A Warlord’s Lady – Nicola E. Sheridan

A Warlord's LadyA Warlord’s Lady has one of the best cases of identity confusion that I have ever read. Part paranormal, part urban fantasy, part sci-fi/romance with a dash of humor added in. It was surprisingly enjoyable, fun and slightly manic I knew I would like it from the first page.

Sabra is under house arrest, supposedly for her own protection. She is bait, the Australian government is committed to using her to capture the infamous Warlord Cain. However, there is more than the government wants from her, things that Sabra may not be willing to give.

Magic, murder and mayhem collide when an ordinary woman meets a powerful warlord — and writes a bestselling, tell-all book…

It’s got to be Stockholm Syndrome…

Eighteen fateful months ago, Sabra was kidnapped by the infamous magician warlord Cain Dath, and her body just won’t let her forget. Hidden in the humid depths of the Laos jungle, she shared everything with him, but he never shared his heart.

In his position of power, Cain cannot show weakness. He must lead his people to freedom and no one — not even the woman he’s fast becoming obsessed with — can stand in his way. 

Then Sabra sells her story of love slavery in a tell-all exposé and brings fame, fortune, and every one of his enemies down upon them both. Now, she is open to attack on all fronts, and he can no longer stay away. The man who enslaved her may well be the only man who can save her.

It is inevitable that the Warlord will come for Sabra, but the question is, when he does, exposé or no, will she choose to go with him. The Warlord’s Lady, despite it’s somewhat incongruous title, was a fast and entertaining read. The plot was fast paced, keeping the reader guessing as Sabra went from situations bad to worse.

The character of the Warlord himself was appealing and the reasons for Sabra’s leaving were honestly a little thin. She also had an unfortunate tendency to what I have dubbed “annoying heroine syndrome” where based on thoughts only comprehensible to them they continue to embroil themselves in situations that they are so obviously unprepared for yet refusing even a modicum of assistance from others. All in all The Warlord’s Lady is a worthwhile read provided you can endure some of Sabra’s more ill conceived notions.

AUTHOR: Nicola E. Sheridan

RATING: 3 Stars

GENRE: Sci Fi & Fantasy/Romance

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review. 

Healer – B.N. Toler BLOG TOUR

healer tour

Healer

Author: B.N. Toler

Genre: New Adult/ Paranormal Romance

Published: July 15th 2013

Blog tour hosted by: Wicked Book Addict’s Reviews

 

healer cover 

Synopsis:

There is a balance in life most know nothing about. Some are put here to simply exist, while others have been placed here to ensure life. Healers, such as Aldo Lawson understand the power of their gift, although at times, it seems more a curse. Upon meeting a handsome young healer named Thomas, Aldo’s life heads into a tailspin. With his arrival, Aldo’s aunt, the woman who raised her, is forced to share a hard and scary truth–vampires exist. And not only do they exist, but they thirst for healer blood.

Despite this new and frightening information, Aldo longs for a normal senior year, and she’s determined to have it. So close to achieving her goal, her world is turned upside down when her aunt is murdered and Thomas disappears. Riddled with questions, she sets out to find him.

Submerged in a world filled with sex and danger, Aldo hopes to find the vampires that will lead her to Thomas. When they find her first, she is forced to piece together truths, deal with her pain, and finds that not everything is what it seems.

healer excerpt

Review:

B.N. Toler has single-handedly restored my faith in the vampire story. While I expected to like Healer did I expect the Twilight does M. Night Shyamalanesque story I read? No, not even close. Aldo is a healer, a very dangerous thing to be in her world. Her talents are more psychically based than our traditional understanding of the word. Aldo can literally use her own life-force or preferably channels that of a host to heal someone who is not critically injured or terminally ill. When a young girl is hit by a truck in front of her, she reacts immediately, unwittingly revealing her true nature to forces she doesn’t know or understand. The driver of the truck is not what we expect either, he is another healer, the first that she has met outside of her family. The question is, is he one to be feared the way she has always been taught, or trusted?

Following the accident Aldo is in equal parts horrified and fascinated by Thomas, the driver of the pickup truck. She, her twin brothers and her aunt Lucy have lived on the fringes of society most of her life on the run from what exactly she doesn’t know. The temptation of meeting Thomas and finding out more about their unique gift proves irresistible. Thomas is an enigma revealing enough about healers and the threats to them to captivate her completely but is it enough to save her from the threat that she has been sheltered from her entire life?

