tom Hiddleston as Keaton and Sarah Shahi (only with her hair curled) for Thea. TRC: How many books do you have planned for the DOMME-NATION series ?

Domme Nation Mina: Right now there will be three, but I won’t rule out more! TRC: What challenges or difficulties (research, logistics, background) did you encounter writing this particular story? Mina: Basketball tourney timing! I was lucky enough to have my friend, fellow writer Sarah Henning, to help me with this one. She has covered NCAA women’s basketball and really helped me shift around my story’s time line to coincide with what the real schedule would look like.

TRC: Many authors have followed a particular pattern as it pertains to storylines about BDSM and D/s relationships but you flip the scenario around with a female as the Dominant in several of your storylines. What was the decision behind this particular storyline trope and concept?

Mina: I was tired of alpha males, to be honest. I was so sick of guys who were just being asses, and I thought, “Gee, I’d love to turn the tables on him.” Thus DommeNation was born. Ladies in charge, baby!

TRC: Will all of your storylines in the Domme-Nation series feature a female domme as the leading character?

Mina: Yes, all of the DommeNation series will have women on top, however, they’ll all be in different states in their lives. Thea is just learning to be a domme whereas Cerise was one for a long time!

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

Mina: I’m a plotter, bigtime. I need to know where a story is going. I map it out and make sure it makes sense, and then use the basic premise to direct the characters and where they go. Sometimes they do surprise me! ☺

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?

Mina: What a writer must do—keep the story on the border between believable and unbelievable. Believable so they can relate, unbelievable so that it’s a fantasy! I see writers fail when I don’t get hooked early on. The first few chapters are so key—people have precious little time, so if you don’t hook em early, it’s over!

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

Mina: This is 100% the reason why I outline. I never get writer’s block because I can rely on a good outline to save the day. Speaking of save, if you want to learn how to write a killer outline, read Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. It’s basically an equation for a book!

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

Mina: I have a ridiculously amazing support system, a sisterhood of sorts, and we call each other The Filets. It consists of Helena Hunting, Shannon Lumetta, Alice Clayton, Nina Bocci, E L James, Debra Anastasia, Leisa Rayven and Katherine Stevens. I love those girls like you would not believe.

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

Mina: Get published in print.

Keep writing what I love.

Meet more fans and writer friends.

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

Mina: I know karate.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Mina: How to Punish Your Playboy, the third book in the DommeNation series! It’s about a feisty pin-up model Veronika, who meets an arrogant, sexy restauranteur named Aston. Stay tuned for hot cars, delicious foods, and some serious steaminess.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Mina: Thank you for having me!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food—Foie Gras

Favorite Dessert—Macaroon cookies

Favorite TV Show—True Detective

Last Movie You Saw– Chef

Favorite Musical Group—FALL OUT BOY

Dark or Milk Chocolate– Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush—Tom Hiddleston (not a secret at all)

Last Vacation Destination—New Orleans

Pet Peeve—Close-talkers

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

Giveaway beige

Mina Vaughn is offering an ecopy of HOW TO REPRIMAND YOUR ROCK STAR to three (3) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

1. Please register 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 Mina Vaughn on Facebook

6. The giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.

7. The giveaway runs from July 20 to July 25, 2014

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The Containment Zone by Danielle Singleton-Review and Interview with the Author

The Containment Zone by Danielle Singleton-Review and Interview with the Author

The Containment Zone

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date April 29, 2014

When a disease pandemic sweeps the nation, people in the United States start dying in unprecedented numbers. As the mysterious illness spreads like wildfire, killing nearly 90% of the population, leaders in the region and around the world scramble to figure out how to respond. In a highly controversial move, the borders of the United States are closed and no one is allowed to enter or exit the country. What happens next – inside and outside the “containment zone” – tests the bounds of both medical science and human nature. In this compelling novel, author Danielle Singleton raises the questions people are too afraid to ask – and then answers them in thrilling fashion.

••••••••••••••••••

The Containment Zone is not my usual read, but I found it quite entertaining. It’s basically an apocalyptic type story, without romance, more science and adventure.

The premise is a really scary but good one; a disease that ravages the USA in a matter of weeks killing 90% of the population. How’s that for tingling excitement! It almost feels like you could watch this story on a TV or movie screen. There’s a lot of science in it and global politics.

One of the storylines in this was those who eschewed the MMR vaccine for themselves and their children, like the Amish, and some other religions, and yes, even good ole “hippy” types; they were the only ones to survive the disease, except those out of the country at the time. I also appreciated the way many characters brought God into the storyline of this one.

It was interesting to see the politics evolve as the USA was used as the “Containment Zone” and the entire country was quarantined, a truly massive effort – but well written.

