Featured Authors K.C. Bateman Cheryl Yeko Roe Valentine E.J. Stevens Kacey Hammell FangFreakinTastic Shari Elder Featured Author Andrea Waltz & Richard Fenton
with Kathryn Le Veque EXCLUSIVE Excerpt from Warwolfe!
& K.H. Mezek with a new release
Uncaged Fang-Freakin-Tastic Myra’s Horror Blog Amy’s Bookshelf
ISSUE 11 | JUNE 2017
Short Story The Box
by Cindy Tomamichel
Online Launch Parties
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from A Counterfeit Heart • Review
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Hound’s Bite
Stay Connected • Excerpt from Protecting Rose • Review
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Race to Redemption • Review
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Guarding Midnight
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Playboy Assistant • Review
Issue 11 | June 2017
Interview with Cover Artist
Online Book Launches
Three book launch parties and the fun that went with attending.
Kathryn Le Veque
With two new releases in June and an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Warwolfe.
K.H. Mezek We Catch Up with Karen as she releases the third book in The Night Angels Chronicles, Cave of Secrets
Interview and Excerpt of Onyx Webb, Book Eight
Leo F. Batista give us a sneak peek of the contemporary literature: You Are 10
Craig B. Bass gives us a sneak peek of the coming of age Skipper
John Sinisi gives us a sneak peek of the fantasy The Sorceress
4 Editor’s Desk 5 Bargain Bin 54 Best Seller Lists 81 New Releases 82 Uncaged Reviews 94 Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews 98 Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews 102 Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Welcome to Issue11, June 2017 - Uncaged Book Reviews! This month, dig in to our featured authors: K.C. Bateman, Cheryl Yeko, Roe Valentine, E.J. Stevens, Kacey Hammell, Isabel Micheals and Shari Elder! I can’t thank them all enough, for sharing their talents with us. Fang-Freakin-Tastic also brings Uncaged a feature author with the writing team of Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton, authors of the Onyx Webb series. We also have a short story for you this month from Cindy Tomamichel.
Uncaged also interviews the very talented cover artist, Winter Bayne - her stunning covers are truly a work of art, and also check out my article about Online Book Launch Parties and how much fun they can be. Uncaged will Catch Up with Kathryn Le Veque and K.H. Mezek, both past Featured Authors, both with new releases and what’s been happening since we last spoke. Kathyrn Le Veque has given Uncaged an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from her upcoming release, Warwolfe! There are also reviews from Uncaged, Fang-Freakin-Tastic, Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews and Amy’s Bookshelf! Uncaged now has a Facebook Share page - you may share websites, books and promotions (keep it related to books please) once per day, per member. Conversations are encouraged! Our reviewer Jennifer is your wonderful moderator. Authors can now submit a Short Story, and in return, I’ll give space for either a full page ad, or a 1-page Sneak Peek of a book for an approved story. You can read more about that here. Because of the amount of work on our small farm, from May-September, there will only be 6 Featured Author slots per month during this time. Get your requests in early. And that won’t be all! There are a lot more new features coming. I will soon be offering free web features for those that support Uncaged through advertising. The Featured Authors that are promoted in Uncaged, is a FREE service to authors. The only requirements being that Uncaged has read at least one of the author’s books, and that I ask that the authors share the magazine with their networks. Read about that HERE. Uncaged is supported through advertising. Please see the Advertising in Uncaged tab on the site for more information on how you can advertise in the magazine and support the Uncaged mission to promote authors.
All inquiries: UncagedBooks@gmail.com or firstname.lastname@example.org So thank you and enjoy the June issue of Uncaged Book Reviews!
Bargains, Free Reads & Giveaways On any day, you can go to Goodreads and find author giveaways. Great way to discover new authors and enter to win free books, both print and eBooks.
Blog Roll Call Contributors, Advertising Swaps
Follow Uncaged on Facebook
Free Book Sifter
This site will sniff out all the free eBooks being offered on Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Amazon. Choose the site you’re looking for in the drop down list. I’ve found many new authors in Amazon’s freebies, but sometimes searching can be daunting. This site helps narrow down the search. http://www.freebooksifter.com/ FreeBooksy.com
Paranormal lover’s rejoice. Uncaged review contributors.
A blog for horror fans. Uncaged review contributors.
Pick your genre and let FreeBooksy find the deals, even freebies! Free-Ebooks.net Choose your passion from fiction, non-fiction, academic and even audio books. Free to join, free ebooks to download.
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Help for authors and businesses.
instafreebie.com Every Friday, InstaFreebie will email you with weekend freebies from all genres.
If you’d like your banner here, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com Issue 11 | June 2017 |
showcase Leo F. Batista
You Are 10
You Are 10
Leo F. Batista Literature This book is about geometry, the female and male form. And what comes to be when they work together. This is about the basic of the numbers and its frequency, it touches the subject of the two energy form that compose the universe. Every movement of the universe have a reflection on this planet, that what you call nature, is that reflection is our best teacher. If you want to understand the universe.
bookventure.com US Review of Books “God created this universe using logic and divine proportion.” In his book, Batista aims to show his readers how universal life is formed by the power of duality. Up and down, left and right, hot and cold, light and dark, are but a few examples of how life is created by opposing forces. Batista explains that these opposing forces ultimately lead to the form of one (1). When this shape repeats itself, the second law, or number two (2) is created. The third law highlights the use of both numbers. The author states that “two goes back to the one, and forms three.” Roughly, when something is divid8| uncagedbooks.com |
ed, it begins to subtract, which is also a form of death. Throughout the book, Batista gives specific theories and meanings to each of the numbers one through nine. More often than not, we can find these same numerical meanings repeated in differing spiritual and religious teachings, as well. In Christianity, for example, the number three represents the Holy Trinity, while for tarot readers the number three card represents the Empress, which stands for creation. The Pythagoreans taught that the number three was the first true number, and in fairy tales the number three is usually magical. Batista alludes to these specific qualities of each number as frequencies. One of the most intriguing numbers that Batista highlights is the number eight. The author states that the number eight represents the beginning of the formation of a hologram, which he also refers to as “the flower of the universe.” Again, we can find the same magical quality of the number eight that Batista points out in other teachings as well. In Feng Shui, for example, the number eight represents wealth. The mathematical symbol for infinity is the number eight placed on its side. There are eight stars in our solar system. It is fascinating to compare Batista’s theories on each number with their deeper meanings already established in ancient teachings. Batista argues that the Egyptian pyramid, the Jewish Star of David, and the Chinese I Ching, were all created using the same basic number structures of one through nine. Even those who may not be mathematically inclined will be captivated by the similarities behind Batista’s numerological meanings and some of the greatest wonders of the world. You are 10 is an intriguing look at the mystery and power of numbers. Although numbers and equations can be intimidating for some, the author uses simple diagrams and graphs throughout the pages to help the reader understand these complicated concepts more easily. Batista gives us step-by-step examples of how numbers are the basis of all shapes, which in turn create the
female and male form. These two differing energetic frequencies can be summarized as darkness and lightness, which can also be found in the yin and yang symbol wherein opposite forces are not only complimentary but interconnected. Rather than cancelling each other out, Batistaâ€™s illustrations and formulas show the reader how light and dark can exist at the same time to create shadows, which he sees as being used to form the universe. The authorâ€™s enthusiasm for numbers and their meanings is palpable. He offers a straightforward yet entertaining take on the universal laws of creation, all of which, he argues, begin with the numbers one through nine.
About the Author Me, am a human being just like you, with the same needs and work that we have to put up to maintain this body. What is important is how awaken are you, how much understanding you have of the reality all around you. Letâ€™s put it this way, Just like water hold a fish. Just like air hold a bird. Dark matter hold the earth. That what you think is empty space, is actually a field of energy. Which is cold and dark. The only heat and light we get is from the sun. When light appear darkness do not goes away, if it so, how do you account for you shadow. These two fields of energy exist both at the same place at the same time, by doing so they regulate space in the form we call temperature. All knowledge exist everywhere at all time, is up to you when are going to see it. We all learn a little more every day, I hope this book serve you to do so.
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Special feature Interview with Cover Artist
| SPECIAL FEATURE |
I was a closet writer that shredded or burned her stories hours after finishing them, never allowing another set of eyes to chance a read. After spending a year in the hospital surviving NHL cancer, I met my Other Half, West. He replaced my lack of faith in myself with his own unrelenting encouragement. Now, we’re living our own happily ever after. During the day I can be found with my Ragdoll cat in my lap while writing or creating graphics. I’m somewhat of an antisocial hermit, but I can be coaxed from my office with B horror movies, yarn, or Shiraz. My covers were born in the generous, welcoming community of writers in the spirit of support. I would be nothing without the wonderful people writing has brought into my life. I cannot thank them enough for allowing my work to grace their stories.
winterbayne.com Facebook Group 12 | UncagedBooks.com
When it comes to books, a cover can make or break a book. There could be some fantastic writing inside, but if the cover doesn’t attract a reader, it may get passed by. To give a book an advantage in a very competitive market, a professional cover will take you far. I know I have literally chosen a book because the cover drew me to it, and it’s happened more than once. This month, we get a chance to talk to cover artist, Winter Bayne, whose breathtaking covers are truly one of a kind. Uncaged: I really love the book covers I’ve seen of yours and I’m fascinated. How did you get started in making book covers? Why thank you! It never ceases to humble and flatter me at the same time when someone says they like my art. For covers, it happened when I was helping out Dark Fantasy writer, Joshua Robertson and Elemental Fantasy writer, Crystin Goodwin. I was a green writer then and they were assisting me with a story. The writer community is great that way. We support one another. Both of these phenomenal, award winning authors were taking time to improve my writing.
| WINTER BAYNE |
The topic of covers came up at some point and I mentioned I did graphics. They allowed me to create covers for them. Both loved the hand painted covers. Word of mouth made everything snowball from there. A year later, even with no promotion on my part, and I am booked for months. Uncaged: What software do you use, and did you have any formal training? I use Adobe Photoshop because that is what I used when I learned graphics originally. My training began during college when I made website graphics and digitally restored photographs to pay for my ramen noodles. I mentored under a web site designer and a photographer. From there I experimented with digital painting on my own and would paint portraits as a hobby. My background gives me a unique style of part stock photo and part digital painting which sets me apart from the majority of the cover artists. The style lends itself well to Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Historical, and Paranormal genres which happen to be my favorite to read and to paint.
Today, I continue my education with photography, graphic design, marketing, and art classes. Uncaged: When you do a cover, do you get a description from the author/publisher what they are looking for? What are the processes of designing a cover? I ask a lot of questions, preferably in a chat so I get an idea of what the writer is looking for and story elements. Each writer is different. I mostly do romance genres and 99% of the writers know exactly what model stock (the people portraying their characters) they want. From there it is a team effort to bring everything together. I always get the genre and tone of the story. Most of the time I know the blurb, but other times the writer may just tell me a very brief concept. For example: The Forbidden Series by Odessa Black sprang from, Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| SPECIAL FEATURE | “They are half angels on earth. They travel by sinking into the earth, so I thought maybe having some vines wrap around them.” Uncaged: I know you do some pre-made covers that authors can choose from, are those a onetime sale and then they are off the market? Do you have a favorite cover that you’ve made? Or a favorite style? Yes, my pre-mades are sold only once. At this moment, my favorite custom covers are Tortured Soul by Odessa Black and Bounty of the Everdark by Lilian Oake. It could change any day now though. Writers bring me all kinds of intriguing storylines for me to bring to life. My preferred style is a bit of digital painting mixed with stock photos. It allows me to play and have fun with the project. Uncaged: Do you use a lot of stock photos and do you have a go-to stock site you use the most? Who are your favorite models? All of my covers now use stock photos. I get the stock from whatever site has the image that best fits the writer’s needs. It can be from a general stock site, a cover model’s site, or a photographer’s portfolio. As much as I’d love to say I know all the models, I don’t. However, I do know Vikkas Bhardwaj. He is my favorite to work with because he supports the writers and is a genuinely generous, kind man. Uncaged: Your website also says you write. What genres do you mainly write in? Anything coming in the near future? I was published but I don’t have anything out now. Covers take up the majority of my time and I stay booked 3 to 6 months out easy. I write in tiny stolen 14 | UncagedBooks.com
moments while I drink my morning coffee. I will always write, even if no one sees it. I love anything that is not normal, modern life. I enjoy being transported to somewhere as far from my reality as I can get. My favorite reads are Science Fiction, Dystopia, and Paranormal with the occasional Historical. Those genres are also what I enjoy writing. Uncaged: Let us know where you hang out, and where you can be contacted. I live on Facebook and have a group to display my cover art, https://www.facebook.com/ groups/1292333820847797/ I also respond to emails, twistednwicked@gmail. com
Check out the gallery of covers by Winter
| WINTER BAYNE |
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
feature authors historical
feature author Kate Bateman, writing as K. C. Bateman is the bestselling author of Regency historical romances, including To Steal a Heart, A Raven’s Heart, and A Counterfeit Heart. She’s also an auctioneer and fine art appraiser, the co-founder and director of Bateman’s Auctioneers, a fine art and antiques auction house in the United Kingdom. She currently lives in Illinois with her husband and children, but returns to England regularly to appear as an antiques expert on several popular BBC television shows, each of which reaches up to 2.5 million viewers.
kcbateman.com I met K.C. Bateman at an online book launch party, and won an ARC of her latest book A Counterfeit Heart and was thrilled when she agreed to be a Feature Author this month. Uncaged: I actually met you at an online release party for Suzan Tisdale in April and I’m looking forward to your release party on May 23rd for A Counterfeit Heart. Online release parties are getting more and more traction, how much interest does it generate? How far in advance do you start planning for one? 18 | UncagedBooks.com
Suzan’s was the first FB launch party I’d ever attended, and I liked the format so much I decided to try it for my own release! I started planning quite last-minute, about two weeks out, asking some fellow authors I’d met at RT, my own RWA chapter, and online if they’d be interested in taking part. I initially thought I’d only get a couple of people to join me, and planned a 2-hour party, but the response was so great it ended up being 6 hours long and great fun! I’m all for cross-promoting with other authors and sharing the love. I really don’t see us as in competition with each other–the more we can help each other out, the more we all win. I sent invites to some FB friends and the other authors helped promote the party on FB and Twitter. It cost me nothing except time, and I gathered some fabulous new readers, as did the other authors who took part, so I’d definitely count it as a success. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read reviews, and I really appreciate the fact that readers have taken the time to share their views, even if the comments are negative. I’ve generally found that if more than two or three people comment about something in the book that they didn’t like, then that’s probably something I should take on board and consider maybe next time, but overall I just try to write the best book I can, and hope people like it! Nothing beats the thrill of a 5* review! Uncaged: What is coming up next for readers?
I’m just starting a brand new Regency-era series. I’ve been messing about with a whole bunch of story ideas, all of which feature my trademark ‘kickasses in corsets’ AKA ‘girls with cool skills’, and the ridiculously sexy men driven to distraction by them! Think disreputable Bow Street Runners, bored aristocrats, intrigues and adventures aplenty. Uncaged: I have a soft spot for historicals, and first off, thank you for the ARC of A Counterfeit Heart, which I was glued to! I love the originality of the spies and suspense wrapped into a historical, and the women not having a “traditional historical role” in the book. How many more books are planned for this series? I haven’t agreed to any more Secrets & Spies novels with my current publisher, but I’ve had quite a few people ask for Kit’s story, and all I will say is that I haven’t ruled it out…! He keeps nagging at me to write about him, even when I’m trying to concentrate on something else, so I may well cave in and give him a HEA soon (after putting him through the wringer first, of course!) Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I’ve always loved Historicals, of any era, and I especially love Laura Kinsale, Eloisa James, Connie Brockway, Judith McNaught, Anne Stuart & Loretta Chase. I don’t mind books as part of a series, especially if they can be read as standalones, as mine are – you don’t need to have read the other books in the series to enjoy them,
but there are a couple of crossover characters and jokes that work throughout the series arc that adds a bit extra. Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? I have three lovely monsters / children who keep me pretty busy! And I have a not-so-secret double life as a fine art & antiques appraiser, so I like to keep my eye in with antiques valuing and appraisals too. I love to read, of course, and I also like to hike, bike, (nothing too strenuous), and visit art galleries & museums. And I love to travel, so I can waste a lot of time planning my next great adventure! Uncaged: You live close to Chicago, (my favorite city by the way) are you planning on attending the Writers on the River convention in July in Peoria? I actually live in Peoria, so the Writers on the River event is very easy for me to get to. I went last year as a reader, but this year I’ll be in England at my brother’s wedding so I can’t make it. Oh well, maybe next year! Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I’d like to say, firstly, THANK YOU, for buying and reading my books. The reason I write is to bring enjoyment to people’s lives, so when I get a great review or an email from someone who’s Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | loved my words it’s the best feeling! If you want to know more about what I’m up to, you can receive my monthly newsletter by signing up via my website.
Sabine cannot fake. Excerpt Chapter 1 Bois de Vincennes, Paris, March 1816.
Enjoy an excerpt from A Counterfeit Heart A Counterfeit Heart K.C. Bateman Historical Romance As Sabine de la Tour tosses piles of forged banknotes onto a bonfire in a Paris park, she bids a reluctant farewell to her double life as a notorious criminal. Over the course of Napoleon’s reign, her counterfeits destabilized the continent and turned scoundrels into rich men, but now she and her business partner must escape France—or face the guillotine. Her only hope of surviving in England is to strike a deal with the very spy she’s spent her career outrunning. Now after meeting the arrogant operative in the flesh, Sabine longs to throw herself upon his mercy—and into his arms. Richard Hampden, Viscount Lovell, is prepared to take any risk to safeguard England from the horrors of the French Revolution. To lure the insurgents out from the shadows, he’s even willing to make a pact with his archenemy: Philippe Lacorte, the greatest counterfeiter in Europe. But when a cheeky, gamine-faced beauty proves herself to be Lacorte, Richard is shocked—and more than a little aroused. Unlike the debutantes who so often hurl themselves at him, this cunning minx offers a unique and irresistible challenge. Richard will help her. But in return, he wants something that even 20 | UncagedBooks.com
It didn’t take long to burn a fortune. “Don’t throw it on like that! Fan the paper out. You need to let the air get to it.” Sabine de la Tour sent her best friend Anton Carnaud an exasperated glance and tossed another bundle of banknotes onto the fire. It smoldered then caught with a bright flare, curling and charring to nothing in an instant. “That’s all the francs. Pass me some rubles.” Another fat wad joined the conflagration. Little spurts of green and blue jumped up as the flames consumed the ink. The intensity of the fire heated her cheeks so she stepped back and tilted her head to watch the glowing embers float up into the night sky. It was a fitting end, really. Almost like a funeral pyre, the most damning evidence of Philippe Lacorte, notorious French counterfeiter, going up in smoke. Sabine quelled the faintest twinge of regret and glanced over at Anton. “It feels strange, don’t you think? Doing the right thing for once.” He shook his head. “It feels wrong.” He poked a pile of Austrian gulden into the fire with a stick. “Who in their right mind burns money? It’s like taking a penknife to a Rembrandt.” Sabine nudged his shoulder, well used to his grumbling. “You know I’m right. If we spend it, we’ll be no better than Napoleon. This is our chance to turn over a new leaf.” Anton added another sheaf of banknotes to the blaze with a pained expression. “I happen to like being a criminal,” he grumbled. “Besides, we made all this money. Seems only fair we should get to spend it. No one would know. Your fakes are so good nobody can tell the difference. What’s a few million francs in the grand scheme of things?” “We’d know,” Sabine frowned at him. “‘Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.’” Anton rolled his eyes. “Don’t start quoting dead Greeks at me.”
| K.C. BATEMAN | “That’s a dead Englishman,” she smiled wryly. “Geoffrey Chaucer.” Anton sniffed, unimpressed by anything that came from the opposite—and therefore wrong—side of the channel. He sprinkled a handful of assignats onto the flames. “You appreciate the irony of trying to be an honest forger, don’t you?” It was Sabine’s turn to roll her eyes. Anton shot her a teasing, pitying glance. “It’s because you’re half-Anglais. Everyone knows the English are mad. The French half of you knows what fun we could have. Think of it, chérie—ballgowns, diamonds, banquets!” His eyes took on a dreamy, faraway glow. “Women, wine, song!” He gave a magnificent Gallic shrug. “Mais, non. You listen to the English half. The half that is boring and dull and—” “—law-abiding?” Sabine suggested tartly. “Sensible? The half that wants to keep my neck firmly attached to my shoulders instead of in a basket in front of the guillotine?” She bit her lip as a wave of guilt assailed her. Anton was only in danger of losing his head because of her. For years he’d protected her identity by acting as Philippe Lacorte’s public representative. He’d dealt with all the unsavory characters who’d wanted her forger’s skills while she’d remained blissfully anonymous. Even the man who’d overseen the Emperor’s own counterfeiting operation, General Jean Malet, hadn’t known the real name of the elusive forger he’d employed. He’d never seen Sabine as anything more than an attractive assistant at the print shop in Rue Pélican. Now, with Napoleon exiled on St Helena and Savary, head of the Secret Police, also banished, General Malet was the only one who knew about the existence of the fake fortune the Emperor had amassed to fill his coffers. The fortune Sabine had just liberated. Anton frowned into the flames. The pink glow highlighted his chiseled features and Sabine studied him dispassionately. She knew him too well to harbor any romantic feelings about him, but there was no doubt he had a very handsome profile. Unfortunately, it was a profile that General Malet could recognize all too easily.
