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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


 

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.






Sedona can be found online in all the usual haunts:  

Her Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads



 

Kym Grosso has become a personal favorite of mine.  I really can't wait until her next book comes out.  I can't help wondering who the main characters will be, wondering and hoping certain characters will be delved in more depth. I really liked Kade's maker and am hoping to see more of him!  Hope you guys enjoy as well!

Danielle

Review

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Man, she sure does have a way with endings.  The last scene of this book was just perfect.  And the last line?  Uh, poignant.  Sharp.  Lending a finality while promising so much more.
It didn't have as strong a beginning, but if you just read the previous book, it wouldn't much matter because you'd practically be foaming at the mouth to get to the book.

Tristan is so stubborn and dense, but in the most endearing of ways.  Kalli is a character you can really get into.  She's very complex and the author does a good job portraying how her past would influence the development of her character and personality, her fears and hangups.

Except for the last scene, the book's plot is fairly predictable -- you knew what was going to happen, if not when.  But I think the progression of the characters is more interesting anyway.  I loved the last scene.  And hated it.  I was devastated and shocked and angry and worried and unbelievably friggin' curious.  There's just got to be another book. 


blurb

An erotic paranormal romance…

Charismatic and powerful Lyceum Wolves’ Alpha, Tristan Livingston, is out for revenge after a devastating attack on his pack. Not only did he survive a building collapse, he orchestrated the rebuild of his chic, state-of-the-art nightclub within a week. Determined to mete out justice, he rescues a beautiful witness who may be the key to helping him find the perpetrators.

Dr. Kalli Williams, dedicated veterinarian, is hiding a secret that endangers not only her own life but the lives of wolves across the country. After being tortured by a savage vampire, she’s reluctantly agrees to help the sexy Alpha in his quest to identify suspects; ones who’d kill her on the spot if they knew she existed. As Kalli places herself in the hands of the dominant wolf, she soon finds she wants nothing more than to submit.

Tristan, committed to ruling his pack as a lone wolf, is inexplicably drawn to the mysterious and enticing woman, who seems more than human, but not quite supernatural. As he discovers her secret, he teaches her the meaning of trust, helping her learn how to be true to her nature. After living a lifetime alone, will he succumb to the visceral need to claim her, acknowledging the soul binding connection between an Alpha and his mate? And will he prevail against the menacing enemy who threatens to destroy Lyceum Wolves?

Amazon


reviews of the rest of the series...

Book 1: Kade's Dark Embrace

The story is fast paced, hard, ballsy, and frustrating (but in a good way).  The voice, the tone, of the story had a no-nonsense, hardened cop feel I just loved.  I can't help but like Sydney, who is about the most hardheaded person I've ever met.  She is everything that I just described the story as.  She is sexy and fun and I find it hilarious that every guy she's encountered so far in the book wants to screw her brains out.  And I loved that when the male lead turns her down, she decides to go and boink his friend.

Like a good mystery, the story keeps you guessing.  The author keeps the tension ramped the entire time, either with the case or with the ever growing sexual tension between Kade and Sydney.  

The only true fault I had with the book was with the first dead body - the floater.  The body was too new to be a floater.  Why was the skin slack?  A body that's a couple of days old is entering the first few days of decomp.  Bodies don't float until 8-10, under rare conditions starting at 7.  The body's skin doesn't become slack until after gas build up has dissipated, which is long after the floating stage.  So why was it called a floater?  Why didn't the coroner correct that assumption?  Why was she called a coroner when the city of Philadelphia has a Medical Examiner's office on 321 University Ave?  Why did she put the coroner's office in the same building as the police station when there is no medical examiner's office in the same building as a police station?  The closest I could find was a University Police Department.  But those are minor things that would probably only matter to you if you either lived in Philly or had experience in law enforcement.

As a word of warning, the ARC copy  I received had head hopping.  While this doesn't bother me, I know it bothers some, so I felt it only right I include that in my review.

In closing, this book had me glued to the "pages" the entire way.  Even with the initial inconsistency in the crime scene, this is definitely a five star read.

