Lady Gone Wicked by Elizabeth Bright – a Review

Lady Gone Wicked by Elizabeth Bright – a Review

 

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Description:
 Nicholas Eastwood is finally about to get everything he ever wanted. As a reward for his service to the Crown, he has been offered the title of marquess. All he has to do is stay scandal-free until the papers are signed. There’s just one problem: His ex-lover, presumed dead, is remarkably alive.

Adelaide Bursnell is determined to right her wrongs. She will be a dutiful daughter and loving sister. Most importantly, she must marry before her scandal catches up to her. Nicholas was once her ruin, but now he is determined to be her salvation. If he can find her a suitable husband, their shared past can stay buried.

But old temptations prove impossible to resist and scandal can never stay secret for long…

 

 

Review:

Although Lady Gone Wicked is considered book #2, in the Wicked Secrets series, you don’t have to read the first.  It does feature characters from the first book “Twice as Wicked” but it doesn’t really detract from the book.

Nicholas is a spy and soldier for the crown. But he’s a rogue and the black sheep of the family. And he’s finally come good, if he can stay out of trouble he will be given the title of “Marquess” and he will be able to hold his head up high in society again, but there is trouble coming round the corner…… 

Adelaide had the misfortune to fall in love with Nick and have his baby. She was then sent was to a convent in France by her parents to have her baby in secret (the shame of a child out of wedlock). But she disappeared and was thought to be dead for the last two years.

Adelaide has a twin sister called Alice. (Yes the same Alice from book 1). In Alice’s book, Alice came to avenge Adelaide’s death and downfall at Nicholas’s hand, and tried to kill him. Needless to say, all she did was fall for his “twin” brother. (Well ….. maybe she tried to shoot him a few times 😉) 

The two sisters are reunited and it becomes clear that Adelaide wants her past to disappear and to marry into a good family. But there are twists and turns that keep Adelaide and Nicholas bumping into each other. 

Nicholas wants Adelaide to marry into a good family and will try to “help” her regain her good name. But with the heat simmering away between them, it’s only a matter of time before something explodes. 

Lady Gone Wicked is a well written story, and again the characters come to life, and the secondary characters make you hope that they get stories too. A few laugh out loud moments, and a few moments where you almost reach for the tissues. 

Reviewed by Julie B

Copy provided by Publisher

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Drakon’s Past by N.J. Walters – a Review

Drakon’s Past by N.J. Walters – a Review

 

Drakon's PastAmazon / B&N / Kobo

Description:
Constance Owens has a gift for finding unique items in the most unlikely places, which comes in handy since she buys and sells artifacts and antiques for a living. When she purchases a set of four dragon statues, she has no idea just how unique they are, or that finding them will thrust her into a world of secret societies, men who think nothing of kidnapping and murder to get what they want, and dragon shifters. Nic hasn’t survived for four thousand years by letting his guard down, and he doesn’t trust anyone except his drakon brothers. The loneliness haunting him has been getting worse since all his brothers have found their mates. And when he finds the woman his drakon recognizes instantly as his fated mate, he doubts he’ll ever have what his brothers have, because it seems she’s involved with the secret society of hunters who have been hunting and capturing his kind for hundreds of years.

 

Review:

Drakon’s Past by N.J. Walters is the 4th book in her Blood of the Drakon series.

Constance has a special gift for finding unique treasures and antiques, this helps her 

and her sister Abigail run an internet business selling items that they have brought. 

And when four statues in the shape of dragons come into their hands …. they get more than they bargained for ….. 

Nic is a Drakon (A Dragon shapeshifter) who is thousands of years old. (We’ve met him in previous books).  Nic is a big antique collector and searches for stolen or “lost” Drakon artifacts he’s also a recluse, he is close to the “big sleep” (that’s when a Drakon loses interest in the world and slows his body and goes “to sleep”).  When he meets Constance, he realises that’s she’s his “fated one” ; he has to face the world and help her, but can he trust her ? 

