Monday, April 30, 2012

INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Carrie Ann Ryan


Carrie Ann Ryan is the author of the Redwood Pack Series, with a new series due out this year. While there will be seven books each, she’ll also put out a novella here and there, just for her readers. So far she’s got three books and a novella out for the Redwood Pack. I have reviews for An Alpha’s Path and A Taste for a Mate up, with Trinity Bound and A Night Away coming soon!

Carrie Ann was nice enough to answer a few questions for me today, and she’s also got an excerpt from the recently released, A Night Away, to share with us! Walk with me as I talk with her and the Redwood Pack stars from the first two books!


*Carrie Ann and Buffy walk around the Redwood Pack den. Jasper, Willow, Kade, and Melanie trail behind them*

Carrie Ann: Thanks, Buffy, for coming. I love it here.
Buffy: So do I, it’s beautiful! So, what got you started in writing?
Carrie Ann: I started writing because after reading so much romance, I couldn’t stop the voices in my head LOL.

Buffy: Indie or traditional publishing and why?
Carrie Ann: Both! I don’t care what type of publishing, as long as it produces quality work, I’m happy.

Buffy: Why werewolves, and not werecats or some other shifter?
Carrie Ann: Since this was my first series, I wanted to go with something I felt comfortable with. I’ve always loved wolves, so this seemed like the logical choice for me. But my next series, Dante’s Circle, has just about every species imaginable.

Buffy: We’ve got werewolves and demons, are there going to be any other paranormal creatures showing up throughout the series?
Carrie Ann: There are witches in this universe, and you’ll meet Hannah in book 3 in Trinity Bound. But other than that, not so much.
Buffy: Good to know. Thanks so much Carrie Ann! *Smiles and walks over to Jasper and Willow*

Buffy: *Facing Jasper* How’s it feel to be an uncle? Are you more or less excited and/or scared of becoming a father?
Jasper: *grins* Finn is an amazing little boy. Kade and Mel should be proud. *smiles at his brother and sister-in-law* As for our baby? *places his palm on Willow’s stomach* I’m…excited, nervous, scared, and ready. You know what I mean?

Buffy: Yeah I can imagine! Have you stepped up security now that you’re at war with the Centrals?
Jasper: *furrows brows* Yes. It’s a must. We’re still looking for better ways to protect the Pack though.

Buffy: How’s Maddox doing with Reed and Adam out there?
Jasper: Not well. But really, are any of us?

Buffy: Has Adam checked in at all, or are you just waiting for whether or not they come home?
Jasper: *shakes his head* No, not yet. He can’t. But we can still feel his presence in the Pack.

Buffy: *Turning to Willow* Are you coping well after all the things you’ve experienced at the hands of the Centrals? No trouble sleeping or anything?
Willow: *smiles and leans into Jasper* I sometimes have nightmares. *Jasper growls* But I do better with Jasper by my side.

Buffy: How’s the pregnancy going?
Willow: *holds her round stomach* Amazingly well. I can’t wait to be a mom.

Buffy: Have you had any problems with any other pack members?
Willow: *shakes her head* Not anymore. Not since Camille…left us…

Buffy: How’s the bakery going? I bet it’s a huge hit with the pack.
Willow: *grins* Oh yes! Though now that I’m getting so big, I have to cut back. You’d think the Pack would be upset about that, but no. They just pamper me more. *laughs* This Pack loves children.

Buffy: How’s the rest of the family with everything that’s going on?
Willow: Good, I believe. Well…as good as to be expected.

*Kade and Mel walk up*

Buffy: *To Jasper and Kade* How do you guys feel about humans, like myself, knowing about y’all without having mated into it?
Kade: I’d love for everyone to know. But it’s too much.
Jasper: For everyone to know, it would be a mess. People don’t like what they don’t understand.

Buffy: Do you have to deal with anyone still griping about the fact that your mates were originally human?
Kade: *shakes head* No. They’re our mates and are well loved.

Buffy: What measures are you taking to try to deal with the demon threat the Centrals have brought on?
Jasper: We have strengthened the wards and put more on patrols. We’ll make it through.

Buffy: *Anxious to change the subject* Ladies! What’s it like to be werewolves? I bet it’s so much cooler than your human days lol.
Willow: *laughs* It’s different to have a wolf in your brain all the time. But nice.

Buffy: I know the transition was tough, but since then, has the adjustment been easy?
Mel: It’s been better since then.

Buffy: Having mated the Heir and Beta, is there any jealousy you deal with from pack females?
Willow: There are always looks, but I think everyone is happy for us.

*Jasper walks up and pulls Willow to him* We need to go now. *Growls playfully* I need to take care of my mate.
*Willow blushes* Bye you guys.

Buffy: *Turns to Kade and fails to keep the grin off her face* How’s the proud papa doing? Getting any sleep yet?
Kade: *smiles* Sleep? What’s that?

Buffy: How much harder is it for you to cope with the Centrals war now that you have a family of your own to think of?
Kade: *growls* I’ve always had a family to take care of, but now that it’s my mate and son….I don’t know what I’d do if the Centrals came for them.

Buffy: How has the baby changed your and Melanie’s life? Do you still have *cough* quality time *wink*, or does Finn demand all your time?
Kade: *growls* Next question?

Buffy: *Quickly taking the hint and moving on!* Will Finn’s werewolf heritage affect his development? Will he grow faster or slower or anything than an average human would?
Kade: He’ll grow normally. The only difference is around three, he’ll be able to shift.

Buffy: Neat! Melanie, I’ve heard you’re growing into your role as Alpha female, but how do you feel about it?
Mel: It’s worthwhile. I never thought I’d be good in a leadership role. But it’s not about making orders, no, it’s about making sure your Pack is well cared for.

Buffy: How’s motherhood treating you?
Mel: Tiring, but I love my Finn.

Buffy: As the first baby in the generation for the Jamensons, does everyone dote on him?
Mel: Oh yes! He’s a spoiled little baby. But he’s my baby.

Buffy: Do you and Larissa still spend much time together? I would think it’d be even easier now that you’re both mated into the pack.
Mel: Yes and no. We do dinner every week, but we’re both more busy now with the Centrals around.

Buffy: I would imagine. So, I hear you and Kade have a romantic little night away planned. Care to share what’s in store?
Mel: Oh, well, Kade and I needed time for just the two of us, so he’s taking me out. *blushes* I don’t know what he has in store for me.

Buffy: *giggles* Well, it’s been so awesome to meet with you guys, and thank you so very much for having me! It has been absolutely surreal, and the land is gorgeous. I sincerely hope that the battle with the Centrals is over quickly, with little blood spilt, and that you get your brothers back home safely. I look forward to meeting with you again sometime, and learning more about your siblings’ lives. I have no doubt you’ll all get your happy endings, I just pray no one has to go through hell for it!



Carrie Ann Ryan is a bestselling paranormal and contemporary romance author. After spending too much time behind a lab bench, she decided to dive into the romance world and find her werewolf mate - even if it’s just in her books. Happy endings are always near - even if you have to get over the challenges of falling in love first.

Her first book, An Alpha's Path, is the first in her Redwood Pack series. She's also an avid reader and lover of romance and fiction novels. She loves meeting new authors and new worlds. Any recommendations you have are appreciated. Carrie Ann lives in New England with her husband and two kittens.

Carrie Ann loves hearing from readers. You can find her at: Website/Heartthrob Haven/Facebook/Twitter.




A Night Away Now Available!

Kade Jamenson has been mated to Melanie for almost two years. They’ve been through mating circles, battles, loss, misunderstandings, and finally, the birth of their son, Finn. The world is in turmoil around them as the Redwoods engage in war with the Centrals. But for Kade and Melanie, the turmoil is also happening at home. The responsibility of a restless baby and their Pack has taken a toll and they need a break.

Not from each other. But from their Pack. Just for a night.

Kade takes Mel away for a romantic getaway and leaves Uncle Maddox alone with baby Finn. The Omega of the Redwood Pack may be adept at emotions but the idea of a baby may be beyond his immense capabilities.

*Author’s Note: This is a novella set between books 3 and 4 to give you a taste of Mel and Kade. It is best that you have already immersed yourselves in the Redwood Pack world, however even new readers will enjoy a glimpse of one of the Redwood’s favorite couples.*




Excerpt!

Kade Jamenson closed his eyes and prayed for resolution. A piercing shriek startled him, making him jump to his feet.

Finn.

Finn. His eleven-month-old son, who wouldn’t stop screaming, no matter what they did. The kid always needed something, either to be fed, changed, held, burped, played with, or just stared at. It seemed never ending. Even now that he was older, he still screamed or babbled constantly.

Dear God. How the hell did humans do this? Kade had more endurance than any human, witch, and most werewolves out there. Yet a tiny fifteen-pound baby with big blue eyes took every ounce of strength he possessed. Not to mention sleep time.

Kade groaned and rolled his neck before he walked into his son’s room. He and Melanie had painted the room in a soft green to match the Jameson eyes and added cream borders to break it up. Dark wood furniture filled the room along with cream linens covered with frog princes and bumblebees. Stuffed animals of every sort covered the tops of most pieces of furniture, gifts from his Pack and family, who cherished Finn like their own son. He took another step in and realized he hadn’t been the first one to answer his son’s call.


**To celebrate the interview, I'm giving away some SWAG! There will be 2 winners, and the pack will include 2 signed Redwood Pack bookmarks, 1 signed Dust of my Wings bookmark, 1 Carrie Ann Ryan magnet, and 1 signed Carrie Ann Ryan info card (which is beautiful btw!). Just fill out the Rafflecopter below and you're entered to win!**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 29, 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY - SEVEN

This tidbit comes from my new WIP, as yet untitled.  I do think I'll be calling it the Power Surge series though...we'll see.  It's another YA project, so yes all the characters are teenagers, but hey, at least that means more hormone driven activities lol.

Jon appeared next to couch in the blink of an eye, startling them apart.  “Alright you two, get a room.” Jon said.

“Uh, we kinda had one, jerk. You’re the one who came into it.” Bryan replied, before kissing Christa again, though she still had her hand over her heart, trying to recover.  She should be used to Jon’s teleporting by now, and yet she still jumped every time he appeared out of nowhere.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

REVIEW: Craved by Stephanie Nelson

Recap:

Gwen Sparks just wants a peaceful life, but that hope is dashed when she reads about a dead witch. She volunteers to help out in the investigation, using her ability to read the memories of the dead, leading her to team up with her ex. Dealing with a ghost that randomly pulls her into the deathly realm and fighting her desire for a frustrating, but sexy vampire, Gwen is in for a bumpy ride.

Title:  Craved
Series:  Gwen Sparks
Book #: 1
Author:  Stephanie Nelson
Approximate Book Length:  216 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

The book is written from Gwen’s point of view, so we get to follow along with everything as if we were living it, which is how I like it. We’re set in a supernatural town, Flora, so there are all kinds of magic and powerful creatures for us to get in trouble with. Gwen herself is a witch, so when witches start turning up dead, this is of great concern to her. She also has the rare gift of being able to see the memories of the dead, with the help of her faithful cat. This comes in handy to help out with the investigation, however this also brings her much too close to her ex, being that he’s leading said investigation. In addition to that, the ghost of one of the victims won’t leave her alone, and keeps dragging her into the deathly realm, robbing her of much needed rest, and often leaving her with more questions than answers.