As if reading her mind he said, “Speaking of guillotines, Malet would gladly see me in a tumbril. He’s out for blood. And I’m his prime suspect.” “Which is why we’re getting you out of here,” Sabine said briskly. “The boat to England leaves at dawn. We have enough money to get us as far as London.” Anton gave a frustrated huff and pointed at the fire. “In case you hadn’t noticed, we have a pile of money right—” She shot him a warning scowl. “No. We are not using the fakes. Its high time we started doing things legally. This English lord’s been trying to engage Lacorte’s services for months. One job for him and we’ll be able to pay for your passage to Boston. You’ll be safe from Malet forever.” “It could be a trap,” Anton murmured darkly. “This Lovell says he wants to employ Lacorte, but we’ve been on opposite sides of the war for the past ten years. The English can’t be trusted.” Sabine let out a faint, frustrated sigh. It was a risk, to deliver herself into the arms of the enemy, to seek out the one man she’d spent months avoiding. Her heart beat in her throat at the thought of him. Richard Hampden, Viscount Lovell. She’d only seen him once, weeks ago, but the memory was seared upon her brain. He, of anyone, had come closest to unmasking her. He’d followed Lacorte’s trail right to her doorstep, like a bloodhound after a fox. She’d barely had time to hide behind the back-room door and press her eye to a gap in the wood before the bell above the entrance had tinkled and he’d entered the print shop. It had been dark outside; the flickering street lamps had cast long shadows along Rue Pélican. Sabine had squinted, trying to make out his features, but all she could see was that he was tall; he ducked to enter the low doorway. She raised her eyebrows. So this was the relentless Lord Lovell. Not for the first time she cursed her short-sightedness. Too many hours of close-work meant that anything over ten feet was frustratingly blurry. He moved closer, further into the shop—and into knee-weakening, stomach-flipping focus. Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Sabine caught her breath. All the information she’d gleaned about her foe from Anton’s vague, typically male attempts at description had in no way prepared her for the heart-stopping, visceral reality. Technically, Anton had been correct. Richard Hampden was over six feet tall with mid-brown hair. But those basic facts failed to convey the sheer magnetic presence of his lean, broadshouldered frame. There was no spare fat around his lean hips, no unhealthy pallor to his skin. He moved like water, with a liquid grace that suggested quietly restrained power, an animal at the very peak of fitness. Anton had guessed his age as between twentyeight and thirty-five. Certainly, Hampden was no young puppy; his face held the hard lines and sharp angles of experience rather than the rounded look of boyhood. Sabine studied the elegant severity of his dark blue coat, the pale knee breeches outlining long, muscular legs. There was nothing remarkable in the clothes themselves to make him stand out in a crowd, and yet there was something about him that commanded attention. That drew the eye, and held it. Her life often hinged on the ability to correctly identify dangerous men. Every sense she possessed told her that the man talking with Anton was very dangerous indeed. Sabine pressed her forehead to the rough planks and swore softly. The Englishman turned, almost as if he sensed her lurking behind the door, and everything inside her stilled. Something—an instant of awareness, almost of recognition—shot through her as she saw his face in full. Of all the things she’d been prepared for, she hadn’t envisaged this: Viscount Lovell was magnificent. And then he’d turned his attention back to Anton, and she’d let out a shaky breath of relief. She’d dreamed of him ever since. Disturbing, jumbled dreams in which she was always running, he pursuing. She’d wake the very instant she was caught, her heart pounding in a curious mix of panic and knotted desire. 22 | UncagedBooks.com
Sabine shook her head at her own foolishness. It was just her luck to conceive an instant attraction to the least suitable man in Europe. The thought of facing him again made her shiver with equal parts anticipation and dread, but he was the obvious answer to her current dilemma. He had money; she needed funds. Voilà tout. At least now she was prepared. One of the basic tenets of warfare was ‘know thine enemy,’ after all. Sabine drew her cloak more securely around her shoulders and watched Anton feed the rest of the money to the flames. The embers fluttered upwards like a cloud of glowing butterflies. When this was all over she would be like a phoenix. Philippe Lacorte would disappear and Sabine de la Tour would emerge from the ashes to reclaim the identity she’d abandoned eight years ago. She would live a normal life. But not yet. There was still too much to do. Sabine brushed off her skirts and picked up the bag she’d packed for traveling. There was something rather pathetic in the fact that her whole life fit into one single valise, but she squared her shoulders and glanced over at Anton. “Come on, let’s go. Before someone sees the smoke and decides to investigate.” They couldn’t go home, to the print shop on Rue Pélican. Malet had already ripped the place apart looking for ‘his’ money. Her stomach had given a sickening lurch as she’d taken in the carnage. Books pulled from the shelves, paintings ripped from the walls, canvases torn. Old maps shredded, drawers pulled out and upended. Their home, her sanctuary for the past eight years, had been utterly ransacked. But there had been triumph amid the loss. Malet had found neither Anton nor the money. And if Sabine had anything to do with it, he never would. Anton hefted the two bags of English banknotes that had been spared the flames as Sabine turned her back on Paris. For the first time in eight long years she was free. It was time to track down Lord Lovell.
| K.C. BATEMAN |
Uncaged Review Intrigue. Suspense. Danger. Spies. Romance. All of this and so much more expertly written into this gem of a historical. And K.C. Bateman will keep surprising you all the way into the epilogue. Characters you will easily fall for, and an intricately woven story that will keep you turning the pages. Richard Hampden, a viscount and one of the most eligible bachelors in England – is also a spy for his country. Enter Sabine de la Tour. One of the best forgers, and also known as Philippe Lacorte, a counterfeiter that has eluded Richard – and imagine his surprise that it’s really a woman and walks willingly into his office. I had a hard time putting this one down, the author had me hooked within the first pages, and I submersed into this world very happily. Although I did not read the other books in this series, this book holds up well – even though I know a couple of the characters from previous books made an appearance in this one. This book will leap off the pages, and you will find yourself enchanted. This is the first book I’ve read by this author, but definitely not my last.
desire there, too. But is it because of her elegant, wickedly handsome host . . . or his proposition? Nicolas Valette has had plans for his graceful trespasser since he witnessed her unique skills at the Cirque Olympique. Sinuous as a cat, Marianne is perfect for his next mission, but she refuses his generous offer for fear of disobeying her family’s tormenter. When their mutual enemy auctions off her virginity to the highest bidder, Nicolas leaps at the chance to purchase her cooperation. Keeping her will be like trying to tame a wild animal, but what’s life without a little risk? Besides, Nicolas and Marianne both want the same thing: revenge—and, perhaps, something else that’s equally delicious A Raven’s Heart K.C. Bateman Historical Romance
To Steal a Heart K.C. Bateman Historical Romance
In the war against France, Heloise Hampden is a high-value asset to the Crown. She’s cracked the enemy’s most recent communication, and for that, someone is trying to kill her. However, it’s the agent assigned to protect Heloise who poses the greatest threat to her heart: William de l’Isle, Viscount Ravenwood. Heloise has quarreled with the man they call Raven since childhood, yet always maintained a chaste distance. She’s sure nothing will change, thanks to the disfiguring scar on her face. So why is she so enchanted by the sight of Raven’s jet-black hair, rakish smile, and wicked green eyes?
Forced to do the bidding of a corrupt government minister, Marianne de Bonnard agrees to plant incriminating evidence in the offices of France’s most notorious spymaster. Under cover of night, the tightrope-walking thief puts her skills to good use—until her aerial stunt is foiled when her target appears in the window and, with consummate poise, helps Marianne off the wire and into his lair. The tremors that run through her body are not just from fear; there’s an unwanted frisson of
Nothing has changed. Raven still wonders how Hell-cat Hampden’s lithe body would feel pressed against his, but for the mission he must remind himself that the woman takes more pleasure in ancient languages than she does in seduction. His imprisonment six years ago broke him in a way that makes the prospect of love impossible. Still, his heart beats like mad whenever he’s within ten paces of Heloise, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even if that means taking her to Spain as an unwilling hostage. Protecting her from danger will be a challenge; protecting her from desire will be pure agony.
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Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Kathryn Le Veque
Kathryn Le Veque was a feature author in November2016. Today we will find out what’s been happening, and Kathryn has honored Uncaged with an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from her upcoming release Warwolfe. Uncaged: You were a Featured Author in the November 2016 issue of Uncaged Book Reviews. How was your experience being in the magazine? It was fantastic! I think readers really like Uncaged Book Reviews because the reviews are very ‘pure’ in form – I other words, they’re unbiased and genuine, and they give a good overview of the book without giving a book report. I’m always very excited to see an Uncaged review on one of my books and I know my readers are, too. Uncaged:The newest releases you have coming up are part of the The de Wolfe Pack Series. Can you tell me more about this series and the authors that are a part of it? The de Wolfe Pack series is an interesting one because it’s really two-pronged: there are ‘my’ books in the series, which is the original series that I personally write, and then there is the Amazon’s Kindle Worlds ‘World of de Wolfe Pack’ where any author or fan can write fan fiction based on the de Wolfe Pack. I actually have four new additions planned this year for the original de Wolfe Pack series because my readers really want to see books in this series right now – Nighthawk, which released in February, Warwolfe – which releases in June – and then ShadowWolfe, already up for pre-order in July, and finally DarkWolfe, which will be released in 24 | UncagedBooks.com
September. Essentially, the entire de Wolfe Pack series sprang from the very first serious historical romance novel I ever wrote. At the time (and this was in the early 90’s), I never imagined it would grow as it has. It’s just so wonderful to see all of these characters I created live on… and on…! Uncaged: You’ve also had a part of two recent anthology books, Forbidden Highlands and Romantic Legends. How do anthologies come together? Anthologies are great fun! Usually, one or more authors will brainstorm together and come up with a central theme. They then reach out to author friends with a proposal to join in the anthology, all of us writing a variation of the central theme. One of the reasons why I think anthologies are so awesome is because readers get to sample several different writers at once. I can’t tell you how many readers have been introduced to new authors through anthologies. Uncaged: Will you be attending any events this year to meet your fans and/or have an online release party? At this time, I’m scheduled to attend the InD’Scribe Con and Book Festival in October in Burbank, California. This is a super-fun con where readers can really interact with their favorite authors, so everyone is invited to attend. You can discover more about it and register here: www.indscribe.com As for future release parties, I’m always popping up at release parties and I have so much fun interacting with readers. I don’t have any planned personally, but I always encourage readers to reach out to me via Facebook or my website. I’m always happy to chat with readers and answer questions!
KATHRYN LE VEQUE is a USA TODAY Bestselling author, a charter Amazon All-Star author, and a #1 bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author in Medieval Historical Romance and Contemporary Romance. She has been featured in the NEW YORK TIMES and on USA TODAY’s HEA blog. In March 2015, Kathryn was the featured cover story for the March issue of InD’Tale Magazine, the premier Indie author magazine. She was also quintuple nominee (a record!) for the prestigious RONE awards for 2016 and is again a multiple nominee for the RONEs for 2017. Kathryn’s Medieval Romance novels have been called ‘detailed’, ‘highly romantic’, and ‘characterrich’. She crafts great adventures of love, battles, passion, and romance in the High Middle Ages. More than that, she writes for both women AND men - an unusual crossover for a romance author - and Kathryn has many male readers who enjoy her stories because of the male perspective, the action, and the adventure. On October 29, 2015, Amazon launched Kathryn’s Kindle Worlds Fan Fiction site WORLD OF DE WOLFE PACK. Please visit Kindle Worlds for Kathryn Le Veque’s World of de Wolfe Pack and find many action-packed adventures written by some of the top authors in their genre using Kathryn’s characters from the de Wolfe Pack series. As Kindle World’s FIRST Historical Romance fan fiction world, Kathryn Le Veque’s World of de Wolfe Pack will contain all of the great story-telling that readers have come to expect.
| KATHRYN LE VEQUE |
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from Warwolfe Warwolfe Kathryn Le Veque Medieval Historical Romance RELEASES JUNE 8 1066 A.D. - Discover the origins of the original de Wolfe pack, led by the man known as WARWOLFE. Before the Duke of Normandy conquered England, a legend arose. A man so fierce, so brave, and so noble, that the mere whisper of his name could strike both fear and admiration into the hearts of all men. That name is Warwolfe. Gaetan de Wolfe is this man. A legend from a family of legends, the greatest de Wolfe warrior arises as William the Conqueror sets foot in England to claim what he believes is his birthright. Gaetan brings with him nine of the fiercest knights the realm has ever seen, plowing their way into the English countryside, forging their legacies at the Battle of Hastings. But when one of Gaetan’s men is kidnapped by the rogue brother of the Earl of Mercia, Gaetan refuses to let his man go. His loyalty to his men is above all. A rescue mission of epic proportions begins. Guiding the original de Wolfe Pack on this task into deadly enemy territory is a lady warrior known as Ghislaine of Mercia. The sister of the man who kidnapped Gaetan’s knight, her loyalties are torn. Wary of the big Norman knight with the fierce manner, her attraction to Gaetan is nonetheless undeniable. There is a spark between them that refuses to die. Together, Gaetan and Ghislaine embark on a dangerous adventure Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| CATCH UP | where myths are revealed, loyalties are tested, and where a growing passion between them becomes all-consuming. Live the legend. Excerpt It seemed like she spent an eternity watching the dog as it stared at her. It was an odd standoff. Her limbs were becoming cramped from being folded up like they were but she didn’t dare move. Just when she thought she could take no more, she heard the tent flap slap back. “Gather my things.” It was de Wolfe, snapping orders to the squires as he entered the tent. “Our army will depart within the hour and I want to be ready. You will also make sure de Lohr’s belongings are packed up but we will leave those with Normandy for safekeeping. Even now, du Reims and de Winter are mustering the quartermasters so make sure my trunks are loaded onto the wagons.” The boys were scrambling; Ghislaine could hear them. The dog, lying next to her, suddenly popped up and moved away, rushing to his master when he heard his voice. Ghislaine, too, lifted her head about the time de Wolfe came into view. He glanced at her as he began pulling off gloves. “We will be leaving as soon as my men can be mustered and the army organized,” he addressed her. “We will be heading north within the hour.” Ghislaine struggled not to yawn. “The duke has given you his permission to go after your knight?” “He has,” he said, throwing the gloves into a large chest. He went to work on removing his tunic. “How much do you know of this country, Lady Ghislaine? What I mean to ask is how well you know the path to this Tenebris that you have 26 | UncagedBooks.com
mentioned as Alary’s stronghold.” Ghislaine, fuzzy-minded from hunger and the lack of sleep, had to ponder his question for a moment before answering. “I know it well,” she said, rubbing her eyes. “You must travel north from here and then veer northwest when you come to London. There is a main road, a Roman road, that will take you north all the way to Chester, but you must go west when you come to Kidderminster. That will take you to the Far Forest where Alary’s stronghold is.” One of de Wolfe’s squires suddenly rushed into the tent, racing to help his master. The dog, who had been hovering by de Wolfe in the hopes of being petted, finally received a pat and, satisfied, moved away. Unfortunately for Ghislaine, he was coming in her direction again and she leaned away from the animal as it came near. She eyed the beast as it sat right down next to her as if they were the greatest companions in the world. “Then what would you estimate as the time it would take for an army to travel to the Far Forest?” de Wolfe asked, oblivious to Ghislaine and her fear of the dog that had cozied up to her. “My concern is that we reach the Alary’s lair before winter sets in completely. Weather will hamper a mission such as this one.” Ghislaine alternated between eyeballing the dog and de Wolfe. “It will be cold through Christmastide but winter usually does not set in until after the new year.” She inched away from the dog, who lifted his head to see why she had moved. “May I leave now? There is nothing more I can do for you. You know where Alary is taking your knight. I have told you all that I can.” De Wolfe turned to her, his gaze appraising her, as if he knew something she didn’t. In fact, that wasn’t far from the truth. It was obvious by his expression that he was about to say something he was quite sure Ghislaine wouldn’t like.
| KATHRYN LE VEQUE | “You are not going anywhere,” he said quietly. “You will be accompanying me and my men north as we follow your brother. You will be our guide.”
Releasing in July Also releasing in June Mists & Moonrise Anthology Medieval Romance RELEASES JUNE 20 Welcome to the Mists and Moonrise collection, a new material set of historical romance novellas never before published. An ancient Cornwall legend tells of king with a pregnant wife, warned by an oracle that the child born would be a woman so beautiful that countries would go to war over her. A princess was born to the king and queen, and when she became of age she was pledged to the son of an enemy. But the princess had fallen in love with a mere knight and together, they ran away to the caves of Cornwall to hide from the princess’ betrothed. However, when it came clear that they would be captured - rather than live their lives apart - the princess and her knight took their own lives. Now, it’s said their blood stain the caves of St. Agnes’ caves along the coast of Cornwall. Legend says that if two lovers touch the stain together, they will fall madly in love for eternity. But there’s a catch - they must touch of their own free will. Because of this legend, the caves of St. Agnes have drawn men - and women - seeking to make their mate fall in love with them, including many tales of reluctant brides and grooms. In these six romantic novellas, read some of the romantic tales associated with this poignant legend.
ShadowWolfe Kathryn Le Veque Medieval Romance RELEASES JULY 27 1272 A.D.
Recovering from a great tragedy that had befallen his family, Scott de Wolfe, eldest son of William de Wolfe and Jordan Scott, has become a career knight with no feeling, no compassion. As a premier knight for Henry III, Scott has been tasked with the management of the massive fortress of Castle Canaan after the death of the castle’s commander. Although it seems like a simple enough task, little does Scott know that the moment he enters this fortress is the moment his life will change... forever. Lady Avrielle du Rennic is reeling over the death of her husband and she blames de Wolfe for it. Fed by grief, she lashes out at the big knight who has come to take her husband’s place and, eventually, take the fortress. Scott has no patience for the woman in mourning but he stops short of punishing her because she is the mother to three small children. When Scott happens to save one of her children from certain doom, a path of healing and understanding begin for them both but when the king intervenes to take Avrielle and her children away, Scott must fight for what has become precious to him. He cannot stand to lose another family. A deep and passionate love is born from the ashes of grief in this stunning Medieval Romance, part of the de Wolfe Pack series.
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
showcase Craig B. Bass
Craig B. Bass Contemporary/Coming of Age This is a coming of age story about a boy growing up in Central Florida in the 1950’s. The boy seeks to know the truth about God and religion, sexual awakenings, love, friendship, hate and
betrayal. His boring and uninteresting life is transported into a magical life of excitement and adventure through explorations of rural ranch life, fishing in remote lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico. A Scout Master provides the opportunity of a life time for these wonderful new experiences, but is there too big of a price to pay? Only the boy can answer this question as he seeks the truth.
US Review of Books “He would not hurt anyone. He is the best person I have ever known, and this Matt is one of the worst.” Coming-of-age tales have dotted the literary landscape for centuries. Charles Dickens certainly made the most of the form in Great Expectations. Mark Twain put a particularly American flavor to the genre with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Somewhat more recently, S. E. Hinton 30 | UncagedBooks.com
was only eighteen years old when her novel, The Outsiders, explored young people in rival gangs. Multiple adolescents, all male, populate the pages of Mr. Bass’s novel, Skipper, which interestingly isn’t actually the name of the central character, but rather the nickname of the individual who would have a lasting impact on Greg, the young man who would learn and grow in this coming-of-age story. The author opens quite dramatically. Greg is dropped off at his home by his scoutmaster, only to find that two government agents are sitting with his parents waiting for him. They want to ask if Skipper, the scoutmaster, has physically molested him or any of his scout mates. It’s up to the remainder of the book to answer that question. Bass has set his novel in the 1950’s. Greg is a young boy bounced from one end of the country to another as his mother and father are divorced, and his mother’s new boyfriend (eventually to become his stepdad) is less than thrilled with having a rambunctious child to oversee. When the lad’s not attending Catholic boarding schools, he’s keeping himself busy with library books and double features at the cinema. Eventually, he joins a Boy Scout troop that will change his life forever. Greg begins to spend all his weekends, and multiple weeks in the summer, with three other scouts and their leader at an idyllic ranch. There he learns the virtues of hard work, the enjoyment of nature, the thrill of fishing, and the satisfaction of camaraderie with his friends. Plus, he comes to know and learn from Skipper, a seemingly kind and giving man who imports one life-lesson after another to Greg and his pals. As readers share the young boy’s trials and triumphs, the specter of something darker looms ever present—seeded by the author’s unsettling opening. Bass tells his tale in the third-person—frequently sliding into Greg’s first-person voice, both externally and internally. He writes straightforwardly, much like a young person would recount his remembrances. Exceptionally detailed when it comes
to particular activities such as tobacco farming and fish cleaning, the author is also adept at bringing action to life. His depiction of the perilously prolonged birth of a calf is as fascinating and compelling as his imagery of a shark hunt gone bad. While he relies on religion as a key element in the story, it is always used from the point of view of the protagonist. Intense introspection, not moral pronouncements, is this authorâ€™s favored approach. From time to time, Bassâ€™s prose feels repetitive, and he shows a tendency to overindulge in detail at the expense of pace. Yet his tale maintains a compelling quality that pushes readership along. You care about Greg. You want to know the truth about Skipper. You are reluctant to stray too far from the next chapter. In summary, this is a coming-of-age tale that readers of all ages will likely find well worth their time.
About the Author Craig B. Bass lives in Idaho and Southern California with his wife and dog. In his earlier years he wrote and published professional articles. He wrote and published fictional stories as a hobby only. He now writes full time when not sailing. His interest in writing has been life long since reading Hemingway, London, Steinbeck and Faulkner at an early age. He now prefers writing about subject matters that deal primarily with complex problems of the human condition and spirit. His future interests in writing will primarily be concerned with creative fiction and experimental prose styles.
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
feature author Avid Reader. Romance Author. Redhead… Canadian-born author Kacey Hammell is definitely a book-a-holic. A romance reader from a young age, she fell in love with happily ever afters. These days, as a multipublished erotic romance author, she enjoys adding a lot of heat, sass, and emotion to the many genres she writes. Mom of three, Kacey lives her own happily ever after with her perfect hero in Ontario, Canada.
Stay Connected kaceyhammell.com
Sign up for Kacey’s Newsletter for a chance to win a print copy of Guarding Midnight and a small swag set. NEWSLETTER
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Uncaged welcomes Kacey Hammell! Uncaged: I read Cover Me, and what really attracted me to the book, is a real-life experience very similar to Jay and Leanne with friends of my mother. It has a great message, that age doesn’t dictate love. What inspired this story? I love these kinds of stories. I’m an avidreader of May/ December stories that feature strong female leads who are older than the hero and have struggled with life itself. It’s a common battle that many women face in real life. As well, I’m older than my husband by nearly seven years and I definitely believe that age is nothing but a number. It doesn’t define us and we shouldn’t have to live in a box as we get older and pretend life is over. No matter the age, every person deserves the freedom to be who they are, enjoy life, and love whomever they want to. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? Yes I do. I started in this book business as a reviewer for a couple online sites and Amazon, and while I know how important they are to some authors, I have a firm grasp on the subjectivity of the reviewers. Good
or bad, I read every review I get and the well written reviews that show honesty and constructive criticisms, I really pay attention to. Those kinds of reviews do make me pause and examine everything about my stories and they remain in the back of my mind when I write each story. As an author, it’s our duty to our readerships to continually learn and grow, and sometimes reviewers with a wonderful knack for pointing distinct factors that we need to work on can help do that. Uncaged: What is coming up next for readers? I am finishing up a story that will be submitted to a publisher within the next week. It is a sequel to one of my series’. And I have 2 other stories already started and hope to have those done within the next couple of months. When one story finishes and is off to the critique partners, a new story starts. *g* Uncaged: For people that may want to sign up for your newsletter, what are the perks for joining? My newsletter subscribers are continually entered into the giveaway(s) every month. I share exclusive excerpts of each book, and if the timing is right, they will sometimes get to see a new cover before anyone else. I also do a larger giveaway at Christmas that includes a big
box of swag and other fun stuff. Same goes with my Reader Group. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? Right now, I’m catching up on the JD Robb “In Death” series. I’m about 5 books behind on that. I am a huge fan of both her pseudonyms, as well as Sandra Brown, Lisa Jackson, I love the mystery / suspense genre very much. I can’t stay away from it. My top five fave authors, the 3 I mentioned above, and also Suzanne Brockmann, Sara Brookes. Series books are what got me into reading romance in my early teens. At the time, it was all about the Silhouette Desires, Special Editions etc. I fell in love with Joan Johnston’s “Hawk’s Way” series. And, Nora Roberts “MacKade Brothers”, “The MacGregors”, etc. Plus Suzanne Brockmann’s “Troubleshooter” series. I’m also a huge fan of Lisa Gardner and Tess Gerritsen. There are a million titles/series I could list and we’d fill many pages. Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Uncaged:What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? I also run a small farm, the homestead I grew up on, and we have pigs and chickens every year that keep me busy. I enjoy taking my cockapoo for walks around the property and spending time with family and friends. Life is pretty full with a new full time job, writing and family time. Uncaged: Have you been to any book signings or conventions? Have you done an online release party or plan to in the near future? Yes, I’ve done Romantic Times Conventions in the past, a couple as a reader and a couple as an author. I have also been to Romancing the Capital in Ottawa, Ontario a couple times, Ignite Your Soul in London, Ontario. This October 27 & 28, I’ll be at the Great Lakes Book Bash Book Signing in Kalamazoo, Michigan. With most of my releases, I do a Facebook get together to celebrate, when time allows. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I can’t say thank you enough to my readers/fans. I am blessed to have each of them. There is no greater reward for an author than to hear from a reader, in person or by email, who expresses joy from reading one of my stories. I cherish those moments. And they keep me writing when it can get difficult. Thank you to all readers for continually inspiring me.
