Surrender to Sin by Nicola Davidson – a Review

Surrender to Sin by Nicola Davidson – a Review

 

Surrender to SinAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
To save her, he must ruin her.

Lord Sebastian St. John, dedicated bachelor and a co-owner of Fallen, the most scandalous pleasure club in London, is known as Sin for good reason. Orphaned by a shocking accident, Sin long ago vowed a life of solitude and
decadence. Yet when Lady Grace Carrington begs for his help destroying her reputation, Sin can’t turn the ton’s most proper lady away.

Obedient daughter, wife, and young widow, Grace has had enough of being controlled. After her father arranges a second loveless marriage to an eminently respectable ancient, Grace plans a fortnight of defiance and self-ruination to stop the wedding. But as Grace enters the heady, risky world of an affair with Sin, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to him— and she soon realizes two weeks won’t be nearly enough.

 

 

Review:

Surrender to Sin is book one of The Fallen Series by Nicola Davidson.  Lady Grace Carrington has found herself in the most unsavory of predicaments. Recently widowed her father has arranged another loveless marriage for her with none other than Lord Baxter.  Lord Baxter is a prudish, stuffy old man who Lady Grace has no desire to marry.  She has already suffered through one loveless marriage and now that she is widowed she has no desire to peruse another marriage as bad as her first. But when Lady Grace confesses to her maid-companion Nell, they set about with a diabolical plan to ruin Lady Grace’s reputation to the point where Lord Baxter will no longer want or desire her, thus calling off the engagement.   

But plan involves Lord Sebastian St. John – known better around town as Sin.  Sin is part owner of Fallen; a private pleasure club so exclusive that only the richest, highest ranking members of England society can apply for membership.  While in London getting new gowns made, she only has a fortnight for the plan to come to fruition. Lady Grace is strong willed, but has fulfilled her duties as an obedient wife.  With the passing of her husband, she has now set her sights on living her life for herself. Doing what it is she would like to do. Her engagement to Lord Baxter by her father is the last thing she wants.  So, she sets out to find this man called Sin and that is exactly what she does – in more ways than one.

After years of being in an unhappy marriage, followed by a year of mourning for her late husband, Lady Grace was ready to explore the world and find herself a proper lover, one that she could explore her sexual freedom with.  The prospect of having to marry Lord Baxter put and end to all of that.  She knew the only way out of it was to stage a scandal that would repulse Lord Baxter and lead to him ending their engagement.  But if a scandal  meant the ruin of her reputation it would be well worth it.  There is no way she is going to live her life in a loveless, adventure less marriage again.  But once she entered Fallen while seeking out Lord Sebastian her life would be forever changed.  Lord Sebastian was exactly what she had been naughtily daydreaming about for years.   He was the exact man that caught her eye at Hyde Park years ago and she had daydreamed about the wonderfully lusty things they could possibly do together.  But now he was in front of her, and she was about to ask him to participate in  a scandal to save her from her engagement.  Every part of her body screamed to attention the moment he walked into the room.  And she had played the obedient wife, dutiful daughter for far to long.   It was time to ruin her reputation and she is going to enjoy every minute of it, especially with Sin.            

Lord Sebastian may be part owner of The Fallen, but he is also a gentleman.  Once he found out that Lady Grace is betrothed to Lord Baxter, he will do whatever it takes to keep the marriage from happening. His history with Lord Baxter requires that he step in to help.   But what starts out as helping her to ruin her reputation and end her engagement, soon turns into so much more.  He soon wants to do whatever he can to help Lady Grace.  With that he also realizes that once he destroys her engagement he may never see her again.  And that is not a risk he is willing to take.  After scandal upon scandal they created does not sway Lord Baxter, they soon realize that the only way to end it once and for all is to put on a full public sexual display at Fallen.  And while this will surely mean the ruination of her reputation she no longer cares. She must end this engagement.