Besides the mystery part of the story, we have the romance aspect. There’s all kinds of spicy tension with her ex, but there’s also the sexy, infuriating, and very cocky vampire, Aiden. He has vowed that it’s only a matter of time before Gwen is his. Naturally this creates disputes between those that would protect her, or seek her for themselves.

The overall plot is very good, with a few twists that you don’t see coming, but there are also the predictable ones. The love triangle thing is handled pretty well with only the occasional urge to slap someone upside the head. I did feel that maybe Gwen gave into Aiden a little easily, but then he’s pretty hot, so I can’t say how long I would’ve held out either *grin*.

My only issue is that while there’s a whole world of creatures to choose from, we still primarily deal only with witches (and warlocks), shape shifters, and vampires. I’m hoping she gets more of the others involved in the next book!

In Conclusion:

Stephanie Nelson weaves a story with a lot of spice, plenty of mystery, and a good dose of paranormal man candy. Don’t miss out on this book!

Rating:



Links:



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

REVIEW: A Taste for a Mate by Carrie Ann Ryan

Recap:

As Pack Beta, Jasper Jamenson’s only duty is to protect the pack, and he’s been selflessly devoted to that duty for a century. Meeting Willow Delton has driven him to distraction, and that distraction could prove fatal for the woman he’s only barely begun to know. Forced into a mating neither of them were yet prepared for, can they overcome the obstacles that presents, and save each other from the evil they now know hunts them?

Title:  A Taste for a Mate
Series:  Redwood Pack
Book #: 2
Author:  Carrie Ann Ryan
Approximate Book Length:  189 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Explicit

Thoughts:

This book brings you all of the things missing from the first, as well an atmosphere that’s a bit darker than the before. There’s more character development and depth, more exposition about the wolves and their culture, and we now have a long term conflict that I expect will span over at least one more sequel, if not more.

The prologue presents a twisted rival that ushers in an evil that will threaten to end the Redwood Pack entirely. Then we meet Willow, just as Jasper gets the nerve to ask her out after going in to her bakery every day to see her. On that very same day, Jasper’s enemies take Willow just to spite him. She has a traumatic entry into their world, one Jasper hopes they can overcome, especially since in rescuing her, he was forced to mark her as his mate. This only provides a whole new level of obstacles for them to overcome.

Jasper introduces Willow to his family, and they all do their best to acclimate her to the Pack and their ways. She fits in surprisingly well and everything seems so good for a while, until the looming threat shows its ugly head again. When Jasper says something stupid, Willow ends up hurt and walks out on him – straight into evil hands.

Surviving leads to a new life, but one filled with war and fear. She needs to learn a lot, including how to trust again. Her new family eventually makes her feel safe again, just in time for that war to catch up with them again. Betrayal, death, and the loss of one of their own lead to a heartbreaking cliffhanger ending.

I enjoyed this story more than Kade’s, even with the darker undertones. We get to see more of Kade and Melanie, and meet Jasper’s entire family. We learn more about werewolf culture, as well as how a person may become a werewolf. We also learn that, despite their long life and animal instincts, they’re also human and make mistakes. When Adam stands up for Willow after Jasper behaves rashly, I was rooting for him, despite my ties to Jasper as the hero of this book. Have tissues, because I cried at a few points in this book, particularly when we learn of Adam’s history, and Willow’s future.

I felt this needed some more editing, but other than that my only real problem with this one was that I felt the Pack was too lenient after everything the Central Pack had done. Security didn’t seem as tight as I would’ve thought and regardless of technicalities, I would have expected some retribution, or at least for them to try to be more proactive when the war really began.

In Conclusion:

Everything I felt was missing from the first book was present here, including some follow-up on our original couple. Carrie Ann Ryan takes you on an emotional and sexy ride, and I can’t wait to see Reed’s story in the next installment!

Rating:



Links:



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

INTERVIEW: Lacey Weatherford


Lacey Weatherford writes pretty lighthearted and very sweet books, and she’s a big part of the writing community online and on Facebook, and I’m very happy she could sit down and answer a few questions for me.

She’s most known for her series Of Witches and Warlocks, but is also getting into YA contemporary romance with her latest release of Chasing Nikki. She’s also going to debut a new spinoff series later this year Of Witches and Demons. Check out my review of book 1 in the Of Witches and Warlocks series here.

Despite being super busy with the RT convention in Chicago recently, she took the time to let me learn more about her work. You can do the same by reading below…


BK: Was The Trouble with Spells your first published work?
LW: Yes, it was. I did it kind of on a fluke after some of my family members read it and thought I should try to get it published. I signed with the first publisher to offer me a contract, and had a horrible experience with them. I spent the next year trying to get out of that contract and learn everything I could about the industry. I met some great people along the way who helped me, so when I was finally able to buy out my contract for the first book, that was when things really started taking off for me.

BK: How amazing did it feel when it raced to the top of the bestsellers list on Smashwords?
LW: Actually, I've had most of my success as a number one best seller on Amazon, though I have been featured at number one several times on Smashwords as well. I think all six of my books have been number one on both Amazon and Smashwords actually, but Amazon is definitely the place where the most action is happening for me personally. It's a crazy feeling. I'm glad people love the books so much. My last two releases, #5 in the Of Witches and Warlocks series, Possession of Souls, and my first young adult contemporary romance book, Chasing Nikki, both hit number 1 on the first day of their release. That was a pretty incredible feeling. I'm just so grateful to all my readers who have been so supportive of me.

BK: There are currently 5 in the series, are you planning on continuing the series?
LW: Book 5 is the last book in the Of Witches and Warlocks series. The next will be a spinoff series, Of Witches and Demons, and the first book in that will be called Slayer. It's scheduled for October of this year. There will also be a sequel to Chasing Nikki, called Finding Chase, which is scheduled for December.

