Monday, December 16, 2013

On indie authors & the importance of reviews

For a long time now, I've been wanting to do a post about this. Being a self published author myself, I know how important reviews are. However, I feel that many authors look at reviews through a very narrow window.

The purpose of reviews is to let customers, or readers, know your opinion of a product. In this case, that product is our written work. It doesn't matter if it's a full length novel, a novella, or a short story. What matters is that you, as a reviewer, are giving your honest opinion of said product. But some indie authors are under the impression that the only reason anyone should ever write a review is to give them glowing praise. If you, like many indie authors, also review books, you have great potential for coming under fire by other independent authors.

Let's say that you come across a novel that is on a freebie weekend through Amazon. Because it doesn't cost you anything, you figure you'll give it a shot. After all you can't go wrong with free, right? So you take your time to read through said novel, and while the plot is engaging and the characters interesting, the editing [or lack thereof] is positively atrocious. It takes you a week to read through a 200 page book, not because you didn't have enough time to read, but because you felt like you were having an aneurysm and your eyes were bleeding every time you read for more than 10 minutes. Because of this, you leave a 3-star review. If you look on Amazon at their definitions of each rating, 3 stars means "It was ok." Not the best thing you've ever laid eyes on, but not the worst either.

So, to be diplomatic, you do what any good reviewer should. You give a few positive things about it that you enjoyed, and you also bring to light that someone with better eyesight than a field mole should have edited the piece. And now, if your Amazon reviewer profile states that you're an author, the shitstorm begins. You'll start noticing sudden, nasty reviews or messages on Goodreads, Facebook, and whatever social media you're a part of. Because these indie authors are used to people throwing unwarranted praise at their feet, they don't know what to do with a genuine piece of critique. "It's bashing! Bullying!" etc etc, blah blah blah.

...Seriously, folks. We're not eight years old on the playground anymore. An intelligent adult just gave their honest opinion of something you wrote. If they said something you didn't agree with, it's probably in your best interest to suck it up, pay more attention to what they did like, and move on. I think I received a 3 star on "Lunacy", and the reviewer wasn't a troll who said "You suxx0rs, u r teh crappiest righter EVAR!" No, she actually pointed out a few things about the work that were bothering ME, the author, so my hopes that readers wouldn't pick up on those things were dashed. It's actually what urged me to do the final revision I'm working on, at the moment. And even though there were some things she didn't like, she still complimented a few parts.

My point, through all this rambling, is this: don't be so damned thin-skinned, fellow indie authors. Some people will love you, some people will hate you, some people will only find your work mediocre. A middle of the road, or even BAD, review isn't something to start a war with the reviewer over. Grow up.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Lunacy" revisions, and more

Been a while since I did an update post, so I thought now would be a good time. We're coming up on the holidays, and life is totally insane. Also, planning a Christmas and first birthday for my son is getting increasingly stressful, but I'll work through it.

Anyway, in the writing world, I've had my head buried in my final revisions of Lunacy. I'm about halfway through them now, and I plan to have them completely finished by my birthday (in February). When I hit a block and my eyeballs start bleeding, I've been off writing in naughty land. I've got an erotic short I wrote a while back being considered by an indie press, and I've started fleshing out plans for working on a few more and making it into a series. I actually have a regular novel series formulating in my brain--potentially containing occasional sex, but being centered more around plot--set in the same multiverse. I enjoy world building, a lot, and I actually made everything for this particular world quite a few years back for a roleplaying message board with some friends of mine.

It's pretty complex, and I have a chart of key characters, along with a lot of numerical figures that are either genius or a bit obsessive. Either way, it's really fun to write in, and I'm looking forward to sharing it with you all. If I don't update again before the big day(s), Merry Christmas and Blessed Yule, and happy every other holiday to everyone!

Friday, August 16, 2013

"Taken by the Passion" by Maxine Mansfield (REVIEW)

Title: Taken by the Passion
Author: Maxine Mansfield
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Lizbeth wasn't given a choice whom to marry. She'd been betrothed to the stubborn, arrogant, egotistical, Adan Hammerstrike, barbarian prince, heir to the throne of Alaria, and...and...murderer, since the day she'd been born. But, did that mean she wasn't entitled to follow her own dreams? Especially if those dreams could keep those she cared for safe? And so what if Adan had grown from the troll of a little boy he'd been into a ridiculously handsome, sexy man. Her heart could resist him, couldn't it?

The last thing on Albrath Adan ever wanted was to be saddled for all of eternity to the screeching, boring, lackluster, Lizbeth Soulenticer. Though her beauty's beyond compare, there are only so many turns of the hourglass in a night to enjoy it. The rest of the unbearable time, he'll be forced to contend with her silly hero worship, and her stupid pet choices. But, Adan is a man bound by duty and honor, and he will do what he must, even though he longs for a mate who will challenge him in bed and out. Not that he'll give her his heart, mind you, at least not until they both find themselves Taken by the Passion.

He held out a hand toward her. "Spend this one night with me, Lizbeth, and  if you still feel the same in  the morning, we'll talk about you possibly going to the Academy and taking a few classes now and  then. After all, how would it look to my family and friends if my brand new wife took off before the sun rises on her wedding night? I have appearances to uphold, we both do." 

Lizbeth sizzled with anger. "I don't like you, remember? I couldn't care less how this looks to anybody, and...and...and, I won't spend this night or any other with you, until I have to, even on a bet." 

Lizbeth shook her head and turned to leave, yet Adan's next words not only stopped her forward motion but had her turning and facing him once more. 

"I never took you for a coward, Lizbeth, guess I was wrong. You say you know me better than I know myself. I say prove it, Lizard. If you can manage to answer make that five questions about me correctly, you win." 

His grin grew even bigger. "And if you win, not only will I escort you to the front gate and wave you through the portal on your way to the Academy, I'll be happy to inform my family and friends that you're leaving me. That you find a dusty, old institution more sexually appealing than you do your own husband, and rightly so." 

