YA Corner: A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive

Happy Halloween!  Today I have a great review celebrate Halloween.  A Stiff Kiss by Avery Olive is a great young adult paranormal romance.  It’s a classic story about the goth girl and popular athlete fall in love with some death mixed in there.  It’s an easy quick read that will take you on a surprisingly emotional ride at times.  For my full review be sure to check it out after the book blurb.  I hope you all have a Happy Halloween!  Don’t eat too much candy!  🙂

13411964Book Blurb:

Who knew kissing a corpse would change everything? Death always hits Xylia Morana too close to home, but she likes it that way. She hangs out with the terminally ill, attends random funerals, and every so often, when the weather is right, she sleeps in open graves. But after Landon Phoenix, the high school hottie, dies in Xylia’s hands, she sneaks into the morgue to say goodbye. How could she know stealing a kiss from his corpse would wake him up? With Landon returned to the living and suddenly interested in Xylia, life has new meaning. But what Xylia doesn’t realize is that by kissing Landon back to life, she’s thrown Life and Death off balance. The underworld demands a body, and it might just have to be Xylia’s this time.

Review:

Xylia is a normal girl except for her obsession with cemeteries, attending funerals and visiting the terminally ill.  All the while she is a bit of an outcast with her obsession she harbors a crush on one of the hottest guys in school.  Landon is popular and a soccer god.  When Xylia is at the soccer game where Landon passes out she is forced to help try to revive him with her father.  despite her efforts Landon dies and she can’t wrap her mind around it.  So Xylia’s obsession crosses over to her visiting the morgue where Landon is.  For reasons unbeknownst to her she decides to kiss him and he wakes up stunning her and the world.  As that one act changes their lives, Landon can’t help but want to know more about the girl with the green eyes and Xylia finds herself hiding from Landon.  But, the more Xylia runs the more Landon is intrigued by her and why she is all he can think about.  In almost a fortuitous coincidence they find themselves on a trip together and find out more about death and themselves then they thought possible.  But, in the end with that one kiss Xylia has upset the balance of life and death.  Someone must die to restore balance.

I really liked this book.  You really fall for the characters and develop an emotional tie to them.  When a choice must be made you really don’t want either choice.  Xylia really develops as a character and her suspicious behavior is explained and understood.  Landon is also more than you expect.  But, in the end you do ask if it’s just that near death experience that makes him care for Xylia or not.  The story was great.  I enjoyed that the point of view went from both Xylia and Landon.  I would have really like to have known who the “angels” were.  They were quite mysterious and when asked what they were they never explained.  Overall, it’s a great quick read with a wonderful story.  It is quite fitting for todays holiday.

Coffee and a Review with A Wicked Deception by Margaret Tanner

untitledWelcome to yet another week closer to Christmas.  I can hear all the groans out there and I sympathize.  So, to take your mind of the impending holidays I am starting your week off with a wonderful historical romance.  A Wicked Deception by Margaret Tanner is a refreshing topic with wonderful characters and an even better backdrop.  For more on my review check it out after the book blurb.  Have a great week everybody!

51W0vfiUVcL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Book Blurb:

In 1854, the Australia goldfields swirl with the heated danger and betrayal of the Eureka Stockade rebellion. At the center of this maelstrom is Melanie O’Dea, a woman with a price on her head and the authorities on her heels. Melanie accepts aid from a neighbor, The Honorable Michael Guilford, but this places her in even more peril. After he seduces her and callously discards her, Melanie is left to fend for herself. Can she endure such treachery and survive the sweeping winds of uncertainty?

Review:

Melanie O’Dea is madly in love with Robbie Pritchard.  The only thing standing between the two marrying is her brother James.  James demands that Robbie make a good living before handing over his sister.  Robbie is working in the goldfields.  At this time it is very tumultuous and dangerous.   Robbie is part a group rebelling against officials who are making the miners lives very difficult.  It unfortunately this that brings Melanie into a dangerous situation and turns her into an outlaw.  When she is on the run she is aided by her neighbor, Michael Guilford, who she used to think she was deeply in love with.  During their journey Melanie finds out some devastating news about Robbie and her brother and forces herself to try to move forward with her old love.  It isn’t until after Melanie moves heaven and earth to follow her old love that she finds she has been deceived in a most painful way.  Against all odds Melanie must survive.  How to do that she doesn’t know, but the one thing she knows is that she must.

