Friday, 27 November 2015

Blade's Edge - Virginia McClain

Mishi and Taka--childhood friends from a Japanese orphanage--each hold a secret power. They are torn apart before they hit double digit "cycles" and are trained in their respective strengths. Ultimately, they are reunited to fight an evil regime/force using their honed powers.

I enjoyed the book and the concept. I also liked a theme that empowered young women in a male-dominated society (hello, whole wide world).

What I didn't particularly enjoy was the repetitive nature of certain descriptions/measurements/etc--intended to be lyrical--but after reading them the first couple of times, they became *slightly* annoying each time afterwards. I also must agree with another reviewer (different site) who mentioned the simplicity of the climax and things coming a tad too easily once folks discovered the truth.

All in all, an enjoyable read. Highly likeable characters that you root for throughout, in magnificent settings captured by the author's detailed narrative. Well written and very well done for a debut, full length novel!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


Amazon Link: Blade's Edge

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Valley of Amazement - Amy Tan

I am at a loss as to why there are so many negative reviews on this magnificent piece of work. I have long been a Tan fan, and this novel in no way diminished my regard. It took me only two and a half days to gobble up 613 pages because I could not [despite my husband begging] put it down.

For those who don't closely follow her work, "The Valley of Amazement" is the follow up to Tan's short story "Rules for Virgins". I read the latter in 2011 and a soft spot for Magic Gourd was secured in my heart two full years before reading this novel.

I won't go into a long synopsis since you can read that in the book description yourself. What I will say is that both Violet and Lucia become likeable characters, although they hardly are at first. They grow on you very quickly in the read when you begin to empathize with their horrible situations and all that led them there. It ends brilliantly, with hope and reflection, from a journey only a writer as penetrative as Amy Tan can produce.

Very, very, very well done.


Amazon link: The Valley of Amazement

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Spotlight! Before the Dawn - Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue

Before the Dawn
Lindsey Fairleigh & Lindsey Pogue
(The Ending #4)
Publication date: November 20th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
A year ago, the Virus killed off most people in the world.
A year ago, strange things started happening to those who survived. Some of them transformed into something dark and sinister, while others evolved, becoming something more, something beyond human.
A year ago, Dani and Zoe were lost. They traversed the country to find one another, losing some of the people dearest to them along the way. They fought for their right to simply live, uncovered long-buried secrets, and discovered irreversible truths. And after everything Dani and Zoe have been through—even with the battle wounds that they bear—they’re still not safe.
It’s time for the struggling to end, for survivors to take back their lives, their families, their safety. It’s time to really begin to live, and to do that, they must wait for the first rays of dawn.


For three hours, I’d been sitting at the dining room table, my sketchpad washed in the baleful color of late morning that shone through the narrow windows, overlooking what appeared to be a deserted farm. Everyone was hiding indoors, dehydrating food, wrenching, painting, and—in Annie’s case—playing with kitties, all sheltered from the sudden downpour.
Hearing the creak of the front door opening, I looked up. Tavis stepped inside, rain dripping off his coat as he leaned forward and peered into the dining room at me, his feet planted firmly on the welcome mat.
“Hey,” I said, folding my arms in front of me.
Tavis smiled, his warm, customary greeting. “Morning.” But even in his natural, easy air, there was something about the way he looked at me that made even the slightest linger of his gaze and the quickest glance seem like something more. I could’ve pried, could’ve peeked and prodded, but I was a little too hesitant to learn the reason.
“You seen our animal whisperer anywhere? We’ve got a horse with colic out here. We could use her Ability.” Tavis pointed to his head.
His facial expressions always made me laugh, and I couldn’t help but smile back at him as I glanced outside. Darker clouds approached quickly from the west. “She’s out with Jason,” I said, “foraging. Hopefully they’ll be home soon.”
“Ah, foraging,” he said with a wink. “Got it.” And then he was out the door, and I watched as he strode back toward the stable.
I took a sip of lukewarm coffee, settling back into work mode, and let out a sigh as I stared down at the start of my second blueprint of the day. I tapped my charcoal pencil on the tabletop and glanced between Jason’s hasty, ill-proportioned sketch and my own, hoping I was interpreting his floorplans for the new smokehouse accurately. I’d gotten quite good at looking past his scribbled letters and numbers, relying mostly on the arrows and the drawing itself to help me decipher the rest.
Footsteps creaking overhead and feminine laughter were followed by a muffled “You wish, buddy” that floated down the stairs of the otherwise silent house. No wonder Harper had been so anxious to rearrange the infirmary. Chris laughed again, a sound I’d been hearing more and more frequently over the months. My eyebrow rose of its own accord, and I reached for the mug beside my sketchpad. A contented smile splayed my lips as I appreciated the happy routine we’d all seemed to fall into, gloomy weather or no.
After draining the contents of my mug, I absently set it aside, deciding the beams in the smokehouse roof needed to be closer together if they were going to support the wide—
An ear-piercing cry rolled in with the distant rumble of thunder.
Eyes narrowed and heartbeat thrumming, I jumped to my feet and gazed through the window at the gravel drive. Opening my mind, I felt Dani’s desperation and anguish before I even saw her.
“—shot!” With hair matted from the rain and her clothes drenched, Dani sprinted clumsily up the driveway, her eyes wide with terror. “He’s been shot!

Lindsey Fairleigh lives her life with one foot in a book—as long as that book transports her to a magical world or bends the rules of science. Her novels, from post-apocalyptic to time travel and historical fantasy, always offer up a hearty dose of unreality, along with plenty of adventure and romance. When she’s not working on her next novel, Lindsey spends her time reading and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her two very confused cats.

Lindsey Pogue has always been a little creative. As a child she established a bug hospital on her elementary school soccer field, wrote her first YA manuscript in high school, and as an adult, expresses herself through writing. Her novels are inspired by her observations of the world
around her—whether she’s traveling, people watching, or hiking. When not plotting her next storyline or dreaming up new, brooding characters, Lindsey’s wrapped in blankets watching her favorite action flicks or going on road trips with her own leading man.


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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Spotlight! Wings of Sorrow and Bone - Beth Cato

Title: Wings of Sorrow and Bone
Author: Beth Cato
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Steampunk
Format: Ebook

From the author of The Clockwork Dagger comes an exciting novella set in the same world…

After being rescued by Octavia Leander from the slums of Caskentia, Rivka Stout is adjusting to her new life in Tamarania. But it’s hard for a blossoming machinist like herself to fit in with proper society, and she’d much rather be tinkering with her tools than at a hoity-toity party any day.

When Rivka stumbles into a laboratory run by the powerful Balthazar Cody, she also discovers a sinister plot involving chimera gremlins and the violent Arena game Warriors. The innocent creatures will end up hurt, or worse, if Rivka doesn’t find a way to stop Mr. Cody. And to do that means she will have to rely on some unexpected new friends.

Wings of Sorrow and Bone is available for order at  
amazon BN add-to-goodreads-button3

Beth Cato hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham. She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER steampunk fantasy series from Harper Voyager. The newest book, THE CLOCKWORK CROWN, comes out on June 9th, 2015.

 Follow her at and on Twitter at @BethCato.

For More Information
Visit Beth at her website

 Visit her at the following locations:

November 10
Book featured at Queen of All She Reads
November 11
Guest blogging at Kristy Centeno
November 12
Book reviewed at Reading Reality
November 13
Book reviewed at Books, Food and Me
November 16
Interviewed at I'm Shelf-ish
November 17
Book featured at Review From Here
November 18
Interviewed at The Writer's Life
November 19
Book featured at Voodoo Princess
November 20
Guest blogging at A Taste of My Mind
November 23
Book featured at Please Pass the Books
November 24
Book reviewed and Guest blogging at Don't Judge, Read
November 25
November 26
Book featured at Teatime and Books
Book reviewed at Natural Bri
November 27
Book featured at Chosen By You Book Club
Guest blogging at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Sold - Zana Muhsen

Zana Muhsen, born and bred in Birmingham, is of Yemeni origin. When her father told her she was to spend a holiday with relatives in North Yemen, she jumped at the chance. Aged 15 and 13 respectively, Zana and her sister discovered that they had been literally sold into marriage, and that on their arrival they were virtually prisoners. They had to adapt to a completely alien way of life, with no running water, dung-plastered walls, frequent beatings, and the ordeal of childbirth on bare floors with only old women in attendance. After eight years of misery and humiliation Zana succeeded in escaping, but her sister is still there, and it seems likely that she will now never leave the country where she has spent more than half her life. This is an updated edition of Zana's account of her experiences.

REVIEW: This book absolutely ticks every box for me when it comes to a captivating story: innocence, conflict, determination, hope, and survival. It is all packaged in a book that delivers a well written, easy to read flow that I could not put down.

The synopsis is well enough described throughout the reviews and book description. What isn't described is the journey of emotion the author takes you on. There is no glossing over the life of this woman, a child sold into marriage in a foreign country, and even when she makes the choice to leave behind her own child—I was able to empathize. I could validate that choice, and the opposite choice made by her sister. That is a miraculous feat, bringing a reader to understand and accept a decision no parent could ever begin to comprehend having to make.

I recommend this book to anyone who has the stomach for a heartbreaking story that ends not happily, but with a real sense of redemption.


Amazon Link: Sold: One Woman's True Account of Modern Slavery

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cover Reveal! MARKET STREET CINEMA - Michele Machado

Market Street Cinema
Michele Machado
Publication date: February 12th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
It took only six weeks for Lita to realize she had neither the fortitude nor discipline to get through college, and a single day for her parents to issue an ultimatum…
She either gets a formal education, or she gets out and starts her life. 
Forced onto a fast-track to independence, Lita soon finds that her minimum wage job isn’t enough to live on. With few options and a mounting pile of responsibilities, she begins work as an exotic dancer at San Francisco’s Market Street Cinema.
Will a year in the gritty underworld of adult entertainment put her on the path that secures her future—or will it swallow her up and destroy everything she never knew she wanted?

Michele Machado is a San Francisco born arts journalist and literary pundit with a significant ramen addiction. When not writing articles or shoveling Japanese noodles down her throat, she enjoys penning fiction with a higher heat factor. In order to balance the serious nature of her "real job" with the more salacious stories she writes, and to avoid uncomfortable conversations with her grandparents, the pen name of Michele Machado was created—and the stock photo in this bio was purchased. Now liberated by a nom de plume and hidden behind a beauty at a typewriter, Michele Machado is excited for the release of her first book, Market Street Cinema, in February 2016.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Cover Reveal! Crimson Earth - Anna Soliveres

Crimson Earth
Anna Soliveres
(Modi #2)
Publication date: December 10th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Aeva Storm finally has the answers she’s been looking for since the night she was struck by lightning. She knows who she is—and more importantly, what she is. But her secret isn’t hers alone to keep, and some of those who know the truth will do anything to control her.
In the sequel to the acclaimed Violet Storm, Aeva must decide how far she’ll go to protect her identity and to find her missing sister in a world she hardly recognizes. She must embrace her new life—and her strange new body—if she hopes to save the only place she and her family have left to call home.
Filled with action, mystery, and heartbreak, Crimson Earth finds Aeva, Ruven, and Karth on opposing sides as the war between The False Alliance and the Monarchy draws near.
Can they band together to fight against the evil threatening the City? Or will they destroy each other before the war has even begun?
Sequel to:

Author Bio:
Anna Soliveres has always been a storyteller but it wasn't until her early twenties when she began writing novel length works. The result was an enthusiasm to get better at the craft until her work could be shared with the world. Released in March 2014, VIOLET STORM is her debut novel. The sequel, CRIMSON EARTH releases Dec. 2015. Anna is currently working on another young adult sci-fi series, titled SNOW DOLLS. To learn more, please visit her at

Up for grabs:
-Crimson Earth Promo Card
-Jawbone Move
-$10 Amazon Card
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Monday, 16 November 2015

Spotlight! Orphan's Blade - Aubrie Dionne

OrphansBlade_hires5Title: Orphan's Blade
Author: Aubrie Dionne
Release Date: October 10, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Format: Ebook/Paperback

In the battle for a kingdom, every alliance counts…

Princess Valoria only cares about her music and her destiny: to unite the Kingdom of Ebonvale with the House of Song and succeed where her father has failed. As if that weren’t challenge enough, she must contend with her marriage to a battle hungry brute of a prince…until she falls for his adopted brother, the orphaned son of a blacksmith. But with a horde of undead gathering to attack Ebonvale, Valoria will have to choose between her personal happiness and the safety of the kingdom. Now the fate of Ebonvale rests in her heart.

Orphan's Blade is available for order at  

google play

Aubrie DionneAubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her books have received the highest ratings from Romance Times Magazine, as well as Night Owl Reviews and Two Lips Reviews. She has guest blogged on the USA Today Happily Ever After Blog and the Dear Teen Me blog and signed books at the Boston Book Festival, Barnes and Noble, and the Romance Writers of America conference. Her writings have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Astraea Press, Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Publishing, Inkspell Publishing, Lyrical Press, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. Her latest contract is with HarperImpulse for a set of two contemporary romances releasing spring 2014. When she’s not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras.

For More Information
Visit Aubrie’s website.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

To Die For - G.L. Sheridan

To Die For by G.L. Sheridan starts with the introduction of a ragtag crew of intergalactic diplomats, headed by their self proclaimed and sole human leader, Ralf. The groups mission is to make contact with the Nadd-Lini, a species of fish extraterrestrials who live on a planet made desirable by its habitability. The goal is to get the Nadd-Lini to move off of their home planet so humans could move onto it, taking advantage of its oxygen, water, and vegetation. In order to achieve this, the Nadd-Lini must be convinced to move into the “Denner Domes,” which Ralf cleverly code names the “Celestial Palaces” in the hopes of securing the Nadd-Lini's compliance. Ralf—renamed Hok-hok to sound more godlike—and her comrades Kurran, Goat, and Am find themselves in for an awkward negotiation when it all goes wrong with The Chosen One, leader of the Nadd-Lini.

REVIEW: G.L. Sheridan has written a terrifically witty and intelligent short story. To Die For is laden with smart sarcasm and artful characters, their form and personalities as much a part of the adventure as their mission and interaction with the Nadd-Lini. The story opens up a new world—and new universe—full of imagination in an inventive and funny manner. The dialogue is entertaining and the overall story is very easy to read. I would strongly encourage To Die For not only to lovers of fantasy and science fiction, but anyone looking for a good laugh and a wild ride. It may be short in length, but it is astronomic in terms of fun.

I was provided with a copy of this short story in exchange for an honest Readers' Favorite review.


Amazon Link: TO DIE FOR: G.L.Sheridan

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Seattle Makes a PERFECT Book Setting! - Guest Post by Garen Glazier, author of On the Verge

Why Seattle Makes a Perfect Book Setting!
Guest Post by Garen Glazier, author of On the Verge

     I was born and raised in Seattle. I guess you could say it’s in my blood. I love my town and I love the Pacific Northwest. People bemoan the clouds and rain, but I love that part too. And, shh, Seattle’s best kept secret is that it is absolutely gorgeous in the summer and not humid or extremely hot. Don’t tell anyone.

     The tone of my book is sexy and ominous and to me the melancholy and mystery of a misty Seattle fall were perfect for setting the mood. The city became more than a backdrop for the story. It really evolved into a supporting character, a portal to the book’s adventures with a personality all its own.

     I wanted the reader to feel the rain, to see the wet streets, the soggy leaves on the trees. I’ve been accused of being overly descriptive at times but when it comes to Seattle I think it’s worth it. Here’s a little excerpt from the novel so you can see what I mean:

     It was raining, not an unusual occurrence in Seattle, and it suited Dakryma. This was his first time in the city but he could imagine being quite happy here. Seattle was young, only an infant in comparison to his beloved Sofia, but it seemed to have a depth of soul reserved for cities of much greater age. Maybe it was the romance of the scenery, the snowy mountains presiding over an island-dotted Sound, or the rain that didn’t so much fall out of the sky as float like a mist, settling like tiny crystals on the needles of the ubiquitous pines. Add to that an overall greyness, especially in late autumn, that was atmospheric and gloomy without being grim, and the place was like melancholy made manifest. Dakryma adored it. If only he could stay.

     Seattle is quirky. For one thing it is surrounded by water, Puget Sound on one side and sprawling Lake Washington on the other. Most people get there by bridge or ferry. It’s made up of many neighborhoods each with their own distinct personality. On the Verge takes place in a few of these. Hip Capitol Hill. Seedy, historic Pioneer Square. Granola Fremont. And a little of the University district. There are glorious mountain ranges just outside the city limits and my book makes a jaunt there, too.

     I do love other cities. There is no place like New York City with its energy, a feeling that makes you believe anything is possible. Paris is my soul city. Beautiful and grand; it oozes romance. But Seattle is my home, and the saying really is true, there’s no place like it.

     There’s just so much potential, so many places to explore even for someone who has lived here as long as I have. Yes there’s a lot of traffic and the rain can get tedious towards the middle of January, but it’s also just a bit magical, like you might actually meet those fantastical creatures I write about on your next Seattle getaway. I hope I conveyed some of that bewitching charm in the pages of On the Verge.

Freya is just a student at the University of Washington worried about grades and making her next tuition payment until a gorgeous succubus interrupts her post-exam latte with a proposition: come work for her boss, Seattle’s reclusive heiress and antiquities collector Imogen Beldame. Eagerly agreeing despite a nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach, Freya finds herself swept up in a deadly quest at the behest of her psychopathic new employer. Beldame has given her until Halloween to collect three magical pigments that hold the key to crafting mesmerizing portraits that can access the Verge, an undiscovered borderland on the edge of human reality, and the powerful beings that call it home.

Freya’s reluctant journey takes her to a goblin stronghold in the Cascades for the color blue, to the Seattle Underground to request the color red from Baba Yaga, and to the Fremont home of a beautifully gruesome Cambodian ahp, or spirit of the night, for the color yellow. Working together with Rusty, an enigmatically disfigured man intimately connected with the Verge, and a motley crew of mercurial demons and loyal friends, Freya must come up with a plan to stop Beldame and preserve the fragile balance between fantasy and reality that is at its most vulnerable on Halloween.

I'm a lifelong resident of Seattle. I married my Russia-born-America-raised high school sweetheart, and we have a four year old and a new little one born in February.

I like coffee shops, bookstores, dancing in my living room and singing in my car. The opening scene of Up always makes me cry. The Three Amigos always makes me laugh. Fashion magazines, croissants, and long, long baths are my guilty pleasures. They might occur separately or together. I prefer boxing classes to yoga, and I get some of my best ideas when I'm running. I loved school and spent more time than one really should getting a business degree in marketing and a master's in art history. In an ideal world I'd go to bed at 2am and wake up at 10am. I've never been an early bird, and I feel strongly that alarm clocks kill dreams.

Learn more about me and read my blog, Scriven by Garen, at

Friday, 13 November 2015

Spotlight! Mind the Gap - Tim Richards

He's been threatened by a knife-wielding maniac on a London train, interrogated by a mysterious warrior woman beneath the city's streets, pursued by a military death squad in Melbourne, had his new girlfriend kidnapped and held hostage in Prague, and been captured and taken to another world.

And it's barely been three days since his life started to fall to pieces.

On top of all this, he's developed a bizarre ability that allows him to teleport in quite unusual circumstances - an ability that several deadly enemies will do anything to gain control of.

In a desperate struggle involving alternate worlds, Egyptian mythology, ancient prophecy, malevolent felines, underground railway stations and the power of dreams, can Darius long survive the arrival of his newfound power?



Central London was a hectic location, but it held calm places, and Regents Park was one of these oases. A swathe of green cut through the centre, punctuated here and there by lakes and paths. It was a place to feed the ducks or to take a brief lunch-hour stroll.

Madeleine Taylor had been walking in the park as usual, a golden Labrador tugging against the lead in her hands. Dalrymple was her employer’s dog, but she was fond of him. Being a live-in housekeeper was tiring work, and Dalrymple gave her an excuse to get outside for a while. Sometimes she wondered if she’d done the right thing in moving from Swindon to London, but a walk in the park usually helped to dispel these doubts.

Madeleine eyed the ducks as she walked toward a bridge leading across the water, feeling Dalrymple’s ever-enthusiastic pull. Then suddenly he stopped, and she almost fell over him as he stood stock-still, staring into the trees beyond the shallow lake.

She walked past him and tugged the lead gently to get him moving again. But Dalrymple didn’t budge.

‘Come on, boy,’ she said, lightly. ‘We haven’t got all day.’

Then Dalrymple began to growl.

Madeleine was about to speak again, then stopped as she followed his line of sight. There was a glint of metal in the trees, then an explosion of activity as three figures burst into the open and began running toward her. Each of them carried a long black cylinder strapped to one arm.

Dalrymple jumped forward with a jerk, and Madeleine felt the lead snatched from her hand. She watched in silent horror as the dog leapt at the closest figure and grabbed it by the leg. Casually, only momentarily stopping his forward motion, the figure swung the cylinder down to connect with the dog’s head. There was a flash of light and the animal crumpled to the ground.

Madeleine started screaming. And she was still screaming when a beam of light from the second stranger’s weapon struck her. As she collapsed, falling into unconsciousness, she dreamily noted the profile of a dog with a pointed snout on the gleaming black surface of the leading figure’s mask.


Tim Richards is a freelance travel writer based in Melbourne, Australia. His writing has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and websites, and in Lonely Planet's guidebooks.



Tim will be awarding an eCopy of Mind the Gap to THREE randomly drawn winners!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Spotlight! Athena's Secrets - Donna Del Oro

What if you could read minds with just a touch? Would you be able to trust anyone?

Athena Butler, the twenty-year-old descendant of an ancient bloodline of psychics, yearns to lead a normal life. She wants a career, a boyfriend, independence. Her clairvoyant gift, however, has taught her that people can be false and dangerous. Although warned to keep her powers a secret, she's recruited by law enforcement to help search for a serial killer and uncover a terrorist cell.

She bonds with an intriguing, handsome man, Kas Skoros, who knows her secret and accepts it. Of the same bloodline, his mother is precognitive and predicts that they are meant to be together…some day. Kas, military veteran and Search and Rescue deputy, is skeptical and cynical-- life is too uncertain--but can't resist exploring his passion for Athena. Yet there are obstacles beyond their control.

Can Kas overcome these obstacles? Can Athena stay alive long enough to fulfill her dream?


“Got it.” She slowly mounted, excitement and fear surging through her. He counter-balanced her weight while she settled in back and clasped her arms around his waist.

“What did you think of your portrait?” She’d given the painting to his parents the night before and they’d hung it over the fireplace mantel after much ado.

He was silent as he backed up the Jet Ski and maneuvered a turnaround as he pointed the bow towards the open water. Before taking off across the lake, he worked the throttle a bit to juice up the engine. Then he turned his head to look at her. His guard was down. No stone wall this time.

“I liked it. You captured a side of me that I forgot was even there. I looked young, idealistic. I’d forgotten I was like that once. You’ve got a lot of talent, Athena.”

She’s a girl but looks like a woman. What would it be like to make love to her? She could even be the one Mom has foreseen in my future, or maybe not…don’t even go there, just Mom’s fantasy dream, wants me to settle down…Never mind, it’s all nonsense, even though it’s superstitious of me to refuse to ride in a car with Alex, my own brother…just bullshit the way Mom manipulates us… Might as well not tempt fate, she tells us…she’s right most of the time… Fate? Is this pretty girl my fate? Hell if I know…this girl, Athena, she’s like a magnet, no doubt she has a powerful pull on me… I’ve got such a hard-on for her…oh well, the cold water will take care of that soon enough… I’m a big boy, I can resist her if I want to…

Do I want to?

His thoughts and feelings revealed so much more than what he said. Now she knew he liked her. Very much. As much as she liked him.


Donna Del Oro lives in Northern California with her husband and three cats. She taught high school and community college English classes for 30+ years and is now happily retired. When not writing novels or reading voraciously, she travels and sings with the medal winning Sacramento Valley Chorus.

Donna is a member of Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento chapter of Sisters in Crime in addition to the Valleyrose chapter of the RWA. She has judged RITA entries and does developmental editing on the side. Two of her novels, Operation Familia and Born To Sing, have won national and international awards.

Follow clairvoyant artist Athena Butler in the next book in The Delphi Bloodline series: ATHENA’S QUEST.


Donna Del Oro will be awarding a print copy of Operation Familia or Born to Sing, to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a print copy of Operation Familia or Born to Sing to a randomly drawn host.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Spotlight! Paper Dolls - Ketley Allison

It’s too bad for Scarlet that no matter how sweet a person is, fate can still screw you over.

Now she’s jaded, half of her torn away and the remainder flesh and bones. In her grief, all Scarlet wants to do is to rebel against the life that betrayed her and her roommate provides the perfect lure…
Scarlet awakens when she enters the New York City underground, where vice and fortunes thrive. Hustling, trickery and savagery allow her to discover her true self—-her forgotten soul reemerging. She just can’t promise it’ll come back pure.

It won’t matter that there is a shadow in her periphery. Theo Saxon thinks he can save Scarlet from a world she craves and protect her from the very elements he’s spawned from. But it’s through his unwitting instruction that Scarlet will become a part of his league and find the danger he wants so badly to keep to himself.

Scarlet thinks the stakes are within her control. But she won’t just be betting her heart on Theo and his seductive sins. She will wager her life.

Ketley Allison began her creative career by writing books as birthday presents for her friends (with her friend as the main character and opposite a super sexy lead, of course) before ending it in order to walk down a path she thought she was supposed to follow.

The writing bug never left her—and, in fact, would often bleed into the official papers she was supposed to write—so now Ketley’s putting down her suit and finally following her dream. While her friends are no longer the stars of her books, she still throws in bits and pieces of them into each and every one of her characters.

As a result, her books tend to focus a lot on friendships as well as love, because let’s be honest, friends are what really get you through—especially when your epic love turns into epic heartbreak.

Website     Goodreads     Facebook     Twitter

Ketley Allison is giving away an 8G Kindle Fire as part of her blog tour!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Spotlight! All the Way to Heaven - Becky Doughty

Anica Tomlin, business major, has just learned that the man she’s been planning her future around, her Global Finance professor, already has a beautiful wife and family. Ani cashes in her graduation gift to herself a little early—a trip to Tuscany—but from the moment she boards the wrong train in Pisa, her plans for solitude and self-indulgence begin to unravel around her.

When a bicycle accident thrusts Ani into the skilled hands of the dashing Dr. Cosimo Lazzaro, she reluctantly accepts his invitation to recover in his family’s country villa, perched on a hilltop surrounded by the Lazzaro olive groves. But it’s been a black year for olive growers all over Italy, and generations of tradition are being put to the test like never before.

Ani is swept up in the drama of life in Tuscany, the convergence of old and new, and the passions that drive people to pursue the desires of their hearts. Just as Ani begins to get her feet under her again, an unexpected turn of events leaves her doubting the very existence of happily-ever-after, unless she can learn to trust the desires of her own heart.

Although All the Way to Heaven is a stand-alone novel, it is the first book in The Fallout Series, a collection of sweet contemporary romances that follow characters featured in the first book.

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Becky Doughty is the author of the best-selling Elderberry Croft series, The Gustafson Girls series, Waters Fall, and more. She’s also the voice behind BraveHeart Audiobooks. She writes Women’s Fiction with strong elements of romance, as well as Young Adult and New Adult Fiction. Becky’s favorite people are edge-dwellers, those who live on that fine line where hope and despair meet, where love is the only answer and grace becomes truly amazing. Becky is married to her champion of more than 25 years. They have three children, two of whom are grown and starting families of their own, and they all live within a few miles of each other in Southern California. They share their lives with too many animals, a large vegetable garden, and a strange underground concrete room they’re certain was built for dark and sinister purposes….

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Monday, 9 November 2015

Guest Post! Researching Life After Death -Courtney Houston

An Author's Journey: Researching Life After Death
Guest Post by Courtney Houston, author of Flicker

I don’t do much research in my writing. I even made up a city based on a real city, so I could make things up instead of having to actually find real street names and places. The ideas of what happens after we die was something that I DID actually research. 

In case you didn’t know, there are many theories on what happens when we die. Even outside of religion. Most ideas, have at least one thing in common: you go somewhere. Death terrifies me. I’m not sure if it’s the actual act of dying or the idea of no longer being here. Whatever the reason, I wanted to know more. 

There are two things that I have always believed in: Life after death and ghost. For the purposes of my series, the ideas of Heaven and Hell weren’t something that would work (we’ll go back to this later). So I took my research further to the beliefs of other cultures. The one that I found the most intriguing was The Summerland. 

The Summerland is mostly a pagan belief that when you die, your soul goes on to live in a land of eternal Summer. In some subsets of paganism they believe that you are reincarnated to live again and again until you live a life that is perfect enough for you to stay in the Summerland forever. 

This information set my mind off into a ton of ‘What Ifs’. What do the souls do while there? Is there TV or books in Summerland? Does everyone have their own or does everyone share one? Remember when I said we would go back to the Heaven and Hell thing? Here is it. What if when we die, our souls were sort of like temporary angels? 

That thought right there is where The Other, The Entities and the Souls came from. Even though the Summerland seemed like a great ideal to incorporate, it wasn’t everything that I needed it to be. So I mixed my lore. 

In the Defying Death Series, when you die, your souls is greeted by a Guide and taken to The Other. Once in The Other you are dropped off with the Watchers where you are in ‘review’. You basically watch a movie of your life and see where you went wrong and where you did the right things. If your life has been perfect (or perfect enough) you are allowed to continue on to the Summerland. If it hasn’t been, you are assigned a job while you wait for your reincarnation. 

There are 6 jobs that a soul ca be assigned:

Guides: Works for Death. They carry souls from this world to the afterlife when they die.

Couriers: Works for Life. They carry souls from the afterlife back to this world when it is time to reincarnate. 

Spinners: Works for Life. They determine people’s looks. 

Weavers: Works for Destiny. They determine people’s fates. 

Aligners: Works for Order. Their job is to help keep the balance of good acts vs. bad acts.

Meddlers: Works for Chaos. Their job is to shake things up a little.

After you are assigned a job, you are trained, then set off on your own to carry it out. How long you stay in The Other is completely dependent on 1) how long you were alive in your previous life 2) how good/bad you were in your previous life 3) how many times you have been reincarnated before.  

Example: If this is your 15th life, you were a mean person that kicked puppies and yelled at the wait staff, and you lived to be 105… you’re gonna do sometime in The Other. On the opposite side of that, if this is your first life, you told some white lies, cheated on a chemistry test, and lived to be 50… you’re not gonna spend that much time there. The first soul was season and should have known better, the second is new and still learning.

Instead of having an ultimate power, I have the Entities: Life, Death, Destiny, Chaos, and Order. Together, these 5 people control the universe. When Death takes a soul from Life, it has to give about 2.5 souls back. Death weighs a little heavier on the scales than life does. So Death doesn’t take whenever she wants, Destiny determines when and where the souls enter and leave. But wait, then Destiny is basically in charge. Enter Chaos and Order. Destiny can only determine a person’s life so much. You may be destined to be a millionaire, but how you get there is up to you… and those around you. Chaos and Order help determine if a person’s fate leads them to a better or worse version of their life.

So there it is Ladies and Gentleman, my convoluted and overly complicated explanation, research and findings of Life after Death. Thank you so much for stopping by and checking this out, I appreciate all of you!

Courtney lives in Kentucky with her husband (Mr. Houston), her two boys (Emmett and Ellis), her two cats (Polly and Jed) and her 3 chickens. Legal Assistant by day and writer by night, Courtney enjoys pancakes, coffee, wine and the number 26. She's a Leo, at least that's what the tattoo on her back says.


My name is Catalina Franklin. And I should be dead.

When Death called my number, sending one of her Guides to take my soul, she didn't count on one thing. The Guide she sent - He was made for me, and I for him. Pulling me back from the arms of Death, Telor changed my fate - and his. Now we're left with the question of not only how he's still here, but why. Will we get the answers we need? Or will Death find us first? Only time will tell...but ours is quickly running out.


Telor surveyed my room with a sad resigned smile, stopping to look at my pictures, running his hand over one of the many porcelain dolls on a shelf next to my dresser. I wondered what he was thinking, or if he would tell me the truth if I asked. The urge to comfort him was almost unbearable. Walking quietly over to him, I wrapped my arms around his middle and pulled him to me, resting my head on his back.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he answered, though his voice was far away. He might have heard the question, but he wasn’t listening.

“Liar,” I whispered. “Tell me.”

“Are you and your brother close?” he asked.

“We were. He’s dead,” I answered. I haven’t actually said that out loud for a long time. People were liars—it didn’t get easier. As much as it hurt to talk about Ollie, it hurt to watch Telor yearn for his lost ones more.  Ones he never really got to mourn. “He and my dad died in a car accident when I was eight. Oliver was only seventeen; he was nine years older than me.”

“Your mum?” he asked, his voice had gotten thicker. “She’s still around?”

I let out a short bark of humorless laughter. “She’s still alive. But my mother has been gone for a long time. When they died, she drowned her sorrow at the bottom of any bottle she could find. I remind her of the family she lost, so she can barely stand to look at me.”

Courtney will be awarding $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour! Enter Here: Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Bathory's Secret - Romina Nicolaides

The year is 1609 and fourteen year old Kati is taken to work at Csejthe Castle in Hungary, the home of Countess Erzsébet Báthory. Though fearsome rumors surround the Castle and its residents, she must take the job in order to keep the moneylenders at bay. 

Once there Kati is given the task of binding a series of old journals which hide a powerful secret about the Countess. As the months progress she discovers that her new mistress is cruel and dangerous but she is unable to leave without fear of retribution. She believes that the key to escaping the Countess hides within the diaries so with risk to her life she begins to read them. As a result, she is inadvertently thrust into an occult world of supernatural beings filled with romance, mystery, death and dogma and which threatens everything she holds dear unless she takes action... 

REVIEW: The story itself is a good one. It jumps between the protagonist Kati and her service to Erzsebet Bathory, and Theodora's journal entries. I think the introduction as a virus is a fresh spin on an old Vampire tale, and the author does a great job moving the story along. I was whisked away to Hungary, Venice, and Vienna—and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

This book would be five stars without its glaring issues with sentence structure, wording, and some confusing jumps between journal entries and the actual book chapters. I also had a problem believing Theodora would start a relationship with Vyktor after/during a series of violent rapes that occur. Had there been a smoother, longer progression to their relationship it might have been believable after some time—but not right out of the gate. I just cannot buy into a virginal rape victim getting into a romantic, sexual relationship while violent assaults are still occurring.

The flow of the story is hampered by overused words, oftentimes in the same sentences (which are never ending). For example: “Initially a grasping chill sets in, only it gets worse and worse until it permanently settles the body's core temperature to about thirty five degrees centigrade and leaves it permanently cold to the touch and extremely pale.” There we have permanently twice in a sentence that reads like a paragraph--and there are many, many more. Also, the body is normally 37.2C--so 35C isn't terribly convincing as a dramatic change in temperature, at least not to a lay reader.

There are a lot of these issues throughout, but I found it (mostly) forgivable in the context of a good story. I enjoyed reading well outside my usual genre and comfort zone, and thank the author for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.


Amazon Link:  Bathory's Secret: When All The Time In The World Is Not Enough (Affliction Vampires Book 1)

This post contains an affiliate link, which means that if you click on the Amazon link and buy the book, I may receive a commission.