Year One by Nora Roberts – a Review

Year One by Nora Roberts – a Review

 

Year OneAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

 

 

Review:

Year One by Nora Roberts is the 1st book in her new Chronicles of the One trilogy. I am a big fan of Nora Roberts/JD Robb, and I absolutely have love every one of her trilogies.  Year One is a post apocalyptic dystopian, with a bit of fantasy, and a totally different type of storyline book for Nora, but there are some similarities.  Year One begins with a family on vacation, a hunting that kills something more than a bird, and the start of a lethal virus (The Doom) that will destroy most of the world. In a short period, 80% of the world’s population will die, leaving the survivors that are immune to the virus.

We meet along the way, three sets of characters, who will travel to find others in a world that is deep in devastation, desperation and darkness.  In a new beginning, we will always find the dark (evil) and the light (good), that will divide and separate all. Magic (witches, elves, etc) will also arise, causing another division among those with newfound powers that are used for good, and those who are evil and want to hurt others, and the humans with no power at all, bent on destroying all magic, and those who have it.

Max and Lana is a married couple,  who have some magic ability that they continue to learn about, and they are good people.  Together they will leave New York to find a safe place to live and find others. Arlys and Fred (she is an elf) work at the radio station, and leave together, as word comes that they will be in danger.  Rachel and Jonah, both medical professionals, who also leave to find safety, along with Katie, who just gave birth to twins.  Along the way in this dark and doom, they will all eventually meet to start with about 300 others a land they call New Hope.  When Lana becomes pregnant, everyone is beginning to feel comfortable, with hope.

But just when the light shines beautifully, evil rears its ugly head; everything changes, and the last quarter of the book becomes centered on one person.  The ‘One’ who is destined to be the savior of this new world; who must stop the darkness that threatens to destroy them all.  This is where Roberts changes the game, and throws us for a loop, as she rarely ever does this in her other trilogies.  There are surprises, twists and deaths we never saw coming.  The only thing I worry about is that I want to know what happens to wonderful great characters we got to know during the majority of the book, but were not part of it in the last quarter. 

I am holding my breath to see where Nora will take us in the next book.  Bravo to Nora Roberts for giving us a fantastic start to a fabulous breathtaking, emotional, tense and exciting storyline.  I am hoping we do not have to wait too long for the next book, as I am already on pins and needles.  Year One proves that Nora Roberts can write anything at all, and give us a fantastic story. I strongly sugges that you  read Year One.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

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Pocket Full of Tinder (Noon Onyx #4) by Jill Archer-a review

POCKET FULL OF TINDER (Noon Onyx #4) by Jill Archer-a review

Pocket Full of Tinder

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 15, 2016

Noon Onyx is back! In this long-awaited fourth installment, Jill Archer returns readers to the dangerous world of Halja, where demons, angels, and humans coexist in an uneasy state of détente.

Maegester-in-Training Noon Onyx feels like she’s done it all – mastered fiery magic, become an adept fighter, learned the law, killed countless demons, and survived having her heart broken by both love and an arrow, but now she’ll face her greatest challenge yet…

Far to the north lies an outpost famous for its unrest – Rockthorn Gorge. The town’s patron has specifically requested Noon’s help. Her assignment? Help the neophyte demon lord build his fiefdom and keep what’s his. The problem? Lord Aristos – Noon’s new employer – is her erstwhile lover, Ari Carmine, the aforementioned heart breaker. And the number one thing he wants is her.

When Rockthorn Gorge’s viaduct is destroyed by Displodo, an enigmatic bomber, killing a dozen settlers and wounding scores more, Noon sets off early to aid in the search and rescue. Ari is listed among the missing and the suspects are legion. But Noon’s search is just the beginning. Her journey forces Noon to confront not only those she loves, but also enemies hell-bent on destroying them.

•••••••••

REVIEW: POCKET FULL OF TINDER is the fourth installment in Jill Archer’s UF/Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic NOON ONYX series.

BACKGROUND : Archer’s series focuses on the simmering truce between Angels and Demons 2000 years after Armageddon , and the destructive nature of the Maegester and their dark ‘waning’ magic. But for 22 year old Nouiomo Onyx (aka Noon) a reversal of fortunes has occurred at her birth-she was imbued with the dark waning magic (once only accorded to men) and her twin Nocturo (Nightshade) was the waxing magic (once only accorded to women). Women are the creators not the destroyers. Noon’s ability to wield waning magic will become both a curse and a blessing- in more ways than one.

Told from first person point of view (Noon Onyx) POCKET FULL OF TINDER is the continuing story of Maegester-in-Training Noon Onyx, as she struggles with who she is and what she has become. At the end of book three-White Heart of Justice-Noon walked away from the only man she has ever loved after a perceived betrayal and lie of omission forced our heroine to choose between love and a happily ever after, and living a life she knows as a lie. POCKET FULL OF TINDER is witness to Noon’s latest assignment that will bring our heroine face to face with her new employer at Rockthorn Gorge-Lord Aristos aka Ari Carmine aka the man that she loves. What ensues is the rebuilding romance between Noon and Ari, and the search for the person(s) responsible for the continued attacks against, and the destruction of a dam project near Rockthorn Gorge.

