| BTS Book Reviews | December 2013 |
CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL
Mary Manners Madeline Sheehan Kit Wylde
Featuring: Heather Long Amber Skyze
SCI FI & FANTASY
Featuring: Kyra Dune
PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE
Featuring: Carrie Ann Ryan
Terry Spear & Grace Burrowes 4 | www.BTSeMag.com
YOUNG & NEW ADULT Featuring: Kelly York
SHORT STORIES & SERIALS
The Lowdown with Laurie 9 A Labor of Love
Book blogging is a hobby that’s labor of love; it’s not something that makes money. Most people think opening and running a review blog is a grand thing. Well, if you ask most book...
Chic Trends in Romance 41 Bring on the Christmas Spice: A Whole Lot of Naughty and A Little Bit of Nice
Welcome to my second annual Naughty and Nice list. I have a brand new selection of sweet and spicy holiday romance stories for you from hotter ...
The Heat Diva 49 Nestling in the Naughtiness
Well, boys and girls, the season is almost upon us. The craziness has spread by now and probably has you in a maddened fever, buying things for everyone else. If you’re reading this right now,...
The Scrying Eye 73 Tidings of Great Joy
Come inside, my dear brothers and sisters. Come, sit by the fire, warm yourselves. Drink a cup of hot tea or coffee, if you prefer. Gather your senses, prepare your mind, open up your holiday spirit...
PLUS Blog Beat 90 Upcoming Blog Hop 92
This is a true story The weather was bitterly cold, and it was sleeting, somehow fitting weather two days before Christmas, even for mild southern Arkansas. The increasingly slick roads made my husband, Simon, and me nervous—but after an almost four-hour drive to my parents, we had just twelve more miles to go. Then we hit an icy patch on a bridge, and I thought, “We’re dead,” as the car veered toward the rail...
63 I stepped down into the plush dining room of the resort. Initially I thought I may have overdressed for our first night on the island, but the palatial state of my surroundings made me feel more dressed down...
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These BTS staff members help authors with editing, publicity and as an author assistant.
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From the Desk of
Myra Nour BTS CEO
Winter may be headed our way, but things have been heating up at BTS with new promotional offerings for our authors. eMag Features Due to so many authors wishing to be featured in the magazine and the few spots available, we opened up paid features in BTS Book Reviews. For $100 you can have a beautiful feature that reaches thousands of readers. Click here for details. Website Features For those who would love to be featured at a lower cost, we have developed features on the website. For $30, you can have a professional feature on btsemag.com for a month. Our first website feature went live at the end of November, click here to check it out. Advertising on btsemag.com We now have several different options for those interested in ads on our website. Click here for details on all three. Details page shows you where ad is placed and what it looks like. Big banner across the top: $40 for a month and runs on every page in the website. Sidebar ad will appear on every page and stays for one month. For $25, you get this ad spot. Rotating ad appears only on the home page and stays up for one month. For only $15, you can get this large ad. Don’t forget about our recent addition of professional Interviews on the website. Promotions Director BTS welcomes our Promotions Director, Babs Hightower. I met Babs at the Indie Romance Convention in Oct and we “clicked,” Babs brings a wealth of experience as promotions/publicity assistant to authors. Daily Blog We have our Daily Blog open. A few spots each month will be by invitation.Bloggers who are members of the Media Kit group and BTS Promotions Street Team are the first to know about available spots. If you are looking for fresh material for your blog, please feel free to use any material in our Daily Blog, with a link back to us and posted in the btsemag.com Daily Blog. Contest for $50 gift card and full-page ad in BTS Book Reviews For bloggers who are members of the Media Kit group of BTS Street Team, we are running a contest for these two prizes. Ends Dec 4th. Until next time, happy reading.
Executive Coordinator Myra Nour Executive Designer Dawn Seewer Promotions Director Babs Hightower Designer/ Review Team Assistant Nikki McCarver Designer Mike Milliken Editor Sheri Kraft Associate Editor Kellyann Zuzulo Review Coordinator Annette Stone Review Team Assistant Grinelda Markowitz Author Liaison Leslie Ferdinand
Book & Trailer Showcase
REVIEWERS: Myra Nour, Annette Stone, Nikki McCarver,Grinelda Markowitz, Tim Davis, Drue DePompei-Hoffman, Francine Alli, Leslie Ferdinand, Lynda K. Frazier, Marie Haney, Kimberly Klemm, Niina Cord Rachel Flash, Rhonda Dennis Stephanie Phillips, Susan Frances, Michele Biring-Pani, Sally Manson, Krissy Malott, Shelly Schulz, Priyanka U. Patel, Nila Bi, Shan McKinney, Shelly Hammond, Beckey White, Iris Montalvo Pross, Patricia Costa Melo, Gypsie Holley, Anita Rivers, Cassandra G., Dave Franklin, Savannah Mae, Abbie Foxton, Nicky Peacock, Michelle Willms, Dianne Solberg, Julie L Canfield, Michele Page, Tobyann Aparisi, Adeshr, Danielle S., Babs Hightower, Taunya Wells, Crystal Guidroz, Ioana Giju, Christina Torretta, Udita Banerjee, Namrata Parakh, Colleen Cook, Joss Landry, Jake Trauberman, Michele Boylan, Steve Liddick, Karen Fainges, Satarupa-Biswas, Emma Mullins, Geri, Nancy Levine, Janice Ross, C. S. Johnson, Dm. L. Carter, SharaLee Podolecki,Brenda Lang, Elaine White, SharaLee Topnik, Kristy Nowinsky COLUMNISTS: Sandra Bunino, Christy English, Laurie Garrison, Kelly Hudson, Nikki McCarver, Nicole Morgan
BTSeMag.com info@BTSeMag.com facebook.com/BtsBookReviews No material in this magazine can be used or copied without BTS or the author’s permission. © Copyright 2013. BTSeMag, BTS Book Reviews, All Rights Reserved. By submitting material to BTS Book Reviews or its affiliates, authors certify they own the rights to all published information.
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The Lowdown with Laurie Laurie Garrison
Book blogging is a hobby that’s a labor of love; it’s not something that makes money. Most people think opening and running a review blog is a grand thing. Well, if you ask most book bloggers, you will find a totally different story. Most book bloggers are burned out by our third year because of the load we carry. This load will either cause us to change our ways on how we blog and to go back to it as a hobby or just simply shut our blogs down from the stress. Your average reader or most authors, for that matter, have no clue about the time and money we spend on our hobby. We give countless hours reading and writing our reviews. Then let’s not forget the hours of time we spend sharing our posts on all kind of social media to get the word out, be it for a review or a guest post. There are days where most of us beat our heads on the desk asking ourselves why we even started blogging in the first place. Granted, there are a lot of advantages of running a review blog, like meeting new bloggers and authors, but there aretimes when things get out of control, and some will have to back off.
A Labor of Love
When I stated my blog over four years ago, I never knew what a book blog would turn in to. Heck, it’s a hobby, not something that would spin out of control. I live a full life with lots of other hobbies.So since Bitten has basically taken over my life, it feels more like a job with no pay to me. This
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| Lowdown with Laurie |
is where the problem comes in, and I am not the only blogger who feels like this. Some review bloggers will stop reading because they are sick to death of trying to come up with a review, good or bad. As we keep reading and reviewing books over and over though the years, books become more and more repetitious. Then we are just plain sick of the amount of time we spend on the blog. If we don’t keep up our social media daily or keep giveaways going, people will stop coming by and our status will start going down. It’s just a vicious cycle that most will never understand until they have tried it. If you’re a blogger and you find yourself overwhelmed and want to give up, I would suggest you to please give something else a try, don’t let the world beat you down. Take your hobby back and say, “This is mine and I will do with it what I want to do.” Quit taking requests and just do what you want to do to make yourself happy again. You don’t have to take authors’ guest posts/ interviews or giveaways in; this is not your responsibility. There are some days I want to just close up my blog and place it all on Facebook because I get more support there then the blog. And if that is something you have to do to keep going, then do whatever means to get yourself back to reading again. Another suggestion is only take requests during a few months of the year, so that way you have time to read what you want the rest of the year. There are too many of us taking on prepressure from authors or the blogging world. You have to remember you’re getting no pay for your blog, and you have to live your own life. So just step back and say, “I am taking my hobby back. If you don’t like it, you can hit the unfollow button.” I picked up my Kindle the other day and opened The Book Blogger’s Cookbook (which I downloaded free) and read the author’s foreword page and was very impressed. This cookbook relates with Young Adult romance, but as a blogger, just knowing there are authors out there that realize how much book bloggers
do for their sales really impressed me. Authors, the best appreciation we can ever get is for you to help us spread the word about the posts we create for you. Yes, that means when we post any review, guest post, or giveaway from you, please help spread it on your social media, like Facebook and/or Twitter. I know this is a bit of extra time on your part,
but most blogs like mine make it easy for you to just hit a couple of buttons. Just because you opened a book review blog doesn’t mean that is all you have to do. Heck, we all have several different hobbies, so blog about your different hobbies, that way you don’t get so overwhelmed with just one thing all the time. If you are a reader that gets some good reads from bloggers, please let them know how much you appreciate their work. All it takes is a little show of appreciation or even just a simple comment on a blog to help show a blogger your appreciation. To all book review bloggers out there, I salute you for all you do in a day.
