I am officially moving my blog over to my new site: www.theeternalscribe.com.  If you are already subscribed to this blog using either a feedburner RSS, email, or networked blogs, don't worry!  You won't have any interruption in service (no more than I naturally interrupt service because I'm about as predictable as a terrier with brain tumors).

So, hop on over to my new site (which is gorgeous as far as I'm concerned) and check it out!!!!

www.theeternalscribe.com

Keep in mind, I will still be responding to form entries on this site and this site will be kept up indefinitely.  I will likely slowly transition some of my more popular posts and my five star reviews over to the new site but there'll be a link to the old site on the new so you can always hop back if the need arises.

See you there!
 
 
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This book was a breath of fresh air.  As a book reviewer who frequently accepts unsolicited requests for book review from Indie or self-published authors, it can be hit or miss as to whether, even with adequate screening, the books are actually worth reading.  Royal Street is definitely worth a read.

One of the things that really stuck with me was the imagery and clear descriptions of New Orleans during and post-Katrina.  But not just the settings, the emotions involved as well.  As a denizen of North Carolina, a state plagued with hurricanes, I know the feelings quite intimately that the main character, DJ, went through.  I remember wondering if we'd get to go to the beach or if the beach house we'd rented would even be there in the morning.  I remember times when you sat in your house, listening to the wind and the rain, wondering what the damage would be like when everything calmed down, walking outside once the winds had calmed only to breathe a sigh of relief because the tree fell away from the house.  I remember sitting and waiting to hear if a friend in a town I knew to have been decimated by a hurricane, a town where most of its residents were taking up temporary shelters, would be okay.  I remember sitting and waiting for news, calling, texting, and sending messages on facebook to every friend I had near my home, begging them to check to make sure my house was still standing (okay, that one's technically tornadoes but still…), staying at my mom's house as long as I could just in case I had no electricity or running water because the tornado had gone through not even a mile from my house and most of the city was without power.

I loved the author's style, it's funny, a little gritty, emotional and a little badass.  The writing is smooth and flows well.  She had me laughing even during times when you know you shouldn't be, like laughing at a funeral.  You know you shouldn't, but it makes the horror just a little more bearable and just at the right time too.

The book had a lot of one liners that just cracked me up, like, "I hate it when life forces me to be mature."

There was a really good twist in the book, one I didn't see coming at all.  Which is great because I can usually see things coming a mile away.  When the twist came together, I was practically (or maybe actually) covering my mouth and saying, "Holy shit!"

There were a few times where I sat there wondering if the main character was dense or stupid.  But after reading the second book, it seems she has this tendency to do things without thinking them entirely through and tends to take on all the responsibility, all the blame, on herself, whether it's hers to burden or not.

There were a few things I wondered about.  Like, why do they expect all the pretes (preternaturals) to stick around the breaches they came through?  I mean, they'll running around trying to find and send these suckers back to the beyond and none of them seem to have the sense to move beyond the direct area they came in from.  Seemed odd to me.  And why wouldn't her cell phone have worked?  Maybe I don't know that much about cell phones, but they work off whatever local towers you're pulling from.  I would think you wouldn't have problems with it.

I loved the beginning of the first chapter.  And the ending?  Perfection.  Great action scenes right at the end, just enough wondering and mystery for a second book while giving it a clear and decisive ending with emotional appeal.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository


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After reviewing Royal Street, I don't have too much more to say about River Road.  Many of the things I loved about Royal Street applied here as well.  Same writing style, had me laughing within the first few pages and kept me going on a regular basis right to the end.

I really like Jean Lafitte, who we got more of a glimpse of in this book.  He's sneaky and devious and you really can't trust him as far as you can throw him, but he has his own sense of morals (no one else understands) which he stands by.  He's a terrible flirt and, while he believes that a deal is a deal and in exchanging a favor for a favor, he also doesn't ask for more than a person can give.

Her relationship with Alex is so weird.  They don't have any sort of intimate relationship, yet he seems jealous and territorial over her.  This is getting hilarious but I can't figure him out.  I do in the end, but I spend most of the book trying to puzzle out what he really wants from her.

I thought in the first book she said they wouldn't turn up weird on blood tests.  I could be wrong.  It's hard to search a PDF for what I was looking for to check back but I thought wizards were one of the few that didn't show up in blood work.  Then I got my nose all out of joint when they discussed doing cultures for E. coli.  You don't incubate E. coli in a fridge!  It grows best in an incubator at 37 degrees (which, admittedly, can look a lot like a fridge).  It's a mesophyle.  It can't grow (i.e. will die) at 4 degrees celsius (that's refrigerator temperature) as it generally only grows at either body temperature (it lives in our guts) or about room temperature (waiting to infect others, but that isn't ideal temperature and slows or stops growth).   Also, it takes about a day, depending on desired culture density, to culture E. coli at 37 degrees.  And that's my rant for the day...

Again, I just loved the ending.  Definitive, with just enough of a tease.  Had me giggling like mad.  And totally wanting the next book.  <excited wiggles> 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound


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About the Author:

Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance from Auburn, Alabama, after a career in educational publishing that has spanned five states and six universities.  She grew up halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis' birthplace and lived in New Orleans for fifteen years, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football and fried gator on a stick.

Website: www.suzanne-johnson.com

Blog: http://suzanne-johnson.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Suzanne_Johnson

FB: http://www.facebook.com/Suzanne.Johnson.author

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5046525.Suzanne_Johnson

Publisher Page: http://us.macmillan.com/author/suzannejohnson


 
 
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I'm a bad, bad girl.  I reviewed her book, originally Time's Twisted Arrow, quite a while back and absolutely loved it.  So, when she told me she was one of five finalists for a book contract, the top prize being a $50,000 advance, I really wanted her to win it.  She totally deserves it.