I don’t want to do spoilers on how this was resolved, but it involved a global effort to isolate and find the cause of the disease as well as a vaccine to keep it from spreading…ironic yes, since it was the MMR vaccine that caused the mutated disease to kill so many. It’s a very thought provoking story in many ways. Lots of hard decisions on the part of the world leaders and local survivors.

Much of the story is dedicated, and well done, to how quickly the disease spread. Also, the way governments cooperated to blockage the USA, our own overseas troops and equipment used to help do this. All coordinated by NATO, whose military head was one of our generals (a wonderful man).

A whole town of heroes in Shining Light, Texas survived and gave their all for their country!

As I said earlier, reading this I could easily see it as a TV movie or series…hmmmm.

I would have loved to have more development and time with some of the characters, but with an event this quick and deadly…
So, if this kind of excitement and interesting thriller is your thing, pick this up and have yourself a really good read!

Copy supplied by author for an honest review.

Reviewed by Georgianna

 

Interview

TRC: Hi Danielle and welcome to The Reading Cafe.

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

Follow Danielle: Goodreads/ Twitter//Website/Facebook

Danielle SingletonDanielle: Something about myself…hmm. Well, I live in Atlanta with a fantastic “roommate” (my dog, Gus). I’m also only about 30 minutes away from where my parents, sister, and nephew live, and it’s really nice to have my family nearby. Family is very important to me.

TRC: You are a lawyer by trade and education. Have you ever had the opportunity to apply your education and background to any of your storylines?

Danielle: I haven’t written any legal thrillers or anything like that, but I definitely think my education has helped with my writing. Law school taught me a lot about how to write and convey a story to the audience, and it also taught me the importance of research. I spend a lot of time researching for my books to make sure they’re as realistic as possible.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Danielle: I’ve always liked telling stories, but I’d say that two of my childhood teachers most influenced my career in writing. I was really lucky to have those 2 great English teachers while in school, and they taught me not only how to write but also how to appreciate and apply the intricacies of literature to my own stories.

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

Danielle: I go running with my dog on most days and I also really like to watch and play sports. During the summer, my free time is often spent at the lake.

The Containment ZoneTRC: THE CONTAINMENT ZONE is your April 2014 release. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Danielle: Sure. The Containment Zone is a thriller that fits into the apocalyptic fiction category. An epidemic sweeps the United States and kills so many people that the United Nations closes the US borders. The book centers on what happens after the border is closed…how people inside and outside the “containment zone” react to the crisis.

TRC: Where did the idea for a pandemic storyline originate?

Danielle: I wanted to write a story about government overreach, originally. Something about how a government mandate went wrong. My imagination kicked into gear from there and I ended up with a vaccine program wreaking havoc. I know…it’s a bit of a strange way to arrive at a pandemic storyline!

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

Danielle: The character of the British prime minister has a lot of Margaret Thatcher in her (not very creative there!). None of the other characters are based in reality, though, and the premise isn’t either. I do often make the characters have the same names as people I know, but I use their names randomly.

TRC: What do you want your readers to take away from this particular book?

Danielle: That it’s a great book and everyone should read it! Haha. Just kidding (well, sort of…). In all seriousness, I hope readers take away two things. One: that life is precious and can be taken away at any moment, so they should live with no regrets and never take tomorrow for granted. Two: so-called “ordinary” people can do extraordinary things – never underestimate the difference one person can make.

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

Danielle: The Containment Zone has a very broad scope. It’s about a pandemic that threatens the globe, and I struggled to adequately convey the magnitude of the situation while keeping the plot and characters compact enough that it wouldn’t be confusing for readers. That was definitely my biggest struggle. I was lucky to have some family and friends with professional expertise in medicine and the military who I could go to with any research questions.

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

Danielle: I think cliff hangers can be good as long as they’re done well. I don’t like it when you can tell that the story was better suited to be one book and the author chops it in half just to have two books rather than one. I wrote a series, the Joseph series, that has a surprise at the end of the first book (not a cliff hanger, though). But I think readers in general like series because they can get to know the characters better.

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

Danielle: A little bit of both, I think. I have a firm, detailed outline of what I want the story to be, but within that the characters will often develop in ways and do things that surprise me.

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?

Danielle: Conveying the emotions of the characters is definitely one of the hardest parts of writing fiction. I think a writer has to start by developing the characters enough that readers feel like they know them…so that, in the mind of the reader, Josiah Jones or Lucy Rodgers or whoever it may be is less of a character and more of a person. It’s also important to develop the world that the characters live in. What does the room look like? Smell like? What does the food taste like? How is the weather? The readers need to be able to put themselves into the story, and they can’t do that if they don’t know what that story’s world is like. I think writers fail by focusing too much on plot and not enough on characters and setting, leaving the characters too one-dimensional for the readers to be able to relate to them.