Hello, my name is Laurie. I’m a mom who found the love for reading again late in life. I opened a book review blog a few years back and have been nonstop since. My review blog has led me to do different things in the writing world, such as the opening of the Indie Romance Convention and this column. I live in Tennessee with my hubby, daughter, and lots of fur babies. bittenbyparanormalromance.com
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TERRY SPEAR & GRACE BURROWES
| Cover Feature |
A Merry Little Chat with Author
TERRY SPEAR Tell us a little about your newest release A SEAL Wolf Christmas. Some secondary characters are so much fun in previous books that they just have to have their stories told. Bjornolf met Anna in A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing—and that time, he got the best of her. But in A SEAL Wolf Christmas, she’s ready to spar with the SEAL wolf again, and come out on top this time. It’s a story filled with dangerous adventure, hot and sexy romance where neither the hero or heroine normally celebrate Christmas, but that turns around as they have to become a couple, undercover, and solve two Christmas tree farm murders, while watching out for a teen. To help him get through the first Christmas since his parents died, they learn how important family and pack is too. What can we see coming from you in the future? Next March, Silence of the Wolf, Tom Silver’s story is coming. He is the only brother left without a mate in Silver Town, Colorado, so the she-wolf he ends up with has to be extra special. He’s searching for the wolves stirring up the farmers, when he’s given the job to babysit the she-wolf on the slopes, who’s not all wolf, while she’s doing a story for her local newspaper. Only Tom and she end up having their first kiss on the slopes, and the kiss goes viral in the wolf pack. Then comes Jaguar Hunt in June 2014, book 3 in
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the Heart of the Jaguar Series—Tammy is searching for a missing jaguar from the Oregon Zoo, and is paired up with David, that she has to get out of jail— which he assures her was all part of the plan. After that, A Hero of a Highland Wolf releases in August 2014 —Grant is friends with the MacNeills from the previous Highland wolf books, but he’s got real troubles. An American she-wolf has inherited the castle that he and his family have managed forever, and he’s not pleased with the notion she’s coming there for a year to tell him how to run the properties. She totally turns his world upside down. And then the 3rd book in the Heart of the Jaguar series is coming out. For Christmas 2014 , A Highland Wolf Christmas and we’re back to the Highland wolves and the last brothers there to find his mate. Calla dumped her fiancé at the altar in A Highland Werewolf Wedding, and now the party planner is in charge of planning the Christmas celebration for the MacNeills…but Guthrie is totally distracting her—is it just a case of rebound? Or is this the right Highland wolf for her this time? What was the hardest part of writing your book? This was one of those books that I couldn’t stop writing. I LOVE it when that happens. One scene flows into the next. The hardest part was getting to the end, turning it in, and my scheduler telling me I was supposed to turn in Jaguar Fever first. What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
I love to photograph, so every time something interesting presents itself, a blue, blue dragonfly sitting on crepe myrtle flowers eating aphids, or a hole in the storm clouds stretching up to the blue heavens above, or a wolf discovering a box of treats at a wolf park and then racing off with it, or a leopard tackling another, I capture them. I love to create award-winning teddy bears that have found homes all over the world. Hiking, swimming, and watching adventure movies, and of course, reading are wonderful pastimes too!
USA TODAY bestselling, and award-winning author and creator of award-winning teddy bears who have found homes all over the world including Australia, Switzerland, China, and Russia. I am a retired officer of the US Army Reserves. I love to plant trees and flowers and if I could, I’d turn all the deserts green. Time travels are my favorite read, although I love to read most anything, and the Bourne series, Romancing the Stone, Sixth Sense, Legend, The Princess Bride, Stardust, Inkheart, LOTR, and tons of other movies are my favorites.
I hope that they entertain and I always try to add new information about wolves or jaguars, or human nature that readers can enjoy learning about. And that the characters are real, with real pains, and emotions, and needs. That readers will enjoy the journey while the characters are struggling to solve the mysteries and reach their happily ever after.
I love to research, to make urban fantasy worlds real, to bring a little of the paranormal into our world. Even in “Winning the Highlander’s Heart” the heroine feels she is cursed and she has second sight. But I try to do it in a way that feels real, and not fantasized. :) Currently, I’m working on book 2 of the new jaguar shifter series, but still am working on wolf book number 12 and 13! So more hunky wolves to come! A SEAL in Wolf’s Clothing has just released.
When not writing, how do you relax?
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| Cover Feature |
Sitting by the Fire with Author
GRACE BURROWES Tell us a little about your holiday release Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait. Lady Jenny is the last Windham sibling to remain unmarried. The pressure of her family’s expectations has her longing to flee to Paris, where her artistic dreams can be developed. At the request of Jenny’s ducal parents, famed portraitist Elijah Harrison comes to spend the holidays with the Windham family, and when he learns of Jenny’s aspirations, he’s torn between making her Christmas wishes comes true, and listening to his own heart. How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published? A few years. I wasn’t writing for publication, I was writing for the sheer joy of it, until my own family had asked me too many times, “When are you going to get that stuff published?” (Maybe Lady Jenny and I have something in common?) The process from there was quick: The first person I pitched ended of offering me a contract, and I’m still writing for that editor. Are any of your characters based on real people or events? Not specifically, unless you consider that events in my life have informed events in the books.
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I’ve fallen off horses, for example. I’ve kissed the wrong, er, footman. I’ve wanted nothing at a big family Christmas so much as to be alone. The emotions and some of the outward details come from my life, but the stories and characters are make believe. What books or authors have most influenced your life? Influenced my life? Ram Dass is the first philosopher I heard coin the aphorism, “Be kind, tell the truth,” which pretty much defines honor for me. In terms of influencing my writing, my keeper authors are Joanna Bourne, Mary Balogh, JR Ward, Carolyn Jewel, Meredith Duran, Tessa Dare, Julie Anne Long, Loretta Chase... in the Regency sub-genre, there are a lot of giantesses, upon whose shoulders a new author stands. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? In any creative endeavor with a commercial fate, fear can be a factor. Will the readers like this? Will the reviewers find anything good about it? Is the writing the best I can put on the page? Is this too much like my previous titles, or too different from them? Did I make the right story decisions for these characters? Is this story ready for publication or does it need major revisions? An author can dither and fret away all of her confidence, if she loses sight of the joy of creation itself, and doesn’t have supportive community around her for the rough patches.
Grace Burrowes grew up in central Pennsylvania and is the sixth out of seven children. She discovered romance novels when in junior high (back when there was a such a thing), and has been reading them voraciously ever since. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Bachelor of Music in Music History, (both from The Pennsylvania State University); a Master’s Degree in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University; and a Juris Doctor from The National Law Center at The George Washington University. Her debut novel, The Heir, was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Top Five Romances for 2010, and is the first in an eight-sibling historical romance series published by Sourcebooks Casablanca. http://graceburrowes.com
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This is a true story The weather was bitterly cold, and it was sleeting, somehow fitting weather two days before Christmas, even for mild southern Arkansas. The increasingly slick roads made my husband, Simon, and me nervous—but after an almost four-hour drive to my parents, we had just twelve more miles to go. Then we hit an icy patch on a bridge, and I thought, “We’re dead,” as the car veered toward the rail. The long-nosed 280 ZX ricocheted back and forth between the railings and stopped abruptly against a roadside signpost, halting a thirty-foot slide down a steep slope. I looked down, barely noticing the white-tipped brown grass, which stuck up in spiked wintry splendor. I wondered how we came out unscathed. Although the car was totaled, we were fine, including Suzy, our family cat, who I had been holding in my arms. Simon’s door was stuck, and he reached for mine. I said, “Wait a minute until I get a better grip on Suzy.” Unfortunately, by the time I got this statement out, he had already flung my door open. Suzy was gone in a flash. We tried calling Suzy, but when she didn’t come, we weren’t too concerned since we figured she was hiding under the car. Later, the policeman who assisted us also helped search for Suzy with his flashlight, but to no December 2013 | 17
| Suzy’s Wintry Wait |
avail. I stood on the slippery hill and looked at the ice-fringed bridge and the frigid interstate highway below it, an area of busy streets and fast moving cars when nature wasn’t so brutal. The glowing lights from the lone housing district seemed so far away. Tears streamed down my face, chilling my skin even further, as I thought of our poor little cat facing that strange, frightening place alone. Suzy, who was a pampered, declawed house pet, had been raised in a secluded area, in a small town. She knew nothing of heavy traffic and fending for herself in sub-zero temperatures. It might as well be an alien landscape rather than the more familiar suburb. I felt we had lost her forever—either to the traffic or the cold. After my dad came to pick us up and we rode to my parents’ house, my thoughts turned to Suzy. They reeled at times from the shock, at others seemed to pass in slow motion. My mind spiraled back as I recalled the odd manner in which I was first introduced to Suzy. When my daughter pulled the small, scrawny black kitten from behind her back, I was surprised. First, Simon didn’t like cats, and I was amazed that Chris had talked him into letting her have one. Secondly, the kitten she’d chosen was not what I would have expected. Chris told me she could have chosen a fluffy, orange tiger kitten but was drawn to the tiny runt who snuggled in her arms. We soon found Suzy was very smart and wellmannered. When she was ten weeks old, we taught her table manners by setting a tantalizing plate in front of her inquisitive nose. Then we’d tap her lightly on the nose while saying no when she started moving toward the food. Suzy learned after only a few times to stay put and that she received tidbits when she behaved. Chris played games that many cats would have found irritating, but ones which Suzy accepted, as long as she could be with her human friend. One of my daughter’s favorites was dressing Suzy up in doll clothes or laying her in a doll crib and covering her with a small blanket. Suzy loved this one and
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would snooze away many an afternoon in her tiny bed. One game Suzy didn’t care for, but which she tolerated, was “Suzy Lee” or “Karate Cat.” Chris would hold Suzy’s front legs and stand her up, then swing her paws in karate chops while exclaiming, “Aie yah.” Suzy would lay her ears back but look up at Chris calmly, as if to say, “You’re such a strange child.” Suzy’s sweet nature even won over Simon, who is now as much a cat lover as me. A sudden bump in the road snapped me back. I was in Dad’s car, driving through Smackover, almost to my parents’ home. I worried about what we would tell Chris, and Simon came up with a plan. We would tell her we’d left Suzy back home, so as not to ruin the holidays for our daughter. We couldn’t go looking for Suzy anyway because the roads were iced up and impassable. We were in the deep South where ice and snow are rare, and the area wasn’t set up to deal with the road conditions. After Christmas, once the weather started clearing, we knew it was time to mount a search. We told Chris the news; she was devastated. It was also time for us to return home, while Chris was to stay through the rest of the holidays. My family members searched the neighborhood surrounding our accident, while I placed an ad in the local newspaper, the El Dorado Times, before I left. Even though I felt it was hopeless, at least it made my daughter feel better. The ad read: $25 Reward Please help us find our beloved pet. Suzy is a small black cat, often mistaken for a kitten. She has a white patch on her chest and yellow eyes. We lost Suzy during a car wreck on 12–22–90 on the Kings Road Bridge. An accident separated us, please help us find each other again. Call . . . The response my family received was astounding
and heartwarming. People didn’t call for the reward; they called to say they’d seen a black cat on a certain street or behind a house in their neighborhood. They also called to see if Suzy had been found. There were many cat lovers calling and following the weekly search. I wondered what Suzy was doing. Was she looking for us too? How was she getting food? How did she manage to keep from freezing in the frigid weather, especially at night? I felt frustrated by my inability to help with the search. As I sat in a warm house with plenty to eat, I recalled how Suzy exhibited a caring attitude toward our family and how I came to be the recipient of this special attentiveness at a time when I truly needed a little extra TLC. In the spring of that year, I had surgery that required several months of recovery. I would spend almost all day out on our balcony enjoying the pleasant weather. Suzy would follow me and sit either in my lap or at my feet. If she left for a “break” and I took one too, without her seeing me leave, I would hear her pitiful cry as she searched the house for me. Her meowing sounded very worried, as if she’d lost one of her kittens. When I would answer to let her know my location, she would run to where I was and then seem to settle down happily.
lovers who had phoned, we realized Suzy had been wandering the housing area for food and shelter but would return each day to wait under the bridge for us. Simon and I drove to pick up Chris and Suzy at my parents. Thankfully, Suzy was just a little thin, but she seemed to have suffered mentally. In fact, she acted so different we wondered if we had the right cat. Before, Suzy had always maintained a sweet expression on her tranquil feline face, her eyes open wide and trusting. The cat we brought home was wild looking and hissed angrily when held. From my counselor training, I recognized the symptoms of emotional trauma. I told Simon and Chris that we had to give Suzy intensive loving treatment to break through the anger and hurt she felt. We all took turns picking her up constantly, ignoring the hissing when Simon or I held her, and cradled her in our arms. We would hold her and say, “Suzy, we’re so sorry we left you. We didn’t know you were waiting for us.” After three days, she appeared to forgive us and went back to acting like her old self. Some people say cats can’t love. But, in my opinion, if a cat can suffer hurt and anger like our Suzy, then these emotions came from the love she felt in the first place and her thinking she was loved no more.
