Issue 6 January 2017
Book Giveaway! Details - Pg. 35!
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpts from Deadsville • Review of Deadsville
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Realm of the Dragon • Review of Realm of the Dragon
Issue 6 | Janu
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpts from Maggie’s Way, Maggie’s Fork in the Road & Maggie’s Montana • Reviews of Montana Bound series
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from What’s a Soulmate? • Review of What’s a Soulmate?
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from The Frost Bloom Garden • Reviews of A Mirror Among Shattered Glass & The Frost Bloom Garden
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from The Separation • Review of The Separation
Book Giveaway! Details - Pg. 35!
Excerpt from Born Yesterday • Review of Born Yesterday
Collette Cameron gives us a sneak peek of her novel, Brette: Intentions Gone Astray
4 Editor’s Desk 5 Links You Can Use 8 Best Seller Lists 63 New Releases 64 Uncaged Reviews 72 Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews 76 Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews 80 Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Welcome to Issue 6, Jnauary 2017 - Uncaged Book Reviews! This month, dig in to our featured authors: CiCi Cordelia, Dale Elster, Lindsey Ouimet, Linda Bradley, Romarin Demetri and Stormy Corrin Russell! I can’t thank them all enough, for sharing their talents with us. Fang-Freakin-Tastic also brings Uncaged a feature author with Tatter Jack!
There are also reviews from Uncaged, Fang-Freakin-Tastic, Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews and Amy’s Bookshelf! Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter option on the front page of the site. After the first of the year, there will be special offers that you will only see in the newsletter. I promise we won’t flood your inbox. Uncaged has now started a Goodreads Group - to bring authors from Uncaged’s pages to readers for book discussions, don’t miss out! I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m happy we are closing 2016. It’s been quite a mess of a year, and I look forward to 2017. As we move into 2017, Uncaged Book Reviews is growing in leaps and bounds, and there will be many new features added to the magazine and website in 2017. Authors can now submit a Short Story, and in return, I’ll either give either a full page to promote up to 4 books, or a 1-page Sneak Peek of a book for an approved story. You can read more about that here. As you know, Uncaged is known for it’s Featured Authors. At this time, that is a limited number each issue, but with a new promotional advertisement option, you will be able to purchase a smaller version of the Featured Author - 3 full pages - to promote a book with an excerpt. With Uncaged’s views topping 30,000 views on the first month it’s released, and remaining uploaded and readable for up to two years, it’s a great value. And that won’t be all! There are a lot more new features coming. 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. Pretty simple, right? The response has been humbling. Please see the Advertising in Uncaged tab on the site for more information on how you can advertise in the magazine.
Reviews: Authors & Readers: Please see Reviews/Features Info tab on the site for more information. All inquiries: UncagedBooks@gmail.com or email@example.com So thank you and enjoy the January issue of Uncaged Book Reviews!
Blogs, Giveaways and more...
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. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway
Blog Roll Call
Follow Uncaged on Facebook
Paranormal lover’s rejoice. Uncaged review contributors.
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.
Help for authors and businesses.
http://www.freebooksifter.com/ Of course, Amazon has free Kindle books at all times. Thousands of them. If you feel like slogging through the seemingly never-ending list, you can find some real gems. Here is the best link, just pick the category on the left to help narrow down the search. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ ss_i_2_4?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&fieldkeywords=free+kindle+books&sprefix=free%2Ca ps%2C236
A blog for horror fans.Uncaged review contributors.
A little bit of everything. Uncaged review contributors.
If you’d like your banner here, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Best Seller Lists Week ending December 25, 2016
New York Times Best Selling Fiction Hard Cover 1. Island of Glass by Nora Roberts 2. The Whistler by John Grisham 3. Truth, Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney 4. Cross the Line by James Patterson 5. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 7. No Man’s Land by David Baldacci 8. Blood Vow by J. R. Ward 9. Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks 10. Night School by Lee Child
Amazon Best Selling Fiction Kindle eBooks 1. 2. 3. 4.
Sisters One, Two, Three by Nancy Star Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty Hope’s Peak by Tony Healey The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly 5. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 6. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood 7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling 8. The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen 9. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale 10. The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle
IndieReaders.com Best Selling Hard Cover 1. Womanizer by Katy Evans 2. The Elf On The Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold, Chanda B. Bell 3. Cozy Christmas Shorts by Various 4. Thriller Thirteen by Various 5. Wait For It by Mariana Zapata 6. The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle 7. Hitched by Kendall Ryan 8. Yours To Bare by Jessica Hawkins 9. Beg Me: Sold To My Dad’s Boss by Cassandra Dee 10. And Then She Was GONE by Christopher Greyson
Barnes & Noble Best Selling Fiction 1. The Whistler by John Grisham 2. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed 3. Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks 4. No Man’s Land by David Baldacci 5. Cross the Line by James Patterson 6. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult 7. True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney 8. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur 9. Night School by Lee Child 10. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Interview Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in the future for Dale? Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpts from Deadsville Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Dale Elster is a horror and dark fiction author living in upstate New York with his wife and two children. His short fiction has appeared in anthologies by NorGus Press, Collaboration of the Dead, the Stealth Fiction anthology, “Daylight Dims, Volume 2” and DEADSVILLE – his first-ever collection of horror short fiction! Dale invites you to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and on his website DEADSVILLE AFTER DARK. Also, his house may or may not be haunted. (But it definitely is.)
10 | UncagedBooks.com
The first time I heard of Deadsville, was on Myra Nour’s Horror Blog during a special, and I won a copy of the book. I welcome him to Uncaged. Thanks for being here! 1) What kind of horror stories inspired you to write your own? Are you more inspired by traditional stories or newer platforms like CreepyPasta? Great to be with you! Stephen King’s “Night Shift” cemented my desire to write horror. Rod Serling’s work on “The Twilight Zone” inspired me to transform my little character sketches and scenes into actual stories. 5) Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all?
| DALE ELSTER | I check out the reviews. In this era of writers having to do most – if not all – of their own marketing, you can’t help but read the reviews. They don’t influence me one way or the other. I truly appreciate every review I get. The fact that someone took the time to jot down their thoughts and share them is very gratifying to me. Reviews are the life blood of indie authors! I always encourage readers – and potential readers – to write reviews. 7) In Deadsville, how do the different stories relate to each other besides the same town/setting, and what kind of timeline do they follow? There’s no real connection between the stories in Deadsville apart from the fact that they’re set in the same town. As for timelines, we were intentionally vague about that. What decade or era the stories took place in wasn’t relevant. We just wanted readers to dig on a collection of cool horror stories – the kinds of horror stories Terry (Trask) and I like to read. The kind we grew up reading. If you’re a fan of horror short stories, we’re confident you’ll enjoy reading Deadsville, and so far the feedback reflects that. Everything about this book came from an organic place, creatively speaking. We didn’t force anything. From the wide-ranging subject matter to the plot twists that the readers are enjoying, all of it just came together naturally. We didn’t look at each other and say ‘Hey, this story needs a twist ending!’ or ‘How about a ghost story for this part of the book?’ The stories all came together naturally and worked well together 10) When you and T.D. Trask wrote Deadsville, did you have a lot of note sharing, or passing back and forth during the process? Deadsville was Terry’s concept. His stories in the book were basically completed even before he invited me to add my own stories to the collec-
tion. I read his stuff, and liked it, so I was excited to contribute. Unlike his Deadsville stories, mine were not completed. In fact, most of mine in the book were not even started until after I agreed to join in, with the exception of “The Other Redeemer,” which we sat down and wrote together way back in the mid-eighties, then traded off writing drafts of it a few years prior to the conception of Deadsville. My editor helped me further revise and polish the story as it now appears in the book. Since we each wrote our respective stories independently, there wasn’t much in the way of active collaboration, at least in the ways you’d expect. We came up with the back cover blurb together, via email, actively exchanging and merging ideas and lines. That was fun! 12) What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like books that are part of series? Horror continues to be my favorite genre. I enjoy the work of John F.D. Taff. Stephen Graham Jones. Josh Malerman. His novel Bird Box blew me away! King, obviously – but I prefer his early stuff. I do like some sci-fi as well. The Martian was incredible! And I have an inexplicable attraction to noir. Every time Lee Child writes another Jack Reacher novel, I’m there! 13) Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? Due to a blood circulation problem, I am no longer able to write sitting at a desk. I work from my favorite reclining chair in my living room, on a laptop. Which means I had to adjust from writing in relative quiet to writing amid the chaos that comes from having a young family. I also write on my phone when it isn’t convenient to have my laptop with me. I still write best during the quiet times of early morning or late evening, but I can write
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | during the commotion of family life, too. I have a day job, so I have a whole “wherever, whenever” approach now. It’s “guerilla writing” for me these days! 14) What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? I’m working on two books. One is an anthology of new stories called “Bone Deep and Blood Red.” The other is “Thorn Man,” a short novel which has a connection to my Deadsville story “What Happened on Black Hill Road.” I am hoping to have the new anthology out in 2017, with “Thorn Man” to follow in 2018. I’d like both to be out sooner, but I currently seem to write only slightly faster than George R.R. Martin!
Terry and I also have a cool blog page called Deadsville After Dark: deadsvilleblog.com Thanks, everyone!
Enjoy excerpts from Deadsville Deadsville T.D. Trask & Dale Elster Horror Welcome to Rock Creek, New York.
15) What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? To anyone who has read my work, or is interested in reading my work, I offer you my sincerest thanks and appreciation! Having my stories in the hands of real, actual readers instead of just friends and family is deeply gratifying. I have a new flash fiction piece out right now in the ebook edition of the Grey Matter Press anthology, “I Can Taste the Blood.” That was a great book to begin with, and the editors added a new flash fiction section as a result of a contest won by three authors, including myself. GMP is one of the best small horror publishers on the market, so I stand to get some terrific exposure there. I’m honored to have my work in one of their books. Readers can connect with me on my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/ AuthorDaleElster/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel Also on Twitter: @DaleElster
12 | UncagedBooks.com
A one-stoplight town in the middle of nowhere, on the way to nowhere. A town ruled by quiet, country boredom. The locals have another name for it: “Deadsville.” But not for the reason you think. Rock Creek has a deadly secret. It’s a place where nothing is as it seems. Where killers walk amongst the townsfolk. Where monsters are real, and old houses serve as something more than gateways to sprawling farm land. It’s evil’s hometown. So be prepared to stay. You’re going to be a permanent resident. Because even if you get out, you can never escape it. Excerpt
| DALE ELSTER | “What Happened on Black Hill Road” by Dale Elster Black Hill, an expanse of privately-owned and state-protected forest, shouldered up from the earth, dwarfing the one-stoplight town of Rock Creek. Laura Clifford, Maggie’s biological mother, came to live there via her husband Mike, whom she met while he was stationed in Sacramento. Originally from nearby Oneonta, he took a job as a service manager at his father’s John Deere dealership after his stint in the Army came to an honorable, yet otherwise unremarkable end. Laura discovered the old farmhouse on a drive to Rock Creek to attend the annual strawberry festival. If you asked her back then, she would’ve told you she convinced her husband to buy her the house on Black Hill Road not only for the spectacular view, but because she was drawn to it, and was confident they could fix up the old farmhouse and raise a family there. Decades later she would confess to Maggie–the child she had not seen since the horrors of that black night–that she simply had no choice. Not in the purchase of the home, or in the attack on her only daughter. She was being controlled by a force more powerful than anything she had ever known. Something was alive inside the ancient oak that towered over the property. She heard his voice that first night as she slept in a room that was not yet her own. He sang to her, moaning softly the words to a song only she could hear. He played his music for her: scraping sounds against the window that pierced her soul like thorns. He danced for her, sliding his shadows over her walls. Through her dreams, he told her his story. He chose her for the house, whose wooden bones had once been harvested from his own flesh. He had been sacrificed then, but he lived on in the house. In giving her the house, he gave himself to
her, but these gifts were not free. His name was Thorn Man. And he required a sacrifice. “Knacker Man” by T.D. Trask I cried out in frustration and fear. Fear that I had inadvertently allowed the love of my life to die. I rushed back to the house. Past the clothesline and into the backyard. I didn’t see anything except the milky fog swirling around the trees and shrubs. Then I spotted the apple tree, that twisted, ugly thing I’d been meaning to cut down. There was something odd – a hint of white near the base. White fabric. Pale skin. And that’s when I found her. She was there. And I swear I did not kill her. How could I kill the love of my life? The only woman in the word for me? But she was there, bony arms resting over the lowest branch as though draped lazily over the back of a sofa. She was hanging there, head tilted back, eyes blank and staring. Her nightgown was sliced open horizontally, the blood – oh my God – the blood was everywhere. On the brown grass, the rotting apples, the rough bark of the tree trunk. A crimson puddle and something else rested between her splayed legs on the grass. She had been opened up, her intestines lay in an unruly pile between her feet. And on her face. Her beautiful face. Was the look… …of ecstasy. I explained to the Sheriff that I didn’t do it. True, my knives from the diner lay next to the tree. True, I was covered in her blood, but that’s only because I tried to put her insides back.
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | “The Other Redeemer” by T.D. Trask and Dale Elster “Such a shame,” Virginia said, at first not realizing she had spoken out loud. “Hm?” Charlie mumbled, mouthing a saltine cracker. Virginia lowered her newspaper and looked at him over the top of her reading glasses. “The Kirby trial. You know, the one where that young man poisoned his family. His lawyer is trying to use the insanity defense.” She shook her head. “Even if the boy finds his mind, I wonder if he’ll ever find his soul.” “What makes you think his soul hasn’t already been found?” Without looking at her patient, Virginia replied, “A person who commits murder is a lost soul. And what that boy did is sense–” “Well that’s it, then. He must be insane!” Charlie raised a finger as if making a point. “But consider this.” His voice softened in tone as he spoke, a ploy Virginia was familiar with. Charlie was going to say something shocking. “What if the boy believed he was accomplishing some great purpose?” Despite Virginia’s accurate prediction, the plot worked. She straightened in her seat. “Killing your own family is not a great purpose!” “Perhaps not to you.” Charlie turned his body, using both his hands to lift his favorite goblet of water and maneuver it to his lips. “Insane,” Virginia asserted, even though she was not referring to just the Kirby case. “Oh, I see. Everyone who does not believe what you believe is insane.” Virginia ignored the remark. “This boy is lost. Anyone who does not believe in the Lord God and Jesus as Savior is a lost soul.” Charlie slurped his water. She rushed over to help guide the glass safely back to the night table. “Jesus Christ provided redemption for your
14 | UncagedBooks.com
soul.” Assuming another insulting attack, she ignored him and returned to her seat in the antique chair again. “This is why you do your good work for Jesus, your Redeemer.” As Charlie spoke, he kept those pale brown eyes trained on her. “But what about the Other Redeemer?” Virginia raised her eyebrows. “Other Redeemer? What are you talking about, Charlie?” “You know full well who I’m talking about, Ginny-Gin-Gin.” When she didn’t answer, Charlie grinned. A thick cord of drool escaped his lips and extended straight down to his lap before breaking off. “Say it.” Virginia looked away. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Speak his name.” Charlie said, just as a cloud passed in front of the sun, blocking out the only thing in the room that comforted her. Charlie slammed his hand down on his night table, nearly toppling his water goblet. “Speak his name, woman!” Virginia sprang from her chair. “Satan! The Other Redeemer is Satan! But he is not a redeemer of souls.” Charlie laughed, delighted that he could make her so uncomfortable. Virginia considered leaving the room, decided she would if he went too far again. For the moment, she sat, silently praying for strength. Part of her knew she shouldn’t allow Charlie to ply her into another confrontation, but she was determined to finish their discussion of the matter. “The Kirby boy has thrown away his life for doing bad things and hurting people.” “Oh? I think he’s someone to be admired.” Charlie leaned into the pillows wedged behind his low back. “This boy demonstrated a resolve few possess. Through Jesus–your Redeemer–you discovered your life’s work. Dedicated yourself to a greater purpose, yes? This Kirby boy has done the
| DALE ELSTER | same. We give ourselves over to one Redeemer or the other. The only question is the extent to which we allow them to possess us.” Virginia shook her head. “He’s a weak person. Killing is a cowardly act. God rewards hard work and dedication to His service with eternal life.” Charlie swatted the box of tissues off his lap. “God rewards his children with scorn and apathy and nothing more!” Virginia gasped, her fingers pressed to her open mouth. Charlie shook his head, his mouth a thin, flat line. “God was not there for the Kirby boy that afternoon.” Virginia looked at Charlie, his eyes penetrating even in the muted light of the sunless autumn day. He grinned. “But Satan was.”
Uncaged Review Deadsville by T.D. Trask and Dale Elster is a collection of short stories all taking place around the town of Rock Creek, though they don’t appear to be connected in any other ways. They largely seem to cover paranormal happenings and psychotic episodes from the perpetrator’s point of view, which can be fun for the reader to puzzle through as they follow the story. Deadsville does, however, suffer a lack of depth from the length of its stories. It is described by its authors as a Frankenstein of stories, and this is certainly true. None of the stories really fit together, and the only real similarity between any of them is the name of the town they take place in. They all pertain to some different protagonist and each one has a plot that never so much as refers to that of another. In this way, I feel that the book misses out on some valuable opportunities.
While I understand the narrative reasoning behind keeping the stories separate from one another, it makes me question: Why use Rock Creek at all? Perhaps a more clever usage of the setting would be to insinuate that there are multiple Rock Creeks, and in uncanny coincidence, they all seem to house infinite and unspeakable tragedies. I feel that in this way, Deadsville misses out on a great opportunity to both hint at some greater plot as well as achieve more depth for the town itself. The stories themselves attempt to cover a wide audience, from those who are drawn in by zombies to those who prefer ghost stories, demons, or tales of the twisted perspectives of the violent and insane. There’s even a token vampire story towards the end, and that story fits in the least with the rest of the book. However, for all that this book tries to do to make each story unique, it misses a few key points. The characters, while not particularly shallow on their own, lack much diversity. None are particularly memorable and for me, none were particularly relatable either. Something that cannot really be helped in a collection of short stories like this is the fact that it’s harder to make a character convincing enough to get attached to. There’s no real character development that can be covered in a few pages, and because this is horror, it’s even more difficult to get attached as a reader to the characters while knowing that they will most likely meet a terrible fate. Furthermore, while the stories do attempt to be unique, I feel that they fail to accomplish this. Many possess a similar atmosphere and a similar attitude, and to me it feels like they have the same cadence and follow the same formula. Even when they try to broaden their horizons with tales of zombies and demons, the punchline is the same: the protagonist is secretly the antagonist, or they are used against themselves. Deadsville is, by nature, a hard book to make like-
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | able. T.D. Trask and Dale Elster are not wholly unsuccessful, though I think their stories are hit or miss; some are quite good and convey the creepiness I believe they wished to get across. Others lost me or simply lacked the length and detail to really draw me in to begin with, and most of the time I didn’t feel particularly invested toward any one resolution. Knacker Man would have been my favorite, if not for its unsatisfying and patchwork conclusion. I quite liked A Job’s A Job, though I did not find it particuarly worthy of being considered “horror.” A Crack in the Window and The Other Redeemer were excellent, the prior for its use of perspective and the latter for its detail, thorough imagery and tense build-up. Dead Bird Waltz was my least favorite, as it felt the most misplaced and the most shallow; it felt like a chapter from a series of books I hadn’t read, expecting me to know the context I was never offered. Overall, Deadsville isn’t terrible. It’s nothing I’d read twice, but I don’t regret reading it in the first place. Some of its stories are more worthwhile than others, and Deadsville is well-polished in terms of editing. If what you’re looking for is a few creepy short stories, it’s a decent book to find them in, and while I do think it missed out on some important opportunities, it does better than many in its genre. Reviewed by Kaitlin
16 | UncagedBooks.com
Interview Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next for this writing duo? Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from Realm of the Dragon Available for Pre-order Releases on January 18, 2017
| FEATURE AUTHOR | To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairytale handed down through the generations. For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift.