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

Danielle: Like I mentioned earlier, I have a solid outline that I build out, but within that I don’t write in any particular order. So if I get blocked in one area of the story then I can bounce over to another area and work on that. If I’m really, really stuck on any given day, then I’ll work on character development or research or something that I know I can always
use more of but that doesn’t require too much creativity.

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

Danielle: My mom is probably my main sounding board while I’m still putting the story together. In the editing stage, though, I have a Reading Committee of about 5-6 people who help me with not only grammar but also research and things like character and plot consistency.

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

Danielle: In relation to my writing career, I’d like to:

(1) publish at least 3 more books

(2) have my first bestseller

(3) get to a point where I can focus solely on writing and not have a “day
job.”

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

Danielle: I’m ambidextrous.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Danielle: I’m working on my 5th book, which is a paranormal fiction story.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Danielle: Thank you so much for having me for an interview! I love getting to interact with readers this way!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food - pizza

Favorite Dessert - ice cream

Favorite TV Show - Downton Abbey

Last Movie You Saw - “Skyfall” (James Bond)

Favorite Musical Group/Song - George Strait…he has too many great songs
to pick just one favorite!

Dark or Milk Chocolate - I’m allergic to chocolate.

Secret Celebrity Crush - Bradley Cooper (we both went to Georgetown!)

Last Vacation Destination - Charleston, SC

Pet Peeve - people who use poor grammar

TRC: Thank you Danielle for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of THE CONTAINMENT ZONE. We wish you continued success and look forward to many more storylines.

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Vampire Trouble by Sara Humphreys -Review, Interview and Giveaway

Vampire Trouble by Sara Humphreys-Review, Interview and Giveaway

Vampire Trouble Banner

Vampire Trouble
Dead in the City #2
by Sara Humphreys
Genre: paranormal, romance, adult, contemporary
Release Date: July 1, 2014

 

Vampire Trouble

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

Shane Quesada, a four-century old vampire sentry, is known for cold, unemotional precision when hunting rogue vampires.

Maya Robertson is a youngling vampire who will not be controlled—and to prove it, she rejects Shane’s protection—only to find herself in over her head with an alpha werewolf.

Soon, a war between the coven and the werewolf clan ignites, and Maya and Shane flee to Louisiana, where their passion for each other grows—as does Maya’s power. When she finds herself at the center of the conflict, will she finally trust Shane with her life—and her heart?

•••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: VAMPIRE TROUBLE is the second instalment in Sara Humphreys’ contemporary, adult Dead in the City paranormal romance series that is a spinoff from her popular Amoveo Legend series. This is four hundred year old vampire Shane Quesada and youngling vampire Maya Robertson’s story. Maya was first introduced in book one Tall, Dark and Vampire. Because of the Amoveo Legend crossover, many of the secondary characters will be familiar to readers of Sara’s other series.

The focus of the storyline is on Shane and Maya’s building relationship as well as the slowly evolving war between the werewolves and the New York Coven. One werewolf in particular has targeted Maya for extermination and Shane has been ordered to guard Maya with his life. Finding themselves secluded in Louisiana, Maya will discover that she is much more than a youngling vampire and the wolves are determined to end her life. A gypsy woman will begin to uncover the truth about Maya’s past and it is a past that has followed her to the Bayou.

The relationship between Shane and Maya is tepid and volatile. Shane has been attracted to Maya in a way that can only be explained through DNA but Maya’s attitude, anxiety and acidic personality are something that only a bloodmate would find appealing. As the storyline builds, so too does the relationship that will find our couple fighting for their lives as well as their love. The sex is sensual, passionate and arousing but Shane’s love for Maya may not be enough to keep our couple safe or together.

The world building continues from book one with the inclusion of many of the previous storyline characters including the New York Coven czars Doug and Olivia and a number of the Amoveo Legend vampires, shifters and supernatural powers. Sara does an amazing job crossing over and the blending between the two series with the familiarity of many names, places and powers.

VAMPIRE TROUBLE is a seductive storyline where two vampires will find love and a happily ever after. Sara Humphreys writes an intelligent, inventive and spirited series where the impossible seems possible and the improbable has already began.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

 

Interview
Sara HumphreysTRC: Hi Sara and welcome back to The Reading Café

Sara: Thank you! I’m so excited to be here :)

TRC: Congratulations on the release of VAMPIRE TROUBLE –the second book of your Dead in the City paranormal series.

Tall Dark and VampireWhen last we talked –August 2013-you had just released the first installment in the Dead in the City series- TALL, DARK AND VAMPIRE. How were the book and series received by the readers?

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

Sara: I was thrilled to see so many of my Amoveo Legend readers go right to the new vamp series and welcome it with open arms. It was also a great way to connect with new readers. So far so good!

TRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of VAMPIRE TROUBLE?

