Sunday, March 27, 2016

Audio/Book Review of For the Birds (Tall Pines Mysteries Book 1) by Aaron Paul Lazar



Book Title: For The Birds (A Tall Pines Mystery #1)
Genre: Crime Thriller/Sleuth
Pages: 242
Audio Run Time: 7 Hrs 34 Mins
Author: Aaron Paul Lazar
Date Published: 14 October 2011 & 26 October 2015 (E-Book)
2 July 2013 (Audio Book)

Synopsis:

No one could accuse Marcella Hollister’s family of being normal. Her gorgeous Native American husband, Quinn, has a compulsive cleaning problem—which works for her, since she gets a pass on housework. Her mother, who insists on being called Thelma, lives to irritate her husband. And then, there’s Ruby. Sometimes Marcella’s not sure who Quinn loves more…his wife, or his prize parakeet.

After Marcella’s beloved stepfather passes away, leaving a sizable inheritance, the family heads to the scenic Adirondacks for a much-needed vacation at the prestigious Adirondack National Bird Show. But things soon take a strange turn—a bizarre accident involving Thelma, Ruby, and an electrified hotel pool has Thelma asking for crackers and Ruby suddenly spouting Thelma’s favorite phrases.

Then Thelma is kidnapped—and Marcella learns that the inheritance her stepfather left may be connected to the largest unsolved bank heist in U.S. history.

Now Marcella and Quinn must contend with an eccentric bird psychic, mysterious white vans, aggressive FBI agents, and a dangerous chase through the mountains as they rush to find her mother, with only Ruby’s newly acquired “Thelma-vision” to guide them. Can they uncover the secrets buried with her stepfather before it’s too late?

Review:


For the Birds (Tall Pines Mysteries #1)For the Birds by Aaron Paul Lazar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderfully quirky mystery. I loved it!

This audiobook is narrated by Hannah Seusy. I love her reading voice, which is clear and concise. She gave the characters their own voices and brought them to life. I haven't listened to her before, but would consider listening to other books she has narrated.

Marcella Hollister is a wonderful, down to earth character. I really liked her. She usually only has to deal with her husband's compulsive cleaning and her mother's constant needling of her husband. When her mother is kidnapped, Marcella and Quinn find themselves tangled in a mystery. Can they save Thelma and solve the mystery in time?

I love mysteries, quirky or serious. This book definitely falls into the quirky category. I started to listen to this story and was instantly transported into it. I loved meeting Quinn, Marcella's compulsively cleaning husband. I love characters with flaws and, since cleaning is not one of my forte's, I wouldn't mind him visiting my house. I admire Marcella's patience with his fussing but, wanted to smack her for not telling her mother where to go when she critiques Quinn. Yes, Quinn is an adult and quite able to defend himself, but if my parent did that to my significant other, I'd tell them to wind their neck in.

The story takes the reader on an adventure that is full of danger and flying feathers. There are several twists and turns that surprised me too. Tall Pines is a hotel with a difference. Each room has a large aviary, so you can take your pet birds with you. Quinn's parakeet, Ruby, has been entered in the National Bird Show which is being held there. However, there is a run in with a bird psychic called Earl Tiramisu, and the FBI gets involved when Thelma is kidnapped. As the mystery surrounding the kidnapping unfolds, I found myself holding my breath at times. The accidental connection between Ruby and Thelma had me grinning, though I don't know if it was a curse or a blessing. Being an observer, I shook my head at Marcella's and Quinn's slow uptake. Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching them stumble from one problem to another as they tried to solve the mystery surrounding Marcella's stepfather's past in order to rescue Thelma. As the story reached the end (it doesn't end in a cliffhanger), I found myself grinning and I now can't wait to read/listen to the next book in the series, Essentially Yours, as soon as possible.

Aaron Paul Lazar has written a fantastic tale that captured my imagination. I love his writing style, which is fast paced and entertaining. I also love the flow. I have not read any other books by this author before, but he has now found another fan. I am now looking forward to reading more of his books in the future.

This book doesn't have any bad language, though there is some violence. Therefore, I recommend this book to older teen readers and to adults who love cozy mysteries or crime thrillers. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews


             

About The Author:


Aaron Paul Lazar wasn't always a mystery writer. It wasn't until eight members of his family and friends died within five years that the urge to write became overwhelming. "When my father died, I lost it. I needed an outlet, and writing provided the kind of solace I couldn't find elsewhere."

Lazar created the Gus LeGarde mystery series, with the founding novel, DOUBLE FORTÉ (2004), a chilling winter mystery set in the Genesee Valley of upstate New York. Like Lazar's father, protagonist Gus LeGarde is a classical music professor. Gus, a grandfather, gardener, chef, and nature lover, plays Chopin etudes to feed his soul and thinks of himself as a "Renaissance man caught in the 21st century." This book has since be rereleased in 2012 as an "author's preferred edition," via Twilight Times Books.

The creation of the series lent Lazar the comfort he sought, yet in the process, a new passion was unleashed. Obsessed with his parallel universe, he now lives, breathes, and dreams about his characters, and has written ten LeGarde mysteries in eight years. (UPSTAGED - 2005; TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON - 2007 Twilight Times Books; MAZURKA - 2009 Twilight Times Books, FIRESONG - 2011, DON'T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU - 2013, VIRTUOSO - 2014, with more to come.) The author has just completed his twenty-first novel.