This was a great historical read.  I loved the story and the little known subject of the Eureka Stockade rebellion.  It really got my historian juices flowing.  I love this part of history especially with the rebellions of miners and others.  This is a more obscurely known rebellion to Americans, but it is no less interesting.  The love story interwoven in the back story of this rebellion was flawlessly done.  The emotion that is brought to not only the historical part but the deception and betrayal that Melanie has to endure is fantastic.  I must say that through the trials it’s the ending that makes everything ok.  I did shed some tears but in the end I was smiling.  If you want a wonderful journey to the past with an emotional component you will love A Wicked Deception.

Fresh Face Friday: She’s Got Dibs by AJ Nuest

TGIF!  I hope you all have had a great week.  Not sure where your reading from but here Fall has definitely arrived.  So, to warm up your nights I am spotlighting a steamy romance by AJ Nuest.  She’s Got Dibs is a wonderful romantic and comedic book with a wonderful story and wonderful characters.  Not to mention an extremely hot philanthropist billionaire.  Be sure to read my whole review after the book blurb.  Hopefully this book will warm up your nights this weekend.  I know it did mine.  🙂

17839367Book Blurb:

True love does not exist…or so event planner Tessa Adams learns the day she gets jilted–twenty-four hours prior to walking down the aisle. One-night stands are much easier, and with sexy philanthropists like David Brenner, how can she resist? Now if she could just get rid of him. Had she known the biggest event of her career would be working for David’s father, she would have cut and run. Instead, she’s unwittingly become a part of his parents’ plan to destroy his life-long dreams. Will sacrificing her love protect him or be the ultimate betrayal?
Wealthy and gorgeous, David Brenner seemingly holds the world in the palm of his hand–his generous heart and infectious smile are just two in an endless stream of attractive qualities. But the one thing he wants, he can’t have–a repeat of the passionate night he spent in the arms of a skittish Tessa Adams.

His family’s far-reaching power threatens to crush their dreams. To prove his love, he would risk everything…but will the return of her ex-fiance be their final undoing?

Review:

Tessa Adams finds herself stranded in New York due to an ice storm.  When Tessa finds out she won’t be flying back to Chicago she is seated next to a very handsome and somewhat/possibly crazy man.  It is thanks to him though that she finds a place to stay the night.  Dibs sees Tessa and knows he must get to know her ever for a little bit.  Tessa and Dibs ride together to the hotel and Dibs buys Tessa dinner.  One thing leads to another and Tessa and Dibs have a very steamy night together.  Dibs wants to see Tessa more, but at the last-minute Tessa leaves Dibs and heads home on the first flight.  Tessa believes she won’t see Dibs again until the first bouquet of flowers arrives to her event planning business.  Tessa tries to ignore Dibs in every way possible until she gives him an emphatic NO.  Thinking she is finally free of Dibs and her business is building she has another fateful flight with Dibs.  With this flight they decide to become friends.  Soon, Dibs flies under Tessa radar and takes up residence in her heart.  All of a sudden friendship is no longer possible and it isn’t what either of them want.  Finally, they come together and what Dibs has known all along Tessa learns that they are wonderful together and shouldn’t be just friends. Though they fall for each other soon obstacles are in the way and decisions must be made.  Will Tessa be able to finally find true love or will she give everything up for the sake of her heart.

