Wolf Dream by M.R. Polish
When does hiding the truth become an outright lie?
As an Army psychologist, Sydney Porter has heard her share of horror stories. The battle-scarred, down-trodden, and guilt-ridden have come to her office, seeking her help. When a highly decorated soldier is referred to her, she feels confident she can help heal his wounds. The chemistry between herself and Sergeant Aiden Thane is instantaneous. Sparks ignite and against her friend’s advice, she opens both her home and her heart.
Torn between a voice of reason and her undeniable feelings, Sydney begins to question just what is hiding behind her lover’s decorated uniform. What secrets are hidden behind his Purple Heart?
And does she really want to know?
This book touched me on so many levels. It was nothing like I expected but in a very, very good way. This story pulled at my emotions – I smiled, rolled my eyes, became frustrated, scared, and the suspenseful climax left me with goose bumps all over and my eyes filled with tears. Now, that’s a good read!
The story’s protagonist is Sydney Porter. Sydney used to be an Army nurse, but after dealing with so much death on the frontlines, she decided to obtain a psychology degree and shifted her career path in the Army to work with soldiers who are making the transition from Army to civilian life. I found the book’s opening to be a bit slow, but it did provide an effective introduction to Sydney’s character, her background, and her career focus. In the opening scene, Sydney is presented as the consummate psychologist, professional, polished, and dedicated to helping others.
Upon arriving at work, Sydney finds a case file with her new client: Sergeant First Class Aiden Thane, a highly decorated soldier recently wounded in battle who is returning home with an honorable discharge. The case file contains little personal information about Aiden, but emphasizes that he is a top priority and will be Sydney’s only case for now. Not only did that strike me as unusual, but everything about this mysterious Aiden Thames did as well.
My interest in the book really picked up when Sydney actually meets Aiden. Sparks ignite when they shake hands, and that’s when Sydney’s professionalism metaphorically goes flying right out the window, and she begins thinking and speaking with her heart instead of her head.
To say Aiden is an intense character is almost an understatement. He’s handsome, reserved, and Sydney practically melts into a puddle whenever he looks at her. She sees signs that Aiden suffers from PTSD, and she is determined to do her best to help him acclimate back into society. However, her methods for doing this go far beyond the boundaries of a normal practitioner/client relationship. Even though I was surprised when Sydney invites Aiden to stay with her, and I couldn’t help smiling as she mentally slaps her forehead for making such as rash decision. There are a few more moments like this, when Sydney’s thoughts had me chuckling as she loses her composure around Aiden.
Sydney and Aiden have an instant, life-altering connection that, at first, I found hard to accept. Since Sydney doesn’t have any other cases, she concentrates on helping Aiden outside of the office. I keep thinking, “big mistake.” And just as I expected, their professional relationship quickly crosses over into a personal one. More and more, Sydney sees Aiden as the man she’s been looking for all of her life instead of a man who has been emotionally and physically wounded from battle and needs psychological counseling. For example, on their first night together, she suggests they watch a war movie, not even thinking about detrimental effects this could have on Aiden’s psyche. Aiden’s traumatic flashback during the movie is a clear indication that she really doesn’t know much about what this man has gone through. In fact, she knows very little about Aiden.
Cheryl and her wife Gina, play an important role in the story. They are Sydney’s best friends and have become her new family, since her parents died. Cheryl is the voice of reason: “Wow, Sydney, are you out of your mind? You have no idea what he’s like. He could be all messed up in the head from the war.” Gina, on the other hand, encourages Sydney to embrace the happiness that Aiden has brought into her life: “Just sit back and go with the flow and enjoy the ride, Syd. It could end tomorrow, a year from now, or never. So enjoy every little bit of it.” I understood both Cheryl and Gina’s perspectives, and just like Sydney, I kept swaying back and forth, about whether she is jumping into things a bit too soon.
Their relationship isn’t easy. Aiden has secrets, and just as much as Sydney, I want to know to what they are. I was so intrigued that I read this book in one afternoon because I had to know what Aiden is hiding. It’s suspicious when he refuses to share anything about his past, and furthermore, throughout the story, he makes comments to Sydney that are so melodramatic I begin to question his mental stability.
His cryptic comments and pleas sound desperate, but why? They’ve only just met. How can they have a love this intense so quickly? It can’t be real. By the end of the book, though, I realize their relationship isn’t within the normal realm of falling in love. Their feelings for each other push the boundaries of love beyond reality.
The climax of the story occurs when Aiden’s big secret is revealed, and boy is it a doozie. I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming—the author does an excellent job of providing appropriate foreshadowing, symbolism, and imagery to gently and subtly lead the reader to this surreal conclusion. My surprise compounded by goose bumps and tears left me wishing so much for a different outcome. However, the author does a good job of tying up the book nicely and leaving me with a feeling a peace about everything that happens.
The only aspect that was problematic for me in reading the book is that, at times, when the author brings up the controversial issues of gay marriage, war, and the afterlife, she begins to proselytize. The characters and the events that occur in this story are powerful enough to raise my awareness of the issues and situations without a direct input of opinion.
Nevertheless, this book focuses on the undeniable beauty and power of love, destiny, and fate. The story will linger with me for a long time to come.
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
Christie A.C. Gucker lives in NJ with her husband, two daughters and a menagerie of pets. Being a mother is one of the greatest joys of her life. She has worked in the advertising industry for over 20 years as a degreed artist, but also works in the fine arts, especially sculpting out of stone or snapping photographs. Christie is also a singer and musician, and can be found singing on a few CDs.
Link to Follow the Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/05/now-booking-tasty-virtual-book-tour-for_1015.html
Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win a free digital copy of The Purple Heart
Jeff Mean would rather set fires than follow rules or observe curfew. He wears his bad boy image like a favorite old hoodie; that is until he learns he has superpowers and is recruited by Super Villain Academy – where you learn to be good at being bad. In a school where one kid can evaporate all the water from your body and the girl you hang around with can perform psychic sex in your head, bad takes on a whole new meaning. Jeff wonders if he’s bad enough for SVA.
He may never find out. Classmates vilify him when he develops good manners. Then he’s kidnapped by those closest to him and left to wonder who is good and who is bad. His rescue is the climactic episode that balances good and evil in the super world. The catalyst – the girl he’s crushing on. A girlfriend and balancing the Supers is good, right? Or is it…bad?
When the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fire and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died, the end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers and short stories for younger children Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults.
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
I am super excited to be able to participate in the trailer reveal for Katlyn Duncan’s SOUL TAKEN which released on June 4th!
This book sounds absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to share the TRAILER and the EXCERPT the author provided, both of which are below.
There is also an awesome GIVEAWAY for an eBook Kindle copy of the book to one winner. So be sure to check that out, too!
With its gorgeous cover, it’s intriguing description, its totally captivating excerpt and awesome trailer, I am thrilled to be able share SOUL TAKEN with you. So without further ado….