Constance feels there is something strange about the dragon statues and she calls an old friend to find her a buyer for the statues as quickly as possible.  But when her friend gets greedy and tries to sell to two buyers !!!! It all gets out of hand, and her sister pays the price !!!! 

When Abigail gets abducted by one of the buyers (Dent),  Constance has no choice but to trust Nic to help her retrieve her sister. And Nic has to trust that Constance will not turn the statues over to Dent, (the bad guy through the stories) because that would cause a big catastrophe for all Drakon’s in the world. Will both be able to overcome their distrust of one another? 

Just who can Constance trust? Who are the bad guys and who are the good? And then there is a big secret to uncover …..
.
It’s part of a series, but I feel you don’t need to read them in order. Plenty of action and a continual story (from previous books) and a well written story. Can’t wait to read more.

Reviewed by Julie B

Copy provided by Publisher

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Saving the Sheriff by Kadie Scott – a Review

Saving the Sheriff by Kadie Scott – a Review

 

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Description:
There’s a storm brewing…

The day his wife died, Sheriff Cash Hill discovered she was leaving him for another man, one she’d loved since before their marriage. How could the single dad ever trust another woman again? But when Georgia’s best friend, Holly, comes back to town, something about Holly’s sweet, sassy vulnerability has his protective instincts kicking in hard.

Holly Jensen left La Colina, Texas with regrets. She’s returned home to work as the new large animal vet and to watch over her best friend’s daughter. But Holly’s knowledge of Georgia’s past could rip a family apart. And she’s reluctant to go to the sexy…and single…sheriff, as he’s made it clear he wants nothing to do with her.

Both are faced with a choice…stay locked in the past or allow their reservations to be silenced by a passion hotter than Texas summer nights. Can they learn to trust their own hearts and each other?

 

 

Review:

Saving the Sheriff by Kadie Scott is the first book in her new The Hills of Texas series.

When Holly comes back to La Colina, she brings the weight of the past with her, and the secrets she kept for her best friend.  But she promised her best friend that she’d look out for her daughter, so Holly bites the bullet and tries to mend a few bridges with Cash. 

Cash is the sheriff of La Colina, a widower and a parent of a little girl.  He doesn’t trust people too much, as the woman he loved was leaving him for someone else.  So when his dead wife’s best friend comes back wanting to see his daughter, he has a hard time not believing she didn’t know that his wife was planning to run away with her “one love” 

We also find out that Holly had a secret crush on Cash in high school. But her Best friend got him first.  Yes we know they will get together, but the journey there was a twist and turn of mistrust and huge secrets, secrets that if found out will destroy both Cash and a little girl. 

When the secrets come out, will Cash listen to Holly, or will he turn his back and walk away?  Yes he has to protect himself, but surely there has to be more than Holly is letting on. 

I loved reading the Hill family interact (hoping we get a few stories 🙂 with Cash.   Kadie Scott’s ….. SAVING THE SHERIFF is a story of secrets, lies, love and loss. 

Reviewed by Julie B

Copy supplied for review

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War Games by Jess Anastasi – a Review

War Games by Jess Anastasi – a Review

 

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Description:
When one of her pilots is shot down behind enemy lines, Lieutenant Theresa Brenner will stop at nothing to save her before she’s captured and tortured, even if it means being part of the dirtside team led by Colonel Cameron McAllister. Bren might respect the way the colonel commands his men, but she’ll never trust Cam—no matter how charming he is—because he was responsible for her brother’s death. Colonel Cameron McAllister has a covert mission behind enemy lines to team with the Ilari rebels and overthrow the bloodthirsty dictator who’s torn their planet apart. The last thing he needs is to get sidetracked searching for a downed pilot, especially since it means having Lieutenant Theresa Brenner tag along. Not only doesn’t the frosty pilot have the ground game to keep up with his seasoned group, she’s a potential distraction with all those gorgeous blond curls of hers—and she might be just like her brother, whose foolhardiness got his men killed.

