Alexandra Lee Deborah Jay Kayla Krantz B.J. Scott Christine Hart Loren Molloy Rose Lange
Uncaged Fang-Freakin-Tastic Myraâ€™s Horror Blog Amyâ€™s Bookshelf
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Featured Author
Links (Updated) Best Seller Lists New Releases
Win a fantastic SWAG gift bag from author B.J.Scott! See inside for details!
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Dead by Morning • Reviews of Dead by Morning & Alive by Sunset
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpts from Evermore and a sneak preview of Melody of the Sea • Review of Evermore
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Highland Heather • Review of Blades of Honor Trilogy
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from The Prince’s Son • Review of The Prince’s Son
Win this fantastic Swag gift set from author B.J. Scott!
Go to B.J. Scott’s Facebook Page and mention in the comments to win! Let her know you saw it in Uncaged!
ents Issue 7 | February 2017
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from Terra Nova • Reviews of The Variant Conspiracy Trilogy
Excerpt from The Angel Alejandro • Review of The Crimson Corset
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from The Storyteller of Pain • Review of The Storyteller of Pain
Interview • Stay Connected • Excerpt from On a Gamble • Review of On a Gamble
4 Editor’s Desk 5 Links You Can Use 46 Best Seller Lists 65 New Releases 66 Uncaged Reviews 74 Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews 78 Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews 82 Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Welcome to Issue 7, February 2017 - Uncaged Book Reviews! This month, dig in to our featured authors: Alexandra Lee, Kayla Krantz, Deborah Jay, Christine Hart, B.J. Scott, Rose Lange and Loren Molloy! I can’t thank them all enough, for sharing their talents with us. Fang-Freakin-Tastic also brings Uncaged a feature author with Alistair Cross!
There are also reviews from Uncaged, Fang-Freakin-Tastic, Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews and Amy’s Bookshelf! Uncaged now has a Facebook Share page - you may share websites, books and promotions (keep it related to books please) once per day, per member. Conversations are encouraged! Our reviewer Jennifer is your wonderful moderator. On a personal note, we have just adopted our second horse. Her name is Swagger, and she’s a Standardbred ex-pacer off the harness racing circuit. We now have a full barn with 2 horses and 4 goats, with plans to squeeze chickens in come Spring. Never a dull moment around here. As for Uncaged, we are still growing fast and I am adding new features as we go. 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. I will soon be offering free web features for those that support Uncaged through advertising. The featured authors that are promoted in Uncaged, is a FREE service to authors. The only requirements being that Uncaged has read at least one of the author’s books, and that I ask that the authors share the magazine with their networks. 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 February 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.
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This site will sniff out all the free eBooks being offered on Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Amazon. Choose the site you’re looking for in the drop down list. I’ve found many new authors in Amazon’s freebies, but sometimes searching can be daunting. This site helps narrow down the search. http://www.freebooksifter.com/
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FreeBooksy.com Pick your genre and let FreeBooksy find the deals, even freebies! A blog for horror fans.Uncaged review contributors. Free-Ebooks.net Choose your passion from fiction, non-fiction, academic and even audio books. Free to join, free ebooks to download. BookBub.com Let BookBub send you daily deals right to your email, customized to your perferences.
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If you’d like your banner here, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Interview Whatâ€™s next for Alexandra Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpts from Evermore & a peek at Melody of the Sea Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Alexandra grew up in Nashville, Tennessee where she still lives today with her brother, father, and two little dogs. From the age of nine, Alexandra knew she would be a writer though many doubted her because she didn’t enjoy reading. She finished her first book at twelve and still has it today. Her second book was completed at fifteen and will be edited later as the third book in the Era of Dawn series. Evermore is her third book but the first that she has felt ready to share with the world.
Alexandra Lee’s goal when writing is for her readers to see the world in a new way or to think about something differently. She has spent the last ten years studying history, mythology, psychology, and sociology in order to bring you characters and worlds that feel real despite being set in a universe different from our own. There is no topic she won’t write about no matter how uncomfortable it may be. Life doesn’t press delete and neither will she. Alexandra always writes fiction and is especially passionate for fantasy. Her stories always include something from mythology though her focus is always on characters. She believes that even good characters can make an old plot worth reading. Her novels aim to seduce you. She wants you to feel raw and vulnerable in hopes that when you set her novels down the world appears a little more beautiful.
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Alexandra Lee studied audio and video production while in high school as well as psychology, sociology, and writing. She has yet to attend college and prefers to do research on various topics in her spare time. She is an avid gamer and has been immersed in them since the age of three. It was in playing video games from a young age that she realized she loved stories and compelling characters. She reads occasionally, her favorite authors currently being Richelle Mead and Simon Holt. Alexandra Lee has just released Evermore the first book in the Era of Dawn series but is always working on new stories.
| ALEXANDRA LEE | Alexandra Lee’s debut novel, Evermore is a stunning work for a first novel. I am thrilled to promote her at Uncaged. First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! Uncaged: Evermore is your debut novel, and you really knocked it out of the park for your first. What was the inspiration for the world you built? Thank you for your kind words. As for the inspiration I’m not completely sure where it began. I’ve been working on the Era of Dawn series for the last ten years. I take a lot of inspiration from real places. For example Lytharia takes a lot of influence from Russia (size and geography) and England (culture and politics). Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I read reviews over and over. They make my day. As for influencing the story, no. The fates of all my characters are sealed. Uncaged: Evermore starts as a classic historical novel, but then moves into a fantasy world with ease. I know there will be a second novel in the series, is there a set number of books in this series? Thank you again for the kind comments. Yes, there are five books in the Era of Dawn series: Evermore, Kismet, Revelation, Asunder, and Deviance. Each title is meant to tell a little of the story without giving away too much detail. Such as Evermore meaning forever and Kismet meaning fate. Originally Revelation was going to be the first book but I realized that I wanted my readers to be with the story from the very beginning. So I am very excited to get to Revelation.
Uncaged: What do you find the most challenging to write? The easiest? I am physically incapable of writing poetry. When it comes to my books I find action scenes to be my biggest challenge. I still worry that Chapter 22 sounds cheesy. I love to do dialogue and so that might be the “easiest” for me. The line in the beginning of Chapter 5, “I’d never kick puppies.” Makes me laugh every time. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? The truth is I don’t enjoy reading. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, which is why I love to write. Growing up my brother was always the reader and I was the writer. We’re still this way to this day. When I do read I normally go for series but I don’t normally finish them. I loved Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series as a teen. A couple years later I read and loved Simon Holt’s The Devouring Trilogy. That said I’m still only about half way through Fearscape (Book 3) Uncaged: Where are your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I’m often sitting at my desk in my pajamas with coffee. As a rule, I always eat before I write too. As for silence vs music, I can’t stand silence. For each of my books I create an original quote and in the romance novel I’m working on, Melody of the Sea, it says: “There is no place for silence in a world blessed with music.” The music I listen to depends on what I’m writ-
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | ing. I normally go to youtube for my music. My favorite things to listen to are Two Steps From Hell, Peter Gundry (although sometimes his music puts me to sleep instead of helping me write), and dubstep. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? My biggest focus right now (alongside the books) has been art. I’m going to get back into music production at some point. I’m also in the process of beginning the production of official merchandise which will be for sale on my website. I have designs prepared for some hats and t-shirts. I also have two artists helping me with a few more designs. I am always looking for fan art – I love fan art. REGARDING BOOKS: My brother is my toughest critic and gave some good feedback on Evermore. So the first thing my readers can expect is more detail and longer books. I’m hoping to finish the Era of Dawn series by early 2019. In the immediate future readers can look forward to Melody of the Sea (a romance novel centered around a connection through music) as well as a book I’m working on with my father about a haunted house. When he was describing it to me I thought of “The Portrait of Dorian Grey” which is terrific. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? The best place to follow me will be on my website. I want to get a camera soon and start vlogging on my youtube channel and keep in touch with all of you there. I also have a Facebook, Twitter, and DeviantArt. As far as a message to my fans, let me start by 12 | UncagedBooks.com
saying I’ve always been very insecure and your support has helped me so much. I spent so long hiding my stories that I never imagined that they’d be looked at so fondly. You can’t imagine how much joy you bring me. So I will do my best to bring you a multitude of great products from books to music to merchandise. And if you make fan art please, please send it to me!
Enjoy an excerpt from Evermore Evermore Alexandra Lee Paranormal/Fantasy How far would you go for family? For twins Marie and Thea there is no line they won’t cross. They’ve remained inseparable since birth, but, after one night, their lives are changed forever. The sisters find themselves confined behind the gates of worlds they have never imagined, populated by twisted creatures and voices filling their heads. The sisters seek more than just answers to how they ended up in these worlds or how they developed psychosis. They seek a way out and more importantly, each other. But what will it cost them to reunite with one another and will their lives be the same again? Not if the voices have anything to say about it. Excerpt Chapter 14 (This scene made my editor cry.) Marie knocked on the wooden door nervously before taking a step back. She clutched the basket tightly, her palms sweaty as she studied the patterns in the door. She had imagined how this day would go a hundred different times and worried if her son still cared about her.
| ALEXANDRA LEE | The door was opened by the wet nurse, Ciel crying behind her. “Can I help you?” “I brought a basket of books and toys for Ciel.” The woman looked over Marie suspiciously. “Why?” She swallowed her nerves, tightening her grip on the basket. “Because he’s my son.” The woman laughed. “I highly doubt that.” In all her scenarios, Marie hadn’t imagined herself being rejected. “Believe what you will but I bore that child.” Behind the wet nurse, her mother stood, staring at Marie in disbelief. “Invite her in.” The wet nurse turned her head. “Absolutely not.” She said beginning to shut the door. “I don’t know this woman nor do I believe her.” The mother approached her, holding Ciel in one arm, grabbing the door with the other. “You continue to show me that I’ve raised a fool. It is because of this that I do not deserve the right to raise this woman’s child.” She forced the door open, holding Ciel out to Marie. “Will you hold him for a moment while I speak to my daughter?” Marie set the basket down, taking her son from the woman. “Of course I will.” Ciel’s cries stopped as his mother held him close. “How are you my baby boy? You’ve grown so quickly.” The woman dragged her daughter into the home, the basket of toys in her other hand. She gently placed the basket in Ciel’s room before meeting the eyes of her daughter. She had learned more about her daughter in the last year than the entire time she had raised her. “I’ve never felt more disappointed then every time you open your mouth. Here Marie stands before us and you are going to lie to her face?” “She doesn’t deserve him.” The woman slapped her daughter. “And what makes you think you’re worthy?” She took a step towards the door. “I don’t want to see your face until Marie has returned home and I pray she takes Ciel with her.” “Mother I’m sorry-” The woman said holding her
cheek. “It’s not me you should be apologizing to.” She said holding the door open. “That woman has literally died and come back to us. She is an angel sent to us from Heaven. She is watching over our home and her son. You need to show her some gratitude.” The woman nodded, returning to the entrance. “I must go into town for some time but it was nice to see you, Marie.” She said before leaving. Marie watched the woman leave in confusion before turning to her mother. “If it’s too much trouble I can go.” “Don’t be ridiculous.” The woman said pushing her inside. “We have much to discuss.” Marie smiled at the woman, taking a seat on their sofa. “I only saw him what feels like yesterday and he’s already so much bigger!” The woman prepared tea, bringing two cups with her when she joined Marie on the sofa. “That’s because it’s been a little over a year since you died.” Marie looked at the woman as Ciel smiled, reaching for her face. “It’s been that long?” “Time must seem nonexistent when you’re dead.” The woman laughed. Marie recalled the first time she had gone to limbo, how time felt as if it had disappeared altogether. She looked into her son’s eyes, watching as he smiled at her. She began to bounce him on her lap, listening to him as he laughed. “He can talk now.” Marie looked at Ciel. “You can talk? Say something to me, Ciel.” “Angel.” Ciel mumbled. The woman laughed. “Yes, Ciel, mommy is an angel.” Marie laughed, gently hugging her son. “But mommy is here now.” The woman smiled, placing a hand on her lap. “It would warm my heart if you would take Ciel with you.” Marie looked at the woman, tears streaming down her face. She had never thought they would ask Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | her to take Ciel. She had imagined them saying it to them but hadn’t thought she would hear the words. Now that she did she wasn’t sure what to say.
Uncaged Review This book starts out as a historical, with two sisters, Thea and Marie who have been inseparable all their lives. Thea has been rebellious and a protector of her sister Marie, and Marie has always been the dutiful one. When it’s time to marry off Marie, her parents arrange her marriage to an older Duke, who turns out to be an abusive man. One night, the Duke rapes his wife and Marie learns she is pregnant. Staying away from the Duke from then on, she gives birth to a baby boy, keeping her son away from her cruel husband. The Duke and Marie’s parents have been destroying all the letters that Thea and Marie have been writing back and forth. And when Marie finally discovers what has been happening, she finds one letter from Thea that wasn’t destroyed with news of Thea’s nuptials, it’s time for Marie to go home. Leaving her son in the care of a wet nurse and her mother, Marie and her husband travel to attend the wedding. Now this story really gets moving. It turns from a historical novel, to an epic storyline and fantasy novel that spans a lifetime of these two characters. For an author’s debut novel, this is an impressive first outing. I won’t tell you how it happens, but when both daughters are killed, one goes to Heaven, the other to Hell. And both will move mountains to find each other again. The originality and how the story still follows some traditions is well executed. There are a few minor editing flaws, but they are so minor that they don’t even matter. Even with Heaven and Hell, this is not a religious novel in any form, even though it pulls some traditional elements from religion. Well worth the read. Graphic violence, sexual situations - Uncaged recommends adult readers. Reviewed by Cyrene 14 | UncagedBooks.com
Enjoy a special preview of Alexandra Lee’s upcoming novel, Melody of the Sea
Chapter 1 “When were you going to tell me?” William stared into the eyes of his fiancé, Anna, her eyes brimming with tears. His heart sank in his chest, caught in his string of lies. Never had he seen such sadness in her eyes. He’d never been able to provide her the lavish life he desperately wanted her to return to. She had come from a wealthy family, leaving it behind for him. She never complained, always holding her head high, smiling as they continued to live a simple life. They were by no means poor — he’d never allow that — but she worked late hours to make sure they were able to pay the bills. She would come home exhausted, struggling to maintain a smile for him. Still she would prepare dinner and on her few days off maintain their home. He often imagined as he performed his music for the very people she had left that he would return
| ALEXANDRA LEE | home and she would be nowhere to be found. That he would run onto the dark streets of London, call her name but receive only the sound of the rain as it collided with the cobblestone roads around him. But the day never came. When he finally confessed his fears to her she reminded him of her love, her every sentence punctuated with tender kisses to his temple. She reminded him of the pride she took in being married to such a talented pianist. And every time he would apologize as she held him in her arms. His strength was never enough to resist the tears that crept down his cheeks, her delicate fingers wiping them away. The day came when he received a letter from the nation of Basilous — famous for their talented musicians — inviting him to play in Bell Concert Hall. He’d rubbed his thumb over the deep blue wax seal, many times before throwing it into the flames. He watched as the parchment turned to ash, the sapphire like wax melting away in the flames. He had waited until the flames died before disposing of the remnants. Then cleaning the rest of their home, wearing a smile when Anna returned home from another long day of work. Now she stood before him, holding another letter from Claude, pleading him to reconsider his decision to remain in London. “I apologize.” he started, taking her hands in his own, bringing her knuckles against his lips. “But I hadn’t planned on telling you.” He knew it was wrong to keep this from her and a part of him had regretted his decision to do so. However he believed that what he was doing was best for them both. He never made a decision without her best interests at heart. Reading Claude’s words the first time he felt as if Basilous was an entirely new world. It intimidated him, the way he’d praised Hymn for its musicians and golden entertainment. He didn’t feel worthy to play among them. He had spent so long playing for those who didn’t see the importance of his talent that he had forgotten what it felt like to be recognized for the many hours he had invested in prac-
ticing. The long nights he had spent in the warmth of a candelabrum, pouring over the many pages of his music sheets. This however wasn’t his reason for turning down the offer. On the contrary he would have swallowed his fear every night to perform if it meant giving Anna a better life. He declined the offer from Claude because it seemed impossible. He swore to change their lives. They would eat like kings and be showered in riches. Anna would finally be able to quit her job, to hire someone else to clean their home, to pursue whatever she fancied. For the first time nothing would be out of their grasps. “William.” she said calmly, pulling her hands away from his lips. “Why would you hide this from me?” His heart was tighter in his chest than the first time he had confessed his love to her. He’d never kept secrets from her before, now shamed by his decision to do so. “Anna, I don’t trust this Claude gentleman.” he said letting go of her hands, reaching to hold her. “There’s something shady about Basilous. ” She turned away from him, avoiding his embrace as she made her way to the piano. She lifted the letter opener from its black surface, piercing the edge of the wax seal, lifting it up to reveal the contents of the letter. He waited in the silence that followed, uncomfortable in his own skin. “Anna.” He pleaded. Her eyes did not stray from the letter as she shushed him. Once she had finished she closed the letter, placing it on top of the piano, carefully placing the letter opener over it. She looked into the candelabra as the flames flickered with her breaths. “Did you know that in Basilous they have these small and round pieces of glass attached to their ceilings? They are fueled by electricity and produce a bright light that can fill entire rooms.” William looked down at their floor. He had seen the little glass objects she spoke of in the homes of his wealthier clients. They almost glittered against Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | the marble floors and glass furniture decorated with little bits of gold. They required little upkeep compared to the many candles they maintained in their home. This was one more thing he had longed to give to her but alas had never had the means. “William, I want electricity.” she said, twirling in the light of the candles though they didn’t reach far. “I want to live in a home as bright as the moonlight. I want to cozy up with a book under the bright lights and to wait for you to come home every night.” Her footsteps were light though slow as she made her way to him. She held her hands out before him, her palms towards the ceiling. She watched as he held them carefully, rubbing his thumbs over the occasional callus. “I want ceilings that stretch forever and enough space for ten children.” “Ten?” They had yet to talk about the possibility of having children but he had always known she wanted a big family. He had seen her stand before the mirror, rubbing her belly with the bluest of expressions. It was in these moments he could see how sad she’d become. “Even if it means we adopt. I want us to have many children with little feet running across warm marble floors. I want to live someplace where it doesn’t rain every day and on the days it doesn’t the sun shines in its place.” “Basilous isn’t that different, Anna. It snows almost every day.” “Snow is magical. The way the sun reflects off its surface makes the winter days just as beautiful as those in the summer.” He took the letter from the piano, crushing it as he held it before her. “Anna, these people can’t be trusted.” “I would risk anything to live in the city of Hymn.” she said, taking the letter from him, holding it against her chest. “I would risk anything to leave this life behind.” For the first time since she had met William she 16 | UncagedBooks.com
didn’t hide her misery. The desperation she had been holding onto for so long. Claude’s letter was her ticket to a better life. A life better than her parents could have dreamed for her. “Why do you insist that we continue to struggle like this? Are you not tired of living like a peasant?” She dropped the letter, taking his hands in her own. “William you deserve to more than this. You deserve to live like the people you perform before. Basilous recognizes the value of musicians. Of you.” William’s breath caught in his chest as he watched tears fall from her emerald eyes. Though he knew they would be better off continuing to struggle, he surrendered to her pain. “All right, my love. I will write Claude tomorrow accepting his offer.” Anna lifted the letter from the floor returning it to the piano. “There is nothing I want more than to spend my life with you William. That said, I would rather spend it in the comfort of Hymn than the dreariness of London.” He swallowed his words and his fears with them, embracing her.