Enjoy an excerpt from Guarding Midnight Guarding Midnight Kacey Hammell Contemporary Romance
Being the hired muscle just got a whole lot harder... No one knows sacrifice better than former Army Sergeant Gavin Bennett. He’s witnessed firsthand the emotional, physical, and mental toll of being caught in the crossfire. Being a bouncer-slash-bodyguard may not be Gavin’s dream job, but he’s willing to do just about anything to help out family. When Gavin reports for his first day of work, he quickly discovers a woman who threatens to crack his legendary cool. Shree Walker is on the run from a dark past she tried to shut away. Battered and broken, happily ever after doesn’t exist for her. Ready to start fresh with a new life in a new city, she is happy dancing at the Vixen Club. She’d be even happier without the presence of the prickly new bouncer who won’t let anyone or anything get past his carefully guarded defenses. He’s a distraction she doesn’t need. And a temptation she can’t resist. When Shree is kidnapped by the criminal mastermind hell-bent on taking the club at any cost, Gavin has to make a decision. Hold tight and continue to keep Shree at arm’s length. Or break down his walls and take a chance on something more powerful than them both: Love. Excerpt Lush, steely vibrations circled the Vixen Club, resonating sweet to Gavin’s ears. He loved heavy bass music with electric guitars and endless riffs, the
34 | UncagedBooks.com
louder the better. Especially these days. Knowing his new job came with great ambiance made the decision to come here a little easier. But not by much. He blamed his blown-out knee and subsequent limp for his indecisiveness. Retired Army. Two words he never considered alongside his name. At least not until he was in his sixties. Thirty-seven years old and forced to take early retirement after invading a terrorist cell in Afghanistan, uncertain if it was a trap. But seeing three young boys inside that building…he had no choice. Bomb or no bomb, he rushed into the falling down structure and had the last boy in his arms when the bomb went off. Two months later, he awoke from his coma. He’d learned that all three boys had survived, though with some cuts and bruises, and had found peace with the fact that he’d done his job right. But he’d lost ten percent hearing in both ears, a crushed knee, and shrapnel still in parts of his right leg that were too embedded in bone and tissue to remove. The doctors had done everything they could without amputating. Gavin had Sean to thank for that. Friends since college, through combat training, and on every mission of their careers, he and Sean had endured a lot together. When doctors said it would be best to amputate his leg, Sean had opposed the decision and convinced the surgeon that Gavin would rather die than be without a limb. How true that statement was. He owed Sean a lot. Which was why he stood within the shadows of the Vixen Club. To repay a debt he owed. Enjoying the music, his fingers beat against his thigh. He scanned the room. The place was bigger than expected. A stage took up a full wall at the front. Red, heavy curtains hung in the middle of the room, and from what he could see through an open spot between the drapes, there were mirrors behind them. A dark crack between the glass surprised him. Huh, a doorway behind the glass? Must be how the dancers come and go. Tables and chairs spread out from wall to wall. Jesus, there had to be eighty-some tables. How many people came to see women dance on stage, lip-sync, tease,
| KACEY HAMMELL | and pout their way into tips? Gavin strode to the bar at the top end of the room. Favoring his leg, he eased onto a stool and faced the stage. Two fairly tall, slender women stretched out their calves and backs. Leotards barely covered their ass-cheeks. A man could get used to seeing such fine flesh every day. Lucky for him, he’d been roped into being here. He’d make the most of the rash decision by appreciating the view. The music picked up tempo, filling the area with rapid rhythms and a lot of bass. Rock beats from a single on the last Nickelback album shook the floor. He couldn’t keep from tapping against the bar. His Army regimen played the band’s albums continuously. Hell, they were all Canadian and had to support home-country talent. A blur of red and black rushing out on stage caught his attention. A woman skulked along at the front of the stage, bending, twirling, and angling her hot, sexy bod. She would no doubt capture every man’s attention when she performed. Gavin swallowed hard, his eyes peeled to the sexy display in front of him. Red sports bra and tight spandex shorts barely contained her curvy, tanned body dancing at lightning speed around the stage. Long, toned legs stretched, and her body twirled the pole as if it was made for her. Though she wore barelythere spandex, she didn’t give off a stripper vibe. Her thighs clung to the metal, showing off strong muscles. Without moving her legs from the pole, she let go with her hands and planted them firmly on the floor. She moved like a worm as she stayed suspended, the pole between her legs as her arms held her up. Her tight, large breasts were so tempting. His mouth watered. The woman was skilled and in-tune with her body and with what she had to offer. And boy, if she didn’t have a lot to offer. Her breasts were definitely more than a handful, which was just how he liked them. Small, medium, large, and bountiful…as long as he could Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | stick his dick in between the mounds and fuck them till his load burst all over a woman’s chin, lips, chest, neck, and in her hair. He loved to see his pleasure all over a woman. His mouth watered because of the seductive goddess on stage. Her long, dark, wavy hair clung to her face and shoulders, spinning around as much as she did. Bends, kicks, gymnast moves…he was impressed. With a flick of her hair, she turned and glanced back over her shoulder, her hips swaying to the distinct bass. Facing the empty seats, she covered the stage, her movements skilled and quick. He watched, transfixed at the many steps, and could only guess at the training this woman needed to have in order to make it look so easy. As the song ended, she bent at the waist, breathing deep. Her gaze caught on his. He drew in a deep breath. Damn, those dark depths laser-focused on his, holding him in place. Desire coursed through him, pulling at him to forget his reason for being here and find out more about her. Beautiful. He loved everything about her gorgeous face. From her high cheek bones to the perfectly shaped lips that looked luscious and tasty from where he sat. And what he wouldn’t give to claim the first taste. Of those lips and anywhere else from head to toe. Heavy pulses drew him from his thoughts and the beauty walked off the stage. He squelched the desire to follow her. Sighing, he cursed himself. Getting a hard-on for some strange chick wasn’t what he’d signed up for by coming here. He had to keep his head in the game. But the image of her bent over while he drove into her over and over again burned in his mind. He adjusted himself behind the zipper of his jeans. “Hey, stranger,” a pleased female voice said at his shoulder. Gavin pivoted in his seat. “Hey, beautiful.” The young lady wrapped in his arms barely came to his chin. Sean’s little sister Charlotte giggled. He hadn’t seen her since her twenty-fourth birthday six years ago. Damn if Charlie, his honorary 36 | UncagedBooks.com
sister, hadn’t grown into a beautiful young woman. He drew back and grinned. “You’re still the only girl I’ve ever loved, little one.” She laughed aloud and shook her head. “Save your smooth talking for some other girl. I’m wise to your ways.” “What ways would those be? I’m nothing if not honest.” He held her elbow and helped her onto the stool beside him. The music boomed, and the women on stage bent this way and that. He didn’t get the attraction of a club like this. “You’re so a one-night-stand kind of man and you know it.” “True.” He nodded. “I appreciate all women. Why settle for one?” Charlie shook her head. “Thank you for coming.” “Hey, Sean said you’d been having some troubles with rowdiness and drugs moving through.” Sadness filled her eyes. “Yeah. Unfortunately, since I took over from Norris, people have walked all over me. It’s been…difficult.” “I know Norris left you the place when he passed years ago. I’m sorry I couldn’t be here for the funeral.” “I understand. I hated that Sean missed it too. But that’s a whole other can of worms.” “Have things been this shitty all along?” “Just the last year or so. There’s a new drug organization just outside of town, or so I’m told. Hell-raisers, mob type. The leader, Carter Hagen, has approached me more times than I’d like.” “Why?” “He wants to buy the place. He knows how popular it is, and how much money we make on a good night. The perfect place for him to set up his illegal operations and make a killing. His low-life friends come in to harass the girls, break things, and drink more liquor than they pay for. But I refuse to sell.” Gavin’s jaw clenched. “Sean mentioned the authorities around here are in his pocket, too.” He’d have to seek out whoever was in authority around here and get to the bottom of the police fuck-ups. He couldn’t stand men without honor. They had taken an oath to uphold the law. There was nothing more disappointing than a man who couldn’t remain loyal to his badge, or his
| KACEY HAMMELL | country. And the world would be a much better place without bullies. The kind of people who liked to pick on people who couldn’t defend themselves needed a lesson in manners and respect. “Is the money worth it?” He knew of the place, had heard Sean talk about the women who danced there, but never been here before. Plus, it was completely on the opposite side of Vancouver than where he’d grown up in dirty and unkempt foster homes. Don’t go there right now, man. Charlie’s head lifted fast. “Doesn’t have a thing to do with the money. Norris was one of my father’s best friends. He took care of Sean and me when our parents died. I grew up around this place and know how much it meant to him, so I’ll be damned if I lose it to a criminal who’ll just cater to miscreants and killers.” “All right. Settle down, little one.” “You can help me, right?” “Sean thought up the idea of me coming here to be a bouncer, but I’ll be honest, a mob boss or gang leader, whatever he is, wanting a dance club? There’s money in strippers, sure, but—” “Don’t say it, Gav. None of my girls are strippers. Sure, they tease, toss a shirt or shoe here and there, but right down to bare ass and tits? No, not here. Never.” The music stopped and his ears popped in the silence. A twinge swept along his neck and across his jaw. They were still sensitive when noise shifted or was too loud, but he’d be damned before giving up heavy metal and rock. His gaze shifted to a gleaming pole off to the side of the stage. “So that’s not a stripper pole then?” Charlie shrugged. Suppressing his laugh at her non-threatening glare, he stretched out his sore leg. Fiery shards of pain snaked his tendons and prickled under his skin. Shit. What he wouldn’t give for a long, hot soak in a Jacuzzi. “Why did you agree to come here if you have no idea what you’re protecting and fighting for?” “Charlie, look. I’ll help you any way I can, but I’m not sure how effective I’ll be. There’s only one of me against…how many did you say are causing shit?” “Probably a handful or a dozen. But aren’t all you Army guys invincible?”
Gavin burst out laughing and shook his head. “Hardly.” He rubbed his sore thigh. “I wish.” She smiled in sympathy, which quickly turned sly. “I saw you watching our main attraction. She’s fantastic, isn’t she?” Gavin shrugged. “Seen one chick dance, seen ‘em all.” Charlie cuffed him on the shoulder. “Don’t bullshit me. I’ll have to get Gary over here to clean up the drool from your hanging open mouth. She’s the reason why men will be coming to this club for miles in every direction. It took me a year of phone calls and negotiations to score her as a dancer. She’s the best in the business.” “At what, providing hard-ons with a quick kick or titty shake?” Gavin snorted when Charlie cuffed him again, a bit harder this time. “She hasn’t danced a night yet and already I’ve gotten calls from people about booking tables. It’s not something we do, but I think it might be the only way to go. People will be coming in droves to see Midnight.” “Who?” Gavin asked through a suddenly dry throat. “Midnight. That’s her stage name.” Midnight. “She was just rehearsing, but even you aren’t immune to her talents,” Charlotte laughed. “She’s got moves, I suppose. I’ve never seen anyone dance like that before.” Charlotte eased off the stool. “Yeah, well, as I said, she’s the best. I’m glad to finally have her here.” “What took a year to get her here?” “Come on back to my office and I’ll tell you what I can, but some things I won’t divulge. Confidences and all that.” He followed behind Charlie. Pictures of dancers in strange confections of costumes littered the walls of the hallway, showcasing the many years the Vixen Club had been open. Charlie ushered him into her office and shut the door behind him. A photo on the wall caught his gaze—Charlie, him, and Sean at her graduation. Sean had never been prouder of her. Gavin, too. She was the little sister he’d never had. He loved Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | her unconditionally. Another picture hung beside it. Charlie and Norris. Gavin had met him only a handful of times, but he seemed like a genuine, stand-up guy. He knew Charlotte cherished the other man like a second father. To him, it was enough to like Norris. “Shree used to work—” “Shree?” he interrupted. Charlotte sighed. “Midnight’s real name is Shree. Anyway…” She drew out the last word. She expected him to shush and listen, so he did. “She came from Toronto. Danced in one of the hottest clubs out there. It took a lot of money to get her down here. Some personal reasons of hers held things up as well, but I’m thrilled she’s here.” “Don’t you think adding more talent, one who you claim is the hotshot of this business, will make this Hagen guy pound on your door even louder?” She nodded and pulled a stack of papers toward her. “I’ve thought of that, but the deal was in the making months before he started his harassment. When I got word she was coming this way anyway, I wasn’t about to miss the chance to get her.” “What has the law done about this fool?” Charlie snorted. “I wouldn’t call the law much of anything around here. Waste of my time. I think Hagen already has the main men in authority in his pocket. Most of the regulars help me keep things as normal as possible, and many of them have been beaten to a pulp because of their troubles. It’s why I asked Sean if he knew anyone in security. I need help, Gav. A lot of it.” Her gaze held his, pleading with him. He wouldn’t leave her anytime soon. She was family. “I’m not going anywhere, little one. I’ll do what I can.” Her eyes filled with tears. Damn if he would sit here and watch the beads fall. He couldn’t handle crying women. What was a man supposed to do with one? His skin itched thinking about any woman bawling all over him. “Sean said there is a room in back I might be able to stay in. Whereabouts?” She stood, cleared her throat, pulled a key out of her pocket, and moved to the window. “Actually, there are two, one on each side of the club.” He 38 | UncagedBooks.com
stood beside her. “You’ll be on this side. Just take a right out my office door, down the hall to the exit, and the stairs are to the right of that door.” He took the key she offered and stepped back. “Is there someone on the other side?” She nodded. “Yes. For now. Shree didn’t have anywhere to stay yet, but she plans to get a place of her own. She’ll be here for a bit till she does.” Gavin’s heart lurched. So, the sexy raven would be close by? Down, boy. We don’t need to mix business and pleasure. Sure we do. He sighed, wanting to rest his leg a bit before the doors opened at nine. He turned back and grinned at her. “Don’t worry about anything, all right? I’ll do what I can.” “I know you will.” Her gaze lowered to his leg. “Are you okay?” He read the sympathy in the depths of her eyes, and hated it. “I’ll be fine. Just want to get settled.” “If you want to work out, there’s a gym downstairs. It’s actually directly under the stage. There’s plenty of equipment, and a tub in the one bathroom great for soaking sore appendages.” Music to his ears. He hoped he’d have time to seek out that bath before his shift started. “Thanks. I’ll see ya later, little one.” Limping down the hall to the exit, Gavin cursed his beat-up body. Months of therapy and trying not to crumble under the insecurities of being a cripple still weighed heavy on him. Even despite his anger and self-loathing, he still wouldn’t have changed a thing about that fateful day. All three boys had come out of it alive. The one who had flown out of his arms when the bomb went off had a concussion and broken arm, but had lived. He couldn’t ask for more than that. For now, he’d focus on the job at hand and hope the situation was resolved quickly. Being surrounded by a bunch of dancers day in and day out didn’t sound all that fun. Eye-catching for sure, but no doubt boring as hell. **** Shree flipped the page of the medical textbook laid out on top of the treadmill ledge so she could study while
| KACEY HAMMELL | she walked. Thank heavens she knew how to multitask. Studying and working out at the same time took practice, and she’d mastered how to get the most out of the hours she was awake in a day. Four years working nights would pay off within the next few months. She’d worked hard toward becoming a nurse, and the bountiful amounts of money had definitely helped. The move to Vancouver hadn’t been just to dance at the Vixen Club. She loved dancing and the people she encountered for the most part, but she didn’t want to be fifty years old and still be a Burlesque dancer. She had about five months left of school, and had secured a spot at Simon Fraser University for the chance to work with one of the most renowned surgeons in Canada. Her dreams were so close to coming true. Not bad for a thirty-two-year-old woman who decided her career path late and was putting herself through school. Tonight would be the first time she performed at this club. Normally, butterflies in her stomach were minor flutters, but she could barely keep down the early dinner she had a couple hours ago. After wiping her brow, she hit the incline button on the treadmill to get a better burn. There was no time to worry about nerves or anything but getting in the zone for tonight. She’d have to forget about studying for the next fifteen minutes. Silently thanking the club owner for having the accommodating workout area in the building, she let her mind drift as she kept pace. The last forty-five minutes had been a blessing. She’d squeezed a lot of study time in and her workout had been bliss. She chuckled. Most people would think her crazy for enjoying workouts. But if there was no enjoyment in it, then why bother? It was a mantra she lived by. Humming, she picked up her pace and tried recalling different medications, temperatures, and syringe types in her mind. Deep in study mode, her eyes flew open as a dinging sound filled the room. She glanced to the right. Men came in all shapes and sizes with various builds, physiques, and widths, and she understood that. But this man, whom she was sure could barely fit through the doorway, was one unlike anything she’d ever seen before.
Tall, at least six-six. Herculean shoulders, biceps that the short sleeves of his white t-shirt had no hope of getting over, and hard thighs that were easy to determine even beneath the sweats he wore, which probably got their workout from just carrying this man around every day. Hell, even her long arms wouldn’t be able to get around his midsection. Damn if she didn’t want to try, though. But it was her most favorite feature on a man that captured her attention completely. His head—bald, tanned—she had a weakness for his kind. To her there was a wildness, a stronger soul to a man who kept things clean and crisp. His attention zoomed in on her as the door shut behind him. The amber hue of his eyes reminded her of fine cognac—clear, luminous, and golden like honey. It was the alcoholic drink she was most partial to. Oh yes, she could get drunk on him for sure. She was going to hell from lusting after this stranger. There was no time in her life for tangling with the opposite sex. No matter how damn sexy and sinful he was. “Sorry, I didn’t know anyone was in here,” he rasped, his voice gravelly and rough. “Oh, umm.” Her feet nearly stumbled over each other as she turned back and hit the off button. Her workout was done for the day, as was her studying. Her focus was shot now. How was a woman to concentrate on anything with Mr. Hot Hulk around? “I’m just finishing up. The room will be yours in a second.” She grabbed up her belongings from the treadmill and crossed to the table on the other side of the room. “Don’t leave on my account. Hell, the room is big enough for twenty people.” Shree laughed and curled a towel around the back of her neck. She turned and hooked her duffel over her shoulder. “I was done anyway. I have to get ready for tonight.” He nodded and suddenly bent over. Shree gasped when he touched the floor with his palms. Rarely had she ever seen a man even close Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | to his size do that. She frowned, noticing he kept one leg bent a bit. A man of his obvious athletic ability had no doubt injured it at some point or another, and it seemed as if it hindered him some. Not your business. “You’re the star of the show, I hear.” She blinked. “Pardon?” He straightened, lifted his arms high, and twisted at the waist. His muscles bulged with every movement, drawing her gaze. Sweat broke out on her upper lip that had nothing to do with her working out. He needs to stop moving like that in front of me. Afraid she’d do something stupid—like faint just so he could administer some mouth-to-mouth lifesaving techniques—she strode to the door. “Never mind. I’ll see you later.” “At least let me introduce myself, especially since I’ll be keeping an eye on you for a while.” She spun fast. “What the hell does that mean?” “Sorry, that came out wrong. I mean I’m the security around here for now. Charlie hired me to be a bouncer. I hear things have been a little out of hand with the…tourists…lately.” Shree stared at him, mind turning. Charlie had mentioned a few problems, harassing men who Shree didn’t think would affect her too much. She’d mentioned added security at the club who would also be like personal protection for her. This man would be the one watching over her? Staring at her while she was on stage? Showing her to her door every night? Accompanying her nearly everywhere she went? She never dated men at the clubs she worked in. Never. It was her number one rule. She couldn’t be tempted by him or she might break her rule. He was everything she was attracted to. If only she’d adhered to that rule when she’d became involved with Brian… Peeling her tongue off the roof of her dry mouth and pushing aside the past from her thoughts, she shook her head. “I doubt I’ll need a personal bodyguard, but thank you.” “You really don’t have a choice, Midnight.” He grabbed a dumbbell in his right hand, sat down on 40 | UncagedBooks.com
a bench, and worked the metal bar up and down. She stared at his forearms, captivated by the veins rolling under his skin with each rep. “Well, umm, you know my name. What’s yours?” Shree leaned against the wall beside the door, arms crossed over her chest. He grinned, his eyes twinkling. “Charlie’s told me a lot about you.” “So should I just call you Charlie’s Confidant then?” She hated that he had the upper hand. Amazing looks aside, the need to be on equal footing with anyone was something she preferred. He continued his reps and ignored her. Not even sweating. She suspected he was already close to fifty by now. His muscles rippled, not an ounce of fat anywhere. She appreciated his determined concentration. She lost herself a lot when working out. Keeping fit wasn’t just important to her job, but also her health as a whole. She ate well and appreciated the body and metabolism God gave her. “Name’s Gavin Bennett. Should I call you Midnight or Shree?” “I prefer Shree.” He gazed up at her and switched the dumbbell to his other arm. Honey eyes stared back at her. She straightened and adjusted the strap on her shoulder, heart racing. His gaze darkened to a rich cognac again. It seemed as if he could see right into her soul, hitting her deep in the center, scorching and awakening the nerve endings along her body. Her skin tingled, cheeks heated, and her fingers twitched. “I like Shree better,” he murmured, voice husky. Her breath lodged in her throat. Her given name on his lips…the seductive effect he had on her wasn’t fair. She wasn’t prepared for this. School and work took up most of her time. Dating wasn’t really an option. Not after the mistakes she’d made. She had to remain focused. Nothing could deter her from her path. A hot stud—sexy, exotic, sinful, gorgeous, and super-charged testosterone oozed from him—distracting her just wouldn’t do. Drawing in a deep breath, she pulled on the doorknob and shrugged as nonchalantly as possible. “That works. Have a great workout. See you around.”
| KACEY HAMMELL | Shree strode down the hall, walking as fast as she could to the back door. Exiting the building, she turned left and around the side, then climbed the stairs to her temporary home. Distance and time away from that man—that’s what she needed. She had a show to prepare for. He could watch over her however he wanted to. It didn’t mean she had to like it. Nor did she have to acknowledge his presence. Unfortunately, she suspected ignoring Gavin wasn’t going to be an easy task.