Rain slashed against the window near me, jarring my thoughts. My mind returned to the special need that now surrounded our sweet Suzy. I had just gotten off the phone with Chris and could hear the disappointment in her voice. Another day passed with the hunting party feeling as though they were but one step from the elusive Suzy. The days passed slowly. Finally, several weeks after we had returned home, we received a joyous call from Chris. A ten-year-old boy had thought to look under the bridge where the accident occurred. Suzy was curled up . . . waiting. She had been missing three weeks. Piecing together all the information from the concerned cat
Myra is a published author with Ellora’s Cave & New Concepts Publishing. She is also CEO and co-owner of BTS, including BTS Book Reviews emag, btsemag.com, and booktrailershowcase. com. She is enjoying her new job, directing the magazine and promotions to help authors promote their works.
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CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL
the HAPPILY ever AFTER
REVIEWS and more
BTS REVIEW RATINGS: 5 Stars awesome book, read it now! 4 Stars a must read 3 Stars really good read 2 Stars this was OK 1 Star hard to finish, flawed
December 2013 | 23
CHRISTMAS WISHES by Mary Manners
Love comes full circle when a child’s Christmas wish arrives special delivery. Though they were once best friends—even more—Riley Harper cannot find it in his heart to forgive Kaylee McKenna for the death of his mother ten years ago as a result of her father’s reckless actions. Will Kaylee’s six-year-old niece’s special Christmas wish heal Riley’s damaged heart and bind the trio together as a forever-family?
A Featured Sneak Peek
“I’m sorry.” Riley broke the ice, so to speak, with those two simple words. “This has gone on long enough, this—whatever you want to call it—disagreement, argument, debate. I take full responsibility. I was wrong. I hurt you.” The heartfelt words shocked the chill from her. Warmth flooded, and Kaylee huffed out a long, ragged breath. “It’s OK.” “No, it’s not.” He placed his hands on her shoulders, gave them a gentle squeeze. “It’s never OK to hurt someone you care about.” “I don’t…” She shrugged from him, turned to clomp through the snow as a slow burn ignited in her belly. “Why now, Riley? After all this time, why now?” “We’ve left this undone long enough.” Kaylee picked up speed, putting distance between them. “On the contrary, it was done a long time ago.” “I have things to say—things that need to be said. I’ve changed, Kaylee. I don’t know why or how. I just know I feel…” His boots crushed the snow as he came after her. His voice held an edge sharp as steel, pleading. “Don’t walk away, Kaylee. I want to work this out. We have to work this out.” “There’s nothing to work out.” She spun back to face him, matching his heat spark for spark, ember for ember. “We’ve both changed, Riley. Time—events beyond our control—have changed us—altered what we once shared. It’s OK. I’ve come to terms with it.”
“Yes. Change, however painful, is a part of life. I have Rosie to consider now. I don’t have time to be…all muddled.” “Muddled? Is that what you’d call it?” He reached for her hand, drawing her close. His breath rushed out in puffs like the smoke of a coal engine as he dipped his head, blocking the glare of the sun. In an instant, his lips claimed hers. One moment, two, seemed like eons as the ground shifted beneath Kaylee’s feet. Her heart jolted as a shockwave shuddered through her. Powerless, she leaned into him, let go of the thin fiber of resolve that had bound her for so long. “How’s that for muddled?” Riley’s husky voice broke the spell. “What have you done?” Kaylee gasped as Riley loosened his grasp and stepped back. Her eyes flew open and his gaze, dark and dangerous with need, speared her. “That’s…not fair, Riley. None of this is fair.” She pressed a gloved finger to her lips. The warmth of his touch, the shock of raw emotion, left her reeling.
Mary Manners is an awardwinning romance writer who lives in the beautiful foothills of East Tennessee with her husband Tim and the cherished cats they’ve rescued from local animal shelters... Lucky and Gus.
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& HISTORICAL | book reviews |
The Blog Affair
Alissa Baxter Contemporary Sweet Romance Heat Rating: 2
Twenty-something white South African Emma Bradshaw has a pattern of falling for unsuitable men and starts a blog about these socalled “serial datists”. Her search for new beginnings takes her to Cape Town, where she gets a job working for sexy author, Nick Reynolds. Romance with her boss is a no-no, but slowly, Nick works his way around her defenses. Trust him, or not, especially with her awful track record with men? When an anonymous male reader of the blog challenges her on her ideas about the male species, Emma realises she must confront her past and find her true self before she can move forward...and love can blossom again in her future. REVIEW: Well-written and beautifully plotted, The Blog Affair tells the story of how two individuals jaded by love learned to face their short comings and fears and take a risk into loving again. Alissa Baxter’s carefully thought-of characters colour the page with their distinct personalities and unique speech. Written in a serious, straight to the point tone, yet with a scattering of humor that is well-placed, this novel contains an equally serious female main character (Emma) who blogs about the men she has met in her life and a jaded journalist / novelist who has had seen too much of the worst life has to offer. It’s interesting to note the effect of each person’s experiences in their attitudes and outlook in life.
A Cowboy of Her Own Joann Baker and Patricia Mason Contemporary Heat Rating: 3
Marty Samuels had been cursed with plain looks and a curvy body. It didn’t help that she had to work as hard as any man to keep a roof over her head. But Marty was good at protecting what she loved, including the strays she’d taken in and made part of her little family. So why couldn’t she keep her heart safe from the sexy cowboy next door? Ethan Blackhawk had been blessed with good looks and an abundance of charm. It didn’t hurt that his family was rich as sin, either. He’d always been sure about what he wanted out of life—until one bad dog forced him to take a second look at the woman who could change his mind. REVIEW: When Marty’s dog Elmo ends up on Ethan’s property again, Ethan is not happy about it and tells Marty how happy he is, in specific terms. Marty was definitely not happy about that and tries her darnedest to keep her wayward adventurous mutt on her property. Eventually they end up on the same page and fall in love. It was a sweet charming story and Marty was a likeable everyday woman and Ethan her sexy cowboy, she didn’t know she wanted. It was short, had humor and definitely worth reading if you get a chance to read it. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |
| Reviewer: Francine Alli |
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| CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews |
To Have and To Hold Leigh Greenwood Historical Romance Heat Rating: 2
A Stranger to the Rescue Colby Blaine has been a longer his whole life. And he isn’t about to change now. But that doesn’t mean he can ignore people in trouble. When he rides up to an inexperienced wagon train under attack, he doesn’t hesitate to jump into the fray. It’s only after the raid that he really lands himself in hot water... Naomi Kessling is certainly grateful to Colby for saving her family and agreeing to lead their train to safer territory. But the man has an infuriating way of knowing just how to get under her skin—he asks too many questions about a past she doesn’t want to remember, and his touch makes her long for far more. Yet the more time they spend together, the more Naomi sees that perhaps it’s Colby who needs rescuing the most... REVIEW: Naomi meets Colby when her family’s wagon train gets attacked by Indians. He comes to their aid and later becomes their guide, when they lose a few key members. At first she was very distrustful of him but, as she got to know him, she became less distrustful and began to like him. Turns out he had some kids he didn’t know about, but learned about when he reconnected with his ex. Turns out she was a rich man’s daughter and he was a poor man’s son and that didn’t sit too well with her daddy and he had them separated. He also wanted her to get rid of the child, but she didn’t much to daddy’s dismay. Colby eventually, learns she’s dying and she gives him the kids to raise away from the poisonous atmosphere that they’ve been living in. It was a sweet story and you rooted for them to get together and to stay together. Naomi’s family was funny, sensible and very able and strong. Colby’s kids were pintsized little adults, who were adorable and even his ex, even though she was very sick and dying was likeable, especially when she stood up to daddy pompous. Definitely, an enjoyable read, so if you get a chance check it out you won’t be disappointed. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |
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Tell us about yourself. First and foremost, I’m a mom. After that…I’ a wife and a writer. I love loud music (all music: Punk Rock, Country, Indie…) and adventure. Have feet, will travel. I’m tattooed, pierced, I’ve had hair every color of the rainbow and even no hair at all. I like bungee jumping, zip-wiring, mountain climbing, camping… I really, really, really love roller coasters. I’m the chick who gets off and runs right back to the end of the line. More, more, more. I’m also that girl who brings her friends to the bathroom with her. ;) I think that about sums it up. Give us insight into UnAttainable’s main characters. UnAttainable is the dual stories of two couples: Cage and Tegen and Dirty and Ellie. Cage is the son of Deuce West, the Hell’s Horsemen Motorcycle Club President and Tegen is Dorothy Kelley’s daughter. Dorothy was essentially a club whore with a heart of club who over the years endured a lot of tragedy because of her association with the club. Dirty is another member of the MC and Ellie is a fellow townsperson who in her youth was close friends with Danny, Cage’s sister and Deuce’s oldest daughter. The underlying message in the book: Sometimes you have to go back and confront the skeletons in your past before you can move forward. That it’s not always where the journey begins that counts...but where it takes you in the end. UnAttainable is book 3 of 5 in the UnDeniable Series. Tell us about the series and if each book is a standalone.
