Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review of Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy and Giveaway

Reign of Blood was a different kind of read for me. I am relatively new to the paranormal genre. My experiences so far have been more of the paranormal romance variety. When I have encountered vampires, they have appeared almost human when you meet them. That is not the case here. Sure, there is some drama, but compared to this book, those were all light in comparison. This book is significantly darker.


April Tate, her mother and her six year-old brother are the last three humans, that they know of, living in Las Vegas. One year ago, a virus overtook the population, turning most of the humans into a hybrid species of vampires that are more zombie-like in nature. They don't speak. They move slowly, yet attack humans with the hopes of feeding on them. One bite can easily turn you into one of them.

April and her family head out one day to stock up on supplies. they separate, to make the work faster. When April returns to their van, she finds that her family is gone. She is left to fend for herself, encountering yet another breed of vampire along the way and discovering secrets she never knew.

The book reads more like an action movie than others in the genre I have read. It starts out slow, with just a few small battles between April and the feral vampires, as she tries to find her vampire. The story is told in the first-person, so you feel every movement, no matter how tedious, as she does it. You can feel her loss and confusion that she tries to hide behind her desire to avenge her family. That slow pace quickly builds up, though, when she encounters a new breed of vampire that shares all kinds of secrets with her.

All of these battle scenes do mean there is a lot of blood and violence. If you can't handle gore, then this book is not for you. If you can stomach hearing about blood and ichor, machetes and decapitation, then you are all good to go. I am usually okay with such things, but my stomach turned here and there because Alexia is so descriptive, I could picture every moment. That isn't necessarily a bad thing.

A few twists and turns in the plot may catch you off guard. I felt like the final chapter read more like an epilogue, but it leaves the story open for future books. I believe Alexia Purdy intends for this to be an entire series. I look forward to reading the next installment.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you purchase the ebook, you will also have the chance to preview Coexist by Julia Crane. Use the Amazon link below to purchase the ebook copy. (Hard copies are also available.) You can also enter the giveaway below, to win your own free ebook copy, as well as some fun swag!



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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Excerpt #3 from Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy

Here is a third excerpt from Reign of Blood, the paranormal book by Alexia Purdy that I am featuring this week on the blog. You have a chance to enter your own copy of the book by entering the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Blurb:

"Never tease anything that wants to eat you. My name is April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids have overrun my world, once vibrant with life, but now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive; I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. And I'm just hoping to make it to the next Vegas sunrise..."

In a post-apocalyptic world, a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving behind few humans but untold numbers of mutated vampires. April is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after the outbreak. She has become a ferocious vampire killer and after her family is abducted, she goes searching for them. What she finds is a new breed of vampire, unlike any she has seen before. Unsure of whom she can trust, she discovers that her view of the world is not as black and white as she once thought, and she's willing to bend the rules to rescue her family. But in trying to save them, she may only succeed in bringing her fragile world crashing down around her.


Excerpt #3
I rounded the corner and came to dead stop. Before me stood a woman, dirtied and with wild hair. Her face was streaked with grime and rips ran through her clothing. Blood had dried in dark red and brown splats on her shirt and pants and the large Rambo-like knife that she fingered in front of me. She was ready to pounce, slowly shifting on her legs as she narrowed her eyes at me. Sucking in my breath, I instinctively reached for one of the machetes strapped to my side.

I was too slow.



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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Excerpt #2 from Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy and Giveaway

Are you looking for a new vampire to satisfy your appetite? This week I am featuring Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy. Here is the second excerpt from her book, to get you excited. Remember to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Blurb:

"Never tease anything that wants to eat you. My name is April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids have overrun my world, once vibrant with life, but now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive; I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. And I'm just hoping to make it to the next Vegas sunrise..."

In a post-apocalyptic world, a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving behind few humans but untold numbers of mutated vampires. April is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after the outbreak. She has become a ferocious vampire killer and after her family is abducted, she goes searching for them. What she finds is a new breed of vampire, unlike any she has seen before. Unsure of whom she can trust, she discovers that her view of the world is not as black and white as she once thought, and she's willing to bend the rules to rescue her family. But in trying to save them, she may only succeed in bringing her fragile world crashing down around her.

Excerpt #2
My eyes fell on one thing that I had not noticed before. The driver’s side door was slightly cracked open. My stomach lurched for a moment as I slowly stepped around the front of the van to look at the door. A smear of blood ran along the handle and up to the edge of the window. A bloody handprint of dark brick red in color, painted the center of the door. I gasped as my heart jumped, immediately drawing my machete out. I crouched against the van as my eyes darted around, looking for anything that would lead me to where they were. I searched the ground for blood trails but none could be found. If scavengers were out here too, they could have snatched them and I’d have been none the wiser. Not that I had seen any for almost a year.



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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Excerpt #1 from Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy and Giveaway

This week I am featuring a book called Reign of Blood by Alexia Purdy. Learn more about the book, followed by an excerpt and then enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Blurb:

"Never tease anything that wants to eat you. My name is April Tate and my blood is the new gold. Vampires and hybrids have overrun my world, once vibrant with life, but now a graveyard of death shrouded in shadows. I fight to survive; I fight for my mother and brother. The journey is full of turns that I am quite unprepared for. And I'm just hoping to make it to the next Vegas sunrise..."

