Tag Archives: reviews

#ROW80 Check-in May 21st

Here we are with #ROw80 once again. This week’s been crazy busy for me. It’s been a bit of a blur.

The main thing I’ve been working on is promotions for Book 1 of my series, Fey Touched. I just put it into KDP Select and have my free days chosen. So I’ve been working like a madwoman trying to finding places to advertise. (If you’re willing to help with this, please let me know! You would have my undying gratitude.) I am hoping to pull in new readers to my series and hopefully sell more books!

Here is the rundown on the rest:

Secret project – up to 2,330 words so far! Yay!

Fireborn – I hope to look at this today.

Water – Missed one day, but nailed the rest!

Covenant – 626 words written today!

FYFB class – Nada again. It’s on my list, I swear.

I also started (or rather, restarted in a different format) my Fiction Friday series where I do quickie reviews of books I’ve read. Trying to branch out into other things that may appeal to readers. 🙂 I’ve done two so far. It’s looking like I will be posting every other Friday (to give me time to read. I’ve slowed down a lot lately). I hope this will be something fun and worthwhile.

Chocolate consumption report: chocolate zucchini bread (homemade, yum!), ice cream Twix bar, dark chocolate caramels, chocolate chip cookies, WW ultimate chocolate sandwich.

How did your week go?

Fiction Friday – May 19th edition

Today I’ve got three books to discuss. I used to read faster than this, I swear!

A reminder of the grading scale:

Yay – Phenomenal book, could not put down, amazing. A winner for sure.
Maybe – Not quite a yay, but not horrid either. Read at your own risk
Nay – For whatever reason, I didn’t like it. Would not recommend.

Affiliate disclaimer: Yes, the links used in this post are Amazon affiliate links, fyi.

Okay, here we go!

The Chosen by JR Ward – OMG, a total yay! I’ll admit, this is an ongoing series, and I wasn’t a fan of the heroine. Or the hero, actually. They both grew on me. It was actually a great story. Of course, there are several subplots progressing, and those were good, too.

This was basically a story of forbidden love. The hero committed treason against his king, and the heroine knowingly saw him in secret…and when the secret is revealed…oh boy…you have to read it to believe it. It ends happily though. 🙂

If you haven’t checked out this series, what are you waiting for? Sexy vampires, a fallen angel, scary villains, love stories that’ll knock your socks off and make you cry at times…yeah, they’re that good. Start with Dark Lover, book 1. That one had me totally hooked. (And I still love Wrath, the hero of that book, the best. And his mate, Beth.)

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer – A definite yay! This one caught my eye because it is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty…but…it’s about sisters. One of them lost her sight to a faerie when she was 2, and the other lost her sense of touch and voice to another faerie at birth. They are inseparable…until one has to marry the prince of a nearby kingdom. The sister left behind runs away…and then is pricked by a spindle…and falls asleep…but there’s so much more to it then that. There are two faeries, twin sisters, who are important in the story. It is a story of love, and sacrifice, and sisterly bonds. It wowed me. Warning though: it does end on a cliffhanger. There is a sequel called Winter Glass.

Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe – This one is a paranormal young adult book about a girl who can see and speak with ghosts. Apparently the only one. Her sister, who died 4 years earlier, is still hanging around. When one of her classmates wants her to find and talk to his deceased mother for him, it sets a whole chain of events into motion. I had to feel for the protagonist, Cass, because she was an outcast and had been bullied — just like I had been when I was in school. (Except without the ghosts, of course!). Cass uses the ghosts who inhabit her school to get dirt on other people, and she calls them on their nefarious deeds. And…she discovers that that might not be the wisest — or most important — thing. I really enjoyed it, and really liked the ending. A definite yay.

Okay, you get a bonus one. I’m going to start reading book 2 of this series, so here’s my thoughts on book 1:

Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand –  A yay for sure. This book is about “imitations” – people who are basically clones of important people. They are created to be used if the important person gets killed, needs an organ, etc. They study their “Authentic” so they can be completely believable if they have to take the Authentic’s place. And this is what happens to Ven, the Imitation of Raven, the daughter of an Important Person. There’s a threat to her life, and Ven is called into service. But all is not what it seems, and there are secrets to be uncovered. And of course, there’s a romance, too. 😉

So I’m diving into book 2, Deviation, soon. Stay tuned for my thoughts on that.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

What are you reading right now? Got any recommendations?

Fiction Friday

New feature here at the blog. I belong to four ARC teams and I am basically reading at least two books at any one time. So, thought you might find my thoughts interesting.

I will be giving some quickie reviews of books I’ve read recently. No spoilers!

