Waiting on Wednesday (75) THE OPHELIA PROPHECY by Sharon Lynn Fisher

Ghost Planet was definitely one of my favorite reads of 2013 and I can hardly wait for The Ophelia Prophecy. If you haven’t picked up Ghost Planet yet do so and then you can wait (impatiently) for this one like me too!

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Penny Versus the Three Billy Goats Gruff

English: Humped-back bridge with A Troll under...

You know the old adage, the one that states “if you wonder if you are crazy, then you are very likely not”? I have to be honest, sometimes I wonder if I am a closeted “troll”. Yes, you read that correctly, somewhere out there, there is probably a bridge missing me.

Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony
Statler and Waldorf: From the Balcony (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sister of a friend of mine nicknamed him “Surly Joe”, which ironically is how I came to give myself the moniker of “Penny Dreadful“. Joe and Penny were our irascible alter egos. We identified strongly with Statler and Waldorf of The Muppets fame, sadly Surly Joe is no more. No, no, my friend is not deceased, he simply had a spiritual awakening of sorts and became, and I quote, “Zen”, I must admit part of me misses Surly Joe. You might wonder what any of this has to do with trolls and what I hope is my irrational fear that I am secretly one of them.

For those of you who are not in the know I am not referring to 1. (in folklore) an ugly cave-dwelling creature depicted as either a giant or a dwarf. Particularly, as I am of average height neither tall, nor short at 5’6. I speak of another kind altogether, the kind as identified below by Wikipedia as:

This sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment. For example, mass media has used troll to describe “a person who defaces Internet tribute sites with the aim of causing grief to families.”

While this definition is bit harsh, you will get my general meaning I have often noticed on Facebook that when authors complain about receiving a poor review at least one of the consolations is that the reviewer was probably a troll. As a reviewer I try to adhere to the more socially accepted “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Which begs the question at least in my mind that if I refuse to review books that I don’t like, am I being disingenuous?

anything-niceThis is not to say that I have not given bad reviews but I genuinely don’t like to, often times you may notice that when I DO give a bad review I seem angry and usually that is because I am. It is probably irrational but I often feel in these cases that the author could have done better, case in point Love Unscripted which started off with such promise before its characters indulged in unprecedented levels of  ludicrous behavior bordering on farcical on my opinion.

You might wonder what has inspired this latest spate of self reflection, there has been a lot of press about bullying on Goodreads and I have read numerous accounts of persons leaving the site due to this, the latest being Karina Halle. Coincidentally, this departure coincides with the release of the final book in her Artists Trilogy and she stated herself in the posting that some readers would not be happy with the manner in which she chose to end the series to which I thought “boo hoo“. It smacked a bit of dropping the bomb and then getting the hell out of dodge! Don’t get me wrong I adore Karina’s work as anyone who has read my gushing reviews of the spectacular Experiment in Terror series but shouldn’t someone who has achieved this degree of success be willing to accept some negative reviews and chalk it up to “you can please some of the people, some of the time but you can’t please all of the people, all of the time“?

Notice that I specified “established” authors, I struggle with warring reactions when asked to review relatively unknown work. I am always thrilled initially and then the doubts set in “what if I don’t like it?” Grumpy demeanor aside I am a “pleaser” and I am sure that I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about situations that are beyond my control. Certainly the majority of the time I have stumbled across work that I never would have read ordinarily and for this I am thankful but it is just an example of my circular logic for you.

Regardless of my opinion on the ability of established authors to endure criticism and my belief that I will likely be called if I have not already been “a troll”.  I can’t help but feel that reviewers who give well thought out justified bad reviews are being unfairly vilified. In the meantime, I will endeavor to remember the fate of the troll in fable The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The Third Billy Goat then gets on the Bridge and is stopped by the hungry Troll. When the troll gets up on the bridge however, the third billy goat is so big that he easily throws the troll into the stream with his horns and crosses the bridge. From then on the bridge is safe, and all three goats are able to go to the rich fields around the summer farm in the hills. They all live happily ever after.

The troll, however, was never seen again.

Hell’s Belle – Karen Greco

HBTruth be told I should have liked Hell’s Belle. Honestly, it had just about everything I look for in a paranormal with the exception of one glaring issue, that proved to be Waterloo to my Napoleon, I couldn’t stand the protagonist Nina Martinez. It was a disappointment because as I said all the components were there. Karen Greco is clearly a talented writer in a genre glutted with cookie cutter and sometimes downright silly offerings, she has created an intriguingly bleak desolate Urban Fantasy where the vampire gangs seem to be gaining the upper hand.