BN  ARe

Book 2: Luca's Magic Embrace

This book follows Luca and Samantha.  Luca is a cold, honorable, strong vampire who is determined to never fall in love.  Samantha is a recently turned witch who has a surprising ability to bounce back when beaten down.
Again, the author doesn't disappoint.  Luca's Magic Embrace, though the title sounds like something off a children's book, keeps you engaged the whole way.  Samantha is stubborn and a little in denial, but she's surprisingly strong.  She's an average woman dumped into a nightmare situation.  She just wants her life back.  She feels real.  Luca, like Samantha, is completely in denial, albeit of something entirely different.

The tone of this book is different than Kade's Dark Embrace and there isn't the same attitude.  Still, the mystery and the adventure in the book is there, the whodunit.  Someone is after Luca and Samantha and they need to figure out who and why.  There will be twists and at times my heart was in my throat, worried for the characters.

And like with Kade's Dark Embrace, I found myself itching for the next book. 


Amazon US  Amazon UK

about the author

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Kym Grosso is the author of the erotic paranormal romance series, The Immortals of New Orleans. Both of her novels, Kade's Dark Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans, Book 1) and Luca's Magic Embrace (Immortals of New Orleans, Book 2), are currently available via Amazon, digitally and in print. Tristan's Lyceum Wolves is scheduled for release on April 1, 2013.

In addition to romance, Kym has written and published several articles about autism, and is passionate about autism advocacy. She writes autism articles on PsychologyToday.com and AutismInRealLife.com. She also is a contributing essay author in the new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum.

Kym lives with her husband, two children, dog, cat and guinea pig. Her hobbies include autism advocacy, reading, tennis, zumba, traveling and spending time with her husband and children. New Orleans, with its rich culture, history and unique cuisine, is one of her favorite places to visit. Also, she loves traveling just about anywhere that has a beach or snow covered mountains. On any given night, Kym can be found reading her Kindle, which is filled with hundreds of romances.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KymGrossoBooks

Twitter: @KymGrosso

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5785692.Kym_Grosso

My Autism Website: http://www.AutismInRealLife.com


 

Excerpt

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Aphrodite Calling was my favorite of the three so I chose an excerpt from that novella...

Desire. He could sense it. Wafting up from below to his current vantage point on the landing. His shoulders wanted to slump, but he couldn't allow it. No matter how weary he was of this calling, he was a god. Their god. It was his duty to respond.

Perhaps his brother had the better idea. Reside with the gods, not the mortals, and come out to play only when the mood took him. That had been at the changing of the seasons, for Pothos. It was when Aphrodite's power was at its strongest and when they all felt the mating urge most intensely.

Himeros suspected that the seasonal visitation schedule was likely to change a little for Pothos, now that his brother had found his pair. A smile curved his lips as he recalled his brother's astonishment and joy, but then the smile faded.

There was no joy here, for him. No pair of lovers such as Pothos had found. No one to tantalize and entice him out of his lethargy. But he stayed anyway, hoping, searching. Answering the endless calls to Aphrodite from those seeking sexual gratification.

So. He squared his shoulders and looked down at the sea of mortals stretched out before him on the ground floor below. Which of them was the seeker this time?

He sampled the air, testing, and his fingers tightened on the handrail. There was something different about this one. Desire, yes. Stronger than any he had felt in years. For that alone, he knew he would answer this call. But the sexual nature of the desire was edged with more. So much more. A desire for... He frowned, slanted his head to the right, and focused his gaze on the person in need.

Well, well. This was one call he had never experienced. And he thought he'd seen it all.

Excitement rippled through his body, replacing the ennui to which he'd grown accustomed.

Sweet mother.

Aphrodite, could this possibly be the one?


Reviews

I like what I like most about these stories so far is how completely accepting they are of people or ideas that are outside the norm.  These stories are short, not allowing a lot of time for character development or much plot.

The first novella, Platinum Passion, read a lot like any other MMF erotica.  Though, I did like how the menage was portrayed as sort of an extension of a loving marriage, rather than major kink (even though there was plenty of that!).  She is completely unwilling to go further without her husband.