About the Book
Title: SOUL TAKEN (The Life After #1)
Author: Katlyn Duncan
Publisher: Carina UK
Release date: June 4th
After-life just got a lot more complicated
Maggie is a Soul Collector. It’s her job to transport souls from the Living Realm to the After – but during a mission to find a stolen soul, she ends up stuck in a teen mean girl’s body.
Trapped, Maggie’s soul is catapulted into Ally’s life – and the human world she hasn’t experienced for one hundred years. But, as a descendant of the most powerful beings in the After, Maggie must rescue Ally before the girl’s soul dies…
To survive, Maggie must uncover devastating secrets – because with one soul taken by a terrifying enemy, Maggie’s could be next!
Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.
Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.
A suffocating heat pressed all points of my soul. Even though I hadn’t breathed in a hundred years, I felt the need to inhale, yet I couldn’t. A fire burned in my chest.
I attempted to open my eyes, to move one finger, a toe maybe, but the pressure immobilized my body. The burning sensation tore through me over and over until I had just about given up the fight.
But, just as quickly as the pressure came, it lifted, bringing a seemingly endless barrage of images. I was experiencing someone else’s memories, as if I took a back seat in her mind and watched her life flash before our eyes. I caught her image in a mirror, a small golden-haired girl.
I tried to slow the images or possibly make sense of them but, just as I grabbed a hold on one of them, it slipped through my fingers and moved onto the next. I followed this girl through all the moments of her life as her memories flashed before my eyes.
Darker emotions overlapped the girl’s happy memories. I saw a young red-haired girl in an old-fashioned dress; her demure eyes looked back at me. Jealousy flared through me. My heart squeezed, watching this girl who was not part of Ally’s memories. A rush of energy pumped through my body; the power touched every fiber of my soul. Then the vision dissolved and I was forced back to experiencing Ally.
Was I dreaming?
Souls didn’t dream. I told myself firmly.
The visions started to slow and I was able to focus on one.
I had to tell them, even though Dad said I couldn’t. But in a week I wouldn’t be the same girl. Or would I? I still wasn’t clear on everything. Becoming a Guard: it was my life’s mission, he had said. A life that was no longer my own. Would it be easier to let this life slip away? I would regret each day if I didn’t. Maybe I would start with Seth. Sweet Seth. He’d be crushed, but someone would take my place. Dad had said something about people—humans— was I not human? Humans were drawn to those like me. Maybe Seth only liked me because I was different, unexplainably different.
I ripped the paper off the coffee sleeve. It was now or never.
An eBook Kindle copy of SOUL TAKEN to ONE (1) winner.
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As winter closes in on Kirsten Swenson’s hometown of Sedona, Arizona, and the world moves toward the solstice, strange forces begin to converge on the quiet desert city, seeking to bring about the destruction of everything she knows and loves.
Desperate to save her friends and family, Kirsten accepts the assistance of Martin Jones, a mysterious Man in Black who turns out to be far more than he seems. He helps to awaken the powers that have lain dormant within her…and also compels her to expose the shocking secrets buried in her past. But Kirsten soon learns that giving her heart might not be enough, and that the confrontation with the alien forces may demand her to make the ultimate sacrifice.
A native of Southern California, Christine Pope has been writing stories ever since she commandeered her family’s Smith-Corona typewriter back in the sixth grade. Many reams of dead trees later, she’s happy to announce that her debut novel, Fringe Benefits,was published by Pink Petal Books on April 8, 2010. Her short fiction has appeared in Astonishing Adventures, Luna Station Quarterly, and the new journal of dark fiction, Dark Valentine. Her paranormal novella, Playing With Fire, was released on August 5, 2010.
While Fringe Benefits is a straight contemporary romance, she writes in a variety of genres, including paranormal romance, fantasy, horror, science fiction, and historical romance. She blames this on being easily distracted by bright, shiny objects, which could also account for the size of her shoe collection.
After spending many years in the magazine publishing industry, she now works as a freelance editor in addition to writing fiction. She lives with her husband and an explosively fluffy Pomeranian mix. Her house is pink, but don’t hold that against her.
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Start the Series!
I was able to find the first book in the Sedona Trilogy, Bad Vibrations, for free on Amazon at the beginning of the year. I enjoyed the novel and plan to continue the series. Currently, Bad Vibrations is free on Amazon!
Click the link below to get your copy (Do double-check because I do not know how long this deal will last)
When Black and his team are sent to investigate a foreign ship orbiting near the Harmonica space port, they’re killed onboard by a humanoid weapon built in the image of a beautiful woman. Several years later, Black is reborn through a miracle of science on an unfamiliar planet called Neon. He’s mysteriously set free and flees to Starlight City…
This was a great science fiction novel that introduces readers to a futuristic world where we can see the effects of major scientific breakthroughs on a society that still retains some semblance of our lives today.
The protagonist is Black. When the story opens, Black is in Starlight City on the planet Neon. Right away it is easy to see Black isn’t a normal human. He wears sunglasses all of the time to hide his unusual yellow- colored eyes that may draw unwanted attention to him. When he gets injured, we learn that his limbs can regenerate. His body has been altered by someone, but he has no memory of it.
Lee does a great job in his vivid depiction of Starlight City controlled by Administrator Nahzier who is heavily involved in scientific human experimentation. So far, Nahzier has created an army of quasi-humans called Alpha Humans who are blend of human and robot.
Their brains have been “reformatted;” in actuality, they have been brainwashed to follow the Nahzier’s mandates.
They are portrayed as “human killing machines” sent to patrol the city in order to keep citizens “safe.” They serve under Nahzier’s rule and follow his commands. I couldn’t help but associate the name Nahzier to “Nazi.” Was this intentional? Hmm…
Griff Hurst is one of these quasi-humans ,and his story describes the process of how he was changed. Griffin died as a result of a government sanctioned virus unleashed upon its citizens. He was taken to Nahir’s laboratory and resurrected in a robotic body. Griffin no longer exists, but Griff does. Whereas, some science fiction writers avoid discussing the afterlife, Lee brings up the existence of a human soul and how it factors in to experimentation on the human body.
I found this concept fascinating and one that I consider when reading science fiction.
Griff is different from other Alpha Humans. He has retained his human memories, and he has a conscience. He is disgusted by his new purpose of killing on command, and he refuses to allow Nahzier to manipulate others for the so-called greater good of society. Citizens are afraid of the Alpha Humans and see them as “heartless humanoids.” I found Griff to be symbolic of how it’s really impossible to completely change a human. When you throw in a soul and human emotions, they interfere with a total reprogramming of the human mind.
As a result, Griff turns rogue and escapes Nahzier’s control. He joins Black and a group of misfits who work together to create an army to overthrow the Nahzier’s Regime. Because of the super abilities of the Alpha Humans, this is a daunting task. However, Griff knows the secret of how to cause these quasi-humans to malfunction.