Healer was a satisfying read unfolding slowly and each time you think all has been revealed another layer would be uncovered. Part love story, part mystery, with a dash of horror thrown in Healer is an excellent addition to the genre and a exemplary beginning to a series.

healer excerpt3

Author Interview:

 Describe your books in 3 words?

Surprising, compelling, and sexy

If you could be any character from one of your books who would it be?

I would be Aldo. She is far from perfect and as much as I love a heroine that is strong, capable, and a real ball buster, I wanted to write a character that felt more real to me at a young age. Vulnerable and still really learning her way through life.

What is your greatest fear about being an author/publishing your book(s)?

No one likes them. LOL.

Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you’ve accomplished in life?

She would probably kick my ass.

What do you do when you finish your book and turn it in to the editor?

I wait anxiously for my ms to come back bleeding with red ink. I also work on other books and I read….a lot.

What is your favorite Genre and why?

I really like new adult, but I’ve always been drawn to the paranormal fantasy. I like when an author can create a world and describe it so vividly that I feel like I’m there. The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning is a classic example of this. I’ve read that series five times and each time I go back, I discover something new, a detail I missed before that makes it even better.

What is one thing that would surprise us to know about you?

Once upon a time, I dreamed of becoming an actress.

Was there an Author who inspired you to write?

There are many. KMM, Charlaine Harris, Samantha Young, and many many more!

How did you come up with the characters in your books?

I use people I’ve met, sometimes I know them too. When I have a story in mind, I kind of shuffle through and think to myself who would deal with this best.

Do you prefer to write alone or do you like to collaborate with other authors?

I like to collaborate with other authors, not so much about my work, but more about tips on marketing.

Everyone uses computers, tablets, phones and no one uses handwritten form or typewriters, what do you prefer to use?

Laptop baby!

Is there a ritual you do before you begin your book?

I just need quiet.

Author Bio:

BN TolerB. N. Toler is a happily married, mother of three who lives in Virginia. She enjoys reading and lives for a good book she can’t put down. 

HEALER is her first self-published novel, and she is currently working on part two of the HEALER series, HYBRID, available in 2014.

CONNECT ONLINE

http://www.bntoler.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/B-N-TOLER/279007692235640

 https://twitter.com/BNTOLER

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7150768.B_N_Toler

Buy links:

AMAZON US

http://www.amazon.com/Healer-The-Series-B-Toler-ebook/dp/B00DUEEJVY


AMAZON UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Healer-The-Series-B-Toler-ebook/dp/B00DUEEJVY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382813479&sr=8-1&keywords=healer+b+n+toler

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog tour brought to you by:

wickedlygoodbutton

Follow the tour:

Perusing Princesses www.PerusingPrincesses.com Oct 30
Rose’s Book Blog rosecaceres.blogspot.com Oct 30
libraryoferana libraryoferana.wordpress.com Oct 31
Penny Dreadful Books and Reviews www.pennydreadfulbooks.me Oct 31
Maria’s Book Blog marialovesbooks.com Nov 1
sweets books sweetsbooks.wordpress.com Nov 1
Indy Book Fairy paranormalbookfairy.blogspot.com/ Nov 2
Wendy Dawn’s Wicked World wendydawnswickedworld.blogspot.com Nov 2
The Booknatics www.thebooknatics.blogspot.com Nov 3
The Revolving Bookcase www.therevolvingbookcase.blogspot.com Nov 3
I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews bookienookiereviews.blogspot.com/ Nov 4
Love Words And Books lovewordsandbooks.com Nov 4
Bitten by Paranormal Romance www.bittenbyparanormalromance.com Nov 5
tirla’s talk tirlastalk.blogspot.ca Nov 5

Love, In Writing – Elsa Winckler

LIWIs Margaret Parker’s life imitating her art? Or is her art imitating her life? Graham Connelly can’t suspend disbelief. He has lost faith, embittered and betrayed. He no longer believes in love but that is okay he believes in science.

Perhaps it is just because I live in North America but the moment I read “Tarts and Vicars” I immediately thought of Bridget Jones’ disastrous playboy bunny outfit. Margaret has been bullied into wearing a much too revealing outfit and when trying to make her escape she runs into a handsome stranger in the lift. Graham is unforgivably rude and assumes that she is either a stalker or a prostitute and treats her accordingly. Despite their acrimonious initial meeting both are struck by the other, imagine their shock when they arrive at the same creative writing class as guest speakers.