In a post-apocalyptic world, a viral epidemic has wiped out most of the earth’s population, leaving behind few humans but untold numbers of mutated vampires. April is a seventeen-year-old girl who lives in the remains of Las Vegas one year after the outbreak. She has become a ferocious vampire killer and after her family is abducted, she goes searching for them. What she finds is a new breed of vampire, unlike any she has seen before. Unsure of whom she can trust, she discovers that her view of the world is not as black and white as she once thought, and she's willing to bend the rules to rescue her family. But in trying to save them, she may only succeed in bringing her fragile world crashing down around her.

Excerpt #1
Rye tilted his head as he narrowed his steely eyes, sizing me up. “You think you’re so righteous, don’t you? This so-called mission of yours–killing the wildlings like animals–and for what? Just to find your family. Does that make you better than us?” He started shaking his head as he further closed the gap between us, a sinister grin dwelling on his lips. “But you’re not better than us, April. You, my dear, are just another kind of vampire.”



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Monday, June 25, 2012

Meet Alexia Purdy, Author of Reign of Blood and Giveaway

Alexia Purdy is the author of Reign of Blood, a book being featured this week on Andi's Book Reviews. Through the week I will post excerpts and a blurb, followed by my own personal review at the end. Learn more about her in this bio and then remember to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Alexia currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada–Sin City! She loves to spend every free moment writing or playing with her four rambunctious kids. Writing has always been her dream and she has been writing ever since she can remember. She loves writing paranormal fantasy and poetry and devours books daily. Alexia also enjoys watching movies, dancing, singing loudly in the car and Italian food. She is the author of Ever Shade: A Dark Faerie Tale, published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing and Whispers of Dreams (A Poetic Collection), both  available via Amazon.com. Ever Fire: A Dark Faerie Tale #2 will be released in October of 2012. She is currently working on Ever Winter, the third installment of the Dark Faerie Tale series.

Connect with Alexia Purdy

Alexia Purdy’s Blog
Alexia Purdy’s Website
Twitter @AlexiaPurdy
Goodreads Author page
Alexia Purdy’s Facebook Fan Page
Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale) Facebook Fan page
Reign of Blood Series Facebook Fan Page





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Excerpt from A House Divided Against Itself

Welcome to the first stop on the tour for A House Divided Against Itself by Bob O'Connor. Here is the synopsis of the book:

A House Divided Against Itself is a historical fiction account based on a true story of four Gettysburg residents during the Civil War. Two of the characters are brothers. They fought against each other two different times during the war.  The book is based on over 90 letters from the participants and from regimental records. This is the unpublished beginning of a story for those who know of the Battle of Gettysburg may already know the ending.

Excerpt:
After several hours of fighting, the artillery was still hammering us. When the first rays of sunlit lit the field, Company F and others were ordered to wheel into the battle. Our orders were to attack the battery to protect our line of march. I was on the right flank with Company F and most of my friends from Gettysburg.
When the fight began, we fought gallantly. But we did not make much progress. As we charged ahead, a rebel unit surprised us by hitting our flank. We were unguarded on the flank. Our line crumbled. We were surrounded.
I looked around. Several of the Gettysburg men including myself, William T. Ziegler, Billie Holtzworth, Jacob Rice, David Culp, H. H. H. Welch and my brother Edwin were ordered to surrender.
We had talked often about this very situation. If we got captured, we intended to act like we were surrendering. We were to count silently to five. When one of our boys yelled “five” we were all supposed to run like hell. We had laughed about the plan. We thought the rebels would be so surprised that we would have a few minutes to get away before they recovered from their shock.
One of our boys yelled “five.” I started running as fast as I could. For about ten strides I thought the idea was a good one and that we were getting away. But some lucky rebel boy fired into our boys. I took a hit in my right shoulder. The ball knocked me down. I tried to get back up, but I couldn’t move. Blood was spurting from my shoulder. Billie Ziegler stopped to help.
I laid face down on the ground in intense pain. I had never felt pain like that in my life. When I looked up, everyone I saw standing around me had gray uniforms on except for Billie. The rebels boys told us we were their prisoners.
At that moment, I was not sure whether the other Gettysburg boys got away or not. We had been told that if we ever got captured, we would be exchanged for rebel prisoners within a short time.
I had never planned to become a prisoner of war. I had never planned on being wounded. Now I was both. I wondered if today, June 15, 1863, would be my last day on earth.
The rebels took Billie with them and promised to send back some medical help. I was not trusting that a rebel soldier would keep his word.
As I lay there, I started thinking about the rebel soldier I had shot. Had he laid on the field and thought about home and his family and loved ones. Or had he just fallen dead.
I thought about mother and Jennie mostly. The pain increased as the time went by. Mother. When I gave you my ambrotype and said “If I fall in battle, you will know how I looked before this war brought sorrow upon our land.” I had no idea that I had done it just in case this very thing happened to me.
I thought of my wonderful Jennie. Was this the end of me? Would she now marry someone else? I couldn’t stand that thought.
And for the first time I actually thought about all the men, dressed in blue and gray, who had fallen, like me. I wondered if they had gotten a chance to think about their life like I was doing now. I was thinking about who I had become and whether I had made a difference on this earth.
I started to pray with more fervor than I ever had, asking the good Lord to have mercy on me. I asked that I be given a chance to live and to return home, if that was His will. I was thinking along the lines that in returning home, perhaps I could be a better husband and father than I had been a soldier. And that perhaps I might become a minister and spread His word. Even with that, I knew it wasn’t my decision.
I finally decided that all I really could pray for was a chance to get a message to mother and Jennie. After that, God could take me if He decided that was best for everyone. And that was my prayer.
I don’t know how long I lay on the field. It seemed like a long time. The blood continued to flow. The pain did not go away like I was hoping it would. I was thought I might not make it off this field.