 

Review: 

War Games by Jess Anastasi is the fourth book in the Valiant Knox series. 
They can be read as separate books, but I found it easier to read them in order. As there is a lot of background stories. And for the author to include it in every book would be a little page consuming. 

In a previous book the tension between Cameron and Theresa (Bren) caught my attention, so I was eager to see how they get past their animosity for each other. 
For the past decade, both Bren and Cameron have kept their distances from each other. Both have their pride and neither will listen to the other. That is until a missing pilot brings them together, and they have to learn to trust one another, and from there they learn about the past and how they can move forward. 

Cameron lost a team of soldiers under his command due to Bren’s brother (and as far as he is concerned, she’s a liability just like her brother).  I found Cameron a complex person, although overbearing, he is loyal and there is nothing he won’t do for his men. 

Bren has had to work hard for her place in this world, her brother was her family and she totally blames Cameron for his death. She loves her job and won’t let one of her own become a prisoner.  She fears that the pilot will be tortured or worse, so she’ll suck it up and work with Cameron (but that doesn’t she mean she’ll like it) 

Bren finds Cameron overbearing and not at all understanding of her predicament, one of her pilots is missing……and she’s going on the mission, whether he likes it or not !! (And it’s definitely a not) 

This is a perfect action packed thriller.  I love reading this series, as the author puts you right in the action, and you can almost imagine the fight scenes.  Jess Anastasi writes the characters so well, that I have no problem conjuring them up in my mind, and all the past friendships and relationships in the previous books are the same. The series flows really well into the next book and it was nice catching up with the series. 
Reviewed by Julie B

Copy provided by Publisher

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To Have and To Howl- From This Fae Forward by A.E. Jones – Reviews

To Have and To Howl- From This Fae Forward by A.E. Jones – Reviews

 

To Have and To Howl
Paranormal Wedding Planners series – Book #3
by A.E. Jones
Release Date: November 13, 2017

To Have and to HowlAmazon / B&N / Kobo / Book Depository

Description:
Law means following the rules. Love means breaking them.

Julia Cole is a lawyer on a mission. After three long years, her husband’s murderers have been convicted. Until their leader breaks out of magically-strengthened, impossible-to-break-handcuffs in the courtroom, that is. Someone is helping them. And that someone is threatening Julia. But she will not back down from them or the man tasked to protect her…a man who scrambles her long-buried emotions.

Jack Dawson is a werewolf with a secret. One that could change his life forever. But his problems have to take a back seat while he protects Julia. He can’t afford to let down his guard—against the evil forces threatening Julia, against his growing feelings for her, fighting to be heard, and against his secret—which could destroy everything.

Can Julia and Jack finally let go of their pasts and begin a new happy ever after together?


Paranormal Wedding Planners Series:
In Sickness and In Elf – Book 1
From This Fae Forward – Book 2
To Have and To Howl – Book 3

Review:

To Have and To Howl by A.E. Jones is another great book in her fun Paranormal Wedding Planners series. 

Julia is a woman on a mission……Her husband had been murdered and, as an attorney, she had a duty to see his killer brought to justice. But in most cases, that’s not always that simple, the killer ( the leader of a gang) had friends, and they helped him to escape, and now they want Julia !!!! 

Jack Dawson has to protect Julia from the evil that is chasing her.  But he has a secret (keeps it hidden from his werewolf community and his twin brother) and he feels very confused by his feelings toward Julia. And this secret if it comes out ……  could change his future and not for the better. He just needs more time to work it all out. Time he might not have.

The cast of characters from previous books were in here and they were  as hilarious as usual. And the new group of characters in this book, they just added to the growing family of people you just want to read more of.

The wedding was hilarious couldn’t help but laugh through the whole scene 😂 As usual the A.E. Jones draws you in with such a descriptive narrative.

So to be honest,I think  you’d have to read them in order (you could just read this one, but I think you’ll get more enjoyment and not so much confusion) 

I really can’t wait for the next Paranormal Wedding Planners book.

 

From This Fae Forward
Paranormal Wedding Planners series – Book #2
by A.E. Jones
Release Date: October, 2016

From This Fae Forward

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Description:
What if Romeo and Juliet were paranormal…

Exiled from her woodland nymph clan, Sheila Hampton works as an exercise instructor for stressed-out paranormal brides—until her father tries to force her to marry as part of a political power play. Her unlikely hero/fake fiancé? A sexy-as-sin sea nymph from a rival clan. She should hate him, she really should…

Charlie Tucker has protected people in the past. It’s just a job—until it’s not. Not when it comes to a beautiful and headstrong woodland nymph. Now he’s posing as Sheila’s loving fiancé and planning the biggest fake nymph wedding of the century with her. He should hate her, he really should…

But when Sheila’s life is threatened, can this paranormal Romeo and Juliet find a way to change their tragic ending to a happy ever after?

 

 

Review : 

With the supernatural world reeling from Devon and Alex’s recent marriage (In Sickness and in Elf – Book 1), along comes From This Fae Forward (Book 2) a great page turner by A.E. Jones.  I had moments where I couldn’t put the book down. I had already been hooked with book 1, with book 2 I was reeled back in until the last page. 

The love then turned to hate relationship both these nymphs (woodland nymph and sea nymph) had for each other. A wonderful page turner.

Why had the love they had for each other turn to hate. It was intense in the first book, so to find out more about them, put a lot into perspective. 

Sheila is a feisty wood nymph and she lives outside her clan, banished she has made her own way in the (human) world. She makes a living as a fitness instructor and enjoys it, but her father decides on a political marriage  and guess who her fiancé is …..

Sea Nymph Charlie Is hotness with a capital HOT !!!!  Tall blonde and charming, this nymph never seems to be able settle for long. But he is a good man, and when he finds out what’s going on, he warns Sheila. 

When forced to play fiancé’s the lines begin to blur. Add the attraction they have for each other it makes for an interesting read. And danger lurks in every corner, so who is the trouble maker and why target Sheila ? 

Can the 2 of them overcome centuries of hatred between their clans to gain true love?  You need to read this book to find out.

Reviews by Julie B.

Copy supplied for review

 

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When a Warrior Woos a Lass (Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts 6) by Julie Johnstone-Review & Giveaway

When a Warrior Woos a Lass (Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts #6) by Julie Johnstone-Review and Giveaway

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WHEN A WARRIOR WOOS A LASS
Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts #6
by Julie Johnstone
Release Date: December 18, 2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highlander, romance

When A Warrior Woos a Lass

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 18,2017

The past haunts them. Treachery awaits them. Love will save them.

A shattered lass…

Scarred by the cruel whims of her late husband, Lena MacLeod lives in fear of men and marriage. So when the king’s edict obliges her to wed Scottish warrior Alex MacLean, she never expects to feel safe, let alone happy. But behind Alex’s fierce exterior lies a gentle, gallant highlander who renews her soul, emboldens her, and offers her the one thing she never thought she would possess—true love. Now that Alex has her whole heart, she’ll settle for nothing less than all of his.

A tortured highlander…

Haunted by violent nightmares of his dark past, Alex MacLean has put off getting married for as long as possible. But now he finds himself the husband of the fragile, beautiful Lena, and he’s drawn to her as he has never been to another. He vows to protect and heal her, and as she grows stronger, so does his love for her. Yet, his horrible memories and a treacherous task are preventing him from giving himself to her entirely, and the secrets he harbors threaten to destroy their life together.

A union…

When Lena uncovers a dangerous scheme involving Alex, she embarks on a desperate journey to save the man she loves. But Alex still hasn’t let her in, and he runs the risk of losing her—and his life—unless he can accept that his once delicate wife is now an ally strong enough to light his way.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: 

This is part of a series (book 6) and I found it pretty easy to follow, so I’d say you could read it happily as a stand alone. 

Leana MacLeod has suffered a lot in her young life and it has left her with physical and mental scars, she’s afraid of both marriage and men, and with good reason. 
Kidnapped as a child, abused in adulthood, by her husband, Lena wants nothing more than to be left alone and try for a normal life. An impossible task what with brothers and well  meaning sisters in law all trying to protect and smother her. 