This story was wonderfully written and a lovely historical era piece, with bunches of erotica thrown in.  An enjoyable story that makes you root for the good guys and pray that the bad guy gets put in his place.  And that he does.  I look forward to reading more in this series as the secondary characters leave you wanting to know their stories and where Fallen will take them.  

Reviewed by Erin

Copy provided by Publisher

Share

Fallen: A Cassidy & Spenser by Carey Baldwin – a Review

Fallen: A Cassidy & Spenser by Carey Baldwin – a Review

 

FallenAmazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / BAM

Description:
A body just fell from the sky onto Hollywood Boulevard.

When a beautiful prostitute is dumped onto the Walk of Fame, FBI profiler Atticus Spenser and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin Cassidy are called in to solve one of their most baffling cases yet.
The media’s dubbed him the Fallen Angel Killer – a crazed murderer who’s leaving the bodies of high-priced call girls in Los Angeles tourist traps.

Then the killer raises the stakes, demanding that a mysterious celebrity publically admit to his sinful secrets —or he’ll dispose of his latest kidnapped escort. With every “john” the team exposes in their search for Celebrity X, another Hollywood secret is revealed and another charmed life is left in ruins.

Now time is running out, and Cassidy and Spenser will do anything to find the twisted serial killer…before another innocent woman winds up as the next grotesque tourist attraction

 

Review:

Fallen…in love with this book, more accurately! Carey Baldwin is back to demonstrate her prowess with a psychological thriller. Special Agent Atticus Spenser is collaborating with Dr. Caitlyn Cassidy on a second case in my hometown of Los Angeles. Things were turning romantic in Judgment despite the Man in the Maze killer (review available here), but this new case will rearrange exploration of those feelings. Duty calls and they’re nothing short of dutiful. Fallen is an engaging story with intriguing layers that will hold your attention until the end.

Bodies are falling from the sky yet there isn’t a director yelling ‘Cut!’ to end the scene. Spenser and Caitlyn work fast to ascertain a commonality/pattern among the lovely female victims — profiling at its finest with this pair of experts. Spenser and Caity don’t always agree, but their opposing theories help to hone the process and exact an even more accurate assessment. The banter and dialogue is professional and productive.

Twists and turns lead you nowhere fast, but the investigation along the way is intelligent and compelling. Suspects are considered, but Ms. Baldwin keeps the plot dubious, making our heroes work for the case. When the actual Fallen Angel Killer makes an imperative, last hour demand for “Celebrity X” to reveal his identity (a provocative challenge to say the least), the mystery is spun yet again. Ms. Baldwin leads us down a riveting path to apprehend the killer.

Caity’s always been a wild card, IMO, because of her father’s death. She’s fluent in all things legal, there’s rarely a grey area for her, but there was a correlating epiphany that brought forth an unexpected emotional connection.

“…she couldn’t deny that she was beginning to believe the best way to protect the innocent was to see to it that the guilty were correctly identified in the first place.”

That realization made Caity cognizant and diligent: Don’t exonerate without finding the real killer. Spenser’s own abilities expand with Caitlyn’s new perspective. They are an omnibus force.

Spenser talking down a hostage situation with a calm explanation of lethal force was fabulous. It was described so perfectly, expert balance of facts and dark humor, Ms. Baldwin makes us fall for Spense even harder. That’s one of the brilliant qualities imbued in this character – Spense might be terrifyingly brilliant, but he’s approachable. The psychological profiling is elaborate yet understandable; you follow along like an amateur investigator. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was on their level — I just want them to be my friends in real life!

I don’t mean to cut to the chase, but the Fallen Angel Killer resolves ingeniously. It was creative and risky, expertly catering to the murderer’s pathology. It was epic. You outdo yourself, Ms. Baldwin.

Our H/H have more than earned that Tahitian diversion. Ms. Baldwin teases us with stolen kisses, we’re more than ready for more, but she’s touching on it with a finesse that keeps us entranced. The time is now, we’re ready, lol, but the long arm of the FBI beckons yet again…to Dallas, Texas. Spenser and Caity are in demand so we’ll need to be patient on the romantic front. Fallen is a terrific addition to a dynamic series.  