Stay Connected Cheryl Yeko cherylyeko.com
CiCi Cordelia is the pen name for the writing team of BFFs Char Chaffin and Cheryl Yeko. Published authors and Senior Acquiring Editors for Soul Mate Publishing, we share a love for well-written stories infused with our favorite romantic genres: paranormal, suspense, and erotica. As editors, we’re thrilled to present The Soul Mate Project, and would like to tell you a little about it. The Soul Mate Tree An ancient legend spanning eras, continents… and worlds.
18 | UncagedBooks.com
Char Chaffin charchaffin.com
| CICI CORDELIA | First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! 1) I’ve seen more and more collabs between writers these days. How did this collaboration come about? We’ve been friends since 2011 when we both came onboard Soul Mate Publishing, first as authors, then editors. By the time we met in person at our first romance conference, it was as if we’d known each other forever. In 2014, we wrote our first book together, Rodeo King, feeding one chapter a month into our newsletter. Once all edits were completed, we self-published in 2015. Cheryl created the book cover, and a promo trailer we’d like to share with you: https://youtu. be/KBZyAzyQ1lk We were tickled pink when Rodeo King finaled in the 2016 Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Awards. How did you come up with the pen name, “CiCi Cordelia? CiCi Cordelia, stands for Char and Cheryl. We discussed having it as C.C. or CiCi, and decided CiCi looked better. Cordelia means ‘Heart,’ and our tagline is ‘Writing From The Heart.’ 2) One of the interesting things to me, is when there is more than one writer, how do you decide who writes what? We are fortunate that we get along so well, and our writing styles are similar, although we each bring different strengths to the table. As such, our writing blends together into a well-rounded story. How we work, is that one of us writes a chapter, then the other revises it and sends it back for more edits. We pass it back and forth this way until we’re happy with it. Then the other starts the
next chapter, and we repeat the process. 3) Who came up with this fantasy storyline? Cheryl originally had the idea of a magical tree that brings soul mates together. Talking on the phone almost daily, we brainstormed Realm of the Dragon, and the Soul Mate Tree Project was born. 4) I really enjoyed Realm of the Dragon, it was probably the most fun I’ve had with dragonbased shifters in a long time, and they seem to be all the rage right now. Who came up with the storyline of this, and will we see this series continue? Both of us. Many ideas were tossed around, until we settled on a dragon shifter story and an alternate universe. From there, it just flowed together, chapter by chapter. Depending on how the book is received, we may write two more books. One for Von, and one for Bakka. What say you, readers? We’d love to hear from you regarding that. Would you like two more books from this dragon world? 5) There was a lot of fun humor in this book, and I found myself laughing quite a bit. Who has the best sense of humor? We both have a pretty good sense of humor. Char has a witty, but dry sense of humor while Cheryl’s is more blunt and in your face. It works together well, in our humble opinion. Any funny stories you can tell us? Sure! Trying not to give anything away, let’s talk about the ending. We brainstormed for a fun way to end the story, and just like we normally do, we talked on the phone daily, and shot off one scenario then another at a rapid pace, sometimes Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | talking over each other in our enthusiasm. Then, being really on a roll, Char jokingly gave the most outlandish idea, and much laughing ensued. Then we both grew quiet as we thought it over, and both our light bulbs went off, and we’re like, ‘yeah, baby, this could work!’ And our fun ending was born. You’ll have to read the book to find out what that is, though.
never slowed down for me, and held my interest throughout the book. What was the hardest, and easiest, scenes to write?
6) Where are your favorite places to write?
The easiest? The love scenes. Char and I both enjoy writing love scenes. We love romance, and have tons of fun when writing these scenes.
Cheryl has an office set up in her bedroom in front of a large window where she spends most of her writing time. Sometimes she snuggles up on her couch, depending on whether she wants to spend time with her cat (in the bedroom) or her dog (on the couch). The two don’t peacefully coexist, which is more of a problem with the cat. The dog could care less. Char travels with hubby, Mr. Don (the most romantic man in the world), in a motor home and lives half the year in South Texas and the rest of the year wherever the road takes them. Last year Don was sweet enough to buy her a desk for the motor home and now she has a moving office. When they’re planted somewhere for a while, she gets to use her desk. But when they’re driving, she has the laptop where it belongs: on her lap. Did you both get together in person to write, or was it done mostly digitally, passing it back and forth? Most of the time it’s digitally, passed back and forth. We talk daily, however, to brainstorm, talk Soul Mate, or just chit-chat. We do get together for a couple writers retreats each year, usually scheduled around some kind of conference or event. We extend the times so we have 3-4 days extra to just relax, write, and reconnect. 7) I really loved the pacing of the book, it 20 | UncagedBooks.com
The story actually came together pretty seamlessly. But, if we had to choose, it would be the chapter on the dragon festival, and the battle games.
Did you cut any scenes from the book? We cut some of the extended family scenes that slowed down the pace. 8) What would you like to say to the fans? We hope our readers enjoy every word we put on the page. We both, together, and individually, put our whole hearts into writing our stories. We would never cheat our readers out of a satisfying happily-ever-after.
Enjoy an excerpt from Realm of the Dragon Realm of the Dragon CiCi Cordelia Fantasy Romance Pre-order Available Now Releases January 18, 2017 An ancient legend spanning eras, continents, and worlds. To some, it’s nothing more than a dream. To others, a pretty fairy tale handed down through the generations.
| CICI CORDELIA | For those in critical need of their own happy ending, a gift. For sheltered Lily Kiers, it’s all too real. Her escape from danger, straight into the arms of her destiny. Thrust into a realm made of fantasy and unbridled passion, Lily faces violent resentment and jealousy from extremely powerful enemies. Amidst fierce creatures whose very existence defy all common sense, Lily pieces together a past she could never have imagined. Claimed by Kord, Prince of Battle Draconian, their love will not be denied, even as malevolent forces plot to rip them apart Excerpt Dragon. Her mouth gaped. She lay within the curved tail of a living, breathing dragon. I’m hallucinating. How can this be? The moment she’d stumbled across that tree, her world had turned upside-down and inside-out. Maybe I hit my head. She blinked slowly, trying to clear the fog obscuring her memories, and muttered under her breath, “This has got to be a dream.” The dragon pinned her with a glittering stare. Then freaked her out even more when it spoke in a low, gravelly rumble. “This is no dream, little one.” Fresh screams poured from her throat as panic sliced through her. Lily attempted to scramble away. Where she thought she was going, she didn’t know or care, as long as she escaped.
The dragon’s tail tightened around her body, effectively imprisoning her. Shivering violently, she stared up at him through her tangled hair. Trapped. Like an animal. Or a predator’s evening meal. About to die. Again. The dragon’s face loomed closer, the tip of a slender, red-tinged forked tongue protruded from between wicked fangs, and it actually tilted its head, as if curious. If she were not so completely, absolutely terrified beyond her own sanity, she might have reached out and touched the scales covering its face. They were savagely beautiful. The creature blinked, heavy lids flickering, and she stared into its slitted golden eyes. “I won’t hurt you.” The dragon’s powerful voice held a soothing quality. Then it ruined the moment by leaning down to sniff her. “Mmm. You smell like apples and honey.” To her amazement, that long, forked tongue reemerged and flicked gently along her neck. Its texture felt incongruously like velvet. Lily managed to bite back a hysterical shriek even as her lower lip trembled. She clamped it between her teeth to steady it, before venturing, “A-Are you going to eat me?” Every muscle and bone in her body hurt. Her world had upended itself. Beyond exhausted, she longed for this nightmare to end. If a dragon could frown, then this dragon was definitely frowning. Its fierce expression sent additional shudders through her, and she fully Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | expected those massive jaws to come for her at any moment. As hard as she struggled for calm, tears leaked from her eyes when he raised long, sharp claws and reached for her. Too frightened to move, she turned her head away. The thrumming of her heart pounded through her entire body as she waited for the sharp talons to slash into her. Instead, the dragon carefully nudged her cheek until she was forced to raise her face and meet its magnetic stare. “I said I wouldn’t hurt you.” Then slowly and gently the creature unfurled its tail, the very tip pressing against her lower back as if encouraging her to gain her feet, and held her steady until she was standing securely on the ground. Before Lily had a chance to run, there was a bright flash of light, then a shimmering of brilliant colors. Her jaw slackened at the sight of a man standing before her. An extremely handsome, naked man.
of her car and runs into the woods. Falling down, she hears whispers in her mind, and the voice coming from a very old tree. She falls over a cliff and passes out before she hits the bottom, but she never hits the bottom, she lands on the back of a dragon. When she awakens, she believes she’s still sleeping in a nightmare, even when the beautiful dragon talks to her, and then shifts into a human form. And wow, what a human. Kord, the dragon and Prince, believes he sees the one he’s been dreaming of in Lily. But Lily can only remember her name and her home, and the rest is lost to her with blinding headaches when she tries to remember. Kord and his royal family, vow to protect her as she tries to regain her memories. Finding out she’s been thrust in the Dragon Realm from Earth, the mystery of how and why will begin to unravel. There is suspense and danger for Lily in this world, with jealousy and greed. There is also some fun humor and banter between Kord and his brother Bakka, and a warm family relationship with his mother and father, the Queen and King. I laughed out loud at some of Bakka’s antics, and I was engaged throughout the story. Well written with an original storyline, developed characters and world, and some interesting new fantasy critters on the side. And who doesn’t love a dragon? Reviewed by Cyrene
First of all, I’d like to thank the authors for the ARC of this book. It’s always a treat when a reader gets to read a book before it’s released. This has to be the most fun I’ve had with a dragon fantasy book in a very long time. I’ve read quite a few different dragon worlds that are so popular within the genre right now, but this one is definitely a stand out. Our main character – Lily, is being stalked, and after leaving her shift at a coffee shop, the man stalking her, runs her off the road and she gets out 22 | UncagedBooks.com
Interview What Linda has coming soon Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpts from The Montana Bound Series Book Giveaway! Details - Pg. 35!
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.
First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! 1) Were the Maggie books really your first published books? They read like a more seasoned author. How did you come up with Maggie’s story?
Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.
The Maggie books were my first published novels. I wanted to write a story about an introverted middle-aged woman befriended by a precocious young girl. After finding stock photos that fit the images of the characters in my head, I began writing. The initiative to complete the Montana Bound Series was inspired by my own brush with cancer. I’d been attending writing meetings and conferences, but this project helped me find my voice. Initially, I thought Maggie’s Way would be a stand-alone, but when I neared the end I knew Maggie and Chloe’s adventures had just begun.
Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.
2) Do you read the reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all?
Stay connected lindabradleyauthor.com
I’ve read many of the reviews, but try not to dwell on them. The majority of feedback has been positive and I’m glad to have connected with readers. Knowing that I’ve touched someone is motivation enough to continue writing the stories I enjoy writing. 3) Readers get very attached to characters in books, will you ever revisit Maggie, John and Chloe in the future? P.S. – I’d be in line for that, even if it’s just a short novella. :)
24 | UncagedBooks.com
| LINDA BRADLEY | Yes, Maggie, John, and Chloe will make an appearance in the future. Uncaged follow-up: Nobody heard that loud whoop of joy. 4) You came up with the funniest band of misfits ever in a book, were there real people in life that inspired them? These characters are totally figments of my imagination. When I dreamed them up I knew individuality amongst the cast of misfits would drive the plot. Incorporating every day life and sarcasm ups the ante. I do teach second grade and I’ve been asked if Chloe is based on one particular student and the answer is no. Her savvy nature is something I believe all children harbor, especially in today’s world. Some of my friends tell me Maggie and I share some similar traits, but she has her own personality and I suppose if she existed, we would be good friends. 5) Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I love to write on the deck in the summer. My screened in porch is another place I like, usually with the dog by my side. I do share an office space with my husband, but I can write pretty much anywhere. Sometimes I like quiet, but I enjoy listening to music, too. Choosing specific songs that resonate with the characters or scenario helps me focus.
I’ve been to Montana twice while writing this series. When I decided John was going to have Montana roots, I knew if I didn’t go I’d regret it, so my son and I trekked west. We rode, explored, learned to fly fish, rafted, spoke to people about ranching and Montana living. Neither one of us wanted to come home. The second time, I went specifically to see a ranch that raised Ancient White Park Cattle. I also went back to the ranch that I’d visited before. This trip helped me finish Maggie’s Montana. I do have plans to return to Montana with my husband. I have to say, I’d love to spend part of my time in Montana on a regular basis. It is beautiful, the air smells sweet, and I love the pace of life. 7) What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? First, I’d like to tell readers, I truly feel humbled to have a following. Thank you! This adventure has been a dream come true. I’ve been cancer free for three years and I have many more books in mind to write. I’ve always thought of life as an adventure and it’s nice to have company along the way. The journey may get rocky at times, but without the potholes and detours it would be pretty dull. Sometimes you have to lose your way to find yourself.
6) I love good character-driven stories, and yours fits that perfectly and you did a great job describing Montana. I’ve been a horse owner all my life, and this lifestyle is near and dear to me. Have you been to Montana, and is this a way of life that appeals to you?
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Enjoy an excerpt from Maggie’s Way Maggie’s Way Book One - Montana Bound Series
Linda Bradley Contemporary Romance
Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious sevenyear-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again. Excerpt Chapter One Time burrowed its way into the tiny cracks of my existence, wedging into the nooks and crannies like sand between my toes on a hot summer day at the beach. Taunted by the past, I knew I would have married Beckett Littleton anyway. Being middle-aged brought unexpected changes, but in my book, middle-aged didn’t mean middle of the road even if I did feel like a confused squirrel darting across four lanes of oncoming traffic. A lock of strawberry-blond hair grazed my cheek as I sighed with exasperation. I twirled and slid my wedding band over my bony knuckle to finger the metal as if it could turn back time, back to the day when I gazed into Beckett’s eyes, when we vowed to stay by each other’s side, for better, for 26 | UncagedBooks.com
worse, for richer or poorer. I snickered at the thought of irreconcilable differences. My ring clanked against the tempered glass tabletop next to my chaise lounge. It was time to give up the charade. We hadn’t been together for months. I quit counting the days since my diagnosis of breast cancer. Ribbons of sunlight washed over the backyard. Glad for summer, I relished the school break and time alone to heal, even if I had been instructed to stay in the shade per doctor’s orders. Gentle breezes tickled my nose with the scent of freshclipped grass. My mind wandered, mulling over our division, to relive Beckett’s truth. Why didn’t I see it? How? When? Maybe this was Beckett’s weird, midlife crisis. If not, it was surely the beginning of my own. Supported by the pillow on my patio chaise lounge, the cool fabric against my neck in the midday Michigan heat brought relief. I breathed deeply, contemplating the future. Time morphed my life even if I didn’t drag my feet. Ticking hands beat steady, keeping a calm pace even on hectic days. My grandmother’s grandfather clock reminded me of this on sleepless nights now that I slept alone. Time pushed me forward like that impatient person behind me in grocery store checkout, their cart nipping at my heels. I didn’t have the energy for forward. I opened my eyes, took my wedding ring from the table, thought about putting it back on, but then decided not to. Purple petunias cascaded over the edges of oversized clay pots lining my patio. Hanging baskets of red geraniums reminded me of last spring when Beckett and I spent hours landscaping after purchasing an abundance of flowers at Eastern Market, so many, the hatch to my Equinox barely shut. Thankful for the privacy fence that hides me, I am captivated by the little garden of tomatoes, parsley, beans, and strawberries. The tall fence keeps out cats that hunt in the vacant yard next door along with nosy neighbors. When the Murphy family lost their home a year ago, I thanked God for our two incomes. Worry
| LINDA BRADLEY | scraped the bottom of my stomach now that I was living on a teacher’s salary in an upscale neighborhood, thanks to Beckett. He assured me I wouldn’t lose the house, but without him or Bradley it didn’t seem much like home anymore. The gate to the privacy fence creaked. Sitting up, I glanced around to see who was there. The quick movement tugged at my left breast. “Hello?” I wasn’t expecting anyone today. Rays of sun peeked out from behind the clouds and I shaded my eyes trying to recognize the visitor. “Who’s there?” “Can you play? Anybody here that can play?” a youthful voice rang out. I leaned closer to see the girl’s face. She was short and resembled one of the students from my classroom. My eye twitched. “Excuse me?” “Hi! I’m Chloe McIntyre. I live next door. Do you live here, lady?” Chloe shoved her hands into her pockets. She squinted to see me better. The corner of my mouth twitched at the sight of her tussled pixie haircut and freckled face. “Yes, I do.” Perplexed, I twiddled my thumbs. Again, I’d missed something. When was there a SOLD sign in front of the Murphy house? I didn’t see anyone move in, but then again, I’d been so self-centered lately, I probably would have missed a parade of elephants parading down the street. “Nice to meet you, Chloe. My name is Maggie Littleton,” I heard myself say and decided I should go back to my maiden name, Abernathy. “Maggie Abernathy,” I mumbled, liking the way it sounded. I focused my attention back to the little girl standing before me. She chewed at her thumb. “You got any kids here?” she asked as she ripped off a hangnail on her left hand. “Ouch, that kind of hurt.” My smile grew as Chloe peeked around the stone column at the edge of my patio. She waltzed by and my gaze followed her. I repositioned myself in my chaise lounge as she made herself comfortable next to me. She touched the cover of my Jane Porter novel.
“Personally, I think reading’s overrated.” Quietly I watched Chloe pick up the book while I secretly wished the author would write me into one of her stories with a happy ending. Cowboy or surfer, I fantasized. Maybe both. Again, middle-aged didn’t signify middle of the road and my state-of-mind needed an overhaul. “There aren’t any pictures,” Chloe noted, sounding disappointed. The skin on the bridge of her nose wrinkled, and I smiled. “No, no there aren’t.” “I prefer books with lots of pictures. The less words, the better. You don’t need a whole lot of hard words to get your point across. A few easy words will do just fine.” Chloe exhaled and crossed her dangling feet. I grinned at the knots in the shoelaces of her Converse pink high-tops. Bradley’d had black hightops at that age. “You got any kids here?” she chirped as she wiggled in the chair, picking at her knee. I shifted my chaise so I could see her better. “I have a son, but he’s not here right now.” I wondered who cut her choppy dirty-blond hair, evidently someone with an unsteady hand or a drinking problem. “What’s your son’s name?” she asked, crossing her legs. “Bradley. He’s twenty-two.” As the words left my mouth, the corners of her lips drooped. “Sorry, no one your age.” I leaned back in my chair, closed my eyes to the sun peeking over the umbrella’s edge, and took a deep breath knowing that my chest was fully covered, doctor’s orders. Bradley was our miracle. Beckett and I were told we couldn’t conceive, but by some phenomenon, Bradley was our gift, the one thing that’d held us together. The scraping of chair legs across the cement pierced my ears. “Where’s he at?” Chloe continued. I turned my head in her direction, scrutinizing her proximity to me, her breath now warm on my cheek. “My dad makes that face, too.” Chloe Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | paused. “Dad says, I shouldn’t use a preposition at the end of a sentence.” She smiled. “Not sure what that is, but whatever.” I closed my eyes and leaned my head back. “He’s right, you shouldn’t,” I mumbled. “Smart man.” “How old are you?” she asked. My toes curled at the question. I sat quietly thinking she just might go away if I ignored her. Another warm breath brushed my earlobe. I opened one eye and peered in her direction then jerked away from the back of the chaise lounge cushion. “Jesus,” I yelped. I was nose-to-nose with my uninvited guest, so close I could count her freckles, the number of missing teeth, and see her blue tongue as she cackled with glee. I caught my breath then leaned back, keeping both eyes open. “Did your dad also tell you it’s not polite to ask a person their age?” “Yeah, but I like to know. It lets me know what I am up against.” Chloe shifted her weight and leaned on one elbow. “This is a nice backyard. I like the flowers and the garden.” She sighed. “I’m seven. It’s different when you’re a kid. Kids are proud of their age. Grown-ups don’t think that way.” “You got that right.” I smiled at her. Chloe was on to something. With her front tooth gone, her smile reminded me of a jack-o-lantern. The only thing missing was the glowing candle. How I missed the days of playing Tooth Fairy and carving pumpkins with Bradley. Chloe stood, whirled around, and plopped down at the end of my chair. “Come on,” she begged. “Just tell me.” I swung my legs off the chaise lounge. The cement was hot against the soles of my feet. “Maybe another day.” I secretly scolded myself for opening the door to another visit. This was summer and I was supposed to be home recuperating from a year of seven-year-olds and breast cancer. I did not sign up for summer school. The regular school year was taxing enough after twenty-six years. “I think I hear your dad calling you.” “He’s not home,” she chirped. 28 | UncagedBooks.com
“Listen again.” I pointed toward the Murphy home. “You live over there, right?” I raised an eyebrow. “Yup.” “Maybe it’s your mom calling your name,” I said. “Not possible,” she purred with a shake of her head. “Why not?” I asked as I slid my feet into my flip-flops. Chloe crossed her legs then her arms. “Because I don’t have a mom.” A strand of hair fell over my cheekbone and stuck to my lip. I blew it away then inspected the scowl on Chloe’s face. “Oh,” I mouthed as her eyes flickered with disgust. “My mom lives in California,” she informed me. “That’s tough,” I said, thinking that I wasn’t the only one with problems. I should remember that. I glanced toward the gate. There was no sign of Charlie Brown’s friend Lucy sitting behind a stand saying that the psychologist was in. After calculating inflation, I considered asking Chloe for a dollar. I heard Lucy’s gruff voice in my head. It was hard to distinguish who had the more sarcastic attitude. Chloe picked at her ear and sighed. “Sure, you don’t have any kids my age?” she inquired with doubting eyes. “Nope.” “Know any?” “Not around here,” I answered in a short breath. “Too bad for me,” she mumbled. “This is gonna be a long summer!” “You’re telling me,” I added. Chloe’s shoulders slumped forward and she proceeded to tell me knock-knock jokes.