Unfortunately, I got a little distracted over the long weekend...  Still, I highly encourage you to check out my review of the book, read the excerpt below and hop over and vote!!!!  She totally deserves it and I hope she wins.  Today, May 29th will be the last day for voting.  I plan to try to encourage people to hop over there (if I'm not further distracted).

Excerpt

He spoke in a low whisper.  "Give me the backpack and you can walk away.  I don't want trouble.  Just pull it off your shoulders and give it to me."

I would normally have just given it over, no questions, no hesitation.  Lesson one of self-defense is that you don't argue with the man holding the gun.  But the diary was in there. 

Pudgy's face was suddenly inches from mine and I felt a crushing pain in my toes as his heel ground into them. He whispered into my ear, "I can shoot you and be gone before anyone knows what happened."

"Doors closing.  Doors closing," the automated voice chimed, as Pudgy pulled me with him toward the door.  The foot that had just mangled my toes slipped into the opening to prevent the subway doors from sliding shut.  I glared at him, then slid the backpack from my shoulders and handed it to him. As he squeezed his chubby frame through the door, he pushed me backward into the train, hard.

I fell against two other passengers.  One had on earphones and had missed the entire exchange.  He just looked annoyed at my clumsiness, but the woman had clearly been watching. She held a large paper sack in her lap, and my right hand was crumpled into the side of it.  "Are you alright?" she asked. "Should I call security?"

"Kate!" The voice from behind me was deep and the slight accent unfamiliar, but I knew who it was before I turned. My first instinct was to run—not that there was really anywhere to go in a closed subway car—but as he moved closer, I glimpsed a familiar blue light shining through the fabric of his shirt.   He reached out to take my arm and pulled me toward a seat a few aisles away, out of earshot of the woman who had offered to help.

I sat, but then whirled to face him.  "Who the hell are you?  Why are you following me and why did your friend take my pack?  And how did you get that from my grandmother?"  I poked the spot on his shirt where the light of the medallion showed through.

He paused for a second, processing the barrage of questions, and then gave me a small, slightly crooked smile. "Okay—I'll answer them in order. I am Kiernan Dunne," he said.  "I was not following you. I was following Simon.  I'm not supposed to be here. Simon—the guy who took your bag—is not my friend, Kate.  And this key," he finished, pointing at the medallion on his chest, "is not from your grandmother's collection.  It was my father's." 

He raised his hand and I flinched instinctively.  His eyes grew sad and his smile twisted ruefully, as he moved his hand, more slowly now, to brush the right side of my face with his fingertips.    "I've never seen you this young."  He reached around and pulled the band loose from my hair, so that it fell to my shoulders.  "Now you look more like my Kate."

I opened my mouth to protest, but he held up his hand and continued, speaking more quickly now.  "We are close to your exit.  Go straight to your grandmother's house and tell her what has happened.  At least you still have this." He touched the black cord around my neck. "Keep the CHRONOS key on you at all times."

"CHRONOS key?  I don't have…"

"The medallion," Kiernan said, again touching the cord.

"I don't have a medallion."  I pulled the cord out of my blouse—at the end was the clear plastic holder that contained my school ID, a Metro pass, a few pictures and two keys, one for Dad's cottage and one for the townhouse.  I flipped the holder around so that he could see the plain silver keys through the back. "And these are the only keys I have.  Could you stop talking in riddles?"

The color drained from Kiernan's face and panic filled his eyes.  "Was it in the bag?  You should keep it on you…"

"No," I repeated.  "I don't have a medallion.  Until now, I thought there was only one and to the best of my knowledge it is at my grandmother's house."

"Why?" he asked. "Why in bloody hell would she send you out with no protection?"

"I don't know how to use it!  Yesterday, I nearly…" I blushed, thinking back to the scene in the kitchen.  "I saw you when I held it. Why? Who are you?"

The train began to slow.  Kiernan closed his eyes and rubbed his first two fingers against his temples for a few seconds before looking up and shaking his head. "I didn't plan for this, Kate.  You are going to have to run.  Take a cab. Steal a car. Whatever you do, get to her house as quickly as you can and do not leave." 

He moved us both toward the doors and then turned, pulling me toward him.  "I will try to stall them—but I don't know exactly what they are planning, so I have no idea how long you have." 

"How long before wha—"  My question was silenced as his lips met mine, gentle, but urgent.  My body was swept with the same sensations I had felt earlier when I held the medallion—heart pounding, unable to breathe, unable to move, unable to think. 

After a moment, he pulled away, a small smile lifting the corners of his mouth. "This was not supposed to be our first kiss, Kate.  But if you do not hurry, it will almost certainly be our last.  Run.  Run, NOW."  As the train decelerated, Kiernan reached into his shirt and closed his hand around the medallion. The dark green band that he had pulled from my hair was now on his wrist.  And then he vanished.

The woman with the paper bag was staring, her mouth shaped in a large, comical "O," but no one else seemed to have noticed that Kiernan had simply disappeared. 

The subway doors chimed open and I ran.
 
 

blurb

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‘Well, what do all mysteries have?' said Aunt Isobel. 'Money, mistresses, and murder.’

1783 – and Lichfield society is enthralled by the arrival of dashing ex-officer Orville; he charms his way into the salons, grand houses and even a great inheritance from extrovert Sir Morton. 