BK: I've noticed that you seem to get inspiration for characters from the people around you. Who was the inspiration for Portia and Vance?
LW: Actually, Portia is just a figment of my imagination. I didn't really base her on anyone, though she does have some similar attributes of my oldest daughter. Vance was based on actor Matt Lanter, (90210, Vampires Suck, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) in looks and mannerisms. I'd seen him once briefly on television, and I guess he made an impression, because the instant I thought of the character his image popped into my head. I went out and bought all his movies and watched all his television shows so I could write him. Matt has been great with everything, leaving comments for my readers on my blog tours, donating signed pics for giveaways and stuff. If you aren't watching him, you should, because he's awesome!

BK: What made you write about magic?
LW: I've been fascinated with magic and witches ever since I was a very little girl. I used to ask to be a witch or a fairy for almost every Halloween. My favorite shows as a child were Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. I also loved reading any kind of paranormal books with ghosts and things like that. I've never lost that fascination as I grew up, always searching out books and movies of the same variety.

BK: We've all done silly stuff as teenagers. I know I used to try to do spells and such. Did you? (If so) How'd that work out? Any fun stories?
LW: I remember constantly playing with my cousing and pretending to do magic things when I was younger. I most wished I was magical when I had to clean my room! It would have been so convenient! That actually made it into The Trouble with Spells. I read books on spells and stuff, but I don't think I ever tried to cast one myself. Most of that stuff was while I was a child. When I was a teenager, I discovered the magic of boys and my attention was completely diverted toward them! Haha.

BK: Do you ever have conversations with your characters in your head as you write?
LW: Not while I'm writing so much, but Vance was a REALLY chatty character, usually when I went to bed. I remember telling him to shut up on several occasions! haha I finally started keeping my laptop by my bed at night so I could wake up in the middle of the night and write things down. Vance never cared where I was or what I was doing. He was always talking in my head. I secretly thing he may be an undiagnosed personality of mine! hahaha Chase was a much more well mannered character. He didn't talk while I was sleeping, or maybe I was too exhausted to notice if he did. LOL!

BK: You get us all invested in the couple, then put them through hell! Does it break your heart too as you write about the climax of the conflict?
LW: It's always hard to put my characters through the wringer. A lot of times I'm drawing a little bit from the emotion of my personal experiences. It's not uncommon for my family to walk into my office and find me weeping over whatever I'm working on. Those feelings are very real to me, and I love my characters like they are real people so my heart breaks for them when they go through tough trials. I have apologized to my characters for things I put them through. I've always joked that if I actually met Vance in a dark alley it might be wise for me to run the other direction! Ha. But every good story has good conflict, right? So that's my rationalization for sending my poor characters to hell and back again.



Lacey Weatherford was born in Ft. Meade Maryland while her father was serving in the military. She has been a life long resident of Arizona, spending most of her time growing up in the small rural town of Clay Springs.

It was while she was attending the small country school in Clay Springs, that she read her first "big" book at the age of eight. It was a Nancy Drew novel and Lacey was instantly hooked. She read every book that she could find in the series and decided that she wanted to write stories too.

Lacey spent a lot of time at the library from that time forward, even volunteering in her later teen years and early twenties. She would don a crazy clown outfit for the Friends of the Library fundraisers in an effort to help get the new town library built.

When she and her husband moved away from the area, Lacey took the opportunity to take some creative writing classes at the local college to help further along her interests. Several years later, they were blessed with the opportunity to move back to Clay Springs with their family. The town had finally succeeded in building their library and Lacey had the opportunity to be President of the Friends of the Library for a very short time, before relocating.

Lacey and her family still live in the White Mountains of Arizona, where she continues to write young adult novels that have a fantasy/fairytale or paranormal bent to them, as well as being sure to include a great romantic storyline!

Find her here.



The Trouble With Spells Now Available!

Portia Mullins had always lived the life of a normal teenager, up until her sixteenth birthday. She is then informed by her grandma that she is actually a witch whois a descendant of a long line of witches and warlocks. After overcoming her disbelief she finds that being a member of the coven comes with one great perk in the form of the school's handsome bad boy, Vance Mangum. Vance and Portia have an immediate connection as a budding romance begins, only to be threatened by turbulent skies on the horizon as Vance's checkered past rears its ugly head to haunt them. Portia is forced to use her untried powers in defense of everything she loves in a desperate attempt to hold on to the one thing that really matters in her life.



Sunday, April 22, 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY - SIX

Once again from EBA. Potentially scary situation, then suddenly not so scary anymore...

After dinner, we settled in to watch a movie. I usually need something to do like a word puzzle, a game on my phone, have munchies, or else I get bored and fall asleep. Sure enough, without anything else in front of me, I fell asleep half way through, and when my parents tried to wake me after the movie had ended, I became only semi-conscious. I could hear them speak to me, feel their gentle efforts, but could not respond for the life of me. I felt strange, heavy, like something was pressing me into stillness. Then I saw him in my minds eye, and forgot about everything else.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

REVIEW: An Alpha's Path by Carrie Ann Ryan

Recap:

Melanie is a chemist who has spent most of her adult life behind a lab bench. Her best friend decides she needs to loosen up and live a little before starting her dream job, setting her up on a blind date. Kade’s a sexy werewolf who just needs a night off from his responsibilities and agrees to this blind date, only to find himself sitting across from his mate. Will Mel change her life and leave everything she’s ever known for him?

Title:  An Alpha's Path
Series:  Redwood Pack
Book #: 1
Author:  Carrie Ann Ryan
Approximate Book Length:  81 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Explicit

Thoughts:

This book is a nice little quickie! It starts off with Mel’s BFF telling her how much she needs to get laid and trying to talk her into a blind date. Then we move right onto said date. It’s sweet and hot, providing a very satisfying experience for them both, until morning comes. I can’t decide what really fuels the spark in the conflict more, him not telling her he was a werewolf, or the moment he does tell her. One hurts her, and the other scares her, but the result is the same either way…she runs.

Then they’re faced with another problem – that is, another werewolf – claiming Melanie for himself, and from Kade’s own pack even! The ensuing showdown still does nothing to help Mel sort anything out, and everyone winds up miserable. It gets better though when others conspire to give them a good kick in the ass to reconcile the situation.

The character building was lacking a bit, and it started off pretty slow, but it was only slow to start because we’re given a fair helping of sex first, so I suppose I will let that one slide *devilish grin*. The fight over potential mates seemed a little silly and barbaric though, but then I’m not a werewolf with age-old traditions and more baser, primal instincts to contend with.

In the end, while I enjoyed the book, I think it would have been worth adding a little more length to the book to include more character development and world building.

In Conclusion:

A little on the short side, An Alpha’s Path is still a sweet story about acceptance, respect, and responsibility, and is worth checking out!

Rating:



Links:



Thursday, April 19, 2012

GraveTells Updates

So check it!  I'm catching up on my reviews, and even branching out over at GraveTells!  There's a review for A Lady of the Realm by Sharon E Mamolo, a review for A Hint of Frost by Hailey Edwards, and an interview with Hailey Edwards as well.  Coming soon after is a review for The Fallen Queen by Jane Kindred and more!

Woohoo!  And people thought I would be bored when I quit my job, HA! *grins like a fool*

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

REVIEW: The Trouble With Spells by Lacey Weatherford

Recap:

Portia Mullins is a normal fifteen year old girl until she gets the shock of her life on her sixteenth birthday and is thrust into a world of magic she never could have imagined. There to help guide her is the school’s mysterious bad boy, who just happens to have a special connection with her. But Vance has a nasty past that catches up with them both, and Portia will have no other choice but to find out what kind of power she really holds.

Title:  The Trouble With Spells
Series:  Of Witches and Warlocks
Book #: 1
Author:  Lacey Weatherford
Approximate Book Length:  304 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  16+
Sexual Content:  Mild

Thoughts:

The book starts off with a brief passage from Vance’s point of view, then switches to two years later from Portia’s point of view. While it’s the only part we see from Vance’s POV, and it’s really very brief, it starts the ball rolling on the connection between Vance and Portia from the very start. And what a connection it is! We spend some time in the everyday life of Portia, and we tag along as she discovers the truth about herself on her sixteenth birthday, and learns about the boy who’s had all the girls swooning since the moment he stepped on campus. We see their relationship grow ever closer, and struggle through the awkward and just plain tough moments. The big question is: will it be enough to save them from the evil that now hunts them?

The neat thing is that because we’re reading from Portia’s POV, and she’s just discovering the world of magic, it presents the author with the opportunity to character build, world built, and push the plot along without extraneous exposition. I call that a well designed story. The love story is incredibly sweet, and tackles hard questions, such as sex, while remaining realistic and honorable. I think it’s a great book for teens based on that alone! The magic is neat, if a tad convenient. I am a fan of shows like Charmed, movies like Practical Magic, and books like Significance, so the way magic was presented as well as some characteristics of Portia and Vance’s relationship made me think of all of them combined, which is totally cool.

A minor complaint I have is that the passage of time was occasionally a little unrealistic or hard to follow. When months have supposedly passed, I didn’t feel the couple showed the changes you would expect from having been together that long. But ultimately, it’s not something you notice often, nor does it really take away from the story.

In Conclusion:

Overall, I have to say I very much enjoyed the book. It’s a powerful tale that draws you in and gets you emotionally invested, then pulls the rug out from under you with the exciting climax without leaving you completely devastated. It was a pretty awesome book, and I look forward to the next one!

Rating:



Links:



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

INTERVIEW: Jennifer James


Jennifer James is a very dear friend of mine, despite having known her for all of 3 months. When I decided to start doing author interviews, who better to start with? I’m also extremely, super, mega excited for her upcoming release, and first published work, Love Kinection! You can see the cover and blurb below, as well as get a peek at the stars *wink*.

She’s a student, a wife, a mom, a writer, and she’s in the midst of editing hell (or so I like to call it), so needless to say – Jenn’s a very busy woman! Given that, I decided to just send her a few questions for her to answer at her leisure. Ha! Yeah, right. Can’t a woman answer a few simple questions in peace? Below, you’ll find her interview ordeal…


“Hey, what’s going on?”

This is Chance, vampire hottie from my Urban Fantasy series. He doesn’t actually show up until book two, but his voice is clear as can be and he loves to use it. Chance takes every opportunity he can to pop in whenever and wherever he feels like it. Especially since I got the notion that it might be fun to write a novel where he was the star of the show instead of a secondary character. Like usual, he looks effortlessly hot and dazzles me with a grin.

JJ: I’m answering some interview questions.
Chance: Oh, cool. Let me know if I can help.

He retreats to the far side of the room and plops down in my reading chair. An apple appears from somewhere and he begins crunching away.

BK: What made you start writing?
JJ: Oh, I think it was probably my Kindergarten teacher’s insistence on it. They don’t let you out of school with—
Chance: Are you really going to say that? Don’t you think it’s a little bitchy?
JJ: No, I was being funny.
Chance: Whatever.
JJ: Would you please let me do this my way? For eye candy, you can be pushy.
Chance: *Glowers* There’s more to me than chiseled abs and amazing sex skills you know.
JJ: I know. I’m sorry. *Trying not to stare at his stomach. He’s not wearing a shirt again, which is typical.*

BK: What does the hubs think of your work?
JJ: Hubs is very supportive, as long as he gets dinner and has clean laundry. He read a male POV erotica piece I recently finished and declared that I nailed the hero’s inner monologue perfectly. So, I guess that means I have a tiny, horny, man living in my head.
Chance: There’s more than one, sweetheart.

When I look over to give him the evil eye, Tom, my hero from Love Kinection (my recent sale to Decadent Publishing) is standing next to him, drinking coffee. He grins at me and winks.