Sara: Sure! Maya is a vamp bartender at The Coven, the hottest Goth nightclub in NYC that is run by a coven of vampires. Maya Robertson is a youngling vampire who was turned only five years ago. Her only clear memory of her human life is the night she was turned. Raped and beaten, her maker, Olivia, found her in an alley behind the nightclub and turned her. Maya relives the attack every day in her dreams. To mantain some sens of control, she hunts human men who look like her attacker but never kills them. She feeds on them and toys with them the way a cat would with a mouse. Let’s just say, the girl has some issues.

Vampire In Trouble July 2014Shane Quesada is a four hundred year old vampire sentry and an elite soldier for The Presidium, the vampire government. Nothing rattles him. Until he meets Maya and is unexpectedly pulled into her nightmares. Vampires stop dreaming about ten years after they are turned, so when Shane finds himself in the dreamscape after centuries of leaden slumber, he knows Maya is more than just a random youngling.

When a pack of werewolves comes to the city unannounced, Maya finds herself in over her head. The impulsive and tempestuous little vamp causes her share of trouble but let’s just say that Shane is there to help her navigate her increasingly dangerous future.

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

Sara: It was important to make Maya likable because in TALL, DARK, AND VAMPIRE (DIC #1), she wasn’t particularly popular. She’s kind of a pain in the ass and a bit of a spoiled brat but in this book readers get to find out why Maya is the way she is. Also, due to her violent past, I wanted to be sure she was empowered by Shane but not dependent upon him. It was challenging to find that balance.

UnclaimedTRC: UNCLAIMED was the December 2013 release in your Amoveo Legend series. What do you have planned next for the series?

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

Sara: In February 2015 we will be releasing UNBOUND. It’s an Amoveo Legend novella featuring an Amoveo Guardian named Zachary. Readers met him in UNCLAIMED and his story is a bit different from all the others. I don’t want to give too much away but it has a Romeo and Juliet vibe…but with a happy ending. I also have two other Amoveo Legend novels planned, one of which is Steven’s story. He’s become a fan favorite and the poor guy got put through the ringer, so he definitely needs his HEA.

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

Sara: I’m okay with cliffhangers in romance as long as it’s not about the hero and the heroine. The readers deserve to see the hero and heroine get an HEA even if it’s an HEA “for now”. That being said, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to have background characters involved in cliffhangers.

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

Sara: I start with an overall path in mind but more often than not, the characters tell me where to take them.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Sara: My husband has been my biggest cheerleader from day one and if it weren’t for his support, I wouldn’t be doing this for a living.

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

Sara: I love to read and I’m a movie junkie. When I turn in a book, I treat myself and go to the movies alone in the middle of the day. It’s awesome.

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

Sara:
1. Improve my writing. Every book should be better than the last.
2. Make the NYT and/or USA Today Bestseller lists.
3. Publish my YA series–Daughters of Heaven and Hell.

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

Sara: I’m not telling. That’s why few people know about it ;)

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sara: BRAVE THE HEAT. It’s book one in my first contemporary romance series, The McGuire Brothers. Look for it next July.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Sara: Just to say thank you…I’m so very lucky to do what I do for a living.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Song

At the moment….The Sound of Sunshine.

Favorite Musical Group

The Eagles

Last Movie You Saw

Constantine

Last Book You Read

Her Perfect Mate by Paige Tyler

Last Vacation Destination

New Orleans for #RT14.

Pet Peeve

Mean people. They suck.

TRC: Thank you Sara for taking the time to answer our questions. It is always a pleasure catching up with our favorite authors.

giveaway

Sara and her publisher are offering a paper copy of VAMPIRE TROUBLE 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 Sara Humphreys on Twitter

6. Giveaway is open to USA/Canada only.

7. Giveaway runs from July 17-July 22 , 2014

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Matthew Todd-Interview with the Cover Model

Matthew Todd-Interview with the Cover Model

August 3, 2014 marks the release of KM Scott’s new Club X series and we would like to introduce to you the cover model for book one TEMPTATION -Matthew Todd

Temptation July 14TRC: Hi Matthew and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the recent cover of KM Scott’s –Club X-TEMPTATION.

Matthew: Thank you! Happy to be here!

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

Follow Matthew on:  Facebook

Matthew: I’m 29, live in North Carolina, born and raised in New York though. I was a firefighter for 8 years, before starting my own company. On my off time I love to take out the motorcycle, and spend time with my wife and son.

TRC: What were your goals and aspirations growing up?

Matthew: Honestly? I always wanted to be a dad. There was just something about being a dad that I couldn’t wait for. And now that I am one, I love every second of it. I also knew I wanted to help people, hence joining the fire department at a young age.

TRC: Will you please tell us about how you got started in the modeling/cover modeling business?

Matthew: My wife is the owner of Cover Me, Darling, and out of the blue said she needed a favor… She asked me to model for a shoot, and the rest just took off from there.