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Author

Share

Traci L. Slatton-Interview with the Author

Traci L. Slatton-Interview with the Author

TRC:  Hi Traci and welcome to The Reading Café.  Congratulations on the release of COLD LIGHT-the latest in your After Trilogy.

Traci:  Thanks! And thanks for having me at The Reading Cafe. This is fun!

Link to : Traci’s Website

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

Traci:  When people ask where I grew up, I say, “Around,” because my dad was in the military and we moved around the US a lot. But I liked that because it gave me a chance to see different ways that people live. I am now married to classical figurative sculptor Sabin Howard www.sabinhoward.com . He is really the best in the world at what he does, but he keeps leaving his dirty bicycle shorts on the dining room chair, and he doesn’t know how to clean up after himself in the kitchen…. I have three daughters and a stepdaughter. We all belong to two labs, a chocolate and a yellow. My favorite places in the world are Cape Cod and Florence and Rome and Paris.

TRC:  Many authors begin their love of writer at an early age.  What was the catalyst that started you on the road to writing?

Traci:  When I was 6 years old, I went from reading “See Spot Run” to reading novels. I fell in love with books and there was no holding me back. After a few months I read my first novel. It was about a child who had died and was watching his family from heaven. It moved me deeply and my emotional response made a big impression on me. I thought, “I want to do this! I want to move people the same way!” After that, writing novels was the longing that led me through my life. It still is.

TRC:  What challenges have you faced as a writer?

Traci:  Whew, there have been a lot! I came from a family that had not had a lot of education, and I was the first person in my family to go to college. Then, even though I was determined to write novels, it didn’t come naturally. I had to reinvent the wheel several times to figure out how to structure a story and to create characters. I’m still learning.

I’ve had a gazillion rejections; that’s a 1 with a hundred 0’s after it. I could wallpaper my whole apartment over in rejection letters. There was even a journalist who read a first draft of something I wrote–this was back in the days before spellcheck was automatic, and I hadn’t even spellchecked the document–and he trashed my writing in print, in a book he wrote. Transference is a bitch, right?

I’ve been through a bunch of agents and now there’s some funky stuff going on in publishing, because the advent of Print on Demand technology and eBooks have revolutionized the field, in the same way the Gutenberg Press did five hundred years ago. Authors really have to watch out. The brave new world of publishing offers unparalleled opportunities to authors, but there are some sharky literary agents doing the wrong thing, eg, running their own epublishing houses and getting their authors to pay them for it. Not cool!

TRC:  FALLEN is the first book in your After Trilogy.  Would you please tell us about the premise of the novel?

LINKS TO ORDER
The Book Depository
Amazon Paper Books
Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook and Paper Books
KOBO

Traci:  FALLEN is set after a global ecological cataclysm has killed billions of people and devastated the planet. Most of the structures, both physical and social, are gone. Emma is an American woman caught in France with her daughter on “The Day,” and she struggles to stay alive. As she travels south, seeking safety, she takes on seven other children. She becomes the de facto mother to a little band of survivors whose safety she is desperate to ensure.

TRC:  There is plenty of reference to ecological and biological warfare etc.  How mush research was involved with the writing of this particular series?

Traci:  You know, I always do a lot of research. Some of it is on the internet, some of it comes from books, some comes from talking to people. I was sitting at a dinner for an arts organization and the man next to me ran a company that makes blankets that are actually solar energy cells–so I used that idea.

TRC:  COLD LIGHT is the second instalment in the series.  Would you please tell us something about the novel?

LINKS TO ORDER
Amazon Paper Books
Amazon Kindle
The Book Depository
B&N Nook and Paper Books

Traci:  COLD LIGHT picks up about a year and a half after FALLEN ends. In COLD LIGHT, Emma is back in Canada. Her older daughter is kidnapped by raiders, and Emma sets out to get her back. Along the way she encounters some old friends and has faces some heart-wrenching choices…

TRC:  If you could virtually cast the characters in the After Trilogy, which actors or models would you use for the major characters within the series?

