Friday, September 6, 2013

[Review] Volcrian's Hunt

Volcrian's Hunt (Cat's Eye #3)

by T.L. Shreffler

I started following Sora, Crash and Burn's journey last year when I stumbled upon the first book in the series, Sora's Quest. (Side note: if you haven't read my review of the first two books, you can do that here.)

This was actually one of the first self-published author I had read and after reading Sora's Quest, I had a new outlook on indie and self-published authors. Now, it's to the point where that's about all I read. 

So when the chance came for me to get my hands on an ARC of book three, Volcrian's Hunt, I jumped at the chance. Then I proceeded to count down the days until it arrived in my inbox. And when it finally did, I read  it straight through, only stopping for food and bathroom breaks. 

When we left off at the end of Viper's Creed, Sora, Crash and Burn have just commandeered a ship with the help of their Draconian friend in the search of the Lost Isles. Volcrian, the Wolfy mage, is hot on their trail and desperate to find them. 

Volcrian's Hunt picks up almost immediate after that point. Soon the crew finds themselves in the middle of the worst storm they can imagine and they end up beached on a seemingly abandoned island. 

Meanwhile, we also read from the point of view of Sora's mother, Lori, and she and her old friend Ferran search out answer to aid Sora's on her quest to destroy the Dark God's artifacts and preventing the world's destruction. In this third book we have a lot more narrators than we do in the first two. I like this because I feel it gives the story more depth and we get to see a number of different personalities and ways of thinking. 

Also at the same time, Volcrian - who has basically gone bat shit cray cray at this point - has followed the crew on the the open waters and starts to close in on them.

Will Sora get to the lost isles before Volcrian catches up to them? Will Lori find the answers need to save her daughter? Will Sora finally learn the secret Crash has been keeping? 

You're going to have to read it to find out. The release date is set for Sept. 30 so make sure to grab a copy. 

My favorite part about this book is the progression of Sora and Crash's relationship. What I love about this series and how it's written is that the relationship is so subtly done, sometimes you question whether there is a relationship at all. I hesitate to even call it a romance because it's not the typical, in-your-face, romance.

You get to see these small moments where Crash sheds his gruff, assassin ways and he's gentle and almost sweet - in his own way. It's these small moments that I live for. There's only a handful in each of the books but that's what makes their relationship so enjoyable to read. 

For the most part, Crash sticks to his lethal assassin ways without apology. He is what he is. I That's one of the part I love about Crash's character. So many times you see an assassin as a lead character but they almost never actually do any killing or assissin-like things. Not Crash, he makes you remember that he is a killing machine - always was and probably always will be. 

Now, it's come down to rating time. I hesitate to give out 5 stars for any books, because I feel that giving it 5 stars is saying that it is absolutely perfect and there are no improvements to be made. I'm a person that strongly feels there is always room for improvement. But on the other hand even 4.5 stars feels too low and would be cheating to book. 

So I have to go with 5 stars. But if you want to see for yourself, you can always download Sora's Quest for free!

And for anyone who is wondering, I do believe there are at least two more upcoming books to be added to the series, so the story doesn't end here. 

*I was provided an ARC copy for an honest review

Book summary

Release date: September 30th, 2013

Find out more at

A plague is spreading across the land. Crops are rotting. People are dying in the streets. Sora, with the help of her magical Cat's Eye necklace, is the only one who can stop it.
She must travel overseas to the Lost Isles, a place of legend and mystery. Only there can she destroy the bloodmage, Volcrian, putting an end to the curse. She is accompanied by Crash, a lethal assassin who once threatened—and saved—her life. But Sora is beginning to question her dark companion. He seems to be carrying a secret; a hidden past that could endanger them all.

Meanwhile, they are hunted by an underground society known as the Shade. For centuries, the Shade has waited for the perfect opportunity to step into the light. Now they are perilously close to resurrecting a Dark God and unleashing a wave of unimaginable destruction. They only need to collect the three sacred weapons, and Sora has already found two....

About the author

T. L. Shreffler lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves diversity, fantasy, romance, iced tea, long walks, philosophy, and thrift store shopping. She recently graduated with a BA in Badass (Creative Writing) and her poetry has been published consecutively in Eclipse: A Literary Journal and The Northridge Review. She works as the assistant editor for the funky and fantastic Tinsel Tokyo Magazine.