Half-vampire, half-human, Nina Martinez spent most of her life underground as part of an elite secret team of government agents who quietly take down rogue monsters — the human world none the wiser. She moves back to her hometown of Providence, RI to keep an eye on the recent uptick in supernatural activity, and to help run the bar she co-owns with her aunt. Her attempt at a “regular” life, not to mention a budding relationship with smoking hot FBI agent Max, is cut short because of a string of ritual murders targeting the city’s community of witches.

But Nina’s investigation unearths deadly secrets from her long buried parents. Now the target of supernatural assassins, could Nina be the most dangerous vampire hybrid to ever exist? No wonder she can’t get a date.

Hell’s Belle opens with the Nina’s recent return to her hometown of Rhode Island after practically a life long absence. It doesn’t take long for the “fit to hit the sham” so to speak, Nina is attacked and slashed with a dagger. It is not just any dagger it is identical to a rare one that her vampire father carried. Obviously, something larger is afoot, something that requires the help of the secret task-force of hunters that are to handle rogue supernaturals on behalf of the Defense Department that Nina worked for.

Initially, it was small things that detracted from the story like Nina’s neglecting to eat when she clearly needed blood but that could easily be excused by the excitement of the evening. However when it became obvious that there was something wrong with her, she didn’t confide in her aunt or even her vampire partner Frankie who might be able to lend some insight into the problem. Nina’s solution was to go hieing off to investigate instead of heeding the advice of her family and friends. While I realize that being the hero of the story often requires some heedlessness of his or her own safety but truly Nina’s disregard of readily available support reached what I have personally dubbed “Bella Swan” proportions (definition – ridiculously clumsy defenseless human running off to fight vampires on some confounded theory that they are the only one who can rectify the situation) before I was even a third into the story.

Unfortunately, what redeemed Twilight and Hell’s Belle’s doppelganger Halfway to the Grave were passionate entrancing love affairs, which was sadly missing from Hell’s Belle. While the potential was there as Max seemed to be a likable enough character I just couldn’t get past the urge to shake Nina until her fangs rattled.

AUTHOR: Karen Greco

RATING: DNF

GENRE: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance

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

UPCOMING The Perfection Distraction – Melissa Rolka

PD_ElectronicCoverWhen Katherine “Kate” leaves for her freshmen year at college, a grounded and stable piece of her is missing. She pushes away the ghosts of her past, determined to start her college life single, carefree and distracted.
Throughout high school Kate was reserved and shy, with little experience. Now, on her own, with little holding her back, Kate is ready to branch out. She bonds with a tight knit group of friends and even starts casually dating. What starts out as innocent flirting on the tennis courts slowly turns into a friendship and eventually something more complex. Reed comes into her life giving her the distraction she craves more than anything; but is she ready to give her heart away so easily?
Things get complicated when Kate’s ex-boyfriend and first love continues to pursue her. Kyle deeply regrets breaking her heart when he left for college the year before and is now on a mission to reclaim her. Kyle’s persistence and relentlessness is nothing short of obsessive. He will stop at nothing to win her back and prove his love.
Kate finds herself torn between her past and the unknown of the future. Her determination to stay distracted may just be her downfall or the beginning of something new and wonderful.

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BLOG TOUR – Cage (Corps Security #2) – Harper Sloan

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BLOG TOUR

**Warning** This book is intended for a mature reading**

Alpha heroes you’ll want to kidnap and keep, heroines to root for, and sizzling love scenes with emotional punch.” Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author

CoverBLURB – Greg Cage was born to protect. While growing up, he was his mother and sister’s shield against the world… until he failed. For the last decade, he has carried that guilt and need for vengeance around… until it was stripped from him. Now, with his best friend getting married and no longer needing his protection, he is even more lost, completely adrift, and desperate for some control. All he has ever known was how to protect: his family, his friends, and his country. Can he go against everything he has ever known, and give up that control?

Melissa Larson will never let anyone hold the reins in her life. She has been the rock in her family for more years than she can remember, and the fight to keep them together is her main priority right now. She has always been fiercely independent and proud. The last thing she will ever do is ask for someone else’s help. But when that choice is out of her control, forcing her to rely on others to save her and her family, and pick up the pieces that are left, will she be able to let someone else be her strength?