Uncaged Review Maggie’s Way What makes a good story better? The cast of characters who you can identify with and understand, and when they can make you feel, you’ve got not just a good story, but a great story. The characters in this story did that for me, but it wasn’t all sunshine and roses for me at first. Maggie is newly divorced, after finding out her husband is gay, and had known about it but
| LINDA BRADLEY | wanted to make sure that he stayed with the marriage until their son was grown. Maggie never had a clue. On top of that, Maggie is diagnosed with breast cancer, and this gives you the setting for all the emotional turmoil she’s in, and how it’s justified. For me personally, I didn’t really connect with Maggie until halfway through the book. Even though I can empathize with her situation, I was not a happy with her treatment of her mother, or of a seven year old new neighbor girl. She wasn’t mean, but she was a bit standoffish and selfish (more so than I thought would have been called for-even under the circumstances) and she said hurtful things that even with her own emotional issues, I still didn’t connect with. But trust me, it gets better. The character that I really loved was Chloe, the little neighbor girl, who is pesky and sneaky and says whatever she’s thinking, and someone that Maggie just can’t seem to get away from. And good thing too. Between her mom getting her a dog for company, and Chloe popping up in the flowerbed at any given time, her wonderful mother and Chloe’s very handsome father John, they all manage to pull Maggie up and turn her around into the strong, outspoken woman we all knew she could be. When Chloe’s Hollywood mother comes to town and decides to take Chloe back to Hollywood with her, Maggie finally learns how much she cares about Chloe and John, and how they both carry the emotional baggage that Chloe’s mom leaves in her wake. And, I finally liked Maggie, more and more as she grew and discovered herself. This sets the stage for the next book very well, and even though this is not an action packed book, it is a character driven story, there isn’t anything slow about the book. It’s a very memorable story that will stay with me for a while.
Enjoy an excerpt from Maggie’s Fork in the Road Maggie’s Fork in the Road Book Two - Montana Bound Series
Linda Bradley Contemporary Romance Maggie Abernathy learns that pesky neighbors John and Chloe McIntyre are moving to Montana. The only problem is…she can’t fathom living without them now that they’ve stolen her heart. While trying to digest the news and accept John’s decision to leave Michigan, Maggie ventures to Chicago with Chloe to see Chloe’s Hollywood mother in a photo shoot, where the three kindle a quirky bond making it even harder for Maggie to say goodbye. With the support of Maggie’s meddling mother, her best friend Judy, and a surprise visit from Montana rancher Winston Ludlow McIntyre, Maggie begins to wonder which fork in the road leads home. Excerpt Chapter One John’s news knocked the wind out of me leaving me breathless, speechless . . . paralyzed. Breathe, I told myself. The dim room grew foggy as my eyes searched John’s face. “Really,” I said. “Why now? And why here?” What was it about delivering bad news in a restaurant? First, Beckett, now John. For the love of God, I wondered if breaking a woman’s heart in public got them into a secret men’s club. Letting my guard down proved one thing. Hurt was inevitable. John and Chloe’s absence would leave a hole in my heart, a gorge of sharp edges. Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | We were more than neighbors. We’d become friends that navigated life’s ups- and-downs together. And now they were moving. I’d have new neighbors and I didn’t want new neighbors. I wanted John and Chloe. I needed John and Chloe. We bonded last summer when I dealt with breast cancer. Their craziness made mine seem normal. John and Chloe weren’t any ordinary neighbors; they were family, eccentric misfits, like myself that conformed to the beat of life while traversing the bumps in the road. Massaging my temples, I caught my breath. The throb pierced my skull. Since John and Chloe’s arrival, there’d never been a dull moment. Mom came around more often. And Chloe’s mother, Brook. Jesus, she flitted in and left like a summer storm leaving sky-high humidity and heat that scorched everything in its path. Broken-hearted, Chloe had wept over false promises, her bags packed, her hopes magnanimous. And God, Beckett. My ex-husband found his footing with a new lifestyle that didn’t include me, or any other woman. I’d heard through the grapevine that he was dating and wondered if his better half was as handsome as he was. I searched John’s face for an answer. “I didn’t know how to tell you. I’m sorry, Maggie. I don’t belong here,” he said, lowering his voice. “I can practice medicine in Montana and my dad could really use the help.” Montana was one hell of a long ways away. I swallowed the sting of disappointment. John’s eyes searched mine. His news left a bitter taste at the back of my throat. “You can’t leave. I love you,” I whispered. The pressure behind my eyes burned something fierce. How was it possible that I felt so much for someone I wasn’t romantically involved with? I certainly thought about it enough and the few recent kisses we shared established a deeper connection spurring buried promises that I’d made to myself. Moving forward in the wake of waiting for perfect timing proved difficult. 30 | UncagedBooks.com
The corners of John’s mouth drooped. His jaw clenched. “I can’t believe I said that.” I stared into my half-empty glass of Merlot, my cheeks smoldered from the realization that he didn’t return my sentiments. My chin quivered as he touched my hand from across the table. “I want to put the house up for sale when Chloe’s school year ends.” My forced smile hurt. It was the kind that everyone knows is fake and by John’s expression, my attempt to lighten the moment had failed. He squeezed my hand. I sipped my wine trying to avoid eye contact with the waitress. Her return with the dessert tray came at the most inopportune moment. After listening politely, John asked for the check. I wrapped my shawl around my shoulders trying to hold myself together. “I’ll meet you outside,” I said, fumbling with my purse. “I won’t be long,” he said. “Maggie—” The leg of my chair got stuck on the carpet. I shook it loose in disgust, studying the face of a man that I thought just might be a permanent fixture in my life. His eyes sadly apologetic. “Damn, you’re beautiful.” With a heavy sigh, he paused. “I’ll be out in a minute. The cool spring breeze sent shivers down my spine as I exited the restaurant. I caught my breath. How could I have told John I loved him? Why now? I wrapped my arms around myself. If I could survive cancer, I’d survive this. Hearts mended. Beckett taught me that lesson the hard way, but this was John and Chloe. Our attachment was the seam that mended that wound, made it invisible. John opened the car door for me. I climbed in. His stare rustled my nerves. Pretending to rummage for something in my purse, I rooted around inside my bag and finally decided I was searching for my sanity. It wasn’t there. I even checked the hole in the satin lining. Nothing. How could I be so upset over something I didn’t ever really have? John reached over and buckled me in before shut-
| LINDA BRADLEY | ting the door. “I know you’re not okay.” He turned the key in the ignition. “This wasn’t an easy decision,” he added. I studied his profile. “I know it wasn’t easy. I know you’re unhappy here in Michigan.” My heart skipped a beat. Saying the right thing tasted bitter. I wanted him. I wanted him before, but couldn’t admit it. I wanted him now, but he was leaving. “Thanks for dinner,” I said, trying my best to be grateful. “I know this wasn’t the evening out you were expecting.” He checked the mirrors and backed out of the parking spot. The jazz on the radio couldn’t fill the silence between us. The ten-minute car ride by the lake seemed like an eternity. The sliver of moon like a dagger in my heart as its white glow washed over the glassy lake. I loved the lake. The lazy cove in Grosse Pointe was the place where my only son, Bradley, grew up. It was a place of solace, a place for meeting new friends like Judy and her two boys, Harry and Walter. It was the place I first saw that horseshoe tattoo on John’s left shoulder as he strolled down the beach holding Chloe’s hand. It was the place where Bones peed on Brook’s leg, the place where Brook and I bantered over Chloe, and took photos in an effort to prosper from our differences. It was the place where I held the snarky seven-year-old when Brook broke her heart and went back to Hollywood, California, after promising her daughter a life together. John coasted into his driveway. “I’ll walk you home.” A thin grin passed over my lips, lips that he’d kissed just before telling me that he was moving to Montana. My empty stone house waited for me, along with a wrinkly- faced Bulldog. I’d still have Bones, thanks to Mom. Maybe that’s how it was meant to be. John parked the car then gazed into my eyes. He longed for something, something I secretly hoped would keep him here, close to me. He got out
and walked around to open my door. As I swung my legs out of the car, my skirt cascaded over my freckled shins. He linked his arm with mine and led me home. “All seems quiet. Chloe must have been good for the sitter.” “We’ll see. Only time will tell,” he said. “She’s older and wiser now.” “She’s eight, and being in third grade doesn’t make you necessarily wiser, it makes you taller with bigger teeth.” We sauntered up the stairs to the porch. Digging in my purse for the key to the front door of my house, I stood like a pillar of salt waiting for John to say something, to tell me he’d changed his mind on the way home. “I’m not sure what to say,” I whispered. John caressed my cheek. I shut my eyes, memorizing his touch. I nuzzled into the palm of his warm hand. Please don’t leave, I secretly wished. I had no right to ask. He stepped closer, his breath in my ear. “You’re not making this easy. You never do, Maggie Abernathy. Look at me,” he murmured. Afraid to open my eyes, I swallowed away emotion. John was always doing stuff like that, telling me I was beautiful, telling me I had a hold on him, but not a strong enough hold to keep him here. I gazed into his Irish eyes. I heard my heart shatter as it broke all over again, leaving me with a pit in my stomach. John led me inside, his hand on the small of my back. His eyes gleamed with intent. He tugged at the fringe on my shawl making it drop to the ground as he kicked the door shut. John picked me up then carried me upstairs. As much as I knew I should have stopped him, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to. Moonlight flooded my bedroom. John took off his shirt then unbuttoned my blouse exposing my lace bra. He ran his fingers along the edge of the cup, tickling my skin, leaving me with goose bumps, wanting more. His mouth covered mine. Laying me upon the bed, I closed my eyes, and let him in. Moonlight washed over his skin. It caressed every muscle and curve of his brawny body. I snuggled in behind him, tracing his horseshoe tattoo with Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | my finger. “Did this hurt when you got it?” My lips grazed his skin as I whispered into the darkness. “Maybe if I got one, I’d have better luck.” I closed my eyes then crawled beneath the covers. John’s square jaw and simmering eyes held my stare. He crawled back to where I’d settled in and peered down at me. Lowering his head, his lips met mine. I squeezed my eyes shut damming the deluge. My heart pounded against my rib cage, telling me it was time, time to let go. John was leaving and this would be our perfect goodbye. “Chloe’s probably wondering where you are,” I said, caressing his whiskery cheek. “So, you’ve decided to grow a beard?” “No, just a little scruff. I hear women like that.” He leaned over me and kissed my lips as he brushed strands of stray hair away from my face. His Adam’s apple twitched when he swallowed. I waited for the words, the words I wanted to hear, but they didn’t come. “You’re so damn beautiful,” he said, caressing my cheek. “We should have done this a long time ago, Maggie Abernathy.” Nervous knots filled my belly as I listened to his deep coaxing voice. My eyelids fluttered. Fierce emotion mounted beneath my calm surface. Reaching up, I wrapped my arms around his neck. “Yeah,” I whispered. “We probably should have.”
Uncaged Review Maggie’s Fork in the Road This sequel picks up after Maggie’s Way, and our cast has returned, and I had no issues connecting with Maggie this go around. We are also introduced to a few new ones that squeeze into Maggie’s unconventional group. In this story, John and Chloe are leaving, selling the house at the end of the school year, and moving back to Montana, to John’s father’s ranch, to help out. John has never wanted to live in the city, but he’s torn, between going home to help his father and being 32 | UncagedBooks.com
in the country he loves, or leaving Maggie behind. Maggie herself is in turmoil, not wanting to lose either of them but afraid of going with them too. Maggie is a bit of a mess most of the time, trying to figure out where she belongs and afraid of new beginnings. The story is heartwarming and you will be drawn into this story like you are sitting at the kitchen island watching the scenes unfold with them. Chloe is still an amazing kid that has you wrapped around her finger within a few pages. I was on Maggie’s mother’s side, trying to shake some sense into Maggie at times since she’s so afraid to try out her new wings. The book remains character driven, with a lot of characters you can’t help but fall for yourself. I would definitely recommend reading this series in order so you don’t miss out, they can be read separately, but the better experience is reading them in order.
Enjoy an excerpt from Maggie’s Montana Maggie’s Montana Book Three - Montana Bound Series Linda Bradley Contemporary Romance/ Western Maggie Abernathy, best friend Judy, and Judy’s two young sons travel cross country to visit John McIntyre and daughter Chloe at their Montana ranch. Maggie’s convinced herself that she’s only making the trip to fulfill her promise to visit Chloe, but once there she can’t help but fall in love with the horses, the land, the ranch, and the Montana ways of life.
| LINDA BRADLEY | With Chloe’s loving antics, Winston’s gift, and a handful of wranglers showing her the ropes, will Maggie have the heart to say goodbye? Excerpt Chapter One My heart skipped a beat. The Montana sky washed over me as I opened the passenger’s side door of the Suburban. Judy’d driven most of the way here while I stared out the window daydreaming about Chloe and John. Ignoring Walter and Harry’s tiffs over who ate the last fruit snack or which movie to watch came easily with the distractions clouding my mind, but we’d finally arrived and I couldn’t believe my eyes. The 617 Ranch was Chloe and John’s new home. Their Michigan house would soon be empty, along with my heart. The Gallatin Valley was the place John had grown up, the place where his father, Winston cultivated cattle and horses, the place John belonged. Sighing, I took in the scene, scents of sage and wildflowers tickled my nose. Chloe’s embroidered blue cowboy boots kicked up dirt in her path as she bolted like a wild stallion from the corral to greet me. “Maggie!” Chloe’s voice pierced the air, a freckled horse stuck her nose over the railing of the fence, her dark eyes following the commotion. I caught Chloe in my arms and held her close. The rim of her Stetson caught on my belly and fell to the ground. My heart tore open as she tugged at my heartstrings like a package on Christmas morning. It was like we’d been apart for the longest time, and I was coming home. “I can’t believe you made it,” Chloe said. “I thought for sure you’d change your mind.” “We wouldn’t let her.” Walter shoved his hands in his pockets, inspecting the land. “Gosh the mountains are huge here and I sure do like those fancy snaps on your shirt.” “We’ll get you a fancy shirt while you’re here.” Chloe wrapped her arms around her buddy and gave him a squeeze. “Thanks for making sure she
got here.” “You’re welcome. I might be little, but I have my ways.” Walter chuckled, then shook Chloe’s hand like they were making a deal. Judy shut her door then pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head, her black curls pinned back, swaying in the breeze. She tucked her hands in the back pockets of her jeans. Judy’s presence eased my nerves as John strolled through the barn door to greet us. The sleeves of his white T-shirt were rolled up, his burly physique more prominent than ever. No one would ever guess a lack of hair beneath his cowboy hat. Chloe reached down, snatched her hat from the ground, then smacked it across her knee like a pro. “Dang-nab-it.” I took my Ray Bans off, hung them from the collar of my shirt, and smirked at the twang in her voice. “Dad and Grandpa are teaching me some cowboy lingo,” she said. “Dad, did I get that right?” she asked, glancing in John’s direction. “Sure did, little lady,” he answered, with a grin. He ruffled Walter’s curly dark hair. “Glad y’all could make it.” He shook Harry’s hand. “Hey, I want to shake, too.” Walter stuck his hand out. John shook his hand then squeezed his shoulder like a grown man would greet an old pal. “Thanks, I like that better than the pat on the head. That’s for little kids.” “Sorry, cowboy.” John’s twang complemented his smirk. The apples of Walter’s cheeks bulged. He still had all his baby teeth and I could see each one as he grinned with approval. “I can’t wait to see this place.” His brown eyes sparkled as he surveyed the property. “Look, Maggie. Cows.” He took a deep breath and puffed out his chest. “Mooooo.” Chloe laughed. “You’re so funny.” She kicked the toe of her boot into the dirt. A pebble grazed my foot. “Sorry, Maggie.” Chloe wrapped her arms around my waist and held tight. Her warm breaths pooled between my Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | cotton shirt and my belly. I peered over to John. His eyes were the color of fresh Irish fields. “I can’t believe we made it.” Relieved to be out of the car, I stretched out my back. “Three days and two boys later is a feat,” John said. “You’re not kidding.” Judy draped her arm around Walter and drew him close. “I haven’t gone anywhere without their father since they were born. This is our first adventure without him.” Judy glanced over at me with apologetic eyes. Rubbing her arm, I remembered those grueling car rides with my own little boy. “I think you’re too hard on them. Walter and Harry have done a stellar job considering how far we’ve traveled in the last few days.” I wrapped my arm around Harry’s shoulder. His messy hair tickled my cheek. “Walter is kind of a baby,” Harry said. “Hey.” Walter scowled and stuck out his tongue. “Hay is for horses and I have some stalls that need to be mucked out if you two boys would like to spend your energy that way.” John gestured toward the barn. Five horses the color of butterscotch milled around nibbling blades of grass in the adjoining pasture. I squeezed Harry’s shoulder. “Oh, boy.” Chloe tugged at the rim of her hat. “You two do not want to clean out stalls. Trust me.” My gaze met John’s. He had an ease about him that I hadn’t seen in Grosse Pointe, but then again Michigan wasn’t his happy place. The ‘For Sale’ sign adorned his front lawn and I loathed all who toured the McIntyre home thinking it could be someone else’s dream. “Any bites on the house?” My gut twisted. “Not that I know of,” John said. “I still don’t want to move.” Chloe tugged at her dad’s hand. “Can’t we go back and forth?” “Afraid not, darlin’. We’re a one-home family.” He didn’t respond to Chloe’s plea when she stuck out her bottom lip. Nor mine, but then again, how 34 | UncagedBooks.com
could he, since mine was buried deep inside. Reminding myself that everyone’s path in life wasn’t the same, I thought about my own trek. I’d met plenty of people along the way who’d moved on, but every time I looked into John’s eyes, something told me he was part of the journey. My heart held steady as my mind wavered. Getting my bearings proved difficult with the hurt that scraped at the bottom of my heart. We both knew hurt. With my ex-husband it was the sting of reality right between the eyes when he told me he was gay after twenty-something years of marriage. For John, Brook had cheated and left him with Chloe. Even though our situations differed, loss was a factor when it came to trusting others. “Hey, Harry, come check this out,” Chloe said, waving him toward the barn. “Maggie, come look.” Walter wrapped his fingers around my hand and we meandered toward her. I nodded to Judy to join us. The Montana scenery was breathtaking. Michigan had its beautiful spots, but Montana’s beauty captivated me. John beamed as he held Chloe’s hand. Sun streamed in the opposite end of the barn, and just outside the door was another corral of horses. Their hides shone in the sun, each one beautiful in its own way. Chloe knelt beside a wooden box the size of a milk crate. We all peeked in as she reached down to stroke the back of a black crow. “This is Frankie,” she whispered. “What’s wrong with his wing?” Walter knelt beside Chloe to get a better look. “He’s got a broken wing. I noticed him about a week ago when I was at the pond. I was sitting on the dock dangling my feet over the edge trying to touch the water, and he circled my head. Then I saw him the next day and the next. On the fourth day he was waiting for me on the dock with a bent wing. Dad and me are trying to get him to heal.” “I hope he gets better,” Harry said, stroking Frankie’s back with a gentle touch. Harry was gentle with everything and his heart
| LINDA BRADLEY | could hold the whole world. His sensitivity was noble and I wished more children with his panache would cross my path. “I hope he gets better, too.” Chloe stared up at me with serious eyes, greener than the finest emeralds.