Follow Cover Me, Darling on Facebook and Twitter

TRC: What was your first ‘published’ cover and by whom?

Matthew Todd 7Matthew: The first book that I actually got to hold in my hand was Strip Me Bare by Marissa Carmel. I believe that was the first one to be printed too.

TRC: Do you know how many covers on which your image has appeared?

Matthew: I think its around 6 or 7? Maybe?

TRC: At times, there has been a ‘stigma’ surrounding the male model and the romance-cover industry. What is your opinion about the recent popularity of the romance/paranormal storyline and the very busy industry of the romance cover model? IN other words, do you believe the cover images help sell the books?

Matthew Todd 1Matthew: Absolutely. I 100% believe that they help sell the books. If I’m looking to read a book, I’m going to go for one that has a cover that draws me in.

TRC: Have you ever had a photo shoot that went completely wrong?

Matthew: Every single one of them hahaha. It really doesn’t go wrong, it’s just that I joke around a lot and make the photographer (…wife) annoyed. I make a ton of ridiculous faces. So it’s not that it goes wrong, it’s that I go wrong I guess. lol

TRC: Where was the most exotic setting you have had the opportunity to work and model?

Matthew: I mostly do local shoots, so I haven’t gone anywhere too exotic for shoots yet. Hopefully I will someday, maybe Hawaii haha.

TRC: Nudity in modeling or acting can be controversial. Some pictures can cross the line between sexuality and pornography. What would you tell young models just entering the business about nude modeling?

Matthew Todd 2Matthew: If you’re comfortable with it, then go for it. Just make sure you are working with a professional, and don’t go beyond what you are okay with.

TRC: Whom do you most admire and why?

Matthew: Every firefighter that puts their life on the line to save someone elses.

TRC: What is your most embarrassing moment?

Matthew: I walked into a storm door the other day while I was working.. like a bird.. right in my face. That was pretty embarrassing.

TRC: When you are not modeling what can we find you doing-in other words-what is your ‘day job’? ;)

Matthew: I own a Home Theater Installation and IT company. So most likely, I’m on a job, scheduling a job, or doing an estimate to get a job. … or in the pool with my son ☺

TRC: What three (3) things would you like to accomplish in the next ten (10) years?

Matthew Todd coverMatthew: As an avid skydiver, I want to do a halo jump. I want to keep growing my company. And I also want to go to Antigua, it’s a long overdue trip for me and my wife.

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

Matthew: I cry watching The Land Before Time… shh.

TRC: Would you please tell us what you do to relax?

Matthew: At this point in my life? I don’t know what “relax” means anymore. But the beach is always nice…

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Matthew: It’s a highly classified secret ;)

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Matthew: Yes! I will be at the Southern Girls Author Event, July 19th, in North Carolina. I’ll be sitting with Marissa Carmel. So come say hi!!!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Penne Alla Vodka

Favorite Dessert: Tiramisu

Favorite TV Show: NCIS: Los Angeles

Last Movie You Saw: Shrek (with the little guy)

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk Chocolate

Favorite Song (at the moment): Summer by Calvin Harris

Secret Celebrity Crush: Daniela Ruah

Last Vacation Destination: New York

Pet Peeve: People stealing my food

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

Matthew: Thank you for taking the time to get to know me! I had a lot of fun ☺

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For the Longest Time by Kendra Leigh Castle – Interview, Review & Giveaway

For the Longest Time by Kendra Leigh Castle – Interview, Review & Giveaway

 

For The Longest Time Banner

 

For The Longest TimeAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / The Book Depository

Description:
For Samantha Henry, it took a ten-year absence to appreciate the close-knit New England town with an appeal all its own….

After a perfect storm of events leaves Sam high, dry, and jobless, she has to head home to Harvest Cove to regroup. Growing up, she was the town misfit, and a brief high school romance that resulted in heartbreak made her realize she was never going to fit in. But now with the support of her mother and an unexpected circle of allies, Sam starts to wonder if she’s misjudged the town all these years.

Life’s been good to Jake Smith. He transitioned from popular jock to town veterinarian without any trouble. But Sam’s homecoming makes him question his choices. The sharp-tongued beauty was never a good fit for the small community, but he’s never forgotten her—or how good they were together. While she makes it clear she’s not about to repeat the past, Jake’s determined to convince her to give him—and Harvest Cove—a second chance.

 

Review:

For the Longest Time by Kendra Leigh Castle is the first book in her new Harvest Cove series. Sam Henry is our heroine, and as the story begins, she is driving back home to Harvest Cove, after being away for 10 years. Sam laments how everything in New York that was on its way to a promising career as an artist, falls apart, and her roommate leaves her alone. Sam does what she has to do, go back home to regroup financially. But Sam dreads going back home, since she has only been back for family affairs a few times over the years. She left as a teenager, after graduation, having suffered a heartbreak and humiliation. Sam being artist, even in her teenage years was considered a “freak”, and treated like an outcast. The High School “clique” (in-crowd) did not like her artistry clothes or hair (many colors), so she was ridiculed often for being different.

