Archive | January 2014

COVER REVEAL – First Impression: A Shadow Maven Paranormal by Pauline Creeden

COVER REVEAL - First Impression: A Shadow Maven Paranormal by Pauline Creeden

First Impression: A Shadow Maven Paranormal

Chira Kelly thought she didn’t need anyone…until she met Ben.

Because of one ugly rumor, Chira lives as an outcast at her school. Which is fine with her, because she works better alone. Always has, always will. And at least she has her one and only true friend, Tasha. When Tasha insists that they join a group to visit a possibly haunted abandoned old schoolhouse, she’s wary, but joins her friend. Because of that decision, their lives are in jeopardy as a malevolent spirit targets the group. Tragedies and accidents pick them off one by one, and Chira finds herself drawn to the one person who can see the truth. But can he protect her?

ISBN-13: 978-1495303944

ISBN-10: 1495303942

Expected Release Date: March 31, 2014

Author Bio:

In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. Her books have hit #1 on the Amazon Bestseller List and Armored Hearts won the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Award in Historical Fiction. First Impression: A Shadow Maven Paranormal is her first mystery. It’s a dark urban fantasy and will be released March 31, 2014.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20618864-first-impression

Excerpt:

She rips my hall pass from her pad and points it toward the young man sitting across from her desk. “Chira Kelley, meet Ben Oscuro. He’s new here and needs someone to show him around. It just so happens he’s also a member of class 18B.”
I finally lay my eyes on the boy. He doesn’t look up at me, and his disheveled dark hair is just long enough that it hides his eyes. But he pushes himself up from his chair and his slim form towers over me. He’s at least six feet two and his uniform is almost as crumpled as his hair. He swings his backpack onto a strong, square shoulder and nibbles his full bottom lip. His smooth olive skin and dark hair make him look like a foreign rocker, and there’s something about him that seems vaguely familiar.
“Here’s a copy of his class schedule. When you’re not in the same class, I want you to leave a few minutes early and help him find the next class room. That’s your job for today. Got it?”
I swallow back and resist sniffling again. Taking the hall pass and the copy of the schedule from her, I say, “Um…sure.”
“Excellent. Robin, you’re off the hook.”
The office aide pumps a fist in the air before returning to file more papers in the cabinet. The secretary’s chair squeals a dismissal, and Mrs. Campbell picks up her phone, returning to her duties without another word.
Ben pulls open the office door and stands to the side to allow me to go first. The hallway that was empty only a short while ago is now full of students and their incessant conversations. With a shrug, I eye his class schedule quickly. Except for second and sixth period, we have exactly the same schedule. He’s in all of the advanced classes, too. Only he has gym for second period and Latin for sixth – opposite of my schedule, except I take French.
Piece of cake.
I glance up at him again, and his eyes meet mine. My breath hitches. His intense gaze makes me feel like he’s measuring me. The dark pools of his eyes seem deep and bottomless, but there’s something strange about them. They’re brown, but he has colored contacts. Why would anyone color their eyes brown?
My heart flutters. A sniffle escapes me before I can stop it. Ugh. I clear my throat and start in the direction of first period. “Follow me.”
We elbow our way down the freshman hall toward the second floor, but before we start up I point down the way. “Do you know what your locker number is?”
Ben nods and pushes his backpack up on his shoulder further.
I wait for a second and then smile. “What is it?”
“706.” He has a slight accent and his voice is deeper than I expect. I suppress a shiver at the jolt that the musical timbre of his voice sends through my body. I’m resonating like a tuning fork. I really want him to speak again with every fiber of my being. What’s with me?
“Uh…okay.” I swallow, trying to regain composure. And take him to the general area of the locker. “Here it is.”
He looks at it, nods, and returns his hard gaze to me. Is he always so stiff? Probably just nerves from being new.
“I know you don’t have any books to put in it, but do you want to try out the combination?”
He lifts one shoulder in a shrug and spins the combo quickly through the three numbers. I purposefully avert my eyes so he knows I’m not peeking. He opens the locker wide, nods toward me and then closes it again.
“Great. We have first period over here.”
“You and I have the same first period?”
My body vibrates again, and I blink hard. So glad my back was to him so he couldn’t see the effect his voice has on me. I swallow and face him. “Actually, yeah. Our schedules are very similar. It’s a smallish school so there’re only a few tracks that juniors can be on.”
He nods, and his eyes are half lidded as if he’s bored already.
I lead him toward our class room. “We don’t really have assigned seats, so you can pretty much sit anywhere you want. I’ll show you to the gym at the end of class. I have French next, but it’s not too far from there.”
I lead him to the front of the class, and my friend, Tasha, gives me a wan smile and raises her eyebrows, looking back and forth between me and Ben. She mouths, Who’s that?
I roll my eyes and put up one finger toward her to let her know I’ll tell her in a minute. Then I turn to the teacher. I hand him the schedule from the office. “Hi, Mr. Scott, this is Ben Oscuro, a transfer.”
Mr. Scott sets down the Mountain Dew he was drinking and offers Ben a wide grin. He puts a hand out for him to shake. Ben hesitates but takes the hand in what looks like a firm grip. Mr. Scott shakes his hand afterward. “That’s some grip you’ve got there.” He laughs and leans down to the bottom drawer of his desk and hands Ben a Geography text book.
With a nod, I return to Tasha and squeeze into the desk next to hers. Because I’m at Jackson Hall partially on scholarship and partially on my father’s insurance money, I’m somewhat of a social pariah. My only real friend is Tasha Brown, a pariah herself, being one of the few African-American kids in the school. Still she tends to be more popular than me, because at least her family has the money they’ve made in the night club and music business. But then there’s that rumor…
“So who is the new hottie?” Tasha hops up and down in her seat.
I shake my head at her. “You are one big hormone, you know that? Sure, he’s cute, but is there any guy in the room you don’t consider a hottie?”
Tasha scans the room, considering for a moment with her hand on her chin and a very serious expression on her face. Her hair is in the typical pigtail braids she usually uses to play up the uniform. She has on no sweater, and her shirt is one size too small, causing the buttons at the front to bow and expose part of her red bra. Finally she returns her gaze to me. “There’s only one guy in here that doesn’t rank hottie.”
“Really? Who?”
She leans in conspiratorially and whispers, “Mr. Scott.”
I nearly choke on a laugh as I eye the middle aged, balding teacher at the front of the room. But I have to admit, Jackson Hall is a prep school. And no one can afford to make their children look their best more than the wealthy. I guess if I take my father’s words to heart, it’s better to be the poor kid in the rich kids’ school…than the other way around. Right?
Tasha’s smile returns and I follow her gaze to figure out why. Ben Oscuro walks down the aisle between us and takes the desk right behind mine. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. He smells like pine and mint, and it reminds me of the outdoors. When I open them again, Tasha’s smile has grown impossibly wider. She leans towards me and whispers, “What was that you said about hormones again?”
I shove my elbow toward her but she dodges me with a giggle.

SPECIAL ATTRACTION – REVIEW

SPECIAL ATTRACTION - REVIEW

Special Attraction by M.L. Ryan
Book Three of The Coursodon Dimension Series
Warning: This review may contain mild spoilers for the previous two books in the series.
Hailey Parrish’s life continues to become less and less ordinary. The days when she was a chinchilla milker are far behind her. She now works for her lover, Alex Sunderland. Her magical abilities are in better control and she can even shift into the shape of a hawk.
As bodies are discovered dismembered along a hiking trail near Hailey’s home, Alex, Hailey, and Sebastian are three of the magical investigators the Coursodon dimension is employing to attempt to find the murderer. Since the crimes are steeped in magic, the criminal must be found or risk exposing more innocent humans to something that cannot be understood by the human dimension, even if the Courso detectives can’t find a trace of Courso magic at the crime scenes.
Even Hailey, searching as a hawk, can’t seem to bring them any closer to the evil creature slaughtering hikers. Though they do discover a poor, dirty, very large dog abandoned on the mountain. He stinks of sewage. They take him home with them to try to determine if his owner is related to the killings in any way.
Once again, Hailey and her friends will be back and forth across the inter-dimensional border as they try to solve this perplexing crime.
M.L. Ryan continues with the Coursodon winning streak. This is yet another witty, engrossing, novel in the Coursodon series. Sebastian, Hailey, and Alex continue to have their personalities expanded upon, making them more and more complete. They are beginning to feel like old friends. The world-building continues. Soon, Coursodon will have a full-fledged map, with stores and complete town names filled in to compare with each large mirror town (or so it feels). I have enjoyed learning more and more about this world and its unique customs and traits.
Ryan has a way of writing that is not so informal as to be conversational, but is encapsulating, so the reader knows that each word is important and meant for the reader’s ears only. It is a completely engrossing and entrancing.
This series is excellent and one of those I encourage readers to experience for themselves. While there is romance, and it is a strong and beautiful one, there are always other plot elements to keep the reader entertained and lusting for more action.
I must give this book 5 out of 5 glittering stars, simply because there was so much going on, it was exciting, there was never a dull moment.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Buy Links (Please report any broken links)
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HBJ6340
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/388212
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4574172

Author Bio
M.L. Ryan is a professional woman – which is not to say that she gave up her amateur status, but rather that she is over-educated with a job that reflects her one-time reluctance to leave school and get “real” work – and she spends a lot of time in that profession reading highly technical material.

She has many stories rolling around in her head, and she finally decided to write some of them. She prefers literature that isn’t saddled with excruciating symbolism, ponderous dialogue or worldly implications. She also doesn’t like plots so reliant on love at first sight that it makes her feel like her head might implode.

She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and teenage son, four cats, two dogs and an adopted desert tortoise.

Social Media Links (Please report any broken links)
Website: http://www.CoursodonDimension.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MLRyan1
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CoursodonDimension
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3384189.M_L_Ryan
Blog: http://coursodondimension.blogspot.com

SPECIAL REWARDS – REVIEW

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Special Rewards by M.L. Ryan

Book Two of the Coursodon Dimension Series

Warning: There might be spoilers for Book One within this review.

Hailey Parrish was normal once upon a time; that was before her body played host for a man’s spirit from another dimension. After that experience, and discovering that magic was alive and well, Hailey was a bit less normal. Then, she discovered that Sebastian, the very powerful magical being who had inhabited her body, left her with some sort of magical power as a result of his spiritual habitation.

On top of having magic, she and Alex are going to have to travel to Courso to defend Sebastian’s actions. Making the experience even more fun will be discovering information about Alex’s family, and adjusting to the decided lack of modern technology and magic as its all-around substitute.

Then there is possibly the most exciting development of all: Hailey’s magic isn’t exactly stable. When she gets upset, things have a tendency to get rather explosive. Hailey is nervous enough about meeting Alex’s family. He won’t talk about anyone other than his sister, so Hailey’s already terrified. Add to that her tendency to blow up things that annoy her, and this could be an even greater adventure than having a man’s spirit living inside her.

Once again, M.L. Ryan managed to create a story that is both entertaining and captivating. Special Rewards isn’t just about the magic, the family, or the potential for Hailey to humiliate herself. Ryan has included a few mysteries within the story.

Also, as the reader will notice in this second book of the Coursodan, the personalities of the three primary characters begin to blossom even more. They become multi-dimensional beings. The reader might even begin to think about them when not reading, as if they are real people. Ryan creates complete character constructs. The main characters are so real, their personalities so vivid,  readers learn to expect certain actions from them; it becomes these characters’ natures to act in certain ways because Ryan has created such realistic characters.

The world of Courso is also introduced in this book of the series, so we get to experience the author’s exceptional world-building skills. The world of Courso is well-designed and it is obvious this is only an introduction to this world; readers will get to learn more about rules, regulations, and terrain in the future.

I continue to be captivated by this series. Another 4 out of 5 sparkling stars!

A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions were my own.

SPECIAL OFFERS – REVIEW

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Special Offers by M.L. Ryan

Hailey Parrish lived in a one-bedroom guesthouse that was quickly becoming overtaken by her paperback collection. So, in an effort to conserve space, she impulsively purchased a Kindle to help her conserve room. The Kindle included “Special Offers,” meaning she saved money by allowing it to show ads while charging. Hailey was a chinchilla milker, which paid pretty well, but she still didn’t see the point in senselessly wasting money.

When the Kindle finally arrived, she immediately downloaded a free classic book so she could try her new device out; when she prepared to read the book, she felt a strange surge of something akin to static electricity course throughout her body. While she thought this odd, she thought no more of it as she began to read. She felt kind of sick for the next couple of days, but was feeling a bit better by Monday, in time to go back to chinchilla milking.

Shortly thereafter, she began to hear a voice in her head – not HER voice, but a man’s voice. After a rather interesting conversation, Hailey discovered she was playing host to the spirit of a Coursodon man, a person from a magical alternative dimension whose body had been killed, but who had managed to divert his living spirit into her Kindle. The man’s name was Sebastian Kess.

Soon, Sebastian’s friend, Alex, appeared on Hailey’s doorstep. Hailey, Alex, and Sebastian began working to find a way to get Sebastian out of Hailey and back into his own (hopefully salvageable) body.

M.L. Ryan created a story based upon a very fresh and extremely provocative premise. With the introduction of an alternate dimension and modern technology, an amazing adventure was born. The characters were all very interesting, with each possessing very specific personalities. Hailey was an exceptionally brave, snarky, and engrossing character. She rolled with the punches – and there were many.

Sebastian was known as a womanizer, thus it was interesting for him to be stuck in a woman’s body. The descriptions of man’s experiences inside a woman (literally inside and not in a sexual nature) were often amusing, and sometimes enlightening.

Alex was one of those heroes every woman wishes existed in the real world. He was patient, loving, a good friend to both Hailey and Sebastian, a great listener, and loyal to both.

As demonstrated in Special Offers, M.L. Ryan has the ability to create a tale that wraps the reader in wonder. This author has created a story that is funny, touching, sad, and simply enjoyable to read. Special Offers is written in such an enthralling manner that before the reader realizes what happens, all the pages are gone. That is the saddest part of the book – when there are no more pages to turn. On the bright side, there are more books in this series to read.

I rate Special Offers 4 brilliant stars out of 5 stars!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed within this review are my own.

HAUNT ME – REVIEW

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Haunt Me by Heather Long

Penny Hollow was a fading Virginia town; it had very little income, few jobs, and no appeal for tourists. Justin Kent was from one of the original families. As a caveat to receiving his inheritance, his father required Justin and his siblings to find a way to save the town.

The latest idea was to market the town as one of the most haunted places in Virginia. There were many ghost stories about the area, with one house in particular having a reputation as haunted: the house belonging to Katherine Summerfield. Justin had moved in across the street from Katherine and they had become friends. Katherine had promised to allow him to buy the house after her death. Before the agreement could be legally finalized, Katherine died and Justin discovered that, instead of leaving a purchase agreement for him, she’d instead left the house to a great-niece, MacKenzie Dillon.

MacKenzie Dillon was a writer who had just ended a horrendous marriage from an abusive, controlling husband. The home she’d inherited from her aunt came at a time in her life when she’d lost everything. Her husband had spent all her money, leaving her broke. In spite of the fact she’d written many successful books, she had nothing. This house saved her life. She knew of its haunted history; she’d heard the stories from her aunt, but also remembered her aunt telling her the ghost was more sad than scary or violent.

Justin was at first determined to purchase the house from MacKenzie, then slowly they became friends. Strange things began to happen, very strange things. The ghost became more and more malevolent. What was going on in this haunted house? Was the ghost angry at Justin and MacKenzie? Or was there something deeper at work?

Heather Long created an interesting story. The weaving of the ghost’s past via MacKenzie’s writing was an interesting twist. Long kept the suspense going by feeding it out it measured doses throughout the novel. The dual villains were interesting, though the villain of the past needed more detail.

I would have liked there to have been more trust displayed between the two main characters. That was a major point of annoyance for me. I didn’t understand why, after Justin figured out what was happening, he kept telling MacKenzie to write, rather than finding another way to communicate with her. He knew her issues with control, so he knew better than to do this. This, to me, was a major plot flaw, and was out of character for Justin, given his actions to that point. Also, Justin was the one who didn’t believe in ghosts originally, so it makes no sense that he didn’t simply talk with her about what he thought was happening. This whole issue threw me out of the story for a bit.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the story quite a bit. I look forward to reading more of Heather Long’s work. I give this book a happy 3 ½ stars rounded up to 4 shining stars!!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20442399-haunt-me
Amazon Buy Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Haunt-Entangled-Covet-Heather-Long-ebook/dp/B00HP1JYPY
Barnes & Noble Buy Link:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haunt-me-heather-long/1117987581?ean=9781622664467

 

LOVE AT STAKE – REVIEW

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Love at Stake by Victoria Davies

Abbey is the sole human employee at Fated Match, a dating service for supernatural beings. Melissa Redgrave, famous vampire, wants to become a client, but her “father,” Lucian Redgrave, will not allow it unless he has first approved of the company. Abbey is selected to interview the two.

Abbey hates vampires, but her boss, a vindictive siren named Vivien, only cares about securing the contract that will insure her company’s continued financial stability.

After hearing all of the statistics, success information, and enrollment procedures, Lucien finally agreed to allow his daughter to enroll in the program. But there would be one huge condition. Fated Match had to first find Lucian’s mate.

On top of this condition, he refused to work with any of the usual experts the company assigned to its clients. He would work only with Abbey. She was to update his wardrobe, assist in preparing him for dates, and so on. Vivien was not amused. She was convinced that Abbey was trying to have a relationship with the vampire and was quite insulting in her assessment of the situation.

The more Abbey worked with Lucien, the more her attraction to him grew (and it was quite strong at first sight). She knew, though, that vampires view humans as beneath them and that such a relationship would never work, so she strove to keep herself distant, no matter the difficulty. For Lucien’s part, he met all the perfect people Abbey found for him, yet no one seemed to interest him as much as Abbey. He longed for her company, even though he knew it was folly.

Davies has written a fun, quick read with interesting characters. Abbey was a great heroine, snarky, intelligent and strong. Lucien was divine, tall, dark and handsome. Vivien made a wonderful enemy, with her controlling, overbearing ways and cruel words. Melissa was kind, sweet, and a wonderful addition as a secondary character.  The characters were so real they came alive on the page.

The one problem I had with the book was that Abbey got over her alleged dislike of vampires a bit too quickly. Also, the reasons for her dislike weren’t explained very well (other than vampires being “peckish” around humans). If she truly disliked vampires, she would have needed a bit more persuasion to become involved with one.

Otherwise, the book was well-written, nicely paced, and sexy.

4 glowing stars!

The publisher provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20442441-love-at-stake

Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Love-at-Stake-Entangled-Covet-ebook/dp/B00HP1JZ5I

Barnes & Noble Buy Link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-at-stake-victoria-davies/1117987583?ean=9781622664450

 

 

Playing Hooky by Rita and TJ Webb

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Playing Hooky by Rita and TJ Webb

Playing Hooky was a sweet, whimsical story that hinted at a budding romance between Emma and Jason. On Emma’s 21st birthday, Jason showed up to take her on an adventure. Adventures of one type or another have been traditional for the two; they’ve been best friends since Kindergarten. Emma didn’t expect Jason this year, though, since he had a girlfriend the last she’d heard. However, Jason is single and has come to take Emma on the adventure of a lifetime, introducing Emma to a circus tent of the supernatural.

Emma is a great heroine, funny and brave. She’s been in love with Jason for years, but doesn’t want to ruin their friendship. Jason feels the same way about Emma, but refuses to tell her. He is a wonderful hero; handsome, passionate, and courageous. The friendship between the two is extremely strong.

This novella is well-written, fast-paced; full of mystery and surprises. It is fun and hints and passion and more dangerous adventures to come. The Webbs have written this story so well that the emotions between the two main characters leap from the page. The reader can feel the intensity of passion they feel for each other; it pulses and vibrates, though Emma and Jason may each pretend to be ignorant of what is happening. This is definitely a novella I recommend for my followers.

I received a copy of this novella from the authors in exchange for an honest review. The opinions within this review are my own.

5 radiant stars!