The grin disappeared from his face. "But, if you don't answer all of the questions correctly, you'll spend this one night, this entire night, willingly in my bed, in my arms, as my wife, in every sense of the word. Deal?" 

He held out his hand again, and Lizbeth stared at it. Her fingers itched with the temptation to take him up on his offer. A life without interference or being under Adan's thumb, even for a short while, was more than a little tempting. Could she trust him, though? Lizbeth hesitated, weighing her options. Other than being a bunny killer, Adan Hammerstrike was 
known far and wide for his word. Once he gave it, he never took it back. She'd spent the majority of every day, for as long as she could remember, learning everything there was to know about the arrogant barbarian prince. She couldn't lose, and this was an opportunity she couldn't afford to pass up. 

Lizbeth smiled as she shook his hand. "Deal."

Author Biography: 
Hi, my name is Maxine Mansfield and I write romantic fantasy. I live in the far northern state of Alaska
where the summer days are long and the winter nights even longer.  I have one very special man, our three equally special children, and six delightful grandchildren in my life. Not to mention a very bossy African Grey parrot named Gabriel. Oh, and Gnomes! Many, many gnomes.


My Review
5 Stars
This has to be one of the best romance novels I've ever laid eyes on. The love scenes were passionate, gripping, and hot. The world the story takes place in is complete, a full fantasy world, unlike most books in the genre that gloss over setting while focusing heavily on the relationship aspect. One of my favorite things from this book, which is totally unique in my opinion, was the rambling and vulgar rants of the gnomes. They provided comic relief on a scale I'm totally not used to. I found myself laughing out loud more than once while reading this.

My only real gripe with the book was that Lizbeth started out as a bit of whiner. As the book progressed, she found her fierce and let her Barbarian genetics show, and that made me happy. I discovered that this is actually the third in Maxine Mansfield's 'Academy' series, and seeing who the characters are in those books (who were secondary characters in this one) I'm seriously considering picking them up, as well.

I'm definitely going to recommend this to a few friends!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Doublesight" by Terry Persun (REVIEW)

Terry Persun

In a world where shape shifters are feared by humans, and murder appears to be the way to eliminate them, finding and destroying the source of the fear is all the doublesight can do.

After the Doublesight Wars, dangerous and mean-spirited shape shifters were killed off, causing other doublesight to hide their gifts, congregate into their own villages or clans, and avoid most humans.

Zimp and Zora are the twin granddaughters of the crow clan’s sage. The reticent Zimp is relieved that she has not been chosen to take her grandmother’s position, but after Zora is murdered during an attack on the clan, Zimp is forced into her obligations. 

Rumors, stemming from Castle Weilk, suggest that dangerous throwbacks have been born—gryphons, harpys, dragons—and, once again the humans decide to hunt down all doublesight. Fear leads to mistrust, and mistrust to murder.

The doublesight council assembles to assess the situation and sends five doublesight to investigate the rumors, placing Zimp in charge of four men. Struggling with her own intuitive abilities, and trying to hold a stable position as leader, Zimp finds herself in the center of a changing world and must decide on her real place within it. 

Intro to excerpt: 
King Belford (who is human only) arguing with his son, Draklan (who is a doublesight) about the dangers of being a doublesight. The sisters mentioned in this piece are harpies. 

The excerpt: 
“Just as the doublesight are a reminder of our sins, The Great Land also reminds us by going through its own changes. War changes the face of all of us. It makes us evil, builds hatred where hatreds never blossomed before. We fear, my son. That is what humans cannot escape from. We fear whatever we cannot do, whatever we cannot see, and whatever lives differently.” King Belford pulled his son closer. “I am tired of fear, yet I feel it rise inside me every day. What am I doing by allowing the sisters to live the way they must live? How long can I be partial to their feedings without losing my own sanity? I grow tired of allowing the killing to go on. I can only imagine what my brother must go through.”

“I only wish for it all to stop,” Draklan said. He straightened and shrugged to loosen his father’s grip. “As long as the doublesight are alive there will be the potential for horrible beasts like the sisters. The gargoyles of the past are returning. The demons of history will destroy everything unless we stop it. I know that I am a doublesight, but I also know that what I say is true. We do not deserve to live if we are the downfall of The Great Land.”
“Only some doublesight are dangerous.”

Draklan leaped from the bench and walked to the center of the chamber before he turned toward King Belford. “I killed my own mother,” he said pounding his fist into his chest. “That is dangerous enough.”
“You were a child.”

“Had I killed you in that same moment, your generals would have slain me on the spot. Had they seen me, even now…”

“Three generals have seen you. My brother, one of them.” His father stood, planting his feet firmly and lifting his chin with bold abandon. 

Draklan glared. “Yes, the father of the sisters. What would he say? That you and he are ruining your lives for the sake of throwbacks?” He spit the words as though they were vile creatures. “The other two are afraid of what I or the sisters might do if they said one word. Talk about fear.” Draklan motioned toward the window behind him. “If your subjects had any idea what I was, what mother was, would they stay outside these walls?”

“They might.”

“Out of fear, as you say. Out of fear and nothing more,” Draklan said.

“Every human longs for what it feels like to shift.”

Draklan shook his head. “They wouldn’t want to know the pain. The doublesight spend their time battling their own longings, their own hunger. They are tormented, constantly at war with themselves.”

Terry Persun is an award winning author and a #1 Amazon bestseller. He is also a Pushcart nominee. His mainstream novel, “Wolf’s Rite”, was a Star of Washington award winner, a POW! Award winner, and a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist. His science fiction novel, “Cathedral of Dreams”, was also a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists. And his historical novel, “Sweet Song”, won a Silver IPPY Award for best regional fiction. His latest novel, “Doublesight”, is Book One of his new epic fantasy series. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. Terry writes in many genres, including historical fiction,
mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy.