One day while rototilling his gardens, Lazar unearthed a green cat's eye marble, which prompted the new paranormal mystery series featuring Sam Moore, retired country doctor and passionate gardener. The green marble, a powerful talisman, connects all three of the books in the series, whisking Sam back in time to uncover his brother's dreadful fate fifty years earlier. (HEALEY'S CAVE, 2010; TERROR COMES KNOCKING, 2011; FOR KEEPS, 2012) Lazar intends to continue both series.

Lazar's books feature breathless chase scenes, nasty villains, and taut suspense, but are also intensely human stories, replete with kids, dogs, horses, food, romance, and humor. The author calls them, "country mysteries," although reviewers have dubbed them "literary mysteries."

"It seems as though every image ever impressed upon my brain finds its way into my work. Whether it's the light dancing through stained-glass windows in a Parisian chapel, curly slate-green lichen covering a boulder at the edge of a pond in Maine, or hoarfrost dangling from a cherry tree branch in mid-winter, these images burrow into my memory cells. In time they bubble back, persistently itching, until they are poured out on the page."

In 2009, Kodak gave him up for grabs, and during the year off before he landed in his coveted new job with KB America, he had time to explore and reconnect with his environment. Little did he know that several trips to the Adirondack Mountains would reawaken his passion for that part of the country. Two new books were written in that time frame, starting yet another mystery series, Tall Pines Mysteries. The first two combooks in the series, FOR THE BIRDS - 2011 and ESSENTIALLY YOURS - 2012 have been winning literary awards. Keep an eye out for SANCTUARY (2014), and MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (2015), coming via Twilight Times Books.

In between all the novels, Lazar found time to issue three writing guides based on his many years of writing advice blogs, entitled WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1-3. These are available in eBook and audio book.

In his twenty-first book, Lazar has jumped genre. THE SEACREST - OCT 2013 -, a love story, is poised to capture hearts across the globe.

The author lives on a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley in upstate New York with his wife, mother-in-law, two dogs, and cat. He finds grandfathering one of the most precious and important times of life, and spends as much time as possible with Julian, Gordon, and Isabella.

Lazar maintains several websites and blogs, was the Gather Saturday Writing Essential host for three years, writes his monthly "Seedlings" columns for the Voice in the Dark literary journal and the Future Mystery Anthology Magazine. He has been published in Absolute Write as well as The Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine. See excerpts and reviews here:

www.lazarbooks.com
www.murderby4.blogspot.com
www.aplazar.gather.com
www.aaronlazar.blogspot.com

Contact him at aaron.lazar@yahoo.com.

Twilight Times Books by multi-award winning author, Aaron Lazar:

LEGARDE MYSTERIES
DOUBLE FORTÉ (print, eBook, audio book)
UPSTAGED (print, eBook, audio book)
TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON (print, eBook, audio book)
MAZURKA (print, eBook, audio book)
FIRESONG (print, eBook, audio book)
DON'T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (print, eBook, audio book)
VIRTUOSO (~2014)

MOORE MYSTERIES
HEALEY'S CAVE (print, eBook, audio book)
TERROR COMES KNOCKING (print, eBook, audio book)
FOR KEEPS (print, eBook, audio book)

TALL PINES MYSTERIES
FOR THE BIRDS (print, eBook, audio book)
ESSENTIALLY YOURS (print, eBook, audio book)
SANCTUARY (2014)
MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (~2014)

STANDALONES
THE SEACREST (coming fall of 2013)

WRITING ADVICE:

WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1, 2, 3 (ebooks and audio books)

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, writing books, and a new love story, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, SANCTUARY (2014), and VIRTUOSO (2014).


AWARDS:

Double Forté
* 2012 ForeWord BOTYA, Mystery, FINALIST

Tremolo: cry of the loon -
* 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Grand Prize Short List
* 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Awards: Honorable Mention, Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction
* 2011 Global eBook Award Finalist in Historical Fiction Contemporary
* 2011 Preditors & Editors Readers Choice Award - 2nd place Mystery
* 2008 Yolanda Renée's Top Ten Books
* 2008 MYSHELF Top Ten Reads

For the Birds
* 2011 ForeWord Book Awards, FINALIST in Mystery
* 2012 Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Top 10 Reads

Essentially Yours
* 2013 EPIC Book Awards, FINALIST in Suspense
* 2013 Eric Hoffer Da Vinci Eye Award Finalist

Healey's Cave
* 2012 EPIC Book Awards WINNER Best Paranormal
* 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award, WINNER Best Book in Commercial Fiction
* 2011 Finalist for Allbooks Review Editor's Choice
* 2011 Winner of Carolyn Howard Johnson's 9th Annual Noble (not Noble!) Prize for Literature
* 2011 Finalists for Global EBook Awards

Terror Comes Knocking
* 2013 Global Ebook Awards, Paranormal - Bronze

For Keeps
* 2013 Semi Finalist in Kindle Book Review Book Awards, Mystery Category

Author Links:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Audio/Book Review of Claimed: (Alien Sci-fi Romance) (Brides of the Kindred Book 1) by Evangeline Anderson



Book Title: Claimed (Brides of the Kindred #1)
Genre: Alien Erotic Romance
Pages: 321
Audio Run Time: 12 Hrs 00 Mins
Author: Evangeline Anderson
Date Published: 9 February 2011 (E-Book)
16 December 2014 (Audio Book)

Synopsis:

Olivia Waterhouse has just graduated from nursing school and has her whole life ahead of her—until she gets drafted. Problem is, she isn’t being forced into the Army, she’s been chosen as a Kindred bride.