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Be sure to check out the Uncaged Review for Cover Me in the review section. Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| SPECIAL REPORT |
Nothing can beat a great convention where you can meet your favorite authors and get autographs, photos and other keepsakes and stock up that to-be-read pile on your shelves. A marketing strategy that has been gaining steam is the online book release parties. These are great for people who can’t make a trip to a convention and you can do it from the comforts of your own home. Authors need advantages wherever they can get them in a very competitive market and these online parties can certainly generate buzz. Barnes & Noble even has a great article on how to throw a great online party: https://www. barnesandnoble.com/nookpressblog/how-to-throw-the-best-onlineparty-ever/ I’ve attended three online book launches in the last two months. The first one was for Suzan Tisdale’s The Bowie Bride Release Day Celebration in April.
thirty authors in attendance! Each author had about thirty minutes and they had giveaways, sneak peeks and a lot of them had Facebook Live videos. I met other readers and touched base with authors I already knew – a few had already been featured in Uncaged, and I met some new authors that I can’t wait to dig into. With this being an all day party, I jotted down the times I wanted to be sure I was there for, but ended up hanging out most of the day. I had a lot of fun, and even won a couple books. A fun part when evening rolled around, was a video by Victoria Vane that she posted right before she came online live in her time slot, called Victoria’s Dress Dilemma. The lady is naturally an entertainer and if you go to her Facebook page and scroll down, you can find the video, it is well worth the few minutes you’ll spend watching it. Not only is she a fantastic author, but the lady makes the most amazing dresses. Another author I met is Jillian Jacobs, who told me about the Writers on the River convention in Peoria, IL in July. Since this is a convention that is only about a three hour drive for me, my plans are to attend, barring any farm emergencies or catastrophes. You can find out more if you are in the Midwest and would like to go at their website: http://writersontheriver.weebly.com/ It’s definitely promising to be a good time. Another author I met and is also a Featured Author this month is K.C. Bateman. I won a copy of her new
This event was held on Facebook and went on all day long, and had
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book, a pre-release of A Counterfeit Heart and invited her to be a Featured Author this month in Uncaged and she happily accepted. I love when I find new authors, and she’s definitely been moved to the “favorite author list”on my lists and she just happens to live in my favorite city, Chicago. The last guest author that I had to hang around for was Kathryn Le Veque, who had two releases on the same day, Vestiges of Valor (I reviewed last month) and Forbidden Highlands anthology (reviewed this month in Uncaged). She also played a few fun games at the same time of her live video which was a lot of fun. We are Catching Up with her this month in Uncaged, and check out the Uncaged Exclusive Excerpt from her upcoming release Warwolfe.
| CYRENE OLSON | ternoon with new authors posting in 20 minute intervals. Tons of contests to enter, and the nice thing, is they kept the contests running until the next day so more people would have a chance to enter. I wasn’t there long and I was already two new books heavier than when I started, not including the contests. This one was pretty fast and furious. I woke up to a few new book wins that has the historical romance lover inside me dancing a new jig –
So my hats off to Suzan Tisdale and her Author Assistant, Debbie McCreary, her party was a blast, I stayed longer than I thought I would and had tons of fun. My nest online party was on May 22, for B.J. Scott’s release of Forever and Beyond – and I love B.J.’s books and can’t wait to sink my teeth into this one, and don’t worry – I will definitely spill the beans. She combines the Scottish Highlands and Time Travel, and she pulls it off to give you a different spin on the Highlanders. This was a 2 hour event and time flew by, and I did meet a few newto-me authors, and am looking forward to checking those out. Each author had easy-to-enter giveaways and fun questions. I woke up the next morning and even won a book from Lily Baldwin! And winning books from authors that I haven’t read yet is a win-win.
These are all authors that I just haven’t had a chance to read any of their work yet (except K.C. Bateman), so I’m psyched to dig in and of course I’ll report back with a review…. So if you haven’t ever attended a book launch, I truly recommend it. You may find a new favorite author, win books and swag gifts, and talk to other like-minded readers. So grab a cup of coffee, some comfy clothes and join in on the fun.
The third book launch I went to was for K.C. Bateman’s A Counterfeit Heart, who is a featured author this month in Uncaged on May 23. This one was a full afIssue 11 | June 2017 |
feature author Roe Valentine was born into the right family. Not only does the name Valentine suit her, but her grandmother, unknowingly, introduced the young Ms. Valentine to her first romance novel. She hasn’t read anything else since. She calls herself a romantic at heart and believes that love conquerors all. The San Antonio native, who now lives in Houston, attempted to write her first contemporary romance novel when she was nineteen years old. That attempt didn’t take, but her story has a happy ending. She kept pursuing the dream until she landed her first publishing contract in 2013. When not busy writing or reading love stories, Roe can often be found in a yoga class or chatting with friends at her favorite coffee shop. Enjoying margaritas with some girl-talk isn’t unusual for her either. For a night in, she watches reruns of her favorite TV shows and, of course, romantic comedies on her Roku, usually with a glass of wine.
Uncaged welcomes Roe Valentine. Uncaged: Playboy Assistant is your first release with Evernight Publishing. How has the experience been to move to this publisher? Evernight has been great to work with. They are very responsive and supportive of authors. I am proud to be with Evernight. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? No, I don’t read reviews really. If I stumble across one, or if someone tells me about it, I will read. And yes, the ones I have read do influence me, good and not so good. I am grateful to all the people who take the time to review. Uncaged: What is coming up next for readers? I am working on book two in the Society Playboys Series. It’s Konrad’s story :) Uncaged: Besides contemporary romance, you also write historical. Can you tell us more about those?
roevalentine.com 44 | UncagedBooks.com
I adore the 1920s period. It’s so luxurious and scandalous. The fashions, the dancing, the changing
Uncaged: Have you been to any book signings or conventions? Have you done an online release party? Yes to signs, conventions and online release parties. I’ve been participating at the Houston Author’s Bash for three years. And I go to conventions regularly. My favorite is the Romance Writers of America National Conference. I would love to do more book signings. Hopefully I can make that happen in 2018. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
dynamics of the people, specifically women. It’s such an exciting time period. I write about women who want to take charge of their lives during that period. It’s really interesting to research and get a sense of what women—and men—were up to during the height of the Jazz Age. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I’ve been reading a lot of mainstream fiction. Psychological thrillers. Also classics. I loved Caroline Kepnes novels You and Hidden Bodies. I would love to write psychological thrillers one day. I am currently reading Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara is something else! Of course I read a lot of romance. I specifically love Tiffany Reisz. Her Original Sinners series is some of my favorite series. Sylvia Day is my hero. I fell in love with her Crossfire series and also her historical Seven Years to Sin. I like both standalone and series formats. Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? I also work as a Technical Writer. But, for fun, I enjoy wine tasting, reading, Pilates, hanging out with friends, eating at the new restaurants in my city.
I would just like to say I appreciate you. Of all the books you can read, you chose mine and I don’t take that lightly. My heart swells with joy every time someone comments about my book or tells me they are reading it. I can’t help my huge smile. It really is an honor. Fans and readers curious about me can find me on all social media: FB, Twitter, Goodreads. Or, if you have a question, send me an email at email@example.com! I’d love to hear from you all.
Enjoy an excerpt from Playboy Assistant Playboy Assistant Roe Valentine Contemporary Jilted ex-bride Antonia Robuchon has been groomed to be a trophy wife her entire life. When her mother falls ill, Toni suddenly finds herself temporary CEO of the family business. Though against her life plan, she realizes she has what it takes to succeed in the workforce. While trying to convince the executive team of her value, she finds help in an unlikely source—her society playboy assistant, Fabian. The Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | closer they get, the more she questions her initial opinion of him. Can she protect her heart and her mother’s secret? Trust fund baby Fabian Pallis has a reputation of being a ladies’ man who can’t—and won’t—commit. When Fabian’s father insists Fabian prove he’s a responsible employee, he’s forced to work for an old classmate, Antonia, who grew up to be more stunning than he remembered. Sparks fly on day one, and he quickly wonders if she could be the one to change his relationship status. How can Fabian leave the job with work experience when all he wants is his boss? Excerpt “Goddamn it, Antonia, tell me the truth.” His voice was low and growling, like he’d let his animal instincts take over. It scared her a little, but excited her just the same. She trembled. “So you’re with Camille again, are you? Or is she just a friends-with-benefits thing?” Her jealousy showed its ugly head. That she tipped her hand enough to show him such an emotion irked her. “I’m not with her.” He palmed her throat. The soft pad of his thumb lay on her pulse as it raced. “And don’t change the subject. You owe it to me. Tell me why you lied to my father,” he demanded softer that time, leaning closer to her face. Desire worked through her body, igniting her senses. “I… I…” She moaned, acutely aware of how close his mouth was to hers. All she wanted was his lips on her lips. His lips on every part of her. “Tell me, Toni.” His fingers tightened on her throat. She gasped at the eroticism of being caged by him, demanded by him. Her clitoris throbbed with how turned on she was by his power. 46 | UncagedBooks.com
And without thinking, the words came. “Because I don’t want you to go.” His mouth crashed down on hers. He bit her lips, sucked her tongue and tangled it with his. They matched intensities, both taking exactly what they wanted. She took it all. His lips, his tongue, his touch. He slid his hand down to her sex and rubbed hard until she pushed away in fear of orgasming right there in the hallway. “We can’t,” she croaked, trying to get her bearings, only finding the room was spinning faster with each blink. Fabian pulled her against him. “Don’t run from me.” She jerked away from him. “You don’t get it.” “Oh, I get it.” He scrubbed the side of his head in exasperation. “Admit it, Toni. Admit I might be the one you want.” “What kind of a fool would I have to be to admit that to you?” A spike of anger rose inside her at the thought of Camille and all the other women in his life. “The last thing I’ll ever be is your fool.” But she wanted to be, horrifically. She wanted him in the worst way for the worst reasons. She wanted to be his fool, his stupid fool who showed up at his place of employment and nagged about a future. She wanted to be just like the others. And that was plain stupid. “You have no idea what you would be to me.” His eyes glistened with the words. “And I’m not going to find out either.” She turned on her heel, reeling in what had just happened between them. Again. She ached deep within, regretting walking away, but knowing she’d regret it more if she stayed.
| ROE VALENTINE |
Uncaged Review I think I drug my feet getting around to reading this one mainly as it seems to be marketed as an erotic – and even though I’ll read most anything, erotica is not a go-to genre for me. By the time I finished the book, I decided I had just read a contemporary romance, a love story. Sure, it has a couple hot sex scenes, but what romance these days doesn’t? So for people shying away from this because it’s in the erotica category, I hope you will change your mind. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast I read this – and that happens mostly when I’m enjoying the story. I will say, I did not like Fabian at first. And I almost groaned at his arrogance in the beginning. A rich boy playing the field, never getting serious about his life – party after party, woman after woman. On the other hand, I liked Antonia right off the bat. Antonia is the acting CEO of her family’s investment firm, since her mother is very ill. But her mother and Fabian’s father arranges for Fabian to work for the investment firm to try and teach Fabian how to be responsible, as the assistant to the CEO. Which so happens to be Antonia. And that first meeting does not go well, but Antonia will honor her mother’s wishes. This is well written, and I did learn to like Fabian as the story progressed, and some twists were not expected. Erotic love scenes that will satisfy erotica lovers? Absolutely. But just remember, it’s so much more than that.
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
by Cindy Tomamichel
| SHORT STORY |
The Box Cindy Tomamichel www.cindytomamichel.com Mary Gentle died last week. By all accounts it had been a peaceful death. She had been found on her veranda, her eyes still looking over the paddocks that she had worked in her whole life. I knew of her, but I had never met her, although like most people in this small rural town we were distant cousins. There was no one left in her immediate family, and as a the most junior law clerk it had fallen to me to visit the farm before it was sold to one of the big grain and seed companies. I drove up the long dusty driveway, picturing the area covered by genetically modified oilseed. The land around the town was bright yellow with the canola flowers, field after field of identical plants. I pulled up in front of the old farmhouse admiring the plum and apple trees in full bloom. Like many old gardens here, it had a couple of quince trees, a lemon, and a huge tangle of berry canes. At the front steps, a woody rosemary bush threatened to snag at my stockings, and dust soon covered my patent leather shoes. I hadnâ€™t had time to change out of my newly purchased office clothes, and I stepped cautiously onto the wooden porch, which creaked and flexed a little with each step. The front mesh door flew open with the wind, the bang loud in the stillness. I latched it tight and walked down the hallway, my heels echoing. There was little furniture, I guessed Mary had sold it over the years. I had just finished sorting the accounts; the farm had just scratched out a living. The front parlour was bare, and cobwebs hung in long festoons. The lace curtains had fallen into shreds, and the faded rose pattern wallpaper was starting to peel. The family room and second bedroom were the same, the rusted metal doorknobs stiff with lack of use. A few long dead blowflies lay stiff and dry on the windowsills. In the main bedroom the only furniture was a metal bed of the type that you see in old hospitals. Folded neatly over the end of the bed were a faded rose printed cotton dress, and a 50 | UncagedBooks.com
light blue cardigan. The bed was made; the quilt was a patchwork of material, scraps sewn together from worn out clothes. I lifted a corner, it was heavy, made out of hessian feed bags stitched together, like one I had seen in the local museum. As I walked out, I noticed on a hook behind the door hung a pair of old overalls, dried mud still caked on the knees. I ended up in the kitchen. For all farms the heart of the house, and this was no exception. It was clear Mary had spent all her time here, the old armchair near the fireplace was covered in layers of crochet blankets, and there was a small table with a bible and a teapot. I looked in all the cupboards, but they were empty. Mary had spent many years here by herself, and had pared it down to the essentials. A teacup, teapot, a few pots and plates and an old biscuit tin, the lid with a scratched picture of the royal jubilee. I looked around, wondering what I should be doing. My boss had said to find any personal effects in case we discovered a relative, but there was nothing really personal. The sink was scoured clean, with a few dishes on the draining board. I went over, glancing at the cutlery. I picked up the kitchen knife. The wooden handle felt warm from the sun, the blade sharpened so many times it was pared down to a slither of metal. This was personal, but of no value to anyone else. I put it down on the sink and kept looking. A wooden spoon resting by the stove was stained brown, its shape worn to a wedge from years of stirring pots. A kitchen drawer yielded a fountain of yellowed recipes clipped from newspapers. The fireplace was deep and had a wide mantelpiece. The sides were carved wood, some flowers and leaves ran down each side, not a professional job, but it was covered in many layers of honey coloured beeswax. Sitting on the mantle was a folding photo frame, the kind with an embossed metal edge. I blew the dust off and took it to the window for a better look. Mary and her husband. Mary looked very young, smiling a little, her face partially hidden by a cloche hat. The man beside her must be her husband. George, I think his name was. Tall and lean, he was dressed in an army uniform. The other photo was also black and white, it was four men in uniform, as tall as George, but they all had Maryâ€™s smile. I put
| CINDY TOMAMICHEL | the photo on the kitchen table, but I couldn’t find any more. Surely in a lifetime she had accumulated something?
action for two years. His remains were buried with his battalion in a military grave in Singapore… We enclose his medal…
I sat down in the armchair, picking up the bible. The flyleaf was inscribed To Mary Turrell, for Sunday school attendance, 1905. I shook it gently, but the only thing that fell out was a faded Jehovah’s Witness booklet. I slipped it back in, and noticed the writing on the inside back cover of the bible. Mary born 1895, George born 1890, died 1935. Married 1913. Matthew born 1913, died 1940. Mark born 1914, died 1941. Luke born 1916, died 1944. Elizabeth and Ruth stillborn, 1917. John born 1919, died 1945.
I folded up the letters and opened up the flat box, knowing what I would see. A row of five medals, awards to a brave man and his sons. They had fought for their country in lands that would have been so foreign to ones raised on this farm. I glanced out the window at the red dust paddocks, and blinked back tears.
She had outlived them all. I put the bible on the kitchen table; it needed to be kept at least. I picked up the teapot to put on the sink, and managed to knock over the little table. Sitting down, I righted it, finding it was heavier than I thought and that it was more of a box, with the same carved flowers as the mantelpiece, and small hinges on the side. I lifted the lid, and here at last were the personal effects. A bundle of letters, a small flat velvet case and an exercise book, the kind a kid uses for spelling. I sat back in Mary’s chair and untied the bundle of letters. They were yellow, the sort you used to get as telegrams. I had seen them in the museum. They were all from the War Department. Dear Mrs Gentle, We regret to inform you that your husband has been officially listed as missing in action...we enclose his medal, and note that he was commended for gallantry on the battlefield… It is with regret we inform you of the death in action of your son Matthew… we enclose his medal… …we inform you of the death of your son Mark. He died in an attempt to rescue his battalion from the enemy. We enclose his medal… …the death of your son Luke. He was captured and imprisoned by enemy soldiers, but he is confirmed dead…we enclose his medal for bravery… …confirm the death of your son John, missing in
I picked up the exercise book, flicking through the brittle yellowed pages. The cover had come apart and had patches of rose patterned wallpaper glued to it, and it made a crackling noise as I opened it. A few pages had the corners folded down, and I looked at them first. Jam and chutney recipes, the pages stained and the writing crossed out with notes written in a cramped hand. The rest was a diary, of sorts. Not so much a record of days, but of events. ***
1st May, 1913 George looked so handsome at the ceremony, some men just suit a uniform, and I am so proud of him enlisting early. The news from overseas looks bad, but we hope the war will be over quickly and we can get work done on the farm. We have so many ideas, but as Dad says, we have the rest of our lives together. Mother just hugged me, and gave me the old royal biscuit tin, to remember home, she said. 8th November 1913 Mother was shocked when I told her I was expecting, and when the baby arrived she did the math. So we jumped the gun a little, my George and I. Matthew is a darling boy, and so like his father. George has heard that they are calling up some enlisted men, and he has started carving the mantle for me. A late wedding present, he says. 2nd March, 1914 I am expecting again, and hope for a daughter to help me around the farm. But another boy would be a fine thing too. 3rd November, 1914 Mark is a fine baby, and sleeps well at night. George Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| SHORT STORY | is so proud, he has made me a little table to put my feet up and have a spell he says. He is so clever with his hands. It has a hinged lid, so I have someplace to keep things safe from sticky little fingers. 30th April, 1916 George has received his papers, he is leaving next week. Luckily I had some good news for him, and he picked out a name for the new one while the boys slept, worn out after another day exploring. I hope I can do him proud and manage the farm while he is away fighting for our country. I am so proud of him. I wonâ€™t let myself think of how much we will miss him.
pretty to cheer him up. 2nd February, 1935 George spent the weekend finishing his carving of the mantelpiece, joking he needed to get it done since we had been married over 20 years. I tell him it seems like yesterday, and indeed it does, although the mirror tells me different. 3rd February, 1935 I woke this morning to find my George dead beside me. I am so thankful he went peaceful, and the boys are a great consolation.
30th December, 1916 Luke is a welcome Christmas present, and he is as good a sleeper as his brothers, bless him. At least I am too busy to worry. I know George will come back to us. Wherever he is, the Good Lord will look after him.
1st December, 1940 All of my boys went in to town today and came back dressed in uniforms. They have all enlisted, one each in the army, navy, airforce and marines. I am so proud, and I pray the good Lord will keep them safe. I wish George had been here to see them. He would have been so proud.
12th November, 1917 I thank the Lord in my prayers every night for the safe return of my husband. His lungs have been much affected by the gas, and he has terrible dreams. I pray the good clean country air will cure him. Maybe the coming child will help lift his spirits.
*** There were no more entries, the rest of the pages were empty. I closed the exercise book and put it in the box with the bible, medals and photo. I also picked up the battered biscuit tin, and the knife and wooden spoon. All of it fitted into the box, and I carried it out of the kitchen.
1st December, 1919 I thank the Lord for my safe delivery. John is a welcome baby after we lost our little girls.
At the front door I paused to latch it shut for the last time. The house seemed all at once to come alive. The sound of childrenâ€™s feet running down the hall, the nightmare screams of a man home from war, and woven into the background, the gentle sounds of Mary.
4th June, 1929 The bank has lost all our savings, small enough as they were. George came home from town, and sat on the porch for hours, just looking out over the fields. I told him we will manage, but he just held my hand without saying anything. 10th October, 1934 George is so tired these days, and his cough is something dreadful. I help as much as I can, and the boys are out working. Money is tight, but we can manage, as we always have done. There are a lot of people worse off than we are, at least we have the farm and the garden. It is a blessing that the church ladies buy my jams and chutneys. I will make George his favourite stew tonight and set the table 52 | UncagedBooks.com
Best Seller Lists Week ending May 28, 2017
New York Times Best Selling Fiction Hard Cover 1. INTO THE WATER by Paula Hawkins 2. 16TH SEDUCTION by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro 3. THE HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood 4. THE FIX by David Baldacci 5. NIGHT SCHOOL by Lee Child 6. GOLDEN PREY by John Sandford 7. THE THIRST by Jo Nesbo 8. AGAINST ALL ODDS by Danielle Steel 9. LILAC GIRLS by Martha Hall Kelly 10. THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10 by Ruth Ware
IndieReaders.com Best Selling Hard Cover 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Buttons And Pain by Penelope Sky Fallen Crest Forever by Tijan Rescuing Kassie by Susan Stoker Dating-Ish by Penny Reid Boys South Of The Mason Dixon by Abbi Glines 6. The Jack Noble Series: Books 4-6 by L.T. Ryan 7. Duke Of Manhattan by Louise Bay 8. The Wright Boss by K.A. Linde 9. White Hot Truth by Danielle LaPorte 10. Sex God by Marie Force
Barnes & Noble Best Selling Fiction Amazon Best Selling Fiction Kindle eBooks 1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 2. Their Lost Daughters by Joy Ellis 3. Promise Me Forever by Debbie Macomber 4. Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan 5. The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King 6. The First Word by Isley Robson 7. Come Sundown by Nora Roberts 8. The Letter by Kathryn Hughes 9. The Lioness of Morocco by Julia Drosten 10. North Haven by Sarah Moriarty
54 | UncagedBooks.com
1. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins 2. Come Sundown by by Nora Roberts 3. No Middle Name: The Complete Collected Jack Reacher Short Stories by Lee Child 4. Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton 5. Testimony by Scott Turow 6. 16th Seduction by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro 7. The Fix by David Baldacci 8. Same Beach, Next Year by Dorothea Benton Frank 9. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur 10. Golden Prey by John Sandford
feature authors urban fantasy
feature author E.J. Stevens is the bestselling, award-winning author of the IVY GRANGER, PSYCHIC DETECTIVE urban fantasy series, the SPIRIT GUIDE young adult series, the HUNTERS’ GUILD urban fantasy series, and the WHITECHAPEL PARANORMAL SOCIETY Victorian Gothic horror series. She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines. Her novels are available worldwide in multiple languages. BTS Red Carpet Award winner for Best Novel, SYAE finalist for Best Paranormal Series, Best Novella, and Best Horror, winner of the PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy Novel, Best Young Adult Paranormal Series, Best Urban Fantasy Novel, and finalist for Best Young Adult Paranormal Novel and Best Urban Fantasy Series. When E.J. isn’t at her writing desk, she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.
ejstevensauthor.com 56 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged welcomes E.J. Stevens! Uncaged: In Hunting in Bruges, this is a spin-off of the Ivy Granger series. Are you planning on continuing the Hunter’s Guild series? If so, how many books are planned? Since I haven’t read any of the Ivy Granger series (yet – I’m going to be changing that), do any of the characters cross over in these two series? Jenna Lehane is the most notable crossover character between the Ivy Granger Psychic Detective series and the Hunters’ Guild series. Both series are in the same world with the same rules regarding magic and supernatural creatures, but each series has its own unique mood, setting, and focus. At this time, there are plans for two more books in the Hunters’ Guild series and additional short fiction cross over. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read reviews, but they do not influence my writing. Uncaged: What is coming up next for readers? Tales from Harborsmouth, an Ivy Granger anthology, is available for pre-order and releases July 11th. Blood Rite, the sixth novel in the Ivy Granger series, is scheduled to release October 10th. In addition to the new releases, the highly anticipated Hound’s Bite audiobook released in May, the Hunting
in Bruges audiobook is scheduled to release November 2017, and ten new Ivy Granger/Hunters’ Guild translations are contracted to release in 2017. Uncaged: For people that may want to sign up for your mailing list, what are the perks for joining? I often gift my mailing list with free books and subscribers get the latest book release news, links to giveaways, free ringtones and wallpapers, and updates on my tour schedule. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I enjoy reading urban fantasy, mysteries, science fiction, and Victorian horror. I prefer to read series. I’m currently reading the Nightside series by Simon R. Green and a collection of stories by Jules De Grandin. Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
gium fantasy convention, and readers can find me at Wyrd (Salem, MA) in June, Readercon (Boston, MA) and NEAE (Danvers, MA) in July, and Dragon Con (Atlanta, GA) Labor Day weekend. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I love hearing from fans. Come see me at my next signing or connect with me online.