Author and Artwork Links:

Website Artwork:
Website Author:


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Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Brothers of Rock Series

By Karolyn James

With ALL ACCESS, a contemporary romance series begins that explores, life, love, and music. Join the five band members of Chasing Cross as they find that there's more to life beyond the stage.

Jess is caught off guard when a sexy stranger buys her a cup of coffee and asks her to sit with him. He's mysterious, nice, and even though he says the right things at the right time, Jess can sense that there's something hidden about him.*As Johnnie sits across from the beautiful woman, he can't believe she doesn't recognize him. Everyone does. It comes with the territory when you're the lead singer of one of the hottest bands in the world, Chasing Cross. With one more show to go before taking a small break in touring, it feels like luck is on Johnnie's side. That is, if he can find a way to tell Jess who he is, without scaring her off.*After her best friend begs her to come to a concert, Jess finds herself standing in the middle of a crowd. The lights are off, music begins, and the crowd erupts in cheers. She doesn't know much about the band, but that's all about to change. When the lights come on, Jess can't believe her eyes. The lead singer of the band is the man from the café.*Plucked from the crowd during the show, Jess makes her way backstage. The encore may have ended on stage, but the real show is just about to begin. Johnnie's passion quickly turns to romance but the more time he and Jess spend together, the more things get complicated. Johnnie has a big decision to make about himself and the band, testing his loyalty and love for the music, and when Jess's dreams start to come true, she starts to realize that true love exists, but it's not always an easy path to take.

The second book in the Brothers of Rock series is BROKEN SOUND, where lead guitarist, Davey, is faced with life changing decisions involving love, family, and as always, music.

Rockstars expect women to show up at their hotel room, but when a woman shows up with an infant and tells Davey he is the father, his world is turned upside down. 

Anna is a teacher and part-time waitress, desperate to make enough to pay off debts left to her by an ex-boyfriend who made her life a living hell. When her boss schedules her for an extra shift, he tells her it's her job to take care of a special guest... lead guitarist of Chasing Cross, Davey. The second Anna meets eyes with Davey, she feels something she's wanted for a long time. But with someone famous? That's impossible. Besides, Davey is there with a date.
When Davey returns to the restaurant, sans date, he asks to see Anna. She doesn't understand what he would want with her. He is a man with a big heart, kind eyes, and the true power that only a real rockstar could have. Then Anna learns the truth of Davey's life, from his haunted past to his rocky present. Still, she longs to be part of his future.  But when Anna's own past turns potentially deadly, life and love suddenly collide in a way that could hurt everyone and leave someone dead.

Book three in the Brothers of Rock series is BITTER FAREWELL

When Danny boards the private jet for his father's funeral, he knows he isn't just going back home to settle the estate.
He is going to back to find her... the girl who loved him, the girl who understood his family problems, and the girl he left behind to chase his dream of becoming a rockstar.
Liv Cryers is stuck in Bakersville. Literally. She came back hoping to find peace inside her empty heart, but now she's forced to care for her ailing father who doesn't remember her most days. She's tired of being forgotten. The sounds of her past seem so far away...
When rockstars come to town, crazy things can happen...

Get it here

Barnes & Noble:

About the author

Karolyn James has been published over 100 times, reached bestseller lists on Amazon, and writes in both romance and erotic romance.  Her two newest series are the romance hit, Brothers of Rock, and the erotic romance series, Rock Her Curves.

Twitter:  @KarolynWrites
Mailing List: 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

[Review & Giveaway] The Exemeus


The Exemeus

Author: Folami and Abeni Morris

Publish Date: Jan. 3, 2013 by Royal Colours Ink

Length: 337 pages

Series: The Exemeus #1

Rating: 4/5

Genres: Fantasy, romance, science fiction, dystopia

Get it here: Amazon, B&N


I found that writing this review for The Exemeus was a bit harder than I anticipated. This is because there were a number of things that I really liked and yet there were a number of things that I didn't like, or that confused me.