The Kindred are huge alien warriors—a race of genetic traders whose population is ninety-five percent male. After saving Earth from the threat of invasion they demand a reward—the right to find brides among the population. The chances of being chosen are about the same as those of winning the lottery—guess it’s just Liv’s lucky day.

Baird is a Beast Kindred who recently escaped imprisonment and torture at the hands of the malevolent Scourge. Through the torment and pain only one thing kept him sane—the thought of finding and claiming his bride—Olivia. His need to possess her is a burning intensity that threatens to consume them both.

Angry at having her future and her family taken away from her, Liv vows to fight back the only way she can—by resisting. She has one month on the Kindred Mothership with Baird—their claiming period. If she can keep from having bonding sex with him during that time, she can go home and get on with her life on Earth.

But Baird isn’t going to make it easy for her. Every week he is allowed to touch Liv more and more intimately and according to the contract she signed, she has to let him. She’s determined to resist him but his touch sets her on fire. And just as she thinks she knows what she wants, a twist of fate and an attack by the faceless Scourge AllFather changes everything…

Review:


Claimed (Brides of the Kindred, #1)Claimed by Evangeline Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in intriguing paranormal/alien romance. I was recommended this book by Audible due to my browsing history. I decided to give it a try.

This audiobook is narrated by Anne Johnstonbrown. Although she read this book clearly and succinctly, I found her interpretation of Olivia a little grating. I am not overly fond of whiny female protagonists. Unfortunately, this is how Anne Johnstonbrown's interpretation of Olivia's character comes across as.

Olivia Waterhouse is ordinary human who finds herself conscripted into a contract with one of the Kindred, an alien species that has made a deal with the governments of Earth in return for protection from a rival alien race, the Scourge. I liked her feisty and determined resistance as she struggles with her attraction for Baird.

Baird is a Beast Kindred and is determined to claim Olivia as his bride. I really like this man, he is a warrior with a warm heart. His patience with Olivia's resistance is stretched a little thin at times, but he is gentle with her as he tries to break down her walls.

This story is told through the eyes of Liv and Baird, although Liv's twin sister, Sofia, and Baird's half brother, Sylvan also have their say. Right from the start, the story intrigued me. Aliens who require human females to help keep their population up sounds like fun, right? I liked the premise. However, the execution left a little to be desired at times. I kept thinking that Olivia could have done things a little differently. Nevertheless, I found the story entertaining. This book is full of funny incidents and misunderstandings that had me either grinning or giggling. The massage mat called a "Touch Me" was in one scene that had me giggling. However, the sexual tension between these two is steaming! The contract that Liv inadvertently entered into with Baird has several rules that have to be followed in weekly increments until the month is up, culminating in a mating. I found myself feeling sorry for Baird, as he truly cares for Liv, though she fights for her freedom at every step. I suppose I would fight too, if I was forced into a marriage/mating contract with an almost stranger (they have been dream sharing). As they become closer, things start heating up and the seduction gets hotter and hotter. The language the author used makes this book more erotica than erotic, as Baird is always mentioning or thinking what he would like to do with Liv in the bedroom, and Liv is no better with her thoughts. In a way, this turned me off rather than on. I like erotic romance but, this became a little too much even for me. I reached the end of the story with mixed feelings. I am not sure if I will continue this series in audiobook, even though the ending had me intrigued about Sofia's and Sylvan's story, Hunted. I may read it instead of listening to it.

Evangeline Anderson has written an intriguing alien romance. I love her fast paced writing style and the flow was wonderful. Her characters are lifelike and likable. I would consider reading more of her books in the future.

Due to the explicit sexual language and scenes, I do not recommend this book to younger readers. I do, however, recommend this book if you love New Adult, Erotic Paranormal or Contemporary Romance and Erotica genres. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews


            

About The Author:


Evangeline Anderson is the USA Today Best Selling Author of the Brides of the Kindred and Born to Darkness series. She is thirty-something and lives in Florida with a husband, a son, and two cats. She had been writing erotic fiction for her own gratification for a number of years before it occurred to her to try and get paid for it. To her delight, she found that it was actually possible to get money for having a dirty mind and she has been writing paranormal and Sci-fi erotica steadily ever since.
You can find her online at her website www.evangelineanderson.com
Come visit for some free reads. Or, to be the first to find out about new books, join her newsletter--you can find a link at her website.

Author Links:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Book Review of Tell (The Heckmasters #3) by Allison Merritt



Book Title: Tell (The Heckmasters #3)
Genre: Paranormal/Supernatural Romance
Pages: 266
Author: Allison Merritt
Date Published: 8 March 2016

Synopsis:

Half demon, all male…one woman strong enough to love him.

The Heckmasters, Book 3

Knowing the day will come when his demon blood will overcome his humanity, Tell Heckmaster has been searching for a miracle. Something, anything, to counteract the spell. So far, he’s come up empty.

