Archive for March, 2015

Goodreads.com Description: “Sometimes you must start at the beginning to find your way through to the end…. Now carrying Connor Wilcox’s child, Angela McAllister knows the only way to ensure a future for herself and her family is to find some way to break the curse that has hung over the Wilcox witch clan for almost 150 years. The solution lies somewhere in the past — her own, and that of the woman who cast the curse so many years earlier. As Angela struggles to find those answers, she realizes that what she discovers will not only change her own life, but the lives of everyone she knows…Wilcox and McAllister alike. (Book 3 of the Witches of Cleopatra Hill) “

WARNING: Sexual content, Mature Readers (17+)

My Thoughts:

Darkmoon was a great conclusion to Angela’s and Connor’s tale! Christine Pope delivered a well-written story complete with action and imaginative plot twists.

I loved this installment of “The Witches of Cleopatra Hill”. The prima, Angela McAllister, is in trouble. Thanks to the decades-old Wilcox curse, she might not live to see her unborn child grow up. Her mission? Break the curse with no idea as to how to do it.

Details, details, details…Pope gives plenty of descriptive details in Darkmoon. It was so good that it brought back memories of my cross-country trip from California. When Angela complained about the traffic coming to California, I remembered my first encounter with it. Even Pope’s details about the Arizona weather were dead-on.

The animosity between clans was summed up by Angela this time–the Hatfields and the McCoys. In Darkmoon, the Wilcoxes are the Hatfields and the McCoys are the McAllisters. If you read the historical information, it appears that a misunderstanding sparked the Hatfield/McCoy feud. Well, we have a repeat here. All of the miseries between the two clans were a result of a serious misunderstanding.

I especially loved how Angela and Connor grew into their roles. Neither of them wanted to be the head of their respective clans. They could have easily rebelled and been selfish about the situation. Fortunately, they matured and discovered just how powerful they could be together.

Pope’s supportive characters are so strong that the next two books are devoted to a few of them. I had a hard time identifying an antagonist in this book. It was too obvious in Book 2. In Darkmoon, the antagonist is more of an inanimate object (the curse) instead of a person. In the last quarter of the book, the antagonist is finally personified (or maybe ‘specter-fied’).

If you’ve enjoyed the first two books about “The Witches of Cleopatra Hill”, I’m sure you’ll appreciate this one. And, be sure to pick up Book 4 before you finish this one.

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Goodreads.com Description: “Kidnapped by a rival witch clan, Angela McAllister envisions a dark future for herself until she discovers her captor’s brother is the unknown man who has haunted her dreams since she was a child. Forced to re-evaluate everything she’s ever known about the Wilcox witches, Angela begins to explore the powerful connection that binds her to Connor Wilcox, despite the generations of hostility between their families and the disapproval of those closest to her. And when a dark, malignant force arises, Angela knows she must draw on her growing powers as prima to protect enemies and allies alike…even if her choice threatens to tear her new and fragile love apart. Darknight is the second book in the Witches of Cleopatra Hill, a paranormal romance trilogy set in the haunted town of Jerome, Arizona.”

My Thoughts:

WARNING: Sexual content, Mature Readers (17+)

Reward–patience pays off! Darknight by Christine Pope lived up to being a paranormal romance complete with action.

I enjoyed the second installment of The Witches of Cleopatra Hill series. Pope interrupted Angela McAllister’s picture-perfect world with a kidnapping and a reveal of the man of her dreams.

Once again, Pope delivers a well-written tale with an interesting plot. The characters are well-developed especially the antagonist. Readers are rewarded with a glimpse into what makes Damon Wilcox tick. He’s a worthy villain who is despicable and even admirable (to a point).

In Darknight, readers learn just how deep the hatred is between the McAllister and Wilcox clans. Prejudice is never fair and Pope proves it. There are family members amongst the Wilcoxes who are kind and undeserving of the preconceived ideas of the McAllister clan. Unfortunately, the dark presence of Damon Wilcox prevails and no one is immune.

In the first book, Angela and Connor were comparable to Romeo and Juliet. Well, as in Shakespeare’s play, death visits the ‘clan-crossed’ lovers. Nice to know that the world isn’t perfect for witches.

Although I didn’t fully appreciate the long prologue of Book One, without it Darknight would not have made sense.

I highly recommend Darknight. There’s action, drama, romance and solid writing. Yes, I did buy the next book in the series. I’m eager to find out if there’s a happily ever after in this dark romance.

Goodreads.com Description: “Finding the man of your dreams can be a real nightmare…. As the future prima, or head witch of her clan, Angela McAllister is expected to bond with her consort during her twenty-first year, thus ensuring that she will come into her full powers at the appointed time. The clock is ticking down, and her consort has yet to make an appearance. Instead, her dreams are haunted by a man she’s never seen, the one she believes must be her intended match. But with time running out, and dark forces attempting to seize her powers for their own, Angela is faced with a terrible choice: give up her dreams of the man she may never meet and take the safer path, or risk leaving her clan and everyone in it at the mercy of those who seek their ruin. Darkangel is the first book in the Witches of Cleopatra Hill, a paranormal romance trilogy set in the haunted town of Jerome, Arizona.”

My Thoughts:

First off, this was not something I would normally read. It was book one in a collection of paranormal stories. Darkangel by Christine Pope was a surprisingly interesting story.

Although there are numerous tales about witches, this one was quite inventive. One of the secondary characters, Sydney, summed the story up quite well–the Montagues and the Capulets (that’s “Romeo and Juliet” for anyone who has never read or seen the story). In Pope’s version, Angela McAllister is Juliet and her Romeo is Connor Wilcox. The McAllisters and Wilcoxes are two clans of witches who have been in battle for decades. But, there’s no fatal pledge between the two ‘clan-crossed’ lovers. Instead, it’s more of a ‘love you to death and beyond’ sort of thing. After all, they are witches.

This was not a typical paranormal romance tale either. This first book has the main character, Angela, looking for the man of her dreams (literally) but it’s not an obsession for her (yet). That’s the concern of her clan. She’s destined to rule them and the head of the clan is supposed to have a mate.

I appreciated Pope’s use of description. Although I’ve traveled through Arizona and have an idea of what it looks like, anyone could easily picture Jerome from her detail.

Although I enjoyed the plot and characters, the overall story was rather humdrum. There wasn’t any real action until the final chapters. The rest of the book was more like a very long prologue.

The last two chapters had me eager to pick up the next installment. I recommend Christine Pope’s Darkangel. It is a well-written and creative story. Just be patient. The best is yet to come.

Goodreads.com Description: “Sixteen-year-old Allie has already experienced a lifetime of horror, having lost her mother and serial killer brother to mental illness. Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana, Allie ends up in foster care and is placed with Miss Bitty, an eccentric but kindly older woman who shows her a new direction and brighter future. But Allie’s new life takes a devastating turn when young women in the area start turning up dead, and she begins to see shadowy figures outside her bedroom. As Miss Bitty grows inexplicably distant, a nagging voice makes Allie wonder if death has found her yet again…or if it never really left her at all.”

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

Once again, Jennifer Jaynes has produced an amazing tale of intrigue! Ugly Young Thing was not the book to read before bedtime. The story line was too creepy and real.

Ugly Young Thing picks up nine months after Never Smile At Strangers. This time we’re following Allie’s life. She’s been a bad girl, but given her history what else could she be. My heart went out to little Allie. She’s been through so much. Jaynes isn’t finished twisting her life.

The characters in this installment are well-developed and everyone has their own little secret. This time, however, the suspect isn’t easily guessed. There were no obvious clues pointing to a possibility. At the top of the story, I got the feeling that there may be a relation to the killer in Book One and Book Two. Jaynes didn’t make it that easy. The killer in Ugly Young Thing is a shocker.

There is enough description in Jaynes story to give a vivid picture without being gory. This is a good thing. When the killer, while holding a knife, ponders how easy it is to sneak into houses nowadays, it was enough for me to put the book down. The point hit home big time. I hadn’t read a book that freaked me out in many years.