JJ: *Groans.* What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be at work?
Tom: Shouldn’t you be at school? *Turns to Chance.* Hey, I’m Tom Walker, nice to meet you.
Chance: Yeah, you too. *Shakes hands with Tom.* He’s right you know. It’s not good to skip class.
JJ: Alright, Dad. I’m trying to get caught up. Quit interrupting me.

Tom and Chance begin a discussion about IT – probably because of Tom’s mug. It’s one of his favorites and reads: “No I will not fix your computer.” I had no idea Chance knew anything about tech but I’m happy to let him and Tom geek it up.

BK: How much do the tiny divas know about what you do?

Glances over to see what the boys are doing. Perfect. They’re still ignoring me.

JJ: Well, that’s sort of a hard question to answer. Tiny Diva 2 is only 3, so she knows that the amount of time I spend at the computer is annoying. Tiny Diva 1 is 5, and she has enough wherewithal to tell me “No more stories Mom! Come and play with us!” But, when I told her I had made my first sale, she jumped up and down with me in the kitchen until a mug fell out of the cabinet and broke on the floor. They also demand original bedtime stories from me. Not easy to do. I’m great at writing at the keyboard, not great at all at dictating them.

BK: Do you ever worry about who might read your work (such as your mom, or one day your girls)?
JJ: No, not really. As weird as it may sound, I want my kids to have healthy relationships, which means sex. So, when they’re old enough to read my stuff, they’ll be old enough to be in relationships that involve intercourse. My mom, on the other hand, teasingly asked me if I didn’t want her to read my stuff because it was “smut”.

“Your mom thinks you write smut? What, does she live in a no sex zone?”

Oh, and here we have Miranda. Heroine of the UF vampire stuff. She’s direct, focused, and funny as hell.

JJ: I don’t really want to know. She told me once that oral sex was dirty. So, I think she lives in missionary land.
Miranda: Ugh. Really? That sucks.
Chance: Or not.
JJ: *Laughing.* Exactly.
Tom: Wow. That blows for your dad.
Miranda: No, I don’t think it does.
Tom: You may be right. *Smiles at her and drinks some coffee.*
Chance: I could have Gregory take me over to her place and help change her attitude.
JJ: O.M.G. Chance, you did not just say that.
Miranda: I think he did.
Chance: A few well placed lic—
JJ: Shut. Up. I just threw up in my mouth.

BK: Do you ever worry that people will think the steamy scenes come directly from your own experiences?

Miranda is reading over my shoulder and relays the questions to the boys who give me lecherous grins.

Miranda: Ooohhh I want to answer this one.
JJ: Of course you do. Where are the boys today? *Hoping to distract her.*
Miranda: Oh, Daniel and Gregory are out doing some recon and then shopping.
JJ: Hhhmmmm. Did you remind Daniel to bring you some jellybeans?
Miranda: Shit, no I forgot. Chance, can I borrow your phone?
JJ: *Thanking God they’re distracted.* I don’t worry about that. I write things I think are sexy. They don’t necessarily mean I do them or am going to do them myself. I like to share them with hubs and get him revved up now and then *winks*. It’s good stuff. We’ve been together for 15 years, and keeping things hot keeps our marriage strong.

BK: With Hunger Embraced, Love Kinection, and Marked all written, there are plenty of characters to choose from. Who’s your favorite to play around with? I know we see Chance on your site from time to time *wiggles eyebrows and grins*.

Checks on the others again, especially Chance. Thankfully they’re all still otherwise occupied, Chance doesn’t need the ego stroke that is Buff’s infatuation with him, the flirt that she is. Abby (from Love Kinection) walks in, sees the trio in the corner and blanches when Tom makes eye contact.

JJ: Hey Abby! How are you?
Abby: Uh, fine. *Sneaks a peek at Tom who is openly staring back. Chance grins and nudges Miranda who giggles at them.* Listen, I thought we were going to catch up on Supernatural together. Are you still up for that or are you going to work all day?
JJ: Oh, no we’re totally going to do that, but I do have to work until Tiny Diva 1 comes home from school. But, you could hang with Tom and Chance and Miri for a while. If you want.
Abby: Yeah. I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.
Tom: I think it’s a great idea.
Abby: *To Tom* I have stuff to do. Before later. Stuff I have to finish early. *To me* Call me when you’re done working, okay?
JJ: Yeah, sure.

Abby walks out, ponytail swinging. Tom looks a little crestfallen and then gets a determined glint in his eye. I snicker and Chance and Miri exchange glances.

JJ: Don’t worry Tom. You’ll get her pinned down for a date.
Chance: I’d like to pin her down for something.
Tom: Watch it dude.
Chance: *Holds up hands in surrender.* Sorry.
JJ: So I have to answer this question about who my favorite character is.

They all stare at me, uncomfortable. I stare back.

JJ: That’s sorta like being asked to pick your favorite kid. Can’t do it. Jack and Kayla from Marked are an awesome couple. The crew from the Hunger series, also awesome. Aside from Miranda and Chance, there’s also Anna (Miri’s best friend), Daniel (her hero), Gregory (Scottish hottie and Daniel’s best friend), and Lane (neighborhood witch and sometimes pain in the ass). In Love Kinection, Abby and Tom are two geeks (different flavors of geek, but geek just the same) I adored writing about. There are other characters too, I could go on all day. But I love them all.
Miranda: I think that’s a fair way to say it.
JJ: So glad you approve.



Jennifer James is a very busy writer, goof ball geek girl, and shepherdess of two tiny divas. She loves to read PNR/UF, high fantasy, horror, graphic novels, and the occasional bodice ripper. She also loves bad Sci-Fi movies and the Chiller channel. Because she is one of those scatter brained artistic types, you can often find her staring into the distance daydreaming up scenarios for her own stories. Find her here.