As the story progresses, Black learns the truth of behind his kidnapping, experimentation, and escape. Black is now a “prized specimen,” and Nahzier desperately wants him back because of his future potential for creating immortality. Even at the end of the book, however, I was not completely clear on how Black is unique after undergoing scientific experimentation. I hope his changes will be expanded upon and clarified in future books.
The plot does not follow a sequential time pattern. Journal entries by Griff’s father, renowned scientist Dr. Hurst, flashbacks from Griff and the back stories of other members of the rebel group provide greater depth and insight into the dynamics of Starlight City’s insulated world.
The journey eventually brings Black back to Earth where his story actually begins.
The conclusion left me to infer that the story would continue. Even though Black was the protagonist, I was drawn to Griff’s character; he played such a major role in the book, and I wish he had been the leading character instead. Griff’s relationship with the Alpha Human Jada is one I hope will continue to develop in future books. There were minor grammatical errors strewn throughout the story, and it could benefit by one more round of proofreading. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this read and look forward to future books by Radford Lee.
I received a copy of this book from the author to provide an honest review.
Radford Lee is a writing tutor and also teaches college composition courses. He has worked as a volunteer tutor for an afterschool Student Fellowship program where he also conducted a Creative Writing workshop for local community students. He hopes to continue building students’ reading and literacy skills and to cultivate talented young writers. Radford lives with his beautiful family in Ohio.
Find out more about Radford Lee and Starlight City in his interview for Sun Mountain Reviews
When and why did you begin to write?
I’ve always marveled at sci-fi films like Star Wars, and storylines in some of my favorite video games especially got my imagination going. But I first felt inclined to actually write fiction as a senior in high school after reading Watchers by Dean Koontz. I liked how he blended sci-fi elements in the storyline without overdoing it, as well as the suspense he was able to create on practically every page. I started to get this crazy idea that I could create something just as cool.
What attracts you to write in the Science Fiction genre?
There’s a lot I love about the genre; the most attractive aspect might be the ability to create an entire world from scratch. As the writer, I can also create all the rules, (as long as they’re fairly logical), beings, and can even make up words as long as I don’t take it too far. I guess as an artist, I just love to create, and Science Fiction gives me a vast canvas to let my imagination run amuck.
What inspired you to write Starlight City?
It’s hard to say exactly. I think the impulse to create a web of storylines around Black, the central character, was influenced by reading David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. The techno-dystopian setting of the city and some of the story concepts were partially inspired by Japanese anime films like Cowboy Bebop and Ghost In The Shell, which could possibly have inspiring roots in films like Blade Runner. As I’ve mentioned, though, some of my favorite video game narratives are a big part of my inspiration. The most influential by far are games in the Final Fantasy series, which I think have the most complex and intriguing storylines with the most interesting characters. In retrospect, I think the world of Starlight City resembles that of Final Fantasy 7 in certain ways.
Briefly describe the fictional world you have created:
This story takes place mostly on the planet Neon in Starlight City, a vast, futuristic metropolis powered by gravity and wrapped in a sterilized bubble called the “Ether Shield.” The city is populated by humans, quasi-humans, and robots. Starlight City is run on citizen law enforcement according to district and patrolled by fully armored Citizen Guards. Much of the action also takes place in “the Forests” surrounding the city. These Forests were created (or altered) by Nahzir’s Life Bomb, a nuclear-scale explosion that spontaneously creates an atmosphere and rapidly evolving life forms. The Forests are beautiful, exotic, and dangerous—inhabited by deadly mutants and contaminated by volatile microorganisms.
Which character in Starlight City is your favorite?
I think my favorite character is probably Griff. Though he’s often the least expressive character, he seems to have the deepest internal conflict, and his actions and decisions have the biggest impact on the story’s events. In my first draft of this novel, Griff was actually the central character. He was the first character I had in mind for this story.
What have been the most enjoyable and challenging experiences for you in writing this book? One fun and challenging aspect was creating a futuristic world that was believable for the reader without letting technobabble drain the life out of the story. Coming up with semi-plausible explanations for certain science fantasy elements, like converting gravity into an unlimited energy source, required lots of inspiration from random “what if” conversations with friends. Still, the most challenging experience by far was coming up with an ending that would leave readers expecting the next offering but still provide some closure to the story. I’m still not quite sure how well I pulled that one off.
Which scene was the most difficult to write?
I’d have to say the hardest scene to write was the one where the main conflict between Black’s side and Nahzir’s Regime reaches its peak. There’s a preliminary battle in the chapter before it, and I didn’t want to overdo it with fighting scenes. I did quite a bit of surgery on this section, cutting it down to the essential parts and ended up pretty satisfied with the end result.
What ideas/concepts do you want readers to take with them after they read Starlight City?
I’d like readers to see the importance of comraderie and friendship shared among these “misfit” characters. They’re brought together by unlikely circumstances but form a bond and come to trust one another, and this is what allows them to stand against impossible odds. I also think readers should grasp the idea that science and spirituality can be connected. Science can attempt to explain phenomena beyond the physical realm rather than denying that such phenomena exists. Finally, readers should see that even in a world so technologically advanced as Starlight City, scientific achievement should never be valued above the souls of humanity.
What did you learn from writing this book?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that as a writer, you must absolutely love what you’re writing. There has to be a high level of excitement about the world and the characters you create which will force you to keep scribbling in the notepad, or sitting in front of the computer screen. The writer has to be addicted to the story and must keep coming back to fine-tune it. Most importantly, you have to love what you’re doing enough to ignore the people who think you’re wasting your time. This can be tough, as these are probably people who love you and think they have your best interest at heart. It’s important not to let outside pressures stop you from realizing and perfecting your vision as a writer.
Have any other authors had a significant influence on your writing?
As a reader, I tend to jump from author to author in search of a good book rather than reading through his/her entire archive. I’m definitely influenced by the classic works of Sci-Fi giants like Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Asimov, George Orwell and Ray Bradbury. Samuel R. Delaney is another Sci-Fi author I’ve enjoyed. I’ve already mentioned David Mitchell’s work, which certainly inspired me in terms of style and story structure. Besides these, I also admire much of Jonathan Lethem’s speculative works, and aspire to be as effortlessly entertaining as Kurt Vonnegut. I must add that I’ve long been inspired by some of the Harlem Renaissance writers, particularly Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. Du Bois.
What are your current projects?
Right now, I’m working on a theatrical audiobook of Starlight City, which should be completed before the end of this summer. I’m also drafting out ideas for both a prequel and a sequel to the novel, which I hope to release sometime around the fall of 2014.
What is the one piece of technology you can’t live without?
A lot of writers might say their computers, but I’d have to say my iPod, or anything I can use to listen to music. I simply love listening to music and even use it to write sometimes. It often helps me create the mood for a certain scene and get my ideas flowing.