1927 – and detective writer Julia Warren returns to her home in Lichfield to work on her next novel. Initially she hopes to find plot material from the past and set it in the present. Aunt Isobel, while making preparations for the annual midsummer ball, has managed to root out an old journal from 1783 which might prove a source of inspiration. Once Julia starts reading her ancestor’s journal she becomes absorbed in solving the mystery surrounding officer Orville. Detective fever takes over, and she moves from reality to legend as events from the past seem set to re-enact themselves in the present, and she finds herself unravelling more than just the one mystery. Who was Orville? Who was the agent, Oddman, set to spy on him? And who is helpful Mr Grenall ? 

Pagan gods don’t walk away just because you stop looking at them. The Gronny Patch sleeps. Perhaps it dreams. Or perhaps not …

A complex, multi-layered story unlike any other, full of whimsy, horror, and mystery, shifting between the centuries and from source to source, until all the threads are finally drawn together by the imperturbable Miss Warren.

Amazon UK (pre-order) (hardcover) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greenwood-Tree-B-Lloyd/dp/1909374563

(paperback) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Greenwood-Tree-B-Lloyd/dp/1909374571/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

Amazon US (pre-order) paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Greenwood-Tree-B-Lloyd/dp/1909374571/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

http://www.amazon.com/Greenwood-Tree-B-Lloyd/dp/1909374563/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

Waterstones: http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/b-+lloyd/greenwood+tree/9610637/

Pre-order page on the publisher’s website : http://www.greycellspress.co.uk/pre-order-our-titles/


Excerpt

1927

London

‘A country murder? In a big old mansion, plenty of house-guests and servants? Better set it before the War, then. How many bodies? Four? Five? Have you the odd family ghost you could throw in for good measure?’

Julia mentally heaved a sigh of relief. The ‘talk over tea’ was progressing better than she had expected, with her editor lapping up the storyline she had cobbled together at the last minute. She had set it in her aunt’s house on an impulse, reasoning to herself that she would at least have an excuse to retreat there on the pretexts of research and peace and quiet. She found she had an increasing desire to return, in fact. The mild excitement of earning enough to live on the edge of a crowded metropolis was beginning to pall; the traffic and endless round of theatres and clubs held little attraction for her after all, whereas one more cocktail party with the effete and affected of the literary elite might result in her committing violence.

As if reading her mind, Mr Williams leaned forward confidentially to say: ‘Do you remember that last do at Ashton’s? Miss Vane was there too.’

‘Yes, I do remember.’ Julia had found Harriet Vane somewhat intimidating. As for that beau of hers, thrashing out articles on free love and anarchy—yet always with his hair brilliantined in a singularly unappealing fashion. Somehow brilliantine and speeches on a new world order did not quite go together, at least not for Julia.

‘Well, she’s written an essay lamenting the dearth of good crime fiction, and suggests the crime novelists get together to form a club of sorts; she intends to start a magazine or such-like. Ashton is right behind her, they’ve managed to rope old Chesterton in, and Ashton was wondering if you might be able to contribute?’ Ashton was Chief Editor at Petrel Books and held frequent gatherings at his home in Kensington for writers and editors alike. His influence was such that one did not refuse his requests lightly.

‘Sounds perfectly terrifying. What do they want from me? Not another essay, I hope.’

‘I think it might be more interesting than that--why don’t I arrange a get-together, see what is in the air, so to speak? It’s quite true, after all, hardly a soul out there to write mysteries—even Mrs Christie’s “Big Four” only received very mixed reviews . . . so it’s up to us to make a difference, eh?’

Julia did her best to respond with conviction and enthusiasm. She managed to divert the conversation: ‘And what of Miss Vane’s latest?’

‘Haven’t read it. Haven’t even heard much about it--which makes me wonder whether she might not be taking refuge in this magazine idea. We all know what the Muse does to writers at times, don’t we?’ Julia felt a quiet pinching at the stomach, a reminder of her own fallibility. Had he in fact swallowed whole her excuse for a plot? She tried not to think about that.

 ‘I can at least say you are interested in knowing more?’ Williams looked almost pleadingly at her. Julia dutifully undertook to write something and made her exit gratefully. If only she could escape London now with equal ease.

She was about to cross the street when she felt a friendly pat on her shoulder and turned to find somebody in the same sort of anonymous cloche hat and long straight coat as she was wearing.

‘Hello, May,’ she said, still in chirpy frame of mind from her meeting. ‘They’ve let you out for half an hour, then?’

May chuckled. ‘Oh it’s not that bad. Listen, why don’t we catch up—are you free for tea at Lyons’?’

The teahouse was a little full, but they managed to squeeze in between the crowded, clinking, murmuring tables, and caught up with each other’s news while they waited to be served. May was sympathetic about the editor’s meeting, even if she had little experience of the process. She was a dispenser and in her spare time an avid reader of crime fiction. Julia often had recourse to her when a visit to the Poison Section in the Library proved too far. They had met at a house party, where a case of petty pilfering within the household had caused them to apply their wits—successfully, as it turned out—and they had become close friends. When not engaged in deciphering motive and means, they often exchanged occasionally biting comments on the latest detective novel.

‘So, are you brimming with ideas?’

‘In a sort of a way, I think I am. But it’s not awfully clear yet—I need more material. Sounds dull, I know. But I have been feeling a trifle dull recently.’

‘You are looking a trifle peaky. Sounds to me like going to the country would do you good.’

Tea arrived and talk turned to reminiscence: ‘Do you remember that business about Mrs Clyssum’s necklace? I was just reminded of it the other day at Gracie’s; she had one just like it, very convincing. Why did she do it, really?’

‘Panic. She’d pawned the originals, remember.’

‘I do. But even so . . . poor thing. Still, it was fun, working it out, and I am glad we stopped the maid losing her job.’

‘That must have been the first time we actually put our heads together. Wonder what they’ve got up to since then . . .’