I adored this book!  I laughed, cried, laughed some more and totally fell in love with Dibs.  The story was phenomenal and really drew me in.  It’s a love story through and through.  AJ Nuest definitely has you fall in with all of her characters and their story.  The story between Tess and Dibs turns into a wonderful version of Romeo and Juliet without all of the dying.  Dibs’ family and Tessa’s friends make a great supporting cast.  They help to cause strife and propel the story in a natural direction.  I can’t tell you enough had wonderful and fun this read was.  It was a bit reminiscent of Tara Sivec’s books.  The dialogue between Dibs and Tessa is so very natural and is one of the best parts of this book.  It is the dialogue and Dibs’ ultra romantic gestures that will make any woman reading this book fall head over heels in love with him.  I even found myself cussing Tessa out because of her decisions in the beginning.  Overall, this is one of the best romances I have read in a while.  If you want a steamy read and ready for a new book boyfriend pick up She’s Got Dibs.

4842750Author Bio:

Multi-published, award winning author, AJ Nuest resides in a small farming community in NW Indiana. A wife, mother and freelance editor, she shares her home with a variety of spoiled-rotten pets. She and the cat are currently vying for dictatorship.

YA Corner: Windmills by Lyndi Alexander

It’s Hump day!  I hope all of you are having a great week thus far.  Today, I am bringing to you a young adult book that mixes a few different genres.  Lyndi Alexander’s book, Windmills, is an adventure with a dash of apocalyptic danger thrown in there.  It is quite a good read and definitely good for the young adult crowd.  Be sure to check out my full review after the book blurb.

18229923Book Blurb:

Bio-terrorists release a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly virus mutates, Tzu Shin, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to help develop a cure. His only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.

Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs he needs to develop a cure. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.

But a Chinese assassin is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.

Review:

Kwan is a young girl living in China during a time when world is going through a terrible plague.  China seems to be at the farthest reaches of the plague and she has been safe living with her Aunt and her cousin.  Her father and mother have gone to America where the plague began and they hope to help find a cure.  Six months after her parents left Kwan gets a letter from her father asking for specific herbs and for Kwan to travel to America to deliver the herbs.  Kwan wants to desperately help her parents and seeks the help of her sensei.  Soon they are on their way via a cargo ship.  But, unbeknownst to Kwan, she and her sensei are being stalked by an assassin.  The dangers of a lawless and desperate society pose many threats.  Kwan’s adventure leads her to find out how tough and determined she is.

This book was a refreshing young adult read.  It had a lot of adventure elements along with the dangers of an apocalyptic society.  I enjoyed characters of Kwan and her sensei Li Zhong.  I thought it was quite interesting that even in a deevolutionized society the idea that the Chinese will still try to cling to the values and societal structures that have endured centuries.  It was interesting to see Lyndi Alexander try to balance the new world deconstruction while trying to mesh the values of a society that values structure.  Much of this book is looking at how Kwan will over come one’s engrained nature and find the courage to do what is necessary.  What is necessary isn’t always right.  I was a bit disappointed in the end though.  The book abruptly ends with no definitive answers for any of the storylines or characters that you follow through the book.  This may be the first book in a series but in anything I have read I do not see any indication that there will be a follow-up.  I do hope there is because I feel resolution needs to be given to these characters.  All in all, this was a good book with a lot of potential for more.

Coffee and a Review with Embrace the Darkness by Lilly Gayle

coffeeHappy Monday!  This week I am going to start your week off with a steamy paranormal romance, Embrace the Darkness by Lilly Gayle.  This is a good addition in the genre of paranormal romance.  In a genre filled to the brim with vampire romances this is a wonderful addition with a twist.  If you are a fan of vampires that are sexy you will love this book.  Be sure to check out my whole review after the book blurb.  I hope you all have a wonderful beginning to you week.

17449898Book Blurb:

An experimental vaccine gives vampire Gerard Delaroche hope for the first time in two centuries–until two people are brutally murdered, and he suspects a conspiracy between vampires and mortals. To solve the crime, he must put his trust in a beautiful detective. But is former soldier and MP turned detective, Amber Buckley, a threat to his existence? Or the answer to his prayers?