So when the King dictates that she weds she is filled with horror. Until she is made aware of her her new husband is to be, she knows Alex MacLean, so she hopes it will be a better marriage than her first, but who really knows what goes on behind closed doors. 

The characters are well developed, Lena begins this book a frightened and defeated woman, but she grows into a strong, and very much determined woman. 

Alex was made Laird of his clan at only fifteen years old after the death of his father. He has always done his best to be a fearless leader and a strong warrior that his father would have been proud of.

Alex is seen as a hard warrior but he’s kind and caring, and is willing to lay down his life for those he loves. He is a fierce protector. 

However Alex is haunted by violent nightmares of his dark past. And those secrets could destroy the fragile bonds of trust that both Alex and Lena are trying to forge. 

The pace of the book is very good, we have intrigue and a few secrets which all add to a good read, I found it hard to put down in places. 

Reviewed by Julie 🦋

Copy supplied for review

 

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Julie Johnstone is graciously offering a paper copy or ebook (winner’s choice) of WHEN A WARRIOR WOOS A LASS to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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The Endangered Series 1-3 by S.L. Eaves-Reviews and Guest Post

The Endangered Series 1-3 by S.L. Eaves-Reviews and Guest Post

The Endangered Series

Prey Til the EndPREY TILL THE END
Endangered #3
by S.L. Eaves
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Genre: adult, paranormal, vampires, werewolves

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

The 3rd installment brings the The Endangered Series to a gripping conclusion that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the last page.

Seven years have passed since Lori exiled herself from her clan. Seven years without bloodshed, without demons, without torture, without premonitions. Seven years of peace and quiet in the civilian life she’s cultivated for herself.
Seven boring years.

Then Vega appears at her doorstep with alarming news: a former member of his clan is responsible for the recent string of homicides across the southwest and the Purebloods are holding her clan responsible. To make matters worse, this traitor is working with an enemy from Lori’s past who is hell bent on revenge.

Now she’s faced with returning to the world she’s tried so hard to escape in order to save the only family she has left. Lori finds unlikely allies in a slayer and a werewolf hybrid, both survivors of S&D Pharma’s experiments. Together they fight to stop the vampire’s killing spree and absolve her clan from the Pureblood’s wrath. That’s if a ghost from her past doesn’t succeed in stopping her first.

•••••••••

REVIEW: Wow !!!! What a great ending to a fantastic trilogy.

Seven years have passed since book 1 & 2 (which I really think you’ll need to read before the last book) seven long boring years, she hasn’t seen or heard from her clan since her self exile. The war seems to be over, casualties on both sides, and the humans are safe (for now)

But they need her help, a member of her old clan has been murdering humans, and her clan is being held to account.

But is it all as it seems ? Are there more questions than answers? And why do her clan want her help now ? And why her ?

The story moves along at the same fast pace as the last two books.

Lori seems a lot more confident now, but still has moments of doubt and self
loathing (things she did in the other two books) . Again the secondary characters are all well written, loved the interaction with the
hybrid werewolf, slayer and Lori. And the face from the past ?!?! Wasn’t expecting that one !! 😮

This book was full of many twists and turns that will keep you guessing as to what
will happen next. It wasn’t too hard to sit and read in one afternoon.

It was a shame to say goodbye to Lori and the world SL Eaves created. Could have happily read another book (or three) 😉

Copy Supplied for review

Reviewed by Julie B

_________________________

The EndangeredTHE ENDANGERED
The Endangered #1
by S.L. Eaves
Release Date: September 4 2014
Genre: adult, paranormal, vampires, werewolves

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

Book One of The Endangered Series introduces Lori, a newly turned vampire who’s been pulled into the middle of a war against werewolves who are infecting humans and threatening to take out the last of their kind in the process.