Direct email: 

Buy Links:

4 stars
Absolutely loved this one! A great fantasy novel with an interesting take on shapeshifters. I like that the main character is a crow shifter, rather than the overdone werewolf/feline type. Filled with the ever-present clash between humans and doublesight(shifters), this is a must-read for any lovers of the fantasy genre.

Monday, August 12, 2013

"Water Dark" - F.T. McKinstry (REVIEW)

 Water Dark
F.T. McKinstry

In the western-most crumbling halls of a mountain citadel lives a lonely wizard named Urien, a master of his art and a fledgling priest of a primordial goddess of transformation. Though his training is extensive, no training could prepare him for a broken heart. For years he has lived on the fringe after having loved and lost a powerful male wizard on the verge of ascension. But such wounds do not hide well. When he delves into the darker powers at the bidding of a shady priestess, Urien's heart reveals itself as a grim warning from the goddess herself, in the shape of a wolf.

In the wake of this unsettling experience, Urien discovers that his most gifted apprentice, a beautiful, wild-tempered woman—and the partner of his erstwhile lover—is in grave danger. A series of swift-moving mishaps including a second warning and a badly backfired protection spell lands Urien into a love triangle that exposes not only his deepest desires but also the black machinations of the priestess who deceived him. When she wields her full power against him, he must reconcile his heart in order to save his lovers and himself from isolation and death.

Urien stood in his chamber in the West Quadrant, staring out the window as early evening cloaked the mountains. The setting sun cast long shadows and painted the fallen leaves and barren trees in shades of mauve and apricot. Heavy, gray clouds with golden edges moved slowly across the sky. It would be very cold tonight beneath a waning moon.

He gripped Wilima's poppet tightly in his hand. Over a week had passed since the priestess had breathed life into it. Unsurprisingly, the spell had not worked; she had not been able to penetrate Rosamond's space without interference. Whether this happened because of his unblessed water—as he had hoped—or because Rosamond lived under the protection of a mothos, Urien could not be sure.

But Wilima would not let it be. Not her! Two days ago, under a Wolf Moon, she had put into the poppet a wiry, white lock of her hair, a drop of her own blood and a bit of broken fingernail stained by wine. The coarse doll itched his palm, his fingers. He opened his hand and glowered at it in disgust; his nostrils flared as he studied the underside where the priestess had ripped out the seams to shove in the new ingredients. This will allow me through, she had said, blinking as she snatched the needle back and forth with her little bony fingers. Now all you have to do is throw it into a well.

A well? This did complicate things.

Water, Eaglin had said. She will drown.

F.T. McKinstry grew up studying music and classical literature, and at a young age acquired a deep love for fantasy and the esoteric, of which she was an avid reader. J.R.R. Tolkien was her most powerful influence. With a background in computer electronics and software development, she wrote and illustrated technical documentation for many years, during which time she created the fantasy world of Ealiron. A lifelong study of plant and animal lore, shamanism, psychology, mysticism and Northern European mythology and folklore provides inspiration and scope for her work. Her published work includes The Chronicles of Ealiron, Wizards, Woods and Gods: Tales of Integration, and Water Dark. Many of her short stories appear in Aoife's Kiss and Tales of the Talisman.


Buy links:

My Review
5 stars

This is my introduction to the literature of FT McKinstry, and I'm positively in love with their writing style! The work flowed at a perfect pace, we were introduced to several conflicts, and their resolutions.The characters had depth and personality, and the descriptions were vivid and pulled me right in. I also love how magic is treated like a science.

My only complaint was that a lot about their magickal systems and ranking structures hit you all at once, like you should've already known what it meant from a related, or prior,book. Even with that, I'd definitely read more from this author.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Burn on the Western Slope" by Angela Smith - Super Book Blast

Title: Burn on the Western Slope
Author: Angela Smith

On the ski slopes of Montana, deception turns deadly and seduction becomes more hypnotic than jewels.

Reagan McKinney is on a mission to discover more about a deceased uncle who mysteriously left her a sizable inheritance, a condo in the mountains, and a stash of stolen jewels.  With both her graphic design career and her love life in shambles, the opportunity to begin a new life couldn’t have come at a better time.  When she becomes involved with the sexy FBI agent next door, she finds her struggle is not only to keep her heart intact, but her life.
Grief stricken after an undercover investigation ends in the tragic death of his partner, FBI Agent Garret Chambers goes home to find solace in the arms of his mountain home.  That is, until his boss assigns him to investigate the spirited brunette staying in the condo next door.  He is assigned to investigate Reagan’s involvement with a large jewel fencing organization, but his investigation becomes comprised when his attraction to her heats up.  Will his discovery destroy everything he has come to love, including Reagan?

“I’m not sure I’m ready for that,” Reagan said, running her tongue over her lips as she rested her glass on the counter. “Skiing, that is,” she quickly added. He would never know she’d been thinking of kissing him, but she had to force herself to look away from his mouth. Nudging Naomi, she stood. “It’s time for me to go. I need to settle in. I haven’t even unpacked yet.” And she had no intention of doing so now, but it was a good excuse to leave. She wiped her hands on her jeans before extending her hand to his, praying hers weren’t clammy. “It was great to meet you.”

Garret grasped her proffered hand and nested his other on top, engulfing her hand. She burned. Everywhere. “Meet me on the slopes tomorrow?” 

Reagan bit her lip and glanced at the floor. “Tomorrow? I don’t know. I might need a little more time to get used to this place.” 

“We’ll start with sledding. You can’t not like sledding.”

She didn’t know, seeing as how she’d never done it, but cozying up to him at a hundred miles an hour would probably be amazing. 

“I’m safe,” Garret said as he dropped his hand.

“You’re what?” she asked, meeting his eyes. Maybe he was a good guy in most people’s standards, but he made her heart beat too fast to be anything but dangerous.