Uncaged Review Maggie’s Montana For the third installment of this trilogy, Maggie finally gets to Montana for her summer vacation. Along for the fun is her friend Judy and her two boys, who give us a lot of “smile moments.” But what I really saw in this book, is how broken that Maggie really is. She’s stubborn and fighting all the wrong battles within herself, and I think that part is a bit overdone. I’m not sure I actually believe that a person would be that hard on themselves from a divorce these days, and so afraid to take a new step, at least not as long as it took Maggie. But in another way, she also finds herself in Montana, I just wish she would have gotten there a bit faster. But it’s a good feeling when she finally does get there. Maggie finally allows her true inner self the freedom to shine. This trilogy is highly recommended to romance lovers. To get the best impact of the books, start at the first one and you will find it’s a great weekend escape.
Linda Bradley Book Giveaway! Book Giveaway! Starting January 9th, sign-up to win a free book from Linda Bradley! Don’t miss out on The Montana Bound series!
Go to Linda Bradley’s Facebook page HERE for all the details!
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Brette: Intentions Gone Astray
sneakpeek Purchase Links
Brette: Intentions Gone Astray Collette Cameron Historical Regency
He thought his adventures were over... A rogue reluctantly turned rector, Alexander Hawksworth, prefers soirées to sermons and parties to prayers. Though impoverished, he seizes every opportunity to escape parish duties, preferring to hob nob with London’s finest–especially after the precocious and petite Brette Culpepper arrives in Town. Alex secretly fantasizing about claiming the breathtaking beauty as his very own, and when he unexpectedly inherits an earldom, he’s determined to make her his countess... Until he’s accused of murdering the previous earl. Then she burst headlong into his life... New to Society, Brette adores the whirlwind social scene, the stream of invitations... the slightlysensual verbal sparring with the devilishly attractive, much too witty, and oh so unsuitable Mr. Hawksworth. But her fairytale existence crashes to a halt when rumors circulate she’s a peer’s illegitimate granddaughter. Even though he’s left her a tidy inheritance, formerly hospitable doors slam in her face as a newly appointed guardian emerges, intent on stealing her wealth and forcing her to wed an elderly despot. Time is against them as Alex struggles to clear his name and deliver the woman he loves from an unthinkable fate. 36 | UncagedBooks.com
A bestselling, awardwinning author, COLLETTE CAMERON pens Scottish and Regency historicals featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intelligent, intrepid damsels who reform them. Blessed with three spectacular children, fantastic fans, and a compulsive, over-active, and witty Muse who won’t stop whispering new romantic romps in her ear, she still lives in Oregon with dachshunds, though she dreams of living in Scotland part-time. Admitting to a quirky sense of humor, Collette enjoys inspiring quotes, adores castles and anything cobalt blue, and is a self-confessed Cadbury chocoholic. You’ll always find dogs, birds, occasionally naughty humor, and a dash of inspiration in her sweet-to-spicy timeless romances.
collettecameron.com Sign up for the Newsletter
Interview What’s coming soon for Lindsey Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from What’s a Soulmate? Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR | First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview!
Lindsey Ouimet is an author and enormous fan of young adult literature. She grew up absolutely living for the Accelerated Reader Program at her elementary school, devouring one book after another. Over time, her love of reading morphed into a love of telling stories as well. She’s been writing ever since. Born and raised (& still living) in Georgia, she spends most of her time obsessing over fictional characters (both her own and those created by others), wasting time on the internet, marathoning TV shows via Netflix, and hanging out with her husband and their small army of pets. To date, her greatest claim to fame is the fact that she once made eye contact with Jordan Catalano... er, Jared Leto.
Stay connected lindseyouimet.com
1) I really enjoyed What’s a Soulmate? And the premise of the idea that everyone sees in black/ white until they meet their soulmate and then their world comes alive in color. It’s a pretty literal idea to the thought of “coming to life after someone meets their soulmate,” how did you come up with this idea? Thank you so much for having me! I’m thrilled to hear that you enjoyed What’s a Soulmate? and the overall premise. Like most writers, I get inspiration from just about everywhere, and as much as I wish I could say this concept was 100% mine, I definitely drew influence from others on this one. I’ve always written, but there was a stretch of time where it seemed like nothing I could come up with was good enough, or interesting enough, or just enough, period. During that time, I dipped my toes into the fanfiction waters and it really helped me rediscover my love of writing. The Soulmate trope is quite popular in that world, with about a billion different twists on the concept. I’d yet to see this idea fleshed out in an original work however, and decided I wanted to take one of the quieter, more introspective routes when creating What’s a Soulmate?. I wanted something that involved my main character not only learning about herself and the person she was destined to be with, but about the world around her as well. And then I wanted to shake it up even more by having her keep it all a secret because not everything was sunshine and rainbows. I’ve always felt that secrets make good stories. ;) 2) Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read the reviews left on my work. Maybe I shouldn’t put myself through that kind of torture, but I think it’s important to know what readers
38 | UncagedBooks.com
| LINDSEY OUIMET | think. If I’ve done something wrong, or could be doing something better, they’re the ones who are going to tell me that. I’ve already learned so much. So yes, I keep their critiques in mind when working on future projects. 3) Is this a standalone book, or do you plan to revisit this world in the future? Never say never! I really found myself falling in love with Beth’s character while writing What’s a Soulmate?. I’ve had some ideas rattling around for how to approach her storyline, so maybe I’ll be able to get that down on paper one day. 4) What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like books that are part of series? Oh, man. When I’m not writing, I’m constantly reading something. Anything, really. Stand-alones or series. Because I am the least patient person alive, I usually wait until all of the books in a series have been released before I dive in.
6) What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? I’m always working on something, and have several completed stories that I’m in the process of polishing up for submission. My heart really lies in contemporary young adult though, and I’m always a sucker for romance, so look for more of that from me! 7) What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? Thank you for giving me and my debut novel a chance! Readers’ support means the world to me, and I hope you continue to enjoy my work.
Enjoy an excerpt from What’s a Soulmate? What’s a Soulmate? Lindsey Ouimet Young Adult/Fantasy
Lately I’ve been reading a ton of YA Contemporary, as well as New Adult. In those genres, I’m a huge fan of Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Katie McGarry, Elle Kennedy, and Sarina Bowen. 5) Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I wrote most of What’s a Soulmate? during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November of 2014, so this book was written anywhere and everywhere. Whenever and wherever I could find a quiet spot. I’m one of those people who needs complete silence when actually writing. Brainstorming is a different story, however. That’s when music comes into play and helps me set the mood of the story while outlining.
Libby Carmichael has just met her Soulmate. It’s just too bad he’s behind bars. When you only see the world in black and white until you meet yours, it’s pretty easy to figure out when you’ve found your Soulmate. What Libby can’t figure out is why fate,destiny, or the powers that be have decided that Andrew McCormack is her one, true match. Libby is smart, organized, and always has a plan for what’s coming next. So when she sees Andrew for the first time and her world is instantly filled with color, she’s thrown for a loop. Namely because he’s in a dingy grey jumpsuit. And handcuffs. Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | And being booked into a juvenile detention facility. Surely a boy who’s been convicted of a headlinemaking, violent crime isn’t who she’s meant to be with. There’s no way she belongs with someone like that...right? Excerpt Andrew looks surprised to see me. After the way things ended with our last visit, I’m not surprised, but staying away was never a viable option. I bite the inside of my lip and wait, deciding at the last minute to let him have the first words. He stares at me for almost a full minute before he opens his mouth. “You’re back.” Simple. Not quite what I expected, but at the same time, I’m not really surprised. “It would appear so, yes.” He doesn’t look upset, and it makes me wonder if he really wanted me to stay away at all. It’s hard to tell with him. Everything is hard to tell with him. Well, aside from how I’m sure he’ll react to my next question. Pretty sure I’ve prepared myself for that. “So why is it I can’t find any information on what happened? On the incident or on the officer it happened to?” His response is instant. Like a shutter goes down over his face and he’s suddenly a blank slate and impossible to read all over again. And my reaction to his is pretty sudden as well. I’m gritting my back teeth so hard I’m afraid my jaw will actually start to shake.
40 | UncagedBooks.com
“You’ve been looking into me more?” I fail to stop my eyes from rolling. It might be partially true, but give me a break. “Not you. It.” I tilt my head to one side and could almost cry from the relief I feel when my neck pops. “And how else am I going to figure anything out? It’s not like you’re going to volunteer any of the information yourself.” “Why should I?” His voice is still calm. He hasn’t raised it once, but he doesn’t need to. He knows he has my full attention, and probably that he’s had it since the beginning. It unnerves me just enough to say exactly what I’m thinking. “Because I deserve to know exactly what fate, or destiny, or whatever the hell it is that makes all of these important decisions for us was thinking. I deserve to know why the person who I’m apparently supposed to be with is behind bars.” He leans back and crosses his free arm over his chest. I’m breathing heavily and would love to slap the smirk off his stupid face. “You have an awfully high opinion of yourself, princess.” “Is there a reason why I shouldn’t?” I nearly spit the words back at him, and then we’re locked into some sort of staring match that quickly evolves into something very … different. Is it possible for my chest to still heave even as my breathing slows? Because it’s happening. And even though I feel flush, it’s not the prickling, uncomfortable sensation of embarrassment or discomfort. Well, maybe there’s a little discomfort. Especially as I go to wet my lips and see Andrew’s eyes follow along with the tip of my
| LINDSEY OUIMET | tongue. I thought that was something I only read about in romance novels? Isn’t it something that’s only in romance novels? He looks away first, and the wave of relief that runs through me somehow feels tinged with something more. I’m going to adamantly deny it’s disappointment. “Maybe if we even the playing field,” he mutters. Well, I say he mutters, but his voice is so deep it sounds more like a rumble than anything else. I haven’t fully recovered or regained the ability to speak yet, so I make a face I hope asks for an explanation. “Question for a question?” He shrugs and then lays a hand out flat in front of him. I study his long fingers, and the veins on the back of it, as I try to regain my composure. “You want to know more about what happened, and I barely know anything about you. I don’t even know your last na—” “Carmichael,” I cut him off without thinking. He stops and seems to mull it over in his head for a moment. “Okay, Libby Carmichael, fake youth leader with blue eyes and red hair, and parents who love each other, but are not ‘true’ Soulmates,” he says, using his fingers to make quotation marks in the air. “Tell me about yourself.” I don’t know how he does it. Maybe he’s always been good at avoiding the subject and throwing people off track, or maybe I’m currently under some sort of spell that allows him complete control over my disposition. No matter the case, I practically feel the tension drain from my body and have a sudden, strong urge to move past whatever the moment we just had was. “What do you want to know?”
He looks at me for a second, and I can tell he didn’t think I was going to give in so easily. “What?” I grin. “You don’t have a list already prepared?” That smile. The one that makes something inside my chest ache? Yeah, he’s doing it again.
Uncaged Review A very interesting take on a soulmate. In this world, everyone sees in black and white, and shades of gray, until they meet their soulmate. Then the world is splashed into color – and our heroine is a 17 yr old girl, visiting her father who works at the juvenile center, and new arrivals are being booked in, and when Libby takes one look at Andrew, her world fills with color and knocks her for a loop. Libby, a good girl who never causes trouble, is matched with bad-boy Andrew – who’s committed a very serious crime? Doesn’t seem like the destiny thing got it right. Intent on finding out all about Andrew, she starts visiting him on visitation days. They get fifteen minutes at a time, and the mystery of why and how Andrew came to be where he is, begins to unravel. The cast of characters is fun, Libby’s best friend, Beth and even Libby’s parents. This is more a character and dialog driven story, but the world and character building works well and I found myself reading this one straight through. Some of it is a bit predictable, and someone needs to shake Libby out of her overly teenage moments at times– but it’s a good read, and recommended.
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Interview Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coming next? Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from The Frost Bloom Garden Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR | First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! Thank you for having me! 1) One of your main characters, Romarin, is named after you. What made you decide to use your own name as the name of our main heroine? Is she a lot like you in personality?
Romarin Demetri, author and creative force, is a story crafter who loves black coffee and traveling abroad. When her characters come home in some sort of trouble, Demetri swears she didn’t invent it. Pulling from her Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology, her debut series, The Supernatural London Underground, is a blend of fantasy ground in reality and a world readers can truly escape to. As an eccentric and reader, she still enjoys creating the alternate reality in her urban fantasy series (more than anything!), and her interactive world waits for you at RomarinDemetri.com.
Stay connected romarindemetri.com Newsletter Book Trailer Powers and Personality Subculture Quiz 44 | UncagedBooks.com
I created the name for the character and made it my pen name to immerse readers in the story as far as they can go. In ways, we are alike, but in real life I am far more calculated than Romarin. She may be reckless at nineteen years old, but she’s also resourceful, and we all get to see her grow throughout the series. It’s the most fun writing characters who are different than you, and those tend to be my favorites. 2) Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I love to read my reviews, and I post them across social media when I do find them! The story is pretty much set and the end is written, but If I find a review with a lot of depth, I will most likely take the things a reader wants expanded on into consideration. 3) Obviously, this is a continuing story, is there a specific number of books planned for this series? I am aiming for six books in the series, but there will be a break in between books three and four, after three gets released in April. The series was supposed to end at three, so time will tell if the others get released or not. It’s up to the readers! 4) Did you fashion any of your characters after any real people in your life? Characters are my number one focus in a novel. Great characters can make the plot so much
| ROMARIN DEMETRI | better. Pieces and parts of characters are always taken from real life, and I use pinterest boards to help make my characters more vivid for me as I’m writing. Sometimes, characters do get named after people I know, and most often, that is a good thing. Since writers have writing as a tool to deal with life, the not so flattering parts can get put into books too, but it’s a reminder that everyone has flaws and no one is perfect. 5) What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like books that are part of series? I have been reading Indie books lately, and my newest favorite is Lisa Emme. I love her book series, The Harry Russo Diaries, and even though I write Young Adult, I’ve been trying to expand my horizons and read more diversely. Her protagonist works at a flower shop—one of my dream jobs! 6) Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I like the quiet when I write, and I was always that way with homework too, because I want to focus and be able to read dialogue out loud. I will listen to my book playlists on release days to celebrate, but I try to tune everything out as I’m writing. I always say to go to the setting you are writing about, because there is so much more detail to be had when you experience a setting as you write it. The most vivid setting I have is a room in book one that I visited as my friend was dying. It’s still so real to this day. 7) What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? Expect a whole lot of heavy emotions, scary-evil baddies, and so many plot twists that you can’t pick your favorite in book three. It’s intense in so may ways, and Romarin’s character growth is
something you don’t want to miss! 8) What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I would love to give all readers and fans a huge thank you for following my series! I want to write more books and currently have 16 outlined, and you are the reason I can keep writing! I am all over social media and would love to interact with book worms.
