Thursday, June 22, 2017

New Release and Book Review: On the Edge of Death by Ciara Ballintyne

EPIC FANTASY
Date Published: 22 April 2017
Publisher: Evolved publishing

All the Left Hand of Death wants is something to call her own, but is the price too high?
Ellaeva, the fated avatar of the death goddess, is desperate to track down her missing family but the trail is decades old. Instead, she discovers her battered and bloodied sister priestesses driven across the Jerreki border on pain of death. Ellaeva must turn aside from her personal quest to investigate the murders, only to find her parents have been taken into the heart of the conflict.
Lyram Aharris, favoured son of the royal line of Ahlleyn, is the only living person she trusts to help her infiltrate the enemy stronghold and uproot the horror they find there, but their chequered past threatens the mission. Accompanying him is his crown prince, the one man Lyram wants dead above all others.
Now Ellaeva must face down the darkness in her soul before a dark god is brought into the world.
At the boundary of life and death, all oaths will be tested. 

Review:

Ellaeva, the battle priestess, is on a quest to enter Jerreki, a land where the rulers have been killing and driving out her fellow priestesses. Turned back at the border, she asks the king of Ahlleyn to send her in secret as part of an embassy that includes Lyram Aharris, a man from her past as well as the hated Prince Drault and the Duchess Narrawen. What they find in Jerreki is unspeakable evil, and Ellaeva and Lyram must put duty and justice above love in order to prevail.
This is the second book in The Sundered Oath series. I didn't read the first book, though I intend to remedy that omission, I felt I picked up the story and the characters very easily. The author weaves the backstory into the narrative seamlessly, no data dump here. In fact, the writing is quite brilliant; the descriptions give an excellent description of the world and people while not being overly verbose. There's a lot of battle scenes and fighting which I sometimes get bored with, but they drew me in, and I could almost see each parry and thrust. Drault is a wonderful villain, not over the top, but still capable of great evil. Narrawen's character is more subtle, but I disliked her just as much as Drault by the end of the book. And neither of them is the true enemy.

Ellaeva and Lyram are heroes in the true sense of the word. Both have lost much and want so much more, but let the needs of others and their own senses of duty override their love. I can't wait for the next book in this series and I will definitely find some more of Ms. Ballintyne's books. A truly great fantasy series.  




Ciara Ballintyne grew up on a steady diet of adult epic fantasy from the age of nine, leaving her with a rather confused outlook on life – she believes the good guys should always win, but knows they often don’t. She is an oxymoron; an idealistic cynic. Her debut work is Confronting the Demon, and In the Company of the Deadis her first book to be published with Evolved Publishing. She holds degrees in law and accounting, and  is a practising financial services lawyer. In her spare time, she speculates about taking over the world.
Twitter: @CiaraBallintyne
Facebook: http://facebook.com/CiaraBallintyne
Website: http://ciaraballintyne.com

Cover Reveal: A Meddle of Wizards by Alexandra Rushe

A MEDDLE OF WIZARDS
by Alexandra Rushe
Genre: Fantasy
Pub Date: 1/9/2018
Welcome to Tandara, where gods are fickle, nightmares are real, and trolls make excellent bakers . . .
Raine Stewart is convinced she’ll die young and alone in Alabama, the victim of a chronic, mysterious illness. Until a man in a shabby cloak steps out of her mirror and demands her help to defeat a bloodthirsty wizard.
Raine shrugs it off as a hallucination—just one more insult from her failing body—and orders her intruder to take a hike. But the handsome figment of her imagination won’t take no for an answer, and kidnaps her anyway, launching her into a world of utmost danger—and urgent purpose.
Ruled by unpredictable gods and unstable nations, Tandara is a land of shapeshifters and weather-workers, queens and legends. Ravenous monsters and greedy bounty hunters patrol unforgiving mountains. Riverboats pulled by sea-cattle trade down broad waterways. And creatures of nightmare stalk Raine herself, vicious in the pursuit of her blood.
But Raine isn’t helpless or alone. She’s part of a band as resourceful as it is odd: a mage-shy warrior, a tattered wizard, a tenderhearted giant, and a prickly troll sorceress. Her new friends swear she has powers of her own. If she can stay under their protection, she might just live long enough to find out...
Alexandra Rushe was born in South Alabama, and grew up climbing trees, searching for sprites and fairies in the nearby woods, and dreaming of other worlds. The daughter of an English teacher and a small-town judge, Rushe developed a love of reading early on, and haunted the school and local libraries, devouring fairy tales, myths, and tales of adventure. In the seventh grade, she stumbled across a worn copy of The Hobbit, and was forever changed. She loves fantasy and paranormal, but only between the pages of a book—the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz give her the creeps, and she eschews horror movies. A psychic friend once proclaimed the linen closet in Rushe’s bedroom a portal to another dimension, and she hasn’t slept well since. Rushe is a world-class chicken.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Book Review: Heart of the Cotswolds by M.L. Buchman

Aaron Mason was injured in Afghanistan and has retreated to the tiny village of Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds of England. He's staying at a B&B and working as an apprentice to Trent, the local stone mason. He's mostly content until Jane Tully stumbles into the local pub, hiding from her sister's wedding. She kidnaps Aaron to go back with her and protect her from her sister Debbie, the definition of 'mean girl.' Jane's life is in a shambles; her almost-fiance and company have disappeared, and when Jane finds a storybook cottage, she decides to buy it and stay in the magical countryside of Gloucestershire. It helps that Aaron is working on a stone wall outside her door.
This is a gentle romance that gradually builds as two lonely people find each other. The secondary characters are interesting and add to the story. For me, the real star of the book was the wonderful descriptions of the English countryside. The Cotswolds really are beautiful, and the author captures that loveliness and weaves it into the story seamlessly.
I also like the concept of the series, that the B&B owners (and maybe the Earl) smooth the way for the couple in a Brigadoon-type fashion. The epilogue/preview indicates that the next book in the series will take place in Liguria, Italy, another romantic favorite place of mine. I can't wait.



Monday, June 19, 2017

Book Cover Reveal: River Queen Rose by Shirley Kennedy

RIVER QUEEN ROSE
by Shirley Kennedy
Genre: Historical Romance
Pub. Date: 12/26/2017
The ramshackle River Queen Hotel is home to vagabonds, gamblers, and heathens—and now, to new widow Rose Peterson. The rundown Gold Rush establishment is the only thing her late husband, Emmet, left her. Despite its raucous saloon and ladies of the evening, Rose can see the hotel’s potential. Her late husband’s family claim that sheltered Rose isn’t capable of running the Sacramento inn herself. But she is determined to make a new life for herself and her young daughter, even if it means flying in the face of custom and propriety. She feels as if she hasn’t a friend in the world.
Except, perhaps, one. Decatur “Deke” Fleming, a tall, lanky Australian who once served as Emmet’s farmhand. Pride prevents Deke from revealing his moneyed past; conscience keeps him from confessing his feelings for the still grieving widow. But when Rose is tempted by wealthy civic leader and hotel owner Mason Talbot, Deke may be the only person who can save her—and the one man capable of reviving her bruised and battered heart . . .
Shirley Kennedy was born and raised in Fresno, California. In her early career as an author, Shirley wrote traditional Regency romances, one for Ballantine, the rest for Signet. Later on, she branched into other genres. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with her older daughter, Dianne, and Brutus and Sparky, her two editorial assistants who love to nap in the sunshine next to her computer while she works on her next book. Please visit Shirley at shirleykennedy.com, or follow her Twitter account @ladyk360, or on Facebook at facebook.com/shirley.kennedy.52.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Book Review: Playful Hearts by Marianne Rice

Mackenzie Pratt runs the local coffee shop in Rocky Harbor. She's best friends with most of the Riley siblings and is interested in Blake Riley, the flirty brother who has just come home to open a gym and obstacle course with Colton (from Wounded Love). They're both too busy for a relationship and neither one wants one, but 'friends with benefits' works for them.
This is a fun series and it's always fun to read about the Riley family. There are some serious moments such as Mackenzie dealing with her mother's increasing senility and Blake's dealing with his blood family (if you don't know, the Riley's were all adopted and come from some rough backgrounds though Doreen and her late husband brought them up right).
I really loved the last book and I enjoyed this one, too, but Blake is not my favorite brother. I wish he'd show his sensitive side a bit more instead of relying on constant flirting. Mackenzie is a great heroine; I liked her interactions with Blake's niece. A solid addition to a great series.

Link to Amazon

New Release and Review: Tangible Spirits by Becki Willis

Suspense, Paranormal Suspense
Date Published:  May 2017

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Dead is dead. Gera Stapleton does not believe in ghosts.

In the infamous town of Jerome, Arizona, a once-friendly ghost named Mac has reportedly embarked on a petty crime spree, and, to her dismay, Gera is assigned the story. Has her journalism career come down to this? How can she accurately report a story on something she does not believe exists?

Now there has been a murder, and the townspeople are content to blame Mac for this, too. Determined to find the real killer—because there are no such things as ghosts, after all—Gera sets out to unravel the truth.

In a town filled with curiosities, Gera encounters a sexy hotel owner, an ornery sheriff, a helpful old woman, and a bad-tempered bartender. The more she digs, the more curious—and the more dangerous—this story becomes. What she discovers makes Gera question not only her beliefs, but her sanity, as well.

Is it possible? Could there truly be such a thing as these tangible spirits, after all?



Review: 
Gera Stapleton has been sent to Jerome, Arizona to write a story about ghosts for her magazine. Gera is not a believer, and she's appalled when she stumbles onto a murder scene where it appears the perpetrator is one of the town's ghosts. She decides to investigate this new angle to her story and starts to question people in the town.

There are three attractive single men in town to help her in her quest: the Clark-Kentish hotel owner, the elegant president of the bank, and the rough-and-ready sheriff.

This is a fun cozy mystery. The author has introduced a number of interesting characters as well as suspects galore. Gera is cute, determined to get to the bottom of the many mysteries; with ghosts all over town, there's more than just the murder. The background history is also interwoven into the story in a natural way that made me want to know more about FDR and the gold act, for just one example.
If you're looking for a cozy mystery with a bit of romance, then Tangible Spirits is for you. I am providing an honest review in return for a copy of the book from Netgalley and the author. 

About the Author

Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of '13, that dream became a reality. Since that time, she has published eleven books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction and Best Audio Book, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world.

An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel, but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Romance Book Sale!



Check out the June Nothing But 99 Sale & Giveaway!
Over 5o Romance Authors are offering 99 Penny books.
Most of them are on sale for a limited time. It's just our way of thanking our loyal readers.

Even better, we've pooled our funds to offer an awesome giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle and Amazon Gift Cards just for subscribing to our newsletters or following us on social media.