Jake Smith was the high school jock, who was a member of the “clique”. Sam had a private crush on Jake, who noticed Sam and ended up dating her a few times. Only to feel the pressure from his peers, eventually dumping her.

Now all these years later, he runs into Sam as she arrives at her mom’s house. She ends up helping him pick up some stray cats. Sam learns quickly that her childhood crush is now the town’s veterinarian, and he is even hotter than he was in his school days. But Sam is leery, and wants nothing to do with Jake, who already is eying the beautiful and grown up, Sam.

What follows is a sweet romance that builds despite what happened in the past. Sam is now stronger, with a backbone to stand up for herself. She isn’t totally confident to face Jake’s friends, who made her life a living hell, and who are still in this day, very much the same ignorant group. This is somewhat of a lesson on prejudice and how it can affect the lives of others.

Sam, despite her determination not to get involved, does find herself falling for Jake, and having his dog, Tucker and the kittens around doesn’t hurt. They are adorable. Jake is truly a nice guy, and a hunk. He knows what he did as a teenager was wrong and is bent on proving himself to Sam that he is not the boy she knew. I loved their relationship. Watching their romance grow, as each began to trust each other more, and open up. Will Jake stay with Sam, or fall once again to his friends prejudices? Will Sam be able to resume her artist career?

This was a really nice story, with a lot of humor and fun. Sam and Jake made a nice couple that we rooted for pretty early on. Some of the secondary characters, were very nice, and since this series will continue, I look forward to learning more about them. I also adored Loki (Sam’s kitten), and Tucker (Jake’s lovable dog). I totally recommend reading For The Longest Time, as it was a fun, humorous read, with a great couple, cute animals, and with a serious subject in the background.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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

TRC: Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Kendra: Thanks for having me here today! Hmm, about me…I’m 37, a Navy wife from Northern New York who has now lived all over the country. I’ve been writing professionally since 2007, which is when I sold my first book, and For the Longest Time is my first contemporary romance. Up until now, it’s been all paranormal, which was a lot of fun…but I was ready to try something new! I drink a lot of coffee, love animals (we have two Newfoundland dogs and a big Siberian cat), and have three kids. I spend a lot of time running around with my hair on fire.

TRC: Have you always been interested in writing?

Kendra: Always. I was a bookworm by the time I was three, an early and voracious reader. The writing stemmed naturally from that. I wrote a lot of bad poetry as a kid, and I actually remember one really, really awful attempt at a romantic vampire story when I was maybe ten or eleven. Fortunately, both my skills and my ideas improved!

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

Kendra: Staying on track and pushing through the days when I don’t seem to have anything to say is probably my biggest challenge. Sometimes the words flow better than others, and sometimes every word is a struggle. It’s amazing how long it can take to write three pages when your brain is in “I’m tired and I don’t wanna” mode. That’s the worst for me!

TRC: For the Longest Time is the first book in your Harvest Cove series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?

Kendra: That was the easy part, really…I love small town settings in books, maybe because I grew up in one. When I knew I was going to try to write a contemporary, creating a small New England town to set it in was a given for me, and I really enjoyed doing it. The town is the heart of the series, and I hope readers see it as a sort of character in its own right.

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

Kendra: The series is about a bunch of interconnected people who call Harvest Cove, Massachusetts home. I’m working on the third book right now, and I’d love to just keep writing them…I don’t have an end point in mind right now. I know the Cove has a lot more stories for me to tell!

For The Longest TimeTRC: Would you please give us a brief description of For the Longest Time?

Kendra: Sure! For the Longest Time is a story about second chances, complete with a charming misfit unwillingly returning home, the handsome veterinarian who broke her heart, and an adorable kitten who unwittingly brings them back together. When artist Sam Henry loses her job and her inspiration, she doesn’t have much of a choice but to return home to Harvest Cove, the town where she never fit in…and she has the emotional scars to prove it. The last person she wants to see is Jake Smith, the popular jock turned town veterinarian, but thanks to a litter of orphaned kittens underneath her mother’s porch, he’s one of the first people she encounters. Sam has come a long way from the shy, bullied girl who unwisely trusted Jake with her heart, and no matter how hot the sparks still flying between them are, she’s determined not to repeat the mistakes of her past. But Jake has grown up too, harboring his own regrets. And he’s determined to show Sam that sometimes, a first love deserves a second chance.

TRC: You write both contemporary romance & paranormal romance. Do you have a preference? Have you ever thought about writing in another genre?