Enjoy an excerpt from The Frost Bloom Garden The Frost Bloom Garden Romarin Demetri Paranormal As if the Supernatural London Underground couldn’t open up any further, Romarin is immersed in different cultures, struggles, and factions-- including the revelation of her first dangerous foe--that make the hidden world what it is: treacherous. As a detective in pursuit of a Jack The Ripper type killer, Romarin’s sole purpose is to destroy evidence of their secret world, reminding her of how blurred all of their roles are, and that the price for that could very well be one’s life. With rumors of a safe haven, an island where people like her can go to be free and understood, perhaps she won’t need the cure she vehemently seeks. A cure for a broken heart however, that’s another story. And then a cure for a burning heart? That’s just impossible. Excerpt Romarin visits the first crime scene she had Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | absolutely nothing to do with causing (in order to investigate the supernatural things going on) and meets a strange human. Chapter 3: Meeting a Guy in a Hotel Room
As I left Whitham Castle, I poured over the slim details I had to go on. I had dressed myself in all black, the end result being either quite conspicuous or high fashion if I were caught in daylight. I looked a little bit like Talia, but her always-black wardrobe had a Victorian edge to it. In the cab I used my mobile phone for some light to read the paper Talia had given me. This was the second body and it was found in a hotel an hour earlier, as Talia’s scrawling cursive showed me. She had scribbled a bit of information across the page, some of which I couldn’t make out. I could tell, however that the significant blood loss and bite marks on the neck meant the crime was especially of interest to us. I had to get there before the evidence was catalogued by little yellow markers and gruesome photographs. I took a cab to a nearby location instead of the exact murder scene. I didn’t want the cab to drop me off directly at the hotel. I learned the technique from a paranormal investigator named fred—a human who kept making his way back into my heart, chiseling off little pieces of my heart every time he did. He’d stopped talking to me for no reason, and I was still wasting far too much time fixated on him. I paid my fare and walked the short distance around the corner to the hotel, through the murky shadows of the city I now called home. When I walked through the glass doors into the lobby, I acted as if my boss owned the place (which she probably did), strolled straight to the lift and took it to the fifth floor to meet a stranger in a hotel room. I managed a deep breath before the silver doors slid open to let me through. 504. I knocked and called, 46 | UncagedBooks.com
“Housekeeping!” As if I was Mrs. Doubtfire. The person on the other side tripped over something and cursed before opening the door. Knowing he was looking through the peep hole in the door, I fought the urge to cover it with my hand, and managed a closed-mouth half smile for my bubbled mugshot. The door opened to the informant looking at me from behind thick-rimmed glasses and under a small hat of curly light brown hair. “Just kidding,” I said with a smile. “I’m Row.” “Romarin?” “That too.” He still kept me in the hallway. “You’re Barry?” “Come in, quick.” He shut the door before I was barely through it and never answered my question. As a testament to his paranormal investigator status, there was a laptop computer sitting out on the bed, with small recording devices and some sort of gauge with a needle. “She knew there would be another murder, and” —he whispered now— “it happened right next door.” “Tell me more about the first one.” Barry was excited beyond belief at his assignment, most likely was a rookie. For the rest of our conversation, he managed to stay eventempered. “It was in a hotel two blocks from here, and we’re pretty sure it was a vampire.” “Vampire?” “They exist,” He said starkly, as if I wouldn’t believe him, a wideness to his slightly protruding eyes. “They drain the blood, their teeth are like needles and they have venom.” “You’re kidding.” I feigned surprise. “Oh no, I’m not,” he said. “The first murder had disemboweling, which vampires don’t routinely do.” “So a vampire killed someone… who and why?” I asked, knowing we were wasting too
| ROMARIN DEMETRI | much time. Barry seemed more enamored than anything, as if he was investigating just to learn as much as he could, but had no desire to solve or stop the killings. “A middle-aged male, same as the one next door. The first victim’s wedding ring was taken, leading us to believe he would not be the only one to die. It’s a souvenir. There was also a business card maid service found under the bed. It isn’t affiliated with this hotel.” “Let’s go over there then.” He nodded. We slipped into the room next door. Barry nearly shut both doors on me. Again. I gasped, and goose-bumps blanketed my flesh. A prostrate middle-aged man in only his underwear lay on the floor. “Your first body?” Barry asked, unimpressed. Who did he think he was, unofficially investigating bodies left by a supernatural killer? Did it make him important? Maybe it did make him important, but he was supposed to hand this case over to me, and it was making him take me less seriously. “No,” I said, irked by his tone. “This isn’t my first body. As for the first two I ever saw… I drank their blood.” I stepped over the body on the floor, being sure to stand particularly close to Barry. “It was good,” I stated plainly. “Have you ever tasted blood before, Barry?” Now I was flirting, and not in the ‘I kind of like you’ way. “Are you a… one of them?” he said, eying the fang marks in the body. I looked into the dead man’s open eyes, trying to separate myself and channel bravery. “Oh, a vampire?” His Adam’s apple quivered. “I’m not.” I smiled at him with a dangerous pause. “What I am is much worse. How familiar are you with history? I’m talking like way back.” “I-I like history and I know most of the
legends of Europe and the surrounding areas, but you’re…” “American, yes,” I finished for him. “But I was born here, and my great-et cetera grandmother was none other than Elizabeth Bathory.” “The Blood Countess,” he whimpered. “The Blood Countess,” I confirmed, pressing my tongue to my teeth to draw out the consonants in the word ‘blood.’ “There aren’t too many of us. When I drink someone’s blood, I can see their memories, and while sometimes it’s confusing, it’s the only way I can truly survive. I need the plasma because my body physiology is different from yours, but we’re still the same in ways.” “Are you telling the truth?” “Why else would Talia send me out here if I couldn’t take care of myself? I could prove my power to you, but you’re too afraid.” “I am,” he admitted. A few months ago I never would have dreamed of telling anyone about my power—I never even told my parents the whole story, not more than they needed to know. I did tell one person everything when I first got to London, but that ended up being a mistake. When I found Talia’s castle I learned that there were other people like me and hidden places like Seven’s Pub and Plundery, where we could go and not be feared or judged by the rest of society. However, I couldn’t ignore that the person who did this needed to be feared by both worlds. “Wait, I remember you from last year.” “I did have a startling start here in England,” I admitted, realizing the sentence sounded oddly redundant. “I picked up your things from the hotel for Talia, so you wouldn’t be found. I’m good at appearing to be a traveler. You left the water running. What were you doing that day, anyway?” “I was on a secret mission and I’m not permitted to talk about it,” I lied, thinking of the mental hospital I was sent to when my powers tied to memory malfunctioned last year. “Now that we’re on the same page, what do you make of Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | this?” Barry picked up a wallet from on the desk. “Instant connection,” he reported. “There’s a card in here for a laundry, and it’s the same number as a housekeeping service found at the last hotel murder.” “The card found under the bed?” “I thought it was a strange detail, so I memorized the phone number.” He handed me the card. “This is our connection.” “You’re sure?” I asked. “Start there. The only evidence we leave is that of his identity so he can have a proper burial. As for these fang marks…” He took a knife from his jeans’ pocket. “What are you—” Barry sliced off the flesh on the man’s neck that had vampire bites in it. I expected the artery to squirt out blood and looked away. I couldn’t believe he would do that to a dead body. “This is just what we do,” He shrugged, with no second-guess of any kind. “Hiding the evidence is important so our world stays hidden.” ‘Our world?’ I thought. Barry was a human and had never even seen a live vampire. It weirded me out that he thought he was a part of the supernatural underground. He didn’t know the first thing. If only he knew all the details about what being a Bathory meant. I could solve everything if I had even a sip of the victim’s heavily spilled blood. I tried not to look at his open abdomen, creating a blind spot for it in my mind. With only one taste I could tell everyone, even the boywonder Barry, who killed him, but I wouldn’t. It was kind of gross, for starters, and I didn’t want those memories. I had already felt what it was like to die once. Instead, I said a prayer for him. “You’re a priestess now?” he attempted a joke. “Talia mentioned to you that I’m taking over from here?” I questioned, ignoring his effort to belittle me. 48 | UncagedBooks.com
“Yes she did,” Barry said, “If you’re free after this is over, my friends and I go ghost hunting all over London. I even host some tourist events, but we’re always looking for new places to explore by ourselves.” “That sounds fun,” I said. “I see now how you got into this.” “You’d have fun out with us. I didn’t realize you were so young when Talia said she was sending you. We’re all college age. It was Fred’s idea to start this, I guess you’d know him as Prince Edward, so there’s no such thing as ‘too much trouble’ with his family able to bail us out.” I froze and then had to wipe the insolent look off of my face. “Prince Edward, huh?” I asked. I, in fact, did know the second heir to the throne as Fred, and I knew him well, until he stood me up as my date at the cotillion about three months ago. He didn’t ever bother to call or write. No, Fred just erased me from his life. It wouldn’t have been so painful if I hadn’t trusted Prince Fredward, my first friend since coming to England, with my deepest secret, and most shameful memory. He did talk to me after that and asked me to the cotillion—the fake cotillion aimed at making my parents okay with me staying in England— but he never showed, and never sent a single word to me. I only knew he was still alive when he graced the tabloids occasionally. The sweetly helpful and open-minded Fred who took me to the orphanage I was adopted from to look for clues was just an illusion, a quitter. “I know he’s a prince but he just wants to be a regular old chap,” Barry said. “If I feel like raising some hell, I’ll give you a call,” I assured him. When I left the hotel I couldn’t help but feel that I was meant to meet Fred again and this was the universe directing me. Maybe I was reading into it too much, or perhaps I wanted to hear him stutter an apology for standing me up as my date to the cotillion. He had convinced me that he understood me and accepted me, but maybe he
| ROMARIN DEMETRI | never had himself convinced all the way. What would he do if I just showed up at one of his ghost hunts? That would be the day. He’d be forced to talk to me then. I felt foolish. I had friends, people who accepted me, and I was headed home to them, the people who mattered.
Uncaged Reviews A Mirror Among Shattered Glass (Book One in The Supernatural Underground)
Being the first book in a new series, the author gives a nice introduction and development to her cast of characters, getting deep enough that you get a good feel for them. The story is character driven for this first book, and the relationships that are developed with these misfits of Talia’s home, a castle with a dark history. Romarin (yes, our main character is named after our author’s pen name) is different. But she doesn’t know why she’s like she is. When you first start this book, Romarin is in a very bad place, she needs to have blood to survive, but she’s been literally starving herself. And she’s wasting away. Sent by her parents to a charm school in England, she barely has the strength to leave the hotel she’s staying at. When she manages to get moving to get to her school, a man’s body falls to the pavement right in front of her and the hotel, a jumper suicide. Next thing Romarin knows, is she’s in an asylum, as she was caught licking up the blood from the pavement. When she drinks fresh blood, she takes on the memories of the one who died, to the point she doesn’t know her own memories from the one she drinks from and it takes time for her body to rid itself of those memories. She receives a visitor in Talia who offers her a safe haven, and manages to break out with the help of another patient and
finds her way to Talia’s castle. Here is where the story really begins to take shape. Talia’s home is a safe harbor for supernaturals, and she meets the others that live here. A strong bond grows between them all, and she learns about herself, and the others. This story is told in two writing styles, when we are reading about Romarin, it’s in the first person, and when it goes off into the other characters, it’s written in the third person. But it’s easy to get used to, and it works for this book. Most of the time, when you read a book fully in first person, you don’t get any extra information except what the main character sees, in this way of flipping, you get a bit more information that’s happening beyond the main character – one of the reasons I’m not a huge fan of first person narratives. I really haven’t gotten a handle on where this story is going, or what the main story arc will be for the series, and what Romarin and the others roles will be yet. But it’s fresh and original and well written.
The Frost Bloom Garden
(Book Two in The Supernatural Underground)
The second book in this series is a lot more action packed than the first one. This one also has three different arcs to it, and it keeps a nice pace. One of the main reasons for Talia’s company is to keep the supernatural community quiet and to find any more labs that may be experimenting on more supernaturals like they did her. Romarin gets her first job, and it’s to stop a supernatural serial killer to keep their secrets. And you won’t guess the outcome right away, and it keeps the pace well. Second story arc is Audin gets kidnapped, and the gang will stop at nothing to find him. And the third arc, is the crew going back to the fae realm, to try and stop a Changeling war by warning the royal family, Audin’s parents. But what they Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know, is that their lives will be in danger, and there are more secrets to the royal palace than meets the eye. There is a lot going on with this book, more so than the first one and the gang is closer than ever. The witty banter between the characters is better than ever and the suspense and intrigue is ramped up considerably. I would definitely not recommend this as a standalone, I would definitely recommend reading the first book in the series before jumping into this one, or you will lose a lot of the impact of this book. This book ties up its own storyline and sets up nicely for book three.
A Mirror Among Shattered Glass Romarin Demetri Paranormal Unable to contain the deadly nature of her family secret and powers, nineteen year old Romarin Demetri hails from California, USA to unearth her heritage as a descendant of serial-killer Countess Bathory, the woman that lent Dracula his legend, and cursed Romarin with an appetite for blood. Unenthusiastic about relocating to her birth city of London, a charming paranormal investigator with claim to the throne could change her mind, as he leads her to the only living and distant relative she has: A raven-haired recluse named Talia, who has taken refuge in an old castle in the heart of the city, and doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t seem to have a heart of her own. After a rough introduction to the lethal, inappropriate, and enchantingly sarcastic people Romarin calls her housemates, perhaps the other misfits will be her first true friends; however, as much as these people are like her, they still have hidden vendettas, a taste for revenge, and will struggle between what is just and what will settle their psychological upheaval. There is only one way for Romarin to become part of the Supernatural London Underground: Can she be the one who challenges them to put down their ghosts and demons and make their world together?
50 | UncagedBooks.com
Stormy Corrin Russell Interview Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coming soon Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from The Separation Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Stormy Corrin Russell is an author from Pennsylvania who loves writing just about as much as she likes eating entire pizzas. When she’s not writing, she’s teaching 8th grade and loving (almost) every second of it! She loves hearing from readers, so come say hi!
First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! 1) Dystopian stories are something that I’ve been enjoying more and more, and The Separation is very unique. In this book we learned mostly about Genesis, but not a lot about the other areas, will we learn more in the coming books? The really cool thing about The Elimination (book two) is the fact that readers get to see the other side of Compound A, where the men live. In book three, you’ll get to see even more of the world, which is really exciting.
52 | UncagedBooks.com
2) Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read them from time to time. They sometimes give really meaningful feedback, and the majority of them are positive, which is nice for those days when I’m feeling down. I do not, however, make any changes to the books based on reviews. I would feel like a traitor to my characters if I didn’t tell their story the way it was intended! 3) Obviously, this is a continuing story, is there a specific number of books planned for this series? Yes! My plan is three books, and I’m writing the third now. I never considered how taxing it would be to write the last book, but I’m quickly discovering that although it is really rewarding, it is also exhausting. 4) What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like books that are part of series? Right now I’m on a fantasy kick. High fantasy, urban fantasy… it’s all good. As such, George R. R. Martin is my current obsession. The way that he creates these complex plotlines, dynamic characters, and incredible worlds is enough to make me want to read every word in every book he’s written. 5) Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing?
| STORMY CORRIN RUSSELL | - I love writing in nature. A lot of what happens in my books happens outside, so it just makes sense to write it outside. When I do write inside, though, I’m a huge fan of instrumentals. I search up Youtube playlists, and I can spend hours writing like that. My current writing playlist includes a lot of Lindsey Stirling. 6) What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? Well, I’m super pleased to announce that The Elimination is coming out in February, and book three of the trilogy will likely be done by summer. Yay! 7) What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? First off, y’all are awesome. I love to hear from readers, and you can find me on pretty much all social media! Feel free to stalk me, and please write a review if you’ve read the book!
Enjoy an excerpt from The Separation The Separation Stormy Corrin Russell Young Adult/Dystopian
In a world where men and women live on separate sides of a massive wall, seventeenyear-old misfit Eroyn Fairchild has always been too busy with her broken family to wonder why they live the way
When a man from the other side breaks through, Ero holds him hostage, hoping for a ransom
large enough to pay for her Elder Grace’s treatment. Things get more complicated as the man is followed by two others who make Ero question everything she’s ever known about her life. As Ero searches for the truth, the lines between right and wrong blur, leaving her to choose between saving her city and saving herself. Excerpt One of the things I love about Grace is that she is the heaviest sleeper I know. So heavy, in fact, she doesn’t hear me dragging a thrashing body through the front door at two in the morning. For the first time in my life, I consider it lucky that we live on the outskirts of the north side. If we didn’t, I would never have been able to get it this far without attracting attention. A loud, confused sound starts to come from the net, so I kick it firmly. “Shut up,” I hiss, looking around nervously. I’m not worried about Grace rousing, but I don’t want the neighbors waking up and noticing my noisy cargo. I kick twice more, as hard as I can. Silence, finally. With a sigh, I wipe my arm across my forehead, getting rid of the sweat beading there. I sink down on the couch, staring at the large lump inside the net on my living room floor unblinkingly. Little red flowers are blooming all over the heavy white plastic, and they grow quickly. It’s blood, I realize with a sick feeling. It’s seeping through from the inside and leaking onto the clean white carpet of our house. It can’t be real. It just can’t be. I see Almond cut across the room and sniff at the lump with caution. With one movement, I scoop him up and press him to my chest in horror. For the first time, I realize the danger of what I’ve just done. I’ve invited a monster into my house. I’ve made a horrible, horrible mistake. It takes Luna ten minutes to get here five minutes faster than usual but it feels like hours. She lets herself in the back door quietly, but I rush into the Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | kitchen to meet her. “Where’s Grace?” she asks with urgency, dropping her medical bag on the kitchen table. “What? No, I … this isn’t about Grace,” I stutter. I open my mouth once, then again, but it’s no use. Nothing is coming out, so I turn on my heel and tiptoe into the living room. Luna wordlessly follows, eyeing the netted form. I kneel next to it, holding my breath. With shaking hands, I slide the knife into the plastic and pull it upwards slowly. I know what it’s going to reveal when I pull the plastic away, but it still makes my breath leave my lungs in an audible whoosh. I can’t seem to inhale again once it’s gone. I hear Luna do the same next to me. “Is it a…?” She leaves her sentence unfinished, and I nod. The small slit I cut in the plastic shows a thick arm under a rolled-up shirt, far too thin for our recently nasty winter. At the very end of the slit, I glimpse a swollen throat and a jaw covered in a dark shadow of hair. A chill runs down my spine and my stomach turns. “Is he alive?” Luna asks, her voice small. “I … I think so.” I stare at the floor guiltily. “I kicked him pretty hard to shut him up.” She scoots closer and with trembling fingers folds back the plastic to see his side, where most of the blood is coming from. “Cut the rest of it off him,” she tells me quietly. I stare at her in shock. “But, he––” She cuts me off with a look. “He isn’t dead yet, but he will be if I don’t stop the blood loss.” I swallow hard, and comply.
Read the entire first chapter for free: HERE
54 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged Review After a Gender War, this dystopian world has the women living apart in their own separate quadrant, known as Genesis. They are taught that they won the war, and the men are gene mutations and live outside the walls. In this world, Elders choose Youth to be their caretakers, and when the Elder finally passes on, the Youth that has been taking care of them, inherits what is left for them from their Elder. This gives them a small nest egg so they can eventually hire on their own Youth, and the cycle begins all over again. This story starts out with Eroyn, who is a Youth for Grace, a woman that remembers what it was like before the wars, but is in the late stages of dementia. This is a very original story, and it had me hooked. Eroyn discovers she has a brother, whom she never knew, and that the women have been taught lies for decades. Her best friend Luna and her begin to unravel the truth, after Ero’s brother, best friend and another man are caught by them and begin to explain what really happened. You don’t really know how the war began, or the main nuances as to why the world is like it is, but some of the truth begins to unravel in this installment. I’m not going to give away more, but this is not a book that really hooked me from the go, it crept up on me slowly, and by the time I was to the middle, I was completely invested. The writing is terrific, with nice world building and character development. The idea that emotion and love breaks through the decades of suppression, is uplifting. Even though the book ends on a mild cliffhanger, it ends where it probably should end for this one, and I’ll look forward to the next one. Reviewed by Cyrene
featureauthor Tatter Jack
Stay Connected For all the updates Excerpts from: Born Yesterday Review
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR |
Tatter’s an ol’ Irish word meanin’ ‘father of the clan’ . Well, that ain’t me. I’m just ol’ TatterJack. I been walkin’ these hills, tellin’ my tales, since they was bloody mountains. I been doin’ it so bloody long, there’s some as tells tales about me even. Like how if you stand with your back to a mirror, an’ says my name, an’ says it three times forwards an’ one time back, an’ three times back an’ one time front, how I’ll come. An’ they’ll say all sorts of things what happen next. But it’s all rubbish. ‘Cos first, I don’t come when I’se bloody called, not to noone. An’ second, I don’t rip out your innards to make my stew neither. Well, not very often. But if ye find me on the Road, we can sit us down, an’ we can set us a fire, an’ I’ll tell ye a tale if ye’ve a mind to hear it. An’ if it’s a cold night, then mebbee it’ll be one wi’ some fire in it, to keep you warm when you’re far from home. So this is me. Tatter Jack. At least, it is when I’m not being someone else. Because there are other books out there with another name on the cover. But this isn’t about those books, or that name. This is about me when I’m being Tatter-ed. And it’s not that I have any issues with what Tatters writes (or I wouldn’t write it :-)). But just like you don’t keep your shoes in the refrigerator and your ice cream in the shoe cupboard (well, unless you do, in which case I’m never coming over for ice 56 | UncagedBooks.com
cream :-P), I keep what Tatter does separate from other things I do. And my shoes stay warmer too, not being in the fridge and all :-). So what’s a Tatter Jack when he’s at home? Well, he’s a writer. And writing? To mis-quote Barry B Longyear (Circus World) - it’s a disease. Welcome to part of my affliction :-). To mangle another quote (from the good Mr Tolkien), it’s a dangerous business, thumping a keyboard. You step on a road - and it’s a road that can take you to all sorts of strange places. There really is no knowing where you might end up until you get there. Tatter Jack came about when I got interested in cover art, and also when i wanted to write some things that might not fit my ‘other’ name. So I scribbling. And if any of the results bring a smile to your face, or even perhaps a tear to your eye, then it’s honoured I am, aye and that honour times three times three times three. But in the end? It’s still just scribbling :-). So this is me, Tatter Jack - a vagabond with delusions of literature. Welcome to my worlds!