POCKET FULL OF TINDER is a heartbreaking story line; a revealing look at two people whose hearts were shattered by betrayal; whose lives will be destroyed by power and greed; whose happily ever after is never meant to be. We get up close and personal with the hierarchy of demonkind, angels, and the political elite in a post-apocalyptic world governed by magic and power. The premise is complex and original; the characters are passionate, magical and unique; the romance is emotional and intense. Jill Archer NOON ONYX is an amazing, imaginative and fantastic series with flawless text, and a breathtaking premise.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Dark Light of Day
Fiery Edge of Steel
White Heart of Justice
Pocket Full of Tinder

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

About The Author

Jill ARcherJill Archer writes dark, genre-bending fantasy from rural Maryland. Her novels include Dark Light of Day, Fiery Edge of Steel, White Heart of Justice, and Pocket Full of Tinder. She loves cats, coffee, books, movies, day tripping, and outdoor adventuring.

Website: http://www.jillarcher.com/
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bAzF7n
Blog: https://jillarcherauthor.wordpress.com/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/archer_jill
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jillarcherauthor
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782149.Jill_Archer
Discussion Questions: http://jillarcherauthor.wordpress.com/book-clubs/

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Ruled (Outlaws #3) by Elle Kennedy-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

RULED (Outlaws #3) by Elle Kennedy-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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RULED
Outlaws #3
by Elle Kennedy
Genre: adult, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, erotic, romance
Release Date November 1, 2016

Ruled

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: RELEASE DATE November 1, 2016

Despite his magnetic personality, Rylan can’t seem to seduce Reese, the deadly leader of their town of outlaws. Winning her over is a welcome challenge, but her indifference isn’t the only thing standing in his way. If he wants Reese, Rylan must also win over Sloan, her stoic protector…

Sloan has always loved Reese, but their painful past has stolen his chances of a future with her. Rylan’s interest in Reese only intensifies the tension—until Sloan begins to wonder if the reckless man might be the one person who can bridge the distance…

The last time Reese fell for the wrong man, she had no choice but to kill him. Now, she desperately wants to take what both Rylan and Sloan are offering. But if she makes the wrong call again, she risks losing them both.

•••••••••••

REVIEW:  RULED is the third installment in Elle Kennedy’s adult , post-apocalyptic/dystopian Outlaws erotic, romance series. This is Rylan, Reese, and Sloan’s story line. RULED can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty but I recommend reading the series in order for backstory and history.

NOTE: RULED contains graphic and explicit scenes of M/M/, M/F and M/F/M sexual situations and may not be suitable for all readers.

SOME BACKGROUND: The OUTLAW series by Elle Kennedy focuses on the post-apocalyptic USA where the country is now divided into a number of respective territories without government control. There are various factions of bandits, enforcers, outlaws, and the people from the city. Life on the outside is hard; there are no laws, no law enforcement, and death is often the better option. Several groups of outlaws have banded together in gated communities for protection and control.

Told from several third person points of view including Rylan, Reese, and Sloan RULED focuses on survival. Reese is determined to end the suffering of the people in her ‘town’ and gathers together the leaders of the outlying camps in an attempt to take down the Enforcers patrolling the area. With one woman pregnant and about to give birth, and a number of under-aged children under her care, Reese’s settlement has been targeted by the people who claim to be in charge. Meanwhile Reese battles her attraction and the emotional fall out for the two men who call to her heart-Rylan and Sloan-both strong, alpha males whose attraction to one another adds fuel to the fire that is already burning. What ensues is the building relationship between Rylan, Reese and Sloan, and dangerous battle for power and control in a war between the Enforcers and the Outlaws.

RULED is a graphically, erotic story line of ménage between three people whose lives will be changed when the potential loss of one means the loss of their hearts. Sloan has been in love with Reese since the first day they met five years earlier; and Rylan’s need for his ‘fearless leader’ is compounded with his need for her second in command. The $ex scenes are intense, seductive and energetic with M/M, M/F, and M/F/M sexual situations.

The world building continues to focus on survival in a post-apocalyptic world where life expectancy is short; food and supplies are scarce; and security and safety is never guaranteed.

Elle Kennedy’s RULED and the OUTLAWS series is a gritty and graphic look at survival of the fittest. The premise is imaginative and clever; the characters are heartbreaking, vivacious, and heroic; the romance is real and raw.