Here’s the grading scale:

Yay – Phenomenal book, could not put down, amazing. A winner for sure
Maybe – Not quite a yay, but not horrid either. Read at your own risk
Nay – For whatever reason, I didn’t like it. Would not recommend.

Affiliate disclaimer: Yes, the links used in this post are Amazon affiliate links, fyi.

So let’s get down to it, shall we?

~Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh – a strong yay. Her Guild Hunter books are always amazing. This one had quite the mystery, and an interesting one at that. I highly recommend it.

~Blood Magic by Holly Hook (ARC) – A definite yay. Intriguing world, intriguing main character, a good start to a series. Releases 5/15.

~The Devil’s Kiss series boxed set by Gemma James – A definite yay. These books were hot, hot, hot. Hardcore BDSM, just fyi. It’s about a woman who’s caught embezzling money from the company she works for. Instead of having her arrested, her very dominant boss demands that she become his submissive.

~Blood Vow by JR Ward – Another yay, for real. Love her books. This new spin-off series so far is phenomenal. Axe and Elise were hot. Scorching hot.

~Dying for a Living by Kory M. Scrum – Another yay, and a very unique, interesting series about a girl who’s a necronite – basically she dies so others don’t have to. There is a neat mystery as well.

~Bitter Thirst by SM Reine – another yay. She’s always a yay, especially with this series. I absolutely love the main character Cesar, and all the trouble he gets into. This one concerns a cult infiltrating the Office of Preternatural Affairs, a mysterious and gruesome death, and some family issues. Link to my review

~PODS! and other Supernatural Tales by D.F. Holland – another yay! New to me author. Loved all of the stories and the creepy factor. Awesome. Link to my review

That’s all for today. Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Or do any of these appeal to you? Let me know in comments.

Next in the queue (subject to change at will):

White Death by Chris Tortora (ARC)
Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

Currently reading:

The Chosen by JR Ward

#ROW8 Check-in Nov. 6th

I’ve been so busy, and I’ve some big things go wrong. Which is why I haven’t been around much.

First, with my short story revision. I lost all my revisions 21 pages in (3/4 of the way done!) so I had to start from scratch! I was able to finish it all in 2 days, by some miracle, and turn it in 1 day early.

Best I could figure was LibreOffice. If you don’t save in the native format, it is dicey as to whether or not your revisions/edits/changes are saved. Lesson learned.

Ever Touched revision – Finished the first pass, started the second on the 1st. I’m 39 pages in. But…my computer was making some weird grinding noises and was restarting out of nowhere…I thought, uh oh, hard drive failure, so I decided to be proactive and get it looked at. Good news: it may only be the fan, but it needs to be replaced. Will cost between $136 and $300. Bad news: It could take 7-10 days IF it can be popped out and replaced. Worse news: if the fan is soldered to the motherboard, we’re looking at possibly 4 weeks. And a blown deadline. 😦

So, I let my TDPers know and they are okay with it. But I am really upset about it, even though it’s not actually my fault. 😦

Soooo I am working in Google Docs on a slower, old computer and it’s going, well, slow. But it is progress.

FYFB class – Still behind. Couldn’t find an option for editable PDFs for awhile, but I think I’ve gotten it figured out. Slowly making progress there, too.

Water – 5x a week, for the most part.

Exercise – Nada, too depressed and busy. 😦 Will try to restart this week.

Reviews – Keeping up with them for the most part.

Weight – Lost 3 pounds. Trying to keep it off!

Chocolate consumption – WW Sundaes, WW caramel-chocolate thingies, chocolate stripes cookies, hot chocolate, ultimate chocolate ice cream sandwiches .Lots of snickerdoodles and Twizzlers (my new addiction).

Also, Turtleduck Press is releasing our anthology (the one my short story, formerly Enslaved, now called Bound is in) November 15th. It is called To Rule the Stars and the theme was space princesses. We some awesome stories in it, so stay tuned!

Review: Damnation Marked by SM Reine

HOLY CRAP.

Damnation Marked is the 3rd book in SM Reine’s Descent series.

This book is amazing. It’s the darkest one so far in the series, and there is a lot of action and suspense. It never really slows down. It’s one thing after
another and grabs you by the throat and won’t let you go.

The thing that got me the most was a HUGE revelation for one of the characters — it’s so huge, I didn’t believe my eyes. It will definitely complicate things for sure.

We’re told more of Elise and James’s backstory, which is always good.

And the end…a word of warning: get ready to freak out. It’s amazing, it’s great, but it will absolutely slay you. And yes, there’s a big honking cliffhanger, so be prepared to wait till the next installment.

I had the pleasure of reading an early draft of what was to become Death’s Hand. I’ve seen the series progress, and I have to say: SM Reine is one hell of a
writer, and this series just keeps getting better and better. I’m constantly astounded by the plot twists, revelations, and life-changing things that happen
to the characters. Reine puts her characters through the wringer, and puts them through it again several times for good measure.