Traci:  For Emma, I’d love to see Natasha McElhone or Kate Hudson. Both women project a good balance of serious and humorous, and they come off as soulful. For Arthur, maybe Scott Elrod with his hair dyed black. For Vasily, since we’re dreaming, Anthony Hopkins. For Laurette, Emma Stone with her hair dyed dark–Emma Stone can be sassy and arch in just the right way for Laurette. For Robert, a young red-haired Irish actor. For Alexei, Alexander Skarsgard, who brilliantly plays a handsome sociopath. For James the doctor, Noah Wylie. What do you think?

TRC:  🙂

TRC:  Did you face any difficulties or challenges getting this series published?

Traci:  It was originally represented by a famous NYC literary agent who claimed to love it. After a few publishing houses passed on it, she tried to get me to let her epublish it, and she would take 15% of the profits–and I would pay for the conversion to an ebook. But I had already done a lot of research into independent publishing because of a sculpture book I was writing with my husband, “THE ART OF LIFE.”

It’s unethical for agents to open their own epublishing branches. Several of them are doing so, and it’s just not OK. It presents a conflict of interest for agents. I’ve heard too many stories about novels that went around to publishers several times and were rejected by twenty editors before the twenty first editor picked it up–and turned it into a bestseller. An agent with his/her own epublishing enterprise simply won’t be motivated to work as hard, and to persist as long, in getting a book sold to a traditional publisher.

I politely declined with this agent and asked her to represent the foreign rights, because my first novel IMMORTAL did very well around the world. But she was pretty mad that I didn’t want to give her a lot of money to do something I could do for myself more cheaply, so she dumped me.

TRC:  Writers Block is a very real phenomenon for many authors. How do you handle the stress and anxiety of Writers Block?

Traci:  Darn good question!! Even to say those words, “w- b-” is like a golfer saying “shanks.” It makes you feel jinxed. This is me knocking on wood and making the sign of the cross and throwing salt over my shoulder!

Physical exercise really REALLY helps me. Joyce Carol Oates writes about authors running. I don’t run anymore because I value my hips and knees and I want to keep them in good condition until I’m 90 years old. But I have a regular yoga practice and I like to get on a stairmaster or elliptical trainer at the gym. Cardio REALLY gets the ideas flowing.

I also walk a lot. Dickens used to walk all over London at night. Walking seems to shake things loose in my head. Then, if I’m really blocked, I start going to the movies a lot. That helps the creative juices flow.

TRC:  With whom do you bounce ideas?

Traci:  I try to bounce ideas off my husband, but Sabin is obsessed with sculpture and just kind of nods at me. He’s a good reader of a first draft.

I ruminate a lot. Sabin says writers are lost in their thoughts much of the time.

TRC:  On what are you currently working?

Traci: I’m working on a historical novel set in Germany during WW2 and the last book of the After Trilogy. Also taking notes on a fable called SHOE. I’ve written about five chapters of a bittersweet romantic comedy called THE YEAR OF LOVING.

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Traci:  YES, thank you: I wish you and your readers much JOY OF READING!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Chocolate

Favorite Dessert
See above, chocolate. Chocolate is a reason to incarnate in the physical body!

Favorite TV Show
Community

Favorite Movie
Tie: Splash and The Terminator

Last Movie you saw
To Rome with Love

Dark or Milk Chocolate
DARK!!

Favorite Flower
Lilacs

Last Vacation Destination
Truro, MA

Do you have any pets?
I belong to two labs, a female chocolate named Molly and a male yellow named Gabriel. I belong to them, and so do my socks and knickers, which they see as snack food.

TRC:  Thank you Traci for taking the time to answer our questions.  WE are looking forward to your final instalment in the After Trilogy.  Keep us in mind when you are closer to the release date.

Traci:  Thanks for hosting me and you’ll be one of the first people emailed when the new book is ready!