Just as the town of Berner has finally found peace, Tell’s worst fears manifest. Strange, new powers are tearing at his finely honed control. Putting everyone—including the pretty seamstress he’s kept at arm’s length—in terrible danger.

Sylvie Duke has everything she needs. Everything except Tell, who doesn’t seem to own a lick of sense. His resistance only strengthens her resolve to stay by his side, driven by a nameless inner knowing that without her, all will be lost.

Reluctantly, Tell is forced to admit that the closer he is to Sylvie, the better he’s able to quell his demon. But when a cryptic warning from an old ally tips the balance, nothing—not even love—may be strong enough to protect Berner from the raging fires of hell.

Warning: Contains a woman who can handle a hatchet with as much skill as a needle, and a man whose touch can transport her to heaven. Or hell. Accidentally, of course. Readers may wish to invest in an asbestos suit. Potholders just aren’t going to cut it.

Review:


Tell (The Heckmasters, #3)Tell by Allison Merritt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the third and last book in The Heckmasters series. I loved it!

Tell Heckmaster is a wonderful character. I liked this taciturn man when I first met him in the first book, Wystan. Tell is one of three half demon brothers who police the portal to Hell in the small town of Berner. Unfortunately, his real name was cursed long ago and if anyone said it, all Hell would break loose. Literally. Fearing his demon-side, he finds that the only thing that holds it at bay is Sylvie Duke, who also happens to be his sister-in-law.

Sylvie Duke is another wonderful character. She is just as stubborn and determined as she was when I first met her. No longer a pre-teen, she has always had her sights on Tell, though the idiotic male seems oblivious to the signs. As Tell struggles with his darker nature, Sylvie finds herself drawn even closer to him.

This is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! Set in the late 1800's/early 1900's, this book quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is told through the eyes of both Tell and Sylvie, which made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.

The story continues several years after the events that saw the end to the portal. The town of Berner has now been populated with humans, as well as the demons' that originally lived there. I loved meeting all of the characters again: Wystan, Rhia, Eban and Beryl. We are also introduced to the siblings' father, Seneca and an imp called Dochi. Seneca is now the ruler of the Gray Lands and Dochi is one of his subjects.

The story is full of twists and turns. The mystery of how Tell's name became bewitched is finally revealed. There are also several emotional moments which drew tears to my eyes. Dochi, however, had me grinning. His eagerness in serving the youngest Heckmaster reminded me a little of Dobby from Harry Potter. He is extremely loyal to the Heckmasters and his obsequiousness annoys Tell greatly. This gave the story a little light relief from the danger that threatened. I reached the end of the book with mixed feelings. I love how the story took me on an amazing adventure, but it also made me feel sad that this series has now come to an end. I will miss these three couples, as they have become my friends.

Allison Merritt has written a wonderful paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also love the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. This author has found another fan! I would love to read more of her books in the future.

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likable characters. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews


              

About The Author:



A life-long love of reading turned Allison Merritt into an indie author who writes historical, paranormal and fantasy romances, often combining the sub-genres. She lives in a small town in the Ozark Mountains with her husband and dogs. When she's not writing or reading, she hikes in national parks and conservation areas.

Allison graduated from College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri with a B.A. in mass communications that's gathering dust after it was determined that she's better at writing fluff than hard news.

She serves as the newsletter editor during the 2013-2014 year for Ozarks Romance Authors in Springfield, Missouri and has been a member since 2009.

Author Links:

Friday, March 18, 2016

Audio/Book Review of Erin The Fire Goddess: The Beginning by Lavinia Urban @Erinfiregoddess



Book Title: Erin The Fire Goddess: The Beginning
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Pages: 312
Audio Run Time: 4 Hrs 38 Mins
Author: Lavinia Urban
Date Published: 22 May 2012 (E-Book)
14 November 2014 (Audio Book)

Synopsis:

Erin Tait is a 15 year old girl, born with a birthmark covering the left side of her face.
She moves to her parent’s home town of Galladale, where all is not what it seems.
From day one, Erin is bullied by Jessica Watson, for looking at Sean Jackson.
Why is she trying to keep Erin away? It’s hard when Sean goes out of his way to talk to Erin, causing the bullying to get worse.
Erin is lonely and scared; she doesn’t know what to do. Can she control the fire inside?

Review:


Erin the Fire Goddess: The BeginningErin the Fire Goddess: The Beginning by Lavinia Urban
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting YA fantasy romance. I really enjoyed it.

I bought a Kindle copy of this book in 2013. Unfortunately, due to my large reading list, I haven't had a chance to get to it. I hadn't realised that it was available on audible until recently. I downloaded the book and listened to it as soon as I could.

The audio book is narrated by Anna Parker-Naples. I thought she did a wonderful job in bringing the characters to life. Her young voice brought a liveliness to the story. Unfortunately, she seemed to pause or take a breath in the middle of the sentence, or rush through others. I don't know if this is an error on her part, or a post production/editing one. However, this did make me feel a little disappointed that the flow was slightly disrupted.

Erin Tait is a teen with an unusual birthmark on her face. I found her to be a typical teen, full of angst and beset with loneliness from being "different". When she crosses paths with Sean Jackson and is bullied by Jessica Watson, she struggles with her emotions.