Amber Buckley and her partner are assigned to do follow up interviews in the Lifeblood of America slayings. Amber believes she and Reid are just new eyes on a cold case. That is, until she meets Gerard Delaroche. Something about him teases long-buried memories Amber would rather not chase. However, the two join together, falling into more than resolution of a murder case. It seems Amber has some dark secrets of her own.

To find their way into the light, Amber and Gerard must first EMBRACE THE DARKNESS.

Review:

Amber is a former soldier turned detective.  She has horrible reoccurring flashbacks about her time in Iraq and her time in Germany recovering.  What Amber doesn’t realize is the new case her and her partner are on will throw her into a world she has always been a part of but never really knew.  Amber is assigned to research murders at a facility that works on vaccines, but that is not everything they do.  The secret vaccines are actually for the vampire virus and Gerard is one of the founders/vampires who are working on this secret vaccine.  As Amber nears the true answers her flashbacks of previous encounters with vampires start coming back.  She thinks this is just a post traumatic delusion but as she gets closer to Gerard he reveals his secret and they decide to work together.  What Amber doesn’t expect working with Gerard is to fall in love with him while discovering secrets of her own.  In the end can a human and vampire work together to keep the vampire secret?  Also, will they be able to cross the vast divide that lies between them to work together both professionally and very personally?

I really enjoyed Embrace the Darkness.  As many of you know I am a fan of paranormal romances and this one did not disappoint.  This is actually the second book in Lilly Gayle’s series.  Though I must say that you can probably read this book as a stand alone.  I did, but I do want to go back and read Megan and Vincent’s story.  I adored Amber and Gerard’s love story.  Also, the intimate scenes are steamy and quite exciting.  The story with the intrigue was a great addition that kept you hooked and wanting to read more.  I think that Amber finding out about her parents and her heritage was a great addition that truly helped to move the story along.  Overall, this was a wonderful read that will keep you turning the pages up until the end.

Fresh Face Friday: Loveland by Andrea Downing

TGIF Everyone!  Today I am featuring a wonderful historical romance, Loveland by Andrea Downing.  The story is wonderful between a Lady from England’s royalty and a lowly cattle rustler.  It’s quite lovely and very real for a historical.  It has some romanticizing of the Old West but for the most part it is fairly realistic.  Make sure to keep reading for the rest of my review.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and if you’re not planning on doing anything pick up a good book!

Book Blurb: 15761634

When Lady Alexandra Calthorpe returns to the Loveland, Colorado, ranch owned by her father, the Duke, she has little idea of how the experience will alter her future. Headstrong and willful, Alex tries to overcome a disastrous marriage in England and be free of the strictures of Victorian society –and become independent of men. That is, until Jesse Makepeace saunters back into her life…Hot-tempered and hot-blooded cowpuncher Jesse Makepeace can’t seem to accept that the child he once knew is now the ravishing yet determined woman before him. Fighting rustlers proves a whole lot easier than fighting Alex when he’s got to keep more than his temper under control.
Arguments abound as Alex pursues her career as an artist and Jesse faces the prejudice of the English social order.
The question is, will Loveland live up to its name?

Review:

We first meet Lady Alexander Calthorpe as she is being dragged out of the ranch she loves and forced to go back to England to her father.  She has lived on the ranch for 4 years and loves the life, the people and the surroundings.  So, it’s no surprise when she returns five years later a full-grown woman.  She is ready to be independent.  All she wants to do is paint and ride on the ranch.  She gets her wish but she also gets more.  When Alex realizes Jesse Makepeace is still on the ranch and as handsome as ever this puts a small kink in her plans.  Alex and Jesse have been friends since she lived on the ranch before.  The biggest change is that she is no longer a little girl and Jesse is shocked at the beautiful young woman she has become.  Through trials and tribulations Jesse and Alex find themselves falling in love.  Unfortunately, there are many outside forces that want to see them separated.  Can Jesse and Alex fight for the love they both deserve or will the world win and kill the flame that burns between them.

