Her Last Breath (Detective Kerri Blasco #2) by J.A. Schneider-a review

Her Last Breath (Detective Kerri Blasco #2) by J. A. Schneider-a review

Her Last Breath

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

About the book: Release Date October 21, 2016

A chilling psychological thriller about a woman caught between two men…

Mari Gill wakes to horror in a strange apartment next to a murdered man, and can’t remember the night before. Accused of murder, she feels torn between her husband, a successful defense attorney, and a mysterious, kind man who wants to help. Can she trust either of them – or even her friends? Detective Kerri Blasco battles her police bosses believing Mari is innocent…but is she?

Review:
As the blurb says, Mari Gill wakes up in a strange bed next to a murdered man who is a complete stranger. She sees a knife that has been plunged into his chest and screams bloody murder (literally) as she stumbles out of the bed and attempts to run for her life. She slips and falls into broken glass cutting her hands terribly and promptly has a life threatening asthma attack. Not knowing where her purse is, she has no hope of finding her inhaler as she starts to black out knowing she is about to die. Just then, a stranger appears just in time and calls the police. Once the police and paramedics arrive, Mari knows she’s going to need help from the one person she does not want to call…her estranged husband, who just happens to be a high profile defense attorney.

As the police try to ascertain what happened, something does not sit well with Detective Kerri Blasco and her partner, Detective Alex Brand. The murdered man ends up being an in demand photographer and their captain is being pressured to get the case wrapped up and the murderer charged. When Kerri tells her captain she’s not convinced that Mari is the murderer, he knows she won’t stop until she has things figured out in her own time. He still gives her a timeframe and tells her to get it figured out. Kerri soon discovers that things are not quite as they seem. After speaking with Mari, she’s even more sure that she’s missing something…but what?

Mari doesn’t know who to trust. Her estranged husband is a master at handling the press and high profile cases, but she doesn’t want to rely too much on him. Once she meets the mysterious man who saved her life, she feels a connection with him, only to end up questioning his reasons. She has friends who seem to be a little too curious about what happened and seem to be a step ahead of her as she tries to figure things out. Mari’s life soon becomes so upended that she doesn’t know who she can trust. What follows is a story that will leave you guessing until almost the very end.

Her Last Breath is a nice addition to the Detective Kerri Blasco series. Schneider does a masterful job of weaving her suspense filled story in this one. The characters are relatable and the premise is a good one. I’ve liked Kerri and Alex since I first read about them in the Embryo series and love seeing them move forward in their lives and their careers. I also liked Mari. However, the one sticking point for me was the way the author wrote Mari’s thoughts. There were so many broken thoughts and fragmented sentences that it was almost like reading a screenplay where she was concerned. The supporting characters weren’t as developed as Schneider normally writes them, but they were relatable nonetheless. With all of that said, Her Last Breath was a good read. If you’re a fan of the suspense genres, you won’t go wrong with J.A. Schneider. I look forward to the next installment.

Click HERE for Vickie’s review of book one-FEAR DREAMS

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

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Kept (The Enforcers #3) by Maya Banks-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Kept (The Enforcers #3) by Maya Banks-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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KEPT
The Enforcers #3
by Maya Banks
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romantic suspense

Kept

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

About the book: Release Date October 25, 2016

He can’t change who he is…

A horrific childhood has made Silas the man he is today: dangerous, distrustful, and demanding. He’s lived in self-imposed solitude, convinced that no woman could ever accept his need for absolute control—in business and pleasure. That is, until a young violinist walks into one of his buildings and into his life.

She can’t change what she wants…

Haley has been struggling to fulfill her father’s dying wish: to attend a prestigious music school in New York City. But even working two jobs, she can’t afford the tiniest of apartments. Seeing her hopeless and near tears, Silas vows to help and protect her, no matter the cost to himself. But when Haley meets his every demand with unwavering acceptance and love, he is overwhelmed by her goodness and gentle spirit. He knows that the dark stain on his soul can never be erased—and rather than risk destroying the most beautiful thing he’s ever experienced, he knows he’ll have to do the hardest thing he’s ever had to face. Let her go. But he’s totally unprepared for the lengths Haley will go to fight for his love and a future brighter than the sun…

••••••••••

Kept begins with Haley down on her luck and needing to find a new place to live. She happens into a building that had a vacancy, but it was too expensive. To her complete and utter shock, the manager contacts her to let her know they had a vacancy open up in her price range. Haley moves in almost immediately and continues working all hours and practicing the other hours. She squeezes in some sleep when she can but has vowed to make it, not only for herself, but to make her dad proud and fulfill his dream for her.

Silas knows the moment he sees Haley that things are about to change. Once he hears the soothing sounds of her violin in the wee hours of the morning, he quickly starts to look forward to it…night after night. However, when Haley decides to bake some goodies as a thank you for her elusive neighbor, who just happens to own the building, neither are prepared for the life changing series of events that follows.

Kept is a nice addition to the Enforcer series, but I was a little disappointed. Haley’s character was well written. I loved that she was in the city attending school, working and owning her life. Yes, she was a little naïve about some things, but she was on her own and making it work. I’ve loved Silas since book one of this series. Even though he technically works for Drake, he really answers to no one. He was an enigma and chose to throw in with Drake and his team, all of whom are his chosen family. He had a horrible childhood with horrible parents, but somehow survived to become a force to be reckoned with. His relationship with Haley was “instant” attraction, but it wasn’t “instant” sex, thank God! They really did navigate their relationship in an almost normal fashion….almost. This is a Banks romance novel, by the way. Where it fell a little short for me was, believe it or not, was the way he treated Haley. Yes, he was accommodating, protective and loving, but the fact that he called her princess really grated on my nerves. It was like he was talking to a three year old. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I love Maya Banks, and just expected a bit more from him and his story. He also made some of the same mistakes that Drake had made, which grated a little more. I was expecting, and wanting, more from him. With all of that said, I really did like the book. The problem for me was that I didn’t love it. If you’re a Maya Banks fan, you’ll like it as well. I do look forward to the next in the series. The secondary characters were well written and I think they’ll have a lot to say. Well done, Maya Banks!

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Mastered
Dominated
Kept

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Vickie M

excerpt

Hayley sank further into the heated seat of the luxurious car as they sailed through traffic, and she smiled, unable to believe her good fortune. How fast things changed and how quickly she’d gone from desperation and resignation to excitement and optimism about her future.
Tears glittered and clung to her eyelashes.
I’m going to make it, Dad. Just like I promised. I’ve found a place I can afford to rent. I can continue school like you and Mom wanted. One day you’ll see me playing with a prestigious symphony. This is all for you, Dad. For all you sacrificed for me. I only wish you were here to see me the first time I play with a symphony.
A fierce ache besieged her chest and she rubbed, blinking furiously to rid herself of the tears that burned her eyes. It was hard to accept that her biggest—only—supporter was gone. First her mom, whom she’d lost when she was but a child, but Hayley still clung to the fleeting memories she had of her mother. Every time she looked in the mirror she saw her mother’s face. As her father often fondly remarked, she was the picture of her mother.
It was bad enough to lose one parent. Why did she have to lose both? The only two people she had in the world?
She leaned forward in the seat when she saw that they were approaching the street where her current residence was located.
“You can let me off at the corner,” she said to the driver, who hadn’t uttered a single word during the ride. “I’ll walk from there. It’s not far and the rain has stopped.”
The man glanced in the rearview mirror, obviously staring intently at her, though she couldn’t see his eyes behind the shades he wore despite the overcast day.
“I would feel better if I dropped you in front of your building,” the man said, surprising her with the firmness of his statement.
Hayley smiled. “No, it’s okay, truly. I’d like to walk so I can clear my head. It’s been an eventful morning.”
His lips tightened but he didn’t argue further as he pulled to the corner and glided to a halt. When she would have opened her door to duck out, he sent her a look of reprimand that froze her in her tracks. He got out and unhurriedly stepped around the car to open the passenger door not facing the street.
She smiled at him again, ruefully this time, and offered her thanks, squeezing the hand he’d offered to help her out. To her shock, the staid, somber man’s lips turned into a semblance of a smile, only the corners slightly tipping up.
“It was my pleasure,” he offered formally before once more returning to the driver’s seat.
Seconds later the car melted away into traffic and Hayley turned to walk the half block to her apartment, shaking her head at the most unexpected turn of events the day had offered.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin
Random House Company. Copyright © Maya Banks, 2016.

About The Author Black and Blue

Follow Maya: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Maya BanksMy name is Maya Banks and I live in Texas with my husband and three children and our assortment of pets.

When I’m not writing, I love to hunt and fish with my family. We all love the outdoors and go on family hunting trips every year. We also love to travel. One of our more recent trips was to Scotland, which was every bit as comical as National Lampoon’s European Vacation. You know the part about “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament” as they went round and round the roundabouts? Yeah, that was us, only we couldn’t even get out of the airport in Glasgow without hitting three of those suckers.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a writing career is getting to meet so many wonderful readers. There’s nothing better than dishing books with someone who loves the romance genre as much as I do. Romance readers are passionate and vocal. We love our books, love our happily ever afters, and we love to spend time talking to others about our favorites. THIS is why I love my job so much, and I’m so grateful to readers who gave ME a chance when I began my career. So thank you.

Giveaway-Black and Deep Blue

Maya’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of  KEPT to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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

NOTE: If you are having difficult commenting after logging onto the website, please refresh the page at the top of your computer.

3. Follow MAYA BANKS on Facebook.

4. Please LIKE us on FACEBOOK and click GET NOTIFICATIONS

5. Please FOLLOW us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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

7. Giveaway is open to USA only

8. Giveaway runs from November 3-7, 2016

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King’s Knight (Medieval Warriors #4) by Regan Walker-a review

King’s Knight (Medieval Warriors #4) by Regan Walker-a review

King's Knight

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 11, 2016

HE SEIZED LIFE BY THE THROAT

Dubbed the Black Wolf for his raven hair, his fierceness in battle and his way with women, Sir Alexander of Talisand attacked life as he did the king’s enemies. But acclaim on the battlefield and his lusty escapades did not satisfy. King William Rufus would bind him to Normandy through marriage to one of its noblewomen, but the only woman Alexander wanted was a commoner he had saved from a terrible fate.

SHE KEPT MEN AT BAY WITH HER BOW

The shame of being the child of a Norman’s rape dogged Merewyn’s steps from her youth. Determined never to be a victim of a man’s lust like her mother, in Wales she donned the garb of an archer and developed extraordinary skill with a bow. Despite her fair beauty, men now keep their distance. No longer in need of protection from other men, can Merewyn protect herself from Alexander when he holds her heart yet can never be hers?

••••••••••••••

REVIEW:  King’s Knight is a wonderful addition in Regan Walker’s Medieval Warrior series. Once again, the world that Ms. Walker continues to build in this series is superb, as is her storytelling .

Merewyn is a character that you will immediately feel a kinship with. She took the shame she felt as a child and turned it into something beautiful: pride and determination. Fiercely protective and loyal to those she loves, Merewyn will, more than once, prove that her determination knows no bounds. Alex is just as loyal and fierce and protective, which he proved as a child when he and Merewyn were children. However, it is defiance in later years that will endear him to all who read this story. It is truly a fairytale come true for them both. The historical aspects of this story, more than any other in this series, leapt from the page. Let me just say, THAT is saying something. I’ve said before that one of the earmarks of a great author, at least for me, is being able to actually see the scene in your mind. Regan Walker is unparalleled in accomplishing that fact.

It was so great to see this series move forward several years and see the original characters from previous books happy and healthy and their children taking lead roles in securing their own futures. Regan Walker has once again written a sweeping tale that pulls you in at the very beginning and doesn’t let you go. Along with a wonderfully developed romance, there is political intrigue, along with a cast of supporting characters begging for their story to be told. This is true medieval romance at its finest. Well done, Regan Walker! Very, very well done!

Reading Order and Previous reviews
The Red Wolfe’s Prize
Rogue Knight
Rebel Warrior
King’s Knight

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

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Midnight Untamed (Midnight Breed 14.5) 1001 Dark Nights by Lara Adrian-Review and Excerpt Tour

Midnight Untamed (Midnight Breed 14.5) 1001 Dark Nights by Lara Adrian-Review and Excerpt Tour

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MIDNIGHT UNTAMED
Midnight Breed #14.5
1001 Dark Nights
by Lara Adrian
Release Date: October 11, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance

Midnight Untamed

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Don’t have a Kindle ereader? Download the Free Kindle App for your computer or tablet

 

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 11, 2016

The mission was supposed to be simple. Infiltrate an enemy’s stronghold outside Rome and eliminate its leader. For a Breed warrior as lethal as Ettore Selvaggio, AKA “Savage”, stealth assassinations are only one of his many cold-hearted specialties. But the last thing Savage expects to find behind enemy lines—in his target’s bed—is a woman he once adored.

It’s been years since Savage last saw beautiful Arabella Genova. Years he’s strived to banish to his past, along with the fierce desire he once felt toward Bella . . . and the irresistible calling of her blood that stirs in him even now, despite the fact that she belongs to another male.

But when fate throws Savage and Bella together again in a race for their lives, will his long-lost love prove to be the one woman he can’t live without, or the perfect weapon to destroy him?

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: Midnight Untamed begins with Savage having one objective: destroy a major distributor of an illegal substance that turns normal Breed males into bloodthirsty rogues that kill everything in their path. As Savage goes to detonate the explosives he’s planted at the compound, he sees the one person who has owned his heart for ten long years. The fact that Arabella “Bella” Genova is entrenched with the enemy should have meant that she would be collateral damage. With Savage having only moments to make his move, he puts disarms the detonator and head to the compound.

Bella hates that she is paraded around like a trophy in front of Massioni’s cronies and has to use her special powers to aid him any time he wishes. Once he tells her to retrieve her “tools”, she goes to her room to get what she needs, only to be ambushed by someone hiding there. It doesn’t take long for her to realize who that someone is: Ettore Selvaggio. As her heart soars at seeing him again, it also sinks because she knows what she has to do. She apologizes to him……….and then screams at the top of her lungs. Shocked to his very soul, Savage grabs Bella and runs. What follows is a pulse pounding race against time to not only bring down Massioni but to save themselves as well.

Midnight Untamed is a great addition to the Midnight Breed series. Even though this is a novella, it progresses the storyline that should have a big impact in the next book. Savage and Bella are awesome characters and their chemistry is off the charts. While they get reacquainted and Savage learns the unforgivable wrongs that were committed against Bella by her own family, he falls even harder for her. We also meet a mysterious Hunter named Scythe who, in my humble opinion, is screaming for his story to be told. His appearance is brief, but he has a huge presence. I’ve been a fan of this series since day one and have never once been disappointed, and that’s saying something. Lara Adrian seems to effortlessly create her world and leaves me wanting more……every time. If you’re a fan of this series, you will not be disappointed. If you’ve never read it, get to reading! Well done, Lara Adrian! Very well done!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

BOOK TRAILER:

Direct Link: https://video214.com/play/8l51MQrU143hd56W0kagqw/s/dark

Midnight Untamed Teaser

excerpt

 

Arabella knew better than to keep Massioni waiting. He’d sent her away to fetch her scrying bowl while he entertained his boot-licking cronies in the grand salon. They were gloating over a large payout from a shipment of Red Dragon to the States and the United Kingdom—a narcotic that destroyed the minds of their own kind, the Breed, creating blood-addicted monsters from just the smallest dose. They didn’t care that their sudden windfall came at the expense of both Breed and human lives. She had learned a long time ago that Vito Massioni’s greed knew no bounds.
Nor did his violence.
That her gift had helped him amass his growing fortune, and the power that came with it, made Arabella want to retch.
How often had she thought about giving him a false reading from her scrying bowl?
How many times had she dreaded that her visions would one day prove incorrect?
But she hadn’t deceived him, not once.
And, thankfully, her visions had never been wrong.
Either of those failings would come at the cost of innocent lives. Not her own, but the people she cared about most in the world. The only family she had left now.
It was those precious lives she held close in her heart as she walked over to the cabinet across the room and retrieved the hammered gold bowl she would need for her reading downstairs. In reality, her gift would awaken when she peered into any standing pool of liquid, but Massioni insisted she use the ridiculous carnival fortune-teller’s style bowl for dramatic effect whenever she performed a public reading.
Cradling the shallow bowl in her palms, she drew the empty vessel out of the cabinet. Her own face stared back at her in the reflection on the polished gold basin—but that wasn’t all.
Behind her stood the ominous shape of someone else.
A man.
Tall, immense.
An intruder dressed entirely in black tactical gear.
Bella sucked in a startled breath.
Fear streaked through her, but before her shriek could rip up the back of her throat, a broad palm came up to cover her mouth.
Oh, God.

 

 

About The Author Black and Red

Lara AdrianLara Adrian is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 internationally bestselling author of the Midnight Breed vampire romance series and seven award-winning, historical romances, previously released under the pen name Tina St. John.

Lara’s Midnight Breed series is available in hardcover, mass market paperback and e-book through Random House, and in limited edition through Doubleday Book Club, Rhapsody Book Club, Book of The Month, and the Science Fiction Book Club. Unabridged audio editions are available through Tantor Media, Random House Audio, Amazon, iTunes, etc. Lara’s new releases regularly appear on all of the key bestseller lists including the New York TimesUSA TodayPublishers Weekly, Indiebound, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc. There are more than 2 million copies of the Midnight Breed novels in print in the United States.

 

Website | FacebookTwitter |Goodreads

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Shadow Silence (Whisper Hollow #2) by Yasmine Galenorn-Review, Interview & Giveaway

 Shadow Silence (Whisper Hollow #2) by Yasmine Galenorn-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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SHADOW SILENCE
Whisper Hollow #2
by Yasmine Galenorn
Genre: adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance
Release Date: September 27, 2016

Shadow Silence

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 27, 2016

Fifteen years ago, I ran away from Whisper Hollow, Washington, a small town on Crescent Lake in the Olympic Peninsula. But truth is, if you were born here, you can never really leave. I’m Kerris Fellwater, and I’m a spirit shaman. It’s my responsibility to drive the dead back to their graves, because around Whisper Hollow, people—and secrets—don’t always stay buried.

My best friend Peggin finds herself under a curse after she is almost taken by the Lady of the Lake, and the Unliving are determined to drag her back to the hungry waters. As Bryan—my guardian and mate—and I work to break the hex, we uncover a dark and violent mystery from the past. One the Hounds of Cú Chulainn will do anything to guard—even if they must summon a legion of the dead to destroy Whisper Hollow.

••••••••

REVIEW:

Shadow Silence begins shortly after book one ends. Kerris is settling into Whisper Hollow after a 15 year absence and is finding her place among the town’s protectors. When Kerris’ best friend, Peggin, finds out that she has thirty days to find another place to live (due to her landlord needing the house she rents), Kerris is less than pleased to find out that Peggin has her sights set on fixer-upper down by Crescent Lake. Even though Peggin knows that’s one of the most dangerous areas in town, she assures Kerris that she will be careful and on guard because she feels that the house is calling to her. Against Kerris’better judgement, she decides to support her friend’s decision.

When moving day arrives, it doesn’t take long for things to go very, very wrong. When Peggin disappears, Kerris assumes the worst. As she, Bryan (Kerris’ mate and guardian) and Deev (Peggin’s boyfriend) race to find Peggin, Kerris’ nightmare appears to be coming true. They find Peggin on the pier being dragged into the water by the Lady of the Lake. The trio is able to rescue Peggin from the Lady’s grasp, saving her from imminent death, only to discover that the Lady has marked Peggin, which doesn’t bode well for anyone. Especially Peggin. Kerris vows to Peggin that they will find a way to remove the Lady’s curse, but as they all soon discover, that’s easier said than done. Dark forces are making a move on Whisper Hollow and its residents, and it’s up to Kerris and the rest of the town’s protectors to try and find a way to stop them. As their allies gather, a traitor is discovered. Is he the only one? Who can they trust? Well, my friends, you’ll have to read to find out.