 ‘What have you been reading lately?’ Julia asked. May pulled a wry face and rummaged in her bag, producing a slim volume depicting on its cover a man peering out from under the lid of a wooden crate or box, with another man’s shadow falling across it. Emblazoned across the top half of the cover was the title ‘The Red House Mystery.’

‘I read it ages ago. Think I enjoyed it more the first time round. Wish you’d hurry up and get your next one finished. I’m running out of favourite authors.’

‘We were just talking about that. Apparently Miss Vane considers it a distinctly uninspiring time for crime fiction in general.’

‘I’m not surprised. Even Mrs Christie’s last one fell a bit flat.’

‘Yes, my editor mentioned her too. I wonder if there is some contagious detective ‘flu going around, which reduces the creative flow to pulp. I certainly think I have been infected.’

‘That doesn’t sound like you. Definitely in need of a change of scene, I should say. We both could do with something to wake us up a bit. Wish we had another mystery of our own to work out, like the Clyssum business.’

Julia looked at her. ‘So do I. Easier than writing the wretched things. We could set up an agency: Warren and Downe—Domestic Panic and Hysteria our speciality.’

‘Yes—likewise, Purloined Pearls and Pawnbrokers.’

‘Purses and Pusillanimity.’

‘Peripatetic Parrots and Peevish Pomeranians.’

The banter was briefly interrupted just as it threatened to become hysterical by the arrival of the waitress with laden tray.

They both tried to pick up where they had left off, but somehow today their usual flow of conversation slowed to a halt. Julia briefly allowed herself to be swamped by the voices from the surrounding tables instead—and soon wished she hadn’t:

‘I thought those emeralds were paste, I still do. As for her taste in art . . .’

‘More Art Nasty than Art Nouveau! Mind you, I suspect they would be worth something at auction . . .’

‘Did you read about her niece in the Tatler? Hardly surprising though, the poor girl must have been only too glad to escape, even if it was with the son of a greengrocer.’

‘A very wealthy greengrocer. It’s all money, after all . . .’

Julia enjoyed May’s company, and gossip did often supply a lot of material. But, stuck in the middle of the crowded room with its jarring sounds and cheap chatter, she now felt the tawdriness of smoky, grimy London.

There were gladioli in Aunt Izzy’s garden, and they would be coming into bloom soon: she could picture the late afternoon sun falling across them, turning them a soft apricot gold, and she wanted to be transported back to it at that moment, that very second. She was pulled back from her brief reverie by a squawk from May.

‘Look at the time! I must dash—now don’t forget, I want to know the minute you have decided who the villain is, and if there is poison involved . . . well, you know where I am !’

There was a hurried dispute over the bill, which Julia insisted on paying, then May scuttled off, leaving Julia on the pavement outside with promises of another get-together before long.

The brilliant blue sky prompted her to return home by tram. She climbed to the upper deck just so she could sit away from crowds and enjoy the trees lining the avenue. She craned her neck up and gazed at the leafy branches, and for a moment imagined herself back at home. Finally all those little scraps of dreams that had been hiding away all day returned tenfold to delight her, butterfly-like, with colours and warmth—the walks, the glades, the running hare and cheeky sparrow, the slow-witted blackbirds, sunning themselves in the middle of the lanes; all the whirling memories of the past crowded into her mind and she decided she had stayed away too long. What had seemed a pretext now became necessity. London was stifling her with its relentless gaiety, misery and recklessness.

about the author

A Bustle attached to a keyboard, occasionally to be seen floating on a canal ...

After studying Early Music in Italy followed by a brief career in concert performance, the Bustle exchanged vocal parts for less vocal arts i.e. a Diploma from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.
Her inky mess, both graphic and verbal, can be found in various regions of the Web, and appendaged to good people's works (for no visible reason that she can understand).

At present exploring the mysteries of Northumberland, although if there is a place she could call true home, it would be Venice…while the fields of Waterloo hold a certain resonance for her as well…

More here :
http://about.me/B.Lloyd

& here :
http://lloydanon.wordpress.com

For those who enjoy Twittery:
Do drop by @AuthorsAnon
as she enjoys a chat
(Warning: Please expect occasional bouts of nonsense).
 
 

Blurb

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She’s entered a world where blood, sex, and cash rules everything around her. 

What do a four hundred-year-old vampire and a mid-level necromancer have in common? Money. Jeliyah needs it to pay off the people who trained her and Teaghan enjoys killing to get it. Together they hunt rogue vampires—assuming Teaghan can focus on something other than getting her in bed and Jeliyah doesn’t put a bullet in him first. 

The uneasy partnership promises to be lucrative until Teaghan and Jeliyah get on the wrong side of a feud. Jeliyah is forced to use forbidden magic and finds herself bound to a man she should hate—but whom she can’t stop fantasizing about. 

Every second they stay alive fuels a growing desire Jeliyah is unwilling to deny. Is it the magic? The danger? The only way to get the answers she craves is to outrun the enemy or kill them. She knows Teaghan’s preference but it’s Jeliyah who must put their mind-blowing sex aside and make the choice that will decide both their fates. 

Ellora’s Cave | Kindle | Nook | Kobo | ARe (coming 03 May)



Excerpt

Teaghan knew it. A coup was about to happen. He didn’t know the players and didn’t care. So long as the bills got paid, the person in power didn’t matter. From one leader to the next, nothing ever changed.

He said, “Fine. You want me. I get that. Leave the necromancer out of it. No one would miss me but take her out and you’ll have the higher-ups gunning for you and your boss.”

“You’re right, the higher-ups would be quite upset if we killed the necromancer, and that wasn’t my intention. The others wanted to have some fun with her before handing her over but that was all.”

Jeliyah gripped the door handle and her eyes widened.

