Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: The Dreamer by May Nicole Abbey

3 stars

Series: The Fall
Book: One
Genres: Romance, Time travel
Format: Kindle Edition
Published by River Valley Publishing
Published November 26th 2012
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
View on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A dream in the night. A leap of faith. A quest for truth and treasure.

From term papers and instant coffee to blood-thirsty pirates and buried treasure, Rachel Madera, a gifted university professor, finds herself travelling through time on a journey of discovery and danger, all because of a simple dream. Despite the threat, Rachel is undaunted, certain she holds the keys to unlock the mystery of a Pharaoh’s treasure … and alter the course of history.

The only thing that stands between her and peril is Captain Mallory Tucker, a man with a tragic past and intractable moral code. Born of the sea, he is among the leading mariners of 18th century Europe. But the derelicts who make up his crew and the capriciousness of the ocean have taken their toll, and Captain Tucker is tired and jaded. The last thing he needs is a precocious young woman dropping onto his ship and creating havoc. But he’ll fight to the death for her honor, her beliefs…and her love.

My Review:
The story overall was intriguing and an interesting fast paced read.  The relationships between the different characters was sparked with romance.  I loved the Captain; he was my favorite character in the book.  The Captain protected Rachel and was just a lovable hard ass outward but sweet inward guy character. 

I found the start of the book to be confusing; I did not understand Rachel’s reasoning or characterization in why she was doing what she was.  It just kind of started and there was no build up to the beginning; I felt more explanation would have been appreciated.  The character of Rachel as a whole was confusing.  She had done so much research on everything yet when it came to life experience she was making the stupidest mistakes that anyone would know not to do. 

Overall, I would recommend this book.  Getting through the beginning onto the real story created a great read. 

Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Caroline Gregory and Shawnette Nielson are a sister writing team who, despite the incongruity of their very different characters, always seem to be on the same page when it comes to their passion for reading and writing. The difference in their personalities create a well rounded vision of what life should be; stable yet chaotic. College, construction, motherhood, wrestling, management experience, or traveling the world as a nanny, all fall under the experiences of this pair.

Author’s website:

Instinct by J.A. Garland

4 stars
Genres: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance
Format: ebook
Published by Burst
Published on September 4th 2012 (first published September 1st 2012)
more details...ISBN13: 9781927454442
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
View on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Lone wolf, Rory Archer, never failed a single mission. Now the hunted instead of the hunter, Rory unwinds a twisted trail leading back to Amber Arlington, a spirited Halfling tied to a world of Shadows. Bound to vows initially forged out of necessity, Rory and Amber's relationship surges into more than either of them bargained for, tangling them in a web of passion. Scrambling to identify their attacker before joining the casualty list, Rory is faced with doing the unthinkable, or watching Amber turned into a slave for his species.

In the battle against Shadows, demons and all variety of monsters come out to fight. Can one wolf learn to trust in time to save them all?

My Review:
In this fast paced story readers will immediately enjoy the mystery that surrounds Rory Archer and his tragic past. A likeable character, he has just the right touch of moodiness to ignite a flame. His interactions with Amber are entertaining and believable with mistrust and pure lust stirring just beneath the surface. She arrives with a spunky, tough-girl attitude that integrates flawlessly with her sexy appearance. This entertaining plot will keep you interested to the end as you discover the real intentions behind the Organization’s betrayal of Rory to the Shadows.

I was provided a copy of the book by BTS eMag for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review – all conclusions are my own responsibility.

J.A. is a full time firefighter in the state of California, an addicted trail runner, a connoisseur of all things cheese puff, and an author for BURST Books. When she isn't slogging through the obstacles at a mud run, you can find her hunched over her computer unleashing demons, vampires, and werewolves upon the world.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: When the Siren Calls by Tom Barry

2 stars
Genres: Romance
Format: ebook
 338 pages
Published by Troubador Publishing Ltd
Published November 2012 (first published February 26th 2012)
ISBN: 1780883102
ISBN13: 9781780883106
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
View on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Restless and neglected, Isobel is suffocating in a stagnant marriage. Suave and charismatic Jay is fighting for survival. An invitation to visit Jay's resort in the hills of Tuscany sparks Isobel to imagine a life of freedom and excitement.
Dismissing her husband’s objections, Isobel pursues Jay to Tuscany on the pretext of searching for a holiday home. After fighting anguished guilt, she abandons herself in a passionate affair, with her controlling lover encouraging Isobel to push beyond her sexual boundaries.

But all is not as it seems in the idyllic Tuscan retreat, and Isobel finds herself trapped in a web of intrigue, deception, and betrayal. She is one player in a dangerous love triangle, unsure whether Jay is her saviour, or her nemesis. As her world falls apart, she must choose between the woman she thought she was, and the woman she has become.

My Review:
I was first intrigue by this book solely because of the cover and then I read the description and thought why not. Well, it was 50 Shades of Grey gone wrong.

