"Books A La Carte"--UNDEAD, ALMOST DEAD, WON'T STAY DEAD, AND WELL-FED DEAD!
by Virginia Campbell
God's Eye by A.J. Scudiere
an "eye-opening" paranormal romantic thriller
What could be more invasive than the horror of having your mind invaded, your home intruded upon, and your world suddenly turned into a very different place? What if you began to see things that others couldn't see, and you began to behave in ways far different from your normal behavior? Katharine Geryon is a daughter of privilege, trained as a corporate executive in her father's successful investment firm. All her life, she has known her place, her future seemingly secure and etched in stone. Her life's foundation is shaken to the core when she begins to have other-worldly visitors in the form of strange animals which appear in her apartment and leave piles of soot behind when they vanish. Strange messages in Latin are left on her bathroom mirror, giving her the feeling that no part of life is without vulnerability. In "God's Eye", A.J. Scudiere skillfully weaves a tale of a woman's struggle to survive as a demon and an angel war with each other over the conquest of her very soul. Good or evil? Who's the good guy and who's the devil? Both so handsomely packaged and so seductively charming--how to tell which one to choose? It becomes very clear to Katharine that she must make a choice. A life-altering choice with long-lasting effects, not just for her life, but for the lives of many others. The author fleshes out the paranormal thriller story line with passion and depth and interesting, intriguing cultural and business insights. She gives us a heroine to root for as we watch Katharine's character growth while the ground under her feet turns to shifting sand. The resolution is unexpected and ultimately satisfying. I very much look forward to reading more involving works from the imagination of A.J. Scudiere!
Review Copy Gratis Griffyn Ink
Until the Next Time by Kevin Fox
promising story line "buried" under repetitive reincarnation rants
"Until the Next Time" was just too much book for the story line. My copy was almost 400 pages, in a small font, and much of the content was quite repetitive. However, even though I didn't agree with most of the reincarnation theories in the book, I did appreciate the Irish humor, culture, and countryside. It says a lot about Kevin Fox as an author that even though I didn't like much of what he wrote, I still acknowledged his skill as a storyteller. I will read other works by Kevin Fox, and I know that I will find quality in his way with words. The trouble with "Until the Next Time" is that the reincarnation aspect is hammered in, over and over, and that's not a reincarnation joke. The violence was disturbing, and sadly the truth is that human beings will never learn, and we will continue in the same vein until we annihilate each other once and for all. No "coming back" that time--nothing to come back to find! I think that everyone who reads this book will have a different opinion, but I know that none of us will forget what we have read. Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
Silver by Rhiannon Held
compelling characters, well-paced story line
When an intruder wanders into the Southwestern Virginia territory of the Roanoke pack, enforcer Andrew Dare goes into full tracking mode. Andrew, also known just as Dare, is a werewolf, and so is his target. When he catches up to his prey, he discovers a dazed and damaged woman who says her name is Silver. She has been tortured and brutalized, and she claims to speak with Death, who travels as her companion. Silver can provide few clues to her real identity, and Andrew is unsure of how to return her to where she belongs. He only knows that he must protect her, and he must find the evil who hurt her and also presents a deadly threat to other "civilized" Weres. The Were packs of North America are divided into regional groups, and Dare tries to rally the groups to form a united front against an unknown, insidious monster who injects liquid silver into the veins of Weres. The silver is like a fire which burns through the very blood of its victims, causing excruciating pain and a descent into madness. Despite her wounded and often bewildered state, Dare sees flashes of the real Silver, and he is intrigued by her as a woman. They form a friendship, along with a growing attraction, and eventually they work together to hunt and destroy the heinous madman who abused Silver and killed others of their kind. Author Rhiannon Held crafted the story of "Silver", her debut work, with a subtle intensity, skillful, unrushed pacing, and compelling characters. I enjoyed the writing style just as much as I enjoyed the actual story content. On a personal note, I live in Southwestern Virginia, and Roanoke is the "big city" in my neck of the woods. Speaking of my neck...was that a howl...is that a full moon?!? Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
Wanted: Undead or Alive (Love at Stake) by Kerrelyn Sparks
Big City Vamp teams with Wild West Were
Kerrelyn Sparks keeps the lifeblood flowing for her "Love at Stake" series with "Wanted: Undead or Alive"! Phineas McKinney, once known as "Doctor Phang" or "The Love Doctor" has a life-changing experience when his mortal life is ended by a bunch of very bad vamps--the Malcontents. Rescued by a crew of good-guy blood drinkers, Phin devotes his life to destroying the evil Malcontents. Being one of the undead leads to some soul-searching moments for the formerly footloose and fancy free big city man about town. "The Love Doctor" is in need of some serious TLC, and there's a pair of blue eyes that haunt his thoughts. The problem is that those pretty peepers belong to Brynley Jones, a Were Princess who despises vampires. When the trail of the Malcontents leads to Wyoming, Phin and Bryn are teamed up to track down the unredeemable undead. The two have always had a "sparks fly" relationship, and spending time together fans those sparks into an incendiary attraction. Can Brynley and Phineas reveal their inner needs and savor the sweetness of a soul-searing passion? Humor, heat with heart, and fine and furious, fang-flashing thrills and chills are all to be found in "Wanted: Undead or Alive"! Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
The Dead Celebrity Cookbook: A Resurrection of Recipes from More Than 145 Stars of Stage and Screen by Frank Decaro
recipes & reflections, rollicking, rowdy, revelry
If you are a foodie and film fan, then you will think you have died and gone to heaven when you read "The Dead Celebrity Cookbook"! Recipes and reflections are blended together with rollicking, rowdy, revelry, and a smashing time will be had by all! Author Frank DeCaro enlightens and entertains with facts and food finds from legendary stars of stage and screen, and the results are delicious. I love to sit down with a cup of coffee and read a cookbook. Since this book is filled with as many stories as it has recipes, it is one of the most readable and enjoyable cookbooks that I own. The chapters are categorized by the contributor's claim to fame, such as: "Musical Munchies"; "Sitcom Moms Really Cook"; "Dance This Mess Around"; and "A Feast of Funny Fellows". The skill level of the chefs ranges from kitchen-capable to titan of take-out, and the recipes run the realm between truly taste tempting to seriously strange and somewhat scary. Dom Deluise's "Doodlewoppers"--who knew?!? Just kidding--those "Doodlewoppers" sound like darn good cookies!!! "The Dead Celebrity Cookbook" is a decadent delight from cover to cover. The amazing range of recipes is as equally appealing as the royal roster of legendary luminaries from the world of entertainment. A "must have" for the kitchen library of true devotees of the silver screen and the silver palate.
Review Copy Gratis HCI Books
Under a Vampire Moon: An Argeneau Novel by Lynsay Sands
matriarch's masterful matchmaking mojo
A determined matchmaking vampire matriarch finds the true lifemate for her 500-year old son, and hilarious hijinks and steamy sensuality ensue! Marguerite Argeneau-Notte, an extremely beautiful, and very well-preserved, centuries-old vampire honeymoons in the Caribbean with her second husband and eternal soulmate, Julius Notte. When Marguerite meets Carolyn Connor, a fortyish vacationer trying to recover from a disastrous marriage, she immediately recognizes the perfect woman for her son, Christian. Marguerite maneuvers to have Christian and his band play at the hotel resort where they are staying, and her plan begins to unfold. However, after having read Carolyn's thoughts on life, love, men, and marriage, Marguerite decides to bring Christian and Carolyn together slowly so that Carolyn will be more accepting of the situation. After all, not only is Christian a gorgeous, rich, and ageless vampire, he appears to only be about twenty five, as do all the immortals. Carolyn is a shade over forty, with self-esteem issues and self-doubts aplenty. In order to ease Carolyn into the relationship, a scheme is hatched where Christian is presented as a gay man in need of a "lady friend" in order to hide his sexual orientation. With some "adjustments" to her thought processes, Carolyn agrees, and the sweet and sexy comedy capers begin to unfold. Two things made this book work for me: the smart and sassy humor of Lynsay Sands, and the very appealing character of Carolyn. Underneath all the vampire bling-bang, and makin' whoopee, many women will identify with Carolyn, and that's what makes this paranormal romance above the norm. I haven't read all the entries in Lynsay Sands enormously popular and successful "Argeneau Series", but I have enjoyed each one that I have read very much! Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
The Demon Lover: A Novel by Juliet Dark
paranormal sexual psyche
A woman's deepest, darkest desires become intimately entangled with the fairy tales and Gothic romance reads of her youth in Juliet Dark's novel, "The Demon Lover". Callie McFay turns her academic interest in folklore and the supernatural into a successful career with a bestselling book: "The Sex Lives of the Demon Lovers". Her words come back to haunt her when she accepts a teaching position at Fairwick College and lands smack-dab in a paranormal world far beyond her wildest imaginings. Then there's her Demon Lover, the co-occupant of her old Victorian home, whom she eventually tries to exorcise with help from local residents who are fairies and witches. This is the first book in a trilogy. Overall I enjoyed the book very much. It is interesting and talky, written in first person style. It was the kind of read that is hard to categorize, and it definitely took me outside my normal reading box, which in this case turned out to be a worthy reader's trip. I am intrigued to see how the author will continue the series in the next two books. Juliet Dark is the pseudonym for author Carol Goodman. Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
A Haunted Twist of Fate by Stacey Coverstone
"spirited" Old West mystery, engaging modern romance