Teaghan said, “The higher-ups won’t overlook you molesting one of their own.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. They’ve given us permission to do with her as we please so long we return her to them intact.”

Jeliyah yelled, “They would never do that.”

Fredrick chuckled. “Well, hello, Jeliyah. Ephraim tells me you smell of vampire seed and blood. Recent seed. Old blood. I had thought you would hold out against Teaghan much longer given your initial reaction to him. Either I overestimated you or underestimated him.” He made the vocal equivalent of a shrug. “Doesn’t matter since I felt the need to pass on the news of your little indiscretion to Hirsch, who then relayed it to the higher-ups. They are very displeased that a high-middle class such as yourself would give a vampire permission to invade her body. That displeasure graduated to anger when I informed them of the blood sharing as well.”

Oh please, no. No. No.

Teaghan grabbed Jeliyah’s hand in a firm grip to anchor her to the here and now. She clutched at him and stared at his profile. Tears rimmed her eyes. He knew she was holding it together by a thin thread of will. Images of the bleeding chamber raced through her mind. She was imagining herself in the place of the person she’d seen when she was young.

He told her through their link, I’ve got you, Jeliyah. Nothing’s going to happen.

Fredrick said, “Stop the car and give up. Make this easier for all of us.”

“Denied.” Teaghan released Jeliyah’s hand so he could snatch the phone off the dash and hit the end button.

Jeliyah asked, “What do we do? They want you dead and me—” Her words choked to a halt and she pulled in a shuddering breath. A single tear slipped down her cheek.

He retrieved her hand and squeezed it. “Easy there, necromancer. Don’t fall apart on me now.”

“Why? All you did was kill a rogue.”

“That’s why. It’s a changing of the guard. It happens every few centuries. Family infighting. They involve people from neighboring families who have been promised some little tidbit or other to help the wannabe head take power. It’s a story as old as the vampires. Seems you and I got in the way.”

Teaghan changed his destination. The enforcers probably knew which hotel they’d used by now and might be lying in wait. He steered the car back on the highway. If one family wanted him dead then his only protection was to seek refuge in another family’s territory.

While a risky proposition without petitioning for entrance first, the destination Teaghan had in mind came with a sponsor. He released Jeliyah’s hand once more to bring up a number he hadn’t called in years. He hoped it still worked.

About the Author

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Renee is a military brat turned military wife who is currently stationed in Hawaii with her husband and two cats.

Whether writing as D. Renee Bagby or Zenobia Renquist, she is a world-builder. She loves inventing new cultures and shaping their histories and laws because it beats researching the existing ones.

Her stories span the fantasy gamut but she dabbles in sci-fi and contemporary from time to time. While her main characters tend to be of different races, she doesn't let skin color rule or limit her stories. For her, it's all about how much she can torture her characters so they earn their happily-ever-after ending.

The rules are all new and pre-conceived notions will only slow you down, so when reading Renee's stories, she asks only one thing -- Leave Your Reality Behind.




 
 

Blurb

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She has never feared the walking dead. It’s the power required to reanimate the dead that startles her, seduces her. The power that dwells inside her…and is growing.

For Professor Ruby Montagne, being a necromancer has brought her nothing but heartache, and she walked away from that part of her life long ago. However, her quiet existence in San Francisco is shattered when she stumbles upon the body of a slain witch, and the supernatural community insists she transform him into a revenant to track the killer. But his murder was just the beginning, and Ruby soon realizes that the stakes are higher than anyone can imagine—and that revenants have nasty minds of their own.

Now demonic creatures have escaped into the human world, and zombies once again walk the streets. For humanity’s sake, Ruby forms an unlikely alliance with a witch, a zombie, and Ewan March, a demon warrior who sets her senses on fire.

She’s always distrusted demons and Ewan is no exception, but circumstances push them closer together, and Ruby not only finds it harder to resist him, she isn’t sure she even wants to. But she suspects his job of patrolling the portal separating humans and demons conceals a dark and deadly past that may consume them both.

With events spiraling out of control, Ruby unravels a plot that not only threatens the human and demon realms, but puts Ruby’s very soul in jeopardy. Because when the dead walk, no one is safe. Especially Ruby.



About the author

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Noemi Ghirghi writes as Mimi Sebastian and raised herself on books and the strange and unusual with an unhealthy dose of comics and Scooby Doo. Loving angst-filled romance thrown in the mix, she decided to blend all those elements in a steamy mix in her first Urban Fantasy series, the Necromancer Books. The first book, The Necromancer’s Seduction, debuts July 15, 2013, with ImaJinn Books.

Noemi spent two years in the Ivory Coast with the Peace Corps and loves to introduce tid-bits from her experiences in her writing. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter of RWA. A transplant from the beaches of Florida, Noemi now wanders the desert in Phoenix, AZ, and attempts to balance writing with a day career, fantastic family, and household diva: her Amazon parrot.

www.mimisebastian.com

http://mimisebastian.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/NecromancerSeriesMimiSebastianAuthor

https://twitter.com/SebastianMimi

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13508578-mimi-sebastian


 
 

the story behind the story

As an avid reader of fantasy novels „Creatures of Fire“ is my first attempt at writing a fantasy novel myself. Reading fantasy lets me escape into different worlds, explore foreign characters and talents that are not common in our world, which is why I love this genre so much.

Ever since the idea formed in my head, I wanted to create a world of my own, so I began researching mysterious beings from fairy tales and myths. It didn’t take me long to discover fire demons and to be fascinated by them.