Enjoy an excerpt from Hound’s Bite Hound’s Bite E.J. Stevens Paranormal
I enjoy reading, traveling, and snuggling with my corgi. Uncaged: Have you been to any book signings or conventions? Have you done an online release party or plan to in the near future? I am a frequent guest at conventions. I just completed my Belgian book tour with a stop at F.A.C.T.S. Bel-
Ivy Granger thought she left the worst of Mab’s creations behind when she escaped Faerie. She thought wrong. Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | In a cruel twist of fate, Ivy has unleashed a powerful horde of Unseelie beasts upon her city, turning her homecoming into a potential slaughter of innocents. Now Ivy must gather her allies to fight a reputedly unstoppable force--The Wild Hunt. Will the training Ivy received in her father’s court be enough to save her city, or will Harborsmouth be forced to kneel before the Lord of the Hunt? She is willing to risk her own life, but some sacrifices come at a cost worse than death. When an ally is bitten by one of The Wild Hunt’s hounds, Ivy must face the possibility that winning this battle may mean killing the one person she has come to love most. Excerpt The night was broken by howls that sent icy claws skittering down my spine. “What the Hell is that?” I asked, gloved hands reaching for my blades. Ceff lifted his hands apologetically, mouth struggling to form words in a way that wouldn’t upset me. I could read his discomfort in his stiff posture and the tightening of the skin around his eyes. Torn had no such concern for my feelings. “You didn’t think you could enter Faerie without consequences, did you, Princess?” Torn asked with a mocking sneer. So much for friendship. Apparently, returning to Harborsmouth had brought out Torn’s snarky side. The doors to Faerie had been sealed by Mab, Titania, and Oberon when they disappeared more than a century ago. The faerie paths no longer led to the Seelie and Unseelie lands. Lucky for me, I’d found a key to a hidden back door. At least, that key had seemed like a stroke of luck at the time. I’d needed a way into Faerie, to the wisp court that promised clues to my father’s whereabouts. Not that my journey had been easy. Nothing worth fighting for ever was. The ability to come out of hiding? That was worth fighting for. I was tired of slinking around the shadows of my city. 58 | UncagedBooks.com
The problem was that, even though I’d been raised human, the supernatural gifts I inherited from my father, Will-o’-the-Wisp, continued to grow like wildfire—burning me in the process. With no one to teach me how to control my growing powers, I’d broken the one rule that all fae live by. I used my powers in public, without glamour, and risked exposing the secret of our kind to humans—a crime punishable by death. It didn’t take the fae uppity ups long to send a faerie hit squad to take me out. The Moordenaar, a group of elite assassins, shot me full of poisoned arrows. I died. Thankfully, I had a magic apple up my sleeve—an apple that resurrected the dead, and not in a creepy, zombielicious kind of way. So, yeah, I died, but I got better. Take that faerie assassins. Ivy Granger: 1, Faerie assassins: 0. With the fae believing I was dead, I used my father’s key to enter the wisp court. As I said, it hadn’t been easy. I did things there that were sure to give me nightmares—more than I already had—but I’d foolishly believed that the worst was behind me. Surviving a trip through the land of the dead and into Faerie and back again—homicidal relatives and all— had left me hopeful. I’d learned how to control my powers. My friends and I had survived. Heck, I’d only been back a few minutes and already I’d managed to heal the wisps, who had been living in Jinx’s father’s junkyard, of their iron sickness. It was starting out to be a good day. I should have known better. But I had so many reasons for being hopeful. I was returning to Harborsmouth after demonstrating my newfound control to the Unseelie Court. The ruling fae had decided that I was no longer a threat to their existence. That meant no more hiding. For once, no one was trying to kill me. Even my relationship with Ceff was in a good place. My life was supposed to go back to normal. Another hungry howl pierced the night, and I grimaced. “This is no time for games, Torn,” I said. Getting an answer from a cat sidhe was like following the metal ball in a game of Mouse Trap. I was pretty sure that Torn was allergic to straight answers, but I was sick
| E.J. STEVENS | of playing the mouse. Our journey to Faerie had been an exhausting one, and I was short on patience. The sooner we fought the big bad monster coming our way, the sooner I could go home and drop into my bed. “Did we wake the Hound of the Baskervilles, or what?” Ceff and Torn exchanged a meaningful look, faces grim. I flashed Ceff a grin, hoping to lighten the mood, but he shook his head. “Torn is right,” Ceff said. “It would seem that our trip to Faerie was not without consequences.” “What consequences?” I asked, throwing my bladeladen hands in the air. “Will one of you just tell me what is out there? A heads-up might make killing the howling monster a little easier. Knowledge is power, yada yada.” “You will need more than mere blades to fight this enemy,” Ceff said. I ground my teeth while mentally stabbing a picture of my cryptic boyfriend with my “mere blades.” “Are you saying we should run?” I asked, eyebrows raised. “Because you should know me better than that.” “What he’s saying, Princess, is that you woke up something too big for the three of us to defeat alone,” Torn said. That made me pause. We’d fought faerie queens, pyro demons, a lovesick necromancer, and a psychotic lamia, to name a few. I may not have come through those battles unscathed, or with all my guts still on the inside, but at the end of the day, we’d won. With my friends at my side, and a new arsenal of wisp powers at my fingertips, I felt nearly invincible. I looked to Ceff, hoping he’d grab his trident and join me for some quick monster cleanup. I may not be on the clock for this one, but I didn’t let hungry fae prowl the streets of Harborsmouth. And if Torn was right, I’d somehow let this one follow us out of Faerie. No way was I turning tail, no matter how tired I was. But Ceff didn’t reach for his weapon. “We need allies,” he said. “And larger weapons,” Torn said, with a wink. The cat sidhe looked excited, which was a clue
that I wasn’t going to like the answer to my next question. “And what monster do we need to gather our allies and weapons against?” I asked. “Haven’t you guessed yet, Princess?” Torn asked, eyes gleaming. “We’re not just facing one howling beast.” Ceff turned to me, closing the space between us. In the moonlight, I could see my reflection in the dark pools of his kelpie eyes—eyes that were tight with worry. “What are they?” I asked. Ceff’s voice was low and reverent, and tinged with the taint of fear. “The Wild Hunt.”
Releasing in July Tales from Harborsmouth E.J. Stevens Paranormal RELEASES JULY 11
In Tales from Harborsmouth, readers get to delve deeper into the award-winning world of Ivy Granger with two novellas and two exclusive short
Ivy Granger is a psychic detective with ties to Harborsmouth’s paranormal underworld. Too bad those ties tend to ensnare Ivy and her friend Jinx in the Machiavellian schemes of the city’s teeming population of bloodsucking vampires and psychotic faeries.
Be sure to check out the Uncaged Review for Hunting in Bruges in the review section. Issue 11 | June 2017 |
K.H. Mezek was a feature author in November2016. Since then she has released the third book in the Night Angels Chronicles, Cave of Secrets. Uncaged: You were a Featured Author in the November 2016 issue of Uncaged Book Reviews. How was your experience being in the magazine? It was an awesome experience. You made me feel very welcomed. That’s why I’m back again! Uncaged: Are you already kicking around ideas for other books after the Night Angel Chronicles series concludes? Absolutely! I want to write a book about the Night Angels and how they became denizens. I’m very excited about it and I’ve been doing a lot of research. Each of the Night Angels: Peter, Strejan, Blanca, Marek, and Marianne, were turned during the Ottoman Empire and the reign of Mehmed II. But the story goes all the way back to the turnings of Fabian Gore and the Queen, who are the two first born and were Pharaohs during the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, 18th Dynasty. So, that’s a big project! Then, I have a series of science fiction/ fantasy stories called LOVE WARS about seven women and their battles in love. Each story features a different woman and they are all connected through a mysterious Hollywood café and a narcissistic science fiction writer named Lance Rey. Each woman has her reasons for seeking revenge on Lance Rey and it culminates in a resounding crescendo in the last story. The stories are edgy noir and filled with lust, bloodshed and revenge. 60 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged: Since your feature, you’ve released the third book in the Night Angel Chronicles, Cave of Secrets. I remember you said there would be six books in the series, when will the fourth one release? This is quite a marathon, I can tell you! I’m excited to have Cave of Secrets out there. I each book keeps getting better. Cave of Secrets can be read on its own but I would hope people would go back Key of Mystery and Book of Angels as well. The fourth book is called Land of Talismans and I hope to finish it by the end of the summer and get it out there in the fall of 2017. Land of Talismans sees Sera going through some soul-searching, rebelling against her love Peter and the Night Angels and trying to find a way out of the burden that has been placed on her. Uncaged: Will you be attending any events this year to meet your fans? At the moment, I don’t have any plans to do so. I travel quite a bit and am also a bit of a recluse— meaning I end up moving around to places where no one knows me and I don’t know anyone, but that’s how unexpected adventures occur and I meet amazing people. I hope my stories will speak for me. Over the course of the coming year I will probably be finding my way to Scotland, Luxor, and Mongolia. The life of a wanderer suits me and I find it’s the best way to get inspired for my writing. I’m also committed to the program I created, My World Project, connecting children in remote areas of the world through art and writing. More than ever, with current world events, I believe our children need to find out what draws them together instead of focusing on what tears them apart.
| K.H. MEZEK | Karen Hunt aka KH Mezek is, more than anything else, a traveler. For the past two years she has been on walkabout, from the minarets of Istanbul, to the Sahara Desert, to the jungles of Costa Rica, writing her YA Urban Fantasy series, NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES and her childhood memoir, Into the World. She has had numerous essays published in magazine such as The Adirondack Review and NAILED. Her essay Reflections from Istanbul won the 2015 New Millennium Writers Nonfiction Award. Karen is the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth in remote areas through art and writing. Her nineteen published children’s books, which she writes and illustrates, have been enjoyed by children around the world. She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing trainer. It’s hard to say where Karen’s adventures will lead her next, but her bag is packed, her passport is up to date and she is ready to go.
Check out the series of The Night Angels Chronicles Cave of Secrets K.H. Mezek Young Adult/Fantasy A demon force is taking over Oak Haven and people are dying in horrific ways. Somewhere beneath the city lies the hidden chamber and the Secrets to the Origins of Life. If only Sera can find it, maybe she can stop the violence. She needs her dad to help her and she’s certain he’s still alive. But in order to find him, Sera must make a pact with her nemesis, Fabian Gore. Peter, the Night Angel has vowed to love and protect Sera, but even he can’t help her in this task. Nor can Jimmy, the human whom she knows she can trust. Only the “girl with crazy eyes” can lead Sera to her father. Without her dad, Sera doesn’t think she can go any further.
Uncaged reviewed the first two books in this series in November, 2016. Recommended series!
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Cheryl Yeko is an award winning, multi-published author and lives in Wisconsin with her husband Patrick. She loves to read, play piano, and spend time with family and friends. She enjoys novels with fast-paced action and steamy romance, protective alpha men and strong hero-
Cheryl belongs to several writing groups, and is a member of Romance Writers of American (RWA), as well as the Wisconsin Chapter. Cheryl is also an Acquisitions Editor for Soul Mate Publishing. As an Editor, she welcomes Romantic Suspense, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Contemporary, and Erotica. Cheryl is thrilled to be able to add author/editor to her resume and would love to hear comments from readers.
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A different format from just an interview, Cheryl talks to us about her editing and her first published book, Protecting Rose. Thank you for hosting me. I’d thought I’d discuss my entry into the writing world as an author, then acquiring editor for Soul Mate Publishing. My writing career began when my wonderful husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas and changed my world. I started reading romance novels, and fell in love with them. I decided to write one myself, so I took some online classes, checked out some books from the library, and disappeared into my room over a long Wisconsin winter to write Protecting Rose. My only problem was I had no idea what to do with it. So, I did some more research and found this wonderful romance association right there in my backyard! Who knew? So I joined The Romance Writers of America, and everyone was very helpful and supportive. Armed with some great advice, I submitted my baby to a few publishing houses and received two contract offers. I signed with Soul Mate Publishing in 2011, and couldn’t be happier. Protecting Rose went on to win the 2012 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence in the Romantic Suspense category.
Today, I’m a multi-published, award-winning author, and write romantic suspense and sexy contemporary. I can also be found under the pen name of CiCi Cordelia, with my writing partner and BFF, Char Chaffin. Together we write paranormal and western genres, both contemporary and historical. In 2012, I was honored to have Debby Gilbert, Senior Editor and Founder of Soul Mate Publishing ask me to come onboard as an editor. I currently have over sixtyfive edited novels under my belt, and an inbox that will keep me busy for the rest of the year. Eventually, I went on to become the coordinator for Soul Mate’s newsletter, cover art, and social media promotions. Busy, busy… In my spare time, I write romance!! I can honestly say that I’m never bored. :) I’d like to share a short excerpt from my debut novel, Protecting Rose: A fire ignited under the hood and billowed. Smoke flooded the car. The strong odor of gas hung in the air. His heart raced. Grasping the woman under the arms,
he eased her back toward the door. “I’m sorry, sweetheart,” he murmured, “but we need to get you out of this car.” A bright bolt of lightning ripped across the sky. Hungry flames, fed by the wind, spread through the car. He pulled her from the vehicle and cradled her in his arms. With a burst of adrenaline, he raced toward the coverage of the trees at the bottom of the hill. He sprinted the last few feet to safety before the car exploded behind him with a thunderous roar. The shock of the blast nearly knocked him to the ground and he barely managed to stay on his feet as he stumbled forward. He clasped the woman to his chest and dove behind a line of trees. Nate turned at the last moment to take the brunt of the impact before rolling over to shield her with his body. The heat from the explosion enveloped them, and debris rained to the ground. When he lifted his head, the car was engulfed in flames. She moaned. Nate glanced down in time to see her eyes flutter open. His pulse raced when he looked into a pair of breathtakingly beautiful brown eyes, sheltered by long sweeping lashes. “Where are you hurt?” He frowned when he noted a Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | bruise on her cheek darker than the rest. He ran his hands over her, searching for injuries. She gasped and struggled against him. Her large doe eyes filled with confusion and fear. “Whoa there. Take it easy, sweetheart.” Nate grasped her wrists to keep her from moving. “You need to remain still and wait for the paramedics.” She cried out in a pained gasp. Nate froze and eased his grip. He cursed when he saw what appeared to be rope burns circling her wrists. Eyebrows furrowed, he released her and rolled to the side. He glanced down the length of her body to see the same red marks at her ankles. His jaw tightened and his eyes narrowed at the thought of her restrained in such a cruel fashion. “Who tied you up?” His gut screamed danger. Nate lifted his head to scan the area. A loud thunderclap shook the air. The temperature dropped sharply when the storm rolled in. Suddenly, there was a loud pop, and dirt flew up next to him. What the hell! Someone was shooting at them. ~~~~~~~~~~~ A fun little tidbit. I just finished adapting Protecting Rose into a screenplay. It was so much fun! Since Protecting Rose was my debut novel, I’ve learned a lot about writing since then. I was able to pull out the best parts of the story, tweak or add other scenes to make the story better, and ended up with a 117-page screenplay. I’ve joined a local screenwriting association and hope to learn how to get it optioned. So who knows…maybe someday you’ll see Protecting Rose on the big screen. A girl can dream. :) Char and I are currently working on a three-book series under our pen-name, CiCi Cordelia: THE BRIDES OF LITTLE CREEDE. A three-volume series centered around the men and women brave and resourceful enough to make a better life for themselves and their loved ones in the brand-new state of late-nineteenth-century Colorado. 64 | UncagedBooks.com
I’m thrilled to announce: that Book One-RETTA, took First Place in the Historical category of URWA’s Annual “Great Beginnings” contest. Since this is our first foray into historical westerns, we are beyond thrilled. We hope to have RETTA completed by mid-summer. Look for it! Protecting Rose Cheryl Yeko Suspense/Romance Rescuing damsels in distress is all in a day’s work for Detective Nate Stone. After saving a beautiful woman from a burning car and an assassin’s bullet, he vows to protect her. But the determined assassin always seems to be one step ahead of the game. Suspecting a leak within his Department, Nate takes Rose and runs. He soon discovers that the hardest part of the mission is resisting his desire for the woman who trusts him with her life. Rose awakes in a hospital with no memory, only to discover that someone tried to kill her. Her only chance to survive an assassin’s game of cat and mouse is the man who saved her and who has promised to protect her. She may not know her past, but she knows her heart, and it longs for her protective warrior, who ignites a passion in her she can’t deny.
Uncaged Review This book started out full tilt action, and grabbed my interest within a few pages – and that makes a great read. Nate is a Milwaukee detective, driving home when he witnesses an accident. Stopping to help, he pulls a lady from the car, and is promptly shot at. Getting her to the hospital and to safety is his number one priority. When she comes to, she doesn’t remember anything – and Nate is determined to keep her safe. Since they don’t know her name, he calls
| CHERYL YEKO |
There is a lot of danger, and it doesn’t stop with one dramatic moment like a lot of books do. It keeps ramping up with each incident. This was a very easy read, very easy to get submerged in and keep going until you know who Rose really is and why someone wants to kill her. The only thing I had a hard time believing was the romance and how fast it took off, and especially with a girl who was thought to be sexually abused from the person chasing her, but it was easy to like the characters and the storyline was fast paced and didn’t slow down.
Don’t miss these titles
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showcase John Sinisi
The Sorceress The Sorceress John Sinisi Fantasy
Ruthless Lord Soren strives to reunite warring feudal mini-states into a mighty kingdom. His most powerful weapon is the Bezrielite necromancer, William, the mightiest sorcerer in modern times. William has rejected Bezriel’s sacred mystical traditions sacred mystical traditions, instead using sorcery for dominion over men and nature. Opposing Soren and William is the ragtag liberation army, Free Bezriel, and its powerful young sorcerers. Ariadne. Despite having been taught to use her powers only for peace and healing when she sees the corrupting influence of Soren and William on Bezriel, she puts aside her pacifist principles to join the guerilla struggle. Needless slaughter by Soren’s troops of many of her friends in the rebel army leads Ariadne to a shocking act of revenge. While a remorseful Ariadne ponders whether killing, even for a good cause, can ever be justified, and considers quitting Free Bezriel, Soren and William intensify their efforts to destroy the guerillas.
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US Review of Books “Wars are won and lost not just on battlefields, but also in the hearts, minds, and souls of the people on both sides.” In the fractured land of Menkara, a religious witch hunt is about to take place in the province of Zandor. Ruled by Baron Frederick, who has recently turned from a life of debauchery to one of zealotry, three Bezrielites are rounded up and arrested using largely false pretenses. The people of Bezriel are known for their spiritual religion and their capability to invoke magic, but are not known for doing so in any aggressive way. Indeed, two of the arrests are Abigail, a midwife who can deliver babies in even the most complicated of pregnancies, and Sarah, a healer who has been capable of things that modern medicine cannot replicate. The arrests create a window for Lord Soren, leader of neighboring Thorheim, to depose the unpopular actions of Frederick and take a major first step toward his goal of reunifying Menkara. Sarah’s children Jonathan and Ariadne are simply just concerned with their mother’s freedom. What seems at first as a benevolent move by Soren quickly snowballs into a campaign to indeed unify Menkara and install him at the top. Making all of this possible is the third freed Bezrielite witch: William, who practices the forbidden arts of necromancy. William agrees to aid Soren’s campaign as long as he is given the license and resources to continue his studies into necromancy. As Bezrielite sorcery paves the way for Soren’s conquests, Bezriel itself is in a war with its soul as to whether or not their magic ought to be used in such a way, and if they must achieve independence from Soren in order to protect their customs and traditions. Wrapped up in all of this is Sarah’s daughter Ariadne, who is revealed to be instrumental in an ancient Bezrielite prophecy: one that will lead Bezriel to glory or trigger its collapse
and demise. Though largely within the appearance of fantasy, considering the use of magic and the recent in-story invention of the musket, this is largely a story about religious co-existence and persecution, and the civil war that erupts as a result of that. The storytelling itself is somewhat unique, told through the perspective of a Bezrielite historian named Bartholomew, who has only minimal interaction with the story itself as it unfolds. This perspective allows the story to be told somewhat passively, focusing on historical detail and the occasional conversation as reported by one of the people involved. Bartholomew from time to time interjects with his own personal perspective as well, refuting accepted facts or providing additional insight based on his own experiences. The mechanism for storytelling is interesting and effective, but may take adjusting from those more used to omniscient narrators. The pacing of the story is enjoyable and welltimed, not becoming distracted by the wealth of kingdoms and characters that it contains. Action and intrigue move briskly throughout the chapters, but languishes appropriately during indecisive moments by the teenage Ariadne, knowledgeable of her role in history and unsure which path she must walk down to do what is right for her and her people. The passive narrator eschews most conversations, and many of the military actions are distilled down to the decisive action that wins the day, but the world-building and the politics are engaging enough to keep readers eager to see what will happen next. For audiences that enjoy political fantasy, this is the first installment of a series that will enthrall and absorb, keeping them hungry for more. Those that prefer more sorcery and swordplay should still give it a chance, considering that a larger conflict appears to be on the horizon in the next book of the series.