Reading Order and previous reviews
CLAIMED
ADDICTED
RULED

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt

Rylan didn’t waste time. He strode to the two-story brownstone on Main Street and entered behind her. He didn’t bother to knock. Better to ask for forgiveness than permission and all that.
He found her upstairs in her small kitchen, arms braced against the counter as she stared out the window at the unkempt yard behind the building. It was empty, save for a decrepit playset in the back corner. The slide was long gone, but a single swing hung from a rusted bar.
“When you die,” she said without turning around, “I’m going to dub you Saint Rylan, patron of lost causes.”
Rylan stepped close enough that he could feel the heat from her body, but far enough away that there was room for her to escape. “How’d you know it was me instead of Sloan?”
“Your footsteps are different.”
“Huh.” He chewed on that piece of information a bit. He was probably reading too much into it, but the fact that she could distinguish his footsteps from someone else’s? That was all the encouragement he needed to stay. “You’re a damn impressive woman, Reese.”
“Is that right? Because I can tell you and Sloan apart?” She sounded tired, almost resigned. Rylan experienced a pang of concern. Connor had never sounded like this before, but then again, Rylan’s leader had never been in charge of eighty-plus people before either. Con kept his camp small. Even Hudson, his woman, had been an interloper he hadn’t wanted to take in.
Reese, on the other hand, threw her doors open to any misfits, wanderers, and beggars that rattled on her gates.
Rylan briefly pondered what it would’ve been like growing up if there’d been a Reese around when he was young. Maybe then every night wouldn’t have been filled with his mother’s tears and his father’s angry shouts, followed by mournful pleas for forgiveness and hollow exchanges of I love you.
“That, and because you’ve got a vision for the future that few people would ever try to make a reality,” he said frankly.
“You and Connor think I’m nuts, don’t you?”
“Nah, brave.”
And maybe a little foolish, but hell, if it wasn’t for Reese’s foot in their asses, they’d still be holed up in their isolated camp, avoiding Enforcers and scavenging for supplies. Reese’s plan was big and bold and possibly suicidal, but the alternative was to cower, and Rylan had had enough of that.
She sighed and finally turned to look at him. “Did Sloan send you in here to cheer me up?”
Was that a dig? It kinda felt like one. But it was also true—Sloan had sent him. Or at least given him the signal that he wasn’t totally barking up the wrong tree by running after Reese.
He searched her eyes for traces of derision, but he only saw fatigue with a side of melancholy. He wanted to scoop this tough woman into his arms and pleasure her until she was too satisfied to frown.
“I’m here because last night was the best sex I’ve ever had. Because walking away from you isn’t an option for me.”
She made a strangled sound—half laugh, half groan—and rubbed the back of her hand across her forehead. Is that all you can think about?”
“Around you? Yup. I fuck and I fight. Don’t scratch too deep because there’s nothing there.”
She snorted in disbelief. “Tell that to someone who’ll believe you.”
Rylan’s brow furrowed. He’d always skated on the surface of intimacy, enjoying the physical nature of sex—the hot embrace, the rough friction, the sharp desire. What he’d just told Reese was absolutely true. He didn’t feel deeply. He could appreciate it in others, but he’d witnessed firsthand the emptiness of love. What he wanted, and what he could give, was pleasure and nothing more.
“What’re you talking about?” he finally asked, feeling slightly off-center that Reese saw something in him that didn’t exist.
She studied him for a moment before waving her hand carelessly. “It’s nothing. Look, last night was hot, but there’s nothing left here for you.” She presented her back to him and stared out the window again.
Was that a challenge? Sure sounded like one.

 

 

giveaway

The Reading Cafe and Elle’s publisher are offering a paper copy of RULED to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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7. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from November 7-10, 2016

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Moon Chosen (Tales of a New World #1) by P.C. Cast-a review

MOON CHOSEN (Tales of a New World #1) by PC Cast-a review

Moon Chosen

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

About the book: Release Date October 18, 2016

Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan, but she has been forced to turn from her duties, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save herself and her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating Tribe, strays across her path that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now evil is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By breaking Clan Law and forming an alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and battle the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

••••••••••

REVIEW: MOON CHOSEN is the first installment in PC Cast’s young adult (YA) TALES OF a NEW WORLD post-apocalyptic/dystopian fantasy series focusing on a new world years after ‘our’ Earth has been destroyed.

Told from several third person points of view MOON CHOSEN follows three characters with intersecting paths. Mari is our heroine-our young woman caught between Clans as she is neither an Earth Walker like her mother, or a Companion like her late father. Nik is a young man who finds himself drawn to our story line heroine; and Dead Eye, who believes himself to be a god amongst man.

MOON CHOSEN, like PC & Kristin Cast’s House of Night series, focuses on gods and goddesses, connections to the Earth, Wind, Moon and Fire, and magic that can be called forth from the elements. As the introductory story line MOON CHOSEN is an extremely long story –over 600 pages- and is awash in a copious amount of world building that focuses or is dependent upon the character development to tell the story. There is an inordinate amount of what can only be described as filler ( and redundancy) that made for a slow build to the story line premise. The author favors long descriptions and prose but in the end, sometimes too much is too much.