According to myth, fire demons come into our world to avenge murder. Focussed on their mission they are impartial, with a deep seated sense of honor and duty. While researching these creatures, Alexander, one of the main characters of  “Creatures of Fire”, entered my thoughts. He began to tell his story: How he came into this world with the sole purpose of avenging murders. How he began to discover his love of ancient artifacts and art. How he led a life withdrawn from humans but also in the midst of their presence. Not much later Sariel joined him, telling how her parents were killed in an accident, how loneliness and sadness engulfed her ever since the tragedy.

But then she met Alexander.

What set out as a love interest developed into something different. Something far more dangerous and mysterious. Fate threw them into situations where they were forced to fight for their believes.

As happens so often, Alexander and Sariel told the story, not me. While writing the book I didn’t know what would happen next and how they would overcome the obstacles that were in their paths. And then they led me into the ancient, fascinating world of the demons – Dschinnanya. A place where nothing stays the same, where changes are the only constant and where no one can be trusted.

Writing this story was an adventure in itself and an experience I wouldn’t want to miss. Currently I am working on part 2 of the series, which promises to lead me and the reader further into the world of the demons and will feature more of the characters readers have come to love.

review

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Creatures of Fire starts out good.  By the end of the first chapter, the character you've been watching is a prisoner and you, as the reader, have all these questions and desperately seek answers.  This is always my first question when reviewing a book.  Did the author suck me in in the first chapter and she definitely did.

I thought the idea that an Ifrit, a demon, would have whatever appearance most appealed to the viewer was an interesting idea.  Talk about tempted by the devil!

Sometimes I couldn't believe how naive and stupid the main character was.  In fact, looking back on my notes, I find comments about how dumb she is, how dense she is, what's wrong with her?  She is so thick headed about certain things.  She just won't listen or trust anyone except those she shouldn't trust.  In fact, that seems to be a thing throughout the entire book.  She doesn't trust people who clearly have her own best interest at heart and trusts people even when everyone else tells her not to.

The dialog was a bit stiff in the book, which I presume might have something to do with her German background.  And she really seemed to love the word stilted.  I guess six times isn't a whole lot, but it seems like a lot because it tended to be grouped together.

I didn't like her roommate in Paris.  Though perfectly realistic, I wanted the main character to run as far away from her as possible.  I mean, jeez, who finds out her friend was in a coma then waves it off like it was no more than a scrape?  But her take on love was fairly hilarious and made up for it a bit. 

There was some wonderful imagery in the story, like when she is in darkness and covered in blue flames.  Gorgeous.  I loved the world of the demons (I'm not even going to try to name the place).  I loved how it was constantly changing.  That would be awesome!  Get to travel to new and exotic places without actually traveling.  Brilliant!

There were parts that had me smiling and laughing and oh so giddy that things were working out as I'd hoped.

The ending seemed a bit abrupt.  Though the plot certainly ended, I felt like it was missing something.  Maybe I was just hoping for a little more romance in the story.  There was a bit of romance hinted at between two of the characters that never seemed to get off the ground.

All in all, a good read.  I liked Alexander (even though I just realized I never mentioned him at all, really).  Though he's an ifrit, he makes a great hero (and, ironically, a victim as well).  He's someone you want to save.  He makes for great motivation for the main character (and for the reader).  He'll have you reading to the end. 


Blurb

She is a half demon, oblivious to her true nature.

He is a demon set out to avenge murder.

Together they are hunted by the one person she thought she could trust.

Separate they may be able to save each others lives.

“Creatures of Fire” a tale about power, ambition, responsibility and trust.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo.com

about the author

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J.B. Brooklin is a German author. Having lived abroad for several years in the US (Oregon, California, Florida, New Jersey), Spain and the Seychelles the writer recently returned to her home country and started writing mystery and fantasy novels.

When she is not writing, her husband, twins and her cat are keeping her busy.

Twitter: @JB_Brooklin

Blog: www.jb-brooklin.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JbBrooklin

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6470768.J_B_Brooklin    


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Thank you so much for hosting me today on your blog. I'm so excited to be here.

CHASING SAM approaches the society of werewolves in Vegas Mates in a more human way than some shifter books at first. Emphasis is not placed so much on whether or not a particular wolf is an alpha or beta...but on their status in the werewolf society as a whole. There are wolves with noble bloodlines and wolves that are considered common. My twist on werewolf lore is that the noble blooded wolves have tried to separate themselves from their wolf, breaking the pack mentality and living quite separated from each other. They rule as government over the non-noble packs. As the series progresses you will see more of the differences and struggles in the mentalities of the noble vs. non-noble wolf packs and their interactions with other shifter breeds. The non-noble wolf packs will function in a more traditional way with the alphas, betas, and so on, yet they will still answer to the nobles in power. Think along the lines of an medieval feudal system. 

CHASING SAM is just the beginning of an adventure! I hope you will join me.

Review

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The worst thing about this book was it ended before I wanted it to.  It was just too short.  I wanted to spend more than a few hours with Chase and Sam!
I really liked Sam and Chase and absolutely despised her mom and her other suitors (Hah! Suitors.  As if.).  God, I wanted to wallop her one something fierce!

The author was very good about playing to the reader's emotions and my moods swung like a manic-depressive without her meds.  I found myself laughing and then quickly wanting to hit someone, yearning for them to get together and practically yelling for them to run as fast as their legs could carry them.

What can I say?  I liked it.  Now, when's the next book coming out?!?  I need my next fix. 


Blurb

Samantha Demakis doesn’t want a mate right now. Her birth-rite and family obligations to her status as the first daughter of a noble family beg to differ. In fact, even her wolf seems to be against her. When a chance encounter reveals the man who might just be a perfect fit, will she run? Or will she fight?

Chase Michaels has been alone for seventy-five years. He’s fought in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan in the US Army. Somewhat resigned to never finding his true mate, he is shocked when his wolf reacts so strongly to a woman he runs into in the airport. Unprepared for the politics and snobbery of the noble families, Chase finds himself fighting in a different type of war —a war for the heart of a woman he knows should be his.