I thoroughly enjoyed the thrilling Ugly Young Thing! There are more twists in Allie’s story. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait for Jaynes to finish the next TWO installments in this series.

Goodreads.com Description: “They say a soul is the immaterial essence, the animating principle, the actuating cause of an individual life. But what if you had to share yours with the one person you hated the most? The soul mate principle states that for every one soul there is another that will recognize its match, hence creating the perfect union. But what if you had two soul mates, which would you choose? What if your choices had eternal ramification? Deceived, the debut novel in the Soul Keeper Series, is a modern day love story about the implications of having more than one soul mate, and having to choose between the two of them. The decisions of the gods has left the next generation, their heirs, torn between fate and reality, and the balance of the future hangs in anticipation of what’s to come.”

I received an e-copy of this book via Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

L.A. Starkey’s Deceived had to be the hardest book for me to read–the first chapters were too slow. Plus, the male characters were a bit stereotypical. Ken, a possible love interest for the main character, is a drop-dead handsome captain of the basketball team and major player.

The next obstacle for me was the cliched dialogue. The line about Tony the Tiger almost ended the journey. Thankfully, Deceived improved–not so many cliches and the story line started to make sense.

I was initially drawn to this tale because of the promise of a plot line centered on the Greek gods. By chapter nine the promise was fulfilled. The story picked up and I was intrigued. I liked how the author told the reader exactly what the premise of Deceived was about–Sam’s World Lit essay topic. Although it was a little obvious, the topic was meant for her alone.

The real story is the tale of the Greek gods, Marcus and Nicholas. The main character, Samantha, is more of a sidekick for the twins. The prophecy surrounding the twins and the Zeus/Prometheus battle kept me intrigued.

I recommend giving Deceived a chance. Starkey has an imaginative plot, but it requires patience. You’ll be rewarded with a unique perspective on Greek mythology. There are two more books in this series. I’m giving Starkey another opportunity to prove herself. Besides, I’ve got to find out why the main character keeps fainting!

Goodreads.com Description: “The champion must not waver. The champion must not fear. The gate of darkness closes. Elisa is a fugitive. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves, and they await her at the gate of darkness. Her country is on the brink of civil war, with her own soldiers ordered to kill her on sight. Her Royal Majesty, Queen Lucero-Elisa né Riqueza de Vega, bearer of the Godstone, will lead her three loyal companions deep into the enemy’s kingdom, a land of ice and snow and brutal magic, to rescue Hector and win back her throne. Her power grows with every step, and the shocking secrets she will uncover on this, her final journey, could change the course of history. But that is not all. She has a larger destiny. She must become the champion the world has been waiting for. Even of those who hate her most.”

My Thoughts:

The Bitter Kingdom was the perfect conclusion to The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy! Rae Carson gave readers an epic adventure complete with action, enduring relationships, and a well-crafted plot.

Queen Lucero-Elisa grew into one of the strongest female protagonists I’ve read thus far. The naive tentative princess became a wise, mature young lady. By this installment, she learned about her own strengths and what things she could do despite being a bearer of the Godstone.

The Lord-Commander Hector was the perfect companion for her. Both characters were like-minded. As Elisa learned to trust, she came to realize that Hector was her strength when she was weak. Talk about a yin-yang relationship.

But, all of Elisa’s relationships were good ones. She made friends with those individuals royalty usually kept as servants. Elisa was fiercely loyal to these friends and would often risk her life for them. She saw the good in people. Sometimes the people weren’t deserving of Her Majesty’s faith, but she always gave them the chance to prove themselves.

Storm, the Invierno prince, turned into an admirable character. Carson did a great job in helping readers like this dark person–he was humane and even humorous at times.

The Bitter Kingdom is a testament to what a person can accomplish with faith–in themselves or in a higher power. I hated the trilogy came to an end, but there were no leftover questions.

I highly recommend the entire trilogy to everyone!