Love Kinection coming Summer 2012

Valentine’s Day isn't Abby's favorite holiday. In fact, she'd like to see it removed from the calendar completely. Right after she shoves a broken arrow up Cupid’s ass.

She still hasn’t quite gotten over the pain of a year old betrayal and plans to drown her sorrows with a ménage of men named Ben, Jerry, and Riesling.

Her plans change when she drops her new iPhone and accepts an offer from office hottie and tech god Tom to fix it for her. Abby blames her temporary insanity on runaway hormones – any girl would be susceptible to the force of Tom’s flirty banter, grey eyes, biceps that stretch his shirt seams . . . and come on – she can’t go all weekend without her phone, can she?

Watching movies, playing video games, punching a very worthy ex right in the mouth…. It all adds up to Abby realizing she’s got a new chance at love with Tom, a man with all the right moves to make her sweat.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Small Blogs Big Dreams Blog Hop




I'm so excited!  This is the first blog hop I'm participating in!  Big thanks to Forbidden Passions Reviews and Walking on Bookshelves for hosting!

So I'm a pretty new blogger, just got this up and running in January, and am trying to get active in the online and author communities as I work on my novel.  I do author interviews, guest posts, and even have a couple character interviews lined up; as well as book reviews pretty regularly both here and at GraveTells.  Other than that, I don't have any fun stories or anything terribly interesting to share; besides, I know y'all are really just waiting for giveaway info right?

Money's tight because the hubby and I are trying to move in the next 6-18 months, so the best I can offer is a $5 Amazon gift card (but if you're like me, that's gold right there! lol).  The giveaway is open internationally since it's electronic.  Just fill out the rafflecopter below and you're good :-)  I'll email and announce the winner no later than the 23rd.  Don't forget to visit the other sites on the hop, the list is at the bottom!

Oh and for anyone that leaves a comment, you get extra coolness points if you give me a definition of interesting...super extra geek points if you give me the space cowboy definition :P


SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY - FIVE

And it's Sunday again!  Here's another 6 from Earth Bound Angel:

Breanne is sitting down eating lunch, when her potential new friend she's just attempted to give the brush off, sits down next to her and gives her an ear full...


"Sure I could reach out to her, but I'd rather hang out with you.  While I feel for her, I'm concerned for you. Anyway, she's still got friends and the volleyball team.  Who do you have left?  Are you really going to tell me that you couldn't use just one friend right now?"

I was tearing up at his words, and completely speechless.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

REVIEW: Defiance by Shelly Crane

Recap:

Now facing the Virtuoso council, and with problems piling up around them, Maggie and Caleb struggle to keep Maggie’s father and brother safe while remaining stuck at the reunification. Peter and the rest of Caleb’s family stand at their side as they all fight a corrupted council, try to thwart whatever is up Marla’s sleeve, and help do everything in their power to save Maggie’s family. Then, seemingly out of the blue, Maggie and Caleb get the shock of their lives from an unlikely ally.

Title:  Defiance
Series:  Significance
Book #: 3
Author:  Shelly Crane
Approximate Book Length:  281 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  16+
Sexual Content:  Mild

Thoughts:

In this third installment, we pick up right where we left off in book two; with Maggie, Caleb and the Jacobsons standing among all of the Virtuoso clans and the council staring them down. As daunting as that in itself is, things just seem to go from bad to worse as the council, which includes a power happy Watson, gets upset over the evidence that Caleb and Maggie have mutualized, despite the fact they’re imprinted. They try to separate them. Then there’s also the stunts that Marla’s pulling, which include a subtle attempt on Maggie’s life, and arranging a threat to Jim and Bish, who are too far away for Maggie to do anything to help them. The cherry on top is a visit from Maggie’s real father.

I found that this story had a slightly different atmosphere about it than the last two. I’m not saying that’s good or bad, just different. We get a couple of highly anticipated resolutions, but the ending with the council feels a little anticlimactic. That being said, we still get lots of the sweetness from Maggie and Caleb, comedy out of Gran, and loyalty from the Jacobsons that we’ve come to expect from Shelly Crane.

In Conclusion:

Our beloved couple finds many truths, faces many foes, solve a mystery or two, and unfortunately learn that Fate is sometimes diverted in this chapter of the Significance Saga. If you’re following the series, I doubt you’ll be disappointed! I also read that Independence will be the final book, and while I hate to see it end, I can’t wait for the wedding!

Rating:



Links:



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

REVIEW: Accordance by Shelly Crane

Recap:

Having survived her first encounter with the Watsons, Maggie now discovers that she’ll need to face all of the Virtuoso clans, in a way she never could’ve expected. With new family challenges and her new role to fill, Maggie will struggle with the stress, and cling to Caleb more than ever as threats draw nearer.



Title:  Accordance
Series:  Significance
Book #: 2
Author:  Shelly Crane
Approximate Book Length:  305 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  16+
Sexual Content:  Mild

Thoughts:

An excellent sequel! We pick up right where we left off in the first book, and just as Maggie and Caleb are beginning to enjoy a taste of independence, they’re thrown another curve ball, making the family rush to their side once again. This wouldn’t be such a problem if Maggie could control her powers, and if she didn’t have to keep hiding from her human brother. On top of that, Maggie and Caleb get an unexpected visitor. Armed with the information that they’re not as safe as they thought, Maggie and Caleb, along with their family, anxiously await the reunification meeting just days away. Before they can get there though, shit hits the fan, and now there truly is no going back an no easy way out. That doesn’t even include the cliffhanger ending.

With her usual wit and ease, Shelly Crane has led us through the next chapter in Maggie and Caleb’s journey. Along with the expected comedy, sweetness, and danger, we even get a bit of steam *grins*. We get to watch as Caleb and Maggie grow as people, and as a couple, and we’re once again left clamoring for more!