“I’m harmless. Several people in town will vouch for me.”

“But I don’t know them either.” 

Author Biography
During my senior year in high school, I was dubbed most likely to write a novel because I always had my nose stuck in a book.   I would hide my romance novels under my history book until my teacher called me out on it.  Writing has been my dream ever since my mother read Brer Rabbit to my sister and me so often that we were able to recite it back to each other before actually learning to read.  I love reading about the adventure of love, and getting involved in the legal field developed my love of suspense. I believe love is a mystery that most people have trouble resolving.  While I don’t expect we’ll ever solve that mystery, I love to read and write about characters who work to solve their love’s mystery.  See more about me at my website or tweet me @angelaswriter

Publisher Website:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Demon Within" by Rebecca Royce (REVIEW)

Demon Within by Rebecca Royce
Dakota Daniels is an exorcist. Or at least she used to be, until a demon destroyed her life, killing her mother and sending her into hiding. She never knows what’s around the next corner or whether she’ll live through the night.

Brady Knox, billionaire tech guru and media darling, is a man used to getting what he wants. Except when it comes to his sister Sydney. She is the secret he never tells a soul. After all, how do you tell the world your sister has been possessed since she was ten years old without seeming like a lunatic?

When Brady seeks out Dakota’s assistance, he expects to get it. When she doesn’t comply, he’s willing to use every resource at his disposal—even if that means seducing her into doing his bidding.

Dakota’s body yearns for Brady but she isn’t easily fooled, and if she decides to help him it will be on her own terms—assuming they can both make it through the night with their souls intact.

Her mother would have said hot weather in February meant the devil had come out to play with the humans for a spell. But the newscasters said climate change was causing the balmy winter nights in Queens.

Maybe they were both right.

The long-dead voice of her mama wafted through her tired mind. Come on, Dakota girl, let’s send the demons back to where they belong and tell them not to bother us here. You and me, we’ll send them back.

“Excuse me.”

Dakota jumped an inch in the air and whirled around, the keys to the nursery school falling from her hand onto the sidewalk, clanking as they hit the ground. Her heart lodged in her stomach as she automatically reached to cover her throat. She didn’t like surprises and she liked being snuck up on even less.

Behind her stood a stranger, illuminated by the overhead light that came on at 6 p.m. every evening. She could see him quite well despite the dimming sunlight and the impending darkness. Tall and broad-shouldered, he filled out his gray suit as though it had been tailor-made for him, which she suspected it had been since it looked just like the ones she saw in advertisements with names like Versace and Armani on them. Hours spent reading fashion magazines coupled with her summer job in a department store had taught her to tell the difference between real and fake couture.

Not wanting to be surprised by a demon she knew she would be ill-prepared to deal with, she turned on her second sight and took a quick glance at his aura. It hurt to open her third eye—not surprising, since it had been eight years since she’d willingly engaged in the activity.

As a teenager, Rebecca Royce would hide in her room to read her favorite romance novels when she was supposed to be doing her homework. She hopes, these days, that her parents think it was well worth it.

Rebecca is the mother of three adorable boys and is fortunate to be married to her best friend. They’ve just moved to Texas where Rebecca is discovering a new love for barbecue!

She's in love with science fiction, fantasy, and the paranormal and tries to use all of these elements in her writing. She's been told she's a little bloodthirsty so she hopes that when you read her work you'll enjoy the action packed ride that always ends in romance. Rebecca loves to write series because she loves to see characters develop over time and it always makes her happy to see her favorite characters make guest appearances in other books.

In Rebecca Royce's world anything is possible, anything can happen, and you should suspect that it will.

Buy Links: 
Barnes & Noble:

Ellora’s Cave Publishing:

Current and Upcoming Works
The Outsiders
Love Beyond Time
Love Beyond Sanity
Love Beyond Loyalty
Love Beyond Sight
Love Beyond Expectations…coming soon

Westervelt Wolves
Her Wolf
Summer’s Wolf
Wolf Reborn
Wolf’s Valentine
Wolf’s Magic
Alpha Wolf
Angel’s Wolf
Darkest Wolf
Lone Wolf…coming soon

The Warrior

The Conditioned
Eye Contact

Sexy Superheroes
Screwing the Superhero
Banging the Superhero

Other Works
Behind The Scenes
First Dimension
Yes, Captain
Return to the Sea
One Night With A Wolf
Another Chance
Light Me Up
I’ll Be Mated For Christmas
The Edge stories: Unwanted Mate, Bar Mate, Mate by the Music, Out of Place Mate
Love In One Night
Hexed and Vexed…coming soon
February Lover…coming soon
Finding Her A-Muse-Ment…coming soon


My Review
4 Stars
I liked that this novella had an element of horror to it. The premise is that Dakota Daniels is an exorcist who's gone into hiding. Content working at a nursery school, she's propositioned by Brady Knox, a man with more money than God who needs Dakota's help to free his sister from the claws of a demon. Of course, Dakota isn't ready to willingly dive back into her old profession after what happened to her mother. Her resistance leads to a steamy romp and the two of them tackle the monster together.

I enjoyed the author's style, and my only real complaint was that the story was so short. I feel like the adventures of Dakota and Brady could extend into a full novel, or maybe even a short series. Her imagery is vivid, and Miss Royce sticks to pretty standard creepy-crawlies when it comes to the horror element of the demons. The love scene was engaging, and passionate. I'd read more by this author.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Harbour Falls Mystery series by S.R. Grey REVIEW - Nevermore PR Tour

Title: Harbour Falls
Author: S.R. Grey
Genre: Mystery & Romance

Best-selling author Maddy Fitch, researching material for a new novel, returns to her hometown of Harbour Falls to investigate a disappearance that has haunted the tiny Maine coastal town for the past four years. Maddy soon discovers that the case has gone cold, but the prime suspect, Adam Ward, is hotter than ever. Now living on an isolated island, Maddy takes up residence near the sexy Mr. Ward's home. As she begins to seek out answers, the mystery deepens, putting Maddy in jeopardy. 
Lies, secrets, deceptions. Nothing is ever what it seems in Harbour Falls.