I also love her take on angels.

Very, very well done. And scary, did I mention that? Now I must keep myself from going crazy waiting for the next book…

Review: Gray Moon Rising by SM Reine

Before I start the review, I just wanted to mention that I have a cover reveal coming for Fey Touched.  So stay tuned.

I’ve never ended a series before, so I can’t say for certain what it’s like.  But I imagine it would be difficult — not only to wrap up everything in a satisfying manner, but to give your characters and world an unforgettable send-off.  I imagine it’s hard to say goodbye to the characters that have lived in your head for a year, sometimes longer (well, if you’re me….).

SM Reine nailed it with Gray Moon Rising.  She not only wrapped everything up, but she gave us a truly epic end to her amazing Seasons of the Moon series.

This is a spoiler-free review, so I can’t get into too much detail.  What I can say is that everything — and I mean everything — heats up and explodes.  In a good way, of course.

There’s a mystery as to why the wolves are called to specific location.  If you’ve read the other books, it will be very familiar.  But it’s a bit darker this go around (and the other books are very dark) and poor Rylie and Seth have their hands full dealing with the hunters.  There’s a madperson on the loose, which threatens everything.  There’s the reason why they’re called and what results.  Rylie plays a big role in this, and what happens to her is amazing.

The mythology and worldbuilding in this series is very unique and cool, which makes this series different from what’s out there.

*Possible spoilers below* (I couldn’t help myself)

Rylie and Seth get their HEA.  My only quibble is Abel — it appeared that SM Reine had a possible love triangle going on.  That got me excited, because I’m a huge fan of character torture.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  I suppose it might have taken away from the main action, so I forgive her for that. *winks*

*End possible spoilers*

The story was amazing.  I mean, she kept ramping up the tension until I couldn’t STOP reading.  I was incapable of stopping.

As for the endend,it was great, satisfying, and happy.  I will miss Rylie, Seth, and Abel.  I’ll miss them a lot.  But it’s time they got their happily ever after.

Thanks, Sara, for bringing these incredible stories and characters into our lives.  We’ll never forget them.

Working hard.

I’ve been hard at work on revisions for Fey Touched.  It’s been interesting and a bit crazy.

After I sent in Fey Touched to my editor April 1st, I had a bit of time to putz.  So, I worked on a loose plot for the sequel, Grave Touched.  I also worked on lesson 12 of HTRYN with Flamebound.

I’m very happy with what I got done.

Now I’m about 3 weeks away from my next deadline, June 5th.  I’m not even halfway through.  I’ve run into a few problems and it took a bit longer than I thought.  But, as of yesterday, I started moving forward again.  \ 0 /

I’m also trying to nail down what I want to do with Darklight.  I have ideas for a second and third book, so stayed tuned for that.

I also got a beautiful review for Without Wings which made my whole week.  Check it out here:

Review: Inhale by Kendall Grey

 I have to say I haven’t read a book like this in a long time.  It’s so unique and compelling from page one all the way to the end.  It is the first book of a trilogy so there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end, but that just makes me want to read book 2 all the more.

Inhale has a lot of unique elements.  For one, the main character, Zoe, is a whale biologist who is sent out to Australia tag whales.  Meanwhile, she’s having these sizzling, erotic dreams about this man who she calls “Perfect.”  Unbeknownst to her, he’s a real person named Gavin who refers to her as his Muse. He’s in a rock band and is part of a group, the sentinels, who have assigned him to watch over her.  And there is The Dreaming, an alternate world where dreamers go, which is dying.

Zoe is the key to saving it, but she doesn’t know it.

Also, she has a connection to whales — she hears their voices in her mind — and is strongly connected to one called Lily, whose baby she couldn’t save.

And then there are the Elementals who have elemental magic and who rule over certain emotions.  They are the bad guys.

I think the worldbuilding is some of the most unique I’d ever seen.  Tying it to whales was absolutely brilliant and sweet.  In fact, profits from the sales of this trilogy are going to whale education.  All of them, if I’m not mistaken, which is soooo cool.

The romance between Zoe and Gavin is believable and scorching hot.  You’ll be frustrated at the end, though.

I liked the villains.  One named Scarlet who’s a Fyre elemental and a true bitch.  There are a few others who play roles and are intriguing. I want to learn more about them.

Lots of scorching hot sex.  Did I mention that?

The one thing that kind of confused me was the whale terminology.  The author has a guide on her website, but I discovered that after I read the book.  However, I was able to infer most of the meanings from context.  She knows her whale stuff, that’s for sure!  It added a layer of utter believability which made the book all the more better.

I can’t wait for book 2, Exhale.