Kendra: No preference. When I first started writing, I couldn’t imagine doing anything but paranormal romance. As time went on, though, and the market changed, I started to feel like I should try to stretch myself a bit and see what else I could do. As I said, I’ve always found small town settings appealing, so I decided to try a small town contemporary…and I loved it! I’m naturally inclined to throw a lot of humor into my stories, and that’s always been something I’ve had to rein in when writing darker paranormals. Now, though, I can just write funny and sweet, and it’s really, really comfortable for me. Both subgenres are great fun to write in, and it’s nice to be able to do both. As far as writing in a completely different genre, the only one I might consider is fantasy, but I’m too busy to even think about really giving it a go right now!

TRC: What are you currently working on?

Kendra: I’m writing the third book in the Harvest Cove series, Zoe’s story. She’s a character I really loved writing in For the Longest Time, and she definitely deserves her own happily ever after!

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

Kendra: I have three kids with their own interesting schedules, and I’m the official chauffeur, so…I try to write when they’re all in school. But mostly I just squeeze it in whenever I have time during the day. I do have a couple of comfy chairs I head for with my laptop, though. And I need it to be quiet, because I’m easily distracted. That’s why one of my comfy chairs is in my bedroom, out of the way of my noisy crew!

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?

Kendra: If I get stuck, I’ll bounce things off of my mom. She’s an excellent sounding board. My editor, too, has proven to be excellent at spitballing ideas with me. Beyond that, though, I’m a pretty quiet, solitary writer. I don’t tend to like to show things off until I’ve really fleshed them out and finished them.

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

Kendra: The romance authors who’ve most influenced me are the ones I grew up reading—Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, and Nora Roberts are the big ones. There’s a warmth and intimacy to their writing that I’m always striving for with my own. Outside of romance, Stephen King, for his amazing way with characters, and Neil Gaiman, for his gorgeous prose.

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

Kendra: I like to read and play video games to unwind. I used to sing, as well…I sang tenor in a barbershop quartet and chorus, and I sang in a church choir. That’s something I’ve always loved to do, and something I’d love to get back into one of these days (did I mention my children keep me super busy right now?).

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Kendra: I’ve got nothing to add except to thank you again for having me here today! For the Longest Time is a book I’m very proud of—I really hope readers enjoy this first trip to Harvest Cove!


LIGHTNING ROUND 

 Favorite Food: Sushi

Favorite Dessert: Cherry cheesecake

Favorite Movie: Stardust

Favorite TV Show: Game of Thrones

Favorite Movie or TV Celebrity: Alan Rickman

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk

Favorite literary character (not your own): Arya Stark 

Dog or Cat: Both!

Thank you Kendra, for answering our questions. The Reading Café wishes you the best of luck with For the Longest Time.

 

 

About The Author
Kendra

The Reading Cafe is happy to welcome Kendra Leigh Castle.  Today Kendra will be discussing her new release, For The Longest Time, which is the 1st book in her new Harvest Cove series. Kendra will also tell us what she has upcoming.

Let’s talk to Kendra.

 

 

 

giveaway
Kendra and her publisher are offering a paper copy of her new release For The Longest Time  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 Kendra Leigh Castle on FACEBOOK for an additional entry

6. Giveaway is open to USA only.

7. Giveaway runs from July 8  to July 11, 2014

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Treasures, Demons and Other Black Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge-Review and Giveaway

Treasures, Demons and Other Black Magic by Meghan Ciana Doidge-Review and Giveaway

Treasure Demons and Other Black Magic Banner

Treasures, Demons, And Other Black Magic
Dowser Series #3
by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Release Date: June 11, 2014
Genre: adult, urban fantasy, vampires, witches

SONY DSC

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 11, 2014

I hadn’t set foot in the human world for more than a few hours in over three and a half months. Sure, I was stronger and faster than I’d ever been before, and I had a shiny new sword, but I was seriously chocolate deprived. I don’t recommend quitting cold turkey. And the new sword was a problem — to my mind, anyway. It represented all the expectations of a powerful father and a new otherworldly life. A life that wasn’t the one I’d worked so hard to build. It also represented the responsibility I had to bring my foster sister Sienna to … what? Justice? I didn’t know if that was even possible. What I did know was that Sienna wouldn’t stop, and that I couldn’t just leave everything up to fate and destiny … or maybe I was. Maybe I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. If you believed in that sort of thing.

I just hoped that before the chaos and mayhem renewed, I’d manage to get my hands on some chocolate. It didn’t even have to be single-origin Madagascar. I was utterly prepared to lower my standards.

••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW:   I am experiencing a sugar high coupled with chocolate bliss after reading TREASURES, DEMONS, and OTHER BLACK MAGIC by Meghan Ciana Doidge! Be prepared for a sensory overload of fast paced action, divine descriptions of chocolate and desserts and melt in your mouth descriptions of the scents of magic.