The numerous story line characters are divided into three main Clans and Tribes-Earth Walkers (including the Moon Woman), Skin Walkers and Tribe of the Trees (Companions) or combinations thereof, with numerous secondary traits, identities, rituals and powers. There is plenty of discrimination, prejudice and preconceived notions, and an ill-gotten history between the different clans.

PC Cast’s MOON CHOSEN can be a confusing story line as the author divides the attention between three main characters and the paths they have chosen. Most of the action takes place in the final 100 pages or so of the book.

I loved the author’s Parthelon Series (aka Divine Series); struggled with the House of Night YA series co-authored with her daughter Kristin; and have reservations about continuing on the present course with the current series. PC has a more mature writing style than Kristin and it is evident in the story line structure, text and world building but the vast amount of ‘info dumping’ is overwhelming and takes away from the story line premise-the author is building towards the second installment but tends to meander in too many directions.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Addicted ( The Outlaws #2) by Elle Kennedy-a review

ADDICTED ( The Outlaws #2) by Elle Kennedy-a review

Addicted

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 28, 2016

Lennox used to live in a paradise on earth with his best friend Jamie, in a place where visitors came and went, allowing their desires to run free. But everything changes when a deadly attack forces them to take up with Connor Mackenzie’s band of Outlaws. Lennox knows Jamie is hung up on someone else, but he’s always believed he’s the man for her—and won’t let her go without a fight.

Even though Jamie is well aware that Lennox is one hot specimen of a man, she refuses to let sex ruin the most important relationship in her life. But when the object of her interest spurns her, she indulges in a little pleasure-filled revenge with her very magnetic, very willing best friend. One thrilling night with Lennox is enough to awaken Jamie’s unexpected desires for him. And now that she’s had a taste, she’s not sure she can ever give him up.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: ADDICTED is the second installment in Elle Kennedy’s adult, post-apocalyptic/dystopian Outlaws erotica, romance series. This is Lennox and Jamie’s story line.

NOTE: CLAIMED contains scenes of M/M/, M/F and M/F/M sexual situations and may not be suitable for all readers.

SOME BACKGROUND: The OUTLAW series by Elle Kennedy focuses on the post-apocalyptic USA where the country is now divided into a number of respective territories without government control. There are various factions of bandits, enforcers, outlaws, and the people from the city. Life on the outside is hard; there are no laws, no law enforcement, and death is often the better option. Several groups of outlaws have banded together in gated communities for protection and control.

Told from several third person points of view ADDICTED is a friends to lovers story that follows Lennox and his best friend Jamie, as well as fellow outlaws Rylan, Pike and Kade, as they are ‘sent’ to another Outlaw camp to train their members for an upcoming war. But Connor is suspicious of the real reason that the other outlaw leader Reese has requested the help, and Connor believes he may be placing his friends in danger when the truth is finally revealed.

Lennox and Jamie have been best friends for most of their lives. Twenty years of watching family die, friends killed, and with only one another for support, Lennox and Jamie joined Connor Mackenzie’s band of Outlaws but now find themselves in a fight to survive. The relationship between our leading couple is one of friendship and love but Lennox has always rebuked Jamie’s advances until the day his jealousy can no longer be contained and he claims Jamie for himself. The $ex scenes are intimate, aggressive and provocative. Jamie is a woman willing to fight for the man that she loves.

Once again, there is a large ensemble cast of characters including many secondary and supporting roles. With Lennox and Jamie’s visit to Reese’s camp, the introductions are vast; the friendships are varied but not all survive to see another day.

ADDICTED, like the previous installment, is heavily weighted in graphic sexual situations including M/M, M/F/M, M/M/F and M/F material. Public displays of $ex acts are common; group $ex and multiple partners are encouraged but for all intents and purposes, the sexual situations detract from the story line premise. $ex is a commodity; bandits and enforcers use $ex as power and control therefore if you are sensitive to certain sexual situations, this series may not be for you.

Elle Kennedy’s ADDICTED has romance, suspense, action and love. There are moments of heartbreaking loss, emotional fall out, and the realization that you have to give love a try before life takes it all away. The premise is fated and entertaining; the characters are colorful, animated and passionate; the romance is a friends to lover trope filled with hope for the future. The OUTLAWS series is a provocative, erotic and dramatic look at a post-apocalyptic world where life is fleeting and love is shot in the dark.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of book one-CLAIMED

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Claimed (Outlaws #1) by Elle Kennedy-a review

CLAIMED (Outlaws #1) by Elle Kennedy-a review

Claimed

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 6, 2015

After a devastating war decimated most of the world, Hudson Lane has only known the oppressive life under her own father’s tyranny. She finally escapes, branding herself an outlaw and hunted by the Enforcers. Her best chance at survival is Connor Mackenzie, an aggressively sensual fugitive who opens her eyes to the wicked possibilities of a world without rules.