S&D Pharmaceuticals is developing a new vaccine with sinister side effects. A viral outbreak has the humans begging for a cure and Striden, the CEO of S&D, offers a remedy that promises to cure the virus, but is engineered to turn its unsuspecting patients into werewolves.

The werewolves are opposed by an allegiance of vampires who, while initially out for revenge, stumble onto the wolves’ plans for mass infestation. Among the vampires is an ambitious rebel named Catch and his newly turned protégé, Lori. Catch brings this treacherous world to Lori’s doorstep and turns both their worlds upside-down in the process. Secrets are exposed, allegiances are formed, and blood is spilled as they do everything in their power to preserve both their own kind and their food supply.

••••••••••

REVIEW: This book is an extremely interesting and imaginative book. Totally different to anything I’ve read before. I liked the style of the book and it grabbed me from the very beginning, and right up till the end. It’s an extremely fast paced book with full of adventure. The characters were very well written and they held your attention from the start. This was the first time I have read any of the authors work and I really enjoyed it. The story flowed very well and I didn’t want it to end. There were many twists and turns.

So ….. vampires and werewolves are at war with each other, (humans aren’t aware of them as of yet) and werewolves are plotting for domination, the vampires plan to stop them.
If they don’t, then their meals (the humans) will disappear, and that’s the end of the vampire race.

Humans are being turned into werewolves, (a virus is spreading through the human population) and beg a huge pharmaceutical company to cure them, but the cure doesn’t work.

Lori use to be a human, but was “turned” by Catch. Lori is reluctantly “recruited” to the vampire cause. If she doesn’t help, she won’t last long without blood, and nor will her new family.
Catch is an unusual character (he’s never turned anyone, so it was nice to see how he grew as he taught Lori) Her vampire “family” are a great addition to the story, and you can’t help but hope they win against their enemies the werewolves.

The author had such a way with words, you could see yourself in The Covenant, or the many sword fights (I had myself ducking a few times😉) the world of vampires and werewolves according to author was a very fascinating world.

If you have a thing for vampires, or if you love a good action book. Then “The Endangered” is for you.

And I can’t wait for the next in the series.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Julie B

_____________

Dead and DamagedDEAD AND DAMAGED
The Endangered #2
by S.L. Eaves
Release Date: September 2, 2016
Genre: adult, paranormal, vampires, werewolves

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

Book Two of The Endangered Series picks up with Lori attempting to track down the
source of stealth technology rogue vampires are using to hunt humans. Her pursuit
leads her into the arms of a government agency with similar objectives. A temporary
alliance is formed in an effort to stop the corporation responsible for putting the
technology in malignant hands. Their mission goes awry, however, and leaves Lori
with more enemies than friends.

Her situation worsens when Marcus learns that the corporation has also been working
with vampires to develop daylight suits and synthetic blood. He convinces his clan
that this organization and its infinite resources will be a valuable asset in the
evolution of their kind. They begin questioning Lori’s motives and Marcus takes the
opportunity to capitalize on their distrust. Consequently, Lori soon finds herself
on the run from her former clan and turns to Vega for help exposing the truth behind
Marcus and his new deceitful allies.

••••••••••

REVIEW: Oh My God !!!! I didn’t think the second book could get any better than the first
one ….. boy was I wrong. A few twists and turns and I’m on the edge of my seat.

In this second installment of The Endangered trilogy, we find Lori struggling to
find her place in the vampire world. (She was a human until turned by a vampire
called Catch)

Lori decides to side the with humans in a government agency, they want to help
destroy the werewolf plan of domination, (they designed a virus to turn humans into
werewolves) but this doesn’t help Lori, in fact, she becomes suspect in the vampire
world. (Lies and mistrust doesn’t help Lori’s cause) and then has to outrun both her
old vampire family and the werewolves.

Lori has grown since the last book, and her finding her vampire feet, has made for
great reading….. from taking bullets (which don’t kill vampires) to falling six
stories from a building (she lands on all fours like a cat). She still has her
doubts and would swap being a vampire to a human in a heartbeat, but she knows there
is no going back, so will do her best to rid the world of werewolves.