A House Divided Against Itself is available on line at www.boboconnorbooks.com or at amazon.com. It is also available on all e-book formats.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review of Haunted by Willow Cross

I love ghost stories. I love to feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck when I hear a really god one. I especially love the true ones that actually happened to people. Reality is much more frightening than fiction, in my opinion. I have had a couple of my own ghostly encounters, so I can respect others who claim the same.

I volunteered to read Haunted by Willow Cross and to honestly review it in exchange for a free copy. This collection of short stories are actual events that took place in her life. I believe that those who open themselves up to the possibility of supernatural encounters are more likely to have the honor of experiencing them. She does.


She starts with a protective ghost who took care of her and her roommate after she graduated from high school. Others tell about ghostly encounters she experienced when her family was still young. The dedication of this book is to her children, as they can use this book for family memories as they get older and share with their own children. I think the creepiest one is definitely the final story "Dream Home." Anything involving a ghost child makes the hair on my arms stand up.

This book is definitely a short and easy read. I got through it in less than a half hour, making it a nice distraction after dinner. I felt like it read more like a few blog posts as opposed to a story. In that regard, it does feel more personal and real, like Willow Cross is sitting with you telling you all about her experiences. I can't help but think how creepy the stories would be if they were told in third person. Or perhaps some if some of the interjected commentary was removed I would have found them a bit more creepy. It does make me want to write about some of my own encounters, though.

I do wish the book was longer. In a traditional print format, it would only be about 26 pages in length. I was left wanting more. Perhaps there simply were not any more stories to tell at this time. It also would have been interesting to hear different points of view about the same stories from others who were involved in them. Names were already changed to protect the innocent! So, if Willow Cross has any more ghost stories to share, this reader would love to look at them! And I am still curious about her fiction, as I know she is a well-loved writer of paranormal fiction.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Review and Giveaway for Poe's Mother

I was intrigued by the premise of Poe's Mother when it came across my inbox as a potential review for Tempting Book Tours.


Blurb:
1975. A 15-year-old young woman. A small, dusty town. A family that worships the great American author Edgar Allan Poe, and carries his surname.
Poe's Mother is a startling new novel of dark family secrets, the lure of the supernatural, the claustrophobic isolation of a dying town and a cautionary tale of the power of words.
This is the story of Sissy Baxter and her strange relationship with Edgar and Madeline Poe - two people who claim they love her. What Sissy discovers will change her life forever, and love will never be the same.
(This book is for mature readers.)
I am a fan of Edgar Allen Poe and dark stories. I am usually apprehensive about reading books that feature a real life person as a fictional character, but somehow was willing to give this one a shot. I am so glad that I did.

Edgar Allen Poe is not a central character in this book; however his presence is strongly felt both in the story and in the storytelling. The descriptions of the Poe house mirror my visions I have when reading a Poe story. I can feel the dark emptiness of the characters and the town as a whole. It even makes me feel somewhat dark and empty as I read it. You develop a sense that nothing is going to go right and truly feel what Sissy is feeling as she tells her story. I can truly see how Meeske has been influenced by Poe and one of my all-time favorites, Daphne du Maurier.

The story is intriguing, as Sissy tries to make sense out of her own life. She has been orphaned, being raised by her depressed brother who seems to be having issues of his own. She can't wait to get out of this small town and to do something better with her life. She barely likes anyone there, save her best friend, yet is strongly drawn to the strange family down the road who share them name of the classic author. Something about the mysterious Edgar draws her to him, despite warnings from her brother and other townspeople. She pursues the connection, anyway, and finds revelations that turn her whole world upside-down.

Point-of-view alternates between Sissy and Madeline, Edgar's mother. The more that Madeline tells the story, the deeper into the realm of insanity you go with the characters. It is not intrusive into the story at all.

The only thing that makes me crazy about this book is the lack of quotation marks when someone is talking. It made it hard for me to sometimes tell if someone was speaking or if the narrator was sharing a random thought. At the same time, it helped to contribute to the detached despair and craziness of this twisted story. I couldn't put it down. And now I want to read some of Meeske's other works.

I echo the final line of the blurb - this book is for MATURE audiences, ONLY. But it is an excellent read.

Purchase your own copy from Amazon and enter the giveaway below!



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Meet Michael Meeske, Author of Poe's Mother

Michael Meeske writes across genres, including romance, mystery, suspense, horror and Gothic fiction, a genre that blends horror and romance, and has its roots in some of the earliest novels ever written. Poe's Mother is his latest release available exclusively on Amazon.com.  

From 2008 to 2010, he served as Vice President of Florida Romance Writers (FRW). He has been a member of FRW and the Romance Writers of America since 2002. He also was an active member of the Writers' Room of Boston, a non-profit working space for novelists, poets and playwrights.

Michael's writing credits include Frankenstein's Daemon, a sequel to Frankenstein, offered through Usher Books. He also is the co-author of His Weekend Proposal, a tender category romance published in August 2009 by The Wild Rose Press under the pen name of Alexa Grayson (soon to be published in Greece); Zombieville, a short story included in a 2011 anthology by FRW writers, available at Amazon.com, and Tears, a short-story published in the Fall 2000 issue of Space & Time, a magazine of fantasy and science fiction. Usher Books will publish additional works by Michael in 2012 and 2013.

Some of his influences are Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Shirley Jackson, Oscar Wilde, Daphne du Maurier, Richard Matheson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and any work by the exquisite Bront├ź sisters. You can contact Michael at michaelmeeske@live.com.

You can also find Michael at any of the following links:


Check out the trailer for Poe's Mother.







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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

'The Spirit Box' Review and Giveaway

Welcome to the first stop on Tempting Book Tours for The Spirit Box by JH Glaze! Read on to learn more about the book and the author, my review, and scroll down to enter a fantastic giveaway!

Book Blurb

When Walt Turner's mother died, he inherited her apartment and the antique shop below. After losing his job due to the treachery of a co-worker, The Spirit Box calls to him from the darkness of the shop with an offer of revenge.  

Lured by the promise of ultimate power and eternal life by the prisoner inside the box, Walt agrees to help it gather the final spirits it requires to return to human form.  

John Hazard is investigating a series of murders and missing persons in this otherwise quiet town. His perceptions of reality are about to be altered in a life changing confrontation that will force him beyond the boundaries of darkness and ancient evil.  

It is a spiraling descent into madness, where you may have everything you desire, if only you are willing to sacrifice all that you believe.   

When you look into The Spirit Box, be prepared to have more than your breath taken away.
 

My Thoughts

It has been a while since I read a book that turned my stomach and creeped me out, in a good way.  The concept of the Spirit Box is disgusting and terrifying at the same time. Its power to change the behavior of a man into a murderous madman who doesn't even understand what is going on and feels guilty about it.

Walt is one of the first main characters I have met in a long time that I despised from the very beginning. He is a whiny jackass who is cocky for no reason other than he has incredibly poor self-esteem. That did not deter me from zipping through his story, eager to find out what was going to happen next, though. Sometimes those characters you hate drive you through, just so that you can find out if and how they meet their demise. Detective John Hazard is an intriguing character whom I would like to get to know better. This is JH Glaze's first novel, and it does feel like a first novel. It is also the first book in a series that promises to improve as it goes along, as writers often do. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more in the series.

If you like sick and twisted plots, like Stephen King's earlier books, then this is a book for you.

About the Author
 
When was the last time you saw someone working on a laptop while riding Public Transportation during rush hour? There is one Atlanta area author, JH Glaze, you may have seen. He would have been writing one of his novels on his way to 'the day job'.

His first novel 'The Spirit Box', a horror/thriller about a man who inherits an ancient box from his deceased mother, was written almost 80% on the train. It was finally published in September 2011. Since then, he has completed a second novel in the series, 'NorthWest'. This exciting cross-genre novel was 100% written on Public Transportation.

When asked why he enjoys writing on the train, he'll tell you, “Riding on the train is the only time of the day when I won't be distracted by email and other things that just seem to come up when I'm in my office. The atmosphere on the train also incites an atmosphere of uncertainty and excitement that can't be duplicated in a home office environment. Anything could happen on that train at any time and my writing channels that energy!”

What does he say about his writing style? “I want to involve you in the stories, to bring you into my worlds and share with you the thoughts that inspire them. The stories originate with simple ideas, and I tell them in a way that carries you the reader, through it inside of your own mind.”

The writing style of JH Glaze has been called 'Unique' and has been well received by readers from a broad spectrum of genres. Readers and reviewers alike have given high ratings to both of the first 2 books in the series. The release of the third, 'Send No Angel', scheduled for release in Summer 2012 and is highly anticipated by fans of this author.

JH Glaze was born in Niles, Ohio and currently resides in Atlanta.  He lives with his wife and editor, Susan Grimm, their dogs, Harley and Jake, and JoJo, the Senegal parrot. To find more information, search the web for JH Glaze, The Spirit Box, NorthWest, Send No Angel and The Horror Challenge.

Connect with JH Glaze

Website: 


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Friday, June 15, 2012

Excerpt from The Opium Equation: A Cat Enright Mystery


A couple of days ago, I reviewed The Opium Equation: A Cat Enright Mystery by Lisa Wysocky. I promised you an excerpt and here it is!

Excerpt: The Opium Equation: A Cat Enright Mystery by Lisa Wysocky

I HEADED EAST on River Road and zoomed into town at the blazing speed of thirty miles per hour. Well, it was icy. I’d woken this morning to the familiar rattle of my bedroom window just before sleet came and, sure enough, a few hard pings soon fell on the glass. Ice and sleet were not unusual in February in Nashville. Then again, sunny and seventy wasn’t unusual either.
I wanted to load up on supplies in case the sleet turned into a major ice storm. Worst-case scenario was that my farm was right on the Cumberland River and we could haul water up for the horses, but the nearest store was miles away and we could be iced in. My supply of hot chocolate was running low and I sometimes got cranky if I missed my daily dose. Trust me, no one wanted that to happen.
If a big storm didn’t develop, I didn’t mind a little bad weather driving. Traveling the Appaloosa horse show circuit I had hauled my six-horse rig through all kinds of weather. Most Nashvillians, I’d found, didn’t like to drive when the weather was cooler than thirty-three degrees, but somehow they could strip grocery shelves bare at the slightest hint of snow. I hoped this early in the morning I’d catch all the hypocrites who claimed never to have left their homes, yet were sure to leave the stores with empty shelves by noon.
Normally the drive into town was pretty, especially in the spring when, just past the Henley house and continuing a half mile or so, there were scattered fields of wildflowers. But today, ice, sleet, and fog kept any of the fields from being visible.
I ate a hearty breakfast at Verna Mae’s, a local “Mom and Pop” that featured the mouthwatering Southern specialty of “meat and three,” one choice of meat served with three vegetables and a slice of corn bread. Most meat-and-three’s were only open for the noon meal, which Southerners call dinner, but the food at Verna Mae’s was so good they couldn’t accommodate just the noon crowd. They were open for breakfast, dinner and “supper.” After listening to other diners speculate about the weather, I joined a herd of frantic shoppers at Walmart, and gathered enough food to keep me going for a few days.
By the time I arrived home at Cat Enright Stables, the sleet had turned into a cold mist and the sun was trying to break through the murky sky. I am, by the way, Cat Enright, owner for the past seven years of said stables. I’m twenty-nine, single, come from mostly Irish stock, and am just beginning to have some national success on the show circuit.
As I inched up the icy walk to my farmhouse, arms laden with heavy shopping bags, a wriggly half grown puppy burst out of the front doggy door to greet me. I’d found a cold, sodden, shivering Hank sleeping on my porch last November when we returned from the world championships. He is a sweet and happy soul, and it wasn’t long before he moved from the porch into the house. Hank is definitely part Beagle. The other parts are anyone’s guess.
“Arrrrrr. Rrraaaarrrrr,” wiggled Hank, meaning, “I’m so happy you’re finally home. I’ve tried to be good while I’ve been waiting.”
I opened the farmhouse door and Hank and I tumbled into the living room. Or what was left of it. While I had shopped, Hank had happily destroyed what used to be my sofa. After my brain registered what my eyes saw, I realized he had taken the foam stuffing out of the cushions and scattered little pieces all over the room.
“Bad dog! Bad! Dog!” I yelled, shaking my finger at Hank and dropping a bag of groceries in the process. It would have to be the bag with the eggs and pickles in it. I was so mad I felt like shaking Hank instead of my finger. But when I approached to toss him out of the house, Hank rolled on his back and wagged his tail. I never could figure out how he could wag his tail so joyfully while he lay upside down.
“Okay,” I relented. “But you have to help clean up.”
Hank knows I’m a sucker for a tail-wagging dog. He jumped up and contributed to the project by running circles around me, making the tiny pieces of the sofa’s innards airborne in the process. I was too busy grabbing soft white flying objects out of the air to see that Hank’s circles had gradually changed from fun loving puppy romps to something on the more frantic side. Too late, I realized what it meant. I made a mad dash to grab him, but only got half way there before Hank showered his intentions into the furnace’s floor grate.
That’s when I knew I was having a bad morning.

Cat’s Horse Tip #2
“People expect respect. With horses, you have to earn it.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Meet Christie Silvers and the Liz Baker series


I have been Facebook friends with author Christie Silvers on Facebook for a couple of years now, but had never read any of her fiction. A couple of months ago, she asked for people to review her Liz Baker series, starting with A Time for Death. While vampires and paranormal had previously not been my genre of choice, I decided to give it a go. I was completely hooked. I stayed up late that first night devouring every word.

By the next day, she sent me the second book, Kill Me Next Week. I read it almost as quickly as I had the first one. Parent-teacher conference season got in my way, so I only just finished the third book in the series, Killer Intentions. I'm now sad that we all have to wait until this fall for the fourth installment.

Read on to learn a little bit more about all three books in the series. Learn a little bit about author Christie Silvers. Scroll to the bottom of the post for a giveaway in which you can receive print copies of all three books in the series!


===================================================================
Liz Baker, a 32 year old small town bar owner, thought it would be a normal evening of sex in a cemetery with her longtime beau, until she spotted someone in the distance, and all normality in her world ceased to exist.

After several murders in her small town of Tremmel Crossing, Georgia, Liz comes to the realization that the murderer is coming after her, and he’s more dangerous than any human could possibly be.

With the help of her dead mother, bar bouncer, and cemetery lover, Liz learns that the murdering vampire was sent by her biological father to claim her as his own. Only then does she discover her real parentage and underlying special powers.

However, the vampire sent to claim her has powers of his own, most importantly the power to control her mind, emotions and desires. She wants him, needs him, her entire body aches for him, but she soon finds out that she must fight back to save the lives of her friends and loved ones. Only death will release her from Marcus’s powerful hold, but who will die first?

Read my full review of the book here. 

==================================================================

I thought life would get back to normal after I offed Marcus. I wanted adventure, but not the kind that could kill me with the glimmer of an idea. Yeah, he was a god in bed, but what fun would that have been if I never felt my own feelings and thoughts again?

Now I'm surrounded by more monsters. I somehow knew there couldn't be just vampires in the world, but a girl can hope can't she? Oh well, that's not how it works in the real world.

Adele's estate is gorgeous, much bigger than I'm accustomed to, and it turns out to be an excellent headquarters once Cole McIntosh--Wendigo Extraordinaire--shows up and demands my services. Hell, I don't even know how to use the powers I supposedly have and this bastard wants me to reverse a gypsy curse. It's not my problem he's a dumb ass and got himself split in two. I happen to like his better half anyway. He makes a great sandwich!

Now Rick's pissed at me, Chad's looking as smoking hot as ever, and I have a handful of staff, friends, and my new high-class lawyer helping out...but will I be ready when Cole comes knocking at the front gate?

Read my full review here.

==================================================================
 Saddled with the knowledge that she's not only a half-vampire, but also expected to be some kind of supernatural warrior to battle evil, Liz Baker--34 year old small town bar owner--would rather life went back to normal, choosing to ignore her destiny instead.

She survived murdering a vampire lover, being possessed by a spirit of her ancestor in order to destroy a wendigo, and even finding out that her ghostly mother is in love with the attorney in charge of her newly acquired fortune. But will she survive finding out that she has eleven half-vampire brothers and sisters?

Even with Chad at her back, and an ex-military werewolf pilot giving them defensive pointers, Liz simply wants to go back to normal. What ever normal is now. How will she ever find normal again though, what with a demon haunting her waking hours and a vampire trying to pull her into his paranormal army of offspring?

Chad didn't understand, nor would he. He didn't have this damn inner demon telling him things he shouldn't know, telling him to do things that he desired to do, but knew he should never do. She'd told me at the last second not to kill Gregory. The other children needed him. But was it true? Or just another guise in an attempt to lull me into complacency?

The demon side of me only wanted more evil, more control over my mind, my body, my actions. She had killer intentions, the kinds of intentions that would push me away from all the people I cared about and into the arms of a father I never wanted.


Read my full review here.

==================================================================
Christie Silvers is a wife, mother, and writer of urban fantasy with a touch of naughtiness.  Creatures that go bump in the night inspire her.  From time to time those creatures turn to the saucy side of things and that's when Christie dabbles in the paranormal erotic side of writing.  She never knows what the characters will do until they're already doing it, which makes for some interesting late night writing sessions. 

Christie lives in north Georgia with her husband of forever, three daughters, four dogs, nine chickens, and numerous outside cats.  Aside from reading, writing, laundry, rushing her children to a variety of school functions and trying not to have a panic attack while teaching her 15 year old to drive, Christie spends her spare time wondering when she'll actually have spare time to spare.

Connect with Christie Silvers!
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/christiesilvers



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Review of The Opium Equation: A Cat Enright Mystery


The Opium Equation: A Cat Enright Mystery by Lisa Wysocky is a cozy mystery that kept me company several evenings after a long day at work. Cat Enright owns her own stable and boasts some of the biggest local celebrities as her clients. A dispute with Glenda, the retired movie star gets everyone's feathers ruffled. Cat goes to Glenda's house to confront her one more time, only to find the diva dead in the fireplace. At the same time, Bubba, the son of the local competition, has come up missing. Cat finds herself in some hot water thanks to her connection to both victims and attempts to solve both of their mysteries on her own.


Cat is a great character. She comes from a troubled past and has worked hard to build herself up to where she is today. She is a firm believer in caring for other people, especially when no one else is doing it. She tells her story in first-person, which really allows you to get inside her head and to see the action unfold as she sees it. I enjoyed putting the pieces together as she collected them. When the final resolution comes into play, I wasn't surprised, yet didn't have that person pegged as early on as I would have in other books. Short chapters allow for easy reading for busy people, but do not leave the book choppy. Everything flows nicely.

An interesting aspect of the book is how it teaches readers about horses. At the end of several chapters, Cat gives one of her horse tips. Each one is somehow related to something that has just happened involving one of the horses. Lisa Wysocky's love for horses is obvious through her character of Cat. The horses come into play just as much as some of the human characters.

I really enjoyed reading this book and hope that Lisa has some more adventures for Cat coming up for us soon!



As a tour host, I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review of Killer Intentions by Christie Silvers

Killer Intentions is the third book in the Liz Baker series by Christie Silvers. In this installment of the series, Liz gets some devastating news about her half sister, Jesika. Someone has already volunteered to help Liz and Jesika. Unfortunately, it's Gregory, Liz's vampire father. When Liz refuses his help, he sends her other siblings after her. At the same time, the nagging voice in Liz's head, which bears an uncanny resemblance to Dolly Parton, rears its ugly head and plagues her with self-doubt. Enter a werewolf whose job is to protect her and a visit from her mother with some surprising news and it's no wonder Liz's life feels like it has turned upside down.


I attempted to read this book in one sitting. Had life not gotten in the way, I would have done it! This third installment kept me flipping the virtual pages. Liz is an empowered, independent woman who is having a tough time right now. This book shows more of her fragility as she attempts to juggle all kinds of new revelations and to protect herself and her loved ones. As more of her layers are being stripped away, she is also blossoming into someone even more magnificent. Eventually she is going to come into her own; we are just here for the ride.

My only complaint with this book was that it ended too soon (with an appropriate cliffhanger) and the new installment isn't due out until later this fall. I can't wait to get my hands on it!


I received a complimentary copy of this book from author Christie Silvers in exchange for my honest review.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Guest Post by Lisa Wysocky, Author of The Opium Equation


Today I am honored to have Lisa Wysocky, author of The Opium Equation: A Cat Enright Mystery, as a guest blogger.

Steady Determination Eventually Makes Dreams Come True


by Lisa Wysocky

When I was twelve, my mother handed me a Dick Francis mystery. For the uninitiated, Dick Francis was a former steeplechase jockey who rode for Britain’s queen mother, After retiring from the track, he became a sports reporter and eventually turned to writing mysteries. I had grown up a typical horse crazy kid and loved the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries. But until my mother handed me the Francis book, I never realized one could combine mysteries and horses. Wow, I was hooked!

I’ve wanted to write a horse mystery since the second I finished my first Dick Francis book. But, as often happens in life, life got in the way. I went to school to become a horse trainer. I trained professionally for ten years, then became a newspaper reporter and a freelance writer after returning to school to study communications and journalism. I became a music industry publicist and a therapeutic riding instructor. It wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that I wrote my first horse mystery.

When my manuscript was finished I didn’t know what to do next, so I contacted an author friend who referred me to his agent. The agent signed me and sold the book right away––to a company that went bankrupt just as fast. I experienced major excitement and major disappointment in the same month. The book sold again, this time to a publisher who had huge staff changes. As soon as my editor left, my book was dropped. Discouraged, I began writing nonfiction. I did a successful book on country music stars and their horses and co-authored an autobiography with a man who has Tourette syndrome. That book eventually became a Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie. A book on horse training and a second book on country music stars and their horses followed, as did other co-authored and ghostwritten projects. But, no mystery publisher loomed in sight.

I re-wrote my horse mystery once, then twice, then a third time. An agent passed, then another. After that I went to mystery publishers directly. They all passed. I was getting ready to self-publish when the small but mighty Cool Titles said, “We love the book. We love The Opium Equation.” I couldn’t believe it, but they did!

The Opium Equation, my first horse mystery, was published seventeen years after I originally wrote it, Since then I am thrilled to announce that the book has won four prestigious awards. When I work with horses I always try to find a personal lesson in my interactions with them. One of those lessons has been that solid, steady plodding eventually brings you to your destination, and that is how it has been with The Opium Equation. So for anyone out there who has a dream, please don’t give up on it. Your dream may have to be tweaked or refined or updated along the way, as mine was, but slow and steady really does get you there in the end.




The Opium Equation is also available for your Kindle.

Review of News From Dead Mule Swamp

Anastasia Joy Raven, who goes by Ana, recently bought a house in Dead Mule Swamp, after her husband traded her in for a new partner named Brian. She takes pride in her new home and is eager to do much of the work by herself. One day, she comes across an old newspaper in the wall. She is intrigued by this piece, as is her neighbor Cliff Sorenson. He takes off with the newspaper hidden in his shirt and soon after disappears. Ana can't understand why he would be so interested in this yellow, decaying piece of paper. When he is found dead, she takes it upon herself to try to solve the mystery.


This short story by Joan H. Young is considered to be a "cozy mystery." I admit I had to look up the definition of that term. It means a mystery that often takes place in a small town and is investigated by an amateur, usually female sleuth. One site said to think of Jessica on Murder, She Wrote. It is also lacking in a lot of the sex and violence, which is a refreshing change at times.

At a mere 52 pages, it is easy to read the story in one afternoon, curled up in a chair with a blanket and a beverage. At first, I wasn't sure what the big deal was with the newspaper and almost didn't care. As I kept going through the chapters, though, I found myself more and more intrigued. Ana's search for the story in the newspaper that obviously means a lot to someone in the town digs up some old secrets that some of the locals wanted to keep buried. I loved the idea of digging through old archives of papers and preserving a town's history.

Dead Mule Swamp boasts the usual cast of cantankerous characters and nosy neighbors that you would expect to find in a small town. In these places, curiosity often kills the cat, or at least gets you into a lot of trouble. Ana is a likeable character whose curiosity has gotten the best of her, but ends up being somewhat of a hero in the end. Her newspaper story is the first in a series of misadventures in which she finds herself. I look forward to reading more of the series.

Learn more about the Dead Mule Swamp series of mysteries featuring Anastasia Raven and about author Joan H. Young here.

Purchase your own Kindle copy of News From Dead Mule Swamp. You can read it on your Kindle, PC or favorite mobile device!



Enter this giveaway to win 3 books by author Joan H. Young! 3 lucky winners will be announced soon!
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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Meet Joan H. Young, author of the Anastasia Raven mystery series

Joan H. Young has been writing stories about the outdoors since the age of 7, when "The Adventures of Skippy the Field Mouse" made its debut. The work survives, but is best left in the box with crayon drawings of squirrels and pressed leaves.

"The Family Christmas," a seasonal poem made it as far as the local newspaper when she was 12, proving that the serious child was already harboring an evil sense of humor.

As an adult, Joan has made a career of proving that she can bumble through life without ever deciding what to be when she grows up. She began with a degree in Communication Arts with an emphasis on theater. Realizing that drama, for her, was like whiskey to an alcoholic, she left a possible career in stage management for a driven man and 10,000 teenagers. (What was she thinking?) A few years later the couple had legally adopted one of the teens, and two younger children, but were still feeding most of the stray 10,000 teenagers as well. No time there for writing anything except grocery lists, and a journal of the wild ride!

In 1986, still longing for a career in sciences, she went back to school, taking higher math and chemistry in hopes of being accepted into the University of Michigan graduate program. From 1992-1995 she lived in Ann Arbor, and did receive a Masters in Environmental Engineering, cleverly getting U of M to pay for it too! Meanwhile, the writing bug still squirmed, and Joan worked hard at collecting rejection slips from a nice series of reputable magazines and publishers. Also during this time slot she began hiking the North Country Trail (NCT), the longest foot path in the United States.

Now armed with an "advanced degree" she returned home and attempted to establish a reputation as a wetland specialist. Well, she was one, but she wasn't very good at marketing herself, and when offered a job as a web site manager, that became the next career. Essays about her hikes on the NCT demanded to be written, and friends urged her to publish.

In 2005, /North Country Cache/ made its debut for the 25th Anniversary of the North Country Trail. Since then, more and more of her time has been spent writing. If only more and more money came from that endeavor, it could be called a career!

Recently, she has begun writing more fiction, including several award-winning short stories soon to be published by Twin Trinity Media, and the Anastasia Raven mystery series.

Young has enjoyed the out-of-doors her entire life. Highlights of her outdoor adventures include Girl Scouting, which provided yearly training in camp skills, the opportunity to engage in a 10-day canoe trip, and numerous short backpacking excursions. She was selected to attend the 1965 Senior Scout Roundup in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, an international event to which 10,000 girls were invited. She has ridden a bicycle from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean in 1986, and on August 3, 2010 became the first woman to complete the North Country National Scenic Trail on foot. Her mileage totaled 4395 miles.

The Anastasia Raven mystery series is being featured this week on the blog!

Anastasia Raven is running from the pain of a failed marriage, and hopes to hide from the world in an old farmhouse she has purchased at the edge of Dead Mule Swamp. When a hundred-year-old newspaper she finds inside a wall is stolen by Cliff Sorenson, and then Cliff disappears, Ana is convinced that the paper holds the key to the mystery. But what old news could be important enough to put Cliff in danger?
 





Anastasia Raven finds a secret hidden in a hollow tree near Dead Mule Swamp. She thinks she's seeing things, as the discovery appears to have come straight from a Nancy Drew story. With some simple sleuthing, Ana catches Jimmie Mosher, whose grandfather used to own the house she has recently purchased, hiding money in the tree. But what else does Jimmie have to hide?

This story is currently FREE on Smashwords!




When Anastasia Raven agrees to keep Paddy, her cousin's Irish Setter, for the summer, she didn't understand the mischievous nature of a large puppy. As a volunteer with Family Friends, she meets Corliss Leonard, and his granddaughters Star and Sunny, whose mother disappeared seven years ago. The girls fall in love with Paddy, but can the dog solve their problems?






Catch up with Joan H. Young at any of these links:


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Monday, June 4, 2012

Review of Fatal Cut

Fatal Cut by Cathryn Grant is a psychological suspense novella that takes place in a church. From the opening paragraph in which Madison tells you that she found a dead body within six weeks of starting her job, you are hooked on her story. You want to know who is going to be murdered and who did it.


Madison Keith has a knack for really seeing into people's souls, minds and feelings. She likes to meditate, which opens up her mind. She has numerous earrings and tattoos and generally doesn't look like the kind of person you would expect to see siting behind the desk in a church office. But she also has a big heart.

Pastor Joe hires her to work in the office. Kate, who is in charge of the youth group, dislikes Madison from the start. In fact, Kate seems to have a chip on her shoulder about everything. Fred is in charge of the gardening. He is particularly concerned with the roses, which are mysteriously being cut during the night. He is convinced that some kids are out smoking pot every night, and shred the roses. Jan is the one who planted the roses, in memory of her daughter. She is convinced that Fred is the one responsible for them being shredded.

Madison is determined to figure out what is really going on at night, by relying on her intuition and "powers." She becomes involved in a supernatural world with intense love before stumbling upon a murder.

I liked this novella. The pages flew by as I read the story. I really like Madison and could see her as being one of my friends. She is opinionated without being rude, having no problem sharing her thoughts. Her big heart is endearing, as she is willing to do anything to help her friends.

The story was intriguing as the mystery of the shredded blooms began to unfold. I did feel that the opening paragraph was kind of a tease, though, and got impatient waiting for the murder to actually happen. I was also looking for the story to continue when it was over.

This novella is the first in a series of five. All of the stories are considered to be suspenseful and star Madison, who seems to have a knack for finding dead bodies. She is the kind of character I would be willing to follow.


I received a free copy of this book from BookRooster in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Review of Born, Not Raised

The population of kids who are currently being serviced by juvenile halls seems like an underrepresented population, at least in a positive light. All that the media seems to focus on is their horrible crimes. No one seems to pay much attention to the individuals and their fear, nor how to help them to prevent it all from happening again.

I was drawn to Born, Not Raised in part because my late father's job in his golden years was working at the local juvenile hall. While he couldn't discuss the details of any of the cases, he often had a random story about an exchange with one of the kids. When any of them died or otherwise slipped, he felt it personally. He really cared about his job.


Susan Madden Lankford earned herself access to the inside of these facilities, to bring about more awareness. Her black and white photography emphasizes the loneliness and the pain of being inside them. To make it even more emotional, she includes reactions and handwritten notes from the some of the incarcerated kids. Your heartstrings are tugged as you realize how confusing it is for them and how they struggle to find the right kind of help. She also includes interviews with some of the kids, as well as many of the professionals who work with them.

Many of these kids have great potential, which Lankford attempts to highlight as she includes their stories and essays written as sort of assignments. On the flipside, many of these kids are depressed and feel that they will never be able to change their lives. They have been conditioned to believe there is no hope. When they are released from Juvey, they often end up going right back to the place from which they came and those problems rear their ugly heads all over again. It becomes an endless cycle.

Lankford also spends some time discussing these children with other professionals, such as psychologists. They discuss the impacts of the family situations, based on current psychological research. It really is a sobering picture.

Questions are asked that demand answers. What those answers are, you will not not find in this book. Instead, this feels like a call to action for both the juvenile halls and society in general.