Shadow Silence is a great addition to this series. Yasmine Galenorn’s world building will grab you from the very beginning and have you turning the pages. Kerris is continuing to grow into her powers, discovering even more about herself as the days wear on. Bryan, her mate and guardian, continues to fascinate me. Peggin is the best friend whom everyone wishes they were lucky enough to have. However, it’s her boyfriend, Dr. Divine, aka Deev, that has me begging for more. He’s a steampunk artist type whom we know very little about, which adds to his draw. There’s a big story there and I can’t wait to know more about him. I said in my review of book one, Autumn Thorns, the secondary characters are multifaceted and complex. Shadow Silence has made me double down on that statement. I absolutely cannot wait to find out more about these intriguing characters and the dark forces that abound in this series. If you’re looking for a series that has wonderful world building, amazing characters, mystery and intrigue, as well as little romance thrown in, you will not go wrong with the Whisper Hollow series. Well done, Yasmine Galenorn. Very, very well done!!

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Vickie M

 

Interview-Black

CATCHING UP with Yasmine Galenorn

TRC: Hi Yasmine, and welcome back to The Reading Café.

Yasmine GalenornYG: Hi, and thank you for having me.
Follow: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. For anyone who has never read your books, would you please tell us something about yourself?

YG: Well, I have around 50 books out at this point, plus novellas and short stories in a number of anthologies. I’ve been writing since before I could print my name—always knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was three years old. I’m also a priestess in the Craft, and have been a shamanic witch since 1980, when I was 19. I’m one of the crazy cat ladies, and am married to a computer techie. I deal with multiple food allergies and intolerances which make it difficult to travel safely, and as a result, I cook everything I eat—I don’t have the choice, so it’s a good thing I learned to cook early on.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

YG: One of my biggest influences was Ray Bradbury—I call him one of my “mortal gods”…his work taught me that prose can sing, words can move the heart. I also think Daphne du Maurier was an influence, Richard Adams, Anne McCaffrey, Joan D. Vinge, Tanith Lee, and so many other authors.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

YG: The biggest hurdle was getting published in the first place. Back in 1996, by the time I got my first contract (for one of my nonfiction books), I had seven books in the closet already (that will never be published) and had accumulated over 600 rejection slips from agents and publishers. But so many were encouraging that I just kept gritting my teeth and submitting.

Shadow SilenceTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of Shadow Silence, the second book in your Whisper Hollow series?

YG: Shadow Silence is the story of a curse, and a friendship. When the Lady of the Lake targets Peggin, Kerris and Bryan must do their best to break the curse and free her from a watery death. I actually recorded a video about Shadow Silence and the Whisper Hollow series, and you can find that on my Youtube Channel. Whisper Hollow haunts my dreams—the characters are so alive and vibrant to me, and the town so dark and shadowed.

TRC: How many books do you have planned for the WHISPER HOLLOW series?

YG: At least four—and I really think I’ll write more than that. However, since Berkley has opted not to continue the series, I will be releasing the rest after Shadow Silence as an indie author. The next Whisper Hollow books will be titled: Crow Song, and Morrígan’s Blade. As soon as Shadow Silence releases, I’ll be posting the covers for them—they’re gorgeous.

TRC: Are you able to give us a hint about your next Otherworld/Sisters of the Moon installment?

YG: I will also be releasing these as an indie author (in fact, Shadow Silence is my last release with Berkley Books and then I’m moving over to the indie side for the foreseeable future). Moon Shimmers, book 19 in the Otherworld Series, will be available in January 2017. I’m planning to release Harvest Song in January 2018, and my last OW book—Blood Bonds—in January 2019. I will be doing a cover reveal on my blog for all three books on October 4th! In Moon Shimmers, Camille will be taking her place as the Queen of Dusk & Twilight.

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

YG: *grinning* I dunno…I just write the stories that appear in my head. I guess by now, with over fifty books out, it’s second nature.

TRC: When writing (or outlining) a story line do your characters direct the writing, or do you direct the characters?

YG: The characters lead the way, definitely. I long ago stopped trying to force plotlines because it always comes out stilted. I give the characters their head and they lead me where they need to go.

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

YG: I bounce ideas off my husband and my assistants at times. Mostly, my subconscious does its little trick of mixing up everything and then spewing it out at me in one big lump. I stare at the creative hairball sitting at my feet, and then start trying to sculpt it. (Told you I’m the crazy cat lady).

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

YG: Covers are vital, which is why I’m so glad I’ve found incredible cover designers for my indie work. Wait till you see the covers for the next two Whisper Hollow books—brilliant and beautiful.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

YG: I’m finishing up Fury’s Magic, the second in my new indie series—the Fury Unbound Series. Book one—Fury Rising—came out in July and did very well, so I’m extremely pleased about that. I plan on releasing Fury’s Magic in November.

I’m also starting to promote two anthologies I’m in—Taming the Vampire will be coming out on October 31st, and it contains the prequel to a new series I’ll be introducing next year—the Bewitching Bedlam series. And Silver Belles will be coming out in late October as well, with one of the few contemporary romance short stories I’ve ever written in it—The Longest Night. Silver Belles is a winter-holiday themed anthology.