A steamy novel that immerses the reader in an intricate storyline that will keep them glued till the very last page.

My Review
4 Stars
The author paints a very vivid picture with descriptive visuals that make everything in "Harbour Falls" come to life and jump off the page. This book was filled with more twists and turns than a labyrinth, but at the end MOST things were wrapped up in a neat little bow. Everything that wasn't meant to lead into book 2, that is. The plot is intricate and winding, and each scene has a purpose. My reason for 4 stars instead of 5? I think that, even for an investigator/mystery writer, miss Maddy Fitch is way too nosy. I feel like her unending need to know things would land her in a lot more trouble in real life. Luckily for her, this is fiction. Also, I'm not a fan of Mr. Adam Ward. I feel like he's a bit too macho for his shorts. I dig the whole Alpha Male thing, (because who doesn't want a guy who's loaded, attractive, and in charge?) but I'm not big on the way he treats Maddy. Maybe some folks like being put down by someone they're interested in. Just not my thing. Overall, the book was decent.

Title: Willow Point
Author: S.R. Grey
Genre: Mystery & Romance

With the Harbour Falls Mystery solved, author Maddy Fitch hopes secrets and lies are behind her. But a cryptic letter from her former best friend would seem to indicate otherwise. Is the man Maddy fell in love with while solving the Harbour Falls Mystery, the gorgeous and rich Adam Ward, keeping a damning and potentially dangerous secret from her? Only the writer of the letter, Ami Hensley, knows for sure. But Maddy is hesitant to confront her, since the last time they saw one another Ami tried to kill her. 
But if Maddy wants answers--ones that could potentially save Adam--then she must face her fears and visit her former friend. Unfortunately for Maddy, Ami is currently locked up in the creepiest place in Maine, an old gothic structure that houses the criminally insane, known simply as Willow Point. 

Will this new mystery tear Maddy and Adam apart? 
Who else is in on Adam's secret? 
And will Maddy find the answers before it's too late? 

Another heart-stopping page turner from the author of Harbour Falls. Willow Point promises to keep you on the edge of your seat. 

My Review
4 Stars
Filled with answers to the questions posed in book 1, "Willow Point" leads Maddy into the heart of an insane asylum, and more danger than she can imagine. Woven together seamlessly, this novel picks up right where "Harbour Falls" left off. Some of the secrets Maddy's lover Adam has been keeping are brought into the light, while even more are still cloaked in shadow.

I like the way Adam and Maddy got on in this one a bit better, but I still don't think their relationship is healthy. "No more secrets, Maddy." "Scout's honor!" *with her fingers crossed behind her back* *that's ok, because Adam has his crossed, too* I understand that some things need to be hidden, but there's so much suspicion from Maddy's end, it makes me feel like Mr. Ward must be beyond amazing in bed. I know that I wouldn't be able to trust someone who was ok with hiding so much of their life from me "for my own good."

More answers lead to more questions that make a perfect segue into the upcoming book 3. I'm interested to see how things are resolved in it. 

Purchase the books!

Author Biography
S.R. Grey is the author of Harbour Falls and Willow Point, first and second books in the A Harbour Falls
Mystery series. She resides in western Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Robert Morris College, as well as an MBA from Duquesne University. Ms. Grey is currently working on a New Adult novel (title not yet determined) due out in the fall of 2013. And she is starting on Wickingham Way, the third novel in A Harbour Falls Mystery series.

Other interests include reading, traveling, running, and cheering for her hometown sports teams.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"They Won't Shut Up" by Cindy J. Smith -review & interview

Title: They Won't Shut Up
Author: Cindy J. Smith
Genre: Poetry

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Cindy J. Smith to chat with her about her new release today. It's her second collection of poetry titled "They Won't Shut Up."

Hey there, Cindy! Tell us a bit about yourself and what you’re currently working on or promoting.  
I am married and my husband and I drive a semi over-the-road.  Currently, I am promoting the release of my second book of poetry, They Won't Shut Up, which is being published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing on July 13.

What does your writing space look like?  
My job keeps me away from home, so my writing space is my lap, lol.  I use a voice recorder to write my poems then type them on my laptop.  

What do you do when you’re not writing?  
If I am not writing or working, I love to read and listen to music.  I used to garden and bake but my job makes that almost impossible.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one was it and why, if yes?  
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  I started to really see what the government was doing.  It is so scary to realize that, even with the proof of history, we are still repeating the same mistakes.

Which poem from "They Won't Shut Up" is the most important to you, and why?  
The most important to me is the set of poems titled Cosmic Conversation.  It is written as a message from my daughter telling me to move on and my answer to her explaining my tears.  I wrote it at a time I was really having trouble handling the grief.

What do you do to stay sane as a writer?  
Stay sane?  Is that a requirement?  Actually, I use my poems to keep me sane.  If something is getting to me, I write it out so that I can look at it from a different perspective.

Where can readers find you online?
Barnes and Noble:
Amazon Author Page:
Amazon Paperback:
Amazon Kindle:
AmazonUK  paperback:
AmazonUK kindle:

Here's my review of the collection:
**** 4 Stars
I'll start off by saying I'm not a huge lover of poetry. I feel like a lot of folks just take whatever comes to their minds, throw it into stanzas, and call it poetry. That's not the case with Cindy Smith's second collection "They Won't Shut Up"! This book covers a lot of very real topics, ranging from everyday occurrences to playboys, dream lovers, children, and the Westboro Baptist Church. 

I have to say that my favorite poem in the collection is "Evil & Twin." It speaks of an optimist who only sees the good in the world, and the polar opposite: someone who sees the reality of the damage mankind does to the planet and themselves. 