Enjoy excerpts from Born Yesterday Born Yesterday Tatter Jack Fantasy Romance
Look. No, not here—down there. See her? The woman behind the rock? The one with a Glock 43 in her hand? That’s Schae Summers, fantasy author. She only came to Scotland to do some book research. Not to be chased over the heather by a wolf. Because everybody knows there aren’t any wolves in Scotland, right? Well right now Schae’s wishing someone had told the one behind her. But being chased is one thing—even if it’s by a wolf. Being chaste? That’s something else entirely. Especially where men with storm grey eyes are concerned. Men like Darek Banakar—who just might be more dangerous than any wolf. So here she is. Schae Summers. She’s smart, and she’s hip. She wasn’t born yesterday - but she’s going to be. Excerpts Chapter One—What Katya did Let’s get one thing straight right away. I wasn’t born yesterday. So I know there are no wolves in Scotland. Which didn’t really explain why I was hiding behind the only rocks I’d found, after running more miles than any sane map should know about. Only why my feet hurt so bad. Oh yes. With a Glock 43 in my hand. Just nothing to point it at. Being chased by a wolf will do that. Yes. A wolf. Yes, chasing me. Yes, in Scotland. Where there are no wolves. I know. I can hear it. ‘Scaredy-cat American writers prone to panic attacks shouldn’t go walking
| TATTER JACK | alone on Scottish moors. Especially ones who can’t tell the wind in a valley from the sound of a wolf howling.’ Which I’d take, sure. Just as soon as whoever was trying to give it to me could explain the blood-sodden scratch on my hand. The one where the ‘howling wind’ tried to bite me when it sprang out of damned-if-I-know where. Which was about when I started running. And I’ve no idea how far away it was I started, but my feet are telling me I should have let the wolf eat me. It would have hurt less. Now my feet hurt, my hand hurts and I’m hiding in the only hiding place for miles. If ‘hiding place’ is the phrase I’m looking for. But it’s the only clump of rocks on a stretch of heather that looks like it runs clear to New York. I know even the dumbest non-existent Scottish wolf is going to find me in a heartbeat. Find me and—well. ‘And’. Make me into a halfpounder with cheese, only without the cheese. Or the bun. Some girls have all the luck. I know I do—it’s just all bad. So do me a favour. See me there, crouched behind that rock? Let’s leave me there for now. Then I can stop thinking about how my feet hurt and my hand hurts, and whether wolves can give you rabies. Which, let’s face it, isn’t going to be my biggest issue. Or at least not for long. There’s that whole burger-off-a-bun thing. So pull the camera back—waaaaaay back—and let’s start again. *** You know that thing they say? ‘You can’t fool me, I wasn’t born yesterday’? Well, I wasn’t. Born yesterday, I mean. I was born fifteen years ago. So why does my birth certificate say I’m thirty two? Because everything runs on forms, and forms tend to have blank spaces for a date of birth. So they had to put something down. When they found me, I mean. Yes. Found me. At first they thought it was some mix up. But the doctors and the nurses, they all said the same thing. So they called the police. After all, empty hospital beds should be just that—empty. Not Issue 6 | January 2017 |
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR | full of girl. And definitely not full of naked girl. And absolutely not full of a naked girl covered in scars. A naked girl who must be about seventeen—but who tests showed had already had a child. And who had no memory of anything before waking up in the hospital bed. They thought I was faking it. So they tried it all. They made me watch pretty lights, and they filled me with drugs. None of it worked. I remembered nothing. But every night I screamed in my sleep. Oh— and went bat-shit near anything with an edge, a blade. They decided I must be scared. I think it was the screaming. Thing is, I’d scream while I was kicking them, biting them or hitting them with anything I could get my hands on. So they stopped thinking I was scared. It gave them some space for them to be scared. Like, of me. Do you know how many things in hospitals have sharp edges? I do. When they asked me to stop, I asked them. Stop what? I mean, I didn’t do anything. I’d see the blade in someone’s hand and it was like a red mist would come down over my eyes. Whatever there was of me, it would be gone. Next thing I’d know was more screaming. But not me doing it. Someone else. Screaming because I’d broken bits of them. The hospital wanted to kick me out again. And they would have. But some guy in a suit came by, flashing a badge. He didn’t say much. But most of what he did say included things like ‘national security’ and ‘need to know, and you don’t need to’. And asking if the hospital wanted to be the ‘last known care agency’ after I killed someone. The hospital Director grinned weakly—and prescribed me more sedatives. So Mr Badge did his thing, and he called in some local uniforms. The police kept everything quiet and the hospital filled out its forms. They made my birthday the day they found me—they just guessed a year. And ran a competition to name me. One hat full of crumpled pieces of paper and a cheap bottle of wine for a prize, there I was. Schae Summers—seventeen, going on newborn and all-the-way fucked up. Not that it was 58 | UncagedBooks.com
all bad. I managed to skip puberty, at least any memory of it, and high school too. They thought that was going to be a problem, so they made me take a High School Equivalency test. I aced it. Twice. Twice because they didn’t believe me the first time. Seems I wrote my answers in something nobody could read. But it didn’t look like gibberish. Just—strange. So they sent it to the local University. A lady Professor came by and asked where they’d found someone who could write Celtiberian? And Neshite? And something else, and even if she had no idea what it was, she was pretty sure it was a language. And could she talk to the person who wrote it? The hospital said no, and to forget about it if she wanted to get paid. She said to hell with the money, because Science had a Right To Know. Then she steamed out of the hospital. Which wasn’t smart. Turned out ‘how to look before crossing the street’ wasn’t on the list of things Science had a Right To Know. They never did find the driver, but the hospital made me take the test again. In English. I aced it. Again. Then the nice hospital Director sat me down with a man in a really, really good suit. The nice man in the suit told me the hospital, out of the goodness of its heart, wasn’t going to send me a bill. And I could leave. But a couple of the police officers I hadn’t given any broken bones had heard the Director was going to talk to me. They didn’t like the idea, so they’d got to me first and told me how to play things. So I smiled sweetly and said how it was going to be tough on the streets without any money. But how maybe I could sell my story to one of the newspapers. The nice Hospital Director stopped smiling, and whispered to the nice man in the nice suit. The nice man in the suit told me how that wouldn’t be a problem. See, the hospital would give me a bunch of money to get by with, right? All I had to do was sign a non-disclosure contract. I said OK, sure. But even with money in the bank I’d have to get a job. So maybe I’d use the money to put me through Journalism school. And I smiled again. Sweetly. The nice man in the nice suit, he stopped looking nice. He whispered
| TATTER JACK | to the Director, the Director whispered back. A bunch of loud whispering later, the Director gave me a look that would have had daggers in it. Well, if he hadn’t known what I was like round blades, that is. The not-nice-anymore man in the nice suit told me about Trust Funds, and how I wouldn’t have to worry about a job. And would I just sign the fucking piece of paper already? I signed. And smiled. And left the hospital. But every night I still dreamed—and woke screaming. A million dreams, every one different. But all the same. Because they all ended the same way. A woman I knew was me, running, hiding, fighting. And a faceless man with a knife, cutting me. Cutting, and cutting—and killing me. I died every damn night. Then I’d wake, write down my latest dream, pop some more pills and go see my shrink. He’d read what I’d written. Then he’d give me some shit about how it was just my head trying to rationalise what had happened to me. But after a bunch of visits, he said something else. He said maybe I should try to do something with them, the dreams I wrote down. He said he knew someone who knew someone. So I kept writing down my dreams, and I got born again. Not through any church or shit—through a keyboard. Which is why Storm Skyfire’s in twenty books now, all with my name on the cover and keeping my agent in new yachts. But every night, I still died. And woke up screaming. And popped more pills, and sat down at a keyboard, so Storm could kick some ass and I could maybe forget why I was crying. Then one day I’m out, as usual sitting on my own at a table set for two because my agent’s late. Also as usual. And you know how it is. You don’t try to listen—but you don’t have much else to do. So the hum of people talking, ones who actually managed to turn up at the same place at the same time, isn’t just hum. Sometimes it’s words as well. And I heard this girl talking about some wedding she went to, and how some of the men there had skirts on. Because, in case the guy she was with didn’t ‘get’ it, it was, like, a Scottish wedding.
But, she told him, not in Scotland. In New York. And I felt sorry for the poor guy. She was treating him like he was an idiot studying to be a moron, and failing the entrance exam. But then she said it. She said how this guy not in a skirt asked one of the other guys why he was wearing a skirt. And, like, the guy in a skirt beat the crap out of him, and all his friends when they tried to join in. Which, the girl said, was cool. But she said what would have been amazing would have been if it had been, like, in old times. And if it wasn’t a guy wearing a skirt, because it was a girl. A girl, like, not wearing a skirt. And no, not like that. Like, in men’s clothes. So the guy tells her she should be wearing a skirt, and his friends back him up—and then she kicks the crap out of them. Because she’s, like, some warrior princess type. One who doesn’t wear a chain mail bikini and can chew nails and spit bullets. Which is when I stopped trying to look like I wasn’t listening and grabbed my notepad from my purse. Because whoever the girl was, she was right. It would be cool. And I needed a new idea for my next Storm title. So why not? Like, why not Scotland? Or, at least, some place like Scotland. One where guys wear skirts, and Storm could kick their butts when they tried to tell her she should too. And I started scribbling. So my agent finally turned up. He told me how some punk slashed his tires, and he had to wait for someone to come change them. I asked him why he didn’t do it himself? He just pointed to the Armani he was wearing, the one Storm and I paid for, and raised an eyebrow. Which was fair enough. So I showed him the scribbles and I ran the idea by him. He said it was a cool idea, but what did I know about Scotland? And I had to admit I knew nothing about anything Scotch apart from three fingers over ice. So he told me the latest figures on my last Storm, and damn they were good. And he grinned, and said how I could use a vacation. And one I could write off as tax-deductible ‘author research’ would be even more fun, no? I said sure, but it wasn’t goIssue 6 | January 2017 |
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR | ing to happen. He asked why not, so I reminded him about—well, about ‘stuff’. Because Kal, he knows my ‘stuff’. He knows what’s under my clothes. He knows I’ll never forget somewhere out there is someone—fuck it, some man—with a knife. A knife I’m never going to let near me again. So I don’t go anywhere without insurance. In my case, 9mm insurance in a six round clip. And I knew Scotland had all sorts of unreasonable rules about reasonable insurance. So good or bad, the idea was a bust. But it turned out Kal knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy. He made some calls, and got a package in the mail. A package with a key to a left luggage locker in Edinburgh train station. So I got on a plane, and I landed at Edinburgh. I went to the train station and used the key. The guy who knew a guy who knew a guy who knew Kal had left me a little ‘welcome to Scotland’ present. A Glock 43, a Bianchi Professional holster and a box of hollow point insurance. So I thanked my lucky stars for a great agent, and I went off to look round Edinburgh. Which was, like, cool and all. But I somehow knew it wasn’t what I was looking for, the big city thing. So I did the tourist hick trip, telling myself I was trying to work out what the fuck I was looking for. And I was in the National Museum when I heard someone giving one of the tour guides an earful. They were stood by some old stone, talking about some old battle. The tour guide said where it happened, and this old lady said how he didn’t know shit, and it was some other place. Which shouldn’t have meant a damn. But the little old lady, she says how Bridei wouldn’t be seen dead outside his mountains, or far from Loch Insh. And I heard the name, ‘Bridei’, and it was like someone had wired my head to the chair in San Quentin. And even if I had no idea what it meant, or why it was important, I knew I’d found ‘It’. What I was looking for. So I waited for the tour to go by, and I asked one of the other guides where I could find Loch Insh. Then I hired a car, and I got driving. Two, maybe 60 | UncagedBooks.com
three hours later I parked in a little village in the back end of who-knows-where. Where I got out and I started walking. To get a ‘feel’ for the hills. Oh, yes. And get chased by… *** “Geology, is it? The rocks, I mean?” I look up from where I’m hiding behind the rocks. If it had been one of Storm’s books he’d have been tall and ruggedly handsome, with maybe a hint of danger to him. He isn’t. Because it’s you, even if I don’t know that yet. Not tall, not short. Black hair blowing in the wind and a scarf tucked into a jacket. Nothing much to look at—until I make the mistake of looking into your eyes. Eyes that should be against the Geneva Convention. Eyes of Mass Distraction. Grey, like the clouds scudding across the sky, but with flecks one moment blue, and another red. Eyes that know how to smile, like they’re doing now, but even when they do, they hold pain—like now. I reach up and grab your arm. “Ssssssh!” You crouch down. “Er—ssssh?” You wave your arm round heather I know isn’t as empty as it looks. “Because I’ll, um, wake the rocks?” “Stupid man! No, not the rocks. The wolf!” “Oh. Right. The—er—wolf.” “Yes! The wolf! But it’s OK! I have a gun!” I show you my Glock. You crouch down further. “Aye. So I see. Um— I’m sure you’re not supposed to, though. Have a gun, I mean. Not that kind, anyway. Poor Constable McEllan down in the village would have a heart attack. Perhaps you could, er, put it away?” “No! It’s not safe!” “Don’t guns like that have a safety thing on them then?” “Not that kind of safe! Idiot man! There’s a wolf!” You lean in towards me. “Er—there aren’t any wolves in Scotland.” “Tell that to the one that’s been chasing me all day!” The wolf call sounds on the wind. “That wolf!” You grin. I mean, we’re trapped behind the only
| TATTER JACK | rocks for miles, besieged by a wolf that shouldn’t exist—and you grin. “There’s a small lake near here—Rannoch…” The wolf howls. Again. I shake you. “This is hardly the time for a travelogue!” You grin. Again. “… Rannoch Tarn, it’s called. There’s a waterfall drops down into it. It’s from a river that’s worn a hole in a rock wall. A…” The wolf howls. I get ready to die. At least I’ve had practice. “… A big, round hole. They say in the old days, the boy who wanted to be a man had to run up to the hole, and jump through it, and dive into the Tarn. If he lived, he got to ask the girl he had his eye on to dance at the next Clan Gather.” The wolf howls. “And the wind, through that big round hole?” The wolf howls. “It sounds just like that.” “I have not been running from the fucking wind! Look at this! The damn thing jumped out at me!” I show you the almost-bite. You take my hand. The wind may be blowing cold, but your hand’s warm. Somehow I hope you won’t let go. “I bet it was a fox. It was probably more scared of you than you were of…” “It wasn’t a bloody fox! It was huge!” You pull on my hand, lifting me. “Aye, well. There’s foxes, and there’s foxes. They killed one over Aberdeen way a few years back—near five foot long it was.” “It wasn’t a fox!” And I know it wasn’t. But it’s getting harder for even me to believe me. “It wasn’t!” Still, I slip my Glock into the Bianchi. You shrug. “Well, wolf or fox, it’s not in this heather.” You look up at the sky. “Damn.” “What?” “It’s going to rain. And it’s a bit of a way to my place, and even longer to the village. We’re going to get soaked. Wolves or foxes—they both hate rain. We’d better get going.” *** The naked teenage girl stands up from where she’s been lying in the heather. She watches the
man and woman walk away. Darek’s going to give her hell for it, but she knows she’s right. This one. The one. She grins. And cute too. Darek better watch out or she’d maybe take a run at her herself. She looks up, and the first drop of rain hits her in the eye. She spits. Darek might be hard headed, but he’s right about one thing at least. She hates rain. The wind blows, the heather shivers—and the girl is gone.
Fang Freakin Tastic Review Born Yesterday by Tatter Jack is a very unique, albeit sometimes confusing, book. This author has a very individual way of writing that is seen throughout his written library. His writing is entertaining while being suspenseful at the same time. If you can keep up with the story, you’ll love it; but you will have to commit yourself to finishing it. I really enjoyed this book, though there were places where I was totally confused for brief periods of time. By the middle of the book I had realized if I could just be patient I would find the answers I was looking for. There are a lot of twists and unexpected turns that take place all through Born Yesterday. Schae Summers is a fantasy author who has gone to Scotland for book research. Her past is mostly a mystery to her, due to amnesia. I really have mixed feelings about Schae. I feel like I should think she’s awesome, but I think she’s alright instead. Some of her choices and decisions are questionable in my opinion, but I also tend to dislike characters I’m supposed to love. This really is a book worth checking out. Mystery and suspense are throughout keeping the reader guessing while having paranormal elements as well. As Schae Summers finds out, maybe there ARE werewolves in Scotland after all!
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
New Releases January Release Dates - A Selection
A Note on January releases:
January is a heavy release month for books and there is not much chance that Uncaged could even touch the surface of the new releases in this area. I have tried to give a sampling, however small, to the different genres here.
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth Feversong by Karen Marie Moning The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams Law and Disorder by Heather Graham Bewitching Bedlam by Jasmine Galenorn Martians Abroad by Carrie Vaughn The Rising by Heather Graham Phantom Kiss by Chloe Neill
January 3 Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen Lifeblood by Gena Showalter Off the Ice by Julie Cross Below the Belt by Stuart Woods The Final Day by William R. Forstchen The Mistress by Danielle Steele The House Husband by James Patterson Intense Pleasure by Lora Leigh Breath of Fire by Amanda Bouchet Garden of Thorns by Keary Taylor The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories by Terry Pratchett
January 10 Windwitch by Susan Dennard RoseBlood by A.G. Howard Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn Dead Cold Brew by Cleo Coyle Publishers and authors: If you would like a new release in these lists, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com
January 24 The Girl Before by JP Delaney Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis Wild Horse Springs by Jodi Thomas The Turn by Kim Harrison Power Game by Christine Feehan After the Fall by Kate Hart The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry
January 31 Caraval by Stephanie Garber Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs Into the Firestorm by Kat Martin Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins Snared by Jennifer Estep Worth Any Cost by Brenna Aubrey Dark Side of the Rainbow by Danielle Paige Wrath of the Storm by Jennifer A. Nielsen Into the Firestorm by Kat Martin
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Between Midnight and Dawn Cheryl Yeko Romantic Suspense
Nicole Chambers’ track record with men is bad. Very bad. She’s sworn off dating for the foreseeable future. Recovering from an assault by the last man she’d only casually dated, Nicole is attacked again in her rural home. If not for the hot guy who showed up about her rental cottage, she would have been dead for sure. Her self-imposed sabbatical is soon tested when he moves into her backyard. Kyle’s mother was kidnapped and murdered when he was just a kid. Filled with rage and a determination to hunt down the man who became known as the Clove Hitch Killer, he goes into law enforcement. When his efforts lead him to Nicole Chambers, he falls for her completely. Now he’s torn between keeping her safe, or using her as bait to capture a killer.
Uncaged Review: Nicole is a women who survived
abuse from an ex-boyfriend, and with her injuries, she lost some of her hearing, temporarily. Nicole is petite, beautiful and a redhead, and exactly the type of victim the serial killer goes for, a serial killer known as The Clove Hitch Killer, Allan Barber, and he’s been eluding the police for over twenty years. He’s been stalking Nicole for days, obsessed with her being his next “toy.” But what he didn’t count on was Kyle. Kyle is a cop that has been trying to catch Barber for years, as Barber is the one that killed Kyle’s mother. When he discovers that Nicole is his next victim, he rents the cottage in her backyard as a way to protect her and catch the killer. But things don’t always go as planned, and he never planned to fall in love with his landlord… This is an edge of your seat thrilling suspense. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but for fans of crime shows on TV, this will hit a homerun. The emotions that Nicole faces, are realistic and the author draws you in and keeps the tensions high. Fast paced action, a great suspense and a hot romance, make it a highly recommended read. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Romantic Suspense Some violence, sex scenes
The Very Devil Herself Loren Molloy Horror Alexandra is an immortal cannibal who must feast on human flesh and blood to survive. For over 200 years this immortal woman has to prowl the dirty streets of London in search of her next victim until the King of England decides to employ her special skills to hunt real life serial killers for his needs instead.
Uncaged Review: I have a lot of mixed feelings on this book, I liked the storyline and the originality, but this will not be for everyone. The book is about Alexandra, who is an immortal, who feasts on the blood and flesh of men in old London, in the dirty streets where the drunk men are lured to her. The author sits you in the front row for all the gory details, and doesn’t hold back. The bad: the way it’s written is very broken up, with way too many short sentences, and not enough descriptive paragraphs. I really don’t see Alexandra as a vampire, or a possessed woman, or even the devil. She’s almost her own species. Also the story jumps around several times, and leaves you hanging a bit, and you don’t really get any details of what happened for a big chunk of time. There really isn’t a major plot with the book, it’s more of watching Alexandra’s life. Alexandra’s history is a mystery to me, and we don’t really get a back story to her much at all. And I don’t know much about her powers, it was pretty sudden some of the things she could do – and sort of left me thinking I missed something. The good: Even as evil as Alexandra is, she is still
64 | UncagedBooks.com
my favorite character in the book. She discovers her humanity with Old Samuel and Daniel, but there is not any romance to muck up the story, even though there could have been. She makes no excuses for who or what she is, and even comes to an agreement of sorts with the beast within her. When she’s not driven by the lust of the hunger, she is calculating and brilliant. The story is an original idea, and it spans a good amount of time. This book won’t be for everyone. If you can look beyond the editing issues, and can handle a gorefest at times, you may like this book. It’s not perfect, but it is original and Alexandra can be quite captivating. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Horror Gore/violence
The Void Weaver Dignam & Martinez Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Alice has lost her powers and her nemesis is getting stronger, but it’s hunt or be hunted. Alice is in hiding. Holed up in a magically-protected house without her main weapon, the supernatural bounty hunter wants nothing more than to hunt Nyx down before she becomes prey herself. But her enemy is in hiding too, and if Alice is to find her she’ll have to get past the dangerous Pain Children first. When Alice learns that Isaac Moreau remains in Magistrate custody, she has no choice but to follow Nyx’s trail without backup and without her powers. Her only chance at defeating Nyx may lie in Isaac’s attempt to learn the dark, deadly secret of the Void, but his failure could get them all killed in the process.