About the Author John Sinisi is a lifelong believer in the power of fantasy as a way to explore the challenges of being human and humane in a difficult world. Born and raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania, he is a graduate of Notre Dame and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he was inspired by a number of great teachers and great books, from Don Quixote to The Lord of the Rings. He now lives in Schuylkill Haven, Pennsylvania, where he is surrounded and nurtured by a wonderful group of friends. In addition to the fantasy The Sorceress, he has written a mystery novel, Too Many Motives for Murder.
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feature author Hello, I’m Shari. By day, I crawl out of bed, mainline coffee, walk the dog, get my kid off to school, hop on the metro, and save cities within the four walls of my office. Usually by
At night, the other Shari emerges. I take off the suit, curl up on the couch and let my imagination play, with words and images until stories take shape (while periodically checking on my teen-ager, hiding out in the bedroom and plotting world domination with her furry minions). As my alter ego, I save cities in a cape and spangled tights, wander space and time on a surfboard, fly over the Himalayas on feathered wings, make six-toed footprints in indigo talc snow on the sixth planet in the Andromeda galaxy or eavesdrop on Olympian gods while pretending to whip up a bowl of ambrosia. In all these wondrous worlds, romance and passion blossom. I can’t resist a happy ending. And I am particularly prone to writing happy endings for those who have given up on ever getting one.
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Uncaged welcomes Shari Elder! Uncaged: Race to Redemption is a full on SciFi – and I’m intrigued, where do you find the imagination and inspiration for this book? I feel SciFi is a demanding genre and it’s very hit or miss – if it’s done well and believable – you can hit a home run, but you can always tell when a SciFi is struggling…Race is a home run, where did all the technical descriptions come from? Thank you for the opportunity and for saying it’s a home run I’m so glad you liked it. Interestingly enough, the original concept for the book was not science fiction. Rather, I envisioned Elaina as a Nascar race driver, recovering from a personal tragedy by driving medical supplies in a war-torn region in Africa. Erik was a doctor working with Medecins Sans Frontieres as a cover for his real job as an anti-bioterrorist operative. I didn’t get very far with the first draft, because as a someone who reads paranormal and science fiction romance, I realized that’s all I really wanted to write. For me, creating an interesting science fiction world and its technical description has three elements: 1) to steal enough from current societal norms and rules so
that it is recognizable and makes sense to the reader; 2) to find the right balance of scientific and technical fact and pure imagination; and 3) to make sure that the rules and norms of the world created are rational to the physical location you’ve created. I’ll give an example of each from the book.
time. Thus, a phase has the potential to modify the DNA of the host. The actual working of a phage was the basis of the biogenetically engineered weapon in the book which turns one species into another, though DNA modification. Phage mechanics are real. Weapon totally made up.
Start with what we know Since I started with Nascar imagery in my head, I built the Storm Racing components and futuristic race environment with that as a base. The race track evolved into the DustDrome, but more high tech with artificially created sandstorms, protected bleachers, and a pit crew that monitors and fixes problems virtually. On the societal level, racers who win garner the same celebrity as any Nascar driver.
Make the rules consistent In the book, I created the Ranharrans, who are native to the desert planet Ranhar, where the main story occurs. I assumed their living quarters to be a warren of connected homes built from the sand. Tunnels connected them to common baths, supply huts, and prayer halls. In the first draft, I assumed their homes had doors and locks. That was me assuming our structures on them. Any species that lived together, pooled resources and shared a single bathing house wouldn’t have had doors with locks. I had scenes that dealt with those locks that later had to be rewritten.
Balance science and imagination I had to do some research on phages which are viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria. Factoid: they are incredible common and are considered to be a natural alternative to antibiotics since they attach bacteria. The interesting thing, is how they work. The phage injects its own DNA into the bacteria’s cells. As a result, the phage integrates with the host DNA, so the phage is then reproduced with every new cell the host creates. Bacteria, like all other creatures, create new cells all the
Even when the technical stuff works and is interesting, it still needs to be a good story with interesting characters. Science fiction just adds another element to mix. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read them, because I want to learn what folks like and don’t like. I write the stories I want to write, but I believe in continuous improvement, and you can’t get that without feedback and commentary. Readers and reviewers who take the time to explain what they liked and what they didn’t is a gift to writers, to help us grow. To answer the second question, I think reviews help me be a better writer, rather than influencing the story directly. Uncaged: What is coming up next for readers? Unnatural Allies, a paranormal romance between a rat alpha hero and a wolf beta heroine just released from Evernight Publishing and was a hoot to write. I’m currently working on the Scent of Memory, which is book 2 in Green Rising. I have seven stories planned in the series, before the rebels ultimately defeat the corporations, and replace a world organized to manage scarcity to one managing abundance. I am having to do a bit of research on memory, which is really complicated. Having to keep my facts straight (or as straight as possible since there is a lot that is really known) and make the story work has been anything but straightforward. The book centers on cyborgs (whose longterm memories are wiped, when they are turned cyborg) which are always sexy. Since the cyborgs are the government/corporate soldiers with no memories of their pasts, it adds a really nice bit of conflict to this story. Uncaged: You have a full-time job, and write part-time. Would you want to write full-time or not? Do your co-workers know about your books at all? I’m the kind of person who likes to do many things. I would like much more time to write, 70 | UncagedBooks.com
but it is not the only thing I would like to be doing. If I could design my life perfectly, I would have the first half of the day (8:00-noon) to write, and the afternoons to work with people in another type of job, but a part time one. Like working in a bookstore or owning my own bookstore. My co-workers do not know about my fiction books. I admit to writing in the wee hours before my child wakes up and I head to work. Since I write non-fiction for work related things, most make the assumption that is what I’m referring to. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I like to read what I write which is science fiction and paranormal romance. I am partial, like many folks, to Nalini Singh and J.R. Ward. Given those writers, I do enjoy a series, but those in which each story is a different couple. I also love mysteries, and have been totally into Scandinavian mystery writers (Norway, Iceland, Sweden). Icy worlds with hazy skies seem to be the perfect foil for mysteries. Authors I like include Jo Nesbo, Henning Mankell, Arnaldur Indridason, and Helene Tursten. Uncaged: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing? Not surprisingly, most of my hobbies are story related. I love reading and I love movies. Even with cable, on demand, streaming, and dvds, I still adore going to the movie theater. I am just a bit pickier now as to where the best place to see a movie is and what I’m willing to pay to see. Some films need the cinema experience. Others on-demand works just fine. Uncaged: Have you been to any book signings or conventions? Have you done an online release party or plan to in the near future? As a sole parent, not just a single parent, I find it dif-
| SHARI ELDER | ficult to travel to book signings and conventions. As my daughter gets older, I’m hoping to have the opportunities to do this. I have participated in multi-author on-line parties, and will do so again in the future.
tween two damaged hearts, their pasts resurface and threaten their growing bond.
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
A whirring buzzed at her ear. She slapped at it, knowing she’d never catch the offensive creature. Metal bugs, that looked and sounded like bees, hovered anywhere the guarded classes congregated, recording everything for Coalition and Corporate intelligence. To avoid the crowds, she dodged into an alley which would take her to a side door StormTech built for Board members to enter and exit clandestinely when needed. She had ten steps to go when a young girl grabbed her hand. “I wanna be a racer too,” she said as she pulled at Elaina’s fingers. A soft, innocent touch—bold in the way only a child can be, unaware of societal norms—wanting only what it wants and reaching out and taking it. It tugged at her heart. Children should never suffer. Not like Devon. Elaina never ignored a child. She squatted to look the girl in the eye. Setting her helmet down with a thud, she pushed a brown lock that had escaped the child’s ponytail back behind her ear, exposing a series of white scars, erupting along the hairline. “Oh, you do, do you?” “Yes.” Her large chocolate eyes, too big for her emaciated brown face, glowed with hope. Her stomach rumbled. “Selena, come away from there.” A deep, anxious voice, leaked out from the human huddle. Selena ignored it, her small hand remained locked onto Elaina. “My dad says I can’t be a racer. Do you think I can?” “What does your mom think?” “She died.” “I’m sorry, sweetheart. I lost my mom, too.” Selena wrapped her arms around Elaina’s neck. Elaina closed her eyes and basked in the warmth of the child’s embrace. Selena smelled of talc and milk, like Devon did. Devon also had given her the biggest, tightest bear hugs. Each and every one meant more to her than the trophies
Come visit. I love to talk about books, worlds, and possibilities.
Enjoy an excerpt from Race to Redemption Race to Redemption Shari Elder SciFi/Romance A woman who lost everything. Intergalactic storm racing champion Elaina Carteret had it all— fame, wealth, men—until a horrific accident took it away. To get it back, she agrees to pose as Lainie Carter, medical transport pilot and corporate spy. Her risk-taking attitude infuriates Dr. Erik Johansen, who runs the medical outpost with an iron hand, a permanent scowl and the tightest bod on the planet. A man desperate for redemption. Unable to forgive himself for a past tragedy, Erik works himself into an early grave. He has no patience for the insubordinate Lainie Carter, who can’t take an order, disrupts routine, and flames his body to ash. A planet at risk. When the outpost is attacked, they’re thrown together in a race across the desert to stop a deadly biogenetic weapon. As a fragile trust blossoms be-
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| FEATURE AUTHOR | she collected. Now, those hugs and the trophies were gone. “Selena, you should not have done this.” The deep male voice vibrated with anger. Selena was yanked away. A chill, where the child’s body heat had been, wrapped around Elaina. “But daddy, it’s Elaina.” “It’s fine, really, Mr.…” “Kumar.” She looked up into the face of a skeletal-thin, sepia-colored man. Faded blue overalls with a white Grimes casino logo over the left breast pocket hung lifeless on his body. He would barely make enough to keep Selena clothed and fed. Drome access, flying lessons, race fees—not in Selena’s lifetime. Elaina volleyed her gaze between Selena’s bright-eyed hopefulness and the tired, defeated stare of her father—the look of a man who knew his and his daughter’s future were already lost. She couldn’t help Devon, but maybe she could help Selena. “We women pilots have to stick together. Grid access, open.” “I will not accept help from you.” Mr. Kumar spit out every word through gritted teeth. He shoved Selena beyond him, out of Elaina’s view. “Why ever not?” “Xinia Chanda.” His body folded up in what look liked grief. Whoever Xinia was, she mattered to him. “Who is she?” “We’re leaving, Selena.” Misery in his eyes, Mr. Kumar turned, grabbed Selena’s hand, and walked away. “Damn it, man. I’m offering your daughter a future,” Elaina yelled at his back. “You can’t give her something you’ve already destroyed,” he replied without stopping. The crowd swallowed them up.
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Uncaged Review This is a book I wasn’t sure I was going to like. SciFi books are hit or miss with me most of the time, but this one had enough originality and action to catch me off guard. Elaina is a celebrity racer for her company StormTech, but her board wants her to take a break, so Elaina goes undercover as a med supply runner which she excels at with her experience as a top-notch storm racer, and when she finds out what the board members of her company has really been up to, then it’s a full on suspense with lives on the line. Along with Erik, the Commander of the Green Movement, she’s on a mission to right the wrongs of her company. The world built by the author is quite fascinating, and this book isn’t overly long, just under 200 pages, so the book doesn’t clog down, it maintains a nice pace. I wasn’t sure I liked the romance between Erik and Elaina at first, but when they finally settled down and admitted that they truly cared about each other – then I rooted them on. If you like a SciFi with suspense, action, danger and a hot romance, you should pick this one up.
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Andrea Waltz Richard Fenton
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR |
Andrea Waltz and Richard Fenton started their fiction writing career together writing a female driven suspense screenplay. After getting a Hollywood agent and going through many meetings in very cool offices around Hollywood but tiring of doing free re-writes of the script for each new production company, they decided that when it comes to writing fiction, they would take control of their destiny and self-publish books instead of writing for the movies. Both avid readers, movies and tv series have also greatly influenced Richard and Andrea’s writing. Long running t.v. series like True Blood, Dexter, American Horror Story, The Americans, and Bates Motel have inspired their dark humor and action packed paranormal soap opera style series, Onyx Webb. Over the last two + years, Richard and Andrea have released a total of nine books in the Onyx Webb series with the final installment due summer of 2017. 76 | UncagedBooks.com
Enjoy an excerpt from Suburbia Stay Connected
OnyxWebb.com Do you outline, or are you more of a seat of your pants type of a writer? Because Onyx Webb is a long running series (10 total books) we have spent hundreds of hours on organizing the content we need for creating this series. We’ve created and re-created massive wall charts to visually map out the various characters and their stories. But even with all that planning and plotting, we have come up with lots of twists, turns, and new characters we had never planned on, so we’re a little of both! What is your favorite scene in the book? Andrea’s favorite scene in Book One is when Dane
| ANDREA WALTZ & RICHARD FENTON | Luckner goes back to his parent’s house in Lily Dale, New York. It’s a sweet scene with Dane who has been away for two years as he reunites with his parents who are both psychic mediums. Readers learn that Dane also has the gift. We get to be a little creepy when Dane sees his childhood dog, Duffy: “Hey, Duffy,” Dane said. “I missed you, boy.” The dog offered a tiny snort then jumped off the bed and ran toward the closed door. And directly through it. The fact that Dane’s childhood dog had just run through a solid object didn’t faze him in the least. He was used to such things growing up in Lily Dale.
Oprah Book Club list. We’re also just starting to read more indie author fiction like ourselves!
Enjoy an excerpt from Onyx Webb, Book Eight Onyx Webb, Book 8 Andrea Waltz & Richard Fenton Horror
What have you learned writing such a long series? We’ve learned that it takes a special reader to hang in with us. Once it is all totally out, people can binge read the whole series which will be fun. Our current readers suffer for months waiting for the next book! We’ve also learned not to be so hung up on a scene or a plan. We’ve changed a lot as we have gone along and it’s made the series so much better. Who is your favorite character to write? One of our characters is a total diva – Mika Flager, she is Koda Mulvaney’s ex-fiancée and we call her the Socialite of Savannah (think Paris Hilton). So anything with her involved is grand and over the top and it makes her scenes so fun to write. What are some of your literary inspirations? Favorite books/authors? We take a lot of what we see (movies and tv) and apply it to our writing in terms of story. Dexter, True Blood, American Horror Story, Bates Motel… have all influenced us. We also studied the “writing rules” from Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, and Kurt Vonnegut and held to those rules in our own writing. As for writers, Richard loves Lee Child and also Harlan Coben. Andrea’s earliest influence was Judy Blume and V.C. Andrews books, but these days any book off the
Haven’t Gotten Entangled Yet? Please Start with Book One. The timelines - the web - is more tightened than ever. Although the connections are clear, suspense reigns
Onyx Webb is a complex multi-genre mash-up that combines elements of supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times. Excerpt Noah pulled the Harley forward another twenty feet, jumped off the bike, and lowered the kickstand. Noah pulled off his helmet and tossed it to the ground and took several steps toward the two women. “Hey!” “Stay out of this!” Onyx shouted. Noah did as he was told and stood helplessly watching as the gray-haired woman and Onyx circled each other like a couple of prize fighters engaged in a grudge match—the trees around the clearing acting creating a makeshift arena, the women’s shadows from the Harley’s headlight Issue 11 | June 2017 |
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR | stretching out on the damp grass. “Good looking young man,” Claudia said. “Looks a bit like Ulrich, don’t you think?” “He’s nothing like Ulrich,” Onyx sneered, keeping her eyes glued on Claudia while taking a step to her right. “I guess you’re right,” Claudia said, taking a step to her left to counter Onyx’s movement. “Ulrich was so muscular. A real man. Remember how big Ulrich’s hands were? I sure do.” Onyx stepped forward with the swiftness of a cat lunging at its prey and slapped the older woman flush across the face—but, to Noah’s surprise, the woman didn’t yelp or cry out in pain. In fact, she didn’t so much as flinch—instantly reminding Noah of his grandfather’s funeral when his grandmother slapped Onyx. “Doesn’t matter,” Claudia said. “I’m going to have him all to myself in a few minutes. Right after I dispatch you to a better place.” “If it’s a better place, why didn’t you just stay there?” Onyx asked. “For the same reasons all ghosts come back,” Claudia said. “Unfinished business.”
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New Releases June Release Dates - A Selection
Once and for All by Sarah Dessen The Alice Network by Kate Quinn Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You by Judith McNaught Camino Island by John Grisham Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz Our Little Secret by Roz Nay Detective Cross by James Patterson Warwolfe (June 8) by Kathryn Le Veque Indecent Exposure by Stuart Woods Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz Black and Green by C.L. Stone Dangerous Minds by Janet Evanovich Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe Trap the Devil by Ben Coes
June 13 Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab Hunger by Roxane Gay Roar by Cora Carmack It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter Silver Silence by Nalini Singh The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand The Switch by Joseph Finder The Ultimatum by Karen Robards
June 27 Now I Rise by Kiersten White Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica The Sweetest Burn by Jeaniene Frost The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean The Legend by Donna Grant Use of Force by Brad Thor The Duchess by Danielle Steel
Publishers and authors: If you would like a new release in these lists, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews A Witch Possessed Isabel Micheals Fantasy/Mystery
Hildy and Chuck are desperate to begin their next ‘great adventure’, but the Goddess and Fates have other plans… to help the witch in danger embrace her destiny. Until the Angels of Death, a talking cat, and a leotard wearing Healer invades her home, Zoe has no clue she’s been living a lie. Two claim to be ghosts, one claims to be her mate, and the other insists on her calling him dad. Desperate to help her unconscious Aunt Viola, Zoe doesn’t know who to believe. But one thing is for sure, there’s a warlock named Alaric, who wants her dead… and dead she will be. When the energy balls start flying, things begin to heat up. Will this band of misfits find common ground, or will magic as they know it cease to exist? Stap yourself in and hold on to your funny bone because the little town of Bass Ackwards, TN will never be the same. A Witch Possessed is based on the wonderful characters found in Robyn Peterman’s Magic & Mayhem series.
Uncaged Review: This series is all novella length, so the pacing is quick and the author does a nice job packing in a lot of story into the meager pages. With that said, I still had a hard time really getting into the story until I got over the half way mark. And that doesn’t really make sense, as I was smiling within a few pages, but the plot was a bit rushed and there is definite mayhem going on. This one has Zoe finding out that she’s a witch and her powers have been locked away, and when they are unleashed, she’ll need to learn to control them quickly, to defeat an evil warlock from wiping her off the planet. With help from her ghostly witch friends – Hildy and Chuck, and her father Fabio, she might have a chance. I liked the characters, and at times I laughed out loud at some of the sarcasm and all around fun. There are a few editing issues, but nothing that’s overly distracting – it would just make it better 82 | UncagedBooks.com
by a well-rounded editing process and it wouldn’t feel so disjointed and chaotic at times. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
No major warnings - mild violence
Into Wonderland R.L. Weeks Fantasy ‘This world is a painting and you’re going to hate the artist.’ Snow reigns over Wonderland as its new Queen and all is not well. Wendy is a dormouse, the Queen’s cat is a double agent, and the Hatter is mad. Alice has been looking for her sister, Wendy, and has finally found the magical land. Robin Hood flees his forest after the evil Clarissa takes over. He searches for the object that can kill the immortal Clarissa, which leads him to the Queen of Hearts. As Robin and Alice step through the mirror, they get a lot more than they bargained for in the strange, divided land. Uncaged Review: Everything you have ever read as a child when it comes to fairy tales is a lie. They are anything but, and they all lived happily ever after in this third volume of darkness. We focus on Wonderland and Neverland. A place where magic and power are everything. Even though there have been books before centered around fairy tales, this book can be read as a set or as a standalone. There are two main characters featured throughout the series known as Snow White and The Queen of Hearts in this book. We also meet Alice and The Mad Hatter and even Robin Hood makes an appearance.
I really do love these wacky versions of fairy tales by R.L.Weeks. I can’t wait for book 4 which should be out this summer. Reviewed by Jennifer
I loved this book it was an interesting storyline and I adored the relationship between Stewart and Natasha. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Violence, horror
Natasha’s Dream Heather Greenis Women’s Literature Walking the ocean front near their property, Keeghan and Will find a bottle containing a portrait of a royal family dated in the 19th century. This inspires an ongoing dream. Princess Natasha grew up knowing her parents wanted another boy, not a daughter. Raised in a sheltered environment, her only friends were her brothers and Nanny. An innocent swim brings a chance encounter, where she discovers a different life exists beyond the walls of the castle. Underprivileged children become her salvation and she dreams of a better life, a normal life. Conflicted, Natasha must risking hurting her family to help them. Told the story is important to her, Keeghan is determined to learn why it dominates her subconscious.
Uncaged Review: We meet Keeghan and Will who have bought a property near the sea. After walking their dog they come across an object bobbing in the sea. A bottle with a rather interesting object inside. After examining the bottle at home, they find that inside is a picture of a royal family. Thinking nothing of it at the time she continues with her day. Feeling sleepy she goes for a nap where she meets a strange man in her dream, who tells her the story of a young gentleman and a royal girl. We get swept up with this story of Stewart and Natasha and panic to find out what happens next. The ending of the book is a surprise.
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Mild language and sexual activity
Shadow Hunted Walt & Hamilton Urban Fantasy Once a whip-smart detective and a powerful Shadow, Brooke Chandler has been stripped of both memories and identity. She now spends her days scrubbing floors, reduced to nothing more than a servant girl. But even with no memory of her previous life or how she ended up a slave, Brooke won’t remain trapped for long—not with friends and enemies alike vying to find her. Her escape attempt lands her in the deadly, beautiful land of Faerie, where nothing is as it seems—possibly including her father, The Winter King. Here, she rediscovers her past life, full of allies and foes all waiting for her return. Faced with the opportunity to flee, Brooke must decide which fate terrifies her more: staying where her enemies wants her dead, or returning to confront the ones who want her jailed for murder.
Uncaged Review: This is the third book in this series, and it’s just getting better. I finished it quickly, but not because it was a short book, more because I was so wrapped up in it, I didn’t even realize it until it was almost over. In this book, it picks up where we left off in book two, Shadow Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Marked. Brooke has been taken by the Morrigan, and put into slavery without her memories. When she finally escapes and gets to Faerie, she is finally brought to her father, the Winter King. Brooke must regain her powers and her memories to fight the injustice in the Earth realm, and to keep the lands of Faerie safe against a dangerous Coven. A lot of danger, a lot of great action, and Brooke will need her friends and foes(?) – a.k.a. Maddock, to prove her innocence to the Salem PD. The writing is spot on as always and if you are an urban fantasy lover, this is a great series, but start at the beginning – they don’t do well as standalones. Maddock and Brooke are an excellent team, and even though romance brews just below the surface for these two, it is kept on a back burner…for now. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Violence, some language
Christmas Nightmares Anthology Various Horror ~ Sacrifice Season ~ Notorious serial killers, the Spawraths, are in prison, yet a killing has happened at the Spawrath home and this time it is their youngest daughter who is the victim. When the shreds of the truth surface, Hannah, Matthew, and Ethan all realize their parts in an old religion with old practices.