My only complaint with the collection is that I wish she had a bit more free verse, or something that broke her usual pattern of four line stanzas. But poetry is unique to each author. I can honestly say there's probably at least one poem in here that will speak to every person, in some way.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Sydney Rye series by Emily Kimelman - Book Blast

by Emily Kimelman

Books 1-3, The complete Series Box Set (Value Pack)

The Sydney Rye series of mysteries features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. This series is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

This box set includes all three of the Sydney Rye Books.

UNLEASHED (A Sydney Rye Novel, #1) 

When the series begins Sydney Rye is named Joy Humbolt. She does not like people telling her what to do, so it comes as no surprise that she was just fired from her last job. When she buys Charlene Miller's dog-walking business on Manhattan's exclusive upper east side, it seems like the perfect fit: Quiet environment, minimal contact with people.

But then one of her clients turns up dead, and Charlene disappears. Rumors say Charlene was having an affair with the victim--and of course, everyone assumes Joy must know where she is. Joy begins to look into the crime, first out of curiosity then out of anger when there is another murder and threats start to come her way.

When police detective Mulberry is assigned to the case, Joy finds a kindred spirit--cynical and none-too-fond of the human race. As they dig deep into the secrets of Manhattan's elite, they not only get closer to the killer but also to a point of no return. One last murder sends Joy Humbolt hurtling over the edge. Her only chance of survival is to become Sydney Rye.

DEATH IN THE DARK (A Sydney Rye Novella, #2)

At the beginning of Death in the Dark we find Joy Humbolt hiding, not only from the law, but also from her past and the mistakes she's made. Living this isolated life doesn't last long though when a visit from Mulberry brings Joy to accept her new identity as the Private Detective, Sydney Rye. To complete the transformation, Joy must learn to control her emotions as well as her giant aggressive dog, Blue. With the help of an expert trainer, Joy learns to fight with her mind as well as her body. However, when the daughter of a close friend is brutally murdered in the desert, Rye turns away from her mentor to seek revenge. Sydney's quick temper and deadly intentions lead her into a trap that she will need all of her new skills to survive.

INSATIABLE (A Sydney Rye Novel, #3)

The third book in the series begins with private detective Sydney Rye living a simple, disciplined life in London, but when a dangerous man from her past calls, Rye finds she cannot turn him away. Robert Maxim explains that the daughter of a powerful friend has gone missing and he wants Rye to find her. In exchange he offers her something she had given up hope of ever having; freedom from her past.

With her dog, Blue, at her side, Rye meets up with her new partner, a handsome man she's not sure she can trust. Heading for Mexico City, they go undercover, posing as husband and wife. After meeting with the bereaved parents, Rye starts to sense that there is more going on than just a missing girl. But it isn't until they arrive in the Yucatan Peninsula, hot on the girl's trail in Paradise, that all hell breaks loose. Sydney has to reach out for help from old friends and deal with the consequences of her past, if she's going to find the girl and keep them all alive.

Excerpt from "Unleashed"
A white fog hung in the dark sky. The mist dulled the glare of the streetlights. Beads of dew covered the parked cars and sparkled in the soft yellow light. Blue led the way into Prospect Park. 

As soon as I let him off leash, he bounced down the paved path. The gently rolling lawn glowed a silver green. The man-made forest was a wall of blackness. The fog hung low above us. We wandered onto smaller trails and roamed through the trees, up steps to the top of the biggest hill, then down and around the lake that glimmered in the night’s light. 

Three men sat on a bench. They wore rags and suckled on bottles in brown paper bags. One stood up, unsteady. He opened his mouth to speak, a naughty smile playing in his rummy eyes. Blue stepped out of the shadows, where he had been investigating an interesting smell, and moved to my side, falling in step with me. Fear twisted the man’s smirk into a grimace. He stumbled back to his friends, whispering, “Devil.” The three men cowered on the bench as Blue and I passed. We walked home with our heads held high, afraid of nothing and nobody.

Emily Kimelman lives on a boat in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Sean and their dog Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone). Kimelman has a passion for traveling and spends as much time as possible in the pursuit of adventure. 
Her "Sydney Rye Series" are dark murder mystery novels which features a strong female protagonist and her rescue dog, Blue. This series is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!
The first three books in Kimelman's series, UNLEASHED, DEATH IN THE DARK, and INSATIABLE are available in the Kindle store individually and in a box set. The fourth book in the Sydney Rye series STRINGS OF GLASS is due out Mid-Summer 2013.

If you've read Emily's work, and enjoyed it, please let Emily know. You can reach her via email 

Buy links for all books at Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Legacy Reborn" by Genie Gabriel - Goddess Fish Super Book Blast

***Genie will be awarding nine $9 Amazon GCs -- eight will be awarded to randomly drawn commenters during the tour, and one will be awarded to a randomly drawn host!*** So be sure to check out the other tour stops and leave some comments below!

Title: Legacy Reborn
Author: Genie Gabriel

An attorney devoted to social causes and a burned out women's advocate help save their home town while struggling not to fall in love. However, an unintended pregnancy and a gift from the heart lead them on a journey to new possibilities and love.


 Once more dressed in jeans and her well-worn cowboy boots, with a jacket thrown on to ward off the chill evening air, Phoenix walked.

Against a backdrop of blue-green mountain peaks and the lightly wooded hillsides closer to the farm, the hens were settling in their coop, with only an occasional soft clucking.

Inside the boldly painted red barn, horses whickered in their stalls. She breathed deeply of the scents of horse and hay as she ambled through the dusty structure, then opened the side door and walked into the llama's pasture.

The male immediately approached her and nuzzled her cheek as she slung her arm around him. "I love you too, Romeo."

She closed her eyes and relaxed against the animal's woolly neck. However, her relaxation ended abruptly when the animal stiffened and emitted a shrill cry.

Following the animal's gaze, Phoenix saw CJ standing on the other side of the corral with his arms folded on the top board. "Will your llama spit in my face?"