Uncaged Review: Last month I reviewed The Dark Siren, the first book in the trilogy. This second book picks up where we left off. Isaac is being held by the magistrate and he’s sent a trusted friend and mage, Cameron to protect Alice. But there are members that are working against the rules, and not only is Alice in danger, so is Isaac. An old friend and mage, Jim, helps Isaac to get away from the magistrate, and also begins to explain to him that he’s been touched by Void magic during his encounter with Nyx, and to avoid this magic killing him, he must work with the magic and become a Void Weaver, an ancient type of mage who keeps the Void rips repaired, to keep evil from seeping into the world. To be able to do this, requires Isaac to step into the Void, which could be suicide. There is plenty of action in this one, and it doesn’t slow down very often. We also learn more about Alice in this one and her Half-Lich powers, and the new players in this book are very well fleshed out and enhance the story. The main arc is still running, but it didn’t really end on a cliff-hanger. It settles the side arc in this book, but we will need to wait for the last book in the trilogy to see the main story arc complete. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Violence
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Shadow Marked Walt & Hamilton Urban Fantasy In the Shadows of Salem, there are no good guys... For years, Detective Brooke Chandler has been deliberately shielded from the supernatural world. But now that the supernaturals know about her, there’s no line they won’t cross to harness her powers for their own wicked needs. To stay alive, Brooke needs to learn what it means to be a Shadow. Unfortunately, the one person willing to help her may be just as guilty of using her unique skills for his own gain as the people she is trying to escape. Her training comes at a price: helping a fae lord find several dangerous artifacts and shadowing them from his enemies. But the more she uses her abilities, the deeper she becomes embroiled in the cutthroat societies closing in on her. Soon, Brooke finds herself hemmed into a corner, condemned to make an impossible choice that might destroy the human world as she knows it. Uncaged Review: This is the 2nd book in the Shadows of Salem series, and I reviewed the first one, Shadow Born a couple months ago and I like the premise of this series, I like the action and the characters, but I truly dislike the way these books end. It’s always on a cliffhanger of sorts, and there is so much thrown at the heroine, Brooke, that it begins to bog the books down. There are a lot of subplots running, and there never seems to be a good answer to any of them. As for the main love interest, Maddock – a fae lord, how much longer they can actually draw this out and hold
66 | UncagedBooks.com
interest is up in the air at this point. There is more action in this one, and we get more answers to some of Brooke’s powers. But Brooke is being yanked in too many directions, from witches, warlocks and the fae. She seems to bury herself even further at every turn, without much down time or even time to learn about who she is. I liked the book well enough, but with the cliffhangers and the overextension of the romance elements and angst, I am losing interest fast. I’ll read one more on this series before I give up, and that would be a shame, as there is a good, actionpacked story with a likable heroine buried under all that. Reviewed by Cyrene
my name is tookie Chariss K. Walker Contemporary/Abuse A fifteen-years-old survivor shares her memories of unspeakable atrocities and heinous crimes committed by the very system in charge of her protection in this dark fiction tell-all. The miracle of healing begins! “my name is tookie” is an intense, first-person coming of age novella about the shocking adversities and inhumane traumas Tookie suffered. “These are my memories,” Tookie explains. “This is my story—the past, the middle, and now. Sometimes, the line between each section of my life is jumbled up as I try to lay out everything in chronological order. I’ve been told it’s a side effect of the drugs I was force-fed.
Uncaged Review: This book is so emotional it will have you on the edge of you’re seat reading it. This is a little girl called Tookie story. She never really had a good start to life her mother didn’t want her and her dad certainly didn’t want a mix raced baby on his hands.Tookie at first glance had a sort of balanced and normal upbringing, with her grandmother Neiva until Tookie’s mother gets a boyfriend and they leave her grandmother’s home to move into Tookies mum’s boyfriend’s house. Where Tookies new bedroom or safe place to hide is a pile of dirty clothes in a bedroom store cupboard. Her mother gets hooked on drugs and despite a number of complaints being made to child services, Tookie is forced to return home to her mother and her sexual abuser. I didn’t enjoy this storyline even though I know it plays a big part in so many people’s lives. Thank God this was only a fictional story. Even still, it should be read to clue up on some of the key warnings or signs of any abuse. Sexual or drug related or even drink related. What is going on behind closed doors as it is normally hidden quite well from the public eye and this was a powerful read as it explores one young girls need to find her own identity. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult/New Adult Marketed as PG-13, but please use caution for younger teens, Uncaged recommends Adult/New Adult Drug use, abuse, sexual assault
Mistakes of My Past Emily James Romantic Suspense What do you do when your relationship destroys everything good in your life? It’s simple, right? You escape - by any means necessary. Amber knew that leaving Tommy was going to be hard and quite possibly deadly. After all, she has things that he will stop at nothing to get. When Amber flees England to start fresh with her estranged father in Ohio she starts the process of rebuilding her life. Will is recovering from his own disastrous relationship, which has left him mistrusting of high maintenance women. And when he meets Amber, she seems just that. Getting off to a rocky start, Amber and Will soon realise they have more in common than they thought. Can Amber ever really free herself from the mistakes of her past? Or are they only ever one short step behind her? Uncaged Review: Amber, who recently lost her mother is so overcome with the pain and loss of this and due to some problems with her boyfriend, Tommy, and at the time Amber tries to take her own life. Her dad visits her in the hospital and offers Amber a deal. If Amber wants to return to America with him she must undergo treatment first at a mental health facility. While Amber is undergoing treatment she meets a fellow inmate Roxy who turns out to be a friend and may even help Amber, with a big problem -Tommy her evil boyfriend. Mistakes of My Past is Emily James debut novel. I really felt connected to Amber as I was reading this novel and felt like Amber was sitting next to Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews me telling me her story. I can only express high regards for writer Emily James if this book is anything to go by. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Romantic Suspense Dark abusive and sexual themes Uncaged recommends 18+
they still be able to build a future when the past is revealed? This contemporary romance is a predictable story, but the way the author brings you to the conclusion is a heartwarming tale of forever love. Does that exist in this day and age? I don’t have the answer, but the book will give you hope that it does. Reviewed by Cyrene
Norah Bennett Contemporary Romance Remember I Love You Forever... When Julia Walker unexpectedly runs into Dr. Ethan Sullivan, the man who stole her heart twenty-two years ago and whose heart she shredded in return, their reunion is emotional and explosive. While sparks fly and their passion reignites, the past rears its ugly head and the lovers soon discover that a foundation built on secrets and lies will always crumble. Can Ethan and Julia overcome their painful past and learn the lessons of honesty, trust, and forgiveness in time to save their love?
Uncaged Review: Julia found the love of her life in Ethan, when they were teens. But Julia walked away from it all, breaking Ethan’s heart…and her own. Fast forward 22 years. Julia is now a divorced single mother of a beautiful, but strong willed two year old daughter, and when she goes to a party at her friend’s house, guess who’s decided to move to her small town as a doctor in the hospital she works in? All the feelings that Julia’s always had for Ethan, along with the fear of letting him get too close, comes rushing at her. But this time, Ethan isn’t giving up so easily, and the walls Julia has built around her heart come crashing down. But will Ethan still love her when he finds out the truth of why she left? Will 68 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Contemporary Romance Sexual situations/scenes
The Volunteer Sarah Northwood Psychological Thriller/Horror CAN A YOUNG GIRL MAKE ENOUGH TO MONEY TO PAY OFF HER DEBTS? Utterly alone in the world Sam is determined to make it on her own, she sees a chance to make some money and becomes a Volunteer for a clinical trial. IMPRISONED AGAINST HER WILL Imprisoned in hospital with no memory of what has happened to her in the last three weeks she is no longer the girl she was, something has changed. Beyond help and beyond hope, she knows only that she must survive, she must escape. A MONSTER IN A DOCTORS UNIFORM When Mr Bennett comes for Sam, he intends to extract the information he needs. Harbouring a
dark secret, what lengths will he go to, to achieve his goals? SECRETS When Sam discovers Denny and Ryan, her mission to escape becomes a quest for the truth – and a race for freedom. What terrifying secrets will she uncover along the way? Uncaged Review: What a wild trip into the weird land of clinical trials on people. This is shorter story, a bit more of a novella length, and gives us Sam, a broke college student who lost her parents when she was only 15 yrs old, and during summer break, she signs up for a clinical trial that will pay her better than a job would for someone without much experience. She signs on the dotted line, and goes in for the first part of the test. Next thing that happens, is that it’s three weeks later, and she’s no longer in her home town. There is something very sinister going on, and she meets a couple other trial “volunteers” also, and she slowly puts the pieces together. Will she escape the madness? I won’t go into any major detail, but the author does a nice job bringing in the back story to the few characters that are in play, even in this shorter form. There is a bit of a fantasy element that the author brings to the table with believability. The only thing that was distracting for me, and this is very minor, is the time jumping within the book. It provides a way to give us more back story on the characters, but it does tend to distract a bit from the main story. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Graveyard Rose Ginny Clyde Gothic Romance
In a world where vampires, werewolves and other strains of such demonic creatures run at large, Lenara Gerrickson is a young Guardian appointed among the ranks of men, to protect human lives. Under the burden of a broken heart, she risks her life for her sister and struggles to maintain her position as the lone female Guardian; to uphold the honour and grandeur of her noble House. The company of Guardians rides forth to face the threat of a new breed of werewolves wreaking carnage throughout a rural village. Though her male cohorts are confident of victory, Lenara’s intuition warns of unforeseen horrors. Is there any hope for her to find love in this dark and desolate world, or will she perish in the line of duty? Here begins the incredible tale of a lost maiden, and of a mysterious, gentle man who calls himself a beast... Uncaged Review: Lenara Gerrickson is a young guardian, the first woman guardian, appointed to protect the lives of humans from werewolves and vampires. The story is about Lenara trying to find a cure for her sick sister, while trying to protect the humans also from coming to harm. I thought this storyline was quite interesting and being a fan of werewolves, it was fun to learn where the first werewolf in history came from. The relationship between Lenara and her family was quite touching. I’m looking forward to reading book two in this series. Ginny Clyde set up the characters quite well in this book. Reviewed by Jennifer
Psychological Thriller/Horror Violence
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Gothic Romance/Dark Fantasy Violence Sex scenes
C.N. Crawford Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Rosalind lives for the hunt. Now she might die for it. Rosalind’s mission is simple: hunt demons and mages. As a member of the Brotherhood, she’s dedicated to protecting the world from dark magic. Someone’s got to stop the supernatural bloodlust—even if it means getting up close and personal with vamps. Everything’s going to plan until she meets Caine, a powerful dark mage. He’s scary as hell and just as sexy. Worse, he’s brought her a warning: rumors are spreading that Rosalind is a mage, too. Now, the Hunters have chosen their next target—and it’s her. To save her own life, Rosalind must form an uneasy alliance with Caine, traveling with him to the vampire world. But what if the rumors about her are true? If she can’t figure out who to trust, and fast, she’ll be exiled to the realm of the very monsters she once hunted.
Uncaged Review: This is a first book in a trilogy from this writing duo, and it’s a great start. You even love and hate the secondary characters, as the authors intended. Plenty of action, plenty of witty banter and a good storyline makes this one a page turner. Rosalind is a Hunter for the Brotherhood, a secret society that hunts demons and mages to help keep humans safe from the evil in the world. But 70 | UncagedBooks.com
things aren’t always what they seem, and when she meets the gorgeous and deadly Mage, Caine her world will be turned upside down, and things she believed were true will be flipped in all different ways. Never a dull moment, the characters are well developed, and the intrigue will keep you on your toes. The action is not glossed over, and it’s well written. Looking forward to book two. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: New Adult/Adult Urban Fantasy
Violence Mature Language
A Woman So Bold L.S. Young Historical Romance
Twenty-year-old Landra Andrews is as brazen and unique as her first name. Although educated and well-connected, she is trapped by a dark secret from her past. She fears the rest of her life will be decidedly prosaic, until a dashing young man inherits a neighboring farm and sweeps her off her feet. William Cavendish is a second son from an old Southern family. A gentleman in conduct and an artist at heart, he has sown his wild oats in the years he spent abroad and is ready to settle down. He is taken with well-spoken, headstrong Landra from their first meeting, and his heart for her only grows. William seems to be everything Landra has dreamed of but never dared to believe she could have—handsome, kind, and well-bred—but when they are wed, she soon finds herself in all-too-familiar surroundings, toiling once more against land that won’t yield. Her restless
spirit and iron will rebel against her discontent, and when a lover from her youth returns, she finds herself torn between two very different men. Will the mistakes of her past destroy her hope for the future?
Uncaged Review: For a debut novel, this author has a lot of potential. She hit a lot of good marks with this book and brought out a realistic time era of a rural Florida in the 1890’s. Struggling farmers who can see harsh winters if the growing season doesn’t yield, or a storm that can destroy a whole years slight incomes, this novel does not set the stage for a higher society, but for the poorer farms on the outskirts. This story revolves around Landra and her family, and plenty of scandal. When her mother died at a young age, and her drunken father remarrying a waif of a woman, it’s up to Landra and her younger sister Lily to keep the house, the gardens and help to farm the land, getting by on hand-medowns and rags all of their lives. Landra has no prospects for marriage of her own, having a child out of wedlock and hiding the secret, passing it off as Landra’s stepmother’s child. Until William Cavendish moves in to an old run-down farm neighboring their own. Hardworking and honest, Landra is drawn to him. I enjoyed the story and there is plenty of scandal in this small rural area, and enough in this book to keep the interest. I didn’t feel like I was reading a debut book at all, the writing and editing is polished, and it flows nicely.
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
The Longest Night Danielle Devon Gothic Romance
Such a sad sort of sickness, the way Lucien watched her. She no longer prayed to the night and yet he stayed on. Hidden behind the veil, lost in the shadows, for years, watching, listening, waiting for her
to call him. Trapped in her new life as the second Lady Merrick, Isabella had long since turned away from her childhood rituals for the sake of duty. Yet with each day that past, she slipped deeper into a world of quiet despair. Until the night her drunken husband pushes too far. Will she summon Lucien forth or will she take fate into her own hands?
Uncaged Review: This is the second novella in a series, the first one being A Good Night, and this one jumps in right after the events of the last book. In this book, Isabella has just buried her abusive father, and is told by her sisters and her mother, that she needs to find a suitable husband, namely a man named Lord Merrick. Cut to a few years into the cold, loveless marriage, Isabella has grown cold and without feelings for much of life. Only when her mother gifts her two puppies to help with the loneliness, does Isabella show any type of happiness. Lucien, still watches from the shadows. Watching how the light and happiness no longer is present in Isabella’s life. When Lord Merrick kills one of her dogs, it sets in motion a string of events that will conclude this chapter. I still don’t know what or who Lucien is, and even though I felt the strongest for him in this chapter, I can only hope he re-emerges in the next installment stronger than ever. These books are well written and beautifully done, but they leave a lot more questions than they do answers. Well worth the read.
Historical Romance Mild sexual content
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Odium IV
Claire C. Riley Dystopian The Dead Aren’t the only thing to fear… A kid, an old lady, and a heartbroken man…what could possibly go wrong? Mikey is holding true to his promise to Nina, and is doing everything he can to keep the group alive. But when something attacks the threesome in the middle of the night, things begin to take a turn for the worst. Luckily a new group—the N.E.O.s are on hand to ease Mikey’s burden and help fight alongside him. But first he must prove his worth to the leader Aiken and the people that follow him. Within this new group, Mikey begins to find a form of peace that he didn’t think was possible after losing Nina, and he discovers his place within this new world. A place where killing isn’t for fun, and is only ever committed as a last resort. His heart is still aching, but at the end of the world there’s no time to stop and mourn, and as he searches out a Circus Freak Show and the horrors begin to stack up around him, Nina slips far from his mind. It’s probably best, because there are many more terrors in store for him. Because within the folds of a small town, inside an old candy store, he meets a woman named Clare, her two dogs and something that he never saw coming.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: This book and this series are amazing. I think Odium IV might just be my favorite so far. It’s a close race with the other books in the series though. Action packed and full of surprises, I couldn’t put it down until I had devoured the entire thing. Riley puts so much heart into each of her books, it’s hard not to fall in love with them! For the majority of this book we are following Mikey’s story after he leaves Nina to sacrifice
72 | UncagedBooks.com
herself in an attempt to handle Fallon and his cronies. Mikey’s emotions are at the forefront of everything he does. He is now in charge of Joan aka “crazy pants” and Adam. I really don’t want to say much more about the plot because I’m worried I will give something away. As usual, Riley gives us a well-written, entertaining, while emotional (in a good way) book. There is definitely one scene where I wanted to strangle Mikey, and several where I wanted to strangle Claire Riley. If an author can make me feel that strongly about their book, to me, they are worth their weight in gold. I was honestly pissed at Mikey, to the point where I had to put the book down for a bit. When I say “a bit,” I mean more like 2 minutes, but still. Though not surprised by a typical man, I was quite disgruntled. This may be my favorite book in the series, not necessarily because of who dies near the end. However, it did make me surprisingly giddy. I haven’t yet decided if that is a good or a bad thing, but at least it was entertaining, to me anyway! I highly recommend this series and this book! If you haven’t started or checked out this series, please do. It really is more about the people than the zombies and it’s amazingly easy to get attached to these characters.
Anna Dressed in Blood Kendare Blake Young Adult/Paranormal
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s
mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas’s life.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: To start with, I love the title of this book. That is what made me interested in it to begin with. Secondly, I loved the cover. I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover, but in this case, I did. Cas Lowood is a high school ghost hunter. He moves around a lot and goes to where the ghosts are. He finds the ghosts, and then releases them from being ghosts so they can go to wherever it is ghosts go when they “die.” He receives tips from all over the country about urban legends that he knows are real. Everyone has heard a story similar to the ghost hitchhiker. It is that type of story that he investigates. When Cas receives a tip about a ghost named Anna that has been actually KILLING people, he knows he must do something about it fast. He is inexplicably drawn to her and to her story and quickly realized there is more to her than he first realizes. Every ghost has a story. Most are tragic in some way. Anna’s story is no different, but why is it that her interactions with humans so much more violent than the usual ghost encounter?
She’s pissed, that’s why!! She really got screwed with life. I felt so sorry for her and wanted to defend her myself. It was so sad to read her story, I almost cried (don’t tell anyone, I don’t want to ruin my reputation of being a badass). For the first time in his life, Cas has friends. It’s a good thing too, because he’s going to need their help to deal with Anna. I really like the dynamic between him, Carmel, and Thomas. They work well together. Carmel is your typical pretty girl, while Thomas is the stereotypical dork. The paranormal is nothing new to him, thanks to his sometimes being psychic. He apparently hasn’t quite developed it yet. I feel kind of bad for his mom too. She’s a bit of a “kitchen witch.” She has to deal with her son going out night after night with the possibility of him not making it home safely. Just because she was ok with his dad doing it, doesn’t mean she should be ok with her son doing it. Especially since she knows he’s trying to avenge his dad and find whatever it was that killed him. As a parent she should probably have handled that differently. But this is fiction, not real life, so I guess if it works for her, that’s what counts. This story really reminded me a lot of a house in one of the towns I used to live in. There was this big old house with a reputation of being haunted. The story was that some guy went crazy and killed his whole family. Supposedly he painted the walls with their blood or some such nonsense. If you drove past the house at night, when you turned around at the end of the road, as you drove back past it, the windows would glow red from the blood supposedly all over the walls. I swear if you drove by it really looked red at night, but when you went back during the day, there was no glass in the windows to reflect light to explain why it looked like that. During the day, the scariest part of “Red Room,” as it was called was the
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews scary old man that lived next door with his shot gun waiting for teenagers to drive by and cause trouble. This is the house I pictured the ENTIRE time I was reading this book. I could totally see that house being the house that Anna was trapped in. It made me feel more connected to the story in ways I can’t even explain. For me, Anna’s story was very emotional. The whole book was emotional for me and I felt every connection with the characters. I really wanted Cas to pay more attention to his cat. I wish my cat was more like that. I really think this was a great book. It’s appropriate for adults and teenagers, and I’m actually trying to get my daughter to read it. It’s got all of the elements I look for in a good ghost story. I look forward to reading the second book in the series.