Actually, I have a number of surprises in the works. I’ll be re-releasing the entire Chintz ‘n China series this autumn with lovely new covers and a few additions. Really, it’s best to sign up for my newsletter if you want to keep informed, because there are going to be a lot of things going on in my various worlds over the next 18 months.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

YG: Just that I’m grateful for all my readers who have followed me on my adventures—and who are making the switch with me as I change over from the old guard to the new guard, so to speak. I appreciate it. I love that my readers love my worlds, and I really appreciate the support they give in return.

TRC: Thank you Yasmine for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of SHADOW SILENCE. We wish you all the best.

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The King’s Imposter (Raven Bringer Saga #2) by C.A. McHugh-a review

The King’s Imposter (Raven Bringer Saga #2) by C.A. McHugh-a review

the King's Imposter

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About the book: Release Date August 30, 3016

She’s not what she seems.
He’s determined to uncover the truth.

After nearly being assassinated a few weeks ago, King Aerrin has reason to be on edge. The Raven Bringer has returned, and Aerrin knows he’s the fiend’s top target. So he’s naturally suspicious about the new student at the Academy of Arcane Magics. She’s too good, too advanced, and too polished to only be a young student learning her craft. Hellbent on discovering Seroney’s secret, Aerrin sets out to investigate her.

King Aerrin is perceptive–and right. She’s not who she claims to be. Pretending to be a student, the half-elf master mage, Seroney, has been placed at the Academy on a covert mission. The closer Aerrin comes to uncovering the truth about her, the more danger they are both in. But when the Raven Bringer retaliates against her, Seroney must decide what’s more important: duty or revenge.

Review:

The King’s Imposter begins with Seroney’s world being upended and sent on a mission to aid young King Aerrin, unbeknownst to him. Even as Seroney is unsure about just how to accomplish her mission, she is just as sure that she will because failure is not an option.

As Aerrin and his two best friends, Leandros and Nyssa, attend classes to try and master their craft, he is immediately suspicious of Seroney, who just happened to be placed as Nyssa’s new roommate. When things progress, Aerrin finds himself more in awe of her talent than suspicious of her intent, which he knows could get him killed. Knowing he has to be vigilant, he’s also aware that he needs all of the allies he can get.

When the Ravin Bringer starts to make his play, all involved must figure out a way to work together and draw him out. However, Seroney not only succeeds in thwarting one of his plays for power, she also succeeds in drawing his ire. And someone dear to her pays the ultimate price.

The King’s Imposter is another wonderfully written tale by Crista McHugh. The world she has built in this series is so intriguing that you are drawn in immediately. All of the characters are well written, which is a trait that McHugh has mastered. As I’ve said in reviewing previous stories of hers, there are no wasted words or characters thrown in just because…. Everyone plays a role that is important to the story. And, what a story it is. There is intrigue at every turn that leaves you wanting more. For me, any author who can write a story that you can SEE it in your head as you read, really SEE it, is a true treasure. Crista McHugh is that treasure. If you’re looking for a quick read full of intriguing characters, as well as one with unparalleled world-building, you can never go wrong with this author. Well done, Crista McHugh! Very, very well done!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

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Meant to be Mine ( Guilty Pleasures #1) by Lisa Marie Perry-Review & Book Tour

Meant to be Mine (Guilty Pleasures #1) by Lisa Perry-Review & Book Tour

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MEANT TO BE MINE
Guilty Pleasures #1
by Lisa Marie Perry
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Meant to be Mine

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About the book: August 30, 2016

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Sofia Mercer may have been sick as a teen, but she’s no delicate flower. And she’s proven it by making it on her own and starting a new life away from the town that turned against her, away from the boy who broke her already fragile heart. But when her aunt Luz dies unexpectedly, leaving Sofia with a mountain of regrets and the keys to a quirky boutique, Sofia has no choice but to return to Cape Cod. Only, this new life in her old town comes with complications.

Burke Wolf was Sofia’s first love—a relationship that burned bright and went up in flames. Seeing him again, Sofia can’t help but get caught up in that all-too-familiar tornado of passion and pain. He’s battled his own demons—that much is clear. But Sofia can’t afford to be careless with her heart . . . and loving Burke again might just break it completely.

Review:

Meant to be Mine begins with Sofia attending her Aunt Luz’s funeral. It had been years since Sofia had ventured back to Eaves, a place that she’d once called home until a scandal involving her father had broken which lead to her leaving the small town. She never thought she’d look back, until her aunt’s funeral. Once she and her best friend, Joss, arrived for the funeral, old feelings cropped up. Not only had she left Eaves and her aunt behind, she’d also left Burke Wolf behind….resident bad boy and breaker of her heart. A heart that had been fragile at best and, ultimately, landed her on a transplant list. Sofia received her new heart several years ago, but still has a few issues that she’s dealing with.

Once the funeral is over, she and Joss try to make their way back to the cottage they’d rented for their short stay, only to be approached by a stranger. A stranger who just happens to be her aunt’s attorney and her lover. He unceremoniously tells her that she’s inherited everything, including Tish, her aunt’s beloved Siberian Husky, which he hands to her and tells her to come by his office so they can go over the details. Floored, Sofia and Joss head out and stop by a convenience store, only to run into none other than Burke Wolf. Neither is prepared for the feelings that assail each of them, so things get off to a rocky start to say the least. What transpires is a story that will touch you in more ways than one……

Meant to be Mine has all of the earmarks of a good romance: A lead couple that have faced down their demons, a supporting cast of characters that make you want to hit someone and laugh out loud all at the same time and secrets, BIG SECRETS, coming out that make you say………what?!?! I liked Sofia. She has made a life for herself, despite having loser parents and despite having to have had a heart transplant. She never felt sorry for herself and is fiercely loyal. I liked Burke as well, although he took a little bit to warm up to. He had demons abound that he’s fought all of his life, one of which was completely unknown to anyone but him. He is loyal to his friends and is always the first to help out, even though he grumbles about it. The supporting characters were intriguing, maybe even more so that Sofia and Burke. There is A LOT happening in this book, as is usually the case for a first in a series, but the writing felt stilted at times. Some things felt like they came out of left field, especially after seeing an excerpt from the next book in the series. I’m hoping I misunderstood and am intending to go back and read it again, just to make sure. However, let me say this: I liked this book and I feel that the series has a lot of potential. As I said earlier, the supporting characters are intriguing and I am all in for the next installment.

Copy supplied by the publisher

Reviewed by Vickie M

Meant to be Mine teaser

Excerpt

Excerpted from MEANT TO BE MINE by Lisa Marie Perry. Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marie Perry. Used with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.

She hid her scar behind her clothes, hid her sexual hunger behind mannequins in a window, but eventually, he would bring Sofia Mercer out of hiding.
Their lips parted and he traced a finger between her breasts, up the jagged trail of thick, knotted scar tissue. He wanted to see it, assure her it wasn’t ugly, but he’d given his word that he wouldn’t look, and he would kick his own ass before he violated that trust.
“It doesn’t feel ugly,” he said plainly. “I’ve got scars, too.”
“From fighting. This is different.”
What had she been imagining, all these years? Schoolyard brawls? A teenage fight club? Did she define him as someone so out of control that he’d gone searching for split lips, black eyes, and fractured ribs?
Yeah, it was different. Her scar was a result of a lifesaving medical procedure . . . not violence.
Laying his hand flat, he felt her heart pound quick and strong. Caught up in the moment, caught up in her, he whispered, “Losing you would’ve killed me.”
He felt her slip away from him before she moved a single muscle. When she did retreat, sliding off his lap, fixing her clothes, and raking an arm across her mouth, she said, “I told Abram we weren’t together. Was that a lie? Can we be together, Burke?”
“Casually, yeah. As friends, of course. But don’t rope me into more. It wouldn’t be good for you.”
“That’s not your call.”
“It is, though. Tell me something and be truthful about it. How many panic attacks have you had since coming back to town?”
“A few.”
“Uh-huh. And how many came on when I wasn’t near you?”
“Uh . . .”
“Sofia.”
“None.”
“That’s my point. Think it’s a coincidence that your health teeters when I’m around? I’m harmful to you. I’ve known for a long time that I’m no good.” She didn’t know all the hell he carried. He’d do anything to spare her heart the burden of his skeletons.
“Stop it,” she whispered, getting to her feet. “You’d never hurt me.”
“Not intentionally, but the fact is I trigger something in you that you can’t physically handle. I meant what I said earlier—it would kill me to lose you. As much as I want you, and damn it, you know I do, I can’t keep putting you at risk.”
“Are you sure my health isn’t your excuse to justify walking away?” she challenged. “Hold me off, resist what’s good and real and permanent, then take off on your boat. That’s your plan, right?”
“It’s worked out nicely for years. You wouldn’t be the first woman to step back because she can’t handle my career. It’s dangerous, the hours can be shitty, and sometimes I can be on the water for weeks. I’d never ask you or anyone else to shut up and like it. If you want to bail now, I won’t hold it against you.”
“That does terrify me, but I’m not bailing. A career is one thing. Escape is something else altogether. I don’t think I can love you halfway—either I’m all in or I fold.”

 

 

about the author

Lisa Marie PerryLisa Marie Perry encounters difficult fictional men and women on a daily basis. She writes sizzling, deep fiction featuring flawed heroes brought to their knees by the love of complicated women. She has received high praise from USA Today and has been nominated for an RT Book Reviews literary award. She lives in America’s heartland, drives a truck, enjoys indie rock, collects Medieval literature, watches too many comedies, has a not-so-secret love for lace and adores rugged men with a little bit of nerd.
For laughs, randomness and occasional inappropriateness, visit LMP at www.perrytalebooks.com.

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With Every Breath (Slow Burn #4) by Maya Banks-Review and Giveaway

With Every Breath (Slow Burn #4) by Maya Banks-Review and Giveaway

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WITH EVERY BREATH
Slow Burn #4
by Maya Banks
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

With Every Breath

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About the book: Release Date August 23, 2016

Eliza Cummings fought free of a monster who terrorized her when she was an innocent teenager and helped put him away for good. She took a job with Devereaux Security Services and devoted every hour to taking down the very thing she’d nearly become. No one, not even those closest to her, know her darkest, shameful secrets. But now the killer has been set free on a legal loophole and it’s only a matter of time before he comes for her. Eliza’s only choice is to run and lead the monster away from the people she loves.

Wade Sterling has always lived by his own rules, a law unto himself who answers to no one. He’s never professed to be a good man, and he’s definitely not hero material. Wade never allows anyone close enough to see the man behind the impenetrable mask—but one woman threatens his carefully leashed control. He took a bullet for her and the result was more than a piece of metal entrenched in his skin. She was under his skin and nothing he did rid himself of the woman with the courage of a warrior and who thinks nothing of putting her life before others.

But when Wade sees a panicked and haunted Eliza he knows something is very wrong, because the fool woman has never had been afraid of anything. And when she tries to run, the primal beast barely lurking beneath his deceptively polished façade erupts in a rage. She may not know it, but she belongs to him. This time, Eliza isn’t going to play the protector. She was damn well going to be the protected. And as long as Wade breathes, no one will ever hurt what is his.

Review:

With Every Breath begins with Eliza learning her worst nightmare was coming true…. The man whom she had trusted like no other, only to find out he was the devil incarnate, was being released from prison in just three short weeks. She immediately began planning how she would end him once and for all, seeking vengeance for of his victims. One thing she was sure of: she had to lead him away from those she now considered family and loved with all of her heart. Because, once he was released from prison, he would come for her. Obsession was a fickle thing……

Over the next several days, as her plan started coming together, she dreaded telling her DSS boss, Dane, that she was taking some vacation. Dane was not only her boss, but her best friend, and she knew she had to be spot on to convince him she just needed some down time to recuperate after being almost killed a couple of months before (in a previous book). What she didn’t tell Dane was that she wasn’t intending on coming back, that she intended to die right along with the devil himself. As Dane sat there listening to Eliza’s story, he told her she could take all of the time she needed and to please check in. However, as she leaves the building to set her plan in motion, Dane immediately calls the one person who seemed to care for Eliza almost much as him: Wade Sterling. Sure, Eliza acted as if she couldn’t stand Sterling, but Dane knew that Sterling would move heaven and earth to keep her safe, because, oh yeah, he’d taken a bullet for her. Eliza would be dead today if he hadn’t. Turns out that Dane didn’t believe a word she said about needing to recuperate. Thank goodness!

When Sterling approaches Eliza as she’s loading her car to leave town, she’s stunned to see him there. And, even more stunned when he acts as if he actually cares. Determined not to get distracted from her mission, she tells him to get a life and leaves. What she doesn’t know about Wade Sterling is that he’s not about to let harm come to her again. He has far reaching resources and will use everything at his disposal to ensure that she’s okay. Once he tracks her down and learns exactly what she’s running from, his feelings for her deepen even more as do hers for him. What transpires is a story that will leave you turning the pages faster and faster…..

With Every Breath is a wonderfully written addition to the Slow Burn series. I knew these two would have a scorching chemistry and Banks did not disappoint. Eliza was a great character: strong, independent, but most of all, loyal. Even though her view on her being responsible for the torture and murder of those women was skewed, I had to remember that she was 16 when it happened and it just continued to haunt her for ten long years. I’m sure I’d be a little skewed as well. Wade Sterling was even better than I thought he would be. Even though he had the same attributes as Eliza, it was his vulnerability that shone through for me. There was just something about him that grabbed my heart. The two of them together was spectacular. I’ve been a fan of Maya Banks for years, and have read everything she’s ever written. Even though this isn’t my favorite series by her, this is one of my favorite books. This is a story ultimately about finally standing up to your past so that you can face your future. If you’re looking for a romance that steams up the pages and has lots of awesome characters, along with some paranormal aspects, you will never go wrong with this series. Well done, Maya Banks! Very, very well done!

Copy supplied by the publisher through Edelweiss

Reviewed by Vickie M

About The Author

Follow Maya: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Maya BanksMy name is Maya Banks and I live in Texas with my husband and three children and our assortment of pets.

When I’m not writing, I love to hunt and fish with my family. We all love the outdoors and go on family hunting trips every year. We also love to travel. One of our more recent trips was to Scotland, which was every bit as comical as National Lampoon’s European Vacation. You know the part about “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament” as they went round and round the roundabouts? Yeah, that was us, only we couldn’t even get out of the airport in Glasgow without hitting three of those suckers.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of a writing career is getting to meet so many wonderful readers. There’s nothing better than dishing books with someone who loves the romance genre as much as I do. Romance readers are passionate and vocal. We love our books, love our happily ever afters, and we love to spend time talking to others about our favorites. THIS is why I love my job so much, and I’m so grateful to readers who gave ME a chance when I began my career. So thank you.

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Maya Banks’s publisher is offering an ecopy of WITH EVERY BREATH to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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8. Giveaway is open internationally

9. Giveaway runs from August 30-September 2, 2016

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