"It's alright, Romeo." Phoenix patted the llama, then walked slowly toward the man who had occupied too much of her thoughts lately. "What brings you out this way?"

"You left the Governor's presentation right after you talked to Mitch. I wanted to be sure you were okay."

All the memories she had been trying to walk off slammed into Phoenix once more. "What is okay? I'm not sure I've ever been okay or ever will be. How can I find normal or happy when I don't think I've experienced those things?"

"You come up your own version of what makes you happy."

"A woman is dead because of me. How can I ever be happy knowing that?"

"Mitch said Swaggerty was waiting for Charlene. If it hadn't been that night, he would have killed her another way."

Phoenix let that statement sink in. One part of her brain knew that was true. So why did she cling to the blame for Charlene's death? Maybe she was afraid to move forward.

About the Author
 I'm an optimist whose rose-colored glasses have bent frames and cracked lenses. When life kicks me in the teeth, I find miracles and lessons I refused to learn an easier way. In fact, I live with a small herd of miracles in the furry forms of dogs, who are constantly trying to teach me to forgive, to play more, and to love without limits. I write about people who find courage and integrity in the darkest times of their lives, who rescue stray dogs and kittens, who find a person they would willingly give their lives for, and who make their little corners of the world a better place. People have remarked my stories "aren't what they expected." With rose-colored glasses firmly in place, I take that as a compliment. I invite you to share a piece of my world in the pages of a book, and hope you find some surprises, some tears, some laughter, and always a happy ending.

NOTE: All nine books in the Halo Legacy Series will be $0.99 the day of the tour!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Authors Blog Hop! July 3rd-10th (Giveaway Contest!)

It's awesome to be included in this GIANT blog hop with all these other phenomenal authors! I'm giving away an eCopy of "Meaning of Life" through Lady Amber's blog, and a digital copy of "Lunacy" through the rafflecopter here on mine. =]

Be sure to check out all the other spots on this hop! All these authors are giving away awesome treats, as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Emerge" by S.E. Hall - Schmexy Girl Book Blog Tour

 Title: Emerge
Author: S.E. Hall
Genre:  New Adult (MA +17)
Emerge is Laney Walker's story; an 18 yr old quick witted, athletic, southern girl who lets few get too close and uses her sarcastic zingers to deflect most situations. This is her coming of age journey...starting at a new college, with a new softball team and a quirky roommate, all while living in a co-ed dorm.

One night.
Dane Kendrick.
It changes all which she thought she knew and awakens something, someone, within her that she didn't know existed.
A tale of friendship, loyalty, first love, primal love


This party is actually pretty fun and I like almost everyone here. Kaitlyn has obviously nominated herself the non-designated driver. She’s chugging drinks down and flirting with every guy here, including Evan. I’m happy just sitting on my bale by the fire actually giggling a bit at her, when Matt Davis quickly slides in the empty spot Evan left in search of some non-barley based drinks for us.

“Hey, Laney. To what do we owe the honor?” Matt slurs.

“You don’t owe me anything, but I’m flattered you consider it an honor,” I retort, with a snap in my voice. I’m not oblivious to the fact that Matt has always had a “thing” for me, one I do not reciprocate. I’ve often wondered if he’s the culprit behind the creepy notes, but he’s had an alibi on too many occurrences.

“You want a drink?”

“No thanks, Matt. How are you getting home tonight?” He’s not a completely bad guy and I for sure don’t want to see him hurt.

“I don’t know. Wanna gimme a ride?”

“I didn’t drive tonight.”

“That’s okay; you can still give me a ride.”

Oh, isn’t he clever? His drunken innuendo doesn’t warrant a response and it’s not the right time for Evan to walk up, I assure you.  Matt’s legs are dangling in the air before I even register it completely, as he’s lifted by his shirt collar in one of Evan’s huge hands.

“You’ve got five seconds to apologize to the lady,” Evan growls.

“Geez, sorry, Laney, I was just kidding,” Matt musters insincerely.

I don’t tell him it’s okay, because it’s not, but I do say, “put him down, Ev, so not worth it.”

“You sure, Laney? Your call.”

“Yes, I’m sure, Brutus. Put him down and let’s take a walk?” I don’t have to ask him twice. Matt’s flat on his ass and Evan’s at my side in a flash. Walking away for a little breather, I latch my arm through his.

“What’s up with you?” I nudge him.

He shrugs. What’s this? Evan never broods. He’s my rock, my Mr. Grain of Salt.

“Evan, it was no big deal. Just a drunk comment by a boy scorned. Why are you stressing over it?”

“I can’t stand the way he talks to you. Not to mention, he’s always staring at you and talking about you; he’s obsessed. I don’t like it one damn bit, I’m on to him. If I find out he’s the one stalking you…” He runs his hand through his hair and blows out a breath. “I’ll kill him.”

The silence seems to go on forever, but Evan needs a minute to calm down and I don’t dare chance saying the wrong thing right now.

“And the first guy brave enough to hit on you, and that’s how he goes about it?”

“What does that mean? Brave enough to hit on me?”

“You really have no idea, do you?”

I just stare at him, my expression reminiscent of my “trying to solve quadratic equations” face.

He sighs and cast his eyes down. “Laney, you’re that girl. The one guys make up in their head when they put all the best parts together to make one perfect girl. The man who gets you to actually pay attention, well, he’ll be the luckiest guy on the planet, and he’ll know it. All that, and the fact that you never date, is pretty damn intimidating.”

There’s a flutter in my chest; does he mean I’m the perfect girl made in his head? Is he intimidated by me?
He moves closer now, I can feel the heat coming off his body. Yes, Evan, find the courage. And then his hand is cupping my cheek, and I instinctively lean in to it, a little gasp of air escaping my lips.