Stacey Coverstone's "A Haunted Twist of Fate" starts out with a spooky and chilling encounter with a ghost, and the spine-tingling thrills continue throughout this well-paced mystery romance. When Shay Brennan buys an 1885 historic saloon in Hill City, South Dakota, she gets more than just a building. She also gets restless spirits who are trapped in time in the saloon's history, a murder mystery to solve, a handsome real estate agent, and questions about her own family history. After the death of her wealthy parents, and two failed romances with men who were after her fortune, Shay longs to make a clean start in the little western town of Hill City. Deciding the "Buckhorn Saloon" could be wonderfully converted into a quaint Bed & Breakfast, Shay closes the deal with realtor Colt Morgan, who is loaded with "cowboy charm". As soon as Shay moves into the saloon, she is plauged by strange supernatural experiences, and she is determined to get to the bottom of the mysterious and sometimes malevolent occurrences. Colt, a widower for ten years, finds himself very attracted to Shay, but he is at first sceptical about the ghosts haunting the saloon. The more time they spend together, the more their mutual admiration grows. However, Shay is afraid to trust her heart, and she also senses that Colt does not fully accept her "ghost stories". Colt introduces her to his family, and he presses her for a closer relationship. Shay wants to give her heart and herself to her gorgeous cowboy, but first she must solve the puzzle of the haunted saloon. Complicating the twisted tale of the paranormal past is new information about Shay's true birthright. Will a "twist of fate" keep Shay and Colt apart, or will it bring them together with a lasting, lifetime love? I have come to believe that our "fate or luck" is determined by our choices. Once we make a choice, the fate that was predetermined by that choice will then follow through. However, I strongly believe in true love and one and only soul mates. Once that true love is embedded in your heart, it is there to stay. No matter how you try to deny it, or work around it, it is immovable. Your soulmate is worth a lifetime wait! "A Haunted Twist of Fate" is a well-done "whodunit" with a western twang and a sweet and sexy romance. Very enjoyable!
Must Love Vampires by Heidi Betts
the delight of the bite
Must Love Vampires", by Heidi Betts, is wicked, wild, wanton, and wonderfully wacky! It's a fabulous fun feast for lovers of hunky vampires with irresistible charm. Sebastian and Aidan Raines are two tall, dark and delicious brothers who live the undead life in Las Vegas. That's right--Vegas. The perfect city for two vampire entrepreneurs to take advantage of nightlife extraordinaire! Sebastian is the brother in charge, and Aidan is the brother who lives large. Neither of them expects to be captivated and captured by a gorgeous woman who has inherited the looks and legs of her showgirl mother. However, that's exactly what happens to each brother when they meet identical twin beauties Charlotte "aka Chuck" and Chloe Lamoreaux. Chloe is a dancer at a club owned by Sebastian, and Chuck is a writer for a tattle-sheet tabloid. One fateful night, Chuck impersonates Chloe in the chorus line as part of an undercover report investigation of the successful, secretive, and oh-so-sexy Sebastian. While Chuck is shaking her booty on stage, Chloe elopes with Aidan, whom she has been dating for only a short time. Mistaken identities, scorching erotic romps, hilarious chaos and poignant secrets are all a part of this marvelous mix of mayhem and paranormal passion! Prepare to alternate between laughing out loud and furiously fanning yourself as those two lucky lady twins discover the delight of the bite!
Review Copy Gratis Author
The Light Bringer by Chris DiGiuseppi
amazing spiritual adventure
"The Light Bringer" is unlike any other book that you will ever read. Each reader will have their own thoughts and interpretations of the story line. Why do awful things happen to decent people? Are any of us really prepared for sudden loss of life, or profound suffering and grief? What about the afterlife? Is there one? All of those things are well worth our contemplation, yet most of us put off dealing with our own vulnerability and mortality. The protagonist of "The Light Bringer" is Alan Crane, whose honorable military service to our country later leads to a career as a law enforcement officer. Alan is a strong, steady, rational man who has great empathy for others. He sees beyond the finality of death, and he knows the value of life. His time in combat and the issues he deals with on a daily basis as a policeman make him all too aware of the volatility and vulnerability of human nature. He has also witnessed many times over the effect of careless greed and lack of care from one human being to another. When a mysterious man, a "government agent", approaches Alan to join a special crisis intervention bureau, Alan at first thinks it is a practical joke being pulled by a coworker. The agent, Michael Simmons, convinces Alan that the bureau is no joke, and Alan has been chosen due to his skill and sensitivity in dealing with grieving family members. Alan agrees to work with Simmons and also continue his role in local law enforcement. Thus begins a fantastic journey which will take Alan to places far beyond his imagination, a journey filled with danger, discovery, and death. Along the way, Alan learns to an even greater extent of how we are interconnected with those around us and how our actions set off chain reactions. Each of us has a dark side and a "light" or good side, and it is Alan's destiny to become a "Light Bringer", one who leads people to their spiritual fate. Alan is also a warrior, fighting to overcome the darker evil forces all around us, forces both known and unknown. "The Light Bringer" is a spiritual adventure, a thoughtful fantasy, and ultimately a reaffirmation of life. This book should be read more than once, and it is a perfect book for a reading group. It touches upon issues we all need to address, and sharing our thoughts and feelings with others can only lead to greater enlightenment.