The second Greg locks eyes with Meli, he knows that she is someone he needs. Someone he craves. Meli knew the second she met Greg that he would be nothing but trouble and heartache. Her life takes an unexpected turn, and that bitch Fate is back to wreak more havoc on another member of the Corps family.
All hell breaks loose, leaving Greg no choice but to call in a favor. He hooks back up with his old friend Braxxon Breaker from the Breakneck MC. Together, they make sure that nothing threatens anyone Greg loves again.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

HSHarper lives in small town Georgia just a short drive from her hometown of Peachtree City. She (and her 3 daughters) enjoy ruling the house they dubbed ‘Estrogen Ocean’, much to her husband’s chagrin. Harper has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books; you can almost ALWAYS find her with her e-reader attached. As an ex-reviewer and blogger, Harper’s passion for reading runs deep. It wasn’t until ‘Axel’ decided to take up residence that she realized her true calling. She started using writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night; and with a house full of crazy it was the perfect way to just relax. It didn’t take long before a head full of very demanding alphas would stop at nothing to have their story told.

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To Blog Or Not To Blog – More Literary Musings

A little over a year ago I was watching an episode of House Hunters and I remember scoffing when I noted that one of the people searching for a home stated that their occupation was “Blogger“. This is a perfect example of blatant unforgivable ignorance on my part nowadays I could only wish that I could devote myself to my blog full time.

I have always loved to write but sadly had no stories to tell, still don’t, but I have plenty of opinions probably more than I should. The solution was obvious “start a blog” but that alas was not my idea either. A close friend of mine is an aspiring author, fabulously talented but somehow, incomprehensible to me, unpublished. It is at her feet I lay the blame for this literary experiment, perhaps she suggested that I start a blog because misery really does love company and by blogging that is the closest approximation I can make to her situation?

It was hard to relate to my friend’s despondency over a rejection letter that is until the first time an application I made for an ARC I wanted to read and review was turned down. Honestly, how I felt after that first “thanks but no thanks” email was much like that episode of The Bachelor on the first night when they cut ten or more women and invariably the departure interview features one or more blubbering about missing their chance at true love with a man they have known LESS THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS! Yes, it’s ridiculous but in truth it is the rejection that stings the most, or at least that is what I reassure myself when watching, as if they are expecting a true everlasting love from a television show our issues as a society are bigger than I thought.

I have a talent for “underestimation” and literally woke up one day last May and thought to myself that my friend was right and if her 72 year old father could author a blog I could too. It was really only an extension of what I have been doing verbally for years just on a larger scale, read, discuss and GO! Now in reality deciding what to write and then constructing the blog itself took much longer than the original weekend I estimated. See my above comment about underestimation.

Although I mock her for it I have greatly enjoyed my position as the sacrificial “canary” to her bibliophilic “coal mine”. Though not precisely a book snob per se I have very particular and specific reading preferences, the challenge was articulating those tastes. Nowadays she claims to be unable to take the risk of reading a book that I have not vetted first. However I may doubt the veracity of that statement it’s the thought that ultimately counts. In the meantime, if you happen to figure out a way that I can jettison my full time gig so I can be snickered at by other unaware 40 somethings (like I used to be) who have no idea what blogging entails please let me know.

Most Wanted – Cyrus Keith

CyrusIt’s Most Wanted time again and this month’s featured author is Cyrus Keith. Becoming NADIA, his debut novel won the EPIC Award for Best Thriller at EPICon 2012, as well as a Preditors and Editors Top Ten finalist in their annual reader’s poll. Reminiscent of the best of Michael Crichton, Becoming NADIA is a captivating beginning to a series that would be in my opinion well suited to film or television adaptation.

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“What’s one more little white lie?”

There’s only one thing that pretty, popular TV reporter Nadia Velasquez is missing: her memory from before the explosion that killed everyone else in the room, including the President of Nigeria. But from the moment she meets FBI agent Jon Daniels, all hell breaks loose. Friends turn into deadly enemies overnight, and no one can be truly trusted.

When Jon and Nadia investigate further, they discover the living terror that is the truth behind Nadia’s existence, a truth that could mean the death of millions.

Vincent-Price-The-Fly (1)Before reading Becoming NADIA, I was fortunate enough to communicate with Cyrus Keith and felt that he would be perfect candidate for this month’s featured author spotlight. When asked how he’s evolved creatively? This was his answer, “my physical features have only changed slightly, and I have this irresistible urge to crawl on stale food. But I can still two-finger type with the best of them. So I think I may be evolving into a cross between T. Rex and a fly. Creatively”. How could anyone resist the thinly veiled reference to the classic Vincent Price 1958 movie The Fly. To read more about this fascinating author, his writing and what he is working on now see his Most Wanted page.