I’ve never imagined this with Evan, it’s never occurred to me to even dare hope what he felt for me was more than a protective best friend. Good thing, I would have done the fantasy no justice. His thumb brushes my bottom lip and I realize…I could be swinging a bat, casting a reel, and driving a truck all at the same time, but I’m still 100% woman.

I think I speak out loud. “Are you intimidated, Evan?”

He leans over, touching his forehead to mine as he takes a deep breath. His nose brushes along mine, his whisper on my lips. “Not anymore, I’m done with that, and I’m done not kissing you.  All you have to do is say no, precious girl. But please, please….just say yes.”

As I whisper “yes,” his mouth takes mine. His lips are soft and gentle, sending a sizzle throughout me. His hand glides from my cheek to the hair behind my ear, stroking it slowly, over and over again. He breaks contact to lean back slightly, meeting my eyes, and a whiny protest from the loss escapes me.  I’m positive he sees a confusing mixture of happiness, shock, and…lust?

“Again?” he asks me in a low grumble.

I leave the question unanswered, putting one hand firmly on the back of his neck, the other over his heart, feeling that hard chest and rapid beat under my palm, and pull him hard against my lips. He groans and steps in so his body is flush against mine as I open to allow him free reign of my mouth. Our tongues tangle together, knowing each other just as Evan and I do.

My mind is racing as quickly as my pulse, but instinct takes over as my hands move all over him. His solid arms, firm shoulders, strong back…tight ass. I can’t feel enough of him in this moment and lose myself to the desire consuming me. His sweet murmurs along my neck, jaw, in my ear spur me on, almost to the point of no return, until loud squeals from the party rip through our haze.

All at once, I remember where we are and that anyone could walk upon us. It also shames me that I was careless enough to leave Kaitlyn alone this whole time while I fondle my best friend in a field, so I regretfully pull back. Evan’s eyes take a while to slowly open and find mine, but in them I see everything I need to, overpowering any inkling I might have had about regret or embarrassment. In those blue pools, there’s no second guessing, these are not the eyes of my “friend.” I know my Evan, and he liked it. I really liked it, beyond my wildest dreams that I never had.

“Come on,” I say almost painfully, “we have to get back and check on Kaitlyn.”

His shoulders slump and he rolls his eyes, but finally grabs my hand and interlaces our fingers. We’ve held hands a million times, but never like this. It feels good, I feel secure, but most of all—I start to believe what people have said here and there in recent years…I feel beautiful.

Evan tugs on my hand slightly, slowing me up some, and turns me to him. “Laney,” he barely whispers, “can you do one thing for me? “

 He could say climb Mt. Everest right now and I’d agree. The look on his face is so sexy and now that I know how that mouth feels…wait, what was the question?

“Yessss?” Am I flirting?

“Can we pretend you’re really mine, just mine, Evan Mitchell Allen’s, at least for tonight?”

I think of the gentle hand on my cheek, the soft then rougher kiss, the protection from Matt, the #14 on his back every week, the Disney movie marathons, and I say, without a doubt in my mind, “with pleasure.”

 The smile that spreads across his face and the fist pump I doubt he realizes he’s just thrown assure me I should feel as good about my answer as I do. At least for tonight…is that all I want? All he wants?  I refuse to overanalyze right now; this is new, overwhelming, and exhilarating…I’m just gonna ride this wave without worrying; there’s a first time for everything.

I’m not sure which of us sets the pace for the walk back, but neither speeds it up. Once back, still hand in hand, I immediately notice that Kaitlyn is slow dancing with Matt, so she’s definitely way past drunk, or maybe he used a better line on her.  Whatever.  As long as I can see his hands, I’ll let her enjoy herself. Evan nudges me, so I look up.

“Dance with me?” Evan asks with an eyebrow raised and sexy plea in his eyes.

 It’s “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean in the background; we both love this song. I nod.

Evan sings the song softly in my ear as we dance. He has no idea what a good singer he is, and apparently my body just received the memo tonight as well. All the times we’ve cruised around together, singing at the top of our lungs, or played iPods while we fished…it did not have this effect on me. Why oh why could this not be the longest song ever written???

When the song ends, Evan guides us to settle in on staggered bales. Evan sits behind me and I lean back between his legs. He’s pressed against my back and his hands rest on my shoulders, hanging over slightly. His pinky moves up and down the outside of my arm, lightly, but I feel it.

Oh, do I feel it.

Turning my head to look back at him, I give him a smile. His own reflects back to me as much happiness as I’m feeling. It always feels good being around Evan, but something has shifted and now it feels even better. Consumed by these new stirrings and the cover of the night sky, I’m emboldened. I place my hand on his thigh and pull his leg in until it’s tight against me, hearing his sharp intake of breath. His body stiffens for a moment and then relaxes with his exhale.

“How long are we staying?” I ask quietly.

“We can leave whenever you’re ready. I’m only here because you are.” He tucks my hair behind one ear as he says it and I’ve never felt more feminine in my life.

“I’ll be right back,” I say as I get up to go wrangle Kaitlyn home.

I secure a ride for Matt, who again apologizes for his earlier behavior, probably because he and Kaitlyn think it’d be a great idea for her to ride with them; which I respond to with a laughing “hell no.”

Holding Kaitlyn up as we wait for Evan to bring the truck proves to be a challenge and I wonder how I’ll get her past my dad. Her rancid breath is really testing the duties of friendship right now…and if she pukes in Evan’s truck, Lord help her.

“Laney, did you have fun?!” Kaitlyn shrieks from the backseat when we’re finally loaded.

“I actually had one of the best nights of my life. Thanks for making me go,” I tell her, casting a sidelong glance at Evan. So worth it; the smile on his face as he reaches for my hand is one I will never forget.

“Me too, beautiful. Me too.”

About the Author:
S.E.Hall resides in Arkansas with her husband of 17 years and 3 beautiful daughters. When not in the stands watching her ladies play softball, she enjoys reading YA and NA romance.