There are two absolutes in war, people get killed and you can’t stop it. Twenty-three year old Corpsman Emme Sawyer doesn’t believe in absolutes. Exceling in school Emma graduated early flew through undergrad work and was on her way to med school when she realized she wanted more. Joining the Navy, Emma deploys as a medical corpsman with a Marine Infantry Unit heading into the Helmand Providence in Afghanistan.
When the bullets start to fly Emme learns that medical school doesn’t prepare you for war and being a girl doesn’t make getting killed off limits. Emme struggles against the cultural biases of a foreign land and the limitations her unit is put under while trying to push the Taliban out. After her guard is killed by an IED, Emme shuts off her emotions—until her commanding officer, Raven takes the job of looking after her, arousing feelings she doesn’t want and isn’t supposed to have. As Raven begins to reciprocate Emme realizes she missed out on a lot more than classes when she skipped high school Unsure how to deal with the loss Emme turns to Raven, her commanding officer, for support. As there connection grows Emme hesitates to take it further, knowing that developing feelings in a combat zone is dangerous when each step could be your last. Aware of the regulations against starting a relationship with someone in his unit, Raven tries to suppress his feelings but knows they are too strong to deny. Soon Emme and Raven learn you can’t choose when and where love finds you and sometimes you have to take a chance.
Connie Ann Michael was raised a city girl but was converted to a country girl after college and now resides in a speck of a town in Central Washington State. She is a Second Grade Bilingual teacher. Connie is married to her former boss as she worked at the local Pizza place and has two college age boys that provide endless material for books. She loves the outdoors and can be found mountain biking, kayaking, or camping with her family. Being a busy family she can be found working on edits and her newest novel while on long road trips.
Purchase on Amazon The Oxygen Wasters
A casual drink with a childhood friend turns Eden Franks’ quiet San Francisco life upside down, and leads him on a fast paced dangerous quest to eliminate five “Oxygen Wasters” in order to save the lives of his own family. Nine thousand miles away, a Sri Lankan housemaid fights for her life after suffering horrific torture and sexual abuse at the hands of her sadistic employers. In the isolated sand dunes on the outskirts of Dubai, a Saudi Arabian couple are kidnapped and left to die in the scorching heat. The Oxygen Wasters tells the story of how these character’s paths overlap, and how easily the line between survival and revenge becomes blurred.
“The first skill is always the hardest.”
(-from The Oxygen Wasters)
This dramatic thriller caught my attention because of its intriguing angle, a select group of average, everyday citizens get ensnared into a deadly covert multi-government-run operation called “The Project” that forces them to become assassins of those deemed “oxygen wasters,” people declared unworthy to continue living because of their evil deeds and lack of respect for humanity.
The protagonist of the story is Eden Franks who meets his close family friend John over drinks one night. Little does he know that meeting will make him question his ethics and values, prove his loyalty, and commit murder in the name of justice to save the lives of those he loves.
Do you remember the days of dreaded chain letters? You receive a copy of a letter from a good friend who passed it on to you in the hopes of having future good luck or, as I can remember, to avoid falling under the letter’s curse.
Once you have the letter, you have to decide what to do with it. Do you just ball it up, throw it away, and forget about it, thinking you won’t have any bad luck for ignoring the demand to send it on to a designated number of friends? Or do you invest the effort into passing it on to your friends in the hopes that the letter will continue its journey and all those involved will benefit in some way? “The Project” operates in a similar manner, except the stakes are much, much higher with deadly consequences for those who fail to fulfill their obligations within a specified time frame.
John has passed the metaphorical chain letter to Eden. Eden must become an assassin and eliminate five people whose heinous crimes have gone unpunished. Eden is an everyday, average citizen, successful businessman, husband, and father. He could be your colleague, your neighbor, or even worse…your friend. John has just put the fate of his family and himself in Eden’s hands. If Eden fails to eliminate five targets within one year, then someone in John’s family will be executed. This looming threat serves to ensure the continuation of the program and its secrecy.
I was a bit surprised at the process used to target someone. Eden isn’t just given a list of names; he actually has to select a person that he deems unfit to live any longer. However, he must have his choice approved by “The Project’s” secret board before he can proceed with the assassination.
Eden also has to choose the method of for the kill as well. It’s quite interesting to see his thought process as he makes these decisions.
The storyline surprised me as well. I had thought more of the story would revolve around Eden’s journey to complete the mission and the inner turmoil and anguish he experiences. Instead, however, much of the book centers on the “oxygen wasters” and their victims. Eden selects candidates from third world countries (Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Bangkok) and travels across the world to find his approved targets. Greyson immerses readers into these foreign cultures and provides a glimpse into the suffering of those who live in poverty and the difficult choices they make to survive.
Greyson has created villains who are easy to despise and pass judgment upon, and sympathetic victims who endure horrendous abuse.
At times, I was uncomfortable reading about these violent acts. These scenes aren’t described in explicit detail but have enough description to make it easy to imagine.
The antagonists were one-dimensional evil, stock characters with no redeeming qualities. In fact, some of these characters and their actions were, at times, too far-fetched for me to accept.
I think the story’s plot would have been stronger if Eden’s played a more dominant role in the story. Too many POVs caused disruptions to the flow of the story and caught me off guard. The book could have used one more round of editing, but the errors really didn’t hinder my reading experience.
I like that Greyson left the conclusion of the book open for a sequel, and I appreciate the thought provoking ideas about morality and ethics that are raised in this story.
This debut novel shows a promising start to a possible series.
I received a copy of this book from the author to provide an honest review.
I enjoy learning about new cultures, exploring new places, and have visited 79 countries so far, but have quite a few more still on my wish list.
I have worked in the field of Human Resources for over 20 years, primarily working with large US corporations with international offices. I hold a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Development from Brigham Young University – Hawaii.
Working in the corporate world, global traveling, world cultures, and current news events all largely impact my life, and greatly influence my writing.
The Oxygen Wasters is my debut novel.
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Swans are endangered in 1920s Alaska. Unbeknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy. In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Dawn and her mother become involved with the suspicious effects of the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect. But after they encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are townspeople roving the shore too but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher?
When Dawn came to keep Glenda company, what she did every summer for a week at a time, Glenda was making Bustle a pet.
“She’s gotten her strength back,” Dawn observed. Yet she wondered at Glenda for making Bustle a part of her barnyard where chickens, the cow, and Wallop the horse grazed. The old swan’s wings were still grand, especially when she swiped at a chicken that interrupted her along the trail of currants that Glenda scattered. And she was getting used to Dawn’s presence as she sat on the cabin stoop, learning the stitches for fishermen knit sweaters.
In a breeze-blown voice, Glenda related memories about Bustle as if the swan could comprehend her. Of course, Dawn’s father wanted to make a pet of her when he was a boy. Young Fen thought Bustle might walk along with him like the dog. Little did he expect that he would get a feisty punch from a wing. Bustle and Sir Swan taught him to take his punches and to know when he might get beat.