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The series revolves around a criminal motorcycle club and all its members, their old ladies and their children. It’s about brotherhood, survival, overcoming tragedy, the importance of family, and most of all it’s about LOVE even in the direst circumstances. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone. What’s your current project? Three books! Book four (the final chapter) in my Holy Trinity Series (Paranormal Romance), book four in my Undeniable Series: “UnBeloved”, and the first in a new project, a Dystopian Romance duet, “The Beginning of the End”. Do you plot each novel or do you prefer to see where the story takes you? I loosely plot all my stories, but my characters almost always take what I give them and run wild. When they start getting really crazy, I always refer them to original outline…And then, they laugh at me. ;)
USA Today Bestselling author Madeline Sheehan, is a Social Distortion enthusiast and devoted fan of body art. She is the author of The Holy Trinity Trilogy and Best Selling Undeniable Series. Homegrown in Buffalo, New York, Madeline resides there with her husband and son.
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| CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews |
Praise of the Heart
at a church fundraiser, she meets Cliff, a professional baseball player who lives his entire life in the spotlight. She’s intimidated at first by his forward personality and his fame, but Cliff is awe struck by Laura and is determined to win her heart. It’s an adorable story with a very touching scenario that emphasizes why the chase for love can be far more romantic than the catch.
Pro baseball player Cliff Markham is glad to help with the St. Luke’s Church fundraiser. However, when he returns to Sterling Lakes, his hometown is not quite the idyllic place he remembered. Will Laura Matthewson, the shy town librarian, assist him in researching the town’s water problem? Or does the beautiful but skittish Laura have secrets of her own to hide?
| Reviewer: Marie Haney |
Regina Andrews Inspirational Romance
REVIEW: From the very start, this book was charming, sweet and romantic. It was so easy to fall in love with the timid and shy librarian, Laura. Her warmth and big heart capture the premise of the story beautifully. When she’s volunteering
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| CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews |
Madeline Sheehan Contemporary Romance Heat Rating: 5
Warning: This is not a virtuous and tender love story. It’s chaotic, ruthless, and tragic. This story takes love and kills its innocence, steals away the pure moments, and crushes the hearts of the broken. This is Tegen and Cage’s story.
Horsemen Motorcycle Club and the women they fall in love with. Reading the books in order is a plus but it in no way detracts from the stories in they are read as standalones. Both couples in UnAttainable have a myriad of obstacles to overcome, both within themselves and the outside world. Ms. Sheehan is a writer amongst writers and she handles Dirty’s sad and brutal storyline with care. It’s touching to see him learn to accept Ellie’s feelings for him. As for Tegan and Cage? What can I say? Cage is sexy, protective, and fighting to not only step out of his father’s shadow but do something to make the man proud. Tegan is the only woman in the world tough enough to break through Cage’s barriers. The emotions and writing are raw and graphic. It is a solid, well-written story sent amongst the brutal and vicious world of an MC. | Reviewer: Leslie Ferdinand |
REVIEW: UnAttainable is Book 3 in the UnDeniable Series by Madeline Sheehan and tells the stories of Tegan and Cage and Dirty and Ellie. Just as the other books in the series, UnAttainable centers around the lives of the men in the Hell’s
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| CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews |
Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait
...Will break both their hearts
What Lady Jenny wants for Christmas…
REVIEW: Grace Burrowes brings dignity and passion to the questions of ambition and love in Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait. Burrowes offsets the steamy sensuality of human nature against the formal society of the English aristocracy and the extravagance of Holiday celebrations. The reader of Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait is immediately aware of characters with depth, wisdom, and burning sexuality.
Grace Burrowes Historical Romance Heat Rating: 4
For Christmas, soft-spoken Lady Jenny Windham craves the freedom to pursue her artistic ambitions, though it will mean scandalizing her ducal parents and abandoning all hope of a family of her own. She confides her plans to successful artist Elijah Harrison when he’s commissioned to paint a portrait of her small nephews, because assisting Elijah will bring Jenny that much closer to her heart’s desire--won’t it?
Elijah Harrison finds in his unlikely assistant not only an inspiring muse and unappreciated talent, but also a lovely and passionate woman. If Elijah supports Jenny’s career, his own professional interests will suffer, but more significantly, he will lose Jenny forever. Both Jenny and Elijah must choose between true love and a lifelong dream.
Christmas Season is the backdrop occasion for Lady Genevieve Windham (Lady Jenny) to indulge in the whimsical magic of romance against most polite conventional contradictions. Mr. Elijah Harrison, an artist of portraiture
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| CONTEMPORARY & HISTORICAL book reviews | and the rightful Earl of Bernward, appears on the Lord and Lady Kesmore’s doorstep besieged by ice, rain, and a lame horse on Stirring-Up Sunday’s evening. Lady Jenny rescues him amidst pleasantries and comforts thinly disguising their mutual desire for more intimate understandings. To the reader’s surprise, it is Lady Jenny requesting her wish to sketch the portrait of Mr. Harrison before he departs while balancing her role in the Kesmore’s household of attending to her nieces. A battle of artistry begins as Mr. Harrison, acclaimed by the Royal Academy, struggles with true talents in Lady Jenny and his own ineptness with children and families. As those around them struggle to understand, Elijah Harrison and Lady Jenny must determine their fates and find their futures, together or apart. In the beautiful world of Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait, Grace Burrowes shows enlightenment of the human spirit during the Christmas Holiday, transporting the reader to a time and place where romance is born of both the mind and the soul. This Christmas, readers searching for a warming and intelligent romance will find a satisfying, heartfelt story in Lady Jenny’s Christmas Portrait. Grace Burrowes has once again written a piece of the romantic sagas that touch readers with her mastery of the genre. | Reviewer: Kimberly Klemm |
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THE CHRISTMAS WISH by Kit Wylde
Alone during Christmas again, Lila seeks solace in the stars. But when was the last time wishing on a star had come true? Maybe this year would be different.
A Featured FREE Read
Snow settled softly over the countryside, creating a world of sparkling, white magic. With a sigh, Lila blinked away the tears that gathered in her eyes. It reminded her of her grandmother, Maryna. Maryna had raised her and would have wanted her to celebrate the Christmas season, but she found it difficult. Now that Maryna was gone, Lila no longer had any family. And how could anyone celebrate Christmas with no loved ones to share it? Sunk in her self-pity, Lila nearly missed the single, brilliant star shining high in the sky, piercing the gloom. At the sight, she smiled through her tears. She could almost hear her grandmother’s soft, loving voice admonishing her: “Make your wish quickly, dear, before it disappears. All wishes made on the Christmas star are granted.” Closing her eyes, heart filled with longing, Lila whispered the words required for the wish to work: “Star light, star bright, First star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might Have this Christmas wish tonight.” In her mind’s eye, she pictured a room full of people, laughter and love. For a brief moment, she felt part of the scene, then she opened her eyes to reality. Snorting at her naiveté, Lila shook her head. When was the last time she believed that her Christmas wish would come true? Probably about the same time she woke up and found that her teeth were still crooked and she would have to wear braces. For a twelve year old with zits and minimal curves, braces signaled her decline into ugly duckling-
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hood with no hope of ever being noticed by cute Todd Branson, the school heartthrob. She sighed. A trip down depressing memory lane certainly wouldn’t cheer her Christmas. Maybe if she put on some Christmas music, it would lift her spirits. She flipped the switch on the radio and cranked the volume. “Let It Snow” poured cheerfully out of the speakers, breaking the spell of melancholy. Singing along, Lila turned off the lights, kicked off her shoes and danced in the winking lights of her tree. Her movements changed with each song that played. “I hope you don’t mind, but I let myself in when you didn’t answer.” A voice shouted over the music. Startled, Lila whirled to face the intruder. Relief spread through her when she saw that it was only her neighbor Jason. Handsome and solitary, Jason had always seemed a little beyond Lila’s touch. Although they had spoken a few words in passing, they’d never had a real conversation. Lila turned the music down so she could talk to him, and gather her composure. When she finally faced him, although her pale skin was slightly flushed from dancing and embarrassment, she managed to look into his eyes... Such beautiful, smoky gray eyes. A woman could fall in love with those eyes.
COMING DECEMBER 3rd! READ IT FOR FREE! freyasbower.com
Chic Trends in Romance Sandra Bunino
Bring on the Christmas Spice: A Whole Lot of Naughty and A Little Bit of Nice!
Welcome to my second annual Naughty and Nice list. I have a brand new selection of sweet and spicy holiday romance stories for you from hotter than the Yule log authors. So pour yourself a mug of hot chocolate and get ready for a sexy holiday reading season! What’s sweeter than a holiday historical? Nina Rowan’s novella, ’Twas the Night Before Mischief (Daring Hearts, #2.5, Forever Yours—available December 10, 2013) is first on my Nice List.
| Chic Trends in Romance |
’Twas the Night Before Mischief ’Twas the night before mischief and all through the house, a lady was plotting-it was time to break out! When Penelope Darlington is persuaded to elope with a most unsuitable suitor, she wastes no time. With visions of passion and adventure dancing in her head, she steals away in the middle of the night, just before her father’s Christmas feast. Fearing for his daughter’s reputation, Henry Darlington begs Darius Hall, the Earl of Rushton’s daring yet discreet son, to bring Penelope home. When Darius finally catches up to Penelope he is shocked. She’s not the silly little girl he expected, but a beautiful woman with a sharp mind and an allure that cannot be ignored. Now forced to kidnap Penelope in order to bring her home, Darius and his new charge spend the next several days-and nights-in very close quarters. Penelope wanted passion and adventure, but she never could have imagined the pleasures Darius can provide . . .
Next up on the nice shelf is Nancy Thayer’s A Nantucket Christmas (Random House—available now).
A Nantucket Christmas Known for her heartwarming observations of family life, New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer showcases her beloved Nantucket’s snowy off-season in this emotionally gratifying and utterly entertaining story. Holidays on this Massachusetts island are nothing short of magical, and the season’s wonderful traditions are much loved by Nicole Somerset, new to Nantucket and recently married to a handsome former attorney. Their home is already full of enticing scents of pine, baking spices, and homemade pie. But the warm, festive mood is soon tempered by Nicole’s chilly stepdaughter, Kennedy, who arrives without a hint of holiday spirit. Determined to keep her stepmother at arm’s length—or, better yet, out of the picture altogether—Kennedy schemes to sabotage Nicole’s holiday preparations. Nicole, however, is not about to let anyone or anything tarnish her first Christmas with her new husband.
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All I Want for Christmas . . . Is a One Night Stand by Jillian Chantal (Sweet Cravings Publishing—available now) sprinkles a bit of both naughty and nice into this heartwarming and sexy story.