Review Copy Gratis HCI Books
Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake by Laurie Brown
if you must be haunted...you may as well live it up
One of my favorite ghosts is "Dev" from a paranormal romance with an unusual twist: "Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake" by Laurie Brown. A modern career woman is thrust back in time into the glittering Regency period and the arms of an unscrupulous rake. Josephine Drummond is a professional paranormal researcher (aka, a ghostbuster) hired to prove that the ghost of Lord Deverell Thornton, the very handsome Earl and a notorious rake in his time, haunts the crumbling Waite Castle. But the ghost drags Josephine back to the Regency period to help him try to prevent the swindle that impoverished the Earl and threatens to turn his castle into a most undignified modern-day tourist attraction. Josephine has to contend with being a modern career woman trying to navigate the complex social scene of the Regency period, make sure no one discovers her real identity and unmask a charlatan. But all of these are easier than resisting her undeniable attraction to the Earl, who is clearly determined to sweep her off her feet. Very good read!
The Lantern: A Novel by Deborah Lawrenson
wonderful elements, most frustrating presentation
Reading "The Lantern", by Deborah Lawrenson, was sometimes difficult, and often frustrating. There are wonderful elements present in the work. The lush beauty of Provence, France and all its bounty is the key to why the characters remain at a location where horrific events occur. The story is told in two different first-person narratives from different time frames in the same setting. Each one of their stories is evocative and intriguing. However, the book advances in a "two steps forward, one step back manner". The narrative of one of the characters proceeds to an involving point, and then abruptly the next chapter picks up with the other character. The evolution of the story does not flow smoothly. Near the end of the book, when more information is revealed about all of the characters, the story line begins to become more cohesive. Definitely Gothic, but not great Gothic. A provocative read, best undertaken when it can be read with few interruptions. I am sure that any five people who read this book will have five different opinions. That is not a bad thing, because it means the author left a vivid impression. Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine
Love Bites (Argeneau Vampires) by Lynsay Sands
sexy, funny, paranormal romance
Vampire sex comedy featuring erotically romantic romps. Original take on the origin of the vampire species, with nice family closeness among the vampire clan. This is the beginning of a long, well-loved paranormal series featuring the fangtastic Argeneau clan. Lynsay Sands writes with a welcome humorous bite!
Cast a Lover's Spell by Claire Thompson
Spellbinding Paranormal Romance
"Cast a Lover's Spell" is a captivating paranormal romance in which the tables are turned on a spell-casting warlock. This book features a lovely and surprising heroine in the young widow, Anne. However, it is Paul, the debonair warlock who enthralls the reader with the depth of his love for Anne. Claire Thompson is a skilled storyteller with an eye for memorable romantic details. I will definitely read more works by Ms. Thompson.
Saints in Limbo by River Jordan
be careful what you wish for
SAINTS IN LIMBO is at once both simple and complex. I liked each of the characters individually, and they came together for a wonderfully told tale of the shadow world of wishes and dreams. Not all wishes should come true, and some dreams are just too true. It is the blessing of learning what to wish for that is bestowed upon Velma True and her family and friends. There is a very deep sweetness in the remembered love between Velma and her late husband, Joe. Rudy, their son, loves and respects his mother and the memory of his father. However, Rudy was always too smart, charming and good-looking for his own good. Velma has never doubted that eventually he would come into his own, and then the world would see him as she did. She has always seen him with the eyes and heart of a mother, as aware of his quirks and faults as well as the good person in his soul. On her birthday, Velma receives a special, mystical gift from a stranger. This gift is blessing which comes with a powerful underlying message which touches all the characters. They each must learn what has real value, and they must fight to protect each other and hold on to what is most dear to their hearts.
Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
intriguing time-travel romance
MARIANA got better and better as the story developed. I was involved with the characters and could have continued to read more about how their lives unfolded. The strong first-person narrative propelled the reincarnated romance to a nicely twisted ending. A very good read!
Causes Virginia Campbell Supports
I live in a very small town with few job opportunities. I would love to be employed in a position which allowed me to promote literacy and put books in the...