We are transported back into the thick of action with Jade and her gang! Jade has been missing for the past three months, because she has been training with her father’s kin. *spoiler alert from last novel* Yes, Jade’s dear dad is a Dragon! That’s why Jade is so powerful! She is shown a vision in The Nexus, that if she returns to her life without training, all of her friends and family will be killed. Jade escapes through a portal in Scotland, to pursue Sienna, her evil foster sister. A fledgling dragon named Drake tags along and soon steals the show! What a wonderful new character! Drake is a young, Zen-like Dragon that loves life and getting into trouble. They soon meet up with Kett, the ancient vampire and Kandy, who is Jade’s werewolf bodyguard. We follow the gang to London in pursuit of Sienna and to rescue Mory, the young Necromancer. What a showdown we have, but things are not over yet!!

The author takes us back to Canada for the final action! Jade figures out Sienna’s next move which is to reanimate demons! Jade unites the whole magic community in crushing her once and for all!! The Skinwalkers, Shifters, Witches, Necromancers and one sexy vampire team together. My only complaint was that Desmond, the uber-sexy Alpha shifter didn’t come into the story until 75% in!! That was NOT enough read time for Jade and Desmond’s hot off the charts banter! I won’t spoil any of the dramatic ending, if it is the ending? Oh Meghan, the mischief you create!! This is a thoroughly wonderful read that was full of action and characters that I adore! Plus, the chocolate descriptions were so divine and I still can fit into my jeans! Alas, I have been ruined for cheap chocolate! Enjoy Book 3 in the Dowser Series, it has all of the right ingredients!

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Jules

Guest Post beige

Want to try some ‘Sunshine in a Cup’? The recipe for yellow citrus cake batter and lemon butter cream frosting are below. Let me know what you think.

yellowcirtus_cakerecipe

lemonbuttercream_icing_RECIPE

 

Series Spotlight

Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic
Dowser Series #1
by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Release Date:June 18, 2013
Genre: adult, urban fantasy, witches, vampires

Click HERE for our review of CUPCAKES, TRINKETS AND OTHER DEALY MAGIC

FREE ebook:  Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Barnes and Noble / KOBO /


SONY DSCABOUT THE BOOK:  Release Date June 18, 2013

If you’d asked me a week ago, I would have told you that the best cupcakes were dark chocolate with chocolate cream cheese icing, that dancing in a crowd of magic wielders — the Adept — was better than sex, and that my life was peaceful and uneventful. Just the way I liked it.

That’s what twenty-three years in the magical backwater of Vancouver will get you — a completely skewed sense of reality. Because when the dead werewolves started showing up, it all unraveled … except for the cupcake part. That’s a universal truth.

_____________________

Trinkets, Treasures and Other Bloody Magic
The Dowser Series #2
by Meghan Ciana Doidge
Release Date: December 27, 2013

Click HERE for our review of TRINKETS, TREASURES AND OTHER BLOODY MAGIC.

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


SONY DSCABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date: December 27, 2013

Three months ago, I lost my foster sister, Sienna, to the darkness. As in blood magic and chaos and general mayhem. No one saw it until it was too late, but I should have. Now, I have a wounded heart and soul that I can’t even reveal to anyone around me, because I’m supposed to hate Sienna with the fiery passion of the justified. And I do. I just wish I didn’t feel so lost without her, so unsure of the path I thought I had carved for myself, and so outclassed by the powerful Adepts constantly by my side these days. I’m not even sure if they’re with me for my own protection or because my shiny new powers are rare and valuable. Assuming I ever figure out who or what I am, and how my magic actually works.

Even chocolate can’t save the day every time … just most of the time. At least I’ve got that going for me.

About The Author beige
Meghan Ciana DoidgeMeghan Ciana Doidge is an award-winning writer based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She has a penchant for bloody love stories, superheroes, and the supernatural. She also has a thing for chocolate, potatoes, and sock yarn.

Novels – After The Virus, Spirit Binder, Time Walker, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic – Dowser #1, Trinkets, Treasures, and Other Bloody Magic – Dowser #2, Treasures, Demons, and Other Black Magic – Dowser #3

Novellas/Shorts – Love Lies Bleeding and The Graveyard Kiss

WARNING: author has been known to manipulate characters with chocolate, sex, and fantastical plotting. Readers beware http://author.to/meghancianadoidge

Follow Meghan: Goodreads / Website / Facebook / Twitter

Giveaway beige

Meghan is graciously offering all 3 ebooks in the DOWSER Series to ONE (1) commenter at The Reading Cafe.

Dowser Series

1. Please register 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 Meghan Ciana Doidge on Facebook.

6. The giveaway is open Internationally

7. The giveaway runs from July 7 to July 11, 2014

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