Share

FALLEN (After Trilogy #1) by Traci L. Slatton-a review

FALLEN (After Trilogy #1) by Traci L Slatton-a review

FALLEN (After Trilogy #1) by Traci L. Slatton

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / The Book Depository /

FALLEN is the first book in author Traci L. Slatton’s After trilogy. Following an apocalyptic nightmare where most the world’s population has been eaten by the poisonous mists that seem to appear out of thin air, the remaining small pockets of survivors (throughout the world) fight to stay alive. With rations in short supply, and marauding bands of thieves and cannibals on the search for a new source of food, Emma Anderson and her little family of 8 surviving misfit children must find a way to stay alive in the once proud country of France. But when the mists encroach towards her young daughter, she is relieved and awed by a group of men and their leader when they are seemingly able to control the mists. And to ensure their continued safety, Emma offers herself up to the man in charge. But Emma was secretly hoping that one day she would find her husband and eldest daughter alive and doing well.

Arthur is a leader. An alpha male whose word is law and a once proud military man, Arthur must defend and protect his encampment in the outskirts of France. Daily he and his men must patrol and hunt for supplies as well as fighting the rogue band of cannibalistic warriors and ward off other encampments hoping to procure their supplies. But when a beautiful young woman with blonde hair offers herself up to protect the children, Arthur’s heart begins to thaw, if only for a short time. People are dying and they had to find a way to survive.

The poisonous mists are a mystery. Approximately eleven months earlier, a seemingly harmless mist appeared over the Arctic Circle, devouring everything in its’ path-everything that contained minerals. But a side effect of the mists was an increase in human psychic energy. Many of the survivors had developed some powers and that included Emma and her daughter Mandy.

Throughout the story we are taken on an adventure in survival 101. Death is always present especially when many of the people would quickly succumb to the mists poisonous side-effects. But Arthur had a secret and a few at the encampment and surrounding sites knew, and it was with that secret that many feared and hated Arthur for the man he was Before the Day. Now Arthur appears to be the only one who is able to control the mists and it was a secret that Emma wanted to know.

Emma and Arthur’s relationship begins as an exchange to keep the children safe-their safety is guaranteed as long as Emma remains as Arthur’s mate. But as the storyline develops, we are witness to a man who never believed he was able or capable of finding love with a woman such as Emma. As their love for each other grows, so does the distance between them with the knowledge that each is hiding something from the other. And it is Emma’s desire to find her husband that will set a series of events between she and Arthur on a road to heartbreak and horror.

Death is a fact of life among the encampments as madness and psychotic breakdowns begin to eat away at the surviving hordes. Day after day, people hoping to find safety are willingly offering themselves to the camp, in order to be shielded from the mists, because Arthur has somehow protected his camp. But over time the camp has amassed a group of people who were once professionals in the Before. Doctors, engineers, cooks and scientists will gather to determine if there is a possibility of life in the After. But Emma will learn that life as she now knew it, was not necessarily an act of God, but an act of war that went horribly wrong.

FALLEN is a remarkable and well-written story of what people must do to survive. Cannibalism aside, the small bands of survivors are determined to eke out an existence knowing that their lives could end horribly and painfully within a matter of minutes or days. Those with some psychic abilities are sought after and used, but it is Emma’s powers that find her imprisoned in another camp by a one-time associate of Arthur’s.

There is plenty of science fiction and paranormal activity. The minds of the survivors begin to merge as the potential for a collective consciousness known as bio-mind grows stronger within the encampments, but Emma will discover that her abilities are stronger that she had previously proclaimed. And the origins of the mists will force Emma to make a decision that will leave a trail of broken hearts and the thoughts of betrayal foremost on her mind. Some may not agree with what the people must do to survive, but then again, most of us will never know what it is like to live in an apocalyptic nightmare.

LINKS TO ORDER
The Book Depository
Amazon Paper Books
Amazon Kindle
B&N Nook and Paper Books
KOBO

Copy supplied by Author

Reviewed by Sandy

Share