A hardcore Science Fiction writer and a soft-hearted romance novelist clash on the sunny South African coast…

Margaret Parker is a hopeless romantic whose fantasies fuel her writing. For Graham Connelly, science fiction is the perfect genre to express his cynical world view. A chance meeting in a lift leaves them both interested and aroused — with no clue as to the other’s identity.

Margaret has been looking for a face to match her new fictional hero — and Graham’s is it. Graham has been looking for proof that innocence and optimism still exist — and he’s found it in Margaret. But fantasy isn’t reality, and both Margaret and Graham are used to controlling their fictional worlds. Can they step off the pages long enough to find their own happy-ever-after?

Both Margaret’s and Graham’s characters were classic archetypes, that being said neither were particularly appealing. Margaret was hopelessly old fashioned, ruffle wearing, teetotalling all of which were excusable except perhaps the ruffles but I could not abide by her spineless nature. Graham is assertive bordering on overbearing, his controlling nature was not half as off-putting as Margaret’s inability to stand-up to her family yet stubbornly holding on to her fairy tale ideals.

Despite it’s faults I enjoyed reading Love, In Writing, Elsa Winckler has written an engaging story in an intriguing setting and ultimately I would be curious to see what else she writes in the future.

AUTHOR: Elsa Winckler

RATING: 3 Stars

GENRE: Contemporary Romance

http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9780857990921

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review. 

Letters from Skye – Jessica Brockmole

letters-from-skyeLetters from Skye is the second novel that I have read recently that within a few short sentences my opinion of the whole was radically changed. I happened to listen to both of these books but I am accustomed to listening to audio-books so I will accredit this to coincidence for now. In this case Jessica Brockmole‘s depiction of lovers separated from circumstances be they as small as misunderstanding or as insurmountable as war, the conclusion was achingly beautiful. Elevated from a good if somewhat bland story to one that as I listened to the final scene I could feel tears pricking in the corner of my eyes.

A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.

LFSI believe that Letters from Skye is the kind of story that improves with time much like a fine wine. I thought that I didn’t particularly like stories that were told in epistolary format until I read and adored another book of a similar composition. Like Dear Adam, the initial connection is struck through a complimentary communication.

In the Spring of 1912, a young published but somewhat obscure poet living on the remote Isle of Skye, Scotland receives a fan letter from across the pond. This commences the exchange of letters between the American college student and the married poet.

Twenty eight years later Elspeth and her daughter Margaret are living alone in Edinburgh. The explosion of a bomb nearby reveals a collection of years worth of letters addressed to a woman called Sue. When Margaret questions her mother about the letters, they argue and the next morning her mother has disappeared without a word.

June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.

Determined to seek answers Margaret begins writing her own letters reaching out to a family she has never known and relating her findings to her lover a pilot in the Royal Air Force.

A number of reviews I have read compared this book somewhat unfavorably to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Having been completely turned off by the title I had never considered reading it but after enjoying this lovely story I will try to get past the off putting title. Regardless, Letters from Skye is an gratifying story with an engaging heroine and equally dashing American hero that I would recommend particularly to fans of wartime romance.

AUTHOR: Jessica Brockmole

RATING: 3 1/2 Stars

GENRE: Historical Fiction

Isn’t She Lovely – Lauren Layne

I adored this book, Lauren Layne’s Isn’t She Lovely was that perfect combination of irreverent and serious. If this book was a dessert I would have to compare it to key lime pie that perfect blend of sweet without crossing the dreaded line into saccharine but with just enough tang to keep things interesting. Even if you don’t like key lime pie you still should take the time to read this stellar N/A offering.

Stephanie Kendrick is hiding, her wardrobe, if unrelieved black can be considered a disguise, her location, as far as possible from her father’s new life in North Carolina all carefully designed to avoid her reminders of her old life in Rhode Island.

Ethan Price, yes of THE Manhattan Price’s, is not hiding per se. Unable to enroll in a business course  to accommodate his last minute decision to skip the summer internship at his father’s company his only choice is a NYU film course. The vagaries of fate or at least his professor’s arbitrary partner selection pairs him with the surly Stephanie.