This was a wonderfully romantic book.  I loved the scenery, the characters and the story.  It almost felt like a western Pride and Prejudice.  I adored Alex’s spunk.  She really came into her own as a character.  Her story develops beautifully and with that allows for her and Jesse’s love to grow.  I enjoyed that it wasn’t a quick romance.  You could feel the love grow.  It felt much more realistic that way.  Jesse was also a great character.  Any woman would fall in love with this cow puncher.  But, it’s not just that he’s hot he is much more.  The depth to his character shows and makes an impact.  Overall, I have to say the biggest character was the backdrop of Colorado during this time.  Andrea Downing’s description are wonderful and really want to make you go and see the Colorado that Alex sees.  All in all this is a great romantic read.  Every character has a purpose as does every word.  I would recommend this for anyone looking for a good western romance.  I know I’ll be looking for Andrea Downing’s next book!

Author Bio:

6446229Andrea Downing has spent most of her life in the UK where she received an M.A. from the University of Keele in Staffordshire.  She married and raised a beautiful daughter,  and  stayed on to teach and write, living in the Derbyshire Peak District, the English Lake District and the Chiltern Hills before finally moving into London. During this time, family vacations were often on guest ranches in the American West, where she and her daughter have clocked up some 17 ranches to date. In addition, she has traveled widely throughout Europe, South America, and Africa, living briefly in Nigeria. In 2008 she returned to the city of her birth, NYC, but frequently exchanges the canyons of city streets for the wide open spaces of the West.  Her love of horses, ranches, rodeo and just about anything else western is reflected in her writing.  Loveland, a western historical romance published by The Wild Rose Press, is her first book.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.

YA Corner: The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks

Today I’m lucky enough to spotlight The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks.  This young adult paranormal is a great story with some interesting paranormal aspects.  It is unique characters both real and paranormal.  I have found a new series I will be following. For my whole review be sure to read my full review after the book blurb.  I hope you all have a great hump day!  What Day Is It???  Sorry couldn’t resist.

Single tree in field during winter 2Book Blurb:

Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead — just like the prom queen did.

While the town goes beehive over the news, Leigh bikes to the local cemetery and buries some of her mom’s things in her grave to keep her there. When the hot and mysterious caretaker warns her not to give gifts to the dead, Leigh cranks up her punk music and keeps digging.

She should have listened.

Two dead sorceresses evicted the prom queen from her grave to bury someone who offered certain gifts. Bury them alive, that is, then resurrect them to create a trio of undead powerful enough to free the darkest sorceress ever from her prison inside the earth.

With help from the caretaker and the dead prom queen, Leigh must find out what’s so special about the gifts she gave, and why the sorceresses are stalking her and her little sister. If she doesn’t, she’ll either lose another loved one or have to give the ultimate gift to the dead – herself.

Review:

We first meet Leigh at her mom’s gravesite on the day of her funeral.  This is a day that will change Leigh’s life forever and it’s not just because her mom has died.  While standing at the gravesite she sees a girl who was dead a couple of weeks ago walk toward her in a horrific look of dirt, mud and gore.  Leigh hurries back to her family only to return later to bury some of her mom’s favorite items so that she will stay in the ground.  While trying to bury the items at her mom’s grave a strange boy comes along telling her not to do that.  That she should never offer gifts to the dead.  Leigh ignores the “Scary boy”  as she comes to call him and does exactly what she wants.  Though Leigh continues to do what she likes strange things begin to happen starting with visits from the undead girl from school and culminating with a spider infestation in her house.  At first Leigh doesn’t know how this all connected to her or why this is happening but she soon discovers that she must make some decisions that will save those she loves but possibly hurt the world. 