I really loved the female lead, Gina, in the second novella, Aphrodite Calling.  There was a lot of depth into her neuroses, fears and insecurities and I think the author did a fairly good job of portraying a transgender individual, even if I've never met one (that I know of).  The story got me curious about a subject I'd never really taken much interest in before.  Sure, I've known homosexuals, and transgenders have always been a curiosity to me, but I never really tried to understand it.  Out of sight, out of mind.  This story was about emotional renewal.  Loneliness and isolation that is so often the case when you're a little bit different, not quite the norm.  Everyone tries to shove you in a box, expecting you to fit, frequently not realizing how much they hurt you in the process.

The third novella, Sex Club Secrets, was an interesting take on a bisexual individual, but I think what I liked most about the story was not that, but the emotional progress of the god, Anteros, which wasn't delved into that much during the story.  I was so happy when they accepted him and wanted more from him. 

Blurbs

The Greek gods of desire are skilled at satisfying the erotic needs of mortals who cross their path. But where do the gorgeous erotes turn for sexual healing when loneliness strikes at each eternal yet world-weary heart?

Together for the first time in one anthology collection, these three critically acclaimed novellas show that even the gods themselves are not immune from the influence of love.

Platinum Passion

A night of ménage a trois passion will change three lives forever. Jeannie and Jake's platinum anniversary becomes an unforgettable experience when Pothos, god of sexual yearning, steps in to save their twenty-year marriage.

Aphrodite Calling

A god of sexual desire on the edge of burnout meets a woman with a unique and secret past…In the arms of transsexual woman Gina, has Himeros finally discovered the one with whom even a god of love could find fulfillment?

Sex Club Secrets

Sometimes love can flourish in the most unexpected places. Ella and her bisexual best friend Kade meet the erotic god Anteros in a celebrated sex club—but the challenges facing these potential friends-to-lovers could prove too much for the god of requited and unrequited love.

Content suitable for adult readers only.

About the author

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Jennifer Lynne is multi-published in sensual and erotic romance and writes from her home in Melbourne, Australia. She has a degree in literature and media studies and has worked as a business writer and journalist for companies both large and small. She has even worked in an optical store! She lives in hope that readers will continue to enjoy her novella-length tales of love and lust.

Website/blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


P.S. The author will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly selected commenter on her book tour, so feel free to hit up the other tour stops...

April 15:  Books to Light Your Fire
April 16:  Rachel Leigh
April 17:  Bitchesbewritin
April 18:  The SkylarVerse
April 19:  The Eternal Scribe
April 22:  Harlie's Books
April 23:  Wicked Readings by Tawania
April 24:  We Love Kink
April 25:  Francesca's Mindstream
April 26:  Long and Short Reviews
April 29:  You Gotta Read Reviews
April 30:  Unabridged Andra
May 1:  Sharing Links and Wisdom
May 2:  From Me to You ... Video, Photography, and Book Reviews
May 3:  All I Want and More
 

review

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even if the main characters were thoroughly frustrating at times.  They made me smile and laugh most of the time.   And I thought it was hilarious how, this one time, she agrees to have sex with him to prove she doesn't want to have sex with him.

The story is largely about the two of them getting in touch with who they really are deep down.  He's lived his entire life to other people's expectations, so much so that he hardly knows who he is anymore.  Her life has been one hardship after another to the point her self worth in other's eyes is marginal at best.

Gia is a fairly complex character.  It would be easy to stereotype her as the trampy, tattooed, says what she wants, doesn't care what anyone thinks type.  Except, the author delved more into her psyche than that.  Too often, people like that are more insecure than you'd think.  For example, I dress the craziest, act the craziest, when I'm at my most stressed.  I use that exterior to hide my inner insecurities like armor, like a shield.  Gia is much the same.  She has a mentality that says better to be alone than rejected.  She'd rather push everyone away than have someone close to her look down on her or think ill of her.  She confides in people she has no vested interest in rather than friends (I can relate as I can easily strike a conversation with a stranger at the bus stop but rarely speak among friends).  She wants a relationship with Josh, but her insecurities tell her it can never work.  She doesn't feel worthy of him and projects that same feelings into her friends.

One thing I think is somewhat hilarious is that, while she doesn't want anyone to know  that they're sleeping together, increasingly more of their friends know how he feels about her because, while he's keeping the secret of their relationship, he can't hide other things from them, how he feels.  When she's messing with his head, for example.

And talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.  She decides how the relationship is going to end and everything that happens MUST be a result of that.  They weren't meant to be together.  Sure, she screws with his head on purpose, purposefully trying to push him away, push him into the little box she's decided he belongs in.  And when he doesn't conform to her little box?  She shoves him in it anyway.

One thing that made no sense to me was how is her crying and in pain was his fault.  She's the one that started all this!  She's the one that caused her own pain.  He wasn't the cause of her  pain.  She blames him but she caused it.  Why is he sorry?  I don't understand this!

Though frustrating (and Gia's logic can be confusing, twisted and backwards at the best of times), I felt the depth of characters, especially Gia's, really made this story.  The flaws and irrationality actually made the story more realistic.  I saw a lot of my own insecurities and habits in Gia, which made it so much easier to relate to her, even if I was pulling my hair out with how much she tortured him throughout the book until she finally accepted her own self worth. 


book description

She is pierced, dyed and tattooed born on the wrong side of the tracks. He is a traditional white knight born of the proverbial silver spoon. Their meeting was an accident, the fact that they became even the most tentative of friends, an anomaly. The only real thing they had in common... chemistry. Lots of chemistry. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough and Gia knew it. Now, if only she could convince her body...

Josh had always walked the line, lived the life he was expected to live. He had, by all accounts, the perfect life; a corporate lawyer, a beautiful home, a family empire to run, and the perfect fiancee. He was well on his way. The only question he had... was that really where he wanted to go? Plagued by dreams, Josh fought all his natural instincts, denying not only what he truly wanted but who he was deep down inside. Until one crazy night when he gave in to his desires...

Could these two polar opposites have more in common than even they realize? 


Kindle - Hidden Depths - Kindle Edition
Paperback - Hidden Depths Paperback

about the author

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I am often asked; who is Aubrianna Hunter?  And the truth is the answer isn't a simple one. Beyond being a dedicated wife and mother, I was raised by a Marine, and married into the Navy. 

Needless to say I can go toe to toe with the most sarcastic people you have met, and can dish insults and curse with the best of them.  I blurt wildly inappropriate things at precisely the moment when the room goes quiet, so much so that my co-author has nicknamed me Ted... Yes... After the bear in the movie. 

Recently my husband has replaced calling me crazy with calling me "Creative", but the tone he uses to do it makes me question his sincerity.  Though honestly, crazy is probably closer to reality.  I like my hectic life, in fact I thrive in the chaos and would have it no other way.

Amazon Link | Twitter | Facebook Fan Page | Aubrianna Hunter - Blog


 

Review

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The first half of this book starts out slow, confusing and frustrating.  I liked the first scenes and they drew me right into the book, but then I sort of slogged through until about 50-60% of the way, which was when it really started kicking in.

A lot of the story was pretty predictable (even many of the twists).  There was one thing I never saw coming, only really figured out what they had planned as it was happening and then I was thinking, "Oh shit, he's doing that?  We're screwed!"  And by "we," I mean the good guys.  I really liked that part.  It was probably my favorite part of the book.

One interesting aspect of the book is that, like with many ancient myths, there isn't a whole lot of happy endings.  Things just get really messy, really bloody, and while things work out in the end, it's sort of a conditional good ending.  I guess, really, that's a good and bad thing in the book.  I got pretty invested in some of the characters only to see them go through great pain and/or die.

Other than how slow the first half of the book was (I trudged through it and only because I promised to review it), I was a little frustrated with him constantly using terms without explaining them.  I know more about Islam and Muslim culture than the average American and I was constantly stumped by words he used.  He also frequently used spellings I'd never seem before (or rarely seen).  For example, though I have seen Ra spelled Re, I have never seen Set spell Seth (even though it is an alternate spelling and that's probably just my ignorance).  Didn't realize they were one and the same until I looked them up, and I used to be fascinated with Egyptian culture.  Even at one time learned to write using hieroglyphs.  I'm not sure if his writing Najjal for the Islamic "anti-christ" was a typo or just a mistake since it is actually Dajjal.