A lot of things are chasing Sam, but who or what will catch her in the end?


Amazon | Smashwords

About the Author

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Krystal Shannan is a born, raised, and current TEXAN. She is married to a wonderful man who supports her dream of writing and allows her to spend many evening and weekend hours glued to her laptop. During the day she moonlights as an elementary music teacher. In addition to a doting husband, a young daughter is also part of the picture and keeps her hopping! An ornery little Welsh Corgi completes the household.

Krystal has been writing stories since she could hold a pencil. She has always dreamed of writing romance and sharing the "movies in her head" with the world. If she's not writing, she's reading -historical, paranormal, action, adventure -anything she can get her hands on that ends with a Happily Ever After!

If you are interested in receiving emails when new new books are released, please sign up for her distribution list by visiting www.krystalshannan.com and clicking the "contact" tab.    


Website | BlogFacebook | Twitter | GoodReads   



 
 

Review

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After reading the first book in this series, Seal of Destiny, I was really looking forward to this book when I saw the opportunity to review it as part of a blog tour.  I think that, because of how overexcited I was by the first book, this one disappointed me, let me down a bit.  Not to say this wasn't a good book.  It was.  It just wasn't as good as the first and I found it impossible not to compare the two, even though there was maybe a month distance between reading the two.

Though I loved the bible quote at the very beginning, I felt like the first chapter could have done a better job of bringing the reader into the story.  Maybe a flashback to his losing his mate so long ago or to his first confrontation with Archon.  It didn't have bite, I felt.  Seemed like a lot of telling versus showing then.

Archon is the bit baddie in the story.  However, I'm still not sure of the full ramifications of his actions.  I didn't get as invested in trying to defeat him because I never felt like I truly understood what would happen if he succeeded.  Plus, I almost felt sorry for the guy and, what with how he talked about his mother all the time, I couldn't help feeling like he couldn't be all bad.

Chago bugged the crap out of me throughout the book.  In the first book, he was exceedingly terse.  He simply didn't speak except for the occasional "sí" or something similar.  But, though the author still claimed he was terse, he was downright talkative in this book.  Plus, I couldn't get over the whole Basque and speaking Spanish thing.  He's Basque.  And 1100 years old.  1100 years ago, the Basque people spoke Basque.  To the best of my knowledge (which admittedly is only what I managed to google), the Basque people only started to lose their culture (possibly their language as well) about 80-something years ago.  Until then, even though they were conquered around the 1500's, they remained autonomous.  Heck, people didn't even speak anything but Basque and Vulgar Latin (the two derivatives of modern day Spanish) in the region until about a good 400 years after Chago would have been born.  So why does he slip into Spanish like it's his native tongue?  Plus, the story kind of makes Chago out to be fairly inept.  It's not so much that she's working against him this time but he keeps messing up and making the wrong choices.  Mostly pertaining to helping out the militia, which seems like it might have been something related to his first failure he defiantly declared he wouldn't repeat, but seems to anyway.

I will say I liked Chago's discomfiture with formalwear.  And the one scene where insurgents start a fight out on the streets and Chago is right in the middle of it… saving the day, protecting people and, all in all, being a total badass.  Great scene.

Irena is both good and bad.  She's both tough, a necessity with her history, and vulnerable.  I think the author did a fairly good job with her character, managing to pull off the complexity of the character.  I was a little surprised, however (after the fact), that she wasn't bothered by how he described himself (Chago) profession-wise.  The first thing that popped into my head was mercenary or personal security (aka private army).  Both of those, I would figure with her chosen profession, would not be individuals she cared for.  After all, her job was to end conflict and those types profited on perpetuating profit, regardless the cause.

And it really surprised me when Irena goes out to try to negotiate between an insurgent and a police officer, both of whom are armed.  I might not know too much about her job, but I know you never try to break up bar fights and you never get between fighting dogs.  It seemed stupid, dangerous, and irresponsible, more likely to make things worse than better.

To me, what made this book was a lot of little things.  Like when they called a van the "A-team reject van" or when they called Satin's outfit as "disco meets zombie attire."  There's little comments like that throughout the book that just made me smile.

All in all, this book was pretty average.  I enjoyed it, I got through it.  It wasn't as good as the first.


Book Description

Love, like War, will always find a way…

War has shaped every aspect of Irena Soldan’s life—her childhood, her work, her DNA. Unaware she is the genetic host of the second Seal of the Apocalypse, Irena battles for those who cannot fight for themselves. As a top human-rights operative for The Omega Consortium, her company provides both the financial backing required to undertake her task and a charismatic, publicity-loving boss to promote her cause. Life proceeds on plan for Irena until a mysterious, sexy stranger arrives claiming to be her guardian and Irena’s path takes a sudden, inauspicious turn for both the erotic and the lethal.

Chago has always been the quiet one amongst his warrior Scion brethren—the brooding, Spanish combat expert with a hidden soft side.  A member of Divinity’s covert special forces, he’s protected humanity for more than a millennium. Still, his greatest joy comes not from the battlefield, but from tending the cattle herd on his remote Montana ranch.

Irena’s new assignment takes her straight to the heart of a bloody civil conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa and Chago’s mission demands he follow. Expecting a seething cauldron of female whoop-ass, he instead discovers a harbinger of peace amidst a world of ever-increasing violence. The explosively tense situation is further magnified by the cunning Omega Consortium leader, his ambiguous personal agenda, and an ancient foe whose audacious rise to power threatens the world’s very existence.