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Title: The Summer Solstice: Enchanted
Series: Summer Solstice Series, #1
Author: K.K. Allen
Release Date: June 10th, 2014

After Katrina “Kat” Summer’s mother dies a mysterious and tragic death, Kat is hurtled into life at Apollo Beach. Her estranged and cryptic grandmother Rose fills Kat with legends of her Ancient Greek Ancestors from which the Summer family descends. Kat’s world begins to unravel as secrets from her heritage are exposed – secrets that her mother purposefully concealed.

Leading to her birthday, the day of the Summer Solstice, Kat becomes frightened when enigmatic visions and disturbing dreams haunt her. When her visions become reality, her fear turns to terror as powerful forces threaten the lives of those around her.

Amidst the turmoil, Kat meets Alec Stone, her gorgeous neighbor, who becomes her sole solace in an evocative world of mythological enchantment and evil prophecies that lurk around every corner…

Excerpt from The Summer Solstice

by K.K Allen

Rose and Charlotte are both aware of my new nightly run schedule—although I may have left out the part about Alec. It’s the first night of my planned run with him and I don’t want to take any chance they will say no.

Rose is just happy I’m wearing new clothes. She compliments my black running shorts and hot pink tank top that Charlotte chose for me then turns in for the night. Charlotte stays up to clean but is adamant I leave her to do it alone.

Alec and I meet in front of his house. He greets me with bright and challenging eyes. “Alright, let’s see if you’re as good at running as you are at pool.”

I laugh, knowing I can hold my own. We stretch before taking off into the night. I follow Alec’s pace as we start with a light jog down along the coast. As our jog speeds into a run, a smile spreads across my face. There’s something about the night breeze along the coast that energizes every bone in my body and brings buoyancy to each step.

We run side-by-side. He takes me down past the private beach and out into the community streets where we run under the buzzing streetlamps, along the sidewalks of the stunning homes.

My thigh and calf muscles tighten and release with each stride. I am stronger with each second that passes. Usually, at this point in my runs, I start to get tired but it’s as if I could go on for miles.

Alec takes us in and out of the small neighborhoods around our own and I’m suddenly curious to see a map of Apollo Beach. It’s as if our path is tracing out the shape of a star.

He doesn’t begin to slow down until we are back on our community beach. I slow and look at him for the first time since we started our run. He’s sweating and breathing heavily. I assume I should be just as tired—but I want to keep running.

Dejected, I slow to a walk beside him and he looks at me. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I make a face, twisting my lips into a hesitant smile, eyebrows raised. “I guess I just have a lot of energy tonight.”

Alec shakes his head. “We just ran five miles and you haven’t even broken a sweat.”

I laugh. “I’ve been running a lot.”

“You are a superhuman woman. Come on.”

He pulls me toward the shore and kicks off his shoes, his brief touch on my hand leaving goose bumps all over my body. He slides his shirt off his back and it lands in the sand. I turn my eyes away quickly once I realize I’m staring. I peek up at him now, though, trying not to look directly at his toned chest and abdominal muscles as I slide my shoes and socks off and meet him down at the shoreline.

Alec is up to his waist in the water when I reach him. He splashes me playfully, his eyes never leaving mine. I laugh and cup my hands in the water, but before I can retaliate, there’s a hungry rumble in the sky.

We look up just as a bolt of lightning strikes in the distance and a shower of rain pours down on us. As if reading each other’s mind, we take off for the shore and stumble our way out. Alec runs ahead and scrambles to grab our things and then we trip along the shore’s edge to our homes. The sound of our laughter is barely audible over the tropical storm now pouring down on us. His hair is sopping wet, rain dripping down onto his face. I want to reach out and wipe the drops away but restrain myself. “Thanks for the run,” I shout. The wind whips my hair around my head.

“Tomorrow night?”

I nod and turn before he can see how giddy I am, and flee into the cover of Summer Estates.

KKAllen

Author Bio:

My name is K.K. Allen and I am the Paranormal / Urban Fantasy Author of the Summer Solstice series. The Summer Solstice: Enchanted and The Equinox are now available at Amazon. I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii but raised in Seattle, Washington. I currently live in Central Florida. I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing and have done so every day since the young age of 12. Writing has even transitioned into my Media Industry career where I wear many hats, copywriting/scriptwriting included. There