“There he was, thrown to the ground, and often it was muddy.” Glenda pointed her knitting needle at the shoreline. “Why, he learned what whitecaps are out there on the cold sea, being around those swans when he wasn’t four feet high.”
Glenda had collected a number of feathers from Bustle over the summer. “Never so many from one swan,” she said one night, letting Dawn pick out a feather for a drawing pen. Then Grandpa Fen honed its tip and required her to write to Reynolds at the General Store about the price Glenda wanted for her eggs, butter, and the berries that were ripening on the foothill. Dawn’s father practiced his letters with a swan plume when he was young. He could only get to school when Grandpa Fen was fishing, taking the skiff there, or when Glenda drove to town. In fact, they all practiced in the evening with the schoolbooks.
Dawn would rather draw with the plume than learn Glenda’s knitting stitches. If she drew Bustle, her grandmother was content to tell another story about her.
“I don’t suppose Alex Tuskoffey told you about Bustle and the grizzly. The grizzly that gave us the rug inside.”
“Maybe he did.” Dawn’s uncle was in the north hunting but he usually stayed with them about the time the autumn ships came.
Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International. In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing. The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing. Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.
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Love Isn’t a Battle…
Kit Bolanger, ex-spec ops soldier, has followed the trail of an international drug lord back to his childhood town, the one place he swore never return to. He and his team of terrorist hunters are the only thing standing between the town’s residents and the evil threatening them. It doesn’t help to know that she’s here—the woman who betrayed his trust and shredded his heart.
…It’s a War and He’s Offering No Quarter
Deciding to put roots down, Ivy Banks has brought her daughter home to the sleepy ranching community of Wolf Creek Bend, Wyoming—the one place where she was certain she’d never run into her high school flame. But he’s back, fighting a global enemy and home-grown terrorists in a hidden war that puts their lives and their hearts in jeopardy. He was bad news in high school, and he’s even worse news now.
Surrendering to him is not an option…but it’s the only thing he’ll accept.
Honor Unraveled is the third book in Elaine Levine’s Red Team series, an exciting special-ops romantic suspense. I started this series last year when I downloaded the first book, The Edge of Courage (Red Team #1,) as an Amazon freebie. Needless, to say, I was hooked.
Levine knows how write romantic suspense novels that have just the right blend of swoon-worthy romance and dangerous suspenseful scenes to maintain my interest and pique my curiosity about what’s to come.
Levine has the ability to create compelling heroes who are fierce protectors of their loved ones and who are willing to sacrifice their lives to save others.
The heroes in this series are far from perfect; their insecurities and past traumas force them to deal with inner demons that thus far have kept them from finding personal happiness. The female protagonists they fall for challenge, support, and deeply love them.
This series focuses on a group of former members of the elite Red Team, a covert military team within the U.S. Army. Now, working in the private sector, they have joined forces with the FBI and Homeland Security to track down an active terrorist group in the U.S. run by an Afghan drug lord. These terrorists have strong ties to a regional white supremacist group called the White Kingdom Brotherhood who distribute their drugs brought into the U.S.
After reading Honor Unraveled, I can see that Levine has created a complex, well-planned plot that increasingly becomes more intricate as it unfolds with each romantic story. This is a series that must be read in sequence and the storylines of characters featured in previous books continue to develop.
The main romance in this story occurs between Kit and his high school girlfriend, Ivy. The Prologue provides a solid foundation for establishing the current tension between Kit and Ivy. Their romance ended when Ivy’s parents forced their separation. Yet, they are forever bound by their daughter, Casey. Hurts from the past continue to keep them apart until Ivy and Casey become targets for Kit’s enemies. Kit forces them to stay at the team’s newly forged compound to keep them safe. Ivy wants nothing more to do with Kit and is determined to move on with her life, yet Kit is determined to win her back, or at least do everything possible to determine if their relationship is salvageable.
So far, Ivy is the one heroine in this series that I didn’t really connect with or particularly like.
Her indifference to Kit and her reluctance to let him play a more integral role in their lives did not seem fully justified. Yes, I understand that she felt abandoned by Kit when they were teenagers, but he didn’t leave her by choice. Her parents played the biggest role in keeping them apart.
Ivy blames Kit for not finding her sooner, but she never bothered to look for him either. When he does learn that Ivy has returned to Wolf Creek and they have a daughter, he does everything he can to make sure they are financially supported. He is always watching out for their well-being even though Ivy hasn’t always been aware of it. Kit now looks back and thinks he was a coward for keeping his distance from them, but I never saw any indication that Ivy tried to encourage him to be more active in Casey’s life. Casey has spent the past twelve years of her life thinking her father didn’t want her, and I don’t think Ivy ever did anything to make her think otherwise.
As a result, I didn’t really root for them to reunite as strongly as I have with the other couples featured. I like the angle Levine takes with story, showing that love can endure, no matter the obstacles or passage of time. I just didn’t feel that “wow” with them as a couple. There are some brief flashbacks about their time together in high school, but I think if I had been given more vivid memories showing how they fell in love, I may have better understood why Ivy is the only woman Kit can ever love.
Levine’s beautiful metaphors and imagery to describe Kit’s feelings for Ivy do make me believe his love and concern for her is genuine and not generated by a sense of obligation.
Kit is a wonderful hero and his love for his daughter is touching. My favorite scene is when he tries to comfort Casey as she experiences an important first—the transition to womanhood. An awkward, potentially embarrassing situation only forges a closer, stronger bond between father and daughter.
Kit grew up with a single mother who neglected him and he has always had to deal with feelings of being unwanted and unloved. That’s what he wants so desperately from Ivy and Casey.
I could understand his pain, and Ivy’s coldness toward him through much of the book only magnified his insecurities. I just didn’t feel her yearning and love for Kit.
On a positive note, however, she does redeem herself, in my eyes, when she makes a sincere apology to Kit for all that she has put him through over the years. Furthermore, in the latter part of the book, I did start to see more depth in her love for Kit and her desire for them to be a family, no matter that being with him will keep them from living, normal, safe lives.
As with the previous two books, Levine continues to write intense, sensual love scenes in the midst of ongoing action and suspense. In this book, I am also glad to see the development of other characters, such as Owen and Max, who will play more prominent roles as the story continues. Levine also creates new story threads that thicken the plot and create more mysteries to be solved. An unexpected but intriguing twist is the introduction of a seemingly peaceful separatist group called the Friendship Community who have become part of this sinister network of antagonists.
She also adds the one and only female Red Team member, Selena, to the mission, who is as fierce a warrior as the men.
Her run-ins with Owen have already created tension and make me wonder about the future of their relationship.