This is an interesting tale of a teen who has struggled with being different from birth. I think a lot of teens could relate to this tale. Nevertheless, I found Erin's attitude a little tiresome and I wanted to tell her to take her pity party somewhere else. Yes, being lonely and bullied can bring a person down and make them feel self-pity or self-loathing (been there, done that), Erin's attitude to others also made it easy for her to be victimised. I loved that Sean spoke to her and brought her out of her shell. Sean also has a secret, though this doesn't get revealed until later in the story. I liked meeting Kasey-Rae, Erin's younger sister. She has set herself up as her older sister's champion. Popular and outgoing, she is completely opposite to Erin. However, I think she could have made more effort to bring her into her friends' circle, even though they are a year different in age. Again, I think she didn't because of Erin's attitude.

The mystery surrounding Sean and Erin's attraction and what her birthmark represents is slow in being revealed. However, once they become a couple, things start to make sense and Erin's powers begin to develop. The story takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster and is fast paced. However, I found that my attention wandered on occasion. I don't know if this was because of the narrator, or something else that affected the flow; the story felt jerky at times. I reached the end and am looking forward to continuing the series. Unfortunately, I am not sure that I will do so with the audio format. I think this is a series that I will have to read, as the voice I have in my head for Erin is completely different to the narrator's.

Lavinia Urban has written a fast paced start to an intriguing series. I love her writing style, which is fast paced enough to keep me the turning pages (if I read the book). The flow, due to the spotty audiobook, was a little disjointed. Although, I feel that if I was to read the book, I would love the flow more.

I recommend this YA fantasy romance to teens aged 14 up, and to adults who love this genre. Some adults, however, may find it a little too young for them. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews


      

About The Author:



Lavinia originally grew up in Cheshire and now lives in a small village just outside of Edinburgh with her husband and two daughters.
Writing has always been something that Lavinia have loved since an early age but it wasn't until 2010 when the idea came to her to write Erin the Fire Goddess.
Lavinia chose to name the main character and her sister after her two daughters, who inspire Lavinia to write every day.

Where to find Lavinia:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review of Fury of a Highland Dragon: A Dragonfury Novella by Coreene Callahan



Book Title: Fury of a Highland Dragon (Dragonfury Novella Book 5.5)
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Pages: 102
Author: Coreene Callahan
Date Published: 27 October 2015 (E-Book)

Synopsis:

Trapped by a future she refuses to face…
Accused of cyber espionage by the United States government, ethical hacker Ivy Macpherson is now on the FBI’s most wanted list. Out of options, she runs, desperate for time to prove her innocence. When fate takes an unexpected turn, bringing her face-to-face with Tydrin, she must decide—trust a man more dangerous than the hunters on her trail to keep her safe. Or risk capture by a covert agency well known for ruthlessness.

Condemned by a past he doesn’t want to remember…
Cursed with a terrible temper, Scottish dragon-warrior Tydrin struggles to atone for a mistake that took innocent lives. Unable to forgive himself, he returns to the scene of his crime in hopes of finding absolution, but discovers a woman in need of his help instead. Intervening in the nick of time, he whisks Ivy to safety, only to realize the daughter of the family he wronged is the one destined to steal his heart.

Review:


Fury of a Highland Dragon (Dragonfury, #5.5)Fury of a Highland Dragon by Coreene Callahan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful short story based in the Dragonfury universe. I really enjoyed it.

Ivy Macpherson is a wonderful character, I liked her. She is an ethical hacker, working with the FBI. However, she's been set up by her boss and is now on the run for something she didn't do. When she meets Tydrin in a Scottish cemetery, she's not sure she can trust him.

Tydrin is also a wonderful character. Part of the Scottish dragonkind pack and brother to Cyprus, the pack leader, he is full of remorse for an accident that happened in the past. He stumbles across Ivy in a cemetery and sparks fly.

I love the Dragonfury series, so was looking forward to reading this novella. The story takes the reader into the Scottish Highlands and introduces us to a Scottish pack. I am not sure if these are the same pack that Forge belonged to or not before he became a member of the Dragonfury one.

Although the story was full of action of the romantic kind, there wasn't much in the way of fighting. I missed those aerial maneuvers that the author is known for. I also found myself slightly disappointed that it wasn't a little longer in length. This seems to be a build up for the larger story arc that flows within the Dragonfury series, though I can't be sure, as there is no mention of the Seattle pack.

Unfortunately, I felt the story had more than a few loose ends too. Ivy's flight due to her ex-boss setting her up to take the fall for his espionage is left dangling in mid-air, so it makes me curious to know how this fits in with the Dragonfury series. Not only that, this story seemed a little rushed compared to the main series novels. Nevertheless, it has a sexy dragon shifter and a feisty female protagonist, which is what you want with a erotic paranormal romance. Though the other characters in the pack do not seem to be as well developed than one would like, I hope that these Scottish dragons will become less mysterious and we will get to know them better as the story arc carries on, or if they get their own series. I am now eagerly waiting on the next book in the Dragonfury series to see how it all ties together (including the other novella the author wrote about Ivar and his encounter with a HE female in Fury of Fate).

Coreene Callahan has written another fantastic paranormal romance. She is fast becoming one of my favourite authors to read. Her books are fast paced, exciting and extremely addictive! I love her writing style and the flow is absolutely wonderful!