This was a wonderful book.  It was a fast paced easy read.  It keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next.  I loved Leigh’s character.  I thought she had just the right amount of teenage angst with a touch of responsibility that is thrust upon teenagers going through what Leigh has been through.  I also loved the love triangle.  It’s still a bit unresolved but I do find that this plotline allows for more in the series to come.  The supporting characters of Cal, Jo and Tram are wonderful additions.  They ad depth to the story without slowing things down.  Jo is the best friend for Leigh.  She adds just enough quirkiness along with an emotional attachment that Leigh’s character needs.  It’s not just the characters though that makes this story great.  It’s the paranormal world that Lindsey R. Loucks has created.  The story with the sorceresses and the Trammelers was unique and something I have never come across before.  I am quite excited to see where this series goes.  It has a lot of potential and a wonderful start with this first book, The Grave Winner.

Coffee and a Review: Light the Shadows by Michelle Clay

imagesAs promised everyone here is today’s second review.  I am spotlighting Light the Shadows by Michelle Clay.  Today is full of paranormal romances and this is a great addition.  Its unique take on souls, reapers and more.  This book will have you looking over your shoulder for shadows along with hunting for a hunky reaper.  Be sure to check out my full review after the book blurb.

17796209Book Blurb:

You only get one chance at life, then you die. The game’s over, no second chances.  But she was never one to follow all the rules.

In a strange twist of fate, a woman flees purgatory only to jump into a newly vacated body. When she wakes in the hospital, she has a brand new life and a whole lot of unanswered questions.  Now she’s Micah Munroe, a real estate
agent with broken memories of the messed up life she once lived. A mysterious man who claims to be Death says she’s his granddaughter and that she’s something called a grimm.

Sully knows she’s an imposter because he reaped the soul of the real Micah only a week ago. He suspects she might be a misplaced shadow, what he calls spirits and vengeful ghosts. He becomes obsessed with finding out who she really is and just how she inhabited a new body.  He’ll stop at nothing to find the truth and send her back to purgatory where she belongs. What he didn’t bargain on was how his body would react to her or how  powerful the white light within her is.

When a powerful shadow and her horde of angry spirits kidnaps Sully’s best friend, they must work together to get him back. Fighting their feelings for each other isn’t half as difficult as fighting the army of shadows bent on starting a war with the living.

Review:

We first meet our heroine when she dies.  She follows a doorway into what appears to be a waiting room that no one expected her to be in.  Though she can’t remember her name she does know that she doesn’t want to be dead.  So, in an act of rebellion she runs back through the door and jumps into a now empty body.  She is now Micah Munroe.  She sees what Micah’s life was like and decides that if this was going to be her new home then she had to revamp everything about her life.  While Micah is trying to become what she once was she inadvertently runs into Sully.  Sully recognizes Micah because it was only a while ago that he reaper her soul.  She should not be standing in front of him breathing.  It soon becomes Sully’s mission to find out who or what Micah is and what her plans are.  The only problem is spending more time with her is making him feel things he shouldn’t be.  While Micah and Sully draw closer she soon discovers that she isn’t just an ordinary soul starting over, she is a grimm.  She is charged with fighting, removing or guiding shadows through the light so that they may go to their hereafter.  Micah’s life isn’t just new it’s completely different and with a sexy man at her side how can she not try to live life to its fullest.  But, with death there is never an easy road.  With the shadows wanting her and her feelings for Sully growing how can things work out for the best without her dying or worse becoming a shadow herself?

This was a great story. I was really drawn in by the characters and the action packed story.  Micah and Sully are as steamy a couple as they come.  You can really feel their feelings toward each other and go along with them while they grow.  I thought the premise of the story was great.  It is definitely a different interpretation of the idea of a reaper, souls and many other death related mythologies.  Michelle Clay does a wonderful job with this story and I fell in love not only with the characters or the story but with her writing as well.  If you are a paranormal romance fan, like me, you will want to pick this up if not for the story than for the steamy scenes with Micah and Sully.

Review: United Service by Regina Morris

Hey everyone, we are lucky today. I have two posts with both equally good books.  First, I am reviewing Regina Morris’ newest book, United Service United Service is the second book in her Colony series.  It’s a great paranormal book and wonderful addition in this series.  It is definitely a book you don’t want to put down.   Check out the rest of my review after the book blurb.