As the leader of a band of outlaw fighters, Connor can’t resist the beautiful stranger who asks for his protection. Despite his reservations, he agrees to introduce her to a whole new way of life. But when Connor discovers Hudson’s connection to the enemies of liberty, he wonders how far he can trust the woman who has abandoned all inhibitions to challenge every forbidden desire.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: CLAIMED is the first installment in Elle Kennedy’s adult, post-apocalyptic/dystopian Outlaws erotica, romance series. This is Outlaw leader Connor Mackenzie, and nurse Hudson Lane’s storyline.

NOTE: CLAIMED contains scenes of M/F and M/F/M sexual situations and may not be suitable for all readers.

Told from dual third person perspectives CLAIMED focuses on the post-apocalyptic USA where the country is now divided into a number of respective territories without government control. There are various factions of bandits, enforcers, outlaws, and the people from the city. Life on the outside is hard; there are no laws, no law enforcement, and death is often the better option.

Hudson Lane is on the run and needs protection-enter Connor Mackenzie-leader of the local Outlaws-and the man who would break Hudson’s heart. Connor is a reluctant leader but a man who commands and demands the respect of the small band of Outlaws he oversees and controls, and with it comes the decision making that could make or break the cohesiveness of their small family unit. When Hudson asks for help, Connor demands something in return and Hudson is willing to give Connor what he wants to ensure her future protection. Connor is a man whose past is dark; he has lost everything to the enforcers, and with it comes betrayal, distrust and a heavy heart. Our hero is on a mission, and he isn’t afraid to use whatever means necessary to get what he wants.

CLAIMED has a large cast of secondary and supporting colorful, charismatic, animated and energetic characters-an ensemble storyline with graphic and aggressive sexual situations, dystopian style lawlessness, and a barter system where nothing is for free and payment can be whatever the seller demands. We are introduced to Connor’s band of Outlaws: Rylan, Pike, Xander and Kade; as well as several different factions of Outlaws, bandits and people who go it alone. Connor’s Outlaws are the epitome of sexually aggressive alpha males who make no excuses for their wants and needs.

The world building focuses on the lawlessness of the Global Council’s control where the self appointed people in charge are evil, dangerous and not afraid to destroy everyone who questions their controlling ways. OUTLAWS primary focus in on the area once known as Utah, and with it comes a disturbing scenario about the power and control of people, places and things. Survival is never a guarantee. My only concern is the lack of history and information as to what happened to incur the wrath of a destructive force that all but destroyed what was once the US of A.

As an erotica storyline CLAIMED is heavily weighted in graphically detailed $ex scenes such that the actual story gets lost in the numerous sexual situations; where nothing is off limits; and $ex is often a commodity used to barter for one’s life, a favor or for food. If you have issues with questionable or coerced consent and detailed aggressive $ex scenes, CLAIMED may not be your first choice in reading material. Connor is a man whose initial sexual aggression towards the storyline heroine makes for some dubious acceptance and compliance but in the end Hudson knows what she wants, and she wants Connor all to herself.

CLAIMED is a provocative storyline with a passionate heroine, an intense hero, and a powerful need for revenge and retribution in a world of desolation and pain. The characters are challenging and hopeful; the romance is uncertain and sometimes angry but in the end Connor and Hudson will get their happily ever after but the path is lined with desperation, rejection and pain.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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The Seeker by S.J. James-Review and Giveaway

The Seeker by S.J. (Sandy) James-Review and Giveaway

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THE SEEKER
by S.J.(Sandy) James
Genre: adult, sci-fi, post apocalyptic, romance
Release Date: September 29, 2015

The Seeker

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / KOBO / itunes / ARe

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 29, 2015

Throughout the horrifying months since the alien Vymalns conquered Earth, Kara Michaels has managed to elude capture.

Until now.

She is about to lose hope when she is rescued by Seeker Aiodhan Reil, an elite warrior of Tirios sent to Earth by the Praemons, precognizant children who can predict which Vymalns will threaten their homeworld.

Although intimidated by his strength, Kara is drawn to Aiodhan’s air of mystery. Upon discovering that he is also an alien, she fears that his race will pose an additional threat to Earth’s freedom.

Aiodan’s mission doesn’t include falling in love with a human female or liberating her father from an internment camp. He must find a way to keep his vows and still protect Kara, just as she must put aside her hatred of aliens to allow Aiodhan into her heart. Only then can they work together to rescue humankind from cruel enslavement.

••••••••••

REVIEW: THE SEEKER is a post- apocalyptic, science fiction/paranormal romance where an evil race of lizard-like aliens known as the Vymalns has descended upon Earth. The humans have become nothing more than slaves as the Vymalns set about to destroy what’s left of Earth’s natural resources. Enter Aiodhan- a humanoid male of the Tirios species whose job as a ‘Seeker’ finds our storyline hero caught between doing his job and the human woman with whom he is falling in love.

Aiodhan, along with Pashmar, a fellow female Seeker are sent from Tirios each with a specific assignment but neither one was ever meant to remain on Earth. Aiodhan will meet Kara Michaels when he saves her from an attack by the Vymalns and a relationship between he and Kara will set into motion a series of events that finds our couple in a human encampment close to where the Vymalns have imprisoned Kara’s father and several other human slaves.