Due to the use of bad language and the explicit sexual scenes, I do not recommend this book for younger readers. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic paranormal romances or books with sexy dragon shifters! - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews


             

About The Author:




After growing up as the only girl on an all-male hockey team, Coreene Callahan knows a thing or two about tough guys, and loves to write characters inspired by them. After graduating with honors in psychology, and taking a detour to work in interior design, Coreene finally gave in and returned to her first love: writing. Her debut novel, Fury of Fire, was a finalist in the New Jersey Romance Writers Golden Leaf Contest in two categories: Best First Book and Best Paranormal. She combines her love of romance, adventure and writing with her passion for history in her novels Fury of Fire, Fury of Ice, Fury of Seduction, and Knight Awakened. She currently lives in Canada with her family, a spirited golden retriever, and her wild imaginary world.

Author Links:

Friday, March 11, 2016

Book Review of Allegiant (Divergent Book 3) by Veronica Roth



Book Title: Allegiant (Divergent #3)
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Pages: 526
Author: Veronica Roth
Date Published: 22 October 2013

Synopsis:

What if your whole world was a lie?

The thrillingly dark conclusion to the No. 1 New York Times bestselling DIVERGENT trilogy.

What if a single revelation – like a single choice – changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Review:


Allegiant (Divergent, #3)Allegiant by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review 6*

This is the third and concluding book to this fantastic YA dystopian series. Some readers hated it, but I loved it!

Tris is a fascinating character. I really liked her from the start in Divergent. I love how her character has grown since the first book, although her tendency to throw caution to the wind at times had me shaking my head. She is quite hotheaded and independent, which I liked. Though there are other aspects of her that I don't like.

I have been wanting to read this book ever since before it was published and pre-ordered my copy. Unfortunately, due to the hype surrounding the ending, I decided to hold off from reading it until the dust settled. I wanted to read the story without being influenced by other people's opinions. This was way back in 2014. Then, due to my large reading list, it got pushed further down and I never got around to reading it. However, with the movie due for release, I decided that now would be the best time to read it.

I must admit that before I started it, I re-read the last chapter of Insurgent as a refresher. I sat down and began to read and was instantly pulled back into the story. This time, the story is told through the point of view of both Tris and Tobias (Four). This, I feel, gave the story more depth as we got to see what was happening when Tris was not in the picture, as well as when she was. It was also nice meeting Christina, Caleb and Peter (not so much) again, as well as other characters such as Uriah. There are also some new characters introduced too, such as Nita and David, who work for the Bureau of Genetic Warfare.

The story is full of plot twists and surprises, which kept me hooked. It took me on a roller coaster ride of emotion. The dystopian world described in this book is extremely realistic and I found myself thinking that I could see something like this happening in the future (the Purity War and the subsequent genetic experiments that Chicago and other cities became). I found myself cheering Tris and Tobias as they dealt with the shock of their new reality, as well as the threat to their old lives. What got me thinking was if Tris and Caleb are siblings, why did his genetic makeup not have the same combination of being "pure" or "divergent" as Tris if they came from the same parents? I guess genes have a mind of their own. Another character that got me thinking was Peter. He has done some terrible things as an initiate for Dauntless. His ruthlessness and cruelty made me not like him. However, did he deserve a second chance? I am in two minds about that. It's nurture versus nature again.

That ending. I can understand why Tris did what she did, it was her selfish selflessness that did it. Her character wouldn't have wanted her brother to die, even though she hated what he did by betraying her in Insurgent. Stories, like life, don't always have a happy ending (see Rose and Jack's story in Titanic). No one really likes a sad ending, that is why most authors write ones that end happily. However, life is not always happy, it is messy and riddled with ups and downs. Sometimes authors need to be brave and have endings that are not necessarily popular. However, these endings, although controversial, will stick with a person long after the story is finished. Tris's legacy for the people of Chicago was hope. Hope for a better life and a better world. I am now looking forward to watching the movie, although I have a sneaking suspicion the movie will be slightly different to the book. Movies usually are.

Veronica Roth has written a fantastic story that takes the reader on a journey of epic proportions! I love her fast paced writing style and the flow is wonderful. I look forward to reading more of her books in the future.

I highly recommend this Dystopian YA novel to everyone who loves this genre, or books like The Maze Runner and Hunger Games. If you haven't read Divergent, please do so; you will be in for the ride of your life! - Lynn Worton

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About The Author:



Veronica Roth was born in a Chicago suburb, and studied creative writing at Northwestern University. She and her husband currently live in the city that inspired the setting of the Divergent Trilogy.