I also had a hard time reconciling true myths and roles various gods played in them to the myths in the book, though I largely attributed that to artistic license.  For example, Seth is not evil.  He doesn't even represent evil.  He represents chaos and I think the story would have been much more interesting if the author capitalized on that distinction.  Also, Seth is responsible for sending the dead onto the afterlife, which made it weird that, in the book, he required sacrifices that prevented people from entering the afterlife.  Sobek, associated with Seth in the book, was actually companion to all in the Egyptian myths.  He didn't choose sides but aided Seth, Isis, Horus, and Ra.  He was actually closer associated with Horus than Seth (who was his father in some myths).  Just some interesting little tidbits.  I'm no expert.

The last scene is the only time in the entire book that I laughed.  In closing, the story was dark, complex, and with engaging characters.  Some might not have had as much trouble with the first half that I did.  I might have just been in a mood.  Who knows.  If you're a stickler for Egyptian mythology, I'd say stay very, very far away.  Other than that, it's a decent book.  The second half was spectacular and will have you emotionally involved with the events and characters.  Lots of action, intrigue, and mystery.


Book Description

Every five hundred years the phoenix dies.

Samiya, born-into-shadow, is soon to battle her born-into-light brother. Abandoned by their parents, neither wishes to play the preordained role of beast and hero. When their loved ones are taken hostage, they are forced to follow the path laid out in myth, culminating in a battle first fought six thousand years ago in ancient Cairo. A mythic clash where one defeats the other and both become gods.

To break free from their fates, Samiya and her brother must unravel a mystery twisted by cults, greed, and magic. But myth is a powerful force and failure to live up to it may not only destroy their lives but the lives of the ones they love most.

When the phoenix dies, the only certainty is flames.

“Terrific! A successful blend of genres, complex and fascinating characters, and loads of suspense make 24 Bones a must-read.” Nate Kenyon, bestselling author of The Reach, Prime, Bloodstone, and The Bone Factory.

“'24 Bones' is a winning debut. It's well-written and well-plotted, studded with drama, action, history and mythology. There's even a little romance. The conclusion is thrilling with the final outcome of the battle between good and evil held over until the very end...leaving you guessing until that very last page.” SF Crowsnest.


about the author

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After crewing ships in the Antarctic and the Baltic Sea and some fun in venture capital, Michael anchored himself (happily) to a marriage and a boatload of kids. Now he injects his adventurous spirit into his writing with brief respites for research into the jungles of Sumatra and Guatemala, the ruins of Egypt and Tik’al, paddling the Zambezi and diving whatever cave or ocean reef will have him. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers and SF Canada, and the author of the Assured Destruction series, 24 Bones, The Sand Dragon, Hurakan, Ruination and several award winning graphic novels for young adults.

www.michaelfstewart.com

https://twitter.com/MichaelFstewart

http://www.facebook.com/mikefstewart

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2969126.Michael_F_Stewart

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6567858-24-bones


 

The bear of back cover copy
otherwise known as the book blurb…

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I hate writing copy for query letters and back flaps.  Most writers do.  It requires us to boil the story we’ve spent the last who knows how long sweating out onto the page into a few short snappy sentences created to get you, the reader, to raise an eyebrow and open the front cover. 

I love cover art – it’s what gets me to pick up a book in a store, or scroll down the page to the description in the online venue.  But the kicker, at least for me, is the book description.  If this doesn’t strike my fancy, I don’t press the all important purchase button.  I might press the free sample button – and in the store, I might turn to the first page just because I know there’s an art to writing that jacket copy and it isn’t always a reflection of the writer’s skill.   However, when there is a good blurb to go along with a killer cover, I don’t sample or turn to the first page.

Nope. I go all in and take a chance on the book. 

I’ve found that most times, a well crafted blurb means a well crafted book - especially when the book is under the small press or indie framework.  In this framework, it’s usually the author’s responsibility to submit a blurb – or at least a first cut at it as opposed to the big publishing houses that have hired hands creating the cover copy.  

I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion, so how do you get from a 70,000 word novel to a paragraph or two summary, well it’s time to go back to school and the notion of a book report.  What’s the main theme?  I’m sure you could write a ten thousand word dissertation on your theme but that’s not going to catch a reader’s attention. 

Let’s take a look at the original blurb for my favorite all time book – The Stand:

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.

And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail -- and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.