The cast of secondary characters are just as strong as the first book. And the
antagonist exchanges between Lori and Brixton. And the loyal friendship of Quinn
make great reading.

I would recommend you read “The Endangered” first, which will make “Dead and
Damaged” more sense.

I will be eagerly awaiting the next and last instalment.

Reviewed by Julie

Copy supplied for review

Guest Post

How The Endangered Became a Series by S.L. Eaves

When it was released, The Endangered was never intended to be more than a standalone novel. I’d signed a book deal with a now defunct scifi & fantasy house, Zharmae Publishing Press, and the book sold well for them (though clearly not well enough) and sat in the publisher’s top five the year it was released. On the heels of its modest success, they reached out to me with a series contract. This was met with panicked resistance from me initially. I work full-time and the first book came together after years of work and a very daunting editing process. To say I was less than receptive to the idea of going through the process again is an understatement. A series is a big commitment. But after some discussion with the staff at Zharmae and some coaxing by my editor to flush out the short story I’d tacked onto the first book as the epilogue, the beginnings of a concept for the sequel began to form. They were also very supportive in my desire to write a more grounded, spy-centric story.

For the second book in the series, Dead and Damaged, I focused on two major plot pieces from The Endangered: the death of a major character that would have a ripple effect across the remaining characters, impacting all their relationships, and a secret that would serve as a catalyst for Book Two’s main story. With these two notions in mind, I took the epilogue from the first book as a baseline and set out to writing. Roughly three months later I had the first draft of the sequel hammered out.

Once the ball got rolling, Dead and Damaged poured out much faster than I’d expected. The characters backstories and relationships were solidified in The Endangered. The world was built. Book Two was a breeze by comparison. I also opted to go with a primarily linear narrative based on one central storyline and told almost entirely from the main character’s point of view. Which helped improve the flow and pacing.

It was also a conscious effort on my part to correct certain “flaws” of the first book, which jumped around as a result of its origin – short stories strung together over several years didn’t flow as smoothly as I’d have preferred. When you have to force the puzzle pieces to fit the result is a weaker, unnatural structure.

Another important factor is it more accurately represented what I wanted to write about at the time – less Blade/Underworld and more Mission Impossible/Metal Gear Solid. Personally, I feel that you can tell when the author is having fun writing versus when they’re just trying to get it off their plate. While I enjoyed writing the stories and characters that would eventually form The Endangered, piecing together the book with a team of editors felt like a second job. But I learned a lot from that process and was better prepared to navigate those waters with the follow-up efforts.

I started working on Book Three, Prey till the End, during the writing and editing process for Dead and Damaged. Having the ability to anticipate future entries in the series gave me more flexibility with the story arcs and I feel both books benefitted. What I hadn’t anticipated was the publishing house shifting from pressuring me to crank out more entries in the series as quickly as possible to suddenly going dark. At one point I didn’t even think Dead and Damaged would be published. From a writing perspective, the train was on the tracks and I was plowing forward, with or without a publisher. Eventually Book Two did get released. And by this point I was roughly halfway through the manuscript for Book Three. Then a few months later the publishing house closed. I debated shopping the series around, but going through the whole process of re-releasing the first two books in the series (and changing it into what the new publisher envisioned – because that comes with the territory when they own the rights) was less than appealing. Instead I opted to complete Book Three and independently publish the series.

This also impacted Book Three’s story because I decided that I did not wish to continue the series independently. For better or for worse, Prey till the End, the third installment in The Endangered Series is my most ambitious piece of writing to date. With it, I had two main stories I wanted to tell. The challenge was intertwining and eventually concluding them. My other objectives with Prey till the End were to address the aftermath from the events of previous books as well as tie up loose ends. Part of this involved utilizing the characters established in previous books; taking their stories further, giving them new challenges and new environments to play in, while also added a couple new characters to the mix to keep things fresh.