In Conclusion:

A fulfilling sequel to the first novel, Accordance brings us even closer to our couple as they struggle to find their place in life, while still maintaining their semblance of self. If you enjoyed the first book, this one is a necessity!

Rating:



Links:



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Note About My Rating Scale

I just wanted to formally post a little bit about my review rating scale.  As you'll see on the right sidebar, I have a scale of 1-4, and a disclaimer.

FYI, yes they're little angels (based on my tattoo, thank you to Kari Pinasco for transferring that image for me!), but I still call them stars, because 3/4 angels just sounds funky lol.

The disclaimer simply states that I will not post a "bad" review.  What I mean by this is that I will not post a review for a book that I did not enjoy to at least some extent.  I do not feel comfortable publicly telling an author "I didn't like this book at all" because I just don't think that's fair or kind.  As a budding author, I understand how a review like that (which I have no doubt will happen to me, probably often) would be pretty tough take, and I won't contribute to someone else's fears or self doubt (which we all have at some point, admit it).  I will however talk to the author (if they're interested) to share my opinion in a private setting and constructive manner.

That being said, the ratings themselves are truly more of a 1-3.  The 4 star rating is pretty hard to achieve, and in all the books I've read, I can only think of 5 that I would give this rating to: Twilight, Harry Potter, The Host, Black Dagger Brotherhood, and The Hunger Games.  I love Significance, Percy Jackson, and Stephanie Plum, but even those don't quite make that 4 star list.  So to any authors who read this blog and see their book reviewed here, please don't be offended if you don't get that star rating, nor be discouraged if you only get 1 star, because 1 star still means I liked it!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY - FOUR

We're back to Earthbound Angel!  This is a scene that popped in my head one day, and I vowed to put it in the book. I thought it was kinda funny, I hope y'all agree...

Bree learning a bit about magic, with Rafe at her side.


"Latin? Seriously? I can tell you and the world to Bite me in French, but I'm at a loss for Latin..." she says, shaking her head. "You can really say that in French?"  he asks, slightly impressed.  She rolls her eyes and looks down sheepishly. "Ok, so I should be able to say that, but French is not exactly my best subject...lay off," she huffs, crossing her arms.

What do you think?


Saturday, April 7, 2012

REVIEW: Significance by Shelly Crane

Recap:

After a rough year, seventeen year old Maggie finds everything she could’ve asked for and more when she saves the life of a stranger. As her life undergoes many changes, there are those would seek to take all she’s finally found away from her.





Title:  Significance
Series:  Significance
Book #: 1
Author:  Shelly Crane
Approximate Book Length:  378 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  16+
Sexual Content:  Mild

Thoughts:

What an adorable, sweet and addictive story! It’s told from Maggie’s point of view, and it’s touching to follow her as she graduates from high school having suffered through a breakup with her boyfriend of three years, abandonment by her mother, and a withdrawn father all in the last year. She has no idea Caleb’s her future when she saves his life.

At the first touch of their skin, they imprint, seeing bits and pieces of their future together flash before their eyes. Caleb introduces his soul mate to his family and his world, not realizing just how difficult their lives will become. His family’s enemies do everything in their power to take it all from them before even getting a chance to explore their bond.

My only complaint is that I feel the final confrontation is a little anticlimactic, and Maggie seems to respond to her ordeal very mildly. That being said, it makes for a story with conflict, while still keeping the overall experience pretty light hearted.

In Conclusion:

Shelly Crane weaves a sweet and romantic paranormal love story, with just enough fear and danger to keep you on the edge of your seat. Maggie and Caleb easily climbed into my list of favorite couples, and I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good young love story.

Rating:



Links:



Wednesday, April 4, 2012

REVIEW: Blood Awakening by Wenona Hulsey

Recap:

Gabby and Lane have been best friends for most of their lives and they’ve been through hell together, but nothing could have prepared them for what Mother Nature had in store for mankind. All the natural disasters and global warming were Her way of warning humanity, but no one listened, and now it’s all about survival.


Title:  Blood Awakening
Series:  Blood Burden
Book #: 1
Author:  Wenona Hulsey
Approximate Book Length:  26 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  16+
Sexual Content:  Mild

Thoughts:

"I want more!" This is what Wenona Hulsey leaves you screeching at the end of this one! She manages to include a tight friendship, a budding relationship, intrigue, wonder, and danger all into this tease of a book. I refuse to give away any spoilers, so unfortunately, there isn't much I can divulge given the short length of the book. I will however tell you that this is a great prequel to Burden of Blood and I look forward to seeing what the next book holds. Definitely a story not to be missed!

In Conclusion:

A short, thrilling intro to her Blood Burden world; Wenona's packed love, loyalty, danger, and the paranormal into this novelette. Don't miss it!

Rating:



Links:



Sunday, April 1, 2012

SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY - THREE

Woohoo! I'm excited to get back to doing these!

This time I decided to go with a scene from a romance book I hope to work more on in the future, but I really want to focus on finishing Earthbound Angel #1 first. Of course, that doesn't mean that scenes don't randomly pop into my head that I MUST write down so I can put it where it belongs when the time comes.

We have a big bad lawyer and his housekeeper that he didn't think twice about...until she surprised him. I won't tell you how, cause where's the fun in that? Anyway, this is after she's been working for him for a little while and they've...gotten to know each other...maybe a little *grins*. Her kids are at a friend's for the night, so they're alone in her home, having "the talk".


"You don't even know me!" she shrieks. "Yes, I do." "No, you don't! You don't know anything about me!"

He grabs her waving arms and pins them above her head on the couch, ignoring her surprised gasp, as he leans down to whisper in her ear. "I know you're sexy when you're angry; that the sound of your laughter soothes me like nothing else ever has; that you would do anything for your children, even at the expense of your pride; and that you love me too, even though it terrifies you."

Not much, but I hope it gives you a taste of what to expect from Jason and Carla...