18285765Book Blurb:

Vampires exist among us. They can be our neighbor, best friend, our child’s teacher … They alter their aged appearance based upon the amount of blood they consume. They move to a new area, drink a lot of blood, and appear young. Slowly they limit their intake of blood and age, right in front of our unsuspecting eyes. After decades, they fake their death, move, and do it over and over again. Most live quiet lives in an effort to blend in. Some however want power and control. The Colony is an elite group of vampires sworn to protect the President of the United States from these rogue vampires. Sterling, a half-breed vampire who works with a covert team of vampires to protect the President of the United States, is the weakest link in the chain for his team, and he knows it. His unique ability to glean information from inanimate objects has Sterling spending much of his lonely life down in the evidence room at FBI headquarters. His current case involves the kidnapping of vampire children by a religious cult trying to save them. Sterling snatches the opportunity to do some field work by teaming up with a purebred vampire, Kate, who is the nanny of one of the missing children. Sterling’s world is turned upside down by Kate. She is everything Sterling could hope for in a mate, and he wonders if she’d ever consider loving a half-breed. Kate is beautiful, intelligent, charming and sophisticated – but has led a sheltered life and is considered handicapped by vampire standards. Will she be willing to trust Sterling with her dark personal secret? Could she be able to open her heart to a bad-boy who’s never known true love before? Together, can they save the children and find true love?

Review:

Sterling is a half-breed vampire.  He is half human and half vampire.  He is a covert operative that works for the government.  He is on a team led by his father.  His ability to read the history of an object just by touching it is useful but painful.  After using his ability he has severe migraines that only a woman’s given touch can cure.  A new case comes a long for Sterling.  Vampire children are being abducted.  He must get down to the bottom of this before anymore children get taken.  But, in getting to the children the nanny of one of the missing children distracts him with a wanton that he has never felt.  Though as he works with Kate, the nanny, he learns that she is hiding more than one secret herself.  While the clock ticks by for the children, Sterling and Kate become closer.  But, once this case is over will they have a chance or will the barriers of those around them force them to part ways?

I loved Sterling from Eternal Service and was ecstatic to find that he was the center of the second book.  I love his character and I am so glad we got to hear his story.  Kate as his match is perfect.  Though Sterling finds happiness with Kate, his relationship with his father is a huge plot point.  I thought that through Sterling’s eyes Raymond was much harsher than I remembered.  I was glad how their relationship turned out.  It was a nice resolution for the two characters.  This book was just as action packed and fast-moving as Eternal Service.  The sex scenes are pretty hot too, but you would expect that with Sterling’s book.  Overall, it was a great follow-up in a wonderful paranormal romance series.  If you haven’t read Eternal Service you need to pick it up then you’ll be clamoring for United Service right after.

Fresh Face Friday: Try Not to Burn by Michael David Matula

Happy Friday!  I hope everyone is ready for the weekend.  I know its gonna be a wet one here but it’s still the weekend so that counts.  Today I have the opportunity to feature Michael David Matula and his book, Try Not to Burn.  This was definitely a unique story.  It takes the reader to places they dare not think about.  Into a world that most people live their lives to avoid.  Be sure to check out my full review after the Book Blurb.  I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend and be sure to check in Monday for two reviews!

Book Blurb:

16036270Officer Brandon Morales remembers the last smile he ever saw.  It was the smile of the serial killer who shot him at point blank range.  When Brand awakens, it’s into a much darker world than the one he left.

Purgatory.  The inmates call it “Hell City.”  The demons who populate this nightmare simply know it as the first stage of the Gauntlet, God’s own testing ground for the immortal soul.  It’s a grinder; a massive pit that chews up the worst criminals society has to offer.  Souls go in, and they rarely come out.

Traffic violations and little white lies aren’t enough to condemn a soul to this level of purgatory.  Only a cardinal sin can seal that fate. Hell City is like a maximum security penitentiary, if the warden left the cells unlocked and waved the guards goodbye.  The inmates roam freely, many delighting in the carnage, finding satisfaction in an infinite number of victims.