All I Want for Christmas . . . Is a One Night Stand Attorney Anna Kincaid doesn’t celebrate Christmas. It’s been a time of loss and sadness for her for too many years. Matteo Sanchez, a criminal prosecutor, has been searching for the right woman for more years than he cares to recall. In a local deli, Matteo, seated at the next table verhears a conversation Anna has with her friends that she wants a one night stand for Christmas. The next day, he introduces himself to her at the local bar association Christmas party. After an evening of passion, Anna discovers that Matteo knew about her wish before meeting her. Believing him to be a stalker and a cad, she throws him out of her house. Christmas may prove to be her enemy yet again.
Now, let’s get down to the Naughty List! Don’t you love blurbs that begin with . . . “it all started with one passionate night”? Donna Hill’s Mistletoe, Baby (Harlequin Kimani Romance—available now) is the perfect read for a chilly night. December 2013 | 43
| Chic Trends in Romance |
Naughty Christmas Nights Lace stockings . . . Hailey North has worked her butt off to make Merry Widow Lingerie a success. But if she doesn’t win the bid for Rudolph’s department store, she’s in big trouble. Her strategy? To prove that romance, playfulness and eroticism are what women want. The problem, however, is what Hailey wants . . . her wickedly hot, sexy competitor. Or black leather? Sex sells, and the Milano line is certainly all about sex. Besides, winning is the only way Gage Milano can extract himself from the family business. Unfortunately, Hailey’s romantic lingerie threatens not only his freedom, but his libido! But when their professional rivalry turns into a red-hot rendezvous, the competition really starts heating up. And Xmas is about to get a whole lot more X-rated!
Mistletoe, Baby Don’t preach to Alexis Montgomery about settling down. She’s got her act together—a fabulous new job, great friends and plenty of dating prospects. She’s happily taking New York City by storm, so why would she ruin things by committing to just one man? If anyone could influence Alexis, it might be Graham Stone. He’s gorgeous and brilliant, enough to make any red-blooded woman question her single status. Unfortunately, he’s also her boss. When these two seductive forces collide, neither thinks past the sparks they are generating. But their rendezvous has an unexpected consequence during the holiday season— one that could make them never want to walk away... from each other.
Here’s a nice vs. naughty showdown! Naughty Christmas Nights by Tawny Weber (Harlequin Blaze—available now) 44 | www.BTSeMag.com
What a delicious mix of flavors so far! But let’s face it—the holidays get expensive, don’t they? Well, put your credit card away, because I have something extra special gift for you this month! Fellow author Lila Shaw and I present our blog serial, Second Chance Layover (Lonely Hearts Travel Club), for free! The story is running on our blogs every weekday from November 29 through Christmas Eve. You’ll fall in love with Charli and Cal’s story as they reunite during a chance meet at the airport.
Second Chance Layover When the mother of all snowstorms strands journalist Charli Tierney in the Chicago airport, her boss gives her a fluff assignment to kill time—investigate the MeetMe dot com social network for airport travelers. Imagine her surprise when her connection is also one of her brother’s old friends . . . and the boy she crushed on for years as a teen. Cal Wheaton is no less shocked that of all the fish in the sea, or lonely travelers in Terminal B, his O’Hare MeetMe connection is Charli . . . but not just because of the coincidence. The snarky little sister he fondly remembers has grown into a very desirable woman. And this time there’s no protective big brother around to keep him in line. Their reunion helps Cal escape the anguish of his sister’s recent death, if only for a few hours. Reconnected, the embers of Charli and Cal’s decadeold attraction are quickly fanned into a night of hot passion. But when a ghost from Cal’s past drives a wedge between them, will the layover lovers realize in
time that blame and guilt are baggage best left behind?
Happy Sexy Holidays!
Sandra Bunino began a love of romance stories while penning a creative writing assignment in high school. The story ended with the heroine receiving a long-stemmed red rose in her locker on Valentine’s Day. Since then, all of her stories feature the hero presenting the heroine with roses. Sandra is constantly searching for different ways to achieve a heart-pumping, stomach-flipping, breathcatching reaction from her readers..
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see BEHIND closed DOORS
REVIEWS and more
BTS REVIEW RATINGS: 5 Stars awesome book, read it now! 4 Stars a must read 3 Stars really good read 2 Stars this was OK 1 Star hard to finish, flawed
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The Heat Diva Nikki McCarver
Nestling in the Naughtiness Well, boys and girls, the season is almost upon us. The craziness has spread by now and probably has you in a maddened fever, buying things for everyone else. If you’re reading this right now, it’s probably on a small break, planning on that next big shopping trip for the little ones. Yes, ’tis the season for giving, but my girlfriends and I do things a little differently. We exchange naughty books. J Yes sweaters, shoes, gift baskets, and other trinkets are nice, but naughty book girls need something a little different to satisfy and fulfill that kink hole. There is nothing closer to my heart then reading a hot tale of seasonal lust and hearing about good old kinky Christmas traditions unfolding. I have a collection of naughty no-nos that are sure to tempt you into a little something for yourself . . . a little brain-break in between wrapping and playing Santa . . . or a read that can become part of your bath time. Let’s take a look at some good presents for the naughty reader on your list:
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| The Heat Diva |
Heat Level Vampire for Christmas by Felicity Heaton (Indie Book—available now) Felicity Heaton is aptly named because her books usually put you in a slow burn until the climatic heat-up. Vampires for Christmas is definitely one with a simmering build, and it has one of the most enjoyable story lines. Best part is that it’s a short! So, it’s the perfect before bedtime read to send you off to sleep with your own naughty vampire fantasies! A White Cougar Christmas by Eliza Gayle (Gypsy Ink Books—available now) No, this isn’t that kind of cougar book, Niki is an actual white cougar on a mission to fulfill what looks like another lonely Christmas. What she finds is something a lot more permanent. It was a quick, hot read with a smoking sex scene. It is a teasingly good taste of Eliza Gayle’s work.
Heat Level All I Want for Christmas by Liliana Hart (Bodysways Publishing—available now) Liliana was an author I picked up in my travels. She does hot right! This is two quick, little stories about getting some Christmas cheer the right way. It has a short in there that includes one of the bad, bad MacKenzie brothers, which by the way are welcome under my tree any day . . . LOL. Christmas Eve on Olympus by Lisa Beth Darling (OF WAR, #3, Moon Mistress Publishing—available now) Greek-a-luscious! Lisa Beth writes an amazingly hot Christmastime tale for our Greek Gods and Goddesses. She actually makes Ares likeable; whereas in most stories, he isn’t. This little short will definitely have you rethinking your holiday traditions . . . especially involving candy canes . . . LOL.
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Heat Level Home for Christmas by Jodi Olson (Romace Divine LLC—available now) This little treat found its way into my hands courtesy of a very naughty friend of mine. And I must say I was not disappointed. Matt invites Zack home for Christmas and the sparks fly between Zack and Matt’s sister. The sex is off the charts, and I can definitely see why she falls hard and fast! Four For Christmas by R.G. Alexander (Three for Me, #2, Indie Book—available now) This little delight hit my hot spot just right. It pulls a lot of different elements into the mix and taps on a few of my own secret desires. What hot-blooded woman wouldn’t want three (or more) completely devoted men at her beck and call? This is one fantasy I keep under wraps, but hey . . . even naughty girls dream. And this Heat Diva would love to wake to this underneath her tree! ....................................................... This wraps up my Holiday Treats for this year! I hope you found one or two naughties to nibble on and then pass on to a friend! May your Holidays be Naughty, Bright, and Full of Chocolaty Delights! See you next year!
I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and erotica has brought my favorite pasttime to a whole new level. After the birth of my daughter, I started learning about blogging and all the wonderful ways to share my passion for reading and dived right in. I created my own blog to share my love of paranormal, historical, dark, and erotic books. I have had the opportunity to work with many great authors and look forward to working with many more. Come Closer and look me up at: http://closeencountersofthenightkind.blogspot.com
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EROTIC | book reviews |
The Sheik Retold
The Desert Was Never Hotter!
After ten years of sacrificing everything for his country as a Navy SEAL, Bishop is looking for salvation, and something more permanent in his life. Angel, a pretty kindergarten teacher, thinks she’s just what he needs. Their chemistry is instant, and explosive, only Bishop has trouble letting go of his commitment to his country. It’s up to Angel to prove there’s room for her in his life.