Despite the cataclysmic circumstances, an undeniable attraction ignites between Chago and Irena. Together, they must unravel the ancient puzzle of the Seals and discover her employer’s ulterior plans before they both become casualties of War. Soon, both are forced to choose between a past riddled with old torments or risk everything they treasure on a love capable of defeating evil incarnate.

About the Author

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Traci is the author of paranormal/urban fantasy and contemporary romances featuring a sly, urban edge, including her current Seven Seals series. Her stories feature sizzling alpha-male heroes full of dark humor, quick wits and major attitudes; smart, independent heroines who always give as good as they get; and scrumptiously evil villains who are—more often than not—bent on world destruction. She enjoys weaving ancient curses and mythology, modern science and old religion, and great dialogue together to build red-hot, sizzling chemistry between her main characters.

Traci is an active member of Romance Writers of America (RWA), Indiana Romance Writers of America (IRWA) and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Writers (FF&P) and is pursing a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction through Seton Hill University. Her stories have made the final rounds in several RWA chapter contests, including the 2012 Duel on the Delta, the 2012 Molly Awards, and the 2012 Catherine Awards. An earlier draft of Seal of Destiny won the paranormal category of the 2012 Marlene Awards sponsored by the Washington Romance Writers.

Other current projects include upcoming books in the Seven Seals series and a new futuristic suspense series with hints of the paranormal and plenty of romance.

She loves hearing from readers! Connect with Traci here:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Pinterest




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Review

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I like the dynamic between mother and daughter.  But then, I've always been fond of a little bit of crazy.  Their relationship is open (a little too open, some might say), off the wall, loving and infuriating.  Actually, take out the paranormal, and it kind of reminds me of the relationship with my own mom.  Sort of a love/hate thing.
The relationship between her and her friends Zoe and Diego are fun and flirty, making me laugh throughout the book.  I liked Boulder, even if he was a bit overbearing for my taste and Torch's stubbornness pissed me off, which I suspect is exactly what it was supposed to do.

That being said, I really enjoyed the first 75% of the book, even if it had quite a few patches that made me make a double take because I couldn't rap my head around the logic.

But what bugged me the most about the book is how badly it left you hanging.  There's no end to the conflict, no relief for the romantic ties, and the book ends with all these what ifs hanging over your head.  I wanted to know what was going to happen next and yet was thoroughly pissed off at the author for leaving me hanging like that.  I'm okay with a cliffhanger on occasion, but this was like racing toward a finish line and dropping off a cliff.  I kept seeing the progress advance.  80%, 90%, 95% and knowing there was no way the book could possibly come to a satisfactory conclusion in that time.

In summing, the book was good and entertaining.  It was engaging and I found myself invested in the characters.  Just don't expect to leave feeling fulfilled or with a sense of completion.  So, I guess, my question becomes, when the hell is the next book coming out?!? 


blurb

Infinity discovers a dark secret from her past that rocks everything she knows to be true.

A troubled 22-year-old superstar singer, Infinity has a bad reputation for drugs and hard partying. Now, she is on the road to a comeback with her controversial tour. But everything about doing the concert feels wrong from missing employees, to anonymous threats about ruining her career. She is dealing with a powerful corporation that is determined to kill her and everyone she loves.  She is also battling for control of her life and career from a relationship that crossed the fine line between love and obsession. Infinity knows too much, even though she doesn't realize it.  Secrets have been kept and these secrets are powerful enough to destroy her and everyone she loves.

Now she must put her safety and trust in the hands of sexy, tattooed and delicious Torch Channing and Boulder Vigari, hired to keep her from getting killed. Boulder wants to make her his. He won't stop until he claims her. Torch struggles with his primal need to possess her and his hatred of everything she represents.

Infinity is determined to protect her heart while dealing with the pressure of pulling off another successful tour without spiraling into another mental meltdown.

Add it to your Goodreads To-Read List
Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore


excerpt

He stepped closer, brushing my jet-black hair away from my cheek, his finger wrapping around a curl before trailing down my neck. “Do you really think I give a shit about her? Or any human, for that matter? I’m here for you. You’re mine and nothing you can do or say will change that now.”

He stroked my cheek. “You’ve been reckless, Infinity. Did you really think you could thumb your nose at the Collective and live? You disregarded all of my warnings. You are naive and reckless. I did all that I could to prevent this exact moment.”

I tilted my head, looking at him through my eyelashes, whispering, “What moment?”

He pulled me against his chest, digging his hand into my shoulder painfully. “This fucking moment, Infinity. The moment of me standing here before you, not as your consort, but as the man sent here to kill you.” He sighed. “You pushed them too far, and the decision has been made to destroy you for the betterment of the Vampire Collective.”

“No, I… You can’t.” I rasped and swallowed. “She said you wouldn’t.”

His hands gripped my body as he leaned his forehead against mine. “I don’t know who she is, but she can’t save your ass right now. Only I can. You’re mine. Come with me and all will be forgiven. As my consort you will be untouchable, but on your own you are dead.”

My lust started to slowly cool and logic finally started to kick in. Fuck, what was I doing? I was standing in a bathroom, panting over a vampire who may or may not be some crazy ass stalker assassin for a corporation of vampires. This was some crazy shit.

“No!” He held me tight as I tried to back away. “I won’t. I will never choose to be with a monster like you. You might as well kill me now.”

“You’re already with a monster.” He leaned down, scrapping his incisors against my throat. “You just haven’t accepted it.”

Burning coursed down my neck. The panic set in, causing me to kick with futility against his brute strength. I was going to die. The strange woman lied.

“Please, Alik. Don’t do this.” Anger and fear fought within me. Fear was winning by a landslide.

about the author

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Sedona Venez writes paranormal romance, urban fantasy romance, and science fiction romance. She lives in the North East in the city that never sleeps.






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