Stephanie Kendrick gave up her whole summer to ace her NYU film school screenwriting course, so she’s pissed to be stuck with a preppy, spoiled frat boy as her writing partner. Then again, with her piercings, black-rimmed eyes, and Goth wardrobe, Stephanie isn’t exactly Ethan Price’s type, either. He’s probably got his eye on some leggy blonde with a trust fund . . . or does he?

As the summer scene kicks off in the Hamptons, Ethan is desperate to make his snobbish mother forget the pedigreed girl who broke his heart. While Stephanie’s a stretch as a decoy, the right makeover and a pastel cardigan just might do the trick. She may not love the idea of playing Ethan’s brainless Barbie girlfriend, but the free rent and luxurious digs make a tempting offer. So does the promise of a ready-made screenplay idea inspired by their charade.

But when Stephanie steps into Ethan’s privileged world, the “acting” begins to feel all too real. The kissing and touching that were intended to fool the Hamptons crowd wind up manipulating them. And Stephanie faces a question she’s too afraid to ask: Is Ethan falling for the real her or for the dolled-up princess he wants to see?

Isn’t She Lovely was blissfully melodrama free, that is not to say that there was not a whole lot going on beneath this Pygmalion-esque story. You see, Stephanie was not ALWAYS the goth girl that she is now, and Evan is blissfully not another bad boy waiting for the right woman to redeem him.

Layne skillfully develops the relationship between these two unlikely characters, first as unwilling partners then as friends. When Stephanie becomes homeless, well it’s either that or room with her ex-boyfriend and the girl he cheated on with, Evan steps in with a plan. The result was an engaging thoroughly engrossing N/A that I raced through. I will definitely read more of this author’s work and look forward to what she comes up with in the future.

AUTHOR: Lauren Layne

RATING: 4 Stars

GENRE: New Adult

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review. 

A Man Above Reproach – Evelyn Pryce

A Man Above Reproach

From it’s beautifully restrained and dignified cover to the polite perspicacious tone of the writing, I found A Man Above Reproach to be an enjoyable, intelligent Victorian.

Dragged by his friend to a house of ill repute, Elias, Duke of Lennox is disillusioned by the demands of his newly inherited title thus his friend’s plan to force him to enjoy the benefits of his station. Planning to escape at the first opportunity, Elias did not foresee the alluring woman playing the piano. He cannot resist conversing with the woman around whom so many rumors and innuendos are centered.

In 1830s London, scandalous whispers surround the pub known as the Sleeping Dove, a hidden bordello catering to nobles eager to shed the trappings of their stations. Josephine Grant knows the rumors are true—she plays piano at the Dove and is known only as the “Bawdy Bluestocking” to the pub’s faithful.

The reluctant Duke of Lennox is called “The Uncatchable” by society ladies, not that he cares for them or their nicknames. Elias Addison’s estate was thrust upon him when his father died, and it has been little else but a burden.

With no heir, the Duke of Lennox is expected to marry as befitting his station and as such Josephine Grant knows that there is no future for a woman known as the Bawdy Bluestocking with the “Uncatchable” Duke. Particularly, when she has secrets beyond those of a woman who plays the piano by night and sells books by day. The question remains will Elias remain the “Uncatchable” and choose a woman equally above reproach to be his Duchess or will he choose the “Bawdy Bluestocking”?

A Man Above Reproach is a respectable addition to the genre, with well developed intriguing characters. If the revelation of Josephine’s secret was somewhat anti-climatic, Pryce’s very appealing depiction of Elias’ journey of self discovery made the difference for me.

AUTHOR: Evelyn Price

RATING: 3 1/2 Stars

GENRE: Historical Romance

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review. 

Watchers – Dean Koontz

watchers (1)I had grand plans for the month of October, and you know what they say about good intentions. My final destination notwithstanding, they have not come to pass, October is typically the month of all things scary and in tribute to that I revisited Dean Koontz. I had drifted away from the horror genre, a staple of my adolescence, with a few notable exceptions. Every bibliophile’s nightmare happened to me when vacationing in Jamaica more than a decade ago, I ran out of things to read and was reduced to the offerings on the carousel in the hotel gift-shop. I was drawn to the brightly colored chaotic cover of Intensity.

IntensityI am traumatized still, almost seventeen years later, by the raw terror I felt reading this novel as Chyna Sheppard becomes aware that there is a predator in the house she is visiting. Truly, I distinctly remember being home alone months afterward and repeatedly mentally chastising my inner scaredy cat that the Scarborough Bedroom rapist was not leaving the GTA to come for me! Not to mention that I will never again look at motor homes without extreme suspicion.