Dark Hope H.D. Smith New Adult/Fantasy After five years of working for the Devil, Claire Cooper believes she lives an otherwise normal life. Until she finds herself in jeopardy for a murder she did not commit. Desperate to save her life and soul, she enters Purgatory, but runs afoul of the Devil’s sister, Pagan Queen Mab. Mab has her own agenda and uses Claire to get even with the Devil. Claire learns each ruler is in a race to discover “the girl” in the prophecy to fix time. As Claire peels away clues to the real killer, she realizes she must outwit the Devil’s children or end up a prisoner in Purgatory forever.
74 | UncagedBooks.com
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Dark Hope was a crazy book. Crazy in a good way though. It was definitely an adventure. Claire is the Devil’s assistant, though not by choice. She was forced into it thanks to her mom who made a deal with the Devil. Nice huh? When Claire finds the Devil’s oldest Hellspawn, Junior, dead, and a mysterious video on his computer pointing at her as the killer, she’s got to find out just what the Hell happened. She starts to notice that things are just a bit off and she is stuck in the middle of some absolute craziness. Yeah, so Claire is pretty bad ass. She’s been putting up with the Devil’s crap for a while now, and she’s pretty much over it. Now that she’s got to prove her innocence before the Devil realizes that Junior is dead, she’s up to her eyeballs in some mysterious goings on. How is she supposed to be in 2 places at once? She knows where she has and hasn’t been, right? Or maybe not. Dark Hope is a serious thrill ride type of story that reminds me of something along the same lines as a Bourne Identity type of book. There is crazy amounts of action and adventure that will keep you on your toes the whole time! This book was exciting and interesting all at once. At the heart of everything is Claire’s love for her boyfriend and what will become of their relationship when all is said and done. One of the things I enjoyed about Dark Hope is that it was more of an action/adventure paranormal than I have read in a while. It was a nice change to have come across. I would recommend Dark Hope to anyone who is into action/adventure books. It’s not filled with vampires or werewolves, so those who don’t enjoy those sort of things would be happy with the content of this book.
Claire Chilton Paranormal/Humor She’s finally managed to summon her first demon... Dora Carridine is trying to summon a demon, but she’s not very good at Latin and nothing ever works out the way she plans. Her life is fraught with weekly exorcisms and having to watch her father’s fire and brimstone TV show every Sunday. So, when Dora finally succeeds in summoning an incompetent demon lord, she’s absolutely delighted when all hell breaks loose. She thought summoning a sexy demon lord would be the answer to all of her problems, but her problems are only just beginning when her zealot parents try to burn her at the stake, and Dora is left with only one option—to escape and follow her demon straight into Hell.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: Holy crap, I don’t even know where to start with this review. I requested this book up from Netgalley because I thought the cover was kind of cool, and the synopsis sounded interesting. I thought it would be something different and fun to read between more serious books I was reading because it wasn’t real long and I thought I could read it pretty quickly. I figured it would make an easy review and blog post. This book wasn’t entirely what I expected. It was freaking hilarious. I’m trying to figure out how exactly the author came up with some of the things that she did for this book without peeing her pants. I never would have thought of some of this stuff, but I’m so glad she did. I read it in less than a day because I really did not want to put it down. I took a bath instead of a shower so I could read it in the tub. I even read it while I washed dishes. I wanted to know what was going to happen! To say that this book was interesting is an understatement. My husband looked at me like I was nuts when I was laughing out loud at some of the references in this book. He also told me to quit texting him at work because I kept telling him funny things that were said. I’m not entirely sure what this book is classified as because Dora is a teenager, but there is a ton of swearing and toilet humor. The sexual content is pretty minimal and is mostly in the form of crude comments. I would probably let my 8th grader read it, but that is me. Always read the book before you let your kids read it and then make the decision from there. My kid is different from yours, so use your good judgment. I’m comfortable with my daughter hearing f-bombs, but not more than a kissing sex scene if that gives you an idea as to what I will tolerate. I won’t let her read sexy-talk.
Dora’s parents are insane. They are super religious and her dad has a tv show. He is convinced vegetarians are going to Hell for being abominations. Dora does not fit in with them at all and is convinced she can conjure a demon. Well, she does something alright! And it makes her parents so angry that they decide to do an exorcism on her. The story goes downhill from there and poor Dora finds herself escaping to Hell with a pretty hot sounding guy whose father is the lord of a part of Hell. We are given a tour of Hell essentially and I’ve got to say, from that perspective, I’m not sure it would be that bad. Obviously it would suck if you were on the receiving end of the punishments, but on the giving end, not so much. There is Corporate Hell, which is pretty funny, and then my favorite part of the book. There is a special place in Hell for people who “hurt books”. I’ve always said there was a special place in Hell for people like that, and I’m glad someone else shares my opinion. Its people who pirate books, and troll reviewers (people who write bad reviews just to be jerks regardless of whether they have actually read the book or not. Unfortunately these people really exist). Along the way Dora picks up a pet demon she affectionately names “Pooey” who seems to be a manically depressed ball of fur really. He is hilarious in his own way. I think I identified with Dora in a lot of ways as well. She doesn’t feel like she fits in anywhere, so she is just trying to be somewhere that she can be herself. I think I’ve felt that way for most of my life. Kiernan is a pretty boy demon who has parents just like anyone else who he doesn’t necessarily see eye to eye with about his future. He sounds like any other hormone driven teenage boy on earth. The difference is he can pop horns out of his head and make his eyes glow like fire. Which would have made him pretty hot to me, had I met him when I was a teenager lol. Behind all of the humor of this book, there really is a plot. I can’t really tell you much more about it without giving away too much of the story, and this really is something you should experience yourself. It’s not the most intense or involved story out there, but it is great entertainment and I’m pretty sure this book was intended for entertainment and not some life changing moment. I have a really bad sense of humor that borders on childish at times. Very similar to that of a 12 year old boy. Poop jokes make me giggle. Boob jokes are even better. So please do not make the mistake of taking this book seriously. Read and enjoy it for what it is, entertainment! I recommend this book to anyone with a great sense of humor who is looking for a book that’s a little bit different. The story was pretty good, but the humor is really what did it for me. It’s a quick and easy read that will keep you laughing on almost every page.
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews
First Contact Kat Green Paranormal Sloane Osborne is a paranormal realtor in the business of selling haunted houses but, in truth, she’s only searching for one ghost. And her time is running out. It’s the 366th day after her fiancé’s death. Michael used to like putting things off for “a year and a day”—so tonight’s the night. Sloane will do anything to make contact with him before the clock strikes midnight. When she gets a call to check out a home in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it’s the last place she thinks Michael would contact her. Sloane is dead wrong. Myra’s Review: When Sloane gets called to a house to investigate, she makes contact with ghosts. Clearly something horrible happened in this place and she is determined to find out what. She also hopes to make contact with her dead fiancé Michael. Meanwhile, discussing the case with her FBI friend Jonah, he tells her to wait for him and not to go back to the house alone. Jonah senses ghosts and he is picking up bad mojo. Sloane goes back to the house after speaking with the owner. She discovers a hidden door and is trapped in an underground dungeon. The ghosts 76 | UncagedBooks.com
of many women appear to Sloane. The women were starved and left without water; a horrible way to die. They want revenge and she wants to stop the serial killers, plus help the women pass on. It was neat the way the ghosts help Sloane get out of the pit and finally are able to get vengeance against their killers. Sloane makes peace with herself about Michael’s death and comes to realize how much Jonah means to her. Another chance at love in her life. The only negative to me, was the fact that Sloane went back to the house by herself, against her better judgement and Jonah’s pleas. She wasn’t a stupid heroine but it’s one of those times as a reader when I said “you kinda deserve what you get.” Although I was glad she didn’t die. Overall, an interesting read with some surprises for readers.
Legion of the Dead Geoffrey Caine Horror A sacred crypt, buried centuries ago, is discovered under the surface of Manhattan. Buried with it is a diabolical creature spreading a strange contagion, claiming its victims by the thousands. But the dead aren’t staying dead for long...and only one man is qualified to brave the unstoppable army of zombie madmen... Myra’s Review: Abraham Stroud, archeologist, is involved in a dig in Egypt, the discovery of Cheop’s tomb and various crystal skulls. The Egyptian museum doesn’t want him there any longer and tells him to leave. Stroud is surprised when his layover in NY is interrupted by the Commissioner of Police. Construction workers have partially unearthed an ancient ship and they want his expertise. The few people exposed to the ship have become unresponsive; basically zombies. Commissioner Nathan wants to know if a curse like the one that affected the archeologists who worked on King Tut’s tomb, is loose in NY? As more and more New Yorker’s succumb to the “curse”, Stroud, two scientist and a female doctor, race to find the answer. What they discover in the Etruscan writings aboard the ship, are more terrifying than the horrible reality of people slipping into unexplained comas. Stroud has a powerful secret; ESP abilities that could prove to be the key that unlocks the secrets of the crystal skull. As those taken over by the zombie curse begin to drag victims to the ship to be sacrificed to the creature inside, Abraham
struggles to connect with the skull in overcoming the ancient evil enshrouded in the ship. Can the pair save humanity before millions are thrown to the demonic beast that demands human souls? Although not typical zombies, the affected people were violent and slaughter innocents. The real monster in this story was the ancient creature, which was sapient and influenced peoples’ minds. An enjoyable horror read.
The Fog James Herbert Horror/Ghosts A peaceful village in Wiltshire is shattered by a disaster which strikes without reason or explanation, leaving behind a trail of misery and horror. A yawning, bottomless crack spreads through the earth, out of which creeps a fog that resembles no other. Whatever it is, it must be controlled. Myra’s Review: John Holman is sent to investigate land owned by the Ministry of Defence in England. The authorities wonder if they are really utilizing the land or not. John arrives at a small village at the worst time; an earthquake seems to have struck the area. Large holes open up and people are killed. Holman pitches into one such huge hole and manages to crawl out. As he ascended, a strange yellow mist rose upward. When he escapes, he is quite insane. The yellow mist quickly starts moving across the countryside, developing into a large fog, affecting humans and animals who are in contact with it. Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews Victims are mostly violent and seem full of rage. Some commit suicide. Holman recovers after a week in the hospital and the government asks him to help gather a sample from the nucleus of the fog. He is considered immune, and even volunteers who wear heavily protected gear have been affected by the fog. The scientists have discovered it is a mycoplasma of parasites. John attempts to retrieve the sample several times, but is stopped by insane people and bad luck. Finally, with the assistance of a scientist, he retrieves the sample and the organism is blown up. Vast numbers of infected people in London will be helped by putting them to sleep with gas ejected from planes. Once a serum is developed from the sample, people will be cured. As with any James Herbert book I’ve read, this was a fascinating read. The effects of the fog on people was chilling; murder, violence, and sexual depravity. Warning: This is one of Herbert’s books that contains explicit sexual scenes. I did feel a bit of Déjà vu because this has a very similar story line to The Dark, which is a favorite book of mine. The Dark was written five years after The Fog. Both dealt with a menacing “thing” that affected people’s minds, making them violent, etc.
78 | UncagedBooks.com
Do you have a short story that you’d like published in Uncaged? Uncaged is now accepting short stories - in return, Uncaged will provide ONE FULL PAGE to promote up to 3 books from the author, OR a free Sneak Peek promotion!
Submit your story today!
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews A Mighty Rolling Thunder Kerry Alan Denney Suspense/Post-Apocalyptic
The Last Detective Brian Cohn SciFi/Mystery
The end of the world is just the beginning of the terror...
It’s been two years since the invasion.
Two spirit hordes break through from another dimension, and half the world’s population vanishes. The spirits possess the survivors, dividing them into two groups: those who fight to retain their humanity, and marauders who destroy everything in their paths. Artist Livi DeSilva is fleeing from possessed killers when she meets Conor McLain, a man suffering from amnesia. Outnumbered and outgunned, Livi and Conor team up and fight off homicidal lunatics and ruthless gangs, only to end up cornered by their deadliest foe: billionaire Victor van Danz, a psychopath who commands the new world’s dark forces. . With only Conor, two amazing dogs, and a band of plucky children to aid her, Livi must harness the power of the spirits inside her and use it to defeat Victor--or die in the clutches of a madman.
Two years since the slicks came to our planet and herded humanity together like cattle, placing us under constant watch in the few cities that remain. The lucky ones are left to their own devices. The unlucky few are rounded up and carted off to labor camps to face an unknown fate. Former homicide detective Adrian Grace was cut off from his family, but has somehow managed to survive. When one of the slicks is murdered, they ask him to find the killer. He reluctantly agrees, and in the course of his investigation witnesses the best, and the worst, that humanity has to offer: a plot to escape the labor camps; a pending war between an in-your-face councilwoman and the corrupt city mayor; and a priest who claims to have befriended the dead alien
Amy’s Review: This story definitely lives up to its title. It is mighty. It’s not another postapocalyptic story. Well, it is, but it is definitely unique and very creative. I’ve never read any of Denney’s work before, but I definitely will look for more of his work! Denney’s writing is amazing and the environment pulls the reader right into the middle of the story. The darkness is balanced perfectly, and the sense of terror is unyielding. I really enjoyed the story, and things are not as they seem, which is a great story builder. Evil spirits and humanity are at a war and it will keep you guessing until the end.
Amy’s Review: I like this story and it was interesting, as the crime has to do with Aliens. Yes, that’s right, aliens. It’s an easy flowing read and its filled with thrilling twists. A real page turner. The story has great detail and the reader can picture being side by side with the survivors. Detective Grace has an interesting case, and it’s a grand mystery.
80 | UncagedBooks.com
Tug of the Wishbone Katherine L. Holmes Contemporary
Bake Me a Murder Carole Fowkes Cozy Mystery
Maureen doesn’t plan to repeat the mistakes of her divorced parents. Her 1960’s experiences are presented alongside family leave-takings. When marriage seems imminent, the leave-takings are with men. Maureen’s photography proves to be a more permanent involvement. Eventually she struggles with depression and clings to her work until that is with a man that she would readily date. Outside their magazine, she defiantly exposes a large poultry farm while confronting her need for a constant love relationship. With Minnesota settings, the book covers thirty years. Its comic relief reflects that resource in Maureen.
Private Investigator Claire DeNardo reluctantly takes on a case presented by her parttime employee, Ed. Ed’s cousin, Merle, is searching for his former girlfriend, a topless dancer who ran with a rough crowd. But it’s too late. The woman has been killed and Merle, who is now Claire’s client, is arrested. When Claire digs into the victim’s past, she uncovers a thriving illegal drug trade. Her fears about this case double when she learns about the mobster who is behind the unlawful business. All this while dodging Police Detective Brian Corrigan’s determined efforts to get her off the case and into his arms.
Amy’s Review: This story is about Maureen and spans several decades. I really liked this story as Maureen is one of those characters that you root for, you cry for and laugh along with. Holmes tells a great, relatable story. The characters have great chemistry and work well together, the environmental settings add to the story and the depth of the journey that Maureen takes.
Amy’s Review: The third book in the series is absolutely wonderful. I first read the book that preceded this one, Killer Cannoli, and I love Claire. She’s a great character, and I find it interesting how she tries to solve the crime at hand, and yet, keep Corrigan’s advances at arms length. This book is very entertaining and I really love the premise of the pastry shop owner slash detective. Claire is growing as a character, and I love the humor and adventures that Fowkes writes for her. This book definitely made this reader smile, just wish Claire was better with a gun than she is, but otherwise this book is wonderfully fun.
Issue 6 | January 2017 |
Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews September Sky John A. Heldt Historical/Time Travel When unemployed San Francisco reporter Chuck Townsend and his college-dropout son, Justin, take a cruise to Mexico in 2016, each hopes to rebuild a relationship after years of estrangement. But they find more than common ground aboard the ship. They meet a mysterious lecturer who touts the possibilities of time travel. Within days, Chuck and Justin find themselves in 1900, riding a train to Texas, intent on preventing a distant uncle from being hanged for a crime he did not commit. Their quick trip to Galveston, however, becomes long and complicated when they wrangle with business rivals and fall for two beautiful librarians on the eve of a hurricane that will destroy the city. Amy’s Review: Travel back in time with Chuck and Justin to the year 1900. The intention of the time travel was for them to rekindle their father son relationship and make up for lost time, but it did more than that. Heldt takes the reader back in time, where it’s believable, and if time travel did exist, it would be great for it to exist in this way. I love Heldt’s stories, as I have read several of his other books. Heldt’s books are a real page turner and full of twists and sub plots, which bring the story together.
82 | UncagedBooks.com
Food for Thought: First Course Nancy DeRosa Romantic Comedy Emma Craven’s four single friends join her at the table in their quest to find love, self-respect, and, above all, great food. Emma and Murry’s Grill chef Gary Parker have much in common. He loves to cook, she loves to eat—a match made in heaven. Or so Emma thinks at the onset until trouble arrives. Gary’s former girlfriend comes back on the scene, reed thin and confident, and wanting him back. Gary’s rejection shakes Emma’s belief in herself, making her question what she has to offer in a relationship. Determined not to become a bitter and disillusioned harpy like her boss’s wife, Emma decides to get over Gary and move on with her life. But that’s easier said than done, especially since every new man she meets and every bite of food she eats reminds her how much she misses the handsome, charismatic chef. Amy’s Review: Derosa sets quite a spread and that’s an understatement. I enjoyed reading this story, filled with glorious journeys of food and family. It was a fun and romantic story, and full of joy. There were several characters in this book and they had a great chemistry. It was magnificently written and I indulged myself in this light course of a story. Highly recommended.
Mercer Street John A. Heldt Historical Love, honor, and courage take center stage in the second book of John Heldt’s American Journey time-travel series as three women from the present become entangled in the past in the tension-filled months leading up to World War II. Weeks after her husband dies in the middle of an affair, Susan Peterson, 48, seeks solace on a California vacation with her mother Elizabeth and daughter Amanda. The novelist, however, finds more than she bargained for when she meets a professor who possesses the secret of time travel. Within days, the women travel to 1938 and Princeton, New Jersey. Elizabeth begins a friendship with her refugee parents and infant self, while Susan and Amanda fall for a widowed admiral and a German researcher with troubling ties Amy’s Review: Heldt has done it again, with his fantastic time travel journey. Mercer Street takes the readers back to 1938 as WWII rears its ugly head. There is a grand complexity to the story, as a romance blossoms in the past. I think it’s a very interesting premise and found that when Susan met her parents and her infant self, and how she became friends with that family. Time travel always has to worry about what could alter the future, and this does it well. Heldt really did his research for the time and it was a great historical journey. I like going on these time travel journeys with Heldt’s characters.
Becoming Phoebe J Michael Neal Coming of Age/Sports Eighteen-year-old Phoebe Rose spent her childhood in one foster household after another, never having a place she could feel safe or group of friends she belonged to. What kept her going was hockey. The rink was the only place she felt at home. Amy’s Review: It’s a perfectly paced story that brings the reader on the adventure that is Phoebe’s life, the life of a foster child. She’s very complex and is trying to figure her part in the world. It’s a well written story and I love how the Hockey theme gets woven in the story, as an inspiration and aspiration for Phoebe, but it doesn’t take it over as her only saving grace. There are deeply heartbreaking moments, and then uplifting moments. Phoebe is a character with great depth who over comes a lot in her life, where she could use her poor childhood as an excuse, and she doesn’t.
Issue 6 | January 2017 |