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Uncaged Review: A set of Christmas tales that all feature around Christmas time, but I think can be read at any time. If you are a horror fan like me or just love spooky tales, there are some Christmas crackers in this book. The ghost of Christmas past left me in goosebumps after reading it. It’s about a real estate agent who is selling a beautiful old Victorian house which holds a lot of secrets and where a cheating husband gets his just desserts. There is also such things in this book as Christmas baubles that holds people’s souls and deadly cult Christmas Carol singers, which will make you run when you hear them sing. A must read at any time for fans of Christmas or horror or even enjoy both. Reviewed by Jennifer.
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror, violence, gore Cover Me Kacey Hammell Contemporary Erotica Wanting her son’s best friend shouldn’t feel so right… Jay Savage is one of the most sought after models in the business who seems to have it all. He’s the face of romance novel covers from coast to coast, and has expanded his brand to an executive role. Despite the endless possibilities in his life, Jay doesn’t have the one woman he wants most. She is everything he needs, and everything he can’t have. Their age difference isn’t the only obstacle standing in the way of convincing her they were made for one another. Leanne is also his best friend’s mom.
Uncaged Review: We start off with Leanne’s son Beau getting married. At the start of this, Jay, whom is Beau’s best friend, tells Beau of his attraction to his mother Leanne, who was hit with a bitter divorce a few years ago. Beau supports his friend and his mother, and gives his blessing to Jay. When Jay and Leanne stay on for a few days at the resort where the wedding was, they begin to get to know each other. But will Leanne be able to get past the idea that she’s old enough to be Jay’s mother? There is a bit more too this one, but this is a novella length, so there is quite a bit of story packed into this erotic tale, along with some hot and steamy sex scenes – and you may be needing a cold shower afterward. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Graphic sex, some language
Blue Bloods of Bois D’Arc Dick Brown Historical/20th Century A determined Cass Worthington defies her grandfather, town patriarch Randolph C. Worthington III. She falls in love with football star Rod Miller who lives in a poor, mixedrace neighborhood on the other side of the tracks. But the football team becomes the glue holding the divided town together after court-mandated integration of Bois D’Arc High School.
Uncaged Review: In the rich society of the Boris D’arc, where money matters along with the color of your skin. A rich granddaughter of one of the blue bloods dates a poor football player from the wrong side of the tracks. Cass and Rod have a quick romance until Rod goes to college. This book had a strong message firstly saying money attracts money, although that may still not get you into the in circle of the Blue Bloods of Boris D’arc. We go through a lot of issues in this story from the Vietnam War to the Black Panthers. The storyline was interesting and it was a good read. I don’t think this will be the only book to feature the Blue Bloods of Boris D’arc. I’m sure they will turn up again. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Sex, racism, drugs
Unethical Conduct Cole & Williams Suspense/Crime Corrupt senior officers, a murder, a rape and a flasher. Can DI Terry McGuire’s day get any worse? McGuire became a police officer to uphold the law and to protect those who cannot protect themselves. When he discovers a connection between a former friend and colleague and a body buried on a beach that appears to have been frozen for five years, McGuire knows there is only one course of action he can take. With a murder, a rape and a flasher adding to McGuire’s headache, is there a connection between his colleagues and the awful events unfoldIssue 11 | June 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews ing? Can McGuire stand up for what he believes and bring the perpetrators to justice, whoever they may be? Uncaged Review: So some bad guys who are in jail are blaming an ex-dirty cop now turned local counselor. For their jail time D.I. Terry Mcguire and his team try to get this handled in a quiet, discreet manner. More stuff comes out of the woodworks and the ex-cop is also accused of rape. Poor Terry has to deal with even more when a body turn up at the beach. This is a short read but it gets to the point straight away. It’s just a matter of getting the evidence to prove it. A dark fast paced and gritty book that sets up the character of Terry and his team quite well for book one. Book 1 to7 is out now and all proceeds of this book go to charity. Reviewed by Jennifer.
Uncaged Review: We go through a battle at the start which I can only describe as creatures gathering from the darkness speaking of a war to come in the future. Between them, fast forward to a young scot on a mission to take some pictures when he and his guide get trapped in a snowfall where a strange boy in old clothes is spotted. Again we go to another time frame where a lazy boss vanishes. We come to modern times where a young policeman, Jake, takes a trip abroad after losing his family. The author is clearly building up to the story and why these strange creatures of darkness are roaming around different time frames. I’m hooked and read this book in one sitting and am desperate to find out what happens next. Horror fans will love this. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror, language
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Violence, murders, rape, drugs
Unknown Phil Price Paranormal/Dystopian It happens every year. A select few disappear, never to return. From The Falkland Islands to the Himalayas, Puerto Rico to England – humans are vanishing without a trace or explanation. A young man, who’s lost everything, stumbles across an ancient secret. Can he unlock the mystery? Will he find those who need him? Can he escape the Unknown? 86 | UncagedBooks.com
Hunting in Bruges E.J. Stevens Urban Fantasy
The only thing worse than being a Hunter in the fae-ridden city of Harborsmouth, is hunting vampires in Bruges. Being shipped off to Belgium sucks. The medieval city of Bruges is quaint, but the local Hunters’ Guild is understaffed, the canals are choked with dead bodies, and there’s no shortage of supernatural predators as likely suspects. On second thought, maybe Bruges isn’t so bad after all.
With a desire to prove herself, protect the innocent, and advance within the ranks of the Hunters’ Guild, Jenna Lehane hits the cobbled streets of Bruges with blades at the ready. Someone, or something, is murdering tourists and dumping their bodies in the city’s scenic canals. With the help of a mysterious stranger, Jenna begins to piece together clues that are dotted throughout the city like blood spatter. Determined to stop the killings, Jenna delves into a bloody local history that only raises more questions-but some secrets are best left buried. Jenna must put her combat training to the test as she struggles to unearth the truth about an ancient enemy. Uncaged Review: Right in my comfort zone, this spin-off of the Ivy Granger series really hit a sweet spot for me. Jenna from the Hunter’s Guild is sent to Bruges, to find out and stop some supernatural killings, and what she runs into is far worse than any of them imagined. Full of great action and memorable characters, we have a strong heroine in Jenna, and my favorite character in a long time has to be Ash, but I’ll let you discover this eccentric character all on your own. Great action sequences, and a well thought out plot, keeps you turning the pages on this urban fantasy. I’m looking forward to the next one in the series, and now I need to go back and dig into the Ivy Granger series. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Violence, language, sexual situations
The Renegade Wife Caroline Warfield Historical/Victorian
The Renegade Wife kicks off the new Children of the Empire series, companion stories to awardwinning author Caroline Warfield’s Dangerous series. Raised with all the privilege of the English aristocracy, forged on the edges of the British Empire, men and woman of the early Victorian age seek their own destiny and make their mark on history. The Renegade Wife is the story of healing and a journey home, of choices and the freedom to make them, set in 1832 in Upper Canada and in England. Uncaged Review: Set in 1832 in Canada we meet Meggy who has broken into an empty house with her children as she is on the run from her husband who is abusive. A drunk who occupied the house comes back unexpected from his trip and isn’t very happy. Until he notices how ill Meggy’s daughter is and the real reason they’re staying in his house. Even though it’s strange to think they had squatters at that time and age, it’s nice to see how the owner of the house ends up changing from hating her at first to falling quickly for her even though he has had his heart broken in the past. It’s nice he overcomes this by turning over a new leaf and helping Meggy and her children. He also comes across in the book as a nice guy and help’s save an injured animal, so he definitely gets my seal of approval. This book was a delight to read as it proved that sometimes the good guys are out there and they are willing to help a damsel or an animal in distress. I look forward to reading more of this series. Reviewed by Jennifer
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Uncaged Ratings: Adult Sexual activity, language
and I’m looking forward to see how the series progresses. Reviewed by Cyrene
Blood Sacrifice N.P. Martin Urban Fantasy
In a town where magic festers beneath the surface and monsters stalk the shadows, someone has to fight for the innocent. That someone is me. They call me sorcerer, fixer, finder, but mostly they call me Creed. Been hexed by a witch? Being stalked by a werewolf? Haunted by a crazy ghost? I’m the one you call to get my hands dirty, so you don’t have to. So when I got a call from a grieving parent to find their missing daughter, I was happy to help. Trouble is, what started out as another garden variety missing person case just ended up with me being hexed by an occult serial killer. They made a mistake, though, whoever they are, when they cursed me. They should have killed me instead.
Uncaged Review: The first book in any series is always going to be full of information to trudge through, and I think this is a good start to a new series, and even though some parts were over explained, the author does a good job with the world building with developing characters. Creed is a practicing Mage, whose latest case ends up with him getting a curse that erases him (or his memory) from existence with everyone he knows – and the only way to get the curse lifted, is to summon a demon – and he’s under the gun, with only 3 days before he loses his soul forever. This book is pretty fast paced, it does tend to slow when the author goes into a description mode, and the action sequences are well done. The Supernatural world that is built in this first book is exciting 88 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Violence, language
Band Geeks and Riptides
Monica Duddington Young Adult/Contemporary Can a homesick band geek find happiness in Surf City, USA? High School band geek Olivia never asked to move from her hometown in Oregon with its motto ‘Keep Portland Weird,’ to Surf City, USA, a.k.a. Huntington Beach, California. However, just before her senior year that’s exactly what her mother decides they will do. Olivia finds herself in a foreign land of surf, sand, and sun where she’s not even sure she speaks the language. She’s convinced she’ll never fit in. Homesick and desperate to find her place in her new school, Olivia makes some potentially serious mistakes. But has she missed noticing friendships that have snuck up on her? And then there’s the enigmatic drummer Sean, who seems to be making Olivia’s heart beat some odd rhythms. Maybe it’s not time to give up on Surf City, USA.
Uncaged Review: Olivia and her mother move to Huntington Beach for a fresh start after the loss of her father. So it’s the start of her final year at a new school. With new friends to make, she joins the school band as a way of fitting in while her mother is busy hopping from guy to guy. Thinking that two can play at this game she agrees to go on a date with Tyler the school football player. Olivia also has the drummer of the school band to think about.
I know there’s been loads of books already out there with a similar theme, but this one makes the school band a cool thing to join. This book was still a good read and something I think all young people can relate to. The peer pressures of a new school and fitting in. Reviewed by Jennifer
twist in the tale is that one of the boys is related to the girl and is hell bent on payback. Volume (3) A chef who loves using humans as his ingredients to cook with. So whatever you do don’t complain about the food. Or the food will be you. These books can be read in any order but are not for the faint hearted. I really enjoyed reading Stuart’s messed up stories. Can’t wait for volume 4 out soon. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Young/New Adult Mild language, mild sexual situations
Whispers, Vol 1-3 Stuart Keane Horror Shorts
In this collection of horrific tales, we meet: a scorned wife with bloody vengeance on her mind; an expecting but unwilling mother whose foetus has other ideas; Tommy and his closet, which holds a dark secret; a couple who fall in love on Halloween… or do they?; a psychopath whose evening is interrupted by the end of the world; a paraplegic on a deadly train ride to nowhere, and a mutilated clown with a violent score to settle.
Uncaged Review: A collection of gruesome tales not for the easily offended. As these tales are quite dramatic and dark. I wouldn’t recommend eating or drinking anything while reading these books. You have been warned now on too some of my favorite stories from these three books. Volume (1) - A young boy who is getting buliled at school believes there something dark and evil hiding in his closet only to be met with a strange man who takes him on a trip to hell where he can get revenge on anyone who has ever hurt or wronged him. A rather clever way to get your own back on school bullies. Volume (2) -Two boys on a fun night out of weed and booze go for a drive where they end up parked where a young girl was brutally murdered and sexually assaulted. The
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Gruesome dark horror
Simon Maltman Crime Shorts More Faces is a crime short story collection from A Chaser on the Rocks author Simon Maltman. The twelve mystery noirs included feature published and previously unpublished stories and all series shorts currently available. Take a journey across Northern Ireland, through the beauty and darkness, with the fresh new voice in Irish Crime Fiction.
Uncaged Review: This is a collection of different stories some set in the 1940s with P.I. Billy Chapman. Other’s set in normal times featuring Brian Caskey and two previously never published until today. The collection all set in the streets of Belfast. I have two favorites in this book. One features P.I. Billy Chapman and his efforts to investigate a missing girl at a university. He finds out some rather shocking news about one of the girls professor, who is hiding a big secret. This one was a complex read. Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews The other involves a man called Russell who is hiding abroad. As he is being accused of killing his stepfather by the police. They think he’s hiring someone to give the police a story about him, But they couldn’t be more wrong. I like this author’s style of writing as it’s gritty and dark. He doesn’t hold back in the killing or violence in his stories. Well worth a read. Reviewed by Jennifer
quite dark and witty. This is a new author to me that has a few books out already. I hope I have the pleasure of reading more of her books. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Graphic violence, sex
The Forbidden Highlands
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Language, dark gritty crime
Emmanuelle de Maupassant Dark Mythology “We are the voices in the shadows …” Inspired by Eastern European and Russian superstitions and folklore, here are twelve tales; darkly delicious imaginings for the adult connoisseur of bedtime stories.
Uncaged Review: This book is a collection of tales that is slightly dark and erotic and shows how human nature can be both good and bad. This book has some dark twists and perhaps some things that go bump in the night. I suggest if you are offended by highly sexed demons and murderous sisters this book is not for you. The author also has a dark poem of sorts that she weaves throughout the book. Also one of the less then slightly desirable characters has a vision that informs us that, in fact all of the participants of this live in the same town. I really like this author’s style of writing as it’s 90 | UncagedBooks.com
Anthology/Various Historical Highlander
Welcome to the realm of THE FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDS.... Eight USA TODAY and BESTSELLING historical romance authors bring you great tales of forbidden love from the highlands of Scotland based upon the greatest Celtic legend of forbidden love - a Celtic princess being escorted to her wedding to marry a king ultimately fell in love with her knightly escort. So began a powerful tale of great longing, of love spells, of persecution, and ultimately of a fiery passion borne from an otherworldly source. A love so strong is never meant to die... and reborn in these eight fabulous novellas. Enjoy these brand-new novellas that will keep you reading long into the night, dreaming of lost loves, of great loves, and of forbidden loves.
Uncaged Review: This is a nicely done group of Highlander stories, and the recurring theme with this one is forbidden love. I like anthologies as it gives me a chance to read something from authors I hadn’t read yet, and this one had 8 stories, and 5 of those 8 were authors I hadn’t read before. All the stories in this group were really well done, the one stand out for me personally, was Eliza Knight’s Laird of Twilight. Lilias was chosen to be wed to a man as part of a treaty to help unite Scotland and the
Isles, and the one to deliver her to her betrothed is Laird Dirk MacDougall, whose mother and grandmother had chosen. But when Lady Lilias arrives, it’s obvious she will complete her duty, but it’s not her choice. This was such a nice short, that I could easily like the characters in a full length. Another fun part of the book is at the end of Emma Prince’s story, A Highland Betrothal, you get a real treat and a bit of a history lesson with the backdrop that was behind this story and how the author incorporated it. This is something that I truly appreciate from historical writers – is the research and how true history is weaved into their stories. If you enjoy Highlander stories, this is a good set to have in your library, and it does introduce you to a few authors you may not have read much from, and it is a good way to check out their writing styles. Reviewed by Cyrene
happens again, this time it’s for good.
Uncaged Review: A place where even if you get turned into one of the undead, you can still hold down a job as long as you keep the air conditioning high to stop your rotting even more. Chuck T-Bone is a P.I and forced to relive his past and memories of how he got turned into a zombie. It was all because of a girl now year’s later he has to work a case that involves her again. This is a very short book but packs quite a punch. This was also the authors first ever zombie book she wrote way back in the day. She’s still holding her own up there as Queen of the Zombies. A must read for any new fan of Zombies. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Uncaged Ratings: Adult Sex scenes, minor violence
A Man’s Gotta Eat What a Man’s Gotta Eat Dana Fredsti Horror/Suspense
Chuck T-Bone is a private detective—A P.I. A gumshoe. A dick. He also happens to be a zombie, in a world where the zombies have taken over, and “fresh meat” is a rare commodity. Where you go into a diner to order an elbow joint with a side of toes. But nothing’s really changed—the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, at least until they fall apart altogether.
Alex Dunn Young Adult/Contemporary Richard refuses to believe his socially awkward twin Chrissie has an unhealthy obsession with him. He’s too busy making films and having fun with his best friends, but when the twins are sent to St. Bart’s boarding school, Richard finds himself trapped in a real life psychological horror when he’s framed for stealing, and on a mission to clear his name, discovers he’s not the only actor in his family.
When a curvaceous member of a famous crime family walks into his office, he’s forced to reopen a case he’d just as soon forget. It’s the one that introduced him to the dame who stole his heart—and got him killed. Trouble is, if it Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Uncaged Review: Rich and Chrissie are twins. Rich feels very protective of his sister after she tried to take her own life at her old school. When there dad gets a new job the twins get packed off to boarding school where their dad’s boss’ son is attending. Been well warned to not let anything happen to his sister while attending the school. He’s pleased to see her making friends until things take a nasty turn for Rich as he’s found to be a thief and the bullying starts. I felt so sorry for Rich and what he had to put up with at his time at school. I felt my throat go very dry and tight while reading what he was subjected to. The author doesn’t leave any details out of the bullying that goes on at this school. This is a powerful read and just shows what can happen if people are believed by the lies and stories they spread. Yet another great read by this author. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Review: Sam is a newspaper reporter who is looking into the murder of her cousin. Emily she has her cop boyfriend Patrick helping her. Sam uncovers something that the police didn’t find years ago, a note left at the scene plus Emily wasn’t the only victim. Now the Killer has started to stalk Sam. This is a classic tale stalking that leads to murder. It’s been done before countless times but the author gives it a little kick by throwing in some supernatural elements which gives it a little bit of edge. Even though this is sort of a predictable read, it’s well worth a read. I would highly recommend it. As this author has a way of not wanting you to put the book down. Reviewed by Jennifer
Tales of Mist and Magic Marya Miller Fantasy Shorts
Uncaged Ratings: Young Adult Language, bullying theme
Jessica Jesinghaus Supernatural Suspense Nearly twenty years ago a teenage girl was murdered... Samantha Carlson was just a young girl when her cousin, Emily, was brutally raped and killed in her own home. As a child, Sam’s family did their best to shelter her from the gruesome details. Now, working the crime beat for the Portland Tribune, Sam has the resources at her fingertips to investigate the case for herself.
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They say there are no more dragons — but Granny Maberly knows better. At ninety-four turns old, Granny’s seen more than her share of strange beings in her travels as matriarch to a headstrong Wagonwalker clan. And she’s lived long enough to know that not all monsters have horns (or tusks). Immortal Tarn who fall woefully short of legend; cannibal Moraggim haunting the Splintered Mountains; Sulg war bands; forbidden forests; magisters who won’t listen; healers who hide their gifts and even a Tower that eats souls — you’ll meet them all in these twelve short tales from the Island of Dragonish.
Uncaged Review: This is a book of flash fiction stories which are really short and are set in the fantasy world. The Isle of Dragonish on the world of ydon. We meet a wild bunch of different characters for example a wizard, and two types of dragon and Granny Maberly. These are some of my favorite stories from the book. An old dragon awakens to rescue the villagers from some baby dragons that are eating everyone and everything in sight. The dragon and Granny are in the middle of a talk when the dragon lets out wind it’s very funny. As Granny Maberly is up walking around as she has a sore stomach possibly gas herself. Of course when she tells her family this they think she had a dream and imagined it. Another great story is a newspaper reporter Anno who wrote an article on a deadly general. Leaking his real name to people which is Morris which is not very scary. So the general and his men decide to teach Anno a lesson by dressing him up as a women with a frilly dress and has him walking around town. As he’s the type of creature that’s very vain he loves the attention. But learns the lesson to keep the article’s nice. Mayra Miller is heavily influenced by the author Terry Pratchett in her style of writing in this book. This was a pleasant read and fun to encounter some of the creatures of the island of Dragonish, where they all stay. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Young Adult Mild violence
The Unlikeable Demon Hunter: Sting Deborah Wilde Urban Fantasy RELEASES JUNE 26
50% boobs. 50% sarcasm. 100% new breed of hunter. After a bumpy start as the only female demon hunter in the top secret Brotherhood of David, Nava Katz heads to Prague for her first undercover mission: unmasking a demon movie star. She’d be all kinds of thrilled if it weren’t for the fact that her fellow hunter-with-benefits, Rohan Mitra, has reclaimed his rock star status and assigned Nava the role of groupie. Rejecting her “be a good girl and follow orders” directive, Nava unleashes an alter ego guaranteed to hook their celebrity target and drive Rohan crazy. No downside–until she finds herself up against Rohan’s past, the Brotherhood’s antiquated thinking, and her own identity issues, turning her personal life into a bomb that could blow up the entire operation. Sparkly and deadly; it’s a plan.
Uncaged Review: The second book in this series just ramps up the action and the snark. Nava is a character that I latched onto quickly in book one, and now in book two, I love her more. There is some major character development in this round, and if you were on the fence with any of the characters from book one, you will choose your side quickly in this one. I could not put this one down for long, and the action and the storyline are on track and the story never felt stiff or slow. I would like to see Rohan either get with the program or get out of the way when it comes to Nava, and I hope he takes the right path.... My favorite urban fantasy series so far this year. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Violence, sex, language
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Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Onyx Webb, Book Nine Waltz & Fenton Occult/Ghosts Haven’t Gotten Entangled Yet? Please Start with Book One. Book Nine is the most cataclysmic book in the series yet and what we have been building to for so long. The web is almost entirely formed now. But questions remain: what happens to everyone now that it is?
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: I can truly and honestly say book 9 in the Onyx Webb series is my absolute favorite of all the books at this point. I’ve loved the other books tremendously, but book 9 blows them all out of the water, in my opinion. Onyx Webb 9 has quite a bit more action than the other books. It takes place the evening of the Eclipse, which according to Gerylyn, is also the night the spirits will try to come through from the other side. If the spirits get through, in order for them to survive, they will need to partake in the same feeding habits of the other characters we know to be ghosts. Declan is still holding on for dear life, but you can tell he’s fading. Stan Lee is still pretending to be a functioning member of society. Mika is still a thieving, broke, skank. Koda is being put to the test as the planner for the Restoring Savanna Foundation party. I know there is only one book left in the series. I am absolutely DYING to find out what happens next. However, I’m almost afraid to read the next
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book because then I know the story is over. The Onyx Webb series is one that you wish could go on forever, but also want to see how it ends. If you haven’t started this series, it’s not too late to start.