Review: Death’s Hand by SM Reine

This is a seriously wicked book by a very talented writer, SM Reine.  And I’m not just saying this because she’s my friend!  The book is awesome.  Go forth and buy it.

…..You didn’t think that was the end, did you?

All kidding aside, you really need to read this book.  I have been fortunate to see its evolution pretty much from the beginning (several years ago) to the end.  And it’s gotten better and darker and cooler with each incarnation.

I’m going for non-spoilery, so bear with me here.  Okay, it starts with a bang — a scene in the past with the two main characters, Elise and James, who were powerful hunters of evil.  Something horrific happened and they retired.  We are thrust into the present time, where Elise and James are living out their very normal lives.  That is until they end up trying to exorcise a little girl.

It gets worse.

As an aside, I have to say: I’m not familiar with actual exorcism or demonology.  I believe there are some elements in Elise’s exorcisms that are taken from true exorcism.  I was impressed with it.  It was simple, clean, and rang true for me whether or not it’s actually real.  But most importantly, it made perfect sense within the context of the world Reine created in Death’s Hand.  Also something else I liked was the bond between Elise and James.  It’s actually a magical bond.  I don’t believe they are in love or anything like that, but are close friends that would die for each other.  I thought it was refreshing to see something other than a soulmate/mating-type bond between a man and a woman.

Okay, back to the story.  There’s this goddess of death that Elise encountered before who swore she’d come back for Elise.  And she’s in an object that is wielded by a powerful witch/necromancer.  You’ll never guess who it is (I knew from reading a previous draft, but the way it’s laid out will surprise you).  *winks* So between the possessed girl, the workings of the death goddess, the newly-risen dead (zombies?), Elise and James have their hands full.  They’re forced out of retirement.

What happens is twisty and dark and awful, but it ends happily, I assure you.  But you’ll have issues putting it down.  The last 100 pages flew for me, and I was technically proofreading, except I kinda forgot to keep an eye out at that point. I admit that.  It completely riveted me to the point where I was sitting at work counting down the hours until I could go home and read more.  It’s nuts.

Another thing, too.  This is a very unique take on demons, exorcism, witches, necromancers.  There is a lot of that out there, but you’ll find Death’s Hand refreshingly different.  I like the elements of the paranormal and the grittiness of dark fantasy.  It really, really works.

So, whatcha waitin’ for?  Check it out.

Also, this is the first book in SM Reine’s Descent series.  It is a complete story, but there is one teeny tiny little thing at the end that will flow into the next book, which I believe is called The Darkest Gate.  I can’t wait to read that.  I’m kind of addicted — uh, actually I am addicted to these stories.  ….Yeah.

Red Iris Publishing is new to the game and I believe they will become one of the finest publishers out there.  With writers like SM Reine, it’s a certainty.  So check them out.

Review: Quarter Square by David Bridger

Quarter Square, a hauntingly beautiful story by David Bridger, releases today from Carina Press.

I was able to read the first 3 chapters some time ago, and the story hasn’t left me alone since.  I’ve been waiting patiently for it to be published, and now it has been, and I’m so happy for David.  He’s a friend of mine from Forward Motion, an online writing community, and I think he’s a wonderful writer.  Quarter Square does not disappoint.

We meet our protagonist, Joe, as he learns that his wife has been sleeping with his best friend.  Joe moves into the abandoned theatre that his best friend purchased and decides to renovate it.  He notices people coming and going through a mysterious doorway, and one day he decides to follow them.  Here he discovers Quarter Square, a magical community of people who spend time together.  They, too, are magical and can do many cool things.  There are dancers, singers, healers…and their community is in trouble.  It is literally falling apart without the necessary magic to repair it.

Joe spends time with these people and over time, becomes one of them.  He is especially interested in Min, a singer, and they have a connection.  A very strong, very tragic one.  It’s awesome how he starts from being an outsider to becoming one of them.

And Joe’s life is in danger.  A werewolf is hunting him.  And he will die if he doesn’t run….

Trying not to give spoilers.  I found Quarter Square to be a beautiful love story.  The love that Joe and Min have for each other is timeless and stronger than life itself.  It’s everything true love should be.  It’s touching and heartbreaking at the same time.

Our antagonist, a werewolf, is scary as hell.  He’s hunting Joe and Min, and they have to take drastic measures to keep themselves hidden.  I won’t say why, but it will make sense.

I love the magic system in this book.  It’s simple and easy to understand.  It makes me wonder if these could be people in our world — it’s that real.  It’s really beautiful and dangit, I wish I could go to Quarter Square.

So, I loved it.  It ended on a sort of cliffhanger, so be warned.  There is a sequel coming, thank God.  I can’t wait to read it.