Coming in 2017 - The Era of Dawn series continues..
Interview What’s up next for Deborah? Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from The Prince’s Son Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read. Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find the time. Her taste for the good things in life is kept in check by the expense of keeping too many horses, and her complete inability to cook. She has a dream of a day job riding, training and judging competition dressage horses and riders, and also writes books and magazine features on the subject under her professional name of Debby Lush. A lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy, she started writing her first novel aged eight, and has never stopped. Her debut novel, epic fantasy THE PRINCE’S MAN, won a UK Arts Board award and was an Amazon Hot 100 New Release. It recently won best in category in the RBRT bloggers awards. The second book in the series, the stand alone novel THE PRINCE’S SON, is also available. Her eco-Urban Fantasy, DESPRITE MEASURES, (first in a projected 5 book series) and the companion stand alone short story, SPRITE NIGHT, tell the tale of a Scottish water sprite trying to live a human life in the Scottish Highlands, 18 | UncagedBooks.com
and are currently available on Amazon. She has also published a multi-author anthology of science fiction and fantasy tales on behalf of her writer’s group, including stories from such wellknown names as Tanith Lee, Liz Williams, Cherith Baldry (aka Erin Hunter), and many more. Included in the anthology is Jay’s SF short, PERFECT FIT, a story of genetic manipulation.
Stay Connected deborahjayauthor.com
The Prince’s Son is an epic fantasy novel with terrific world building and character development. Uncaged talked with Deborah Jay about her series and what’s coming next. Uncaged: The Prince’s Son is such an epic fantasy novel. Such an intricate world you’ve built, and a lot of characters to keep in line. Did you plan out the whole world and the charac-
| DEBORAH JAY | ters before you knew the story, and how did you organize it all? Thanks for having me here on Uncaged; it’s always fun to answer questions about my characters. THE PRINCE’S SON is the second story in my Five Kingdoms series, and I did a lot more planning before embarking on this one than I did for the first, THE PRINCE’S MAN. Having said that, most of the details of the world building belong to an earlier book that has yet to see publication. It takes place about 40 years before this series begins, and the ladies who feature in it pop up in the recent books as secondary characters. So the framework was well established, and THE PRINCE’S SON continues the tale of the two principals from THE PRINCE’S MAN, while adding some new ones. I have an overall arc for the series planned out, and I knew where I wanted this group to be at the end of this book, but getting them there wasn’t always easy, particularly as I like to write complete stories each time – no cliff hanger endings from me! I’m a fan of complex characters, and to ensure mine all developed along the paths I planned for them, I found I had to write this book in an unusual way – I wrote each character’s thread as a separate file. Obviously I had to check and compare when their stories overlapped, but in essence I wrote four short books (one for each viewpoint character) and then assembled them afterwards. This was where the Scrivener cork board feature came into its own. If you’ve not heard of it, Scrivener is a writing tool that includes this fabulous virtual cork board. You ‘pin’ cards to the board, and I color coded them for each viewpoint character. I put a one sentence resume of each scene on individual cards, and once
I they were all pinned on the board, I shuffled them around until they formed a coherent time line, with the color coding helping me see if I had too many scenes from one point of view clumped together. Then I read the story in sequence for the first time – just like reading a new book! Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I’m still at the stage where I read every review. So far I’ve been incredibly fortunate, and despite amassing over 100 reviews (over my 3 books), my lowest rated review so far is 3*. I take every point made by reviewers and consider them – after all, if someone has taken the time to write a review, I feel the least I can do is to read it and think about what they have to say. In some cases, I’ve learned important points I’ve taken to heart. In others, I respectfully disagree with them. After I published THE PRINCE’S MAN (which was my debut novel) I did panic a bit, as many of the reviews included people’s thoughts on what might happen in the sequel. It stalled my writing for a while, wondering if I should include every idea, and if I could live up to expectations. Then I got sensible, and wrote the book I wanted, with the story I’d planned. And if the reviews for THE PRINCE’S SON are anything to go by, it seems to have worked! Uncaged: How many books are planned for this world? How long does it take you to write a full novel? I have a core trilogy planned, but with side novellas and short stories to fill in some of the characIssue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | ter’s individual tales more fully. Once this series is done, I plan to go back and rewrite that original book as a prequel, and I’m toying with both the ideas of a new series set a generation later, and also of at least one novel (though I don’t tend to write single books, so it may turn into another series) set a few hundred years earlier, filling in an important chunk of the history of this society. Sadly I’m not quick – a full novel will probably take me a couple of years – but then each is the size of three of someone else’s books! I’m hoping the novellas will come out within nine months or so, it just depends on how big they end up at, and right now, I’m not sure. Uncaged: What do you find the most challenging to write? The easiest? I find it a challenge to find ways of dripping essential information into appropriate places, without creating ‘infodumps’. I’m getting better at it, but it strains my brain! Easiest are the action pieces – I visualize scenes from a cinematic perspective, and all I have to do is transcribe the action I’m watching in my head onto the page. The same goes for dialogue – I ‘hear’ it and simply copy it down. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I love to read Urban Fantasy, and really unusual Epic Fantasy. I like something fresh in terms of setting, characterization, or creature – same old, same old doesn’t do it for me.
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Favorite authors of the moment would be Kim Harrison and Richelle Meade, while on the Indie front, Kaitlyn Davis has blown me away, and I’m loving both J.K. Walker and J.C Kang. I’m a serial reader – once I’ve invested time in getting to know a world and its people, I want to read lots about them. Uncaged: What are some things you like to do when you are not writing? I’m actually a professional horse rider (dressage), so I spend the majority of my time doing that – I’m so lucky to have a job I absolutely love. I’m a senior judge in the UK, and I’m often travelling to shows to compete and judge, and also to lecture and train riders all over the country. I also write for equestrian magazines and websites, and I’ve had a couple of books on horse training published, so my days are pretty full. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? I’m just polishing a few short stories I’ve written for competitions, and I’ll be sharing those with my readers soon. On the Five Kingdoms front, I’m well into planning the first novella, and I will be sitting down to write a short story that spans the time between THE PRINCE’S MAN and THE PRINCE’S SON any day now. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you?
| DEBORAH JAY | Thanks for your support, and I’m so glad you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them! You can find me blogging regularly on my website, at https://deborahjayauthor.com/, and for FREE stories and news, you can join my newsletter at: https://deborahjayauthor.com/newslettersign-up/ You can stalk me on facebook (I like to post amusing memes and photos, in between writing info) at: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahJay
Enjoy an excerpt from The Prince’s Son The Prince’s Son Deborah Jay Epic Fantasy Nessa Haddo has been raised to pursue what every young noblewoman needs: a suitable husband. Unfortunately for her, as a younger twin, her prospects are limited. Things start to look up when she lays eyes on the handsome foreign envoy sent to escort her sister to an arranged marriage, but her romantic fantasies quickly entangle her in events beyond her darkest nightmares. Compared to his last mission, ex-spy Rustam Chalice’s new assignment sounds simple: wrangle an unwieldy bridal caravan across a mountain range populated by bandits, trolls, werecats, and worse, try to cajole a traumatized princess out of her self-imposed isolation, and arrive on time for the politically sensitive wedding. What could possibly go wrong? Meanwhile, Lady Risada—the woman who haunts Rustam’s dreams—is struggling to adjust to a
normal life. All her carefully honed assassin’s instincts scream warnings of foul play, yet she can find nothing obviously amiss. And deep in the halls of a mountain clan, an old enemy plucks his victims’ strings with expert malice. Excerpt When Rustam gave a small whistle, the bay stallion ghosted out of the early morning shadows. Rustam ran a hand along the stallion’s muscular crest, his fingers sliding through the cascade of black mane to the warm sleekness of the silky hair beneath. “I really hate to do this, boy, but you’ll have to stay behind this time.” A pair of huge, dark eyes regarded Rustam with reproach before Fleetfoot shook his head vigorously, long strands of mane whipping from side to side to slap Rustam sharply across the face. “Ouch! I’m sorry, really I am, but even you can’t climb a goat trail; I need you here, to keep the others safe. They can’t look after themselves the way you can.” Fleetfoot heaved a large sigh and rubbed his forehead against Rustam’s shoulder. Leaning into the equine embrace, Rustam caught sight of one of the grooms rolling his eyes to the sky. Crazy, that’s what they thought he was. He smiled privately and kept his silence. It wasn’t their fault they couldn’t see the tiny bit of magic flowing between him and the magnificent animal. When the lads talked to their charges they communicated with tone of voice and a few easy words, achieving a level of trust and affection any human might gain with a horse. But for Rustam’s entire life it had been so much more than that. The ease with which, even as a child, he’d been able to catch the naughtiest ponies; the calmness he’d instilled in the wild black mare no one else Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | could handle, and the way that over the years of their service together Nightstalker had always sensed where he was, and when she was needed. It wasn’t until they journeyed into Shiva that Rustam understood it to be an attribute of his elven blood; he was a Horsemaster in more than mere words. Now, with a Shivan bred steed, that link was even closer. “You know they think I’m soft in the head for talking to you, don’t you?” Fleetfoot snorted; horsey laughter if ever Rustam had heard it. He slapped the hard-muscled red shoulder. “It’s not funny!” He shook his head, drawing the dark thread of his thoughts back together. “No, nothing about this is funny.” He stared into the liquid depths of eyes turned wary. “I need you to keep this lot safe, hear me? I don’t know how long we’ll be gone, or if you’ll be secure here. Watch over them, for me, yes?” Fleetfoot snorted again, head nodding up and down. Rustam draped an arm over the stallion’s withers and bent forward to bury his face in the abundant mane. With his eyes shut, he inhaled the glorious scent of horse, and felt his muscles relax. He was leaving the caravan with the best possible guard he could arrange, in the absence of a small army.
Uncaged Review This is an epic fantasy novel. The world building is amazing, and I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of research and layout that this world took before the author even started writing. There is also a lot of characters to keep track of, but it’s done pretty easily. I don’t really feel this is a romance per say, but it has those elements scattered throughout. I read a review that this was romance heavy, and I really disagree with that assessment. It is present, at least for a couple characters but does not draw away from the storyline at all. This is the second book in a series, but I did not have 22 | UncagedBooks.com
any issues reading it as a standalone. This story truly revolves around three main groups, all interconnected. The Prince and his pregnant wife Lady Risada, the Prince’s son, Rustam who is charged with escorting a bridal caravan to its destination, where the oldest Haddo twin, Julin will be getting married. With her is her maid Enya, and her twin sister Nessa. Along the way, the girls are kidnapped and they soon discover some of their most horrifying days, and some of their most amazing discoveries. This story held my interest from the beginning, but it was a bit slow for me. It’s a story that slowly grabs you before you realize it. Reviewed by Cyrene
The Prince’s Man Deborah Jay Epic Fantasy Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him. And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms. Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god - and each other. They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince. For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death
Interview Whatâ€™s next Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpts from Dead by Morning Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Proud author of Dead by Morning, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas. Claim a free book of hers by signing up for her newsletter on her website: https://authorkaylakrantz.wordpress.com/
Kayla Krantz’s Rituals of the Night series will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you like a good thriller, look no further. First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! Uncaged: What inspired you to become a writer? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. There was never really anything that triggered me to start, I just kind of did one day and haven’t been able to stop since. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I am very keen on checking reviews in almost every place I can think of, Amazon, Goodreads, across various blogs. They’ve shaped Dead by Morning quite a bit, and I have a feeling that future books will also be affected. Uncaged: The Rituals of the Night series really takes you through the emotions, of grief, fear, loathing and even sympathy. Where did the inspiration come for this series? Weirdly enough, this series came to me as a dream. I had a dream about Chance and the rest of the story just fell into place. The other characters are all based on people I know which makes them a
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| KAYLA KRANTZ | little more 3-D.
where can they follow you?
Uncaged: What do you find the most challenging to write? The easiest?
I appreciate every single person that takes time out of their day to read my works and support me. Writing is hard so having people who are there for me on days when I want to give up make a huge difference.
The most challenging thing to me is writing stories with romance in them or a romance subplot. These stories have a completely different formula that I’m just not used to. Thriller and horror are definitely the easiest because suspenseful stories are where I have the most practice. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I love anything psychological, mostly thriller and horror. Some of my favorite authors include Agatha Christie, Brenda Novak, Jeff Lindsay, Stephen King, and Gillian Flynn. Uncaged: What are some things you like to do when you are not writing? When I’m not writing, I love to just curl up with a good book and let the rest of the world slip away for a while. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? I do know that there is a third book in this series in the works, is there a set amount of books to this series? In the near future, I am part of an all-horror anthology that’s to be released on February 5th. On March 1st, my very first fantasy novel, The Council, launches on Amazon. As for the Rituals of the Night series, book three, Survive at Midnight, is set to release June 1st. I have the idea for 9 books to be in this series and a tenth which will be a type of spin-off. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and
Enjoy an excerpt from Dead by Morning Dead by Morning Kayla Krantz Psychological Thriller Obsession is deadly. No one learns that better than Luna Ketz, a pessimistic high school senior. She wishes more than anything to graduate but things don’t always go as planned. Luna quickly finds herself trapped in a web of lies and murders, spun by the least suspected person in her hometown. It’s not long before she realizes she’s being targeted by the person she despises most in the world. When Luna figures out who is behind the killings, things make a turn for the bizarre when she is contacted by a friend she has not heard from in years. It is then Luna realizes she is very much in danger, but although she can avoid the killer in reality, she cannot avoid him in her dreams. Excerpt Reluctantly, she set her hand in his. His skin felt clammy beneath her fingers, like he had been sweating. Luna wanted to pull her hand back, but she forced herself to keep it there. He closed his fingers around hers and pulled her onto the dance floor. The music turned to a slow, sappy song, forcing them to slow dance. He forced Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | her arms up onto his shoulders and set his hands on her waist. As he stepped to the music, she searched his expression for any sign of compassion. “Why do you do this to me?” “Do what?” “Make me go to things like this. I mean, I know you don’t like me. What could you possibly want from me?” He looked back at her, and for a minute, he didn’t speak, as if he had been caught off-guard by her question. “I can’t tell you.” “You can blackmail me into going on dates with you, and you can have your friends kidnap me, but you can’t tell me why you do it?” she asked in disbelief. “Look, you’ll find out eventually, and you won’t like it, I know. I try hard to get you to feel something toward me so that when you find that out, you won’t fight me,” he whispered in her ear. “Find what out? What could be so bad? Do Susan and Kate and all of them know what it is?” She pulled back to watch his face carefully. “No, they don’t. No one does. Just keep quiet, okay?” “Does this have to do with the thing you hide in your pocket?” Luna asked him a bit louder. “Do you have it on you now?” She reached her hand forward to try to touch the side of his pants. A couple people around them turned to look as she raised her voice to him. Chance caught her wrist easily in his hand, returned their stares, and smiled nervously before looking back at Luna. He had to resist the urge to shake her into silence as he let go of her arm. “I don’t hide anything in my pocket okay?” he snarled. “That’s all just your imagination, Luna. Now drop it.” Part of her was frightened by his sudden anger. He was hiding something from her…and from everyone else as well. “Okay, we’re setting up to play,” a voice called from the stage. “We need a volunteer singer to help us out.” “How about Chance does it?” Luna heard a nearby girl suggest. The anger dissolved from Chance’s face as he turned to the girl who had spoken. Luna realized all of his rage had been solely directed at her, and she felt oddly cold at the thought. “Yeah, I’ll do it. Why not?” she barely heard him say. He let go of her and moved 26 | UncagedBooks.com
through the cheering crowd toward the stage. The band took its place, and Chance stood at the microphone. He looked completely comfortable up there, normal, as if he weren’t the center of attention. The band began to play “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, and Luna studied Chance. He began to sing the words gently, and his voice surprised her. It sounded beautiful. As Luna watched him, she knew he looked like any other teenage boy. The girls around Luna cheered him on, but she stayed silent. His eyes flicked to her as he reached the chorus of the song, flashing in the lights. There was something bad about him. Something that separated him from all the other teenage boys and made him a danger to the people who called him ‘friend.’
Uncaged Review Dead by Morning
(Rituals of the Night, Book One)
Luna is a high school student, who keeps her head down and her grades high, so when the most popular boy in school starts paying a lot of attention to her, she is completely confused and tries to get him to leave her alone. But Chance won’t take no for an answer, and is obsessed with Luna and manipulates her and her parents, and she ends up spending more time with him than she wants. But there is an evil lurking behind Chance’s eyes, and Luna can’t quite put her finger on what’s going on. When girls from school end up missing, she starts putting it together. When she has to go to the school dance with Chance, he ends up taking her to his home, where she stumbles upon a room with pentagrams and bones. This book is a psychological trip, and it’s not just about a serial killer, there is a paranormal/fantasy element similar to the Freddy Krueger dreams, and when Luna has her nightmares and is shackled up in her dream, her wrists are bruised the next
| KAYLA KRANTZ | morning. And when her old friend Max comes back to town and tells Luna of his dreams, which are almost an exact match to hers, the danger is only just beginning. If Chance can unite with his DreamWorld self, he will be unstoppable. Will Luna and Max be able to figure out his weakness before it’s too late? It had a satisfying ending, that I did not predict, and it left it wide open for the series to continue, and it ends with a note…. The author does a great job creeping you out and having you thinking about keeping that night light on when you go to sleep. Reviewed by Cyrene
Alive by Sunset
(Rituals of the Night, Book Two) This book starts off three years after the events of the last book. Luna is now in college, and she’s living with her roommate Amanda. Chance has been in a coma for three years, and Luna has visited the hospital every week, just to reassure herself that he’s still there. The doctors tell her there is very little chance he’ll come around…. Luna’s friend Max is convinced that something is wrong in the DreamWorld, but with Chance in a coma, and even if he wakes he won’t know anything about his past, Luna has a hard time believing him, until killings begin again, and Chance is no longer in his hospital bed where he’s been in for three years. The author really ramps this one up. This is an edge-ofyour-seat psychological thriller, with horror and paranormal elements. And there is graphic violence. You get to see deep inside the head of this serial killer, and feel the fear of Luna and his victims. But the author also has you feeling sympathy for Chance, which I never would have believed I would, but I did. The characters are well flushed out, and the author leaves no stone unturned in taking you on this highly charged emotional sequel. Reviewed by Cyrene
Alive by Sunset Kayla Krantz Psychological Thriller Revenge can become an obsession of its own. After her high school experience, Luna Ketz moved on. She’s in college, studying to be a doctor, and lives an hour away from her old home in Lima, Ohio--where the worst of her memories lie. Three years have passed since her friend Violet’s death and the thought of that day in the woods hasn’t left her mind once. Every week, she visits the hospital where Chance Welfrey remains in a coma. She tries to move on... wants to move on...until once again, she receives a phone call from Max Cazmea warning her that things may not be over just yet. Chance, having recovered from his recent coma, shows up on her doorstep. He has found a way into Luna’s life that she cannot escape--he’s dating her roommate, Amanda Grey. Back in her life once more, Chance has a list, and everyone on it ends up dead. As things escalate, Luna finds herself in a dangerous game of cat and mouse that will take all of her wits to survive. *Warning: This book contains content that may be disturbing to some including rape and graphic violence.* Survive at Midnight Kayla Krantz Psychological Thriller Death doesn’t always bring peace. With memories of her dead family and friends haunting her, Luna Ketz tries to untangle her life from the hold Chance has had on her over the past four years, but it’s harder than she thought. In death his secrets are Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | revealed, plunging Luna into the mind of the man who ruined her life. Thoughts of her soon-to-beborn baby only bring to mind its monstrous father. Haunted by a new set of dreams, Luna fears her baby will grow up to be a carbon copy of him. She battles to keep hold of her sanity as she loses a grip on the world around her. The dead begin to speak, and she can’t possibly ignore them. With Chance whispering evil deeds in her ear, she treads a trail she never thought she would venture and must rely on her worst enemy to help her conquer her biggest trial yet--herself.
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The Council Kayla Krantz Romantic Fantasy The Council is the governing Coven over the Land of Five, a region entirely inhabited—and split apart—by witches with varying powers. Lilith Lace, a witch thought to be born powerless, happily resides in Ignis, the Coven of Fire, until she suddenly develops telekinesis, an ability only seen in some witches born in Mentis, the Coven of the Mind. When The Council finds out about her odd development, she’s taken under their wing and is finally told the truth—everything she’s learned about the Land of Five, herself included, have been nothing but lies.
Interview A very exciting 2017 Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from Highland Hellion Reviews
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
With a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, B.J. always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which steamy romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters-dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you canâ€™t help but admire--spring to life. A PAN member of RWA, World Romance Writers, and Savvy Authors, B.J. also writes contemporary, paranormal, time travel, and romantic suspense. C.S. Lewis first captivated B. J.â€™s imagination in the fourth grade, and her desire to write sprang from there. Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knightin-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with 3 dogs and a cat. When she is not writing you will find her reading, camping, antique hunting, or doing a variety of handcrafts-including Celtic inspired Jewelry and 30 | UncagedBooks.com
bookmarks. PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE THREE AUTHORS WITH THE NAME BJ SCOTT AND WE ARE NOT THE SAME AUTHOR. PLEASE CHECK AUTHOR BIO BEFORE YOU PURCHASE.
Be sure to check out the SWAG giveaway from B.J. Scott on page 38 on how to enter!
| B.J. SCOTT | The highly entertaining Fraser brother trilogies are hard to put down once you begin reading them. B.J. Scott was kind enough to join us here at Uncaged. See page 38 for a special SWAG giveaway and how to enter. First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! Thank you so much for inviting me to be a feature author on Uncaged Book Reviews. Uncaged: I have always been a huge fan of historical novels, how much research do you have to do for your novels? It all depends on the books. When I am writing a book as part of a series, I have usually done extensive research for the first book, so the next ones in the same series do not require as much. The first book usually requires a lot more since I want it to be as accurate as possible. When a reader picks up one of my books, I want them to be able to see, feel, smell, taste, and hear the past as if they are actually there. The key to writing a historical romance is to remember the romance drives the book and the history is sprinkled in to add flavor. In Historical fiction, it is the other way around. History is the driving force and romance the added flavor. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I read all my reviews. Which can be hard at times, because not everyone will love my books. I do pay attention to both positive and negative comments and try to utilize them both to become a better writer. Uncaged: In the Blades of Honor Trilogy, we are back with the Frasers which is a continuation of The Fraser Brothers Trilogy. Are you planning
on revisiting the Fraser brothers? One never knows. When I wrote Highland Legacy, it was originally a standalone book. I had not planned a series. But the readers requested more and my editor asked me to write Bryceâ€™s. I wrote Highland Quest and that led to the third book in the Fraser Brothers Trilogy, Highland Homecoming. Since my publisher called it a trilogy and there were three brothers, I figured that would be the end of that series. I wrote a couple of standalones in between, but people kept asking for more about the Fraser Brothers and their extended family. I decided to write Highland Hellion, about a sister they never knew existed. Since a trilogy is only three books, we had to name the sequel series something else and Blades of Honor suited the storyline and is an open-ended series so there can be as many books as I like. That as you know was quickly followed by the next two books in the series, Highland Resurrection and Highland Deliverance. I have been asked if I plan to write a fourth book in the series, but am still deciding. I have a couple off ideas, but nothing decided yet. The family is well know now and it makes it easy for me to pick up at any time and continue if the mood and muse strikes. Uncaged: The language of historicals, specially the Highland novels, always have some interesting language appropriate to their time period. First of all, thank you for keeping the wording easy for us more modern folk to understand, and since you spend a lot of time writing in this time period, does any of that language creep into your real life in conversation? Aye it does :) But not too often. I do use a little dialect in my books to set the stage, but try to keep it simple. I find if an author has too much, it makes the reading choppy.
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| FEATURE AUTHOR | Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? I will always choose a Highland Historical to read when possible, but since I became a published author, I have not had much time to read for pleasure. The competition is so stiff, an author must turn out as many books as they can to keep readers interested. Writing, promo and editing, is very time consuming so I do not get much reading done. My hubby likes a little of my time too so when I do take a break from writing, I spend it with him. To name a favorite author would be impossible. There are so many talented writers it would be impossible to pick just a few. Safe to say, lovers of Highland romance have a great selection to consider. Uncaged: Where is your favorite places to write? Do you prefer quiet, or do you like to listen to music while writing? I have two favorite places to write. Whenever I need to concentrate or find myself with writer block, I fill my claw foot tub with lavender bubbles, climb in and spend the next couple of hours writing. From April through Oct. I live at our trailer in a lovely conservation park. Hubby comes up on weekends and the rest of the time, I have the writing oasis to myself. Hate when we close for the season. I can write pretty well anywhere so it does not matter if it is quiet or not. I usually have the TV on for background noise. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? 2017 is going to be a busy an exciting year for my writing career. I recently signed with Duncurra LLC for my first Scottish Time travel Novella. 32 | UncagedBooks.com
The cover and title will be released soon. I am also working on a full length Scottish time travel novel entitled Forever and Beyond with Duncurra LLC which will release late spring. I am collaborating with three of the top authors in my genre for an anthology of new medieval novellas to be released late 2017. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I would like to say thank you to those who have purchased and enjoyed my books. Without readers there would be no need for authors ;)
Enjoy an excerpt from Highland Hellion Highland Hellion B.J. Scott Highlander Historical Arya MacEachanâ€™s beloved father taught her to hunt, ride, to handle a sword, and shoot an arrow straighter than most men, things a proper lady did not usually learn. When he is killed at the Battle of Bannockburn, their holdings taken by Robert the Bruce, the spirited lass is left alone to care for her invalid mother, a task she does not take lightly. Garrett MacDougall, leader of his displaced clan and their related septs, struggles to provide for his people on barren land where hunting is forbidden, forcing him to steal from the new Lord of Argyll in order to survive. When Arya, the woman he loves and wishes to marry, insists on accompanying the men on a raid, he knows better than to forbid her from joining them, so he reluctantly agrees.
| B.J. SCOTT | But when a traitor betrays them, and Arya is captured, then sentence to death, Garrett is forced to accept help from his sworn enemy, the Fraser brothers, summoned by Arya’s dying mother to rescue her daughter, the sister they did not know they had until now. Excerpt Chapter One Scottish Highlands 1316 Arya MacEachan swallowed a swig of whisky, then brought a clenched fist to her lips and blew on the dice for luck. She’d rolled a seven to open the match, so she needed another seven or an eleven to win all bets. Having dominated the Game of Hazards so far, she hoped fortune would smile upon her again. While her opponents had no coin, the two fat hares the man they called Fergus used to wager would make a fine stew. Her stomach rumbled. She could not remember the last time she’d eaten more than turnips and oatcakes. And her ailing mother could certainly use the nourishment. This evening’s winnings—five onions, two small sacks of grain, a crock of whisky, and a tarnished brooch—would make the scolding she’d face when she arrived home more tolerable. Life was tough for Clan MacEachan and other septs of the once powerful Clan MacDougall following the Scottish victory at Bannockburn. In the beginning, they avidly supported the fight for Scottish independence from England. But their loyalties shifted in the spring of 1306 when their kinsman, John Comyn, one of the several claimants to the Scottish crown, was killed in an altercation with Robert the Bruce at Greyfriars Abbey. When the Bruce claimed the throne, a civil war, fiercer than their conflict with England, tore the country apart, pitting clan against clan and Scots fighting Scots. The bitter day when word of her father’s death
at the Battle of Bannockburn arrived, her whole world shattered and her life changed forever. With their land in Argyll confiscated by the Bruce and given to Clan Campbell as a spoil-of-war, the displaced MacEachans were forced to live in the neighboring hills, scavenging for what they could find to survive. Planting crops proved futile. Nothing but a few turnips grew amidst the rocks and thistles around their encampments. Hunting was considered poaching by the new Lord, an offence punishable by death. “Are you going to take all night to throw those dice?” Fergus growled. He downed the content of his mug, belched, then helped himself to more spirits. Arya shook her head, pushing the memories of her beloved father and her clan’s former prosperity to the back of her mind. She asked the Almighty for one last boon, then rolled the carved pieces of bone onto the tree stump. To ask the Lord for selfish favors was wrong, but her mother was ill, and a hearty meal might aid in her recovery. The rest she’d share with the bairns of the clan. Under the circumstances, she was certain God would understand and forgive her indiscretions. Fergus glared at the dice and cursed. “Eleven! I win.” She found it impossible to hide her excitement, but toned down her enthusiasm when she caught Fergus’s glower of contempt. The man was neither pleased nor impressed by yet another loss. After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, Arya spoke. “Well, gentlemen, this has been most amusing, but the time has come for me to take my leave,” she said as she scooped her spoils into a canvas sack. “My mam will be waiting for me to make her some supper. I thank you for your contributions, and if you are ever passing through this way again, perhaps we can resume our game.” “Not so fast,” Fergus snapped. “You canna just up and leave without giving us a chance to recoup our losses.” Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | “I’m afraid I must. My mother is bedridden, and canna prepare her meals.” As she turned to depart, Fergus clasped her wrist, his nails digging into her flesh. “You will go when I say so and not before. I demand we play another round and are given a chance to win back what we’ve lost.” Fergus pinned her with a scathing stare that caused the hair on her neck to bristle, but she’d not back down. Instead, she raised her chin in defiance. “There is no point in continuing. Good fortune has smiled upon me this night, and you have nothing left to wager.” Arya tried to twist free of his hold on her, but he tightened his grip. “No one is that lucky unless they cheat.” Fergus slammed her palm down on the tree stump, then drew his dirk. “Do you know what happens to thieves and swindlers, laddie? Many a man has lost his fingers and even his life over a game gone bad. The reason Hazards has been outlawed in taverns and banned by the church for many years. How do you think you’ll manage with only one hand?” This wasn’t the first time she’d been mistaken for a lad, but she saw no point in clarifying. Fergus did not strike her as the sort of man who would care, as long as he got back what he’d lost. But that was not going to happen. “I am neither a cheat nor a swindler, sir. I won fairly and demand you release me at once.” Arya glared up at him. Show no fear. “You heard the lass. Let her go. Now.” A darkclocked figure entered the clearing, leapt from his horse, and unsheathed his sword. “Her? You’re a liar. No woman I’ve ever met can drink, gamble, and curse the way this fellow does.” Fergus yanked the wool cap from her head, her hair spilling free. “Damnation! It is a lass.” He scrubbed a smudge of dirt from her cheek with his thumb. “What sort of ruse is this? And who the hell are you?” he asked the newcomer. “My name is Garrett MacDougall, and it appears 34 | UncagedBooks.com
I arrived just in time.” He narrowed his stare, focusing on Arya. “I heard there was gambling going on at the rendezvous spot tonight and thought I might find you here.” “I dinna care who you are. Lass or lad, this scalawag cheats and I demand satisfaction.” Fergus tightened his grip on Arya’s arm. “I’d suggest you be on your way and mind your affairs.” “There is no deception or trickery afoot, sir. Just an honest game of chance that you gentlemen entered into of your own free will,” Arya replied. “Then why are you dressed like a lad?” Fergus asked. “It matters not what she wears. Sheath your weapon and let her go. I’ll not warn you again.” Garrett took a menacing step forward. “Now.” Arya proudly watched as Garrett took control of the situation. Fergus obviously had no idea who he was challenging. And while she was capable of handling her own life, she was grateful she could always count on him to watch her back. Her heart fluttered. Garrett was so braw, he took her breath away. He was the only man who could twist her insides into knots and make her forget her name in his presence. A feminine weakness she often cursed and did her utmost to suppress. She closed her eyes, remembering the first time he visited her grandfather’s castle with his da. She’d only seen five summers and he was ten, but even at that young age, she recognized a bond between them that would last a lifetime. When he waved her off, declaring he had no use for bairns, she was determined to set him straight and prove she was no ordinary lass—her father had seen to that. She went out of her way to impress the arrogant bugger, showing him she could ride, shoot, and wrestle as well as any lad. “Unhand her, or you’ll answer to me,” Garrett demanded through clenched teeth. “Nay. I willna have it said I was outplayed or outsmarted by a woman. Besides, my wife will skin me alive if I come home empty-handed and smelling of whisky. I have five wee ones to feed, and—” “You should have thought of those things before
| B.J. SCOTT | you entered into the game,” Garrett replied. “Let the lass go or empty bellies will be the least of your bairns’ worries. I’d suspect having no da to raise them will be far worse.” One of Fergus’s companions stepped forward. “Do as he says, man, and release her. This fellow’s reputation with a blade is heralded throughout the Highlands.” “Well, he doesna look so tough to me.” Fergus puffed out his chest. “Besides, it’s four against two. The odds are in my favor, not his.” “You are on your own, Fergus. I am not going die so you can act like a horse’s arse.” The man threw his hands in the air and backed away. The other two players did the same. “Cowards, the lot of you. Damn you all,” Fergus shouted. “It appears it is just you and me, Fergus.” Garrett clasped Arya’s arm, tugged her free, then shoved her behind him. “Get your belongings and ready your horse” He pointed at her palfrey tied to a tree at the edge of the clearing. Normally Arya refused to back down from a challenge, but, this time, she’d heed Garrett’s orders. “Just this once,” she muttered as she picked up her sack and the two hares. She gave a curt nod and turned to leave, then hesitated. “Do as I said, Arya,” Garrett demanded when Fergus moved in her direction. She stood fast, staring at her winnings. “Now,” Garrett repeated. Arya nodded, but before doing as Garrett instructed, she tossed one of the rabbits at Fergus’s feet. “I won these fairly, but I willna have it said that I took food from babes. Next time, dinna wager your bairns’ dinner,” she said. “I’d suggest you take the meat and leave,” Garrett said to Fergus. “We want no more trouble and your family is waiting for you.” Fergus grunted as he bent down to scooped up the hare. “She is fortunate you were here to protect her.” Arya bit back the urge to respond. There was no point antagonizing this fool any further, so she
held her tongue and prepared to mount her horse. “You’re wrong,” Garrett piped up. “Arya was not the one I worried would get hurt. You are lucky she walked away, and dinna decide to stay and fight.” Fergus spat on the ground, before sheathing his blade. “No woman could best me,” he mumbled while heading toward his horse. “Let’s get out of here,” he said to his friends, then dragged himself into the saddle. Once the four men rode out of sight, Garrett joined Arya. “Finally, you did as I instructed, and for that I give thanks,” he said with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. “Dinna get accustomed to it. I take orders from no man. The sooner you realize that, the better. I did as you asked because it suited me to do so,” she said, then patted her horse’s neck. “That attitude is going to get you killed, lass,” Garrett replied as he climbed atop his destrier. “What in the name of Saint Stephen are you doing here alone?” “I dinna need anyone’s permission to go out for an evening of gambling and a wee dram. Especially yours,” she replied. “And as you can see, I did quite well. Mam and I will have plenty to eat for at least a sennight. If you ask nicely, I may invite you to sup with us on the morrow. “Dinna be coy with me, Arya. Going out unescorted at night to gamble with strangers is dangerous. If you’re not careful, you’ll wind up dead.” “You know if I had stayed to answer the bugger’s challenge, he’d not have gotten off so easily.” She laughed, then kicked her horse into a trot, leaving Garrett in a cloud of dust. She heard the thunder of hooves behind her, but she did not slow her pace.
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
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Blades of Honor Trilogy, Book Two
Blades of Honor Trilogy, Book One
This is the first book in a secondary trilogy of the Fraser family. The first trilogy, The Fraser Brothers Series runs before this set, so if you want to get the full impact and the stories of all the characters you meet, you could start there, but you will not have any problems reading this trilogy alone, or even reading any of the books as standalones, but all the characters are memorable, and reading the whole series is the best way to go. This time out, we learn about a spitfire of a woman, named Arya. Taught to hunt, fish and handle a sword better than most by her father, Arya is a force to be reckoned with. After the war, her clan is forced out of their lands and in order to survive, her and some clan members, including the leader of the clan, Garrett, are ready to raid the keep of the new Lord of Argyle to get the supplies they need for the upcoming winter. But Arya is captured and sentenced to death… But Ayra’s dying mother summons the Fraser brothers, whom she finally tells the secret of Arya’s parentage – she is their half-sister. But will the Fraser brothers be able to save Arya? Well hashed out and memorable characters, a great storyline and backdrop to the series, with a romance that Arya shies away from, but Garrett has loved Arya for years, and he won’t give up easily. I really enjoyed Arya’s fighting spirit and Garrett’s loyalty. The Fraser brothers didn’t disappoint and the bits of humor scattered throughout was refreshing. Reviewed by Cyrene
I actually read this one first, a couple months ago, so I’m revisiting that review here, but also it was easy to read on its own, but it does end in a bit of a cliffhanger. This is a nicely paced Highlander historical. Sheena, wrongly accused as a woman who lifts her skirts for money, is attacked on her way home from the markets. Brother Lazarus, who was raised by monks, sees the attack and comes to Sheena’s aid. Leaving her in the hands of a friend to get her home, he can’t stop the guilty feelings he has for not seeing her home herself. So he sets out to find her, and when he finds her, she’s very sick with an infection from the wound on her arm. Finding she is the caretaker of her younger brother, Brother Lazarus remains with her and her brother until she is well enough again. But Brother Lazarus has secrets – and doesn’t know who he really is, and Sheena has secrets of her own. Unraveling the story around both of them, the author does a nice job interweaving the characters, with a bit of mystery, danger and action within the romance. Once you get to the halfway point, the book is hard to put down. Even though this is a series book, and this was not the first book in the series, I had no problems catching on, and can easily be read as a standalone. Reviewed by Cyrene
Blades of Honor Trilogy, Book Three
For the third book in this trilogy, it starts off where we left off in book two. Sheena was accosted when she was young by an evil laird, Roderick Morgan. Her son by this union, Quinn, has been hidden from Morgan until now. Morgan has fig36 | UncagedBooks.com
ured out that Quinn is his son, and kidnapped him from the Fraser castle grounds. The Fraser brothers along with their cousins, ride off on a rescue mission. But it won’t be easy, Morgan is a cruel man, and Ian Fraser, the brothers’ cousin, gets inside the Morgan keep disguised as a servant. He finds an ally in Rosalyn, Morgan’s sister who is abused by Morgan, and is being pushed to marry against her will. All the previous characters from the other stories are back, and the plot and story is a page-turner. Never does this book slow down and bore the reader. It keeps a fantastic pace and the romance between Ian and Rosalyn is heartwarming. B.J. Scott writes woman with not only beauty, but strength and dignity. I will look forward to reading much, much more from this author. Reviewed by Cyrene
Highland Resurrection B.J. Scott Highlander Historical Gravely injured during the massacre at Berwick on Tweed and with no memory of his past, Brother Lazarus was raised by monks until called upon by the Catholic Church to take up arms and protect pilgrims traveling to the Holy Land. As a member of the ill-fated Knights Templar, he is haunted by the horror of battle and the atrocities he witnessed at the hands of the French King, Philip the Fair, in his attempt to destroy the once-sacred order. Aided by a disgruntled French guard, he escaped on the night before his execution and flees to Scotland, but remains a fugitive. King Philip is convinced he also absconded with religious artifacts and a valuable treasure.
Despite his attempt to remain sequestered with the monks who raised him, Lazarus visits Berwick, convinced it holds the key to his identity and past. While there, he prevents a lass from being raped— a Good Samaritan act that has him questioning his vows of celibacy and puts him and anyone around him in danger. Sheena MacClaran, wrongly accused of being a whore, harbors secrets of her own, but finds herself drawn to the mysterious monk who tends to her injuries and befriends her wee brother. Has she finally found a man she can trust and love, or will demons from his past and a king’s wrath catch up with them and tear them apart forever?
Highland Deliverance B.J. Scott Highlander Historical When Ian Fraser enters the castle of his enemy disguised as a servant, he has one mission in mind—to locate and free his cousin’s son, then return the lad to his home. But when he meets Lady Roslyn, a stunning, highspirited lass, who could very well be the love of his life, things change. Can Ian rescue Quinn and win Roslyn’s heart, or will her ruthless brother, Roderick, laird of the Morgan stronghold, stand in their way of happiness?
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
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Don’t miss The Fraser Brothers Trilogy Highland Legacy B.J. Scott Highlander/Historical Faced with an abhorrent betrothal, Cailin Macmillan flees her father’s castle and quickly learns that a woman traveling alone in Medieval Scotland is an easy target for ruthless English soldiers. When Highland patriot Connor Fraser comes to her aid, his steadfast dedication to king and country is challenged by his overwhelming desire to protect Cailin—even if he must marry her to do so. Accused of murdering one of her attackers and determined to rely on her own resourcefulness, Cailin dresses as a lad, intent on seeking refuge at the camp of Robert the Bruce. Can she elude an enemy from her past—a vindictive English lord bent on her utter demise—or will she fall prey to his carnal intent and be executed for a crime she did not commit?
Highland Quest B.J. Scott Highlander/Historical No longer content in the shadows of his older brothers, and on a quest to find his destiny, Bryce Fraser’s chosen path is fraught with danger, passion, and decisions. Can his unspoken love for spirited, beguiling Fallon be triumphant in a time of war and uncertainty, or will they both fall prey to the devious plans of a traitorous laird from a rival clan?
Highland Homecoming B.J. Scott Highlander/Historical The last thing Alasdair Fraser expects to find on an isolated beach in Northern Scotland is a beautiful, unconscious lass. Unable to turn his back on someone in need, he delays his journey and tends to her injuries—an act that has him questioning his destiny and his plans to rejoin the fight for Scotland’s independence. Will he drop the shield that guards his heart or will the secrets she fails to reveal, and his own stubbornness, keep them apart forever?
Win this fantastic Swag gift set from author B.J. Scott! Go to B.J. Scott’s Facebook Page and mention in the comments to win! Let her know you saw it in Uncaged!
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Interview Is it the end of The Variant Conspiracy? Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from Terra Nova Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Located on BC’s beautiful West Coast, I write speculative fiction for YA, NA & MG readers. I have an undergraduate degree in writing and literature, a corporate background in communications and design, and an Etsy alterego named Sleepless Storyteller. I share my eclectic home and lifestyle with my metalworking husband, fingerpaint-artist daughter and future-rocket-scientist son.
Uncaged reviewer Michael, fell in love with one of Christine’s books, and when asked to review the other two in the trilogy for this feature, he jumped at the chance. Uncaged: What inspired you to write this series? Is Ivan modeled after someone you know? Much of what inspired me to write The Variant Conspiracy books came from personal experiences (all totally mundane) and my feelings about the direction of contemporary society, along with the state of our environment. For the story overall, my intention was to create a hopeful near-dystopia. To me, there’s nothing worse than reading a story about how the world ends - or how miserable things are for survivors. Ivan is an amalgam of CEOs and businessmen I’ve worked with in the corporate world over the years. He’s the sort of person who can inspire you and tear you down almost simultaneously. X-Men characters certainly inspired some mutation ideas, but I’d like to think my Variants’ story is quite different from the universe of Marvel mutants. I’ve always been an avid reader and many books I’ve enjoyed over the years sparked pieces of the plot, big and small. Most notably, The Chrysalids
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| DALE ELSTER | by John Wyndham, Weaveworld by Clive Barker, and Hellblazer: War Lord by John Shirley. Although it’s not a novel, Laura Lindgren’s Mutter Museum: Historic Medical Photographs was also inspirational. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do read reviews, but I try to keep them at arm’s length. Writers who want to create a career’s worth of literature will not enjoy their work in the long run if strong opinions send them on an emotional rollercoaster. To make a change to my writing style, a plot I’m crafting, or characters I’m nurturing, the input has to be from a trusted source close to me, such as an editor or a carefully selected beta reader. Reviews are a great mechanism of getting general feedback, but you never know about the reviewer’s own context or background. For example, a reader looking for a steamy romance may find that my sci-fi/paranormal stories don’t have enough ‘action’ to hold their interest. I write what interests me, which is almost always speculative, first and foremost. Uncaged: How did you come up with the Terra Nova Virus? Terra Nova seemed to me to be the logical final step in a plan to overhaul the planet. (I try to stay away from the term ‘terraforming’ as it specifically refers to converting other planets into an Earth replica, which isn’t what I was going for.) I thought of a dispassionate alien interested more in efficiency than violence, although they’d certainly be capable of the latter. A virulent virus would be an effective way to remove a large population without influencing the landscape or natural resources. Ivan’s plans for reforming Earth were very intricate and precise, not something that
would accommodate catastrophic weapons. Uncaged: What do you find the most challenging to write? The easiest? There were two elements of writing The Variant Conspiracy books I found most challenging; unfamiliar settings and inventing science. Creating tangible, lifelike settings is important to me, so I generally only use locations I’ve actually visited (alien worlds notwithstanding). Writing parts of the US I’ve never visited along with Santorini, Cairo, and Shanghai were leaps of faith I had to take to make the story work. As for the science, it’s difficult to cultivate believable incidents when you step sideways out of reality. The types of natural mutation and cultivated mutation I used in my variants transcends into paranormal for many readers. I wanted to root planetary changes in science I could research, like fracking and pollution. SPOILER ALERT: I made a thoughtful decision to have Ivan possessed by an alien entity that somehow survived independent of its physical body. I preferred that wild possibility to the idea of a hellspawn demon. Strange as it is, the alien seemed more real to me. But what was easy to write? Irina. I freely admit she’s a facet of who and how I was in my early twenties. I did not adjust quickly or easily to the corporate world, despite making a calculated decision to root my career in communications. The Variant Conspiracy was my first novel-scale use of the first person, so it seemed natural to let my personal voice into my protagonist a bit more than usual. Uncaged:Do you plan on furthering the series with the “surprise” Irina had at the end of Terra Nova? Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | I hadn’t planned on more books, but I think my editor at Soul Mate had the same question. If I found the demand warranted, I don’t see why Irina’s story couldn’t continue. There are actually a few other threads I could pick up down the road. Uncaged: Have you been to any of the places that Irina has been to in the series? Although I did have to rely on beautiful photographs for some of my settings, I have been fortunate enough to travel to many points on the trilogy’s map. Everywhere Irina goes in BC is somewhere I’ve visited or lived. Globally, I’ve been to Seattle, London, Chester, Nairobi, and the Rift Valley. When I included Kibera, the slum in Nairobi, I did it because that was the first and only slum I’d ever seen in person. And it broke my heart instantly. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future?
Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? My first thought for my readers is always, thank you for your time. Thank you for spending some of your precious spare time with my characters and stories. Anyone who’d like to connect online can find me in most corners of social media. Pretty much my only dark spot is YouTube. For now. As soon as I master the art of the video selfie, I’ll probably hop on there too, but in the meantime, I answer emails, tweets, and messages pretty quickly.
Enjoy an excerpt from Terra Nova Terra Nova Christine Hart Post-Apocalyptic/Paranormal
In the very near future, March 22nd to be exact, I’m releasing my first middle grade title, Secrets from Myself. It’s back to the world of print and younger readers, which will be both refreshing and daunting. I’ve also got a graphic novel script in my back pocket which is looking for a home. That area is a tricky market for a writer, so it’s hard to say.
The end of humanity and an unrecognizable future Earth are now days away. After their first glimpse of the Terra Nova virus, Irina and her variant friends know their former employer’s plans are almost at hand. Their failed attempt to publicize Ivan and Innoviro Industries’ horrific activities has left them utterly reliant on their own wits and weapons.
In terms of works in progress, I have a MG fantasy series of five books shaping up nicely. They’re full of mythologically inspired aliens and distant-future refugees from Earth. I’ve done 90% of the world-building, most of the synopses, and the first half of the first book. I’m also working on a new YA, which will be retro, dark, and weird. Think of Stranger Things meets Stand By Me, Escape to Witch Mountain, and The Last Unicorn.
After surviving a catastrophic earthquake in San Francisco and destroying a secret viral testing facility, Irina’s crew has traveled by a variant portal to London. On the other side of the world, they begin tracking when and where Terra Nova will be unleashed on the world. They know stopping Terra Nova is only the beginning of unraveling Ivan’s plans to reinvent the planet, but if they
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| DALE ELSTER | can’t stop this virus, there will be no one left to save.
Uncaged Reviews In Irina’s Cards
(The Variant Conspiracy, Book One)
Faith returned with four glowing green drinks in a cup holder tray. Clear plastic cups, lids, and straws let the liquid inside glow through. It smacked of something that would spawn ninja turtles. “These are the Incinerator’s own toxic spills. They’re just vodka and sprite with a capful of that crap they put in glow sticks. Did you know you can drink that shit?” Jonah reluctantly took a plastic cup. “Are you sure we should drink it?” “It’s not going to kill us. No more so than the alcohol.” Ilya picked up a cup and took a long generous pull on his straw. I took an experimental sip. It tasted like vodka and sprite. There was a mildly synthetic aftertaste, but nothing toxic. I took another, much larger sip. Aha – the warmth I’d been craving since my shower. I might stand a chance of sleeping tonight after all. Jonah followed my lead and took a slurp on his straw, pausing to let the liquid do its work. He leered at me with a devilish grin and grabbed my hand, pulling me off to the dance floor. His touch radiated energy into me, right through my skin waking up every cell in my body. He leaned down and kissed me, running his hands through my hair. His powerful grip felt restrained, as though his mind fought to control his body. The intensity surpassed our first night together. After we had spent so long mocked by his unstable mutation, first hurting me and then nearly killing him, we were both finally stronger than ever. “I can’t help myself. I need to touch you. I don’t ever want to let you go. We’re going to make up for some lost time tonight.” His lips brushed my ear as he spoke. His fingers traced the line of my neck and it sent shivers down my spine. So much for sleep!
In Irina’s Cards by Christine Hart is the first book in the Variant Conspiracy Series. I read the series out of order, but I am glad to say that getting to read book one has answered a few questions I had from the previous review I had done. Christine’s world is a little more full now with the first book’s information. I’m still not 100% clued in on everything that the previous had left me wondering, but that is the point of a good series. This series is by far one of my favorite Paranormal Sci-fi Mystery series. Once again, she hasn’t let me down. Book one tells how Irina came across the group she gets involved with. This group of ‘talented’ people are what I would consider super-human or mutants. There are several people that Irina comes across that have unique abilities, some friend or foe, and she is left to figure out where they line up in her new world. She goes to Victoria from her home town of Prince George looking for ‘work’, but in reality she has gotten her ‘powers’ which has led her to Victoria seeking answers. This leads to her meeting other unique people, landing a job with them, and forming a interesting love triangle. Christine does a wonderful job, yet again, describing the places that she is writing about for the setting. It’s almost like I can see it perfectly in my mind, or smell the scents she describes. It has a little bit of romance tied into the book, but overall I still consider it an Adult Sci-fi Mystery. I loved this book, as well as the series so far, and look forward to reading more of the Variant Conspiracy. My real only complaint is there were a few small places where it seems something got overlooked. A key to key card for example, or some wording felt wrong. Other than that, Christine delivered a wonderful book once more. Reviewed by Michael Issue 7 | February 2017 |
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(The Variant Conspiracy, Book Two) originally reviewed in December, 2016
The Compendium by Christine Hart is listed as a sci-fi, romance and suspense novel. I do agree with this to an extent, mostly because some of the things in the book seemed paranormal. I really enjoyed the book, though I didn’t read the first one in the series. It took me some time to get the same connection I probably would have from reading the books in order. So, I highly recommend picking up the first book and starting this series properly because even though I didn’t do it that way, I loved this book for what it was. This book reminds me of some of the cartoons and comics I read as a kid. I loved that this group of ‘variants’ as they are called were going about recruiting and getting more people to help with their cause. The primary four in this book were a bit interesting with their relationships which took me some time to get used to. It was a well-written book with a nicely detailed world. The intimate scenes in the book were well-written and very enjoyable to read. Overall, I loved this book and it makes me want to get the first one and the remaining books in the series when I can. If you enjoy series like X-Men and things like that as comics, give this author’s Variant series a shot. Reviewed by Michael
(The Variant Conspiracy, Book Three)
Terra Nova by Christine Hart is book three in the Variant Conspiracy series and is my favorite thus far. This review will be hard for me to write as I do not want to give away spoilers of its amazing finale. I honestly hope she continues the series as a whole as I believe with that ending it could 44 | UncagedBooks.com
have another, but I feel like if she doesn’t it was a satisfying end to a great story. I began this series in the middle and was able to get the first and third book after reviewing the second. I regret nothing. Christine Hart does an amazing job with her series on keeping me clinging to the words for more. Each book was a pleasure to read and each one was better than the one before it. This book continues following Irina and her group of Variants through their journey against Ivan and Innoviro Industries. Having met all of them through this company when they all worked for Ivan at one point, the group is now determined to right the wrongs of the evil man’s plans. After failing to do so in the second book, this book leads you on the final leg of their battle to save humanity as we know it. I love books like this where the hero is an unlikely person and through the course of the series they develop into a person. From book to book Irina and her group grow as individuals and as a group. You see how they handle things, how they develop feelings and bonds to one another, then finally how they handle the final leg of their journey against Ivan. In the end I was very pleased with how Christine Hart wrote the characters, this world, and how she ended it. I would recommend this entire series to any reader who enjoys suspenseful sci-fi. Reviewed by Michael
| DALE ELSTER | In Irina’s Cards Christine Hart SciFi/Paranormal FREE FEB.5th-9th! 5th - 9th! FREE:-FEB. Irina Proffer leaves mundane small-town life behind when she experiences visions inspired by a strange deck of tarot cards. To get answers, she travels from her northern British Columbia home to the province’s coastal capital. She quickly discovers a world of fringe genetic science and supernatural mystery. Working for Innoviro Industries, Irina is drawn in by a powerful first love and compelling, yet dangerous questions about the nature of the company’s business. Meeting other ‘variants’ brings Irina closer and closer to the dark truth about her origins. She finds herself at the heart of two overlapping love triangles as she scrambles to escape her employer’s grip. Before she leaves the city, Irina realizes she has merely scratched the surface of a frightening conspiracy on a global scale.
Francisco. While they fight to stop the earthquake, Irina pushes the love of her life Jonah as far away as she can, trying to keep his unstable genetic degradation in check. Irina’s friends think they’ve seen the worst that Innoviro could bring forth by the time they reach a secret facility in the Mojave Desert. As they near the property, the group uncovers a horror none of them had ever imagined.
The Compendium Christine Hart SciFi/Suspense Irina and her renegade variant friends are scrambling to pick up the trail of their former employer, Ivan, and his globally catastrophic scheme. After strategically sharing their story with the media, the group heads south from Vancouver to Seattle hoping to recruit more experienced—and lethal—variants to their cause. Their attention develops a laser focus on an engineered disaster mere days ahead of them. Ivan is using what staff and resources remain of Innoviro Industries to set off a violent earthquake in San Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Best Seller Lists Week ending January 29, 2017
IndieReaders.com Best Selling Hard Cover
New York Times Best Selling Fiction Hard Cover 1. A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron 2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 3. Full Package by Lauren Blakely 4. The Mistress by Danielle Steel 5. The Whistler by James Patterson 6. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins 7. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur 8. Cross the Line by James Patterson 9. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult 10. Below the Belt by Stuart Woods
1. Egomaniac by Vi Keeland 2. Fidelity by Aleatha Romig 3. Big Shot by Carly Phillips + Erika Wilde 4. Real Good Love by Meghan March 5. Taking Turns by JA Huss 6. Dark Legends by Various 7. Delivery Girl by Lily Kate 8. Full Package by Lauren Blakely 9. Shafted by Jordan Marie 10. Love In Lingerie by Alessandra Torre
Barnes & Noble Best Selling Fiction
Amazon Best Selling Fiction Kindle eBooks 1. In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen 2. Extracted by RR Haywood 3. The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt 4. 1984 by George Orwell 5. Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale 6. The Billionaire’s Virgin by Penny Wylder 7. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin 8. Dying to Remember by Glen Apseloff 9. The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty 10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Never Never by James Patterson Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur Two by Two by Nicholas Sparks The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer The Girl Before by JP Delaney The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead 7. The Whistler by John Grisham 8. The Wrong Side of Goodbye by Michael Connelly 9. Cross the Line by James Patterson 10. No Man’s Land by David Baldacci
Interview Whatâ€™s coming next Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from The Storyteller of Pain Coming in March, 2017
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Loren Molloy won her first award in 2005 for Best Young Poet. This was the catalyst to the creation of her first published book Black Dreams and Shattered Illusions. Loren has been writing books ever since. Loren Molloy is a long time Anglophile as well as a lover of history. Her book The Very Devil, Herself! gave Loren the chance to delve deep into the history of London during her favorite time periods: 17th, 18th, & 19th century. Spending over a year on making sure her book is historically accurate Loren Molloy’s first supernatural thriller weaves a web of the factual with the horrifying. Loren Molloy also has always been fascinated with the paranormal and the occult. With her novel, The Storyteller of Pain, she was able to delve into dark secrets of demons, mysteries, and evil. Coming out March 2017 the author brings her readers into a scary world of controlled by an evil surgeon, demons and a psychiatrist who’s trying to survive it all. When Loren isn’t writing or researching for her 48 | UncagedBooks.com
next novel she spends time watching Horror movies, walking outdoors in her beautiful home state of New York, and interacting with others through her social media accounts.
Stay Connected lorenmolloy.com
Loren Molloy’s new book, The Storyteller of Pain will release in early March. I was honored to read the ARC. First off, thank you so much for taking the time for the interview! Uncaged:What inspired you to start writing horror? When I was a small child, I was drawn to authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, R.L. Stine, and even preferred Grimm’s Fairy Tales over Hans Chris-
| LOREN MOLLOY | tian Anderson’s. I remember reading The Raven in second grade as a class english project. I delighted in seeing the other children’s faces as they listened to me read it and I knew even then somewhere deep within me, I was going to be a horror writer. I think it’s just quite possible that I was born with horror running through my veins. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I do try to read all of my reviews about my books but no it doesn’t influence my writing. Uncaged: The Storyteller of Pain, is a new novel and the classic creepy asylum is brought to a new level with this book. You never hold back on the gore, how does your imagination inspire you to make it sound so realistic? When will this book release? The Storyteller of Pain was terrifying to even research about. It’s true! I knew I wanted to do a story like this and I knew that I needed it to be as realistic as possible. I have to have factual accuracy throughout any book I write. With this one I did so much research on some very creepy topics even I, as the writer, would sometimes have to turn the lights on while I was writing. I see my novels as movies from beginning to end and then it’s my job to turn that imaginative movie in my head into actual portrayals on paper. Sometimes late at night I would have to research some very gruesome topics so that I could find the right words to make you, as the reader, see it clearly within your own mind. Novels should be literary movies held within the pages of a book. The Storyteller of Pain will be released to the world March 2017 through both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Uncaged: What do you find the most challenging to write? The easiest?
I think the most challenging things to write are the ones that haven’t already been seen by the human eye. The dark mist that suddenly appears coming down a hallway. The flash of red glowing eyes that you could swear you just saw in that room that always gave you a feeling of unease going past it late at night. When your job is to try and describe those unearthly elements and creatures it becomes very difficult to find the right words that will convey the right feeling for the reader. The easiest parts for me to write is the gory fighting moments. The kill scenes especially. I do try to keep them fresh and inventive if I can but for this horror writer I think kill scenes should be fun and a bit easier to write. *ha* Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of series? My favorite genres to read right now is horror. I have shelves of horror novels. Some of my favorite authors would be Edgar Allan Poe, Laurell K Hamilton, Richard Matheson, and Clive Barker. Sometimes I like books that are a series, The Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton, is a favorite of mine. It’s creative, imaginative, as well as having all the great horror and supernatural elements. Uncaged: What are some things you like to do when you are not writing? When I’m not writing I am usually working at a convention. I truly love it. I get to meet so many great people. When I’m not a guest at a convention I like to watch horror movies and see friends and family. Uncaged: What can readers be expecting from you in the near future? Readers can expect to be able to buy their own copy of, The Storyteller of Pain, this March 2017. Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | Coming soon I will have my first horror novel, The Very Devil Herself, be available in audiobook form as well as paperback and kindle. Uncaged: What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? I will be beginning this year’s convention tour. If you want to see me at a convention near you let that convention know! I am so excited and honored to have met every fan I have. You guys are so incredible and I’m so happy to know you. Thanks for all the support and remember best way to help an author is to post a review and I thank all who do! You rock! Happy Horrors ~Author Loren Molloy
Enjoy an excerpt from The Storyteller of Pain The Storyteller of Pain Loren Molloy Horror Releases March 2017
How are you supposed to survive when you’re trapped in a lunatic asylum with 13 demons and a
Dr. Sinclair had no idea but if she didn’t do something soon, her demise would become just another tale for The Storyteller of Pain? Excerpt Lilian looked at the notepad with Delia’s case notes from the initial meeting with the family, hoping for some clue she missed. She could trace the issues back to the root like a necklace all tangled 50 | UncagedBooks.com
in a knot or one of those maze puzzles you did as a child. She could see each ending and trace its tangled path to its source. This ability of hers is why she was the youngest ever to hold such a powerful and prestigious position in the field. Only twenty-eight and she was already known to have solved severe cases of lunacy where others in the field were at a complete loss. She had even been published several times for her marvelous work in the prominent field of psychoanalysis. Lily opened Mrs. DelaCour’s case file and spread it out on the table. Taking the last swig from her glass, Lilian looked back at the bottle of Jack Daniels with longing. ‘F*ck it,’ she thought and went back for the bottle and soda. Looking back at the table she thought, I am not sitting my ass down one more time unless I have everything I definitely need. Hmmm… ah yes. Music! I need music to concentrate by. She went over to her radio and switched it on. Pachelbel was softly playing in the background. ‘Ahh, so much better,’ she thought as she sat down. Ok now…Lily breathed a sigh of relief and took a swig of her drink. Looking down at Delia’s intake photo Lily said, “Why Delia? Why? Why are you a map of scars?” She searched for the answer long into the night to no avail. She looked at her clock, ‘Ugh 3:45 in the morning.’ She had to sleep. She had work in less than 5 hours. She put everything away. All the files went back into her bag and she went to bed. Lilian dreamt of John Barkley. At first it was a naughty slice of deliciousness. Walking into her office taking off his sweat soaked shirt. He began slowly walking toward her. His abs were rippling with each step. Sweat was glistening on his sun kissed skin. The next moment he was tearing chunks of flesh from his body and trying to give them to her as tokens of his affection. She began to scream and back away. With each step backwards that she took, he would
| LOREN MOLLOY | take another one towards her, holding in his outstretched hand another new, glistening blood soaked chunk of his own flesh. This continued until she was backed against the wall of her office. She was still screaming as he approached her. There was nowhere to turn. She was trapped between the wall behind her back and the new monstrosity blocking her way out. He kept ripping chunks from his body until all she could see was bits and pieces of the former man. Half of one cheek was missing. His top lip was gone showing all gum and top teeth. He kept trying to speak but what was left of his face wasn’t working right. Suddenly the bloody mass that was left was against her. There was a crater where John’s aristocratic nose should have been. His eyes were wild with lust. He leaned forward bringing that deformed, bleeding face toward her trying to pucker up for a kiss. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” She screamed and opened her eyes. Lilian was sitting upright in her bed, sheets hopelessly tangled around her sweat soaked body. Gasping for breath and sanity, she looked around her room making sure the nightmare didn’t follow her into this world. It was just a dream. I’m ok! Lilian repeated it several times before she saw her clock. Shit! I’m late for work! She dived out of bed and got ready as fast as possible. This never happens to her. Why didn’t that damn alarm clock go off?
the hospital, sees how the case is affecting Lillian and offers his help, and finding out that he’s seen something eerily similar during his time on the force, Lillian accepts his help and together they try to get to the bottom of this patient’s problems. Be warned, this story is violent, and the author does not hold back on the descriptions. I did guess pretty quickly in the story what was going on, but I did not guess the outcomes and the author does a nice job making me squirm a bit. Always a good thing with horror. Reviewed by Cyrene
The Very Devil Herself! Loren Molloy Horror Reviewed in January Issue
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. “Horrifying, Terrifying, & Captivating from cover to cover.”
Uncaged Review Mrs. DelaCour is admitted to the asylum and all she’ll repeat or answer is the same thing over and over again. Dr. Lillian Sinclair, the psychologist on staff, is trying to unravel the mystery of the new patient. But is there a diagnosis that will fit, or is it more? The day before the patient was brought to the asylum, she was perfectly fine…. John Barkley, an ex-cop who works security for Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Interview Whatâ€™s coming soon Stay Connected Stay up to date Excerpt from On a Gamble Review
| FEATURE AUTHOR |
Rose Lange has been in love with the written word since she was little. At fourteen, a Julia Quinn novel inspired her to try writing her own. She lives in Southeastern Wisconsin where she was born, raised, and currently lives with her family. She writes spicy, contemporary romance, and is a member of Romance Writer’s of America (RWA). She’s a Clark Gable girl, addicted to reading, chocolate, shopping, Pinterest (her latest vice), and watching old movies from the 40s and 50s. She watched Gone With the Wind once when she was five, and has been hooked on romantic stories since. Connect with Rose via Facebook, Twitter, or email, she loves hearing from readers!
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On a Gamble was the first book I’ve read from this author, and it won’t be the last. Uncaged welcomes Rose Lange. Uncaged: What inspired you to become a writer? A Julia Quinn historical, Everything and the Moon, which I found at a used bookstore when I was fourteen, twenty years ago (and I cannot believe it’s been that long) inspired me. I read it within a couple days, and decided that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to try my hand at writing romance. From that moment on, I voraciously devoured every book at the library about writing, craft, locations, anything and everything. I was excited about it, and dove right in. I’ve always been a reader even early on, so it seemed a natural fit. I wrote two contemporary romances in high school, that will never see the light of day, but nonetheless, it was a start. Then I graduated high school, attended college, got married, and in April of 2010 we had our son. Even if I hadn’t written a word in eight years, only term papers and the like, I never thought I’d write again. I thought, how would I write with a newborn? Somehow,
| ROSE LANGE | the spark was rekindled, and I found a way. Ever since, I have been hooked, and never looked back. I’m a word junkie, and am too far-gone and addicted to ever think of stopping again. Uncaged: Do you read your reviews on your books? Do they influence your story at all? I am guilty of looking at reviews from time to time, but at present, it’s not as often as in the beginning. As for influencing my story, I’d say yes, to an extent. I weed out what I consider someone being a bully, or downright mean, and I ignore. However, if it’s a constructive, useful review, I consider using that toward my next book and others that follow. Uncaged: On a Gamble was a feel-good romance and sometimes that’s all we need in our lives for that moment. What attracted me to the book, was the country setting. Are you a country girl at heart? I appreciate the compliment, and thank you! I am so glad you enjoyed the book. When I was younger, I preferred the city to the country, but now as I get older, I relish the solitude in the country. We have vacationed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan the last couple summers, and I hate leaving each time. Because I love that it’s just my family and I, in this remote area where there are no streetlights. You can go into the city to buy groceries, go shopping, etc, but where we stay with his aunt and uncle, it’s peace, pure peace, and where my muse is at its all time high. I was born and raised, for the most part, in the United States. However, we briefly lived in Greece for a couple years when I was seven years old on my Grandparent’s farm, so the setting, and
that time in my life, is where I drew most of my inspiration. I drew from what we used to do, chores, small farm life, the atmosphere and the like. It was my first job in a sense, as my brother and I helped pick peaches, cotton, vegetables, fed the chickens, etc. The only thing we did not have was horses, but everything else, the weeding, the vegetable picking, the daily living, was drawn from real life experiences. Uncaged: What do you find the most challenging to write? The easiest? I’m going to start with the easiest, and my most favorite part, is the love scenes. I enjoy writing, and reading a higher heat level, and building up to that point in the story is fun for me. I love creating these characters, and watching their romance unfold, and evolve to get to the point of the love scene. I love seeing the characters slowly start to fall in love, overcome difficulties, and finally reach the happy ending. It is a very gratifying feeling for me, and gives me the warm fuzzies. The most challenging thing to write has been past or present trauma that my characters went through. In my latest work, I procrastinated writing such a scene from my hero’s viewpoint, because I knew how emotionally gut wrenching it would be, and it was. It took me several days to summon up the courage to write the scene, and by the time I finished, I was in tears. Literally, sat in my office and had tears running down my face. At that moment I hoped my spouse would not pop into my office, because then I would’ve had to (somehow) explain why I was sitting there, bawling my eyes out. It was a satisfying, yet difficult moment for me, but after that? My hero, Patrick, would not speak to me for days. Uncaged: What are your favorite genres to read right now? Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you like to read books that are part of
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | series? I lean toward romance, and depending on my mood I enjoy historical, contemporary, both sweet and the spicier variety, dark paranormal, and time travel. Those are books I enjoy when I’m reading for the fun of it, and like reading a variety of authors. I usually favor stand-alone books, but have read several series books as well. When I’m looking to continue learning about the writing craft, books by James Scott Bell, especially Revision & Self-Editing is helpful, and is always near me during that process. Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi, authors of The Emotion Thesaurus, also the other books in the series, are all wonderful and I highly recommend them. The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book by Jean Kent and Candace Shelton is a good one as well. The copy I have is twenty years old, and was the first book purchased on romance writing. It’s well loved and well worn with age, full of dog-eared pages, post it notes, and scribbles. Over the years, I’ve amassed a goodsized collection of craft books, and have at least a dozen on my desk within easy reach. 6. What are some things you like to do when you are not writing? I enjoy reading, shopping, exercising, spending time with my family, and watching old movies from the 40s and 50s. Lately, I’m also a horrible Pinning addict, but it has helped with stories, and future story ideas, so maybe it’s not such a horrible addiction to have after all. :) Something I don’t do often enough is grabbing a coffee, or having dinner with a good friend, only because life is so busy for everyone. When I get those moments, I enjoy them very much, both the company, and the time away. The time alone not spent working in my office gives my batteries a much-needed recharge. 7. What can readers be expecting from you in 56 | UncagedBooks.com
the near future? I am thrilled beyond measure, and very anxious to share this next story with my readers. I do have a confession to make, but I very nearly gave up in the early stages of the revisions process last summer. I thought it was wasted time, and effort, and almost tossed in the towel because I could not see merit in the story. My gut had other plans, and told me to stay with it. That gut feeling has never steered me wrong. Now I have a story that has surprised, and delighted me at every turn. That had me sighing, weeping, grinning, and just so many emotions as I worked through it. For the time being, I’m keeping the title under wraps, as it is not yet under contract, so I’m calling it Emma and Patrick’s story. It’s a reunion story, and a spicy office romance. The couple shared a brief, yet intense summer fling on their trip abroad to Greece. Six years later, they are reunited, and each of them is shook up, each in different ways. It was such fun to watch the two interact, and for the romance to rekindle as it all unfolded before my eyes. I can’t wait to share it with the world! After that, I plan on writing a Christmas romance, which I am also excited about, as it is my favorite time of year. And then, I’m not sure. I’ve been toying with the idea of a cowboy romance, or a medical romance. 8. What would you like to say to fans, and where can they follow you? Readers keep me going, keep me fueled, and I’d like to say thank you! I am deeply grateful for every one of my lovelies, who take the time to purchase, read, review, and reach out beyond a review, telling me how much they enjoyed my work. When a reader tells me they are already looking forward to my next book, or they could not put it down, or the chores did not get done because of my book…this is music to my ears! Truly, it is a great blessing to me, be-
| ROSE LANGE | cause life is busy, and to think someone took the time to read my work. I’m truly humbled by the outpouring of support I have received. These precious moments, are my greatest reward, and keep me motivated. It’s especially helpful on the days when I feel like giving up, or when I feel as though what I’ve written was a waste of my time. Readers can’t connect with me via my website at: www.roselange.com. I’m also on Facebook at Rose Lange, Author. Twitter: @writingdiva82, or email firstname.lastname@example.org Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/langerose/
Enjoy an excerpt from On a Gamble On a Gamble Rose Lange Contemporary Romance She’s at the end of her rope . . . Charlie Anderson needs a farm hand. The moment the sexy, mysterious stranger sets foot on her grandparents’ land, inquiring about a job opening, he rattles her senses, her cage, and her equilibrium, the likes of which she’s never experienced before. She never anticipated her scandalous thoughts getting in the way. She’s terrified, but desire trumps fear, and she gives in to a sinful temptation. He has a hidden agenda . . . Alex McCray has a plan. A plan having nothing to do with romance. His discovery, that “Charlie” is a voluptuous, beautiful woman, leaves him shaken, and he needs to proceed with extreme caution. Working next to her, everyday, stirs up a raw hunger he desperately tries to ignore. And
he should, since he has an ulterior motive. Alex should also resist her intoxicating sensuality, but he can’t, because he cannot get enough. Excerpt She held the check out to him, but he hesitated, and looked as if it might bite him. “I don’t need it after all, you keep it.” She frowned, taken aback. “What do you mean? You’ve worked hard for this. You’ve earned it.” Ignoring him, she stepped closer, and placed it into his front shirt pocket. “Charlie, really, it’s okay. I don’t need it.” She scoffed, and turned away. As she gathered her tools, out of the corner of her eye, she saw him walk toward her, holding out the check. “I don’t want this. Take it back, please.” “And I told you, it’s yours. What the heck is your problem?” “I don’t need it,” he shot back. As this conversation grew more ridiculous by the minute, she collected her thoughts before she spoke. “Who would turn away a hard earned paycheck?” She noted the way his jaw clenched and unclenched. Fists balled at his side, she sensed his anger, irritation, or both. Fine, let him be mad because this was just plain stupid, fighting over a check that rightfully belonged to him. Charlie held her breath as he stepped closer, invading her personal space. A welcome one, she looked up into his handsome face, and didn’t move, or try to push him away. Never breaking the gaze, he held the check up, and tore it to pieces, sending them flying like confetti all over the barnyard floor. “And I told you, I didn’t want the damned check.” Authority and passion laced his voice. He stepped even closer, until they were blessedly nose-to-nose and mouth-to-mouth. She swallowed the huge lump in her throat as his gaze Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FEATURE AUTHOR | burned into hers. Slowly, gently, he cradled her face within his palms of his hands, eyes lowered to her mouth. Her lips parted in anticipation, and hazy heat mixed with charged electricity. The point of no return had arrived. And damn it, she wanted this. An eternity passed before he finally spoke. “Charlie, may I kiss you?” Staring brazenly at his lips, already envisioning how they’d feel against hers, she murmured, “Yes. Please.”
Uncaged Review Sometimes all you need from a book is a nice romance that can take you out of your real life for a few hours. And Rose Lange delivers that with this book. Charlie lost her parents when she was very young, and was raised by her grandparents. When her grandparents needed help on the farm, Charlie moved back home. When the time comes to hire a helper on the farm, gorgeous Alex shows up and applies for the position. Charlie is immediately attracted to him – even though she’s been burned in the past. But Alex has his own mission, his father’s company wants to buy the land and dismantle the farm, and his assignment is to get on the inside of the owners and the land to report back to his father. But that was before Alex started to fall for Charlie… This is a character and dialog driven story. There is not a lot of descriptive paragraphs in the book, but it still works. The author gives you a look at both Charlie and Alex’s feelings, instead of leaving you guessing on one or the other. The book isn’t real long, so it keeps a good pace and doesn’t drag out. Reviewed by Cyrene
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Gracie’s Plan Rose Lnage Contemporary Romance Convinced by her mother that she’s not woman enough to keep her husband, Annabelle O’Sullivan files for divorce after two years of marriage. Shortly thereafter, she enters an abusive relationship that leaves her frail, scarred, and broken. She’s convinced this kind of love is the only kind she’s worthy of. Annabelle also never thought she’d see her exhusband, Kade Hoffman, again. But when her Aunt Gracie passes away, she’s not only inheriting her antique shop, but that it comes with a lifechanging catch: that she and her ex-husband must live together in her aunt’s cabin for two months before either can inherit anything. Can she break down the barriers of her past and find the courage to love again?
featureauthor Alistair Cross
Stay Connected For all the updates Excerpts from: The Angel Alejandro Review
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR |
Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series. In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write - among other things - the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, reached the bestseller’s list in its first week of release. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project. In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.
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Stay Connected Enjoy an excerpt from The Angel Alejandro The Angel Alejandro Alistair Cross Fantasy/Horror Angel or Demon? Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro, and Madison O’Riley has no clue what to do with him. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes the mysterious man who saved her life harbors deep, otherworldly secrets that will put her in grave danger. The Devil is in the Details Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a price, he’s willing to make a deal. Walking the streets in top hat and trench coat, he tempts the citizens with mysterious wares from his shiny black briefcase. But buyer beware: All sales are final - and fatal. A Scorching New Terror Has Come to Town The townspeople are changing in appalling ways and it’s up to Madison - with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police - to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric
| ALISTAIR CROSS | of existence ... and costs them their very souls … Excerpt Stepping down the sloped roof, Madison’s shoes lost traction and her feet shot out from under her. The caulking gun flew as she windmilled for balance. The gravelly asphalt raked her elbows as she came down hard on her tailbone. A sickening thunk! resounded and a flash of white blinded her as the back of her head smacked the brick chimney. Pain bit her, crippled her, and she rolled down the slope, a tattered rag doll. Though barely conscious, she felt the roof disappear beneath her. Then she was freefalling. Help me! she thought, unable to scream, to speak. In the dream-like instant of her descent, the sky flashed - not lightning, but a shooting star streaking toward earth. She plummeted into the koi pond below. Icicle-cold, the water stole her breath. She panicked, tried fighting, but body and mind had parted company. She sank, paralyzed as blurred ribbons of blood rose and eddied around her. Like a failing bulb, her vision flickered and went out. She was not aware of any time having passed. As if waking suddenly from a nightmare, she shot from the water, gurgling and choking, her lungs starved of oxygen. Splashing, writhing, her nails bit into bare shoulders and with the sound of rusty brakes, she sucked in a deep lungful of air. The black world resolved, and she glimpsed the face of a man, a stranger - no, not a stranger, not exactly. I know you, don’t I? She gagged, clawed for purchase. Water gushed from her nose and mouth in explosive bursts as her lungs purged themselves. She locked onto the stranger, her fingers like anchors in his bare arms. Seconds later, she was on the sodden earth, on her back. She coughed, vomiting water. Hands clutched her head, turned it to the side, and water spilled from her mouth and nose like unspooling ribbons. More gurgling, more body-wracking gasps. Her vision came, dissolved, settled mid-
way between blindness and sight. A mouth covered hers, blew, and Madison’s lungs expanded with borrowed breath. As if the man were blowing on dying coals, warmth glowed inside her, spreading and swelling through her solar plexus, expanding, reaching her limbs, bringing heat to her skin and clarity to her mind. She could breathe, she could see, and what she saw was the stranger’s face. Handsome. Full lips, strong cheekbones, eyes she couldn’t yet fathom. Close-cropped, golden hair backlit by a near-blinding halo of light. Yes, she knew him from somewhere - but where? The warm buzz swam through her. Her fingers and toes tingled. She was losing consciousness again, but she didn’t care; the panic was gone. As the world pulsed in and out, the man leaned over and blinked black-lashed silver eyes at her. Not gray, but silver. Bright and shining, like disks of polished steel. The light behind him swelled and brightened just before the world relapsed into black and nothingness wrapped itself warm around her. Excerpt from The Angel Alejandro, by Alistair Cross Copyright © Glass Apple Press 2016.
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
| FANG-FREAKIN-TASTIC FEATURE AUTHOR | The Crimson Corset Alistair Cross Paranormal/Horror Welcome to Crimson Cove Sheltered by ancient redwoods overlooking the California coast, the cozy village of Crimson Cove has it all: sophisticated retreats, fine dining, and a notorious nightclub, The Crimson Corset. It seems like a perfect place to relax and get close to nature. But not everything in Crimson Cove is natural. When Cade Colter moves to town, he expects it to be peaceful to the point of boredom. But he quickly learns that after the sun sets and the fog rolls in, the little tourist town takes on a whole new kind of life – and death. Darkness at the Edge of Town Renowned for its wild parties and history of debauchery, The Crimson Corset looms on the edge of town, inviting patrons to sate their most depraved desires and slake their darkest thirsts. Proprietor Gretchen VanTreese has waited centuries to annihilate the Old World vampires on the other side of town and create a new race – a race that she alone will rule. When she realizes Cade Colter has the key that will unlock her plan, she begins laying an elaborate trap that will put everyone around him in mortal danger. Blood Wars The streets are running red with blood, and as violence and murder ravage the night, Cade must face the darkest forces inside himself, and perhaps even abandon his own humanity, in order to protect what he loves.
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Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review This was an awesome read. Mainly because it kept me entertained and excited for the entire book. The Crimson Corset isn’t every other vampire book. This author has taken the traditional vampire and given them new faces. While there are many mainstream things about his vampires, they are also quite unique, which I can really appreciate. Each character in this book has his or her own voice. The good guys are good, and the bad guys are bad, so there isn’t that turmoil of being torn and wanting to support the underdog, or hope the hero doesn’t do something stupid. TCC is a very well written book. The story just flows as it should, never dragging or bogging the reader down with unnecessary information or slow storylines. In some ways it is a little bit predictable in places, but overall, I didn’t know what was going to happen until the very end. I enjoyed every minute of this well written, unique vampire story. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good vampire book where that isn’t all lovey dovey.
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Don’t miss these titles The Book of Strange Persuasions Alistair Cross Poetry In 2005, before the publication of his bestselling novels, Alistair Cross penned hundreds of poems which he sometimes shared on various social media platforms. His poetry has earned him appearances on radio talk shows around the world and attracted a large and loyal readership. Divided into four parts that are devoted to such subjects as love and loss, passion and seduction, and nightmares and horrors, The Book of Strange Persuasions is a striking collection that features some of his most insightful, sensual, and poignant works.
The Ghost of Ravencrest Tamara Thorne/Alistair Cross Horror/Paranormal Darkness Never Dies ... Ravencrest Manor has always been part of the family. The ancestral home of the Mannings, Ravencrest’s walls have been witness to generations of unimaginable scandal, horror, and depravity. Imported stone by stone from England to northern California in the early 1800s, the manor now houses widower Eric Manning, his children, and his staff. Ravencrest stands alone, holding its memories and ghosts close to its dark heart, casting long, black shadows across its grand lawns, through the surrounding forests, and over the picturesque town of Devilswood, below.
Mother Tamara Thorne/Alistair Cross Psychological Thriller A Girl’s Worst Nightmare is Her Mother ... Priscilla Martin. She’s the diva of Morning Glory Circle and a driving force in the quaint California town of Snapdragon. Overseer of garage sales and neighborhood Christmas decorations, she is widely admired. But few people know the real woman behind the perfectly coiffed hair and Opium perfume.
The Cliffhouse Haunting Tamara Thorne/Alistair Cross Paranormal Thriller When the Blue Lady Walks... Since 1887, Cliffhouse Lodge has been famous for its luxurious accommodations, fine dining… and its ghosts. Overlooking Blue Lady Lake, nestled among tall pines, Cliffhouse has just been renovated by its owners, Teddy and Adam Bellamy, and their daughter, Sara. Cliffhouse has not always been a place of rest and respite, though. Over the years it has served many vices, from rum-running to prostitution and although the cat house has been replaced by a miniature golf course and carousel, Cliffhouse retains its dark history; darkest during the Roaring Twenties, when a serial killer called the Bodice Ripper terrorized the town, and a phantom, the Blue Lady, was said to walk when murder was imminent.
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
New Releases February Release Dates - A Selection
King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller The Burning World by Isaac Marion Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella Starfall by Melissa Landers To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough Born of Vengeance by Sherrilyn Kenyon The Turn by Kim Harrison Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher Last Stand by Rachel E. Carter Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie Holding on Tighter by Shayla Black
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab Royally Matched by Emma Chase A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan The Good at Heart by Ursula Werner Xander by Anne Mercier Saturdays at Sea by Jessica Day George
Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost Lifeblood by Gena Showalter The Hot One by Laura Blakely A Million Little Things by Susan Mallery Banana Cream Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke The Bastard Billionaire by Jessica Lemmon If I Could Tell You by Elizabeth Wilhide
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders Gilded Cage by Vic James Shadow’s Seduction by Kresley Cole The Valiant by Lesley Livingston The Wish Granter by C.J. Redwine We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter Park Avenue Prince by Louise Bay Happily Ever After by Kelly Oram The Weight of Him by Ethel Rohan Burn by Helen Hardt
Publishers and authors: If you would like a new release in these lists, please email me at UncagedBooks@gmail.com
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Spirit Song
Tessa McFionn Paranormal Romance The assassin and the angel. Can her song redeem his soul? Miranda Devalande had long since given up on her dreams of a happy life. Forced to sing at mob boss Slick Sal’s seedy nightclub to cover her brother’s rising gambling debts, she survives from day to day as a caged bird. With each new bad bet by her wayward brother, her hope of finding a way free of her “contract” fades. Until a mysterious stranger arrives at the club and turns her whole life upside down... Danger has always swirled around reluctant Guardian Warrior Sebastian Lambert. Trained as an assassin and recruited out of desperation, he now battles the evils of power-hungry Rogues in Chicago. When his friend and fellow Guardian Viktor Arnhart drags him into a nightclub, he would have never imagined to find an angel at the mic. Caught between his desire to keep Miranda safe and his drive to hold her close, Bastian must walk the line between the light of a beautiful songstress and the dark of his perilous past even as dangerous forces threaten to destroy them both. Will he open his heart to her in time, or will she fall prey to her soulless fate?
Uncaged Review: The third book in The Guardian
series is as mesmerizing as the first two. I really need to learn that once I start a book by Tessa McFionn, I won’t be able to stop reading it until it’s finished. And 3 am on the bedside clock came pretty quick last night. Now, I was wondering how well this author from southern California would pull off the world building in this one, as it’s based in the Chicago area, closer to my own stomping grounds – but she did it with ease. This book brings use Sebastian and Miranda’s story. Sebastian was changed to a Guardian over 500 years ago, and against his will. So he’s been angry for a very long time. His sidekick in this book is Viktor, who can temper Sebastian’s anger with a touch, his gift as a Channeler. Viktor also provides a whole lot of humor that breaks up the tensions of the book.
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Body parts start turning up all over the Chicago area. And Sebastian and Viktor can sense the Rogue activity, but the Rogue’s always seem two steps ahead of them. When they end up at a club one night, Sebastian’s whole world is shaken when he sees the gorgeous singer on stage, with the voice of an angel with an underlying sadness. Miranda is singing at a seedy club, owned by a man named Slick Sal, and she is working to pay off her little brothers gambling debts, but little does she know, that Slick Sal will never let her contract expire…. Fantastic action sequences, never a dull moment. The character and world building is second-to-none, and the author manages to give you both easily without bogging down the story. This is a series book but easily read as a standalone. This is a series that is highly recommended. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Paranormal Romance Some violence, sex scenes
Don’t Wake Me Up M.E. Rhines Paranormal Romance He’s charming, funny, and incredibly hot. The only problem is, he’s a ghost. When the chaos of school, her overreactive mother, and her abusive boyfriend gets to be too much, sixteen-year-old Colleen turns to astral projection to escape it all. In the sanctuary of the astral plane, she mingles with the lost souls of the departed. They all need help to move on to the Summerland, and Colleen never turns down a spirit in need. Until she meets Daemon. With just a glance, Daemon makes her forget all the turmoil back home. The calm is welcome and addictive, but Colleen knows the peace he offers will leave with him once he crosses over, forcing her to make a desper-
ate decision: sever her ties to her physical body, or sabotage his sal-vation.
knows as soon as the cousin marries, she will have no more usefulness to the family and worries she’ll be asked to leave.
Uncaged Review: Colleen is a very special girl with an extraordinary gift. She can use meditation to transport herself to an astral plane where she helps sprites move on to a higher plane in summer land where they can find peace. She can only do this when she’s asleep. In her waking hours she has her violent jock boyfriend Jimmy to deal with. Maybe Colleen would prefer the astral plane world to dealing with real life.
Meeting the duke at the dressmaker’s shop is serendipitous for Amelia and, with her uncle’s permission, she’s allowed to assist the duke’s sisters. Hoping she can turn this opportunity into a way to support herself, Amelia undertakes the task with enthusiasm.
The concept of the story works well and there’s even a little romance. The writer gets across the message that domestic violence is never OK and there is help out there. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Young Adult Fantasy Domestic Abuse
The Orphan and the Duke Jillian Chantal Historical Regency Basil Staunton, Duke of Darnley, a younger son and reformed reprobate, had his title forced on him by the death of his parents and brother. Now he has a dilemma. His twin sisters are old enough for their presentation to Queen Charlotte, a requirement before they can enter their first season. He has no idea how to prepare them for what lies ahead. Amelia Mandeville, orphaned and brought from France to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, has always been told she‘s illegitimate. Treated as no more than an unpaid companion to her odious cousin, she
What she doesn’t count on is becoming attached to the family and her cousin’s designs on becoming Amelia’s employer’s duchess.
Uncaged Review: The simple fact of this book, is it’s a Cinderella story. The more complex part of the book, is it’s an enchanting regency with humor, mystery and very likeable characters. I actually read a couple of reviews on this after I finished the story, and a couple of them had me wondering if I was reading the same book as they did. The story brings you Amelia, whose parents died when she was very young, and she’s been brought up in her Aunt and Uncle’s home, along with her very horrible cousin, Susan. Believing what she was told, that her parents were never married and threatened constantly about being tossed out of the home, Amelia is relegated to be only sub-par to the rest of the house, helping her cousin get ready for her Presentation and Season, but without hope of ever having her own coming out. Basil, the Duke of Darnley, is forced into the title after his parents and older brother is killed in an accident, bringing him the responsibility of guardian to his two younger twin sisters. When it’s time for their Presentation and Season, he’s at a dilemma of how to prepare them for society. Meeting Amelia and her cousin at the dressmakers with his sisters, Basil is astonished at how badly Amelia is being treated by her cousin, and finds a way to hire Amelia to help prepare his sisters for Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews their coming out. And this is only part of this story. The mystery surrounding Amelia and what will happen when she’s no longer needed by her Aunt and Uncle, and if she will ever know more about her parents. The love story is genuine and fun, and for me, a Cinderella-type story is always welcome.
Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult - PG13 Historical Regency
The One I’m With J. Lynn Rowan Romantic Comedy The truth is, letting yourself fall in love means daring to risk heartbreak. Interior designer Marissa O’Brien has sworn off long-term relationships, instead protecting herself from a broken heart by following a specific set of rules when it comes to her many flirtations and first dates. She’s content to just have fun in the world of romance, but all her rules fly out the window when she grabs the attention of a sexy, international stranger during her weekly Girls’ Night Out. Josh Mattingly has spent the last two years trying to turn over a new leaf, focusing on his role in the family corporation and erasing his womanizing reputation. In Asheville, North Carolina, on business, the last thing he’d planned on was getting involved with a local girl. But one encounter with Marissa has him hooked. He soon falls hard for the designer, and now he’s terrified to reveal his romantic past for fear she’ll bolt. 68 | UncagedBooks.com
Uncaged Review: A very sweet, romance with an endearing cast makes this story very easy to fall for. Marissa is an interior designer, who with her posse of friends, has kept her strict dating rules in place for over three years, to keep from getting hurt – never allowing anyone to get too close. Immersing herself in working hard, she makes a name for herself in the small city she lives in. On Saturday nights, she goes out with her girlfriends to let off a bit of steam. It’s on one of those nights, she meets Josh, and before she knows it, her dating rules are out the window. But Josh is from an influential family, only in town until his business is concluded, so what could it hurt to enjoy the time with him? Romance lovers will enjoy this story, with fun banter, enduring friendships and a nice heap of romance. This story is clean, the main characters are flawed, which makes them human and realistic. Even when their pasts come back to haunt them, they will need to get past it to find their way back to each other. This is the third book in the Sweet Somethings series, but reads perfectly fine as a standalone. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult - PG13 Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Stan: The Awakening Richard Wold Horror A controversial New York artist is entangled in a dramatic clash between good and evil. Ever since he survived his suicide attempt, New York artist Stan Foster has not been
himself. Plagued by amnesia and a head full of visions of death and destruction, he claws his way through a life he doesn’t recognize. The search for his true identity leads him to believe he is Satan: spit out from the bowels of hell to live among the mortal inhabitants of earth. Is he delusional, or is there truth behind this troubling revelation? Stan must piece together who he was with only clues he stumbles across. Eventually, he must decide if he wants to remain who he used to be or become someone new. Stan’s psychiatrist, Abigail, is committed to help him find his true identity. She too must overcome her troubled background to offer him the redemption he is after. Uncaged Review: Stan found himself wanting to end his own life but was unsuccessful. By jumping off a bridge. Now he can’t remember who he is. One thing he does remember is that art played a big part in his life somehow. Stan slowly remembers a little each day thanks to his doctor. Only problem is it’s awakened a gift in him that can sense all the evil that other people have inflicted on each other. I really enjoyed this book and there’s even more secrets to learn about Stan. A good dark read, that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This is Richard Wold’s first book I will certainly read more of his books. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Dark Fantasy/Horror Sexual themes, violence
Highland Hope Madelyn Hill Highlander Historical “Remember, lasses. Through Hope, Faith, and Honor, ye can rule,” were the last words Lady Hope MacAlister’s father spoke before dying. Those very words direct her every action and thought. Sword fighting and leading the men of her clan was second nature to Hope and she has little time for herself or any thoughts of love. Until Aidan MacKerry is captured spying on the clan. She is beautiful, strong, and quick to pull a sword. But when he kisses her, all thoughts of the lairdship Aidan MacKerry seeks flee his mind. When the enemy continues to undermine Hope, Aidan is determined to aid her—only he didn’t think he’d lose his heart to the Laird of Wild Thistle Keep. When the enemy reveals Aidan’s secret, he must fight for his right to be laird and prove, despite their differences, he loves Hope. The enemy refuses to back down and continues to threaten not only Hope, but the security of the entire clan. Only together will they be able to save the clan and save their love. Uncaged Review: A very solid Highlander story with memorable characters and a hot romance. Hope is the laird of Wild Thistle Keep and the clan. A tough and fair laird, Hope has proven herself capable of leading for years – a strong and intelligent woman, but there are members on the council that want her removed as laird. After the death of her father, she leads the clan with her mother’s council, but after her death, according the decree of her father, she must wed if she is to continue to rule. Enter Aidan MacKerry, who is captured on castle grounds, with his own intentions of taking over the lairdship, and is his birthright. But getting past Hope will not be easy, and Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews falling in love with her was not in the plans. But what will Hope do when she finds out about his betrayal and deceits? There is some mystery, and layers of deceit, and a heap of romance. I would have liked to see more of Hope and Aidan’s interactions, but it’s an interesting read that kept me engaged throughout. The characters are well developed, and the author did a good job giving strength to Hope, but also giving her vulnerability and heart to keep her believable and likable. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult
Highlander Historical Sex scenes/Adult situations
Night and Chaos
Dignam & Martinez Urban Fantasy As night gathers, chaos rains down on the city of Ashwood like acid. The New Order of Void Weavers led by Isaac Moreau are gaining strength, but the shield separating the world of humans from the things hungrily waiting for their turn at the batting plate is fractured and weak, and repairing it is no small task. Meanwhile Alice Werner, the supernatural Bounty Hunter, has her hands full with an increasing number of contracts, and as Ashwood starts simmering toward a boiling point, it’s only a matter of time until something gives and all hell breaks loose.
Uncaged Review: The wrap up to this trilogy is a good one. Alice, Isaac and the gang are off to find and destroy Nyx. Along the way, the other Half-Lich is found in Cora, who wants to help so her life can go back to normal. A massive storm settles over Ashwood, and the only way 70 | UncagedBooks.com
to save the city, is for the group to bring it down, before Chaos is unleashed. This book wraps up and answers any remaining plot issues and brings it to a nice closure without being rushed or drug out too long as some series do. The storyline is fresh and original, plenty of action and a sprinkle of romance. Even though I will miss the characters in the book, I will be very happy to continue on with this writing team on their next journey. And I know that the city of Ashwood has more to tell us. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Urban Fantasy Sexual situations/violence
Battered Not Broken Charity West Contemporary Young Adult Battered and bruised, Wren has taken a lot from her father over the years, but when he throws her out of the house, she sees it as a blessing in disguise. She has no job, no home, and never finished high school, but what’s all that compared to a life without abuse? When she starts over in a new town, under a new identity, she makes it her goal to fly under the radar. New town, new life. Only, there’s a corrupt deputy intent on stealing Deputy Gray Frampton’s family fortune, a slight case of aggravated identity fraud, and a night in the local jail. It’s enough to make any girl’s head spin. Wren Michaels has to find a way not to spend the next three years in jail, warn Gray that Deputy Pritchard is after him, and somehow hold onto the happily-ever-after that is
finally within her grasp—assuming Gray wants a felon as his girlfriend. Who knew falling for a man in khaki could cause so much trouble? Uncaged Review: Wren is a young woman who not only came from a very bad neighborhood, but was abused by her alcoholic father. When he beats her and tosses her out one night, it’s almost a blessing that she got out of the house alive. With some money her mother secretly gives her, Wren moves to a new county, with a crappy apartment in a bad part of town. But in her mind, it’s better than where she came from. After losing a job, and getting another as a waitress in a diner, she meets the local Deputy, Gray. And he makes no secret that he’s interested. But Wren is hiding her own secret, she’s changed her name and identity illegally, and isn’t ready to divulge her secrets. When she finally agrees to a date with Gray, she finally begins to see a new life. There is a lot more going on, and it becomes even dangerous for Wren, but what I really liked about the story, is that I saw an abused, scared girl turn into a woman that fought back when it mattered, and quit being a victim. Reviewed by Cyrene
to her mother who disappeared just prior to the French Revolution. Noblesse has to choose between two men. Both profess their love. Both are keeping a secret from her. One wants to destroy her, and one wants to love her forever. But which one? Uncaged Review: This book is the second I’ve read about in The Arnhem Knights of New York series, and in the first book, Vampire King of New York, we met Max’s daughter, Noblesse and I was thrilled that this book was her story. The relationships to the characters and their mates is a daytime drama’s dream. Even though a vampire shows up claiming to be Noblesse’s lifemate, she herself doesn’t have the feelings for him, but for another, Donovan - the human father of Evelyn (Max’s wife) and Laura. Donovan believes that Noblesse has found her lifemate and decides to step aside... but can Noblesse be happy without him? Lot of new action, and the story doesn’t slow down. I enjoyed this story as much as the first one, and this one held even more intrigue and suspense than the first one. This is quickly becoming a goto series for me. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Young Adult Domestic abuse Violence
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Vampire Princess of New York Susan Hanniford Crowley Paranormal Romance
Noblesse is the daughter of the Vampire King of New York Maximillion Vander Meer. In the over two hundred years, she’s been a vampire, Noblesse has never found a true love or discovered what happened Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Uncaged Reviews Risking the Vine
Gemma Brocato Contemporary Romance Jacqui Bishop’s dating life is dead in the water, but her professional prospects look outstanding. Promised a management position, she embarks on a team building course at a northern California winery. Shocked when her boss promotes a less qualified rival, Jac opts to chuck her job and revive the family farm.
Uncaged Review: This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I hope it won’t be the last. In order for Jacqui to get the promotion she wanted and worked for, she has to attend a Team Building workshop. The workshop is located at a stunning vineyard, and the author describes the setting so well, you’ll be wanting to pack your bags for a getaway. Since she is the only one from her company going, she is paired up with Luke, a very gorgeous man she had met briefly at a company party. The romance is pretty swift, and there are a few obstacles in the way – mostly their individual careers, but overall the story is well written and the romance is sweet and sexy. I think that the romance fell into place a little too fast, but the characters are likable enough and the Team Building workshop had its moments. Romance lovers that love a good smoldering sex scene, will enjoy this one. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult Contemporary Romance Sex scenes
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Alex Dunn Young Adult/Contemporary Tammy’s got everything: wealth, designer clothes, store cards with unlimited credit, and Ralph Forrester, a drop-dead-gorgeous first-year law student who is going to take her to the end-of-term dance. There’s only one problem: Ralph Forrester doesn’t exist. He’s only alive in the pages of the Trudy Kensington novels, and unable to face being humiliated in front of the girls she longs to be like, Tammy runs away and headfirst into trouble. Gary’s life is spiralling out of control after Grace dies. On a mission to prove he’s nothing like his physically abusive father, he comes to Tammy’s rescue and agrees to be Ralph for just one night. But the lie that brought them together threatens to tear them apart forever when Tammy decides to continue the deceit, and without realising it, she puts Gary’s life at risk. Determined to make things right, she sets about trying to rebuild Gary’s broken home. But has she done enough to convince him he still has a family worth living for?
Uncaged Review: This is a young adult romance story. Meet Tammy who is unhappy in life with her mother, her weight and her lack of friends. Tammy loves to read romance books and makes up one of the lead male characters as her date to the prom. Knowing her date is made up to impress a group of girls she is at a loss as what to do next. Until a stranger called Gary comes along at the right time and love blossoms. I haven’t read any of this authors books before. This is the first now I’m hooked on this author’s books. What made this book so good to read is the loveable characters and the storyline was very
believable. I highly recommend you read this book. You won’t be disappointed. Reviewed by Jennifer
Uncaged Ratings: Young Adult Language/Threats of Rape
Annette Bower Contemporary Romance Tiffany George, riding high on her commission as a fresco artist, returns home for some deserved rest and relaxation. The drive proves uneventful until she rescues Will Cleaver on the side of a highway. While savoring memories of a kiss and a well-formed butt, her future goals do not include a romance. Once in town, she discovers the hopes and dreams of her community hinge on the development of a new resource mine and Will’s designed neighborhood. Her parents demand she give up art and resume her working partner role in the family business. Tiffany finds herself pulled by her community roots and stretched by her newly discovered independence. Will knows about taking charge of destiny. He models the courage she uses to become the woman she needs to be.
Uncaged Review: Tiffany is an artist, who escaped her small home town life in Apex and in her family’s plumbing business to study art. Finally hitting her stride with a large contract job. With her week off, she decides to go home for a week off before she begins the job. Outside of town, she finds a stranded motorist, and stops to help, finding the man is disabled and with the pain in his legs, he can’t get out of the car. Tiffany helps him out, and waits until the tow-truck shows before heading home. When she gets home, her father is very ill, and there is a water break in town – so Tiffany is thrust back into the family business, and when her father is hospitalized, she’s a bit stuck. The man she helped back on the road, is Will. A man that designs community development for a large company, and Apex is the target. With a potash mine close by, bringing life back to the small town should be a win win for all involved, but it has its challenges. This is a sweet love story, and a story with a powerful message, that if you don’t give up, you can find a way to accomplish anything. Will and Tiffany’s story is filled with humor and a nice plot. It’s not a fast paced story, but it’s an easy read that you can feel good about with interesting characters that you can rally behind. Reviewed by Cyrene
Uncaged Ratings: Adult/PG13 Contemporary Romance
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews Through a Glass Darkly David Allen Kirch SciFi/Paranormal The House loomed over the city like a beacon of malevolent evil. People spoke of it only in whispers. Others tried to own it, eventually coming out in a body bag. Darkness dripped from its windows, spilt blood made up the foundations of its property, and Satan seemed to have a claim on the land. Houses built along its borders nailed their windows shut so that they wouldn’t have to see it. Evil resided within its ancient walls and did not care who knew it!
Through a Glass Darkly is one of those books that leaves you curious as to what could come next. There are so many twists and turns. The history of the house and its tenants was something I enjoyed, though I do wish it had been a little more in depth. Don’t get me wrong, we are given plenty of information to know what happened, but I would like to have been told more about it a little sooner in the story. That’s just me being selfish though. This author has done a fantastic job of providing the reader with a thorough and interesting book that I will be recommending to all of my friends. If you have read and enjoyed Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood, you will love this. It’s like that book on steroids, and I LOVED that book
Manchester House was a legend - the “Mount Everest” of Haunted Houses! Professor Jonathon Holzer knew he had scored the opportunity of a lifetime. With an international crew of paranormal investigators, and a mysterious “shaman” named Indrid Night, the man hoped to find some answers. There was one proviso: The City Council was not aware of his venture, and the police could not help him. He would be alone. Sometimes when one stares into an abyss, the abyss stares back into you!
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: If you are looking for a good haunted house/ghost story, this is the book for you! Through a Glass Darkly creeped me out more than I want to admit. This book has everything a good ghost story needs for maximum horror. A haunted house, a disgruntled ghost (or several), a professor, a team of investigators, a holy type of guy, and a couple of psycho’s thrown in for good measure. The back story is disturbing and detailed, though it does still leave a little bit to the imagination. Sometimes our imagination is scarier than reality anyway!
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Onyx Webb, Book 4 Waltz & Fenton Horror/Suspense More questions get answered in Book Four. A darkness is building and more supernatural twists occur. Onyx Webb is a series you will enjoy reading more than once. After you finish Book Four, consider a complete re-read of the series! Onyx Webb is a complex multi-genre mash-up that combines elements of supernatural suspense, crime, horror, romance, and more. The Onyx Webb series follows the unusual life of Onyx Webb along with a central group of characters in various locations and times. The billionaire Mulvaney family, piano prodigy Juniper Cole and her brother Quinn, paranormal show hosts Cryer and Fudge, and a few others make up the core of the series. Written like a book version of your favorite tv series (think: supernatural soap opera like American Horror Story) each character’s story moves
forward with most every episode. It may appear that the characters are entirely unrelated and yet episode by episode, the connections will become clearer. Like being an inch away from a spider web, with each book, the web will move further and further away revealing the full story of every character and most importantly, the stunning conclusion for Onyx Webb herself.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: I am starting to feel like I’m repeating myself with my reviews of this series, but it really is that good. Each episode answers as many questions as it asks, and that keeps the story going along in such an addictive way. Each episode presents new heartbreak as well as victory in other ways. This book is no different from the others in that aspect. This really is one of my favorite series due to its ability to keep me trapped in the story and excited to see what is going to happen next, and how this is connected to that and so forth. The ghosts are plentiful in this installment and I can’t wait for the next book. As much as I adore this series, I am such an impatient reader that I feel like it’s an eternity between each book. In reality, Fenton and Waltz do an amazing job of coming out with subsequent books in a reasonable period of time. If you haven’t started this series, you really should. It’s intriguing and exciting with the craziest interwoven plot you’ve ever seen. I can’t wait for book 5!
The Haunting Season Michelle Muto Horror/Paranormal Siler House has stood silent beneath Savannah’s moss-draped oaks for decades. Notoriously haunted, it has remained empty until college-bound Jess Perry and three of her peers gather to take part in a
month-long study on the paranormal. Able to talk to ghosts, Jess quickly bonds with her fellow test subjects, who have their own “gifts.” One is possessed. Another just wants to forget. The third is a guy who knows how to turn up the August heat, not to mention Jess’s heart rate…when he’s not resurrecting the dead. The study soon turns into something far more sinister when they discover that Siler House and the dark forces within are determined to keep them forever. To escape, Jess and the others must open themselves up to the true horror of Siler House and channel the very evil that seeks to hold them in. Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: I won this book in a contest, and at first was like, ok, cool. I like ghosts. But lately I haven’t read too many books that really center around them. I was somewhat expecting the run of the mill ghost story, no high expectations. I am so glad I won this book! Michelle Muto writes a great ghost story and I would love to have her come on a camping trip with my family if she can tell this kind of story around our campfire! The story is set in Savannah, in a big, old southern mansion with a sordid past. It has recently begun renovations, and strange things are happening. Dr Brandt offers 4 people the chance to stay at the house for a month to conduct an experiment. Of course there are 2 girls and 2 guys, as is the usual balance of characters. When everyone arrives at the Silar house, I was instantly drawn to all of the characters. I wanted to know everyone’s back story immediately. Of course, that would never happen in a good book. Each character has some sort of paranormal ability from seeing ghosts, to being able to raise the dead, and a few others in between. They all have some sort of traumatic event that happens in their past. I do wish there had been a little more detail given about each person’s abilities and personal stories, but there is enough given for you to get the point. For Jess, she sets out to prove to her
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Fang-Freakin-Tastic Reviews family that ghosts are real, since they believe she just has mental issues. It was interesting to see the interaction between the characters evolve from the beginning until the end. In the beginning, Dr. Brandt is very interested in his subjects, writing notes at every possible chance. As the story goes on, his note taking is gradually reduced to nothing as the house begins to affect him. There is an underlying question as to who/what else is interested in the findings of this experiment, and their abilities, but I do think while it is touched on, there is not quite enough information or story to this part of the story line. There is a little bit of romance in the attraction of two characters, but it’s small part of the story, and is not overly graphic. Michelle Muto felt the need to include mirrors in this story. There is nothing scarier to me. Seriously. I am terrified of mirrors in the dark and I am always waiting for something to reach through and grab me. This element of the story really scared the crap out of me. They mysteries behind the house, and what happened there and to who are what kept me engrossed in this book from the beginning. I could not wait to see what was causing all the excitement. I want to say I couldn’t wait to finish it, but at the same time, I wanted the story to continue. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good ghost story or mystery with easy to follow plot lines. I look forward to reading other books by Michelle Muto.
Untethered Katie Hayoz Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Sylvie isn’t comfortable in her own skin. In fact, there are times she can’t even manage to stay inside it. Junior year is off to a less than stellar start for Sylvie: Her parents are splitting up, her little brother is sitting at her lunch table, and she’s the target of
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the school bully. Plus, she accidentally astral projects, slipping out of her body again and again at all the worst times. Sylvie is cast as the class freak and a medical misfit. She wishes she were somewhere else. Someone else. But it’s only when her best friend catches the attention of the boy Sylvie’s loved in secret since the fifth grade that Sylvie makes up her mind to do something drastic.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: This was a pretty cool book. It’s about one girl’s experiences with Astral Projection. Astral Projection is, according to www.dictionary.com, “the act of separating the astral body (spirit or consciousness) from the physical body and its journey into the universe”. It goes on to give a the difference between astral projection and having an out of body experience, “Astral Projection is the intentional act of having the spirit leave the body, whereas an out-of-body experience happens involuntarily (such as while dreaming, or in a near-death experience).” Sylvie is the weird girl in school. She has “fainting spells” and randomly just spaces out and loses all control of her arms and legs so she crumples to the floor on a regular basis. Her father has just moved himself out of the house, so Sylvie is dealing with family issues as well. She has no control of when she leaves her body, it just happens, and no one has believed her when she tried to tell them. So she feels alone and freakish. Her best friend Cassie lives right next door, which is great, except over the summer Cassie filled out into a beautiful girl and Sylvie is jealous. Cassie’s status at school begins to change and Sylvie can’t take the endless teasing she endures from some of the popular girls. When she hears Kevin (the boy she obsesses over), talking about his crazy step-mom’s claims to have projected during her child birth, Sylvie starts to wonder if maybe she’s not alone after all. She begins to read more into her “condition”, and tries to find a way to control it. From there the story gets pretty freaky, so you will have to read it to find out. I really liked the story behind this, but I really wanted to punch Sylvie in the throat. She’s so whiny and needy. She’s kind of a lunatic. I feel bad for her that she feels like an outcast, but it seems like a lot of it she has brought on herself. Aside from the obvious problem of randomly astral projecting, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with her. She is so concerned with everyone else, which she fails to see what is going on with her. She’s delusional. She’s paranoid and acts like everyone is out to get her. If she would stop feeling
sorry for herself long enough to realize who she is and what she can do, she wouldn’t have been such a pain in the ass. I don’t understand why she waited until she was almost an adult to start researching this, even if it was scary. I think it would be more scary to NOT understand it and what your body is doing. She kind of gets what she deserves when her “master plan” hits a snag. There was really nothing I can say about the writing or the story itself that I didn’t like. I’ve never read anything about it before, so this was my first experience with it. I liked the characters Hayoz created. They fit well with the whole high school environment that this book took place in. Hayoz also does a great job in giving you more than just a basic understanding of what Astral Projection is. I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book since I had never really been interested in this topic before, but I was wrong. If you are looking for something a little bit different that still has an element of weirdness, read this book. It is appropriate for pretty much all ages but keep in mind it does take place in high school so they typical high school elements are there.
Aurora Sky, Vampire Hunter Nikki Jefford New Adult/Fantasy If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it’s to get off the iceberg she calls home. Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Government agents step in and save Aurora’s life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska. Basically she’s a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis right before she has to finish the job . . . by hand.
Fang-Freakin-Tastic Review: What a good book. I
hunter. Her mother has signed her up in exchange for the organization saving Aurora’s life. They have modified her blood to make it somewhat toxic to vampires. She now must spend the rest of her life hunting and getting vampires to bite her so the assassins can finish the job once the vamps are incapacitated. The book follows Aurora’s adjustment from normal teenage girl to not so normal teenage ass kicker. Now for how I felt about the book. Aurora’s MOM signed her up for this. As a parent I get that she just wanted to save her daughter, but I have a feeling she didn’t really think it through before committing her daughter to a life completely different than she had planned. I would have been highly pissed if my mom signed me up like that. I think Aurora took the whole situation pretty well. The relationships with the people that Aurora knows were a little off for me. I can’t entirely explain why, I just felt like something was missing. The fact that her bff Denise totally stopped talking to her was weird. We aren’t given a reason why or anything. The on and off feeling we get from Fane was frustrating because I couldn’t tell what the hell was going on with him. I wanted him to figure out what he was doing and stick with it. Some of the characters felt like they were there to be space fillers, not really doing enough of anything to add to the story. The scene with Scott Stevens was pretty lame to me. I think Jefford could have done much better with that type of scene. I understand that it wasn’t meant to be a perfect situation, but it just felt wrong. Her new friends that she meets in the bathroom pretty much disappear after a little while. I can’t imagine her having been ostracized for being in the car accident, so I don’t get why she didn’t have ANY friends at that point. And why on earth did everyone at Marcus’s party just accept her with open arms, no questions asked if they are trying to keep themselves hidden? To me, that seems like vampires TRYING to get staked! That is why I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5. I loooooved Dante’s character. He was hilarious. Great personality, sounds pretty hot. Hero material all the way. Seriously boyfriend potential. As much as what I wrote above probably sounds like I didn’t like this book, I really did. I overlook the “reality” of it all and enjoy the story underneath. I don’t need it to be “real”, I just need it to be enjoyable and fun to read. And it was. It was, in fact, so much fun to read, that I read the next book in the series immediately after I finished this one! I would recommend this book to anyone who likes an unconventional vampire hunting book. No one sparkles, but they can go out in the sun to some degree. There are action scenes as well as feely scenes, but nothing inappropriate for younger audiences. I would forewarn you though. In the 2nd book there is a fantasy sex type scene and a lot more f-bombs. So if you are going to give it to a younger reader, you may want to check it out yourself first just to make sure your reader is mature enough for that sort of scene. It’s pretty easy scene though.
have wanted to check out this book for a while now, and I’m really glad I’ve finally had the chance. It was a fun read and had plenty of elements to enjoy. Aurora Sky is a high school senior who is involved in a violent car accident. When she wakes up on a military base, she is informed that she has been given transplant organs, and due to her extremely rare blood type, she has been recruited to become a vampire
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Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews
Dead & Buried Chelsea Quinn Yarbro SciFi/Horror He thought dead men told no tales... The murders were bad enough but what Sheriff Dan Gillis couldn’t understand were the newcomers to Porter’s Bluff, and their eerie resemblance to people he had seen dead and buried. He couldn’t tell Janet, because even his beautiful wife was acting strangely lately. Was he imagining things? Or was something evil preying on the sleepy town… Myra’s Review: Dan Gillis is sheriff of the small New England town of Potter’s Bluff. In the book’s opening scene, a mob of people attack a visiting photographer by setting him on fire. This scene was quite sinister and chilling. The man survives and is taken to the local hospital, and then murdered by a mysterious redheaded woman in a nurse’s uniform. More people are murdered by what appears to be the townspeople. Sheriff Gillis questions the mortician, Dobbs, to see if he can shed any light on the 78 | UncagedBooks.com
murders. Dobbs is a happy character, giving us the creeps by his attitude; the more horrific the death, the happier he is, giving him a better challenge in fixing the corpse up for viewing. Gillis becomes increasingly alarmed as more grisly deaths happen each day. We, the reader, see that each murder is photographed, before and after the killings. Gillis accidentally hits someone with his squad car, but the victim gets up and runs away. The sheriff gets hit on the head by someone when he goes to investigate, and he swears there was a severed arm lying on the ground, but with his head being fuzzy, he wonders if he images it. He scrapes material off his grill to be tested, trusting only the local doctor to do so. The doctor’s results are puzzling; the human tissue sample has been dead approximately four months. The Sheriff’s wife, Janet, is acting strange and he grows suspicious of her and of Dobbs. He runs a background check on the mortician and discovers he was dismissed as a pathologist years ago for conducting unauthorized autopsies in the county morgue. Near the end, poor Dan is horrified to discover Janet is one of the undead, reanimated by Dobbs, who developed a secret formula for bringing the dead back to life. Of course we find out who is killing people and why, but I don’t want to give everything away.
Though the last scene was not unexpected, it was sad. I read this many years ago so I’d forgotten a lot of details, but I remembered enjoying the story very much. The reread was just as fun. Also, this was made into a movie by the creators of Alien, but I never saw it. My curiosity has been piqued so I just ordered it from Amazon.:) After viewing, I’ll make a follow up note on my blog review as to if the movie holds up to the book.
Sepulchre James Herbert Horror/Occult A psychic’s bodyguard begins to question who needs protecting most There is a house called Neath that holds a dark and terrible secret, and in that house there is a psychic called Kline who is part of its secret. The Keeper is guardian of the house, of the psychic, and of the secret but now an outsider must protect them from a terrible danger. Halloran will combat men who thrive on physical corruptions, he will find love of a perverse nature, he will confront his soul’s own darkness, and eventually he will discover the horrific and awesome secret of the Sepulchre.
als lie underground. Halloran scoffs at this notion, but he is hired to guard the man, not accept the validity of the companies’ claims. Nonetheless, he is creeped out by his first encounter with Kline, when he seems to crawl inside his mind in order to frighten Halloran. Kline’s wish to ensconce himself in his country estate doesn’t sit well with Halloran. It is poorly guarded and Kline’s overwhelming confidence in the Gate Keeper seems delusional. We the reader, are introduced in detail to Kline’s personal bodyguards, a sick group of individuals. There are dogs loose on the grounds to keep guard; later we discover are vicious jackals. The lake is a sinister site, which appears to be filled with monsters and does kill several people. In true Herbert style, we aren’t sure what is really going on, but many dark secrets are gradually revealed. Sick, twisted deeds surround Kline and his cohorts. At the end we find that Kline is tied to an ancient evil. I was glad that Halloran was able to take down the dark characters in this story and that Cora, the girl he comes to care for, did not become the new Guardian of the Gate. A horrific encounter with the Guardian and Halloran was creepy to say the least. A recommended read for fans of Herbert, or readers who wish to try one of his books.
Myra’s Review: James Herbert, the Britain’s number 1 bestselling master of horror, brings us another dark tale, creepy and mysterious. Halloran is a man of many talents when it comes to security. He is hired to protect Kline, a mysterious man who is an employee of Magma, a corporation which brings valuable minerals such as copper to the public. Kline is their “hidden” source for uncovering the world’s resources. A “psychic” of sort who can sense where the minerIssue 7 | February 2017 |
Myra’s Horror Blog Reviews Alive Not Dead R.M. Smith Horror/Post-Apocalyptic It is about the end of the world, zombies, corrupt military, people with messed up minds, and a guy and a girl stuck in the middle of it. It tells their story, how they survive day by day, looking for shelter and peace. It’s a gritty story. Not for the feint of heart. Note: This is a new blurb. I probably would not have chosen this to review due to “corrupt military” if I’d read this blurb. Coming from an all military family, I don’t enjoy these type stories. I love stories where military are given honor and respect, and I can tell the author served. Myra’s Review: Dan comes to after his plane crashes. As you can imagine things are confusing, but become even more so as he sees dead people up and walking around, then attacking others in true zombie fashion. The main character weaves through a world gone mad; landscape as “flipped”, which later we discover is due to the shift of the poles. He meets different people and ends up with the love of his life, Mindy. Their goal is to find a safe place to live, but nothing is stable. Between the landscape, crazy people and zombies, they are faced with obstacles constantly. Run-ins with the military are disturbing and they escape. Each time the couple think they have found a secure haven, it gets upended. The military is intent on catching them; the leader thinks Dan started the plaque. I enjoyed the fact that I was thrown into the action right away when this book opened. The author’s world was a fresh perspective; the flip in the land80 | UncagedBooks.com
scape. I did not like Dan, which was disappointing because I expect to love the main guy/gal. Some of his behavior was too unforgivable to me as a reader. The military in this story. Much of it didn’t make sense to me. I could see one base acting a certain way, but for both to act the same way did not ring true. For both bases to treat people with the same degradation? And why? For the military to lure people to the bases, offering safety, and then to shoot them - made absolutely no sense to me. The biggest “what?” was the military leader shooting off nukes to take out his wife’s lover. I don’t read graphic horror filled with depravity (so a warning would be nice in the future) and did not base my rating on my feelings. Note to Readers: Book contains graphic descriptions including violence, rape, explicit sex, cannibalism and torture.
Birthright E.J. Stevens Paranormal Being a faerie princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be... Ivy must go to Faerie, but the gateway to the Wisp Court is through Tech Duinn, the house of Donn--Celtic god of the dead. Just her luck. Unable to share her secret with Jinx, and with Jenna called away on Hunters’ Guild business, Ivy must rely on Ceff and Torn to lead her to Death’s door, literally, and back again. As if that wasn’t dangerous enough, there’s no saying what horrors lay in store within the Faerie realm. Too bad the
Wisp Court is the one lead Ivy has in the search for her father--and possible salvation. Maybe hiding away and dodging sidhe assassins isn’t so bad after all... Birthright is the fourth full-length novel in the award-winning Ivy Granger urban fantasy series by E.J. Stevens. The world of Ivy Granger, including the Ivy Granger Psychic Detective series and Hunters’ Guild series, is filled with action, mystery, magic, dark humor, quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, flirtatious demons, sarcastic gargoyles, sexy shifters, temperamental witches, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines. The Ivy Granger series has won numerous awards, including the BTS Red Carpet Award for Best Novel, the PRG Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy Novel, Best Urban Fantasy Novel, and finalist for Best Urban Fantasy Series.
After much searching, they finally make it to her father’s castle, and find her Uncle running things since the King is gone. Ceff & Torn disappear the day after and Ivy frantically searches for them. After weeks, she decides they left her, and in her depression works with her Uncle to learn her fairy powers. It is an interesting passage of time and two years go by. At the end of the 2 two years, with the aid of her fairy powers, Ivy does find her friends, locked up in a dungeon and unfortunately it was her Uncle who imprisoned them. At the end, Ivy’s heritage is revealed and she was an amazing fairy. It made a nice wrap-up to the story. If you love Paranormal/Fantasy stories filled with magical beings, this is the book for you!
Myra’s Review: This is the first novel I’ve read by the author. Even though it is the 4th book in the Ivy Granger series, I didn’t feel “lost”; works as a standalone just fine. I understood I had missed some action, but it did not interfere with enjoyment of the read. My goodness the book is full of great mystical creatures – fairies, demons, goblins, brownies, kelpies, and much more. Ivy is determined to find her long-lost father, King Will o’ the Wisp, and sets out on a quest that takes her through the Portal to Wisp court. Her companions on the journey are Ceff, her boyfriend and King of the Kelpie’s and Torn, the lord of the cat Sidhes. The Portal is guarded by a fierce demon, the one depicted on the cover. A big fight ensues and the group manages to gain entry.
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Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Enden David Duane Kummer Dark Fantasy/Medieval/YA They have grown strong in the shadows, the kingdom of Oldon. The land is void of hope and of strength against them. The human kingdoms grow corrupt everyday, so that the lines between good and evil are slurred. One young man from a small village in the valley could change all of that. He fights with the passion of a warrior and the luck of a magician. And when the barbarians force him out of his home, the journey begins. Trained by a knight, shadowed with secrets, and against the kingdom he once called home, Jonathan is an outcast, a rebel. But more than anything, he is a leader. Enden is a world filled with wars, famine, sieges, torture, and death. But the greatest battle of all is to survive. Only one thing is certain. Something is rising, in the distance near the edge of the world where forgotten secrets brew. Something has risen. And it is coming. Amy’s Review: It’s an interesting adventure about one young man who can change the world. Well, his word and his kingdom. The characters in this book are well developed, and yes, it’s an epic novel, as it is long, but it is worth the read. Filled with knights and battles, and the search for tomorrow, this is a grand story. A good read to start off the new year.
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The Flight of the Pickerings John Grayson Heide Humor/Love & Marriage Guy Pickering is a good man and good husband to his wife Dorothy who grows wackier every day with dementia. Guy sees the end coming and wants to be in control, but Life has other plans. His most private moments spiral out of control as a nosy neighbor intrudes, a rebellious teenage grandson shows up and finally a fame-hungry reporter spotlights them in front of a world-wide audience. Filled with tender moments and comic twists, this book engages the reader in one family’s journey, a final voyage that all of us will take, sooner or later. The Flight of the Pickerings is a love story that touches on the right for self-determination while infusing deep humanity and humor. Amy’s Review: Unforgettable This is a great story and it is very well written. I truly enjoyed this adventure as Guy and Dorothy are faced with what to do at the end of their lives. It’s filled with a great balance of humor and suspense, as well as heartfelt drama. A wonderfully written piece on a very difficult subject, this reader was definitely entertained and kept turning the pages until the story was over.
The Knights Tale Gary Edward Gedall Historical/Medieval/Romance Faron, our anti-hero, finds himself transported into the body of Sir Lancelot, in the continuation of this inspirational, fantasy series. He is on the quest to heal his self-esteem, but the knight, although noble and brave, is also a flawed human-being. He avoids emotional conflicts, but cannot escape his passion for Guinevere. Follow Lancelot through his tortured romantic journey, in a world of court intrigue, magic and heroism. Amy’s Review: Magical First, there is no way a reader can get lost with this book, even if the others that preceded this one weren’t read. However, it is a great way to get lost in the storyline, with the characters. If you’re reading this, read every word of this book and the summaries beforehand. This is a wondrous tale and magical as Faron is transported and transformed into Lancelot. It’s an amazing journey and adventure of romance, magic and intrigue. I love the way Gedall pens his stories and this just adds the right mood for Faron. Faron has many lessons and inexperience that he learns from being Lancelot, and the story is prepped for his next journey.
Savaged Lands Lana Kortchik Historical/20th Century/War September 1941, Kiev. Life for teenage sisters Natasha and Lisa Smirnova is about to change beyond their worst fears. Despite Stalin’s assurances to hold the Ukrainian capital at all costs, Hitler has ordered his troops into the Ukraine and for the Russians and Ukrainians living there, it heralds a terrible time of fear, hunger and peril. All too soon, the danger of living under Nazi occupation impacts on the lives of the ordinary citizens. The eldest Smirnov son, Stanislav, sets off to fight for the Red Army at the front. On the brink of marriage to her fiancé Alexei, Lisa’s happiness quickly turns to despair. Amy’s Review: Absolutely Powerful! A definite MUST READ!!! Circa 1941. Russia is overrun by Nazis. Rich in history, it’s a powerful story of the exploration of Kiev during WWII. Work camps. Starvation. Down right execution. This story is riveting and one you won’t want to put down until the end. Take a deep breath and release it slowly as you read this one. It’s captivating and charming, as well as heartbreaking and emotional. Natasha and Lisa are about to face a worse-than hell on earth. It’s a deep impacted story but brings out that even when all else fails, love and faith can keep a person going. Highly recommended.
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Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Wayfarers Highway Peter Petrack Fantasy/Paranormal When Eloise Corwin – a longtime patient in her desert hometown’s infirmary – finds a wounded young traveler sharing her sick room; she insists that he tell her about his adventures. The young man, Orson Gregory, tells her how he found and stole a glowing gemstone, hidden for decades beneath the government-built factory beside his family farm. He tells her how he’s been chased ever since – by mercenaries, by terrorists, and by other, stranger enemies. Amy’s Review: An amazing Journey I think of stories as a journey or adventure for the imagination. This story was no different. The characters are on an actual journey with the reader right there on the path. The quote I like is in the beginning to the story, but I think it fits the entire story and the significance of the adventure. “Our tale isn’t a happy one. It deals with many things that are powerful and dangerous in our time. Worst of all, it’s a story that hasn’t ended yet.” It’s a powerful journey that teeters on what could happen and what does happen. There is a fine line between supernatural and pure magic, and this story has both. Orson made a friend on his journey, and Petrack gained a new fan. Great story.
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Made Safe Francis Sparks Crime Mystery For Private Investigator, Moses Winter, the job just got more complicated. His adultery case has taken a violent turn landing the subject of his investigation, Fred Dunsmore, in the hospital and Moses in jail. Moses is held for questioning along with his erratic client, Sharon Dunsmore, and Fred’s mistress, a Bosnian refugee who just happens to be related to the DCI agent investigating the case, Raif Rakić. After Rakić secures their release, Fred goes missing, and Moses Winter finds himself compelled to find him. With the assistance of Rakic, Moses unravels Fred’s ties to Des Moines’s underworld and is forced to confront the most heinous crimes of his career. Amy’s Review: Be prepared to get lost! This book is very gritty and intense. I love a good thriller and this is one of the good ones. Add in an intriguing PI, Moses Winter, and you’ve got yourself a hit. I really liked this story, and it was a very raw and amazing journey of solving the case. I love the complications and the connections between the characters. Sparks writes a good story and I was finally able to put it down when the story concluded.
Best Laid Plans & Other Disasters Amy Rivers Contemporary/Political/Romance A year after she is elected mayor of a prosperous Colorado city, Gwen Marsh’s career and life are fully on track, all according to plan. So why is she in such a slump emotionally and physically? New conflicts keep boiling over in city government, and her earlier allies no longer support her. She and her boyfriend have an ideal relationship, which she finds inexplicably dissatisfying. Without telling her, he decides to take a new job that has him traveling out of state every week. Suddenly unexpected developments turn everything topsy-turvy, and Gwen is forced to reexamine her carefully-planned life. Amy’s Review: Nothing ever happens as planned ... What a great book. I really like the character, Gwen, who is one of those planners, her career and her life are on track, so she thinks. Well, things get turned upside down for Gwen. This is a fun story and I enjoyed being able to watch as Gwen tried to fix things in her life. I personally think that Gwen is too good for Jason, but that’s just me. I liked sitting on the couch with Val and Gwen during a gab session or sharing secrets. No one’s life is perfect, not even those who seem like they have everything. Great story.
Money for Love Peter Berman Crime Suspense When LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division Detective Jennifer Donahue attempts to respond to an urgent request to meet with a former Russian female escort, she is devastated to discover that the young woman has been brutally executed. With the aid of her partner, Detective Shari Thompson, the two women launch an investigation into the death and they soon find a connection to the bombing death of a Russian Immigrant who is a partner in an matchmaking agency that specializes in offering introductions of beautiful Eastern European women to wealthy men seeking a marriage partner. Amy’s Review: Very Complex and Intriguing This is the first of Berman’s work that I’ve read, but I will definitely read more of his work. I read the book before I read his author bio and knowing his background, it makes the story more real. This was one of those books that keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next, and taking your time to get there so you don’t rush and miss anything. It’s full of suspense and it’s a very well-developed story, set on murder and international intrigue. I love the female detectives, Donahue and Thompson, as they embark on this investigation for the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division. I look forward to going back and reading his other books.
Issue 7 | February 2017 |
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