First, I'll talk about the book itself and then I'll come back to my points of like and dislike.
One of the first things I noticed about The Exemeus is that is was very uniquely narrated. We have two main characters here, Dephon and Hyalee. They come from two different times and two different worlds. Hyalee comes from a world much like our own, but Dephon comes from a futuristic, dystopian world just 13 years later. And a lot can happen in 13 years.

I won't summarize it too much for you because you can just read the book's summary below.
Dephon is just a freshman in high school. He gets picked on each day, only to come home to a supposedly uncaring father who sits on the couch all day.

One day he comes home to find his father off the couch and in an argument with a woman he's never seen before. Even though she seems to know him. It's clear that this is the point where the start is going to start picking up and we're going to get some answers.
Dephon finds his answers in a book, called The Exemeus, that once belong to his dead mother - who we find out soon enough is Hyalee. It's up to Dephon to right all the wrong that happen in this futuristic world ruled by a ruthless leader.

So here is what I really like about The Exemeus. The two main characters a vastly different. They're similar in their heroism and need for justice but growing up in two different worlds has made them very different. I like having two characters who offer different views in the book.

Since it takes place in two different times, it's almost like reading two books in one.
You also get to see two versions of Dephon's father, Singleton. It's interesting to see how he transformed from a carefree, 17-year-old to a protective father who has a hard time connecting with his son. There's a lot of depth with these characters that I think Morris sisters did an excellent job with.

I also really like how this book spans a wide number of genres, you've got fantasy, romance, science fiction and dystopian with a sprinkle of time travel. Sometimes this is done well and sometimes this is done not so well. Thankfully, this book was successful in that area.
Now for a few things I didn't like in the book. And it wasn't so much that I didn't like it, they just confused me.

In Hyalee's world it becomes clear that her "super powers" are not common or known to the public. But that really doesn't seem to be clear for a long while. When she finds out what she is and what she can do, it doesn't seem to surprise her in the least.

The same happens with Dephon. It's unclear, in the world that he lives is, whether or not it's normal for people to have special powers. At one point his father causes an earthquake that almost levels his house but Dephon doesn't even flinch. Which is weird because his father hasn't ever used his powers around Dephon and he had no idea his father had them.
So basically I'm confused as to why these characters easily accept these supposedly impossible events like they're just going out for ice cream.

Another thing that really confused me is that there are different worlds such as Oreland. That in itself isn't confusing. The problem I have is that the worlds aren't explained at all. You, as a reader, are just expected to know that they exist and that they are different from the world Hyalee and Dephon exist in.

For me, I'm one of those people who need things explained. Tell me how these worlds are different, not just that they are. Tell me when society found out about these worlds or even if the mass population is aware of them. Don't brush it under the rug like I'm supposed to know what you're talking about.

So there you have it. I found the book hard to rate because it was an enjoyable read, with likeable characters and good writing. But a few things were too cloudy. It was like looking through a dirty window and I just couldn't see everything. I just needed a little Windex.
Overall, I'm still giving The Exemeus a 4 even though I was annoyed by the lack of description, it was still a good book worth a read.


Her short life was devoted to love and to hate. Love of the man who stole her heart, hate for the man who stole the world. Murdered by the government she swore to destroy, she's been given another chance to make it right. But to save the planet, she needs the help of the most powerful mystic the world has ever seen—unfortunately he hasn’t been born yet.

In a world where fear is the only currency, Dephon has committed the ultimate crime:
inspiring hope.

His only goal is to make it safely through ninth grade, but on a post-apocalyptic Earth run
by the Treptonian government, it isn’t that simple. Heir to a legendary power, Dephon
Johnson is the only threat to the government’s rule. And on Trepton, all threats must be eliminated. When hundreds of assassins are dispatched to neutralize him, Dephon is forced to fight back. His only chance of survival is to enlist the aid of the greatest warrior the world has ever known. The only problem is, she's been dead for 13 years.

About the authors

Folami and Abeni Morris are a sister-sister writing team. Together they wrote (and
rewrote) The Exemeus, somehow managing to accomplish it without murdering one another. Despite their facial similarities, tendency to finish each other’s thoughts and stick up for each other constantly, no, they’re not twins and thus deserve their own individual bio.