Brand doesn’t want to admit that he might have earned his place here.  It all seems like a cruel joke to him.  The courts acquitted him of his crimes.  They deemed it self-defense.  He never told anyone what had truly happened that one night, when he gunned down two robbers in cold blood.  Even he had started to believe his innocence.

He has only one chance to make up for what he did.  If he can survive the Gauntlet, he can earn a second chance at life.  If he fails at any point, flames will engulf him and drag him straight to Hell.

Trying to make sense of it all, Brand stumbles across two women with sordid pasts: Samantha Reiss, a tough-as-nails bank robber who died from lethal injection, and Jane Calrin, a teenage girl who ate a bullet after committing an unthinkable crime of passion.  Despite what they had done, Brand can’t help but see the good hiding within them.  They seem worthy of forgiveness, and worthy of redemption.

However, when a horde of inmates descend upon their doorstep, Brand, Sam and Jane are forced out of their meager hiding place and into the untamed depths of the afterlife.  With their souls hanging in the balance, and eternal damnation never more than one wrong turn away, these three strangers will need to put their trust in one another in order to stay one step ahead of the flames of Hell.

The Gauntlet trials are not for the faint of heart.  Purgatory creates another challenge whenever the current one is overcome.  The city park, Eden, becomes anything but a paradise, and is prowled by unseen, whispering threats that can tear a man to pieces.  The underground sanctuary, the Grotto, becomes home to burrowing monsters and unimaginable behemoths.

All is not lost, though.  There might just be a guardian angel lurking somewhere within purgatory.  And if Brand can find him, he and his new friends would gain an ally that could turn the tide in their favor.

But when enemies pose as trusted friends, when lost loves crumble the will to continue, and when hidden desires threaten to tear allegiances apart, it will take more than faith and determination to pass God’s final test.

It will take a miracle

Review:

We first meet Officer Brandon Morales at what should have been a routine traffic stop.  The only difference is that this traffic stop ends his mortal life and thrusts him into Hell City.  Hell City is a purgatory for molesters, killers and any other kind of deviant you can think of.  When Brand awakes he meets two women Jane and Sam.   Both have managed to survive Hell City but the dangers that are occurring daily threaten everyone’s lives.  Though they are already dead the threat of getting Burned is imminent and an idea that is a fate worse than death.  So, the trio set out to survive together.  Unfortunately, they find allies aren’t really allies and trust is wavering and very fragile.  When Brand almost gets burned more than once an option to survive and possibly get out is given to him.  He must find the soul could help him and his friends survive and get redemption.  The only problem is that is not as easy as it sounds and they don’t know who they are looking for.  In a place where devils abound they must find a possible angel to guide them to safety and life after death.  Can the allies work together to survive or will obstacles and diversions tear them and their chances for surviving apart?

This was a really enjoyable read.  I thought the premise was unique and well written.  The story itself is enough to scare people into being a better person.  I really enjoyed the back stories of the characters and the opportunities and challenges that are given to the trio.  I thought Brand’s character was good, but really felt that his back story of his purpose of being thrown into Hell City was a bit strained considering Brand became a police officer for reasons other than those of why he was in purgatory.  I also thought Jane and Sam were wonderful supporting characters that both helped the story and Brand’s character to grow.  Overall, it was a great read and I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good paranormal suspense book.  It gives the reader so much to enjoy and reads very well.

Author Bio:

6536141Michael Matula is a novelist from Chicago, IL, and a current member of the Chicago Writers Association and the SCBWI. Michael once dreamed of becoming a comic book artist, sketching pictures and caption bubbles in class when he really should have been studying. Unable to draw fast enough to keep up with all the ideas and storylines he came up with, he wrote out a side story for one of his characters. He ended up falling in love with writing and never really looked back.

His first book, Try Not to Burn, was released in September 2012 by Post Mortem Press.

He’s currently working on the sequel, and a sample of one of his novels won the top prize on Authonomy.com after being ranked at #1 overall.

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