The relationship between Kara and Aiodhan is one of immediate attraction. Aiodhan is a beautiful, over protective, alpha Tirios warrior, and Kara, a human female nurse, is about to become his intended mate but first our leading couple must defend themselves against attacks by the Vymalns, and the prejudicial specieism of Kara’s fellow humans and Aiodhan’s friend Pashmar. The $ex scenes are intimate; there are no over the top graphic erotic $ex scenes.

There are a number of secondary and supporting characters including Kara’s brother Kevin and her father-a veterinarian –who has been commanded by the Vymalns as their resident physician. We are introduced to the survivors at the camp-several of whom have specific talents and jobs –that are reminiscent of military troops preparing for battle. Aiodhan will find himself protector of two human children who have prophesized the upcoming battles and threats to the survivors.

The world building is very reminiscent of ‘The Walking Dead’ especially as it pertains to the prison, the hierarchy of positions within the camp, and some of the characters whose personalities rival some of the cast of TWD. That is not to say there are any ‘walkers or zombies’ but the storyline energy and some of the scenarios are familiar.

THE SEEKER is an entertaining storyline with colorful characters and animated personalities. The romance between Kara and Aiodhan is loving and sensitive; there are no overt erotic scenarios or questionable alien rituals. The action scenes are limited as it pertained to the take down of the ‘internment camp’, and the encounters with the Vymalns are few and far between. I did have a couple of issues with the story especially the lack of background information and history of the alien invasion. Although THE SEEKER is a work of science fiction, I need answers and explanations as to the how and why-the reality is in the believability and I need to believe.

There are several characters with potential stories, and the Vymalns still remain a threat throughout the world. Pashmar’s storyline is next.

Copy supplied by the author.

Reviewed by Sandy

About The Author Black and Min

Sandy JamesFollow Sandy at : Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook

My income tax return says that I am a teacher. I had originally intended it to say “lawyer,” but romance, marriage, and motherhood set my life on a different course.

I’ve been married to Jeff James since 1983. Even after all these years, he is still the love of my life. Jeff and I have two grown children who make us proud every day.

My husband and I share another strong and wonderful interest that is not only a great part of our day-to-day lives but has also become a running theme throughout some of my books. We own a small racing stable of Standardbred Harness horses, pacers to be exact. We have always loved the sport and as our children grew up enough to have their own interests, Jeff looked into what it would be like to own a racehorse. We jumped into the sport with both feet and are loving every minute of it.

As another bit of personal information, I’d like to share that several years ago I was diagnosed with lupus. I know that there are others out there who either have had the same diagnosis or know someone who has. I’m sharing this because I want to encourage you all that chronic illnesses do not have to keep you down and out of the swing of life. I still teach, still work with my horses, have a wonderful family life, and am still able to spend hours at my laptop writing on my latest book.

I am blessed to be leading a life full of the things I like to do and people I love.

giveaway

S.J.(Sandy) James is offering an ecopy of THE SEEKER to THREE (3) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

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

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

3. Please LIKE and Follow Sandy James on Facebook

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please FOLLOW us on TSU for an additional entry.

8. Giveaway is open internationally

9. Giveaway runs from October 2-6, 2015

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Far Shore (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton-Review and Interview with the Author

Far Shore (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton-Review and Interview with the Author

Far Shore

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FAR SHORE (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 10, 2013

An old enemy wreaks new havoc at the end of the world…

After the mists’ lethal apocalypse, mankind’s only hope for survival lies broken and battered, the prisoner of a ruthless sociopath who will stop at nothing to hurt him. Emma sets out to rescue him. She faces an ultimatum and must relinquish everything she holds dear. As Arthur teeters on the brink of life and death, Emma’s healing ability fails. Her own despair tests her, and she must grow stronger than she ever dreamt possible as she confronts the truth of her own heart.

In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test…

A mystical odyssey, a haunting love…

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

REVIEW: FAR SHORE is the third instalment in Traci L. Slatton’s After series set in the post apocalyptic dystopian future following the Day when the lethal mists began to ravage the world’s population and lands. In the After, many of the survivors have developed psychic powers and special abilities that will play an important role in the survival of the world.

At the end of Cold Light our ‘hero’ Arthur had been taken prisoner by a mad man who knows what it is like to lose everything to the mists. Alexei blames Arthur for the mists and ultimately the death of millions of people on earth including the only woman that he has ever loved. There is only one sure way to make Arthur suffer and that is to take the one thing that Arthur loves-his Emma.

Emma is a woman who is torn between the man that she loves and the family that she has risked everything to save. And Emma is the only person who is able to save Arthur and bring him back from the brink of death. But Arthur is no longer the man with whom Emma fell in love and it will take a supernatural miracle to find the man buried deep in the mind of tortured soul.