Victoria Vane and EM Hull Historical Erotic Heat Rating: 3
Pride and passion vie for supremacy in this steamy retelling of E.M. Hull’s romance classic. A haughty young heiress for whom the world is a playground… A savage son of the Sahara who knows no law but his own… When pride and passion vie for supremacy... Blistering desert days are nothing compared to sizzling Sahara nights… REVIEW: Never read the original, but after reading this I just might. Diana was definitely a woman, who knew what she wanted and how to take care of herself in a man’s world and knew how to cope and survive in a foreign land, and in the hands of a foreign man, with whom she had an exciting adventure with. She even became quite close with the fellow. You rooted for a happy ending to her story and you tried to figure out who’d benefit from having her disappear completely. It was very good and if there’s a sequel to the adventure that takes place a few years later, would definitely like to read about it. So if you get a chance to read it, read it. You’ll enjoy it. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |
Tory Richards Contemporary Erotic Heat Rating: 5
REVIEW: Where do I begin? This book is very erotic and too hot for words. I needed a tall glass of ice water to cool off and this was by page seven. Bishop and Angel meet while Angel is housesitting for Bishop’s sister. Thinking that it is a break-in robbery, she calls the police and discovers that it is Bishop a man she has lusted after based on his picture and stories told to her by his sister. After the misunderstanding with the police, they grew an instant attraction to each other, and they have such a sexual attraction to each other that I was blushing. This is a typical story of girl meets boy, they are attracted to each other, but one feels that his line of work should keep him from attaching a commitment to another person. The story was short, but gets to the point quickly and I was torn between taking Angel’s side that Bishop should take a chance and that nothing in this life is guaranteed and Bishop wanting to keep his life as a SEAL separate and not attaching himself to another person with feelings and emotions. It was a somewhat intense and endearing story with some deep erotic and sexual overtones. It is short, but I would highly recommend it and would love to see if the author continues this story. | Reviewer: Anita Rivers |
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| EROTIC book reviews |
The Devil Devere Victoria Vane Historical Erotic Heat Rating: 4
as much. And you get to see some old friends of Devere’s too. Those, who truly know him for who he is. So if you get a chance pick it up. You won’t be sorry. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |
WHEN DEALING WITH THE DEVIL… IT’S EASY TO GET BURNED When burned once… Beautiful, respectable, and dutiful, Diana Palmerston-Wriothesley was resigned to her decade-long loveless and childless marriage to a feckless husband until a dire discovery shatters her life. By an old flame... A master of seduction, Viscount Ludovic, “The Devil” DeVere, is accustomed to taking what he wants heedless of the cost until encountering a woman who won’t be had at any price—at least not until a dark secret compels her to seek aid and comfort in this devil’s arms. What begins as an all-consuming passion becomes a true devil’s bargain when circumstances beyond their control drive the lovers irrevocably apart. Fire is best fought with fire…Four years later, DeVere is world-weary and bored with his life of debauchery when Diana unexpectedly reappears. Although both believe the former inferno has been reduced to bitterness and ashes, their chance reunion proves otherwise. With their passion reignited to undeniable ferocity, DeVere is hell-bent to lure Diana back into his bed… while she is equally determined to bring him to his knees. REVIEW: The man’s at it again. Never let it be said, that it’s a dull life when you’re by a man, whose basically not afraid of anything and would probably do just about anything to get what he wants. He’s funny, bold and absolutely, obnoxiously arrogant and you hope there is somebody out there for him who’s a) Strong enough to be able to contain him b) Put him in his place, when he needs to be put in his place c) Have the ability to know the real man behind the shenanigans. It’s definitely a real good read and if you’ve ever read the first Devere novel and enjoyed it, you’ll enjoy this one just
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| EROTIC book reviews | The Strix
Katalina Leon & Amber Skyze Erotic Romance Heat Rating: 3
After drawing a piece of amber from a witchâ€™s wish bag, Arcona awakens to a past life as a vengeful Celtic witch - a Strix, who used blood and sex magic to get her way. She turned the gladiator Tyr into a bloodthirsty Slayer. Now Tyr wants his revenge. Too bad love gets in the way... REVIEW: A soul from the past rejoins another that has been rebirthed. An instant reconnection is made and chemistry is ignitedâ€Ś This was a great story but it is one that you do need to take your time to read to understand. It had an intriguing unexpected and enjoyable storyline that was well written and easy to enjoy. As the story develops it will have you wanting see what transpires with the unique characters in the story. | Reviewer: Beckey White |
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Tormented by the question of ‘what if...’ Home for Hanukkah, Sergeant Isaac Janko has never forgotten the baby his girlfriend gave up for adoption years ago. But he didn’t realize how angry he still was.... More than time separates them... A chance meeting at Temple brings Zehava Elbaz face-to-face with the first and only man she’s ever loved. She sees a deep and hidden pain in him, one she blames herself for... An invitation to Hanukkah brings them together... The two must confront their pain and loss. They have only eight days to face their past, and win each other’s trust, but it is a time for healing, reconciliation and miracles…
“Isaac.” The sound of his name tripping off her lips locked him in place. He kept his attention fixed beyond the gate. Home for only a few days, he could make this work if he kept the contact as minimal as possible. “Yes?” He canted his head, turning an ear toward her, and refusing to look. Not when he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to kiss her or throttle her. The level of violence shivering in his muscles appalled him, one match away from erupting. “Hanukkah begins this week.” “I know. It’s why I came home.” Confusion flickered through him. Her shoe scuffed on the blacktop. She came closer and he fought in vain against turning. “I know it’s the first time in years….”
“Are you asking me if I want to spend my first Hanukkah at home with your pseudo-children since you gave away ours?” Once the words were out, he couldn’t take them back and with his attention locked on her, he couldn’t miss the verbal lash striking its mark. Regret filtered through his fury. He wasn’t sure who angered him more. Her for what she did, or him because he never stopped loving her and hating her for it. Ouch. The barb sank deep and raked her emotions over the coals. She shouldn’t have been surprised by the strength of the sting, but it didn’t diminish the impact. Zehava absorbed the words and the pain, letting both sink through her until they reached the marrow of her bones. The whip crack of fury from anyone else would be met in kind, however she believed Isaac deserved his pound of flesh. And she’d give him this one. Only the one.
Don’t bring it up. “And I’m probably the last person you want to talk to….” For the love of all that’s holy, leave it alone. His head began to ache from clamping his teeth together. “I’m expecting a lot of kids are going to be here this week. The neighborhood is full of single mothers, fathers and their kids need a place to spend Hanukkah. I’m going to light the menorah for them each evening at dusk. They’d love to meet you. You’re a hero for so many and maybe—maybe you’d like to spend some time here, too. Help out.” Her voice drifted away and he pivoted slowly. He wanted to walk the hell away and keep his mouth shut. The hesitation was still in her eyes, yet he also glimpsed hope. Faint, but there, in the liquid dark depths.
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Taylor fantasizes about seducing Shane Griffin. Only problem, he’s eight years her junior – too young for her. Shane has loved Taylor for as long as he can remember. To his surprise, she agrees to have dinner with him. When she propositions him, he wonders: Will one night be enough?
Give us insight into Taylor and Shane’s characters. They are both hard working characters in need of TLC. What is the hardest thing about writing? The sex scenes for sure. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? After 35+ books, coming up with a unique sex scene. What is the easiest thing about writing? Dialogue. My characters always have an enjoyable banter. How long on average does it take you to write a book? It depends on the length, but I can normally finish a 30k book in a month.
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From a very young age Amber Skyze began making up stories–the only child syndrome. While telling tall tales to her friends she never dreamed of putting words on paper. When not crafting hot, steamy stories, Amber spends time with her husband, four children and three dogs.
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I stepped down into the plush dining room of the resort. Initially I thought I may have overdressed for our first night on the island, but the palatial state of my surroundings made me feel more dressed down than anything else. Since we arrived earlier that day, Jack and I had taken a walk on the white sandy beaches while doing nothing more but holding hands and simply talking to one another. With the craziness that had become our relationship in the past week, it was nice to finally do something like a normal couple would. After a light lunch on the terrace of our villa, we took a leisurely dip in the main pool while sipping the most delicious red fruit drink. For the first time in over a week, I was no longer riddled with frazzled nerves. I was actually starting to relax a bit and not assume the worst of every situation. “Wow. This place is so beautiful, Jack. This must be expensive. You really shouldn’t have spent so much.” I sat down as the maître d’ pulled out my chair. “Nonsense. I told you that this was for us. What are vacations for if you can’t get a little extravagant once in a while?” “Yes I know, but . . . well, it’s more than I would have ever hoped for. It’s truly beautiful.” “No more beautiful than you are.” His smile was both soothing and alluring at the same time. December 2013 | 63
| Sex and the Single Woman | I blushed under his intense gaze. He always had a way of making me feel like a schoolgirl on her first date. If I could, I would bottle this giddy feeling and stash it away for a rainy day. It was nice being treated like I was the only woman in the world for him.
putty in Jack’s hand, and he knew it. I wish I was a bit stronger and had more willpower, but he was right about one thing. He was devastatingly handsome. And his silver tongue knew all the right buttons to push.
“There you go again.” He shook his head with a grin. “Have I ever told you that you’re beautiful when you are bashful?”
The waiter came over with a charismatic smile. “Good evening, sir, ma’am,” he said as he bowed his head toward each of us. “Would you care for a bottle of wine this evening?”
“No, but if you keep saying things like that, then I’m afraid it will keep happening.” I grinned with my reply.
Jack gestured toward me. “Do you have any preferences?”
“Well, then. I guess we’ll just talk about it all night long. I’m rather fond of the effect it has on you.”
Smiling, I said, “You know me well enough to know that I’m dying for a nice chilled glass of Moscato.”
“Jack, stop.” I gently nudged his hand.
Jack smiled at me. “That I do. Tell me, do you have any Moscatos that you might recommend. The lady has a very delicate palate.”
“I’ll do no such thing. We’ve been seeing each other for nearly four months now, and I am no fool. I’m a man who realizes a good thing when he sees it. You are an amazing and beautiful woman. Taking you on this vacation is just one step in what I hope will be a lifetime of adventures together.” I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came. Had he just implied what I thought he had? Surely the tropical heat and humidity must be playing tricks on my mind, because for a moment, I almost thought he implied that he wanted a future with me. “You’re quite adorable when the cat’s got your tongue.” “I . . . umm . . . I’m not sure what to say.” I answered in complete truth. Like so many other times with Jack, he had a way of stunning me silent. “You could say that you’re enjoying yourself. Or that you think I’m devastatingly handsome.” He winked. “Seriously though, I don’t care what you say, as long as it’s the truth. I love being with you like this. Taking you on vacation or out to dinner like this is as much fun for me as it is for you. You might even say I’m showing you off. What man doesn’t like to take his lady out for a romantic evening? Most men know what it takes to put a smile on their special someone’s face. I’d like to think I know what makes you happy too.” “You’re an unstoppable force of nature, do you know that?” I was trying to be playful and tease him, but my wide smile proved that his words were working. I was pretty much | www.BTSeMag.com 64 64 | www.BTSeMag.com
“Indeed, we do, sir. We happen to have a 2011 Ecco Domani in our cellar. Its sweet note with undertones of honeysuckle and tangerine blend nicely together.” “Oh, gosh that sounds heavenly. Can we get that?” I asked, probably sounding more eager than I should have. “Send us over a bottle.” Jack told him. “We’ll need a few minutes to look over the menu.” “Very well, sir. I’ll be back.” The waiter stepped away and left them alone. “Thank you, Jack.” “You’re welcome. I told you that there wasn’t a thing I wouldn’t do for you. I wish you’d start believing that.” “I know, but . . . sometimes it’s so much.” Jack leaned over the table and gently lifted my fingers off the table. He then raised my hand in his and tenderly kissed the tips. The gentle touch of his lips felt like feathers tickling against my skin. “For you, it is never too much. It’s merely the beginning. I love you.” And there it was, the one four-letter word that held such monumental meaning. It was the one and only word that held the power to knock down all of my defenses in
one fell swoop. It was hard enough trying to keep a level head with Jack and all his romantic gestures, but having him lay that whopper on me was more than I was able to resist. His life may be crazy and fill me with more doubts than certainties. His life may even leave me with more questions than answers. Damn, if I could help myself though. I was in love with Jack Dennison, and I had a feeling this trip was going to solidify those feelings until I was completely under his thumb. “I love you too.”
Nicole Morgan is an author of erotic romance novels, which more often than not, have a suspenseful back story. While she’s written everything from contemporary to paranormal, her leading men will more than likely be wearing a uniform of some kind. From military to police officers, she has a love for writing about those who protect and serve. From her very first novel (which turned into a four-book series) about Navy SEALs to her more recent releases, you will be sure to find a few twists and turns you were not expecting. She is a proud member of the wonderful group of gals known as Four Seduced Muses and is honored to be a part of Romance Books 4 Us Gold Authors. Find out more about Nicole and her books by visiting her website, blog, Google+ Page, Twitter, Facebook and her Yahoo Group, Nicole’s Think Tank.