Folami Morris:

Folami grew up in the tiny city of San Mateo Ca, where nothing ever happens and no
one ever leaves. She went to Xavier University for undergraduate, getting her B.A in physics and her B.S in Biology. After graduation she returned to California, to live in an even smaller city, where even less happens, Antioch Ca. During this time she escaped the monotony by hanging out with her imaginary friends Hyalee and Dephon, and by writing the Exemeus. She finally escaped to Queens NY and now realizes that quiet and tiny aren’t so bad.

Abeni Morris:

As luck (and logic) would have it, Abeni grew up in the same tiny little town as her sister, then she too escaped to the tinier town of Antioch. She has yet to leave. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development from Cal State East Bay. She is the mom of two amazing kids, who swear that they deserve a percentage of the book proceeds and a ton of the credit. At least she raised dreamers.

Author Links

Facebook / Twitter / Website / Goodreads

Scavenger Hunt

Make sure to check out The Exemeus Scavenger Hunt, where you can win a Kindle Fire or $150! The first stop is at My Guilty Obsession, where you can get the first clues on this incredible journey for an amazing prize! The Scavenger Hunt starts on Monday, August 27th and runs through Friday, August 30th. Chances to win are through midnight on September 1st. Buy your copy of The Exemeus today, if you haven't already!


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Saturday, July 27, 2013

[Guest Post and Sizzling Summer Giveaway] Nicki Elson

Find Nicki Elson a Platform

What does the tale of a virginal college co-ed who’s looking for a little experience have in common with the story of a middle-aged divorcee who’s being visited by an angel?

Er, not much other than the fact that they’re both premises dreamed up by the same author — moi. I apparently wasn’t paying much attention in Author Branding class. Could be I blew it off entirely. So…help an author out? The NA/Adult Kindle includes both titles, Three Daves and Divine Temptation, in the hopes that after reading, you’ll be able to identify common denominators and help me define my platform beyond simply Romantic Women’s Fiction.
But it’s not like I expect you to do all the work. I’ll start you off with a couple observations that might help: while elements of faith are much stronger in the angel story, obviously, they’re not entirely missing from Three Daves. Readers see little blips into Jen’s beliefs, which impact her attempts to balance being a “good girl” with the realities of coming of age. Another similarity is that the overarching theme for each of the books is, in a word, sex. The crux of Three Daves is Jen’s quest to lose her virginity while maintaining her values, and in Divine Temptation, it’s Maggie’s struggle with her growing desire for an off-limits heavenly being.

So that’s what you’ve got to work with: faith and sex. Now, go forth and enjoy!


Three Daves

As they walked through the frigid night, Jen was grateful for the scarf, not only because it kept her head warm, but because it also kept David from seeing the misery etched onto her face. How had things with Dave taken such a nasty turn? Jen burrowed her head in the scarf while David pulled up the collar on his coat.

“I gotta get a car,” he complained.

The cold weather kept conversation to a minimum, so Jen was able to torture herself by replaying the last hour in her mind. She wasn’t Gigi anymore. But wasn’t that what Dave wanted? Hadn’t he been pushing her to be bad? So why when she gave in did he suddenly seem to want nothing to do with her? Was there something else that had changed his mind about her?


“Yeah,” his muffled voice answered.

“Have you ever said anything to Dave about you and me...last year?”

“No.” His tone had an irritated edge. “That’s nobody else’s business.”

“Okay.” She believed him. Unfortunately, that meant she couldn’t blame anyone but herself for messing things up with Dave.

Divine Temptation

“Does this mean you’ll fade away and not come back at all if the ‘aura of danger’ stays away?” Maggie asked.

“I don’t know,” the angel said.