Traci L. Slatton brings together most of the previous storyline characters-each of whom has suffered in one way or another. From Emma’s family in Canada to the family she left behind in France, a terrible price has been paid by all of those who have survived the attacks from the raiders, the rogues and the mists.

We are pulled into a story of survival against all odds. The death of so many weighs heavily on the few that have survived; but there are also bright spots amongst the gloom when a new life is brought into the world. Our survivors have had a difficult journey and one that has had its’ share of losses and pain. There is heartache for a woman who has lost the man that she loves, but also for the man who has lost himself in a fight for his sanity and his life. Relationships continue to form while others begin to crumble under the weight of betrayal and loss.

Far Shore (and The After series) is a story that makes you wonder about the what ifs and whys of a world at war. If the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is let loose onto a world of innocent people, what will happen when said weapon evolves and comes looking for the creator? Do we really trust the people in charge of our daily lives and if not, what will happen when the people at the top, can no longer control the monster within?

Traci L Slatton has written another wonderful and amazing storyline that looks at the aftermath of an experiment gone horribly wrong. It is a story about love and loss; betrayal and pain; and a second chances to make everything right. And it is also about two people, who have found love amongst the chaos and destruction, only to lose each other at the hands of a man tortured by his own loss. Sometimes there is only one choice and that choice is to survive, no matter what someone else has in mind.

Copy supplied by the author

Reviewed by Sandy

Interview beige

The Reading Cafe would like to welcome back Traci. We previously spoke with Traci in the summer of 2012 with the release of Cold Light-the second book in her After Series.

Traci L SlattonTRC: Hi Traci and welcome back to The Reading Café.

Traci: Thanks for having me back! I’m glad to be back.

TRC: For anyone who does not know Traci L. Slatton, would you please tell us something about yourself?

Traci: I am the author of 9 books and the mother of 4 girls, three and a step; I practice yoga daily; I live in Manhattan with my husband Sabin Howard, who is a classical figurative sculptor. I was a Navy brat. I like horses and chocolate and Renaissance art and travel.

TRC: It has been a little over a year since last we talked, what have you been up to?

Traci: Writing during the day and posing at night for Sabin, who is using me as the model for a bust. Posing for my husband isn’t strenuous, but it is challenging. I have to hold my head at a certain slight tilt, and maintain a small smile, and keep my shoulders relaxed down my back, for several hours after dinner every night, unless Sabin is teaching. Sabin is polite, but when he’s sculpting, he’s very demanding and clinical. There’s no funny business. And he doesn’t reimburse me in cash for posing, but he’s supposed to pay me in something else I can’t mention because this is a G rated blog. Unfortunately, by the time we’re finished sculpting for the night, I’m too tired to ask for payment. 🙂

Of course, I’m always raising my little one, who is 8.5 now. I’m also researching WW2 for two historical novels set during that time period.

Far ShoreTRC: FAR SHORE is the third instalment in your After series focusing on the ramifications of a weapon of mass destruction-literally-gone wrong. Would you please tell us something about the premise?

Traci: The premise is that most of humanity, and our physical structures, has been wiped out by a global ecological cataclysm. The survivors are struggling to stay alive as best they can. They’re beset by danger on every side, and inflicted with psychic gifts that presage madness. Within that context, a woman who is very strong develops a healing gift, and she falls in love with a man who is hiding a terrible secret.

TRC: The AFTER series was originally a trilogy, how many books have you planned for the series and what was the decision to write past three instalments?

Traci: I think it is a 4 book series. I meant for it to be a trilogy, but I got to the end of FAR SHORE, which is Book 3, and I had story left over to tell. Unexpected.

After Series

Click HERE for our review of FALLEN
Click HERE for our review of COLD LIGHT

TRC: The premise of the series contains a major sociological, environmental and ethical disaster with a death toll rising into the billions. How do you think today’s society would fair or survive under the same circumstances? Or is the storyline a virtual interpretation of what you believe may happen after an apocalypse of this nature?

Traci: This storyline is an interpretation of what I believe may happen. Not the specifics of Emma and Arthur’s story, but the broad sweeps: people will band together and form tribes for safety and survival. Some of those tribes will be more civilized than others. Some people will rise as heroes, showing the finest and bravest that human beings can attain; others will show the worst of us.

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

Traci: Good question! The answer is actually nuanced. I create characters whose qualities demand that they act in certain ways, but I as the author am always governing the fictional universe. That is, a character who is coherent will behave in ways that grow naturally and organically from his or her self. However, a brave person will sometimes be fearful; a crazy person will have moments of lucidity. There may be a greater reason why I as author set the character up to act out of character, as it were. But I have to strategize that situation very skillfully.

TRC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?

Traci: Both. I love the oceanic sweep of creative inspiration, and I usually surf that blissfully into a book for a few chapters. However, structure in a 65,000 word story is crucial. Without structure, the story falls into disarray. It becomes incoherent. So I work both from an outline and from the lightning bolt of creativity, back and forth, back and forth. The one informs the other, always.