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SCI FI & FANTASY
OUT of this WORLD
REVIEWS and more
BTS REVIEW RATINGS: 5 Stars awesome book, read it now! 4 Stars a must read 3 Stars really good read 2 Stars this was OK 1 Star hard to finish, flawed
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Tech has an amazing story to tell, but is any of it true? Old betrayals make Micayta slow to trust, but without Tech she and her brother won’t reach Phadra alive. But the real danger lies within the city walls, where Micayta becomes a player in a deadly game with a dark-eyed mage.
Two gray wolves stepped through the sheets of falling snow. They were so thin, bones showed clearly beneath their skin. It might have been a sight to be pitied if it weren’t forthe fact that they posed such a threat.
sink his teeth into her throat.
“What do we do now?” Pytaki’s voice was tight.
With her right hand, Micayta desperately tugged her dagger free from its sheath. She managed to push the wolf up higher, so that his front paws lifted slightly off her chest.
“Stay calm,” she said. “They’re small and weak. We can probably outrun them.”
With as much force as she could muster, she slammed her dagger into his stomach and drew it uptoward herself.
Pytaki’s breath came harsh and fast. “I don’t think Palo can do it. He’s carrying too much weight.”
The wolf let out a single, strangled growl, before going limp. Micayta pushed him away and lay panting, sharp pain coursing across her chest and shoulder. There was blood everywhere, running down inside her sleeves and pooling across her chest. It was even flecked across her face. The smell was metallic and mixed with the noxious odor of spilt guts and bodily fluids, was making her head spin.
She knew he was right. The smaller horse would be easy prey for the wolves and once he fell, there would be no way for Pytaki to fend off an attack. “Well, maybe Tech and I could–” Micayta’s mare reared back as a darker wolf rushed them, snapping at the horses’ feet. The thick snow cushioned Micayta’s fall and kept her from any serious injury. But still, the air was knocked from her lungs and for a moment she could do nothing but lie there on her back and gasp for breath. When at last she managed to roll over to her side and push herself to her knees, she found herself face to face with the darker wolf. Her hand went for her dagger, but not nearly fast enough. The wolf lunged, his front paws hitting Micayta solidly in the chest and knocking her backward in the snow. His claws dug into her shoulder and scraped across the upper part of her chest. She thrust her left arm up, into his throat, using all her strength to hold him up and away from her face. Saliva dripped into her eyes as the wolf scrabbled to
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PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE
BEYOND the EXPECTED
REVIEWS and more
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Coming Soon: Rick Cantelli, P.I. Book II: Deadly Liaisons
The Scrying Eye Kelly Hudson
Tidings of Great Joy Come inside, my dear brothers and sisters. Come, sit by the fire, warm yourselves. Drink a cup of hot tea or coffee, if you prefer. Gather your senses, prepare your mind, open up your holiday spirit. Soon we shall part the curtains and see what the Scrying Eye holds in store for us this month. And lo! Do I hear the Eye now, ready to speak, to open, and to show us all the wondrous gifts of fiction that wait in our near future? Sit, sit by the Eye and gaze into its depths. Peer into the mystery and receive now the answers to all of your questions. It opens! It opens . . .
Fantasy/Science Fiction A Cosmic Christmas edited by Hank Davis (Baenâ€”available now) is a collection of twelve Christmas-themed stories with a Science Fiction bent. Older authors as well as a newer mix bring this fantastic collection to life, featuring work from Manly Wade Welman, Sarah A. Hoyt, Larry Correia, and many others. Read about a ballerina and a holographic tycoon, a clone that discovers joy, and a werewolf that goes home with December 2013 | 73
| The Scrying Eye | a witch for the holidays. There are plenty of flavors, and each story holds its own rewards. A Yuletide Universe: Sixteen Fantastical Tales edited by Brian M. Thomsen (Aspect— available now) is another collection of Fantasy and Science Fiction tales centered around Christmas. This anthology features such authors as Neil Gaiman, Connie Willis, Harlan Ellison, Clive Barker, and many, many more. The stories range the gamut from pleasant and cheery to downright terrifying. But one thing unites all of the fiction presented here, and that is epic writing. All the authors are acclaimed, and they all deliver the yuletide goods! For a fantastical journey into the meaning of Christmas, you can’t go wrong with this collection!
Ten Lords A-Leaping: A Mystery by C. C. Benison (Father Christmas, #3, Delacorte Press— available December 3, 2013) is the third in the series featuring Father Tom Christmas and the sleepy hamlet of Thornford Regis. Another mystery has come to Father Christmas, and he must solve it in his inimitable style. Fans of British mysteries will take to this series right away, and those who love a good Christmas-themed whodunit will enjoy it, as well!
You’d Better Watch Out! edited by Kevin G. Bufton (CreateSpace—available now) contains sixteen tales of festive fear and yuletide terror—featuring authors such as K. Trap Jones, David Williamson, Angela Pritchett, and a host of others. You can have your candy cane and stick it in a zombie’s eye, too! Stories about undead Santas, killer reindeer, and other Christmas horrors await your reading pleasure. Open this present, if you dare!
A Christmas Hope: A Novel by Anne Perry (Ballantine Books—available now) is a delightful story featuring a strong female lead and a mystery that will determine the life-or-death fate of a young man caught up in its machinations. Claudine Burroughs leads an unsatisfied life with a cold husband and a group of friends that care more about their social status than actual relationships. When she meets a delightful young poet named Dai Treggaron at a Christmas party, she finds a kindred soul. But Dai is soon accused of murdering a streetwalker, and now Claudine must turn her every effort towards saving his life. Will she succeed, or will the very society she belongs to help frame the young poet for a murder he didn’t commit? Read on and you shall find out!
A Hacked-Up Holiday Massacre: Halloween is Going to be Jealous edited by Shane McKenzie (Pill Hill Press—available now) is a collection of short stories themed around various holidays. Not all of the stories involve Christmas, but many do, and let me tell you, they deliver the bloody goods. Featuring such renowned authors as Jack Ketchum, Wrath James White, Joe R. Lansdale, Bentley Little, and many others, this is a can’t-miss anthology.
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And so there you have it, dear readers, the holidays are upon us, and the Scrying Eye has once again provided some great stocking-stuffer ideas for readers of just about any taste. Go forth, find these books, buy them for yourself or as gifts for others. For now the Scrying Eye must rest, the Eye must close, and it will not open again until the New Year is upon us! Merry Christmas!
Kelly M Hudson is the author of two horror novels and dozens of short stories, including a piece in the recent D.O.A. II collection by Blood Bound Books. You can find links to all of his works by visiting www.kellymhudson.com if you dare!
Until the next
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& SUSPENSE | book reviews |
The Wolf’s Torment (Moldavian Moon #1) Stephanie Burkhart Paranormal Heat Rating: 3
It’s 1865 and Moldavia is a country nestled against the shores of the Black Sea. Lady Theresa travels from Austria to this country that’s haunted by tales of vampires and werewolves. She’s going to marry the Crown Prince, but she harbors her own unspoken secrets. Prince Mihai has just returned to Moldavia to discover he’s a witch. He’s intent on being a good husband and modernizing his country, but he must find a balance with his supernatural heritage. His best friend, Viktor, accompanies Mihai and marries Mihai’s sister. In an unfortunate twist of fate, a werewolf bites Viktor. Viktor’s transformation threatens everyone around him, including his wife’s safety and Mihai’s happiness, but he’s especially dangerous when he’s near Theresa. Can Mihai save his family from Viktor’s lies and deceptions? REVIEW: Ten-year-old Mihai, finds out his mother is a witch, when an old witch comes to claim what was hers to reclaim. Mihai is a prince and his father is King so he really doesn’t understand what is happening. His mother tells him the truth just before she pays the ultimate price in protecting him and he manages to cut the old witch, before he takes off running and heading home to tell his father what has happened. Years later, he becomes engaged to a beauty, who has basically dreamed about him for years as he dreamt about her and they do become close. The old witch comes back and her wolf friend that’s always by her side comes back and bites one of Mihai’s friends and that, just doesn’t sit well with anybody and towards the end there is a confrontation that Mihai didn’t want to deal with. It was a really good and suspenseful read that held your attention from the first page and you wanted a happy ending for Mihai and Teresa. All the characters were believable. From the good ones right down to the foul ones. Pick up a copy. You’ll definitely enjoy it. | Reviewer: Cassandra Graham |
The Alpha’s Daughter Jacqueline Rhoades Paranormal Romance Heat Rating: 3
There is a balm in Gilead, to heal the wounded soul… Jazz Phillips is on the run, fleeing from a fate most females in her pack accept as their lot in life; an arranged mating, something Jazz thought wasn’t in her future as the Alpha’s daughter and only child. She doesn’t want to be the next Alpha’s Mate. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s mate. She likes her life just the way it is until she finds herself stranded in the mountain town of Gilead, home to a small and close knit pack of wolvers. Once there, she begins to question her life as it was and begins to wonder about what it could be, especially in the arms of the wolver the people call Doc. Doc Goodman claims to have settled in Gilead because he saw a need for his services, but in fact, he’s a runaway, too. He’s rejected his wolver heritage and the warring politics that stripped him of everything he loved most. He’s biding his time, waiting to die, until he meets the blue haired, foul mouthed beauty who shows him there are still things worth living for and the most important of them are worth fighting for. REVIEW: I love the writing style of Jacqueline Rhoades. It flows easily and the words just flow off the page. I never had to read a sentence twice to understand what she meant. The focus of the book is brilliant and I found myself being sucked into every page; this is a rare talent that not all authors possess. I loved the characters in this book, and found myself falling for each character and relating to them. I think the book possessed a lot of raw emotion that I think everyone at some point feels. I feel that a lot of people would be able to relate it to it in some way or other as it holds so much within its pages. This book has made it into my top 50, mainly because I have read a lot of series and for me vampires come before werewolves. Hahah!!! | Reviewer: Nila Bi | December 2013 | 77
Hunter’s spent the past 4 years in hell as a wolf battling for his life. Now he’s free and found his mate, Becca. Between the Pack’s council and strangers who could take everything away from them, Becca and Hunter have more to fight and everything to fight for.
He would tell her everything soon, leaving no secret behind, but right now, he could only say the words that meant the most.
Finally, he pulled back, his wolf howling in pleasure. Her eyes had darkened, and her hard nipples brushed against his shirt.
“I wasn’t worth it before. I needed to make myself worth you.”
“One step at a time, Becca. Anything you need.”