One disappointment I had with this story is that I had hoped the surprising cliffhanger ending from the second book revolving around Ty and his father would get resolved. I expected Ty to continue his active investigation to learn more about his father, but I didn’t see any development of this subplot. However, I anticipate that it will get resolved at some point as its importance to the overall plot is exposed.
Overall, I enjoyed how the book ended. It left me satisfied until the next book is released, which I hope won’t be too long. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will feature Kellen and Fiona’s story.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the author to provide honest feedback as a beta reader. Note: the characters and/or the plot may change by the time the book is officially published.
ABOUT ELAINE’S WORK:
I make stuff up. And I have fun doing it.
Genre fiction gives me the perfect medium to build worlds where readers can join me for fun adventures. Pick up one of my Men of Defiance historical western romances and slip your fingers around the Colt .44 of a legendary gunslinger, be a scout on a wagon train, or ride shotgun on a stagecoach. Pick up one of my Red Team romantic suspenses and join the battle against international druglords and home-grown terrorists with a hot team of counter-terror specialists.
Romance fiction lets you be, for a few sweet hours, something you’re not. Which is cool, because every time you look at life through someone else’s eyes, you learn more about yourself.
So read often–become who you were meant to be.
I was born a poor, white child into a modestly affluent family, third daughter to a father who wanted only sons. I cooked and cleaned and mended my evil stepmother’s and stepsister’s ball gowns until my very own Prince Charming stole me away. We had two beautiful children, a boy and girl, who left our granola-eating, tree-hugging family to be warriors and, well, Republicans. Our son heard the siren call of the woman he loves and presented Prince Charming and me with two beautiful grandchildren, a girl and a boy. Our daughter continues on the warrior’s path and yearns for a lifemate more alpha than she but has an adorable to dog to occupy her attention in the meantime. And if you believe this fairytale, you’ll certainly love my books, so give them a try!
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The first book in the series, The Edge of Courage, is currently $.99 (ebook)
Katie loves flip flops, chocolate, sweet tea and dirt between her toes. As far back as she can remember, she’s had a book in her hand. Reading has carried her to places she will never go. It has introduced her to people that she will never meet. When life is great and when it is rough, she’s always been able to find a book to carry her through. She finally decided to write down some of the stories in her head (yes, be scared) and heart after dawdling around and wasting years dreaming. She hopes you enjoy reading those stories as much as she loves writing them!
ebook, 354 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Penguin Group (USA)
Jace, Ash, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Jace, it’s a woman whose allure takes him completely by surprise…
Jace Crestwell, Ash McIntyre, and Gabe Hamilton have been best friends and successful business partners for years. They’re powerful, they’re imposing, they’re irresistibly sexy, and Jace and Ash share everything—including their women.
When they meet Bethany, Jace begins to feel things he’s never experienced before: jealousy, and a powerful obsession that threatens him, overwhelms him—and excites him beyond control.
Jace isn’t sharing Bethany—with anyone. He’s determined to be the only man in her life, and it’s jeopardizing a lifelong friendship with Ash. Bethany will be his and his alone. Even if it means turning his back on his best friend.
This is the second book in Bank’s series Breathless. The series is Bank’s answer to the Fifty Shades of Gray series that stormed the market. This series is very BDSM and Dominant male laced and if this isn’t your cup of tea, Banks has many other excellent books that you might try instead.
I loved the first book in the series and was looking forward to this book with great anticipation. Most of the reviews for it are four and five star. The majority of readers loved the book. Sorry to say for me it was only a three star.
It is a Cinderella story with the heroine living on the streets with her “brother”. The hero is the very rich, self-made man whom we met in the first book, Rush, as Jace, brother of Mia.
Jace takes Bethany from life on the streets to a life of pamper and richness.
Bethany has her head screwed on right. I liked this heroine very much. She is a knock out beauty, with street smarts, loyalty and good common sense. Why she puts up with some of Jace’s antics is beyond me. Her explanation is that it is nice to not have to continually keep a look out and to protect herself. I get that. But how long will that feeling continue into the future once she is standing on her own feet again?
Jace is completely taken with Bethany from the first moment he sets eyes on her at Gabe and Mia’s engagement party. He becomes, in his words, obsessed with her. That is an understatement. He is Over the Top. Jace is aware of this and tries to set Bethany up in Mia’s now empty apartment go give Bethany a bit of distance from his home and life. J
Jace is hot. No denying that. His looks, walk and talk all do it for me. There are many tie-her-up scenes, whipping scenes and spanking. There is a collar involved and very definitely ownership. I get this. What I don’t get is his lack of listening to her and to her needs. A good dom does this very well.. or so I am told. Most of the miscommunication is a result of Jace jumping to conclusions. Some are correct and he is right on target. Some important ones however are not.
I enjoyed the book. I skipped over some of the sex scenes and I got ticked off at Jace. I most definitely will be reading the last book in the series. I am putting the rating at a three because I worry about the future for these two. If Bethany learns to handle him as she didn’t do too well in the book, it will work out. If Jace doesn’t start listening carefully he will ruin it for them both…The book just did not leave me with a feeling of HEA . I am even wondering about a HFN feeling.
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Genre: New Adult Romance
Release Date: July 23, 2013
Nick Carlisle comes to Hawaii to hide—from what happened during his military service in Afghanistan, from relationships, from his future. Lyndsey Anderson came to Hawaii to hide too—from the man who abused her, from the sacrifices she made, from her dark past. But when Nick meets Lyndsey, Hawaii gets a whole lot hotter, and they find they can’t hide their hearts. As Nick fights to come to terms with what he’s done, Lyndsey struggles to forgive herself for the choices she’s made. But when the dangerous past threatens the beautiful present, can they survive to learn how to love? And who will finally reveal what’s hidden?
I love to write romantic stuff that helps you get away. Life can be a grind, and things like jobs and school and dirty dishes make Jill a dull girl – and me too! So, I write Contemporary and New Adult romances about hot guys and smart girls and cool places. It’s an Escape from the Everyday.
Facebook Author Profile Link: http://www.facebook.com/SelenaLaurenceRomanceAuthor
Facebook Page Link (If Available): http://www.facebook.com/SelenaLaurence
Goodreads Profile Link: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6995625.Selena_Laurence
Website Link: http://www.selenalaurence.com
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Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Suspense/ Military
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Release Date: June 21, 2013
Purchase on Amazon: Flashback
Steve Petersen is a Very Troubled Man. Sole survivor of a Taliban POW camp, he often thinks only parts of him returned; his sanity appears to have been left behind. He seeks solace in alcohol and drugs, but nothing helps block the images from his mind for more than minutes at a time, and he is trapped in horrifying flashbacks.
He is more than surprised when he wakes up in a bright and merry bedroom that turns out to belong to the widow Anna, a woman he has rudimentary memories of meeting. Knowing he should leave isn’t the same as doing it, and before he knows what’s happening, he finds himself pulled into a world with real life problems, such as folding laundry, and what’s for dinner.