“Great. So I can lose you and Father Tom both at the same time.”
“You wouldn’t lose me. I’ve always been around and will continue to be.”
“It wouldn’t be the same. I want to see you, talk to you. Touch you.” She reached to his sides and slid her fingers between his. “I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through these last few months if you weren’t right here.”
“You’ve gotten through many tough situations without me. You’d have been fine.”
Frowning and shaking her head slowly, she curled into him, wrapping her arms around his waist and nuzzling into his chest. She didn’t want to have to get through things by herself anymore. In the quietness and the closeness, she inhaled his mildly spiced scent and noticed things she hadn’t before. “Your heart beats,” she murmured. “Fully human form…” Spreading her fingers, she traced up and down his lower back with her thumbs.
“Maggie…” he warned, and the hands he’d molded to her back stiffened. She didn’t miss the corresponding increase in his heart rate.
She stopped moving her fingers, but remained pressed to him. With fabric between them, he felt firm and solid, exactly like a man. “I know humans weren’t made to be with angels,” she said, “but humans weren’t made to travel into outer space either, and yet we still do it. We weren’t made to glide over water, but we figured out a way. Maybe you and I can figure out a way too.”
When Evan didn’t answer right away, she let her fingertips resume roving ever so cautiously along the indent of his spine. She only got halfway up before he reached his hands behind to grab hers and hold them still. “That isn’t why I’m here,” he said, though the tremor of his tone conflicted with the certainty of his words.


Writing wasn't something Nicki set out to do; it just sort of happened when she realized writing reports was by far her favorite part of her investment consulting position. She traded stock allocation and diversification for story arcs and dialogue and now weaves her creative writing time in with the other activities of her busy life with her family in the Chicago suburbs. 

Nicki writes with two goals in mind: #1 to keep the characters realistic, even when their circumstances are anything but, and #2 to make the reader feel.

Author links

Website / Twitter / Pintrest / Facebook


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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

[Review] Strength



Author: Carrie Butler

Publish Date: March 7, 2013 by Sapphire Star Publishing

Length: 389 pages

Series: Mark of Nexus #1

Rating: 4/5

Genres: Fantasy, paranormal romance

Get it here: Amazon, B&N

Goodreads summary

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation--and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace’s powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do--even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.

My review

We start off Strength with our main character literally running face to face with Wallace Blake while visiting a friend who lives in the same dorm.

Wallace is not only an outcast but most on campus believe the rumors that he takes girls to his room at night and murders them. All this is based on the strange noises that can be heard around 8 p.m. every evening.

 Now, I won’t give away too many details because you can read the summary up above and it’s a very good summary.

I would classify this book as a paranormal romance first and a fantasy second. I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between Wallance and Rena. It wasn’t one of those romances that makes me choke it’s so nauseating. Wallace has this innocence of sorts that I find adorable and endearing.

As for the fantasy portion of Strength. Butler did a nice job of creating something new and then explaining it in an understandable way. There’s enough mystery leftover that I can’t wait to find out more but I’m not completely confused.

I also have to stat that I really like Wallace’s grandmother and twin brother, even if he is a bit of a douchenozzle.

The writing in Strength is well done and flows nicely, especially for it being Butler’s debut novel. So it gets 4 stars from me. You can look for the sequel, Courage, to come out later this fall.

**A thanks goes to Carrie Butler and her marketing coordinator, Devyn, for hooking me up with a copy of Strength to review.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

[Review] The Dark Gifts: Birthright

The Dark Gifts: Birthright

Author: Willow Cross

Publish date: March 2, 2011, self-published

Series: The Dark Gifts #1

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Paranormal romance, fantasy

Birthright is a book that starts off with a bang. In the first chapter we meet our two main characters, Liz and Michael. Liz is at a hearing (or you could call it a trial) in front of the vampire council. We learn that in the last two days Liz has gone from a normal 24-year-old, human woman to a roided out vampire. 
The story goes a little like this: Liz met Michael while she was out with her friends at the fair and decides to go off with him for a little make out session. And who wouldn't? He's a total hottie.

Turns out, he was just looking for his next meal. I have to point out that in Birthright vampires live by a set of rules imposed by the council. In order to create a new vampire they must gain approval and it takes three bites before a human can turn. Vampires do not feed on humans more than twice because of this.

When Michael bites Liz she almost instantly turns into a vampire which makes her special. But at the same time it puts Michael in a lot of hot water for breaking the laws. 

So that brings us back to Liz, standing in front of the council, waiting for judgement. After the council members go into both their minds to find out what happened, they find them both innocent of any wrongdoing. 

Many of the other vampires are outraged. You see, Michael happens to be the council assassin. He's sent to dispatch any vampire who doesn't uphold the laws or ones that go rabid. He doesn't have a lot of fans in the vampire community because most have lost someone they cared about to his hand. 

So it's no surprise when a civil war breaks out not long after Liz is caught up to speed on vampire life. The council finds her to be an interesting specimen since humans who turn almost instantly are a thing of legend. Liz agrees to stick around and let them study her. 

Here are my thoughts on the story: It's mostly a paranormal romance with a dash of fantasy. Typically, I have this hatred towards PNR because I just feel they've been beaten to death over and over and over again. 

But this was one story I really did like. I enjoyed both Liz and Michael's characters and their romance was something even a cynic like me enjoyed. Even if it was a bit to shot-gun-wedding-esk. 

Overall the story was nicely done, a few spelling errors here and there but nothing to distract from the overall story. 

The only thing I did not like was the pace of the story. From the beginning I felt like it was a race horse right out of the starting gate and it never really slowed down. I'm a person who likes a chance to catch my breathe every now and then. 

Even with that, the characters were well done and Cross did an great job with the story building. The vampire society isn't the same one as the traditional one and it's very easy to see in your mind.  

I give Birthright a solid 4 stars and recommend it for fans of paranormal romance.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Booklovin' Blog Hop: The Pull by Brooke Morris

So today I'm not going to be doing a review. Mostly because my brain is a little fried at the moment. But I would like to say that I read The Pull by Brooke Morris a while ago when Brooke sent me a copy for review (I still plan on doing the review at a later date so make sure to check back!) and I was really impressed. This was her first book and right from the start it had me hooked with some action. This is a great fantasy/paranormal read. Brooke was kind enough to do a Q&A with me about her book and the writing process. And don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to read it yourself!

The Pull

Author: Brook Morris

Publication Date: April 26, 2013, self published

Genre: Fantasy

Get it here: Amazon

Goodreads summary

Raised in the World of Men, 18 year old Maggie has just discovered that she is a forbidden half-breed, a cross between fairies and demons that should have been annihilated before she was even born, before her mother could escape with her into the New World, the World of Men. She soon learns why her kind are so feared as she races to save a world she has never known yet feels intimately connected to. Will Maggie be able to save the Old World from a long dormant evil that will turn everything to ash and dust?

 Q&A with Brooke Morris

So tell us a little about yourself and what you like to do when you’re not writing? 
As the setting for my stories suggest, I love the outdoors.  Anytime I am not inside writing I am usually outside hiking or playing with Walter, my beagle.  I also recently took up rock climbing and I am very excited to be planning my first outdoor climbing trip this summer!

However, living in the PNW means we experience our fair share of rainy days, and when it is cold and wet outside I love snuggling up with hot tea and a good book.

Give us a brief description of “The Pull” your first novel:

In the beginning, the six gods created the Old World as a gift of paradise to their six races.  But as the eons pass, petty wars and seething hatred shattered the Old World into pieces, inviting in an ancient darkness that now threatens not only the Old World, but our world as well.

The Pull, is a multidimensional novel told from the perspective of the main character, Maggie, who is unexpectedly pulled from our world, the New World, into the Old World where she discovers unexpected ties to her past.  Armed with the new knowledge that she is a powerful and highly forbidden half-breed, a cross between demons and fairies, Maggie  struggles through the dying wastelands of the Old World with her ever present sass and sarcasm.  Joined by Andrew, an Old World demon, who's latent betrayal early on makes her wonder which side he's really on, they race against the looming darkness to save their worlds from ruin.  Will Maggie be able to stop the long dormant evil from turning everything to ash and dust?

What was your inspiration for this book?

The inspiration for this novel came many years ago when I woke up one morning from a particularly vivid dream and wondered what would happen if I were actually stuck in my dream one day.  The more I mulled the thought over in my mind, the more fascinated I became with all the social and emotional challenges that would come with a situation like that.  Eventually I just started writing it down.

What’s next for you?

Oprah?  A girl has to have dreams, right? Realistically though, I would say book #2.  I have started it already and it recently took a turn that even I didn't expect so I am excited to see where it goes. :-)

What’s one of the first things you remember writing?