She sucked on her lip then nodded. “That doesn’t tell me enough, but I know you’re trying. I don’t know what I want Hunter. I need choices.” Fate hadn’t given them a choice, and he wouldn’t argue with what could be good for him, but he just nodded. “I’ll do whatever you want. For always.” “One step at a time, Hunter. I want to know who you are and why I feel this warmth within me every time you’re near. I didn’t grow up with any of this. I need time.” He nodded then lowered his head, letting his lips rest gently on hers. She gasped, and he licked the seam of her mouth. She opened for him softly, her breath coming in short pants. He kissed her with a care he didn’t know he possessed. He was a wolf, an animal, not someone who was used to gentleness, but for Becca, he’d be anything she needed. He drowned in her sweet taste, relishing her submission.
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She smiled at him, and he knew he’d broken through that first step. Now he just needed to show her he could be hers. And show the Pack that she was safe. Easier said than done.
| PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews |
Forgotten in Darkness Zoe Forward Paranormal Romance Heat Rating: 5
After an unjustified stint in purgatory, Scimitar Magus Dakar returns to the human realm, renewing his eons-old curse. When he finds the woman he loves, one of them must die by the other’s hand within two weeks of meeting. To break the vicious cycle, he must kill her before she strikes her deathblow, something he’s never done in the past.
myself that better wording could have been used, but then I began to enjoy the read and as I got to know the characters a little better, I didn’t mind the wording as much. By far it was a fun read, and I can’t fault it at all. It wasn’t too long and it wasn’t too short. For Once a book seemed to have the right amount of everything. I enjoyed the little quotes more than anything else and the relations between the fairy tales, quite amusing, I found myself smiling quite a few times. So if you enjoy a decent book with a story line and not too much sex, give this one ago. I’m sure you will love the characters as much as I did. AAwoooooh!! | Reviewer: Nila Bi |
Will this be the lifetime they break the curse before they die yet again? REVIEW: With a fresh new take on paranormal romance Zoe Forward is great. Forgotten in Darkness is the second installment of her Magi series, where Zoe brings the reader into a fresh new world readers in the paranormal romance genre really haven’t gotten to tap into. In Forgotten in Darkness Dakar and Shay are reunited in their most recent incarnation where both their love and their curse follow their every move. Zoe keeps the story amped up through the entire book both in thrilling anticipation and strong character leads. She also adds a fun and tantalizing chemistry and very steamy love scenes that will make readers squirm in their seats. Zoe has done a fabulous job, I can’t wait to read more in the future! | Reviewer: Krissy Malott |
Doe and the Wolf Eve Langlais Paranormal Heat Rating: 3
Looking for help in recovering a fugitive? The Lone Wolf Agency can help you. We specialize in huffing and puffing criminals back where they belong, behind bars. REVIEW: I quite enjoyed this read. At some moments I almost hated the dialogue that was being used, I thought to December 2013 | 79
| PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews | Murder Most Foul Joanne Myers Crime/Thriller/Mystery
When two dismembered torsos wash up on the banks of the local river in the small industrial town of Pleasant Valley, residents are horrified. Between contradicting statements, police ineptitude, lust, lies, manipulation, incest, the motorcycle gang The Devil’s Disciples, crooked cops, and a botched crime scene, everyone becomes a suspect. The young beautiful Jackie Reeves, a registered nurse, believes the killer is a man from her past. She contacts the dangerously handsome FBI Agent Walker Harmon. An arrest is made, but Harmon and Jackie believe an innocent man is
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being railroaded by local cops. Determined to find the truth, before anymore killings, Agent Harmon and Jackie are forced to run a gauntlet of deep trouble and turmoil, which marks them for death. REVIEW: Murder Most Foul introduces us to Walker Harmon, an FBI Agent that’s sent out to solve gruesome crimes. In his line of work, blood and gore are the norm, and encountering dangerous individuals and gangs isn’t unheard of. But what makes this book so uniquely brilliant is that all of the crimes he’s set out to solve are based on true crimes in the state of Ohio. The author recreates the scenes with dramatic fashion, adding characters that are so realistic; it feels like you’re living the moment right along with them. She is a wonderful storyteller, paying attention to every intricate detail and leaving you hanging on to every single word. If you’re a fan of crime thrillers, this book will definitely not disappoint! | Reviewer: Marie Haney |
| PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews |
A SEAL Wolf Christmas Terry Spear Paranormal Romance Heat Rating: 4
Can an Alpha Wolf Who’s Met His Match... Navy SEAL Bjornolf Jorgenson has had tough missions before, but going undercover with feisty gray wolf Anna Johnson could top the list. She drives him crazy—in more ways than one. Now he has to investigate a murder, supervise a wild teenage wolf— and handle Christmas with Anna. Survive the Holidays with Her? For Anna, the only thing worse than staging the perfect family Christmas is having to do it with Bjornolf posing as her husband. Anna is a serious undercover operative who isn’t afraid of a fight, even with a hunky SEAL shifter. With a killer on the loose, Anna just wants to focus on their mission, but the one thing she can’t fight is her sizzling chemistry with Bjornolf. REVIEW: Terry Spear once again delivers. Her wolves are ones that you can never get tired of as each one has his own story to tell and each book can also be read as a standalone. A SEAL Wolf Christmas follows another one of the hunky SEAL shifters and Bjornolf is one hot shifter. The chemistry between Bjornolf and Anna is sizzling and the storyline of a killer to hunt will keep you turning the pages. Well written, entertaining and all around an incredible read, I look forward to reading future books by Ms. Spear. | Reviewer: Annette Stone |
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The Scarecrow and Ms. Moon Barbara Raffin Paranormal Romance
Never make a witch mad. Jackson Wolfe did and he’s now a scarecrow her garden. Jessie Moon tries to undo her impulsive act. Unfortunately, the novice witch is unsuccessful. She needs the help of her coven. But there’s a price to be paid for restoring her lover. Jessie is given the twenty-four hours of Halloween to prove she loves him enough to let him go or he will be turned back into a scarecrow…forever. REVIEW: A witch that sees dishonesty as a betrayal, Jesse Moon finds it hard to trust anyone - she included. So when she finds out that the man she loves, Jackson, has been lying to her, she flies off the handle and turns the man in to a scarecrow. But in her fit of anger, she never considered the repercussions and now cannot return him to his human form. Seeking the help of her coven, Jesse discovers that she must put her trust in these women to restore him. She must also trust the love she and Jackson share to bring him back to her. Sweet, funny and true to life, this paranormal romance touches on the strength of love, forgiveness and trust – leaving the reader to think twice about overreacting about the little things. | Reviewer: Marie Haney |
| PARANORMAL & SUSPENSE book reviews |
The Abduction of Mary Rose Joan Hall Hovey Mystery/Suspense
attention of one who remembers the case well. But someone else has also read the article in the paper. The man whose DNA she carries. And he has Naomi in his sights.
Following the death of the woman she believed to be her mother, 28-year-old Naomi Waters learns from a malicious aunt that she is not only adopted, but the product of a brutal rape that left her birth mother, Mary Rose Francis, a teenager of Micmac ancestry, in a coma for 8 months. Dealing with a sense of betrayal and loss, but with new purpose in her life, Naomi vows to track down Mary Roseâ€™s attackers and bring them to justice. She places her story in the local paper, asking for information from residents who might remember something of the case that has been cold for nearly three decades. She is about to lose hope that her efforts will bear fruit, when she gets an anonymous phone call. Naomi has attracted the
REVIEW: When Naomiâ€™s mother passes, she learns a hard truth about herself and those closest to her. With this 30 year old secret out in the open, Naomi makes a bold move seeking justice and in the process putting her life at risk. A freaky thriller through and through, this cat and mouse game would have made a wonderful movie. The beginning was slow, but the suspense was continuously built. In no time, I found myself on the edge of my seat, rooting for Naomi, while holding my breath to find out what happens next. And when the killer came close, I was on pins and needles and my heart pounded right along with Naomi. The writing was a little choppy - a little, not a lot. There was a small sprinkling of spelling mistakes and random quotation marks sprinkled throughout. I am confident one more round of polishing would fix these minor errors and smooth out the book. Overall, a great suspense thriller and pretty clean read, I highly recommend this for young and older adults alike. | Reviewer: Michele Biring-Pani |
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YOUNG & NEW ADULT
BEYOND the fairy TALE
REVIEWS and more
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When Hunter and Ashlin visit their dad for the first time in years, they find Chance—their charismatic childhood friend—is harboring deep secrets. When someone turns up dead, all eyes shift to Chance. How do Hunter and Ashlin prove his innocence when they can’t trust a word he says?
What draws you to the YA Genre? I love the emotion and newness of everything. I love writing about firsts, and my characters thrown into situations and relationships they haven’t experienced before. In particular, I like the later teens years—17 and up, thereabouts—because by that point most teens feel like they have experience under their belt and find themselves blindsided by events of the real world. Who are your main character(s) in Made of Stars? Hunter and Ashlin are our narrators, though it could be argued that Chance is the star (no pun intended) of the story. Hunter and Ashlin are half-siblings, and Chance is the boy they’ve both been enchanted by since they were little kids. Where did the idea for Made of Stars originate? With the idea of Chance and his infatuation with dragons. Everything else in the story branched out from him, and is set into motion by him and his choices, which is why I consider him the main character even though he isn’t the narrator. If you could go back in time to the age of your main character(s), what advice would you give to your younger self? To not let people walk all over me, ha! That period of my life was hard, and I wish I’d had someone there to tell me
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I was worth more than I thought I was, and I didn’t have to put up with the treatment I was getting. Saying “No” and learning to put myself first now and again didn’t come until I was around 23, and I’m still working at it. What made you sit down and write the first time? I think it was because I had these characters in my head and they had such a vivid story, I just had to get it down. I’ve written short stories and fan-fiction since I was a kid, but I will say it was a big leap from fan-fiction into writing a full length book with entirely original characters and settings!
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the INSIDERS industry SCOOP CLOSE ENCOUNTERS Does your book have what it takes?
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This year we have changed the theme up a little and want you to post, not only about the next great book that is a must have, but also about the other person in your life. That’s right…your pets!!! Whether they are winged or furry, scaly or slimey, loving or standoffish, pets have that way of filling the hole in your life you didn’t even realize was there. As a bonus…10 animal pictures will be pulled straight off of the blog post and included in our January edition of BTS!! So you and your pet may be featured in our magazine. So link up and join us in celebration of the greatest season of all and tell us about your pet. Included in our grand prize this year will also be a little something for the pet in your life, so both the owner and the animal will walk away with something!! Don’t forget to send us your pet photos!