Now Mr. King could have chosen any number of key characters but he focused on the central theme of good and evil.  He goes a step further by leaving it just hanging out there, tickling our interest without hinting at the battle we know is inevitable when people take sides. 

Read the blurb aloud.  I dare you. 

Now tell me that didn’t give you goosebumps.  Even if you’ve never read The Stand – this is enough to get you to read the first few pages of that mammoth manuscript.

As an editor, if this blurb passed over my desk, I would be compelled to stop and re-read it, relish the unspoken poetry of it and of course, I’d ask for the full manuscript. Not because this is Stephen King, but because he gave me just enough to tickle that spot. That spot that demands attention, demands to be scratched.  Just enough for me to have to know what happens next.

Incredible power and that’s exactly what you should strive for in writing the back cover copy, but don’t stop there, the book has to deliver the promise you make in the blurb, so make sure your prose are just as sharp and satisfying. 

Thanks for swinging into this stop on my blog tour and I hope you'll find my blurb for Night Hawk one that tickles your fancy!

Selling your soul has never been so charming and Mark throws in a little something to sweeten the pot, his girlfriend Naomi.

Sentenced to death at the hands of a demon, Naomi Hawk has a firsthand lesson in despair and betrayal in Mark’s deal for fame with all the trimmings. Deep in the clutches of the underground brotherhood, Naomi's light is coveted for the Master's gain.

When she slips and falls eighty stories from a precarious ledge, Naomi resigns herself to the inevitable impact and death by shattered bones. Before she can escape her demons in eternal slumber, something sinister plucks her from the plummet, stealing her out of the night to sacrifice her forever to the shadows.

Imprisoned in bottomless darkness, Naomi thirsts for justice…and revenge.

Until next time,

Ciao.

JET



Book Review

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This was a hard book for me to review.  For the most part, I enjoyed reading it, I think it is worth reading, but I couldn't honestly remember any specific tidbits that really stood out to me after the fact.  That being said, the story was fast paced, action packed, and entertaining.  

I found the use of first person point of view for two different characters at times jarring and, with the duration of some of the chapters in each character's POV, sometimes hard to get into (it takes a little bit to reset to thinking that the "I" character is no longer who you think it is), which might have led to the above mentioned lack of tidbits (for me, I guess it was kind of liking switching between English and Spanish each chapter - I'd have to re-immerse myself each time).  I finished the book quickly, so any issues with editing or style didn't slow me down, which I generally use as a guide of whether the editing was adequate.

Overall, I enjoyed the story, was immersed in the plot and the character's plights for most of the day.  I enjoyed the characters and Michael was pretty complex, if a little frustrating (but the best characters always are).  It was a fun little story to cuddle up on the couch with. 


Book Description:

Selling your soul has never been so charming and Mark throws in a little something to sweeten the pot, his girlfriend Naomi.

Sentenced to death at the hands of a demon, Naomi Hawk has a firsthand lesson in despair and betrayal in Mark’s deal for fame with all the trimmings. Deep in the clutches of the underground brotherhood, Naomi's light is coveted for the Master's gain.

When she slips and falls eighty stories from a precarious ledge, Naomi resigns herself to the inevitable impact and death by shattered bones. Before she can escape her demons in eternal slumber, something sinister plucks her from the plummet, stealing her out of the night to sacrifice her forever to the shadows.

Imprisoned in bottomless darkness, Naomi thirsts for justice…and revenge.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About the Author:

J.E. Taylor is a writer, a publisher, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order.  She first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after her daughter asked:

“Mom, if you could do anything, what would you do?”

From that moment on, she hasn’t looked back and now her writing resume includes a more than a dozen published novels along with several short stories on the virtual shelves including a few within eXcessica anthologies.

In addition to being co-owner of Novel Concept Publishing

(www.novelconceptpublishing), Ms. Taylor also moonlights as a Senior Editor of Allegory (www.allegoryezine.com), an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. She has been known to edit a book or two and also offers her services judging writing contests for various RWA chapters.

She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine. 

Visit her at www.jetaylor75.com

https://www.facebook.com/JETaylor

https://twitter.com/JETaylor75

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3153969.J_E_Taylor

http://www.amazon.com/J.E.-Taylor/e/B003FER8M6/