One of the first fictional pieces I can remember writing was around 4th grade.  It was a Halloween picture book with Bob the Bat, Sue the Pumpkin, and Linda the Witch and featured the warm fuzzy message that no matter what you look like, or what your abilities are, your friends will always be there.  It was truly an epic masterpiece.  :-P

Since you are a new author. What's something you learned about the self-publish/indie process?
One of the main lessons I have learned about the indie author/self publishing world is that there is a lot of pounding the pavement...well the internet pavement anyway.  As much as every author would love to sit back and watch readers flock to their novels and admire how awesome their story is, it wont happen unless you get out there an let people know your book is here. And even then, they might not like it.

This is the aspect I find this very daunting because on the one hand it is nerve wracking - you are really putting yourself out there each time you send a book out to a reviewer or you read a review on a distributor's website.  But on the other hand it is exciting to have objective readers/reviewers discover your work and actually enjoy it.  That is really rewarding.

What author inspires you?

Daniel Quinn, the author of Ishmael (and many other works) is someone I am very inspired by. His ability to lead the reader through a complex idea by using a simple story is truly amazing.

What one interesting thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I am a ninja.  That is a total lie, I lack any hint of stealth so I've known that career path wasn't an option for some time now.

Hmmm, I think most people would be surprised to know that I am a huge Disneyland freak and go every year with my best friend.


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Friday, June 28, 2013

[Review] I'll Be Damned


Author: Casey Keen

Publish date: March 24, 2013

Series: Anna Wolfe #1

Rating: 3.5/5

Genre: Paranormal romance, fantasy

I think any one who is a fan of True Blood (the early seasons before it just gets too weird) will find I'll De Damned by Casey Keen to be an enjoyable read. 
Our main character here, Anna Wolfe, is a coffee shop owner in southern Savannah, Georgia who has always known she's a little different. As her 30th birthday approaches she starts to experience a number of changes: physical cramps, stalkers and weird interactions.

When her sister, Janie, is kidnapped to get to Anna she discovers that she is a witch from a powerful bloodline. Anna must learn to harness her powers in order to save those she loves and escape being a tool for the devil himself.

As far as characters go, I typically identify the leading lady as my favorite in most books. While I really like Anna because she's a smart, successful (at least I think so) business woman, there was one character I loved more than any other.

Martello is a flamboyantly gay bar owner who is a good friend of Anna. His speech and wardrobe remind me a lot of Latayette off of True Blood. Martello is very "let me tell you like it is, girl". He's definitely the life of the party and I really liked how involved he was for a supporting characters.

I'll Be Damn is well written with some great characters (plus a few love interests for those romance fans) but there were two things that I didn't really like about the book.

1. It's very slow moving in the beginning. The book blurb talks about her sister's kidnapping and her discovery, and typically those things tend to happen earlier in the book. In this case I was almost halfway through the book before anything really happened. That was a little too long for me.

2. Her reaction to her sister's kidnapping made me want to slap her. Now, I have a younger brother who I am really close with. And if anything like this ever happened to him I would be in a murderous frenzy and go on a damn rampage until I got him back. Anna reacts as if it's not that big of a deal.

At first she doesn't react because she's not entirely sure if Janie is missing or just went back to work things out with her husband. This part I can understand.

However, when she gets the confirmation that her sister has indeed been kidnapped she does something completely surprising... she's takes a mother-effing nap! Are you kidding me? How can you possibly get any sleep when your sister's life is in danger?

The next morning she goes to confront her parents over her heritage and they give her a book that will explain everything. So basically she has to study up, learn about her powers and go save her sister. As she heading back home to calls up her best friend (Martello is already with her) who meets up back with them and her house.

So at this point I'm thinking "Okay she's gonna read this book and go kick some ass." Boy was I wrong. Instead she ignores the book as the three of them go out the the porch and have some drinks. No joke, they are freaking having freaking drinks instead of trying to save her sister.

All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not your sister, Anna, because you are a terrible sibling.

Basically, that's what it came down to when it was rating time. In the beginning I really liked Anna but then I found it really hard to relate to her. Maybe I'm just ridiculously protective of my baby brother.

Some good things about the book are that it's well written and the characters are very likeable (even taking the above in to account). And while it reminded me at lot of True Blood, that's only on the surface. I'll Be Damned is a unique take of witches, demons and werewolves, so that I enjoyed very much. 


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