Whiskey is no longer his first priority, and not being alone in his waking nightmare is a relief. That is, until Anna disappears. Steve finds himself forced to return to Afghanistan, a place where he’ll have to face both external enemies and himself.
When they came home, Steve sank down in the sofa without even taking off his jacket. Life outside could sure be exhausting. Anna went into the kitchen, and he rested his head back and closed his eyes. Listening to her hum a song, just a little out of tune as she loaded the coffee maker soothed his nerves.
A hard rattling sound made him open his eyes again. Gunshots, and they were close. Anna still sang, and she would be an easy target.
He ran through the apartment, making sure to stay away from the windows. Peeking around the corner, his beautiful fiancée was oblivious to the danger.
How did they survive?
He sprung out from his hiding place behind the wall, shoved her down on the floor, and threw himself over her. After all she did for him, protecting her with his own body was the least he could do.
Anna wheezed, clearly trying to draw a breath.
“Sssh, they’re coming.”
She lay on her back, and the question in her eyes was clear. Have you lost your mind? Of course he had, a long time ago. She should know. When she opened her mouth, he covered it with his hand so she couldn’t draw attention to them.
“Don’t you hear them? The shots?”
She shook her head and closed her fingers around his wrist, attempting to pull his hand away.
“I think we’re safe, but be very quiet.”
Anna nodded, and as soon as he removed the hand, she whispered, “Please get off me. I can’t breathe.”
He obeyed, she endeavored to sit up, and he pulled her back down.
“Don’t make yourself a target.”
Why did she look so exhausted?
“Sweetheart, there’s nothing there.”
“But…” He had heard them.
“That noise? Remember the crazy people upstairs? I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s definitely them.”
Born in Sweden in the early 1970’s, Maria showed a large interest for books at an early age. Even before she was able to read or write, she made her mom staple papers together into booklets she filled with drawings of suns and planets. She proudly declared them, “The Sun Book.” They were all about the sun. She also claimed, to her mother’s horror, that her being on Earth was a big mistake and that her alien family would come and bring her home at any moment. This never happened, but both the interest in space and the passion for bookmaking stayed with her.
As an adult Maria’s creativity got an outlet through playing bass in a number of rock bands, and through writing technical manuals and making web pages for various companies and organizations. She did write drafts for a few novels, but the storytelling muse was mostly satisfied through role playing online on Myspace. It was here, while writing stories together with people from around the globe, she stumbled onto Mike. They started talking out of character, and she moved over to Florida to him late 2008. Today the two are married and live in the Tampa Bay area with three rescue dogs.
Besides writing and playing bass, Maria enjoys driving off-road, archery, and Tameshigiri.
Operation Earth, to be released by Desert Breeze Publishing August 2013
Borealis XII, to be released by Desert Breeze Publishing November 2013
Favorite color: Blue
Favorite food: Chicken with cashew nuts
Doesn’t eat: Mammals
Favorite TV Show: Star Trek TNG and Leverage
Favorite animal: Border Collie
Quotes: “Full Speed Ahead” and “Caffeine is good for you”
Author Jonathan K. Benton
Jonathan Benton always wanted to write books, having won first place in a short story competition when he was ten. Inspired by writes such as Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, Jonathan first discovered the crossover genre of literary/fantasy while reading Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.
Jonathan grew up in New Zealand, dreaming of travelling to London and finally making the pilgrimage in his mid-twenties. Returning from England, he settled in Australia, the country he now calls home, and decided to take his writing seriously.
Robert Duncan no longer believes in magic. A mysterious call about a blood moon, however, leads him back to the magical world of his childhood and to Luthien, the beautiful girl with flame-coloured hair, who he loved and lost.
As Robert unravels the secrets of his childhood, darkness enters his life and an ancient evil awakens. To have any chance of defeating the dark forces that would destroy two worlds, Robert must find Luthien before the rise of the blood moon. He must, once more, believe in magic …
A Wicked Kind of Dark mixes vast and spectacular fantasy landscapes with gritty urban reality. A must-read for people of all ages who believe in the power of imagination, and the importance of never losing touch with your inner child.
Today is the release Sharpshooter, a series that has certainly grabbed my attention and interest!
Heart-pounding action meets smoldering desire in USA TODAY bestselling author Cynthia Eden’s Shadow Agents miniseries! Two years ago Gunner Ortez saved Sydney Sloan’s life on a mission gone wrong. And ever since then, he’s been watching her back. Now a hostage-rescue mission is about to blow the Elite Ops agents’ lives apart once again.
Working side by side back in the jungles of Peru, the heat between Sydney and Gunner is hotter than ever-and so are the threats to their lives. With the danger escalating, Sydney knows Gunner is her only hope at successfully completing their assignment. But the ex-SEAL who arouses passion she’d only dreamed about also poses the greatest risk to the secret she carries in her heart…and in her belly.
USA Today Best-selling author Cynthia Eden has written over twenty-five novels and novellas. She was named as a 2013 RITA® finalist for her paranormal romance, ANGEL IN CHAINS, and, in 2011, Cynthia Eden was a RITA finalist for her romantic suspense, DEADLY FEAR.
Cynthia is a southern girl who loves horror movies, chocolate, and happy endings. She has always wanted to write (don’t most authors say that?), and particularly enjoys creating stories about monsters–vampires, werewolves, and even the real-life monsters that populate her romantic suspense stories.
Cynthia’s foreign sales for her books include translations to Japan, Germany, Thailand, Greece, and Brazil.
(Back in the day…) Cynthia graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Alabama where she studied Sociology (because people interest her) and Communication (because she likes to write about said people). Cynthia has worked as a college admissions counselor, a teacher, and as an editor. But now, Cynthia is thrilled to be spending her days making up stories.
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/cynthiaedenfanpage?fref=ts
Book & Purchase Links
Brazen Books, who brought us Wrong Bed Right Guy, Officer Off Limits, Seducing Cinderella, and Tempting the Player – to name just a few – is turning 1 this month, and they’re celebrating in a big way. They’ve got a ton of great things going on this week, including Twitter parties, FB events, and even a huge sale! Full deets below:
Epic Giveaways – Don’t miss the Brazen Bash on Thursday, July 25th from 7 to 10 pm EST where you can comment to win a $50 prize pack, $75 prize pack, or $125 prize pack. Prize packs will be a combination of Gift cards from Amazon/B&N, Adam & Eve, and Sephora! You can find out more details on the Facebook page here –
Q&A’s with NYT bestselling authors – Twitter Chat with Laura Kaye @laurakayeauthor Tuesday, July 23rd from 9 to 10 pm EST. Twitter Chat with Katee Robert @katee_robert Wednesday, July 24th from 6 to 7 pm PST. They’ll be using the hashtag #BrazenBash so you can easily join in the conversation.
Photo contest – Be sure to check out Brazen’s Tumblr page to share your favourite pictures of swoon-worthy men that remind you of the heroes in Brazen books! Either post your picture to your own tumblr using the tag “brazenbash” Or you can submit your photo directly to the Brazen tumblr page here http://brazenbooks.tumblr.com/submit. Make sure to tweet your tumblr posts as well using #BrazenBash
Surprise 99 cent sale! – They’ve dropped the price of 8 of their top-selling titles for 1 week only, running from June 21st to June 28th! Tell your mom, your sister, your co-workers
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What would you do if you woke up in the snow with absolutely no memory of who you are or how you got there? What would you say to your savior when she tells you that not only are you now dead but you’ve been chosen to become a Grim Reaper?
Ceres is working to piece the slivers of her former life together from fractured memories, all while learning how to stay off her demon Mistress’ radar.
Ceres may have been qualified to become a Reaper, but that doesn’t mean she’s very good at it. From her catastrophes in becoming a Reaper to her inability to maintain a day job, Ceres and her tiny Hellhound aren’t doing much to impress anyone in the house, especially Gavin, the head Reaper of their Wake.
Gavin and Ceres may have gotten off on the wrong foot but there is something about her that he can’t ignore. The problem is he’s not the only one interested in her.
What Ceres soon finds out is that their Demon Mistress has laid claim to Gavin and she’s told Ceres it’s hands off.
Does Ceres accept the fact that their Mistress is trying to force Gavin into her own patiently waiting arms or does Ceres risk her afterlife in order to save his?
A Winter’s Grave is the first in Cree Walker’s Reaper series, and it didn’t take much effort for me to become immersed in this creative supernatural world of Reapers and one young woman’s struggle to accept a new way of life…or rather death to be accurate.
The story opens with Ceres who awakens in a snow covered field, but she has no idea how she ended up there. Furthermore, she is surprised to find a strange woman waiting to take her to her new home. The story is told from Ceres’ perspective, so we only get her assessment of what happens in the story. Nevertheless, her limited POV is effective in adding to the mystery and suspense. Plus, her witty, sarcastic thoughts are funny, even when she is caught in dangerous situations, and they add freshness to the author’s writing style that kept me engaged.
This woman waiting for Ceres is the “Angel of Death” and is not one bit friendly—Ceres is merely a job to her. This intimidating angel is a Reaper whose duty is collect Ceres for her new role in the afterlife. She looks nothing like the fabled Grim Reaper we might expect.
Without any compassion, she bluntly informs a shocked Ceres that she was found lying in the snow because she froze to death. That’s right, Ceres died but has been resurrected as one of the lucky few who are granted the opportunity for redemption for her past sins. Once Ceres does this, she will have a chance to enter Heaven.
Although it isn’t exactly clear to me, it seems she is in purgatory, where she is forced to become a Reaper whose new assignment is to collect souls of the damned and send them to Hell. She is now bound to Hell and enslaved by a demon known only as the Duchess.
This malicious Duchess likes to harp on the power she has to determine Ceres’ future, and she does a good a pretty good job of terrorizing her new slave.
I was not expecting the type of fantastical world Cree has created. The rules of this supernatural world have been well-thought out; they are relevant to the plot of the story and simple enough to remember. In addition, Cree countered many of my expectations about what the afterlife would be like, leaving me pleasantly surprised.
Ceres is not a ghost; she feels everything a human does even though she no longer retains her past memories. Everything is blank, who she used to be when she was alive and, more importantly, why and how she died. This is frustrating for Ceres, but she is comforted by knowing her memories will gradually return. The question for us all is will whether she can accept what she learns. When Ceres finally does learn how grave her sins are, she feels like a monster.
Gradual clues scattered throughout the book indicate that Ceres is different from the others. All of her housemates realize this, but they just don’t know who or what she really is. I thought I had guessed her identity, but, in the end, I was wrong.
I was also pleasantly surprised that I wasn’t able to predict aspects of Ceres’ new environment.For example, I expected her to reside in a different dimension and only return to Earth to collect the souls she has been assigned to send to Hell. It’s just the opposite, she lives on Earth in a corporeal body and is able to interact and work among the living. Her amber colored eyes are the only clue that she is different. Ceres’ interactions with other supernatural entities and humans are hilarious at times and provide a nice reprieve from her somber situation.
No matter what Ceres did in the past, her conscience bothers her and she isn’t comfortable with her new role as a Reaper. She sympathizes with those who are damned no matter the extenuating circumstances that caused them to risk an eternity in Hell. This is one of the inner conflicts Ceres must face along with her attraction, really her lust, for two very handsome Reapers who seem determined to capture her heart. One of them is her Master, Gavin, who continually confuses Ceres by being harsh with her in one scene only to turn around and show her gentleness and affection in the next.
Another problem is if Gavin does like her, he is bound to the Duchess although he isn’t aware of this. And she isn’t about to let him go! Ceres’ other suitor is Ash who is sexy and says the sweetest things to Ceres to soothe her anxiety even though his motivations eventually become suspect.
I like the inclusion of romance because it only enriches an already intriguing story. I wish there had been more time spent showing the growing intensity of feelings among the characters. I felt some of the characters’ love for another was instantaneous and premature.
The romance is clean; intimate moments occur but aren’t described in explicit detail.
This book kept me so engaged that I read most of it in one sitting and only stopped because the battery on my iPad died. It’s full of unexpected twists and suspenseful turns that caught me off guard, and I liked it!
However, I feel the ending of this book is rushed and think more elaboration is needed about what happens with Alpha Jack, the Duchess, and this new potential antagonist, Duke. I do look forward to finding out what’s next for these Reapers, and I hope little Titan will still play a role. He was fierce and adorable all at the same time. Please, Cree, don’t keep me waiting too long!
I received a copy of this book from the author to provide an honest review.
Cree Walker lives in Northern Maine with her very patient debate partner and their furry love child, mini rat terrier, Titan. When Cree isn’t plugging away at her computer she can most likely be found at the hospital where she works as an advanced psychiatric technician for both children and adults.
To date, Cree has four novel length publications with Naughty Nights Press. Paranormal werewolf romance, Whisper on a Scream, and it’s sequel, Urban Fantasy nominated book for 2012, Willing Sacrifice. She also has paranormal romantic comedy, A Winter’s Grave, book one to the Reaper series and her most recent publication, Maple Lane Manor, Home for Retired Supernaturals. So far, Maple Lane Manor has been a finalist in the 2013 UpAuthors Fiction Challenge and all have received the coveted 5 star review rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild.
For more information about Cree Walker and her books please visit her at http://www.creewalker.wordpress.com/ or check her out on facebook.com.
Purchase A Winter’s Grave
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Music to Complement the book
Cree Walker mentions lyrics to “Hotel California,” and it certainly fits the plot and tone of the story:
Eagles “Hotel California”
The John Butler Trio “Damned to Hell”
Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven”