Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Cursed Embrace Cover Reveal

I have reviewed Cecy Robson's work here on the site before, and I have enjoyed reading her writing a lot. So when she contacted me about a cover reveal I jumped on board. I love her work, and I think a lot of my readers will too, so here are some links to my other reviews of her work and some information about her new book! 

The Weird Girls Review (prequel novella) 
Sealed with a Curse Review (book 1)

Celia Wird and her three sisters are just like other twenty-something girls—with one tiny exception: They are the products of a curse that backfired and gave each of them unique powers that made them, well, a little weird.…

After Celia Wird and her sisters help master vampire Misha save his family, their powers are exposed to the supernatural community of the Lake Tahoe region. But fame comes at a price, and being “weird” isn’t always welcome.

To make matters worse, Celia desires the love of Alpha werewolf Aric, but his pack is bent on destroying their relationship to preserve his pureblood status. And once weres start turning up dead—with evidence pointing to the vampires—she must face the prospect of losing Aric forever. But the chaos only masks a new threat. An evil known as the Tribe has risen—and their sights are set on Celia and her sisters.

Cecy (pronounced Sessy) Robson is an author with Penguin's SIGNET ECLIPSE. She attributes her passion for story-telling back to the rough New Jersey neighborhood she was raised in. As a child, she was rarely allowed to leave the safety of her house and passed her time fantasizing about flying, fairies, and things that go bump in the night. Her dad unwittingly encouraged Cecy's creativity by kissing her goodnight wearing vampire fangs. Gifted and cursed with an overactive imagination, she began writing her Urban Fantasy Romance Series, Weird Girls, in May 2009. THE WEIRD GIRLS: A Novella and SEALED WITH A CURSE are now available. The second novel in The Weird Girls Series, A CURSED EMBRACE, releases July 2, 2013.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Soul Avenged Review

Passion is blind in vengeance an love... Ayden's surburban home was invaded by a pack of Lycans. The brutal attack is the only memory she carries of her former life. Now, one motive burns in her soul: KILL THEM ALL.

The Sons of Wrath--a brood of vengeance-dealing warrior demons--band with Ayden to hunt the Lycans on Detroit's most deadly feeding grounds. Kane Walker should've been her easiest kill. Unfortunately, the newly bitten Lycan has something she wants--clues that many finally lay her past to rest. To reach them, she must be willing to submit to the sensual pleasures awakened by his touch.

Time is running out. In seven days, Kane will become what Ayden despises most. She can halt his transformation but the antidote requires the ultimate sacrifice. As the beast takes hold, Kane becomes more of a threat. Ayden must choose between her lust for revenge, or surrender to her enemy and discover a horrible truth.

First off I want to say I really enjoyed the world that Keri developed for this book. It was really fun to go along for the ride with her cast of characters. One of things I think I appreciate the most though, was that a book about Lycans was not just a book with only Lycans. I love paranormal/urban fantasy books that don't limit themselves to just one type of supernatural. It's always so much more fun for me as a reader to see more than just one kind of supernatural, and I think it makes the world they all live in all the more complex and exciting.

Another thing I really like about this book is that there are multiple POVs in the book. I think multiple POVs can either be great or go horribly wrong. Keri did a great job with it though, it let me build great connections to the characters in her book, all the while it didn't leave me confused about who was talking or too overloaded with random information. It was really nice and refreshing to see it done so well.

Okay so now for the main characters, Ayden is a pretty strong chick. I love a strong butt kicking chick who doesn't spend her entire life moaning and whining over a guy, and Ayden totally fits that bill. I think another thing that makes her a great character is that she has a mission that is understandable to the reader. You can really understand from the beginning why she is the way she is, and it makes her story so much better, and as a reader it is so easy to form a connection with her. As for Kane, well you can't really help but like him. He has found himself in well not the best of situations, so that alone makes it easy to feel for him. And I think it also helps that Ayden and Kane together make this great combination that really makes the two of them pop off the page when they are together.

Keri also has a great cast of secondary characters, and I could tell you all about each and every one of them, but for me I think the secondary characters add this great dimension to the book and I don't want to ruin them for you. Overall I have to say it was a really enjoyable read, and a pretty solid foundation for the series. You can tell with this first book that this series is going to just get better as it goes along, so check it out!

For more information on the author Keri Lake, check out Keri's website

To read an excerpt click below!

Keri Lake Guest Post

Adding Depth To A Flat Character

Had I attempted to publish some of my very first stories, I suspect I’d be getting a whole heck of a lot of negative reviews.  Not because the plot wasn’t juicy enough or the grammar sucked, but because my characters were about as lively as nuns at a wet t-shirt contest. 

I had this fear that if I gave them vices, the reader would be turned off and quite possibly have me committed.  So I wrote these perfect people in perfect lives that stumble upon a road bump.  No real tension or conflict going on here.  Just existing.  This wasn’t really writing, not to me at least, because I was holding back a little bit.  Okay, a lot.  The truth was, these characters had a whole hell of a lot going on inside my head—drug abuse, depression, and language that would make the Osbournes blush—but I tamped them down and refused to let those pieces be a part of their personality.  Why?  Because I thought my characters and their exciting adventures would stand on their own and leave the reader feeling satisfied in spite of their wholesome selves.

Aside from the obvious, one of the bigger reasons why this was such a monumental writing fail, is the fact that I was lying to myself while the whole time.  These weren’t the same people chattering inside my head.

When I crack a book open, I’m looking for danger, conflict, and only resolution at the end of a harrowing journey.  I want characters that are so extreme from what I already know, that they grab me and pull me under, leaving me breathless while I refuse to come up for air until I KNOW that something is going to go right for them.  In romance, it’s a given that someone’s going to end up happy in the end, so the journey in between sure as hell better offer some surprises that make me forget the forthcoming pink bow, sealed with a kiss.

The more extreme a character, the more thrilling the conflict, the more satisfying the resolution.  So these days when I write, I try not to hold anything back and let the personality inside my head unfurl into the story as it was meant to.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Bruthas by J.L. Whitehead

What would you do if you were indirectly responsible for the deaths of several women in your neighborhood? What is a psychopath used your neighborhood as his stalking ground? This is the story of three brothers: Jair, the successful attorney in one of Philadelphia's top law firms, Ryan, the IT professional that is struggling with his sexual identity, and Nate, the dealer that has risen to one of the highest ranks in drug distribution ring based in a North Philadelphia neighborhood known as The Block. A series of murders takes place in The Block, and nothing is being done about it because the women that are being killed are addicted to the product that Nate sells. 

This is a book that really revolves around family and the choices that people make. This review was requested by the author, and to be completely honest this is not a book that I would normally read. It's not that book isn't interesting or doesn't have decent plot lines, because it does, it just wasn't my cup of tea. 

One of the biggest problems I had with this book was the amount of people in the book to keep track of. While I appreciate a wide variety of characters, let's face it every book needs a variety of characters, this one just had to many to not only keep track of but to bond with. I felt like i didn't have enough time or in-depth insight into the characters in order for me to really have a strong investment in them. 

One thing that was pretty good about this book though was the pacing. One of my biggest problems with books is when they feel like they are dragging on and and I just can't get into the storyline. Thankfully this book did not suffer from that affliction. The pacing was pretty fast paced, even from the beginning, and it's possible that it felt fast pace because there were so many characters and things going on with those characters, but I think it works for the reader in that it keeps them interested in the book. 

I wanted to mention that the author did a pretty good job with keeping the book as close to reality as possible. There is no sensationalized drug culture or making it out to be this amazing experience, it is shown for what it really is, a dog eat dog world. There were a couple of issue with some formatting things, but they aren't big or annoying, and I don't think it detracts from the story at all. 

Like I said earlier this book is not really my cup of tea, so I am going to give it a good rating because all the right components are there and I think the book can easily find an audience that will enjoy the book. The one thing that did bother me is that the book really didn't have an ending. It is a two part book, but even with books in a series or a trilogy or what have you, they need a good ending point where the reader can be satisfied until the next book comes out. I felt like this book just kind of ended. If you are looking for a book about family and all the elements that go along with that, in an urban setting, I think this would be a book you would enjoy. 


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Michele Drier Guest Post

I Owe it all to My Daughter

Although I tell people I don’t read much in the paranormal genre, years ago I read a series about the vampire colony living underground in L.A.
I buried the author’s name and the titles but remembered the basic plot, so the vamps made an impression that came back when my daughter said “Write a vampire book!”
I’d just contracted for my first book, a traditional mystery, and was planning the second when my daughter and her husband started hammering on me about the undead. They both read, voraciously. Between them, they have three Nooks and four Kindles, plus iPhones, iPads and computers. They’re so wired in they just bought their two-year-old a Kindle for games and kids’ show and she calls it her book. A little scary!
With all these reading devices (plus books) scattered around, I figured they were au courant on the hot literary trends so I listened when my son-in-law said, “Go into any bookstore and see the size of the mystery section. Then look at the paranormal section. Then decide.”
I started reading. Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Karen Moning. And then I picked up Kelly Armstrong and was hooked. These guys were writing involved, intricate books full of imagination and other worlds.
But I was a mystery writer. How could I find a hook? I batted around a few ideas (lame) with my daughter until she said, “You’re over-thinking this. Look at celebrities. They all wear oversized dark glasses, don’t come out much during the day, ride around in limos with tinted windows...they could all be vampires.”
And SNAP, the world’s biggest and best international conglomerate of celebrity gossip was born
I also dredged the underground colony from my mind and discovered that my protagonist, a regular named Maxie Gwenoch, had heard all the vampire rumors while at UCLA.  They continue to this day.
The Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency lists the Sunset strip area of L.A. and Hollywood as one of the five mostly likely places in the United States to find vampires, due to the crush of nightlife activity.
Google some combination of vampires, L.A., night, underground and up come more than 10,000,000 hits, including a Meetup listing of groups in the L.A. area having to do with vampires in some way.
There are vampire nightclubs, vampire bands, vampire games and a listing for “real vampires in L.A.” Clearly, my daughter was on to something.
I did some research, then imagined my vampires, the Kandesky and Huszar families, in different ways.
Over their 500-year history, the Kandeskys have given up killing and found ways to feed themselves non-violently. They also found a love of wealth, and amassed a fortune from their businesses, which only grew once they went into celebrity journalism. And when Maxie goes to work for SNAP she finds the truth about all those L.A. vampire rumors!
Now I listen with a little tinge of fear when my daughter suggests something. All I am now is due to her!

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home.  During her career in journalism — as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers – she won awards for producing investigative series.
Her mystery Edited for Death, called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review is available at Amazon. She’s working on the second book in the Amy Hobbes Newspaper mysteries, Labeled for Death, out in spring 2013.
Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, is available in ebook, paperback and audible at Amazon.  The first two books, SNAP: The World Unfolds, and SNAP: New Talent, received 4 stars from PRG.  The third, fourth and fifth books, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder  and SNAP: Love for Blood rated 5 stars. The first four books are available in a boxed set at Amazon, B&N and Kobo. She’s writing SNAP: Happily Ever After? for release in summer 2013 and a seventh book in late fall 2013.

One lucky commenter will receive a copy of her set of books seen above! Good luck to everyone!