Intensity – A young woman staying as a guest in a Napa Valley farmhouse becomes trapped in a fight for survival with a self-proclaimed “homicidal adventurer”, and races to warn his next intended victim. Unrelentingly terrifying, this book lives up to its name.

the takingWatchers is only the third novel I have read by Dean Koontz, after the damage inflicted on my psyche by Intensity, I wasn’t sure I wanted revisit this talented yet terrifying author. When faced with disturbingly bare shelves in the audio-book section of the library I opted for another offering by Mr. Koontz, The Taking. I found The Taking unremarkable with the exception of one description that stayed with me, the unrelenting rain that smelled like semen, to which my thought was “Ewwww!” It seemed our association was over, I considered Odd Thomas but then decided it wasn’t right for me.

UnbecomingThen I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and rediscovered my love of horror, only the final book in the trilogy wasn’t out yet. Faced with the conundrum of what to read next I did what I always do when faced with a dilemma I turned to the internet. Unfortunately there are precious few suggestions when you type the query “horror/romance genre”, not that all of the listings were bad by any means as this is how I found my beloved Experiment in Terror series.

Watchers

Cross Lassie with E.T., add a touch of The Wolfen and a dash of The Godfather, and you get a sense of some of the ingredients in this supernatural thriller, which should move Koontz ( Strangers a notch closer to Stephen King’s high-rent district. When Travis Cornell, Koontz’s appealing hero, encounters a stray dog while hiking, he quickly realizes that the animal is most unusual and that something terrifying is stalking them both. The encounter with the dog is the beginning of a tightly woven plot involving genetic manipulation that has created two extraordinary animals; one is the dog, named Einstein, the other is a murderous hybrid called “The Outsider.” Hunted down by both the government and a professional killer who has learned the secret of the animals, Travis, Einstein and Nora Devon, a lonely woman befriended by man and canine, attempt to escape their pursuers all the while knowing that a confrontation with The Outsider is inevitable. Though the climax packs a little less wallop than it deserves, this is the sort of thoroughly frightening and entertaining tale that has its readers listening for noises in the night.

Watchers had good intentions but unfortunately the end result was contrived and preachy. What started out as a novel and inventive plot worthy of film adaptation rapidly declined into a dissertation on why you should love and vaccinate your pet and while you are at it don’t genetically engineer super soldiers using primate and crocodile DNA. Don’t get me wrong I am an animal lover. But I won’t sport with your sensibilities by posting pictures of our family feline on the blog, even if she is adorable when she is sleeping and if you could only see her little fangs!

Travis Cornell is a solitary man, in an attempt to stave off incipient loneliness he attempts a return to happier times by taking a trip to the mountains when he comes across a lone golden retriever. The dog is insistent that he not continue along a certain trail and Travis soon becomes convinced that he and the dog are not alone in the mountains. They flee, and Travis soon decides that he will keep the obviously homeless animal naming him Einstein after witnessing some of the dogs peculiar talents.

Nora Devon like Travis leads a cloistered life, a lifelong slave to her deceased hermit aunt, she is ill prepared for interactions with the outside world and finds herself targeted by a sexual predator. I found that the exploits of Einstein the Wonder Dog began to pale shortly after Travis and Nora’s initial meeting. Perhaps it is simply that the story is dated now copyrighted almost thirty years ago but I found Nora ridiculously and unrealistically naive and the interactions between Nora and Travis were not particularly compelling. Einstein’s feats of genius tested my ability to suspend disbelief.   

Al Gore is ManbearpigWorse yet was the descriptions of The Outsider, I couldn’t help but envisioning the evil monster as cross between Manbearpig and  Scuzzlebutt (with his celery hand and Patrick Duffy for a leg) from episodes of South Park in the mid 90s. Strangely enough neither character was the creation of the series’ mad geneticist Dr. Alphonse Mephesto. However, The Outsider’s self hatred was reminiscent of Stan Marsh’s clone gone bad and as I am sure you can see once that connection was made I am afraid any credible investment that I had in the plot was lost. Rather than scary I ultimately found Watchers rather humorous, which I somehow doubt was the intention of the author that aside it was an entertaining enough read but I would be surprised if it inspired anyone to keep the light on.

AUTHOR: Dean Koontz

RATING: 2 1/2 Stars

GENRE: Horror