I loved telling this story. Loved. But I struggled mightily to make it work. It’s fair to say only twenty-thirty percent of what I wrote made it into the final manuscript. Tons got cut. Mainly as a result of the story’s evolution during the writing process. The story I initially envisioned didn’t quite work on paper. For example, I had one chapter outlined and storyboarded out, then two or three paragraphs in I realized it wouldn’t work. As mentioned earlier, I’d learned with the first book not to force in the puzzle pieces. The result was much smoother and plausible than my initial idea.

One challenge when you’re three books into a series is keeping it interesting and unpredictable. For instance, I initially intended to rekindle a relationship from Dead and Damaged, but found it had run its course and became bland, so I went a different direction to keep the characters compelling. I took the same approach with the main character’s interaction with a major character from Book One. The two characters rarely shared the same space “on screen” in The Endangered (and when they did they were fighting) so I wanted to give them more dialogue together and let the story develop naturally based on their interactions. Decisions like that helped drive the narrative to new directions.

Ultimately, the biggest hurdle was the conclusion. With the last book in a series you feel the weight of the whole series; you want to give the characters a satisfactory send off, to solve open mysteries, to tie up loose ends, and manage relationships/arcs while staying true to the characters and their journeys. All without repeating events or exposition from previous books or seeming cliché, contrived or tedious. I really felt that burden with Prey till the End. Tying all the books together to create a cohesive series turned out to be less challenging than wrapping everything up. But I tried to trust in the characters to lead me to where they needed to go. I was along for the ride during much of the writing process. And hopefully readers will join me in this journey and enjoy reading this series as much as I enjoyed writing it.

about the author

SL EavesFollow: Goodreads /Website / Twitter / Facebook

S. L. Eaves is a Philadelphia area native who received undergraduate degrees in film and writing from University of Pittsburgh. She returned to Philadelphia to earn her MBA in marketing from Drexel University while freelancing as a writer and brand consultant. She penned the first two books of The Endangered Series for Zharmae Publishing and went on to complete the series independently after the publishing house closed. Presently, she works in marketing and escapes into the world of fiction every chance she gets.

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Trouble Next Door by Stefanie London – a Review

Trouble Next Door by Stefanie London – a Review

 

Trouble Next DoorAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
McKenna Prescott is the queen of picking the wrong men. When her latest boyfriend dumps her, she decides to devote her time to “exploring herself” (read: drinking wine and ordering sex toys online) and starting her freelance makeup business. That is, until an embarrassing delivery mix-up puts her sexy, gruff neighbor in her path… Beckett Walsh is married to his job…which is a deal-breaker for the woman he’s supposed to be marrying. Even worse, his would-be father-in-law has pulled support from Beckett’s startup and now Beckett stands to lose everything. But the gorgeous, crazy makeup artist from down the hall has an equally crazy but mutually beneficial idea: if he convinces his sister to hire McKenna for her high-society wedding, McKenna will teach him about what women want so he can get his fiancée back. All he has to do is make sure he doesn’t fall for the wrong girl.

 

Review: 

What a laugh. Trouble Next Door by Stefanie London was a fun read from start to finish. 

McKenna is bright, sparkly, and a personality to match. (Considering the constant put downs from family and ex boyfriends).  But she’s not happy. She’s stuck working in a dead end job until her blog is a success (she wants to teach make up on line),  but after the last boyfriend, McKenna decides enough is enough.  When a drunken evening’s internet ordering lands her order on her neighbor’s door, it gives McKenna an opportunity to redirect her focus. 

Beckett is the total opposite, very serious, very work orientated, but there is a reason; he wants a safe and secure home (we find out why in the book).  The app he has designed will ensure that,  but the backing from his future father-in-law is in jeopardy (his fiancée says he’s married to his job),  When an opportunity to win his future wife back, he grabs it with both hands. McKenna might just be his ticket to a secure future. When he spends time with McKenna, he has to decide what he wants. 

There were a few moments that had me cringing and laughing. The characters were very likeable and well written.  Trouble Next Door was a fun afternoon read. 

Reviewed by Julie B.

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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