TRC: Has their ever been one of your characters that you would have liked to re-written, perhaps change up the personality or characteristics-good or bad?

ImmortalTraci: I sometimes wish I had made Luca Bastardo of IMMORTAL (BantamDell, 2008) a little more proactive. He tended to react rather than initiate. But he is a well liked character, so perhaps my readers are more forgiving than I am.

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 writers fail in this endeavor?

Traci: Excellent, and hard, question. When a writer can wring emotion out of a reader, and that is one of the ultimate goals, it’s a function of a few things. One is creating relatable, three-dimensional characters for whom the readers care, in whom the readers are invested. Another is diction. Sloppy or over-flowery diction will alienate a reader. Also, it helps if the narrative is cohesive and if the events of the story are compelling.

TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Traci: That’s the trick, isn’t it? Well, this goes back to my 3 Rules for Writing Novels: 1, What is story? Story is how your protagonist does NOT get what he or she wants. 2, What is story? All story is an argument for a specific value. 3, What are the stakes? So the plot all happens to keep the protagonist from getting what he or she wants. And at each event, I ask, what are the stakes? What does the protagonist stand to lose or gain? So keeping those questions in mind helps me stay fresh while also maintaining verisimilitude.

There’s also revision. My family and friends have heard me say it, so I’ll repeat it here: revision is writing. I don’t usually hit a bull’s eye the first time I write a scene or a chapter. Sometimes I can’t even get the arrow in the same town as the target board. But a revision or five later, I usually have something good to work with.

TRC: How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of deadlines?

Traci: Somehow I got really lucky in that I am highly self-motivated and disciplined, and I rarely procrastinate. (Maybe God was making up for my extra wide, double E size feet and unnaturally large, ET-like forehead.) My motto is, why wait until tomorrow when you can do it today? It makes the people around me a little crazy sometimes, but I can usually deal with deadlines, by racing ahead of them.

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about you?

Traci: Ooo. People think I’m strong, and they think strong means “unfeeling.” While it’s true I tend to have a lot of forward motion, and I will stand up for myself and for what I believe is right, that doesn’t mean I’m invulnerable. People, especially those close to me, see my strength but not my vulnerability. It’s led to a lot of painful situations in my life. I always want to say, to my two older daughters and to my mother and to my vengeful ex-husband, “I am a person. Don’t I have eyes? Don’t I have hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Am I not fed by the same food? If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you tickle me, do I not laugh?”

TRC: Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

Traci: I’ve been fortunate to have met a lot of compelling people who have taken an interest in me. It’s hard to pick one. I guess my grandmother Granny Bee was a big influence. She was a raucous, funny, lively, experimental person. She had only a 3rd grade education, she was part Cherokee, and she spent her early life traveling the South picking crops, but she was one of the most engaging people I’ve ever met. She had 5 husbands and we joke that only a few of them died under mysterious circumstances. She was going to nudist colonies in the 50’s–who was doing that? She built her own home, with her hands and nails and boards and a hammer. When she needed plumbing, she dated a plumber. When she needed the electrical system put in, she dated an electrician. It wasn’t easy for my mom as a little kid, but I always admired Granny Bee’s resourcefulness, courage, originality, and willingness to take risks.

TRC: Who is the first person you think about when you need someone to talk with and why?

Traci: Usually my husband Sabin. We fight a lot. It’s not easy to be two artists in the marriage, because that means there are actually 4 of us in the marriage: Sabin, his sculpting, me, and my writing. We’re both creative, opinionated, and pathologically persistent people. But Sabin does have a different perspective than I do, and when he’s not triggered by the situation, he has a lot of smart things to say. He can help pull me back when I personalize something; he’s good at reminding me, “That’s the other person’s stuff. Don’t take it on.” He is also often very sensible and practical. He also gives excellent hugs.

TRC: If you could be a contestant on a reality television program, which program would you chose and why?

Traci: Ugh. I hate reality TV. I have a whole rant about how reality TV is the end of western civilization and Enlightenment ideals.

TRC: On what are you currently working? Planned for 2014?

Traci: Having finished FAR SHORE, I am working on BROKEN, the story of a fallen angel in Paris from spring, 1939 to the Vel d’hiv in 1942. I have another WW2 novel planned for 2014. Then the 4th book in the After Series. Then a King Arthur retelling.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Traci: Thank you for these intriguing questions! And check out my husband’s sculptures HERE

LIGHTNING ROUND

Dog or Cat:  DOG

Roses or Tulips:  LILACS

Iron Man or Thor:  THOR

Winter or Summer: SUMMER

Last Movie you Saw: ELYSIUM (Isn’t Matt Damon hot???)

Pet Peeve: When my husband doesn’t rinse out the sink after shaving

Secret Celebrity Crush: Eric Bana (sigh)

TRC: Thank you Traci for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of FAR SHORE. Please come back and keep us up to date with Arthur, Emma and the gang.

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