Mummy’s Little Angel JW Lawson Horror Joanne didn’t believe that her life could become worse than it already was. She had lost everybody and everything she had loved. Surely she had suffered enough? The press had called Joanne’s identical twins psychopaths. Her Maggie. Her Annie. But she still loved them, even though one of them had killed her husband, Jeff. Joanne believed that his murder had been an accident. How could one of her girls be a murderer? She knew them better than anybody else; they were good girls really. She just had to prove it… The brutal murder of Joanne’s goddaughter, Laura had never been solved. Items had been missing when Laura’s remains were discovered: clues that could lead to the capture of her killer. One of them was Laura’s doll … the doll that Joanne later discovers in her home. Joanne is facing the most horrific dilemma of her life. Has the wrong woman been imprisoned? Could her child have used such brutality against her best friend? Or could both women be innocent after all? Joanne needs to find somebody for her daughter to confide in; somebody she will trust. She needs a miracle. There is only one person who can help. He is compassionate and caring, with an amazing ability to gain the trust of the most difficult patients. He is Joanne’s only hope. He is Jonathan Davies.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Holy crap is this book disturbing or what? I went into Mummy’s Little Angel thinking it would be a good book, probably predictable like many Thrillers tend to be. I’m excited to say it was most definitely not predictable or like anything else I’ve ever read. This review may be a bit hard for me to write as I don’t want to give anything away. I seriously had no idea what was going to happen at the end. Was Annie guilty? Was Maggie? Who the hell did what to who? These people are crazy! One of the things I loved about this story is we are given the story with certain details left out that you are given later. The thing with those details though, is that you don’t realize they are missing until you get them. That probably sounds really weird lol. The characters in Mummy’s Little Angel are some of the sickest I’ve ever read about. There is only one other author that I can even think of who has characters this twisted, and that is M. Stratton. Her After the Storm and Bender series are pretty sick, and I think this book rates right up there with them and I loved every despicable minute. Just when I thought they couldn’t be any worse, they were lol. Annie was definitely my favorite, and maybe it’s because I could identify with her about certain things, or it could have been because a good portion of the story is told from her POV. My only complaint about this book is the perspectives it’s told from. I like that we get the story from several different sources and they all mesh together to make a great story and all that. I don’t like that it is sort of told in Journal form, but some of the stuff wouldn’t be journal type entries. I would have preferred the non-journal stuff to have been maybe more clearly divided from the entries themselves, but it’s not my book. Even with my dislike for that, I still absolutely loved this book.
I would definitely recommend Mummy’s Little Angel to anyone looking for a great Thriller that has a strong stomach and somewhat twisted personality. Keep in mind, there are violent and trigger type scenes, so if you are sensitive like that, you might want to skip this one.
To Catch Her Death Boone Brux Fantasy/Humor What do you get when you cross a hockey mom with the grim reaper? Me, Lisa Carron. If being a depressed, frumpy, widowed mother of three wasn’t bad enough, I just found out I’m a grim reaper. I know what you’re thinking. Wow, that’s kind of sexy and full of awesomeness. Hardly. Oh, and my clients? Stupid people. Like I don’t get enough of that from the living. Since Alaska is big and angels of death are few, I’ve been partnered with reaper extraordinaire, Nate Cramer. He’s strong, silent, and way too good looking for my recently widowed state.Oh, and he reaps violent criminals, so that should be interesting. Forget the danger and the hours of self-analysis it will take for me to find my reaper mojo. My biggest problem? Hiding it all from my overly attentive family and nosy neighbors. Now that’s going to take a miracle.
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Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: To Catch Her Death is a pretty good start to the series. It didn’t make me super excited, but it didn’t make me not want to read the rest of the series either. I think it was a nice start though. It gives enough information for the author to really start building on the storyline in the next book. I didn’t love it. I didn’t hate it. I feel like I would have liked it more if it had more action. Now that the scene is set, I’m confident the next book in the series will be more exciting. It was an ok read. The story starts out with us being introduced to Lisa Carron. Her husband recently passed away in an auto accident and she has spent the last year or so grieving and adjusting to life without her husband. When she is involved in a convenience store robbery, that’s when things get wonky. She finds out her husband didn’t have the job she thought he did. Now she is faced with deciding if she wants to accept a job that no one really thinks she will be good at, or just forgetting the whole thing. Essentially, that’s what the story is about, her coming to terms with her husband’s secret career and deciding if she wants to become a reaper herself. She is learning how to move on with her life finally and making necessary changes. At least, that’s what I got out of it. I liked the writing itself and the way the story was put together. For me, it didn’t feel like there was much activity really and I don’t know if that is what makes it feel like something was missing from the story or what. Don’t get me wrong, there was SOME action, just not much or for very long. I think I expected for there to be a climax of the story somewhere, but if there was, I missed it.
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I definitely think this series can grow into something pretty cool. This isn’t the first time I didn’t fall in love with the first book in a series, and it certainly won’t be the last. It set the stage for what comes next, and I will be looking forward to reading that. I won’t give up on this series because I like the idea and the author’s style; I just need more at this point.
Death A La Mode Tawdra Kandle Paranormal Suspense
Jackie’s still adjusting to having a steady boyfriend—not to mention getting used to the fact that Lucas is a death broker/vampire. With the help of his ex-lover Cathryn—whom Jackie doesn’t quite trust—they’re trying to figure out why Lucas was turned—and
Jackie’s biggest challenge at the moment, though, is creating a winning entry to the annual Perfect Pecan Pie Festival, the premiere food contest in Palm Dunes, Florida. Testing recipes and running her new restaurant are keeping her busy. But no one’s too busy for murder. When people around local up-and-coming folk singer Crissy Darwin begin turning up dead, Lucas is pulled into the investigation. He and Jackie suspect that Crissy herself is the target. But can they solve the mystery before the killer strikes again—and without ruining the Festival? Pour yourself a nice glass of Lambrusco, cut a slice of pie and settle in to see what happens.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Death A la mode is the 2nd book in Tawdra Kandle’s Recipe for Death Series. The first book, Death Fricassee was also great. This is a fun series to read and it’s addicting as well. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop. I love the characters in this book. They are fun and quirky but stable, well as stable as they can be considering their circumstances. They are empathetic when necessary and very relatable. I fell in love with Jackie and Lucas in Death Fricassee and enjoy what this author has done with Lucas’s vampirism and other tendencies. Kandle’s writing style continues to keep me entertained and interested throughout all of her books. I’ve read several of her titles and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. They don’t feel pretentious or overwhelmingly full of unnecessary information as many do. I love the environment these characters live in. It cracks me up that they live in a retirement community with nosey neighbors and plenty of grandparent types. Even the minor characters in this book have very big personalities. I highly recommend this book and this series to anyone looking for a fun murder mystery that has minor paranormal elements.
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Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews
Thunder & Ashes Z.A. Recht Post-Apocalyptic/Horror A LOT CAN CHANGE IN THREE MONTHS: Wars can be decided, nations can be forged . . . or entire species can be brought to the brink of annihilation. The Morningstar virus has swept the face of the planet, infecting billions. Its hosts rampage; its victims don’t die, but are reborn as cannibalistic shamblers. SCATTERED ACROSS THE WORLD, EMBATTLED GROUPS HAVE PERSEVERED. For some, survival is the pinnacle of achievement. Others hoard goods and weapons. And still others leverage power over the remnants of humanity with a mysterious cure. Francis Sherman and Anna Demilio want only a vaccine, but to find it they must cross a ravaged landscape of the infected and the lawless living. Myra’s Review: This story follows the different groups depicted in the first novel; Anna and her small group and General Sherman, his soldiers plus civilians. Also there is Commander Harris and his group who finally decided to leave the destroyer and to try and meet up with Sherman. Spoiler: In the first novel, I admired Stiles when 98 | UncagedBooks.com
he volunteered to lead the zombies away when Sherman’s group wanted to get through the town of Hyattsburg safely. It sure appeared he was done for when he got bitten. Poor guy; ensconced in a comic book store, waiting to turn. I was thrilled when he proved to be immune in the sequel. Some might find this a bit convenient but I loved it. It will definitely make Anna’s job easier in trying to find a cure or vaccine. As with Plague of the Dead, I loved the fast paced action, with the characters being hounded by the undead, rogue government agents and marauders. I enjoyed getting involved with the same characters I cared about from book one. The only negative for me was the rehash of some scenes from book one. Good for someone who hasn’t read the first, but a bit boring for someone who has. I suggest the first novel be read first. If you love survivor, zombie or apocalyptic stories, I highly recommend this series.
Awakening J.D. Demers Horror A mysterious contagion circles the globe in less than a week. Billions die, only to rise again to feast on the living. Zombies… And they are not the worst monsters to rise from the ashes of humanity. A new species is born, and they stand at the top of the food chain. Christian fights to survive in the first days of The Awakening. But there is more to him than anyone knows. He is immune to the infection, but revealing this may lead to his death. The Awakening is the first Chronicle of Christian Hunt and the heroes that sacrificed everything so his gift may save what remains of mankind. Join the Hunt… Myra’s Review: At first this may seem just another zombie story; infection, zombies & survivor heroes. Yep, there are those. But, it’s a bit of a different tale. The main thrust of the story is about Christian, the main character. Let’s take a closer look at our hero. He is drifting through life, not knowing what he wants to do. He is a loser. Christian was in the military and served as a supply clerk. He didn’t get involved in fighting and nor did he want to while stationed overseas. He is a coward.
skills. Another important element is the fact that Christian did get bitten when he fought off his first zombie. He was surprised when he didn’t die or turn. Christian is terrified to share this knowledge with Fish and the other survivors they hook up with later, because any person bitten by an infected is shot. Besides, Christian wonders if he may ultimately change; perhaps his infection was slowed by the actions he took to cleanse the wound. After he treats a fellow survivor with the same process and she does turn into a zombie, Christian begins to think he is immune. I have to say, I love strong heroes, especially those with good military survival skills. I didn’t know if I would like this story or Christian as I started reading about this coward. But, I quickly got won over. Christian does slowly start to change. At first he runs from confrontations or doesn’t know what to do to help people. But in spite of shaking in his boots, later he jumps into fights. For those like me, who love a heroic character give this ordinary guy with a Cowardly Lion personality a chance. I think you’ll end up liking him. The story was a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to zombie lovers. Note: I read the sequel Revelations and I’m happy to report that Christian has turned into a bad-ass fighter.
Christian survived for 3 reasons: One, being a coward; two, supply experience; three, pure luck. Being a coward, he thinks about his survival in detail. He “looks ahead”, trying to figure out how to escape the zombies’ attention and stay safe. Because he was a supply person, he knows how to organize and consider items he may need for survival. Lady luck was on his side several times in helping him evade being eaten, and the best luck came when he met a tough survivalist. Veteran, Fish, reluctantly takes Christian under his wing, trying to teach him real survival Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews Aftershock Kristopher & Valerie Lioudis Dystopian Life after an outbreak is a nightmare for those who are struggling to survive. Aftershock follows several groups as they make their way in this drastically different world as they confront not just the relentless undead, but the dark side of humanity living in lawlessness. Ian, an infantryman who fought on the front line at the beginning of the end, Jessica, an author from a small town in New Jersey, and Reverend Samuel Mathis, a Methodist minister struggling with his faith after the Apocalypse are just a few of the characters you will meet and travel with as they search for some kind of existence in the wasteland that America has become. Myra’s Review: This book is divided up into short chapters, with each revolving around different characters. There were 9 characters (10 if you count Rocky the dog) we follow from the initial outbreak though survival from the zombies. Due to the way it was set up, it was easy to follow along on each character’s journey. Every survivor dealt with the apocalypse in completely different ways and that was interesting. I could quickly see the survivors would end up meeting at some point. My favorite character was Max, a young 9 year old boy. He was tough and made it through the first few weeks on his own with the aid of his sidekick, Rocky. He reminded me of a young Carl, but one that became a warrior much earlier. William was another fascinating character. I was quite surprised when I figured out he was an Autistic young man. The descriptions of William’s thoughts about the world sounded spot on from 100 | UncagedBooks.com
the knowledge I have of the condition. I still wasn’t completely clear how he survived the zombies. Other facts of his survival were clear, but how did he know to stay away from the infected? It was interesting that this book and different characters were written by a husband and wife team. Definitely gave different voices to characters. Valerie shared that she’d written Max’s story and Kristopher wrote William’s. Great job on both their parts. I am looking forward to reading the sequel, and I recommend Aftershock be added to zombie fans reading list.
London Frank Tayell Horror/Post Apocalyptic Zombies. The outbreak began in New York. Soon it had spread to the rest of the world. People were attacked, infected, and they died. Then they came back. No one is safe from the undead. As anarchy and civil war took grip across the globe, Britain was quarantined. The British press was nationalised. Martial law, curfews and rationing were implemented. It wasn’t enough. An evacuation was planned. The inland towns and cities of the United Kingdom were to be evacuated to defensive enclaves being built around the coast, the Scottish Highlands, and in the Irish Republic
Myra’s Review: This story is centered around Bill, who though trapped in London, tries to escape the flood of undead unleashed by an infection. With a broken leg suffered right before the infection started, and London evacuated, he is stuck in his apartment. His friend, Jen, who is a part of the political scene, was supposed to send help. A car did show up outside, but the driver was killed, leaving Bill on his own. Using London as the story setting was different and enjoyable, especially for me, since I lived in England 3 years. I really got the spiel about Bill and his desire for hot tea. It is a normal routine for Brits and one I picked up too.
characters and very little contact with others, but still a gripping tale. Bill puts his thoughts down, hoping to figure out what went wrong and how he ended up stuck in a zombie infested London. Recommended for fans of zombie stories.
It was interesting to watch Bill’s progress as he survives with a handicap. At first, he is terrified to even attempt going downstairs to see if the doors are locked. Gradually, he becomes stronger mentally and physically; searching the apartments downstairs for supplies and doing exercises to ready himself for the day he tries to escape London. Bill doesn’t take long to adapt and become proficient at securing safe houses along his route, killing the infected, and learning to survive using various skills learned the hard way on his journey. He soon realizes his thought about floating down the Thames in a boat wont’ work; there are millions of undead behind barricades erected along the river. Bill realizes his best bet may be a really secure new home, perhaps a castle with garden areas and a regular water source. He decides a monastery would fit the ticket; would be built of stone, maybe with a fence around the perimeter, and hopefully a well. After an exhausting, danger filled search, our hero finds just such a place. I was happy that Bill found a safe haven to survive and am hoping he will find others to bring into his special place. Story written in a journal style reminiscent of Day by Day Armageddon Beyond Exile by J.L. Bourne. There are no conversation exchanges with other Issue 11 | June 2017 |
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Elixir Stone Rex Grainger Suspense/Thriller Elixir Stone THE MIRACLE The key to reverse ageing may be held in a mysterious white powder.
THE SOURCE The journey to solve this ancient mystery begins when two British archaeologists, Dr Jonathan Kendrick and Ella Kaczka join a team from the Bulgarian Archaeology Institute excavating an ancient tomb. Inside a sarcophagus they discover a skeleton retaining skin residue. Lying alongside the cadaver is a scroll, a map and a jug containing a strange white powder. Together the map and scroll tell a tale of longevity and the possible source of the miracle powder, hidden in the mountains of Turkey. Before long, Kendrick, Ella and former Australian Special Forces soldier, Simon Harte, a recovering adrenalin addict, find themselves embroiled in an epic struggle against looters, kidnappers, and a Mafia backed relic collector, all trying to get their hands on the miracle powder. Amy’s Review: I look forward to much more from Grainger, and the team of Ella, Jon and Simon. This is full of intrigue, climatic plots and excitation. What a great story, and the adventure is well detailed. Grainger writes a well put-together story and I like how the characters interact together. It looks to be the start of a series, and it’s off to a great start. More great things to come from this author, indeed
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What Are You Looking At? Pope & Wozniak Self-Help What brought you to this exact moment, first looking at this book and now reading the description? Surprisingly, most people don’t know why they do what they do... or even more importantly why they DON’T act to achieve their dreams. You make decisions every day. While some are minor, others are life changing. By fully comprehending why you choose one option over another, you can begin to unlock your full potential. Why don’t you achieve everything that you are capable of? The common understanding of motivation is a total MYTH that sets you up for self blaming and ultimate failure. This book presents the ONLY logical, proven methods available to achieve your objectives and gives specific techniques for you to take action today to do anything you want to do. Stop wasting your time. Stop wishing. Start doing, today. Amy’s Review: Free will or not? This book is an interesting read, and brings up a lot of questions. Filled with theories and science, and the sharing of experiences, the authors bring the reader into the debate. It’s a new kind of self-help book, and lends some truth behind the theories. I particularly liked the section on PTSD. A good read and it really makes the reader think, and even re-read the book.
Never Summer Tim Blaine 19th Century Adventure A nineteenth-century drifter returns from Japan to learn that his tuberculosis has left him “weeks, months, but not years.” He embarks on a philosophical inquiry of death as he journeys on the historic overland route from New York to the Rocky Mountains. A devilish samurai mask, a cursed revolver, and his ‘romantic disease’ propel him on a Herculean adventure into the Wild West, where he hopes to subdue his fate. But the lessons he learns turn his struggles inside out when he realizes a life without end would become as desolate as a place with no summer.
Amy’s Review: It’s a new type of genre for me to read, and I was hooked immediately. I found myself lost within the story and I read it from cover to cover, each page left me wanting more. The well-written story had a dance of prose that brings this story to life, it’s very compelling and Vlad is one of those heroes you don’t soon forget. Blaine has a new fan, and I look forward to reading more of his work.
Exile James Derry SciFi/Dystopian Now our settler heroes find themselves living in self-imposed exile on a cold and otherworldly island fortress. Their new ‘Citadel’ is arrayed with technology that’s more fantastic—and deadly—than anything they’ve ever imagined. But their new position brings powerful enemies, and also the implacable curiosity of the Parliament, the world-shaping entity that ultimately controls all of Idyll. Can they learn to work together—even while fostering new romances and tending to old wounds? Who is the mysteriously familiar stranger haunting their new home? And how far can their bonds of love and family hold? Beyond the threshold of death itself? To protect their friends and their planet, Miriam, Virginia, Walt, and Samuel must prepare for the ultimate showdown. And even war. Amy’s Review: It’s one of those series where you just keep hoping for more. Exile is the third in this trilogy (so far it’s a trilogy) and it is one that if you read the others, you will want to read this one. A mix of western meets sci-fi finds a new colder battle in the midst of a war, and how the heroes will have to work together. The story keeps the reader on the edge of their seat and shows the growth of characters, plots and the writer. Wonderful and intense story. Keep ‘em coming, Mr. Derry..
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Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Riverbend Sandra Bruney Historical
What will I wear to your funeral? Kellie Curtain Memoir/Grief
A flip of a card, a throw of the dice, a turn in the road ....
‘Put your lipstick on, begin the day. It will start without you anyway.’
Damaris Tilghman loses everything when her father gambles away their home and then commits suicide. She is resigned to becoming a servant to a distant relative, but when she receives an unexpected marriage proposal from wealthy planter Matthew Pope, she wagers her future on the outcome. At first, as their love grows, she thinks she has won the toss. She soon discovers she has a rival in Zoë, who has convinced her fellow slaves that she is a conjure woman, and it is her orders that must be obeyed. Damaris tries to refute her claim, but the slaves believe Zoë’s lies and her so-called spells.
‘What will I wear to your funeral?’ ‘And how do I look after your or-
chid?’ With grace, guts and cups of tea the matriarch prepares herself and those she loves for the inevitable. Their conversations are honest, funny and at times confronting, where a shade of lipstick might be the only bright side. This is a toast to love, friendship and the ordinary. There is no happy ending but the Curtain family discovers that there can be ‘good’ in goodbye. And it somehow leaves them feeling just a little victorious. Now put on the kettle and open the wine.
When her husband puts her aside for the beautiful slave, Damaris wonders if he, too, is under Zoë’s spell--and if her love is strong enough to break it. Amy’s Review: Great story Bruney can really pen a story, and I really like the character of Damaris. Filled with romance, love, intrigue, and loyalty, it’s a wonderful story. I enjoyed reading this, and highly recommend it. Is there truly honor among thieves? Read this book to find out.
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Amy’s Review: Reading memoirs is like having an insight into the author, even if there are things that remain unwritten. I like reading memoirs as a way to get to know someone, share in their experiences, learn from their experiences, and give a way to indulge more in life itself. Sometimes what makes others stronger can give one personal strength. I enjoyed Curtain’s work, and I felt I was right there, mourning the loss of her mother, and dealing with the every day remembrances. A well written, well shared story that is her life.
In the Light of the Full Cold Moon Susan Girard Contemporary Savannah begins her sacred walk with Ratiffa (Ra-teef-a), ‘a Wise Old Sage’ who lives in the woods at a magical homestead in the Temperate Rainforest. Through meditation, visualization and ‘soul flying’ she discovers an Alternate, Parallel World that is beyond anything she could have ever dreamed and finds the peace, love, harmony, joy and purpose she has been so desperately seeking all of her life. Journey along with her on this awakening, mystical odyssey to the “Enchanted Forest” and meet the most amazing, phenomenal and celestial characters along the way. Some you will know, some you haven’t met yet. In doing so, you may be in for a surprise or two and you just might discover yourself along this illuminative path to enlightenment. Hold onto your hats, it’s going to be an extraordinary, evolutionary, exhilarating and eye opening experience! Amy’s Review: This book takes the reader to a new level of hope and faith. It’s a slow-paced read and that’s perfect for the subject matter. The book has wonderfully, beautiful passages that lend to the reader. This book touched my heart and soul, and brings a new perspective of life. Sit back, light some candles and relax, this book will bring you where you need to go. A journey all of its own.
Red Stick Two Kenneth Kirkeby Suspense In Red Stick One master tracker, Virgil Cleary, went outside the law to bring his mentor’s killer to justice. Red Stick Two is set 12 years later. Virgil and Michelle are now married and living on their Wyoming ranch with their two children. Life has been happy for the Clearys but the ranching business difficult. When Virgil’s former intelligence chief offers a lucrative mission Virgil accepts, partly for the money but ideally to reaffirm his sense of value to his country. In this exciting sequel, Virgil must travel to South America, to a country nearing civil war, where he joins forces with Agent Richard Creole. Together the two operatives will rely on each other’s unique skills to locate an American engineer abducted by members of the rising Maoist movement. Amy’s Review: Sequels can be tricky, unless they are done right. Kirkeby did this one right. I actually liked this one better than the first one. I think the author has grown as a writer, and the story is more developed. The characters have depth and are the kind you want on your side, especially Virgil. Virgil is on a mission and special op, handle “red stick two” and so it goes. A great story. I look forward to reading more from Kirkeby. A Red Stick Three?? Maybe?
Issue 11 | June 2017 |
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Published on Jun 1, 2017
Feature Authors: K.C. Bateman, Cheryl Yeko, Roe Valentine, Kacey Hammell, E.J. Stevens, Shari Elder and the writing team of Andrea Waltz and...