Author Links:

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Release Blitz: Cross the Stars (Crossing Stars Duet #1) by Venessa Kimball writing as V. Angelika


Title: Cross the Stars
Series: Crossing Stars Duet #1
Author: Venessa Kimball writing as V. Angelika
Genre: New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 8, 2016


A year shy of graduating from Georgetown University, Ella Wallace feels like she is losing direction. Having carved her own path through life, rejecting her family’s elitist influences, the last thing she wants is to waste time and prove her parents right. A happenstance summer-long program abroad offers the perfect opportunity to immerse herself in volunteer work, finding richness in family and purpose she has never experienced before.
Prince Rajaa bin Ammaar is returning home to Jordan from Georgetown University. His intent is to spearhead a refugee program meant to bring peace to his country. Amidst threats of civil war and revolt, Raj stands for his convictions, even when they challenge his family and the very culture he is preordained to uphold.
A chance encounter at a crowded party in D.C. brought Ella and Raj together for one fleeting moment – two people never thought to meet again. But it’s not until their diverse worlds collide in Jordan that they realize the power of their connection. With the refugee program as their reuniting bond, they must cross the stars and defy their clashing cultures to protect their forbidden love.
With the culturally rich Jordanian backdrop, Cross the Stars will take you on a journey into the geographical and cultural Middle East, the resilience of people amidst turbulent civil unrest, the parallel unrest of two lovers’ clashing fates, and the diversity they must challenge with every breath to keep their love alive.



Goodreads Reviewer - “This is a Fantastic story that I couldn't put down.”
Goodreads Reviewer - “This book draws you in and makes you want to know what happens next.”
Goodreads Reviewer - “I was taken on a trip of romance, excitement, adventure and love.”



Having always been passionate about the written word, Venessa Kimball embarked on writing what would become her debut novel, Piercing the Fold: a young adult urban fantasy series in 2010, with a 2012 release with Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly Publishing. She has also written the Teen contemporary romance series, the Evan series. Venessa also writes New Adult and Adult romance under the pen name V. Angelika. When Venessa is not writing, she is keeping active with her husband and three children, chauffeuring said children to extracurricular activities, catching a movie with her hubby, and staying up way too late reading.




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Monday, March 07, 2016

What happens when you can no longer trust your hero?

Ok.  Lemme start from the start.  This book. the only reason I got a copy was due to the fact that SK said this book scared him. 
 
He is either far more delicate than me or I am as hard as a rock for nothing in this story was at all scary.
 
NOTHING.
 
I actually think the book should get a higher rating than my 3*.  But due to my disappointment I turned out not loving this book at all.
 
Here is the cover.
 
 
Ok.  I liked the process that takes place in this book but it is not scary.  At all.  Actually, I loved the perspective of a 8 year old and that made the book worth reading not all the other things that went on. 
Not saying the other things were not entertaining but they were rather been-there-done-thatish.
Reading all this from a little girls perspective was a stroke of genius.
It made a very ordinary book a very good read in the end but if you expect this to keep you up at night you need to read it in a real haunted house. 
 
 
 

CD/MP3 Music Review: Celtic Fairy Lullaby by 2002



CD Title: Celtic Fairy Lullaby
Genre: New Age/Instrumental
Length of CD: 54mins
Artist: 2002
Date Published: 19 February 2016


Product Description:


Celtic Fairy Lullaby is a collection of timeless songs from ancient lands. Harps, flutes, piano, and subtle orchestration accompany delightful lyrics in Gaelic, Welsh and English. These 12 mesmerizing songs are soothing and nurturing, perfect for relaxation, sleep and meditation.

Review:

4*

I received a complimentary copy of this album in CD format in return for an honest review.

I have loved the soothing aspects of New Age music for years, though I don't listen to it as much as I should. When I was contacted by the artist to review this product, I listened to the samples and decided I would love to hear more, so I accepted. I am glad I did. I also decided that I would purchase a copy, so that I could keep one in my bedroom, as well as one in the car to listen to whenever I can.

This CD contains twelve lullaby's that invoke peace and calm so that a person can relax and de-stress from life's problems. Each song is accompanied by flutes, harps, piano and other instruments that have a soothing effect. I started listening to them and found myself being swept away to far away places. Although I have no knowledge of Gaelic and Welsh, the lyrics sung by 11 year old Sarah, the daughter of Randy and Pamela Copus (who are 2002), were sweet at times and at others, rather melancholic. Other songs were familiar though, and I enjoyed listening to 2002's interpretation of them. My father, who came into the room halfway through a song said that he found it a little morbid. However, after listening to a few of the other songs, he did agree that they had a calming effect. By the time I had listened to the last song, I found my heart rate had slowed and I felt peaceful. This would be an ideal accompaniment to having any type of beauty treatment such as therapeutic massage, or as light background music at a dinner party, or in a shop. It is also ideal to listen to when relaxing on the sofa and/or reading, or if you have trouble getting to sleep.

Some people may find, like my father, that the songs appear morbid or too melancholic at first. However, if you give them a chance, you may find that there is hope hiding inside them too.

2002 may have several albums to their name but, I had never heard about them before I am ashamed to say. Now that I have listened to this album, I would definitely consider listening to their older albums, and any new ones, in the future.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this music to everyone looking to wind down the stress levels with easy listening, soothing music. If you like listening to instrumental or new age music but haven't listened to this artist yet, I urge you to do so soon. - Lynn Worton


           

About The Artist:



The award-winning, progressive new age band 2002 has placed 11 albums on the Billboard Charts and made the list of top new age artists in a Billboard Magazine “Year in Review” issue alongside Yanni, Mannheim Steamroller, Jim Brickman, George Winston and Enya. Over their 22 year career, their ever-evolving sound has encompassed a wide range of genres – from wistful ambient soundscapes all the way to light progressive rock. This daring blend of musical styles has given them an undeniable “signature sound” that sets them apart from other recording artists.

Entering the music scene in 1992, their first album Wings was a lush, ambient tapestry garnering massive sales and critical acclaim. Sound Mind Magazine lamented that the “only regret is that our grading system goes no higher than 5.” 2002’s album, Land of Forever (1998) spent 54 weeks on the Billboard new age chart and an additional 39 weeks on the Billboard catalog chart. It was also nominated for an INDIE award by the AFIM. River of Stars (2000) spent 74 weeks on the Billboard new age chart. Billboard Magazine compared it favorably to Vangelis, James Horner and Enya, remarking, “What a way to begin the new millennium!” This Moment Now (2003) won the COVR Award for Best New Age Album of the Year. Trail of Dreams (2014) won “Best Vocal Album” from Zone Music Reporter. 2002 won “Best New Age Music Artist 2014” from BT Fasmer’s The New Age Music Guide.

Founding members, multi-instrumentalists Pamela and Randy Copus met in high school in the theater department. Their musical paths diverged throughout college as both explored a wide variety of musical styles, instruments, and bands – everything from jazz to industrial rock. Coming back together after college, they ultimately left their respective bands to form the progressive new age band they dubbed “2002”. The zeros in the middle were originally an infinity sign and the “twos” on either side represented them on either side of infinity. However, since it was not the easiest name to type on a computer keyboard, or to pronounce, they became known as “Two Thousand Two.”

On their most recent albums, 2002 has been steadily increasing their use of vocals and percussion, infusing elements from pop, folk and progressive rock into their ambient/neo-classical roots. Also during that time, Sarah Copus, daughter of Pamela and Randy, has been taking on an ever-increasing role in the group. With the release of Trail of Dreams, Sarah, just 10 years old at the time, is one of the harpists and the primary lead vocalist in the band. Her soaring, angelic voice is featured prominently on Trail of Dreams, with many of the harmonies and vocal arrangements having been created by her. The synergy that Sarah brings to 2002’s signature sound has created something entirely new, by a band that believes in following the musical adventure wherever it leads, ever onward.

Artist Links:

Friday, March 04, 2016

Book Review of Ferno the Fire Dragon (Beast Quest #1) by Adam Blade



Book Title: Ferno The Fire Dragon (Beast Quest #1)
Genre: Children's/YA/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 128
Author: Adam Blade
Date Published: 1 January 2007

Synopsis:

An evil wizard has enchanted the magical beasts of Avantia - only a true hero can free the beasts and stop them from destroying the land. Is Tom the hero Avantia has been waiting for? Join Tom as he braves Ferno the fire dragon...

Review:


Ferno The Fire Dragon (Beast Quest, #1)Ferno The Fire Dragon by Adam Blade
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book in a fantasy series for children aged 5 - 8. I enjoyed it.

Tom is a wonderful character. He is a young boy whose father was Taladon the Swift, one of the Knights of Avantia. Sent on a quest to free the fire dragon, Ferno, from the curse of Malvel, a dark wizard, he finds himself facing dangers and making new friends.

I initially bought this book to help a couple of reluctant readers I am mentoring get into reading. I decided I would read it myself to see what it's like. The larger font used in the book is easy on the eyes and makes it easier for children to focus onto.

This is a really enjoyable story. I was quickly caught up in the tale. I liked meeting King Hugo and the wizard, Aduro. They are determined to break Malvel's hold over the dragons of Avantia. I also liked meeting Elenna, a young girl that befriends Tom, and her pet wolf called Silver. The story takes the reader through an exciting adventure, and a quest that makes them develop an emotional bond with the characters. The danger Tom and Elenna faces had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed by the ending. As the story reached its climax the intensity fizzled for me somewhat, even though it ended happily; this could be because I am not the intended age range. Nevertheless, I think that this is an intriguing series for the younger reader. Hopefully, this story will capture my charges imaginations as much as it caught mine.

I highly recommend this book to children aged 5 to 8 years old. I would also recommend it to adults who like reading young to middle grade YA fantasy books. - Lynn Worton

View all my reviews


         

About The Author:

Adam Blade is in his late twenties, and was born in Kent, England. His parents were both history teachers and amateur artists, and Adam grew up surrounded by his father's paintings of historic English battles - which left a lifelong mark on his imagination. He was also fascinated by the ancient sword and shield that hung in his father's office. Adam's father said they were a Blade family heirloom. As a boy, Adam would spend days imagining who could have first owned the sword and shield. Eventually, he created a character - Tom, the bravest boy warrior of them all. The idea for Beast Quest was born. hen Adam grew up and decided that he wanted to be a writer, he was stuck for ideas - until he remembered the old sword and shield, and the imaginary boy he had created when he was young. Adam decided to bring Tom fully to life so that readers could go on the kind of adventures that he always wanted to when he was that age... And still does, even though he's grown up! When he's not writing Beast Quest books, Adam enjoys visiting museums and ancient battle sites. His main hobbies are fencing and football. He also spends a lot of time at home running around after his two exotic pets - a tarantula named Ziggy, and a capuchin monkey named Omar. These little rascals were the inspiration for two of the Beasts that Tom faces on his Quest - Arachnid and Claw. Sadly, Adam does not have his own Fire-Dragon or Horse-Man. But he really wishes he did!

Author Links:

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