The characters were overly annoying. There was nothing redeeming about Isobel, she was purely spoiled and naïve. She does everything in her power to act stupid and get into dumb situations. Jay is just a jerk, and NOT in a good way. Basically everything he says is just to get into her pants and his choice of career is less than honorable. There was just nothing to the characters making nothing come out of their relationships. This should not be described as romance either, its just something else entirely.

Note: won through LibraryThing Member giveaways.

Tom’s first novel, “When the Siren Calls”, is published in two parts. The first, a “Prequel” is a stand alone short story which introduces the headstrong heroine, the rich and beautiful but neglected Isobel, and the moment her slumbering sexuality is awakened by the mysterious Jay. The second book, follows Isobel’s search for emotional fulfillment as she pursues Jay to Tuscany on the pretext of buying a holiday home, and abandons all her sexual inhibitions in the cinematic love affair of her dreams. But all is not as it seems, and Isobel finds herself trapped in a nightmare of deception and betrayal.

A published writer at University, Tom Barry spent 20 years in management consultancy with Accenture, Deloitte, and PwC, advising the Boards of leading global brands such as Apple, Disney, Toyota and Vodafone. His career prompted a specific interest in the art of persuasive communication. He is passionate about nurturing young talent and has supported a number of UK and overseas schools, including the Nordoff Robbins Centre for Music Therapy. He lives near London and is currently working with the Brit Writers’ Awards, a charitable initiative to promote creative writing in our schools. His debut novel, When the Siren Calls, is set in Tuscany and is both a sensual emotional drama and a page turning thriller.

Author’s Website:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Author Interview: By Blood or By Bond (By Blood or By Bond) by Hazel B. West

Genres: historical fiction
Format: ebook
452 pages
Published by Createspace
Published December 12th 2012
ISBN: 148111042X
ISBN13: 9781481110426
Where to Buy: Amazon
View on Goodreads
I am grateful to be part of the author’s blog tour, for more stops please visit the author’s blog here.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Which ties are stronger—those of Blood or those of Bond.

Caolán, the son of a Celtic chieftain, awaits his first pitched battle against the Roman invaders, knowing that this is the moment in which he will truly become a warrior, of the tribe.

Viggo Callias is a seasoned centurion in the Roman army on his first deployment to Britain with his newly enlisted son, Aulus. Serving under an incompetent commander, he wonders whether victory will be theirs.

But fate takes a hand in both Caolán and Viggo’s lives when Viggo’s son is killed by a spear meant for him. Enraged at the loss of his son, Viggo seeks vengeance on the man responsible: Caolán’s father. As the chieftain breathes his last, Viggo vows to take Caolán as a slave to avenge Aulus’ untimely death.

Torn from his country and people, Caolán’s only comfort is the hope that one day he will be able to avenge his father. But can the greatest wrongs be righted? Brotherly bonds, gladiators, old enemies, corrupt politicians and a young woman who captures Caolán’s heart, take a role in the physical and emotional journey that binds Caolán’s and Viggo’s fates together. Can the two wounded parties work past their hatred of each other and find what they have lost: a father and a son?

This new novel by Hazel West, explores the familial ties that bind us all, whether by blood or by bond.
Hazel West lives in Florida where she spend a good bit of time writing historical fiction about brave men and women who have graced the pages of history, trying to bring more light to their legacies so readers of all ages will enjoy them.
Author Interview
Where did you get the idea to write this book or what inspired you?

Funny enough, the original idea came to me several years ago when I was watching my little brother play a gladiator game on the Playmobile website. I’ve gotten ideas from strange things before, but I think this one was the most. Ever since then, I wanted to write a story about a gladiator character, preferably a Celtic one since I love the Celtic culture and know a lot about it. Thus Caolán was born, though I didn’t know who he was, or even his name until much mater.
The idea for the actual novel By Blood or By Bond came after I read Rosemary Sutcliff’s amazing book Outcast. Such a lovely story, and the main character, Beric, gave me ideas of the kind of character I wanted Caolán to be. So Rosemary Sutcliff really inspired me to write the book over all.

As a historical fiction writer, what tricks have you found to help keep modern day ideas, and modern day dialogue from sneaking into your work?

Well, I can’t say I don’t always, haha. Some characters refuse to talk in the laguange of the time period. One of my gladiator characters, Fionn, an Irishman, is like that. I think the trick is to mainly just keep modern slang out. Very few people are going to want to actually sit and read a novel with all the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ and ‘methinks’in the dialogue but that doesn’t mean your Roman centurion can get away with saying ‘Yo, dude” either. I usually write in a ‘common language’ that every reader will be able to understand but yet is not modern either. I personally think that people talked to each other back in the Roman times, much the same as we speak today. In fact, reading letters and even graphiti from the Roman era gives spedid insight into that. Of course it’s translated, but still, it’s the same idea.
Modern ideas are sometimes harder to keep from a historical story. Stuff we take for granted might not have even been considered back then. Keeping authentic mind sets is the product of much research, but even then, an author must sometimes take liberties. I might have taken a few liberties with my character Viggo. He’s definitely not a ‘perfect Roman’ but I believe he had ideals and morals that were upheld by men back then, despite common conception. I don’t think the Romans were all blood thirsty murderers and I do think that some soldiers had morals. Sometimes, you just have to give or take to make a likable character.

Of your characters, which one would you say is most like you and why?

Viggo, definitely. In fact, he’s probably the most like me out of all the characters I have ever written. He has a –sometimes overbearing—sense of justice, and lamentably tries to fix all the world’s wrongs despite the fact that he knows he can never accomplish that. He will always fight for the lesser man and despises bullies above all else.

Who was your favorite character to write, and your least favorite?

I rarely have a least favorite character to write. If I didn’t like them, I would get rid of them, or whip them into shape if they were giving me trouble, haha. I truly loved all the characters in By Blood or By Bond. Viggo was easy to write because he’s so much like myself I knew what he would do in any situation. Caolán was also a character I felt for and was easy to write. And though Amatus was terribly nasty, I loved writing him because I just couldn’t believe how disgusting he could be on occasion. He sickened me, but I was proud to have made such a detestable character. If anyone could have given me any problems, it would have been Viggo’s niece, Lorena, but thankfully she didn’t. Sometimes I have problems with female characters, but I ended up liking her a lot and she turned into just the kind of character I needed for her role.

Plans for a next book?

Always! I’m hoping to get the sequel to one of my other books, Ballad of the Highwayman (newly on ebook, by the way) out by spring. It’s a classic swashbuckling adventure, so check it out, if that’s your thing. I also have a Victorian steampunk mystery in the works with my awesome private detective, Anthony Maxwell, and a prequel to By Blood or By Bond planned about the time when Viggo and his foster brother, Hector, were in the Roman legions. It’s going to be an awesome military adventure, and I’m excited to get back to writing them.

Advice for other authors?

Write what you love! Don’t worry about what other people say. Listen to good advice and constructive criticism, but ignore people who are just being mean. Research well into your topic, no matter what kind of book you’re writing. You don’t have to write what you know, but you should know what you write!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

ARC Review: The Seventh Victim by Mary Burton

3 stars
Format: ebook
336 pages
Published by Kensington Books
Expected publication: February 5th 2013
ISBN: 1420125052
ISBN13: 9781420125054
Where to Buy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble
View on Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
It’s been seven years since the Seattle Strangler terrorized the city. His victims were all young, pretty, their lifeless bodies found wrapped in a home-sewn white dress. But there was one who miraculously escaped death, just before the Strangler disappeared…

Lara Church has only hazy memories of her long-ago attack. What she does have is a home in Austin, a job, and a chance at a normal life at last. Then Texas Ranger James Beck arrives on her doorstep with shattering news: The Strangler is back. And this time, he’s in Austin…

He’s always craved her, even as he killed the others. For so long he’s been waiting to unleash the beast within. And this time, he’ll prove he holds her life in his hands—right before he ends it forever…

My Review:
This dramatic thriller had nicely developed characters and exciting plot twists. The content was disturbing but that was basically specified via the plot description. Some parts were a bit slow but most of the time it was an action packed page turner with interesting characters. Lara is finding it hard to get over her past trauma haunted by memories she is at the same time trying to remember as well as forget. While the character of the Texas Ranger, James Beck has a bad ass attitude but a strong sense of compassion and duty.

Note: I received this book from Kensington Publishing via Netgalley.

MARY BURTON’s southern family has always enjoyed tall tales and a good yarns. Early on, MB realized that Story had tremendous power to inspire strong responses such fear, laughter, love and even sorrow. It didn’t matter if the tale was found in the pages of a book, spoken in hushed tones around a Girl Scout campfire, or spouted at an old fashioned southern family reunion. This appreciation of story motivated MB to earn an English degree from Virginia’s Hollins University.

After decade of working in marketing and sales, MB became convinced she could write and sell one of the many stories buzzing around her brain. Fingers crossed, MB left the marketing profession and devoted all her spare time to writing a novel. Soon after, she sold her first manuscript to Harlequin Historicals. Since that initial sale, MB had written twelve historical romances for Harlequin Historicals, four short romantic suspenses for Silhouette Romantic Suspense and a non-fiction book The Insider’s Guide to Direct Marketing. Her first single title romantic suspense for Zebra I’m Watching You is a December 2007 release.

In 2005, The Unexpected Wife was a finalist Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest and Wise Moves was 2006 nominee for the Romantic Times’ Critics Choice Award. I’m Watching You received critical acclaim from New York Times Best Selling author Carla Neggers who said, “Taut, compelling and emotional, I’m Watching You is romantic suspense at its most riveting. Mary Burton delivers a page-turner.”

MB resides in Virginia where she enjoys yoga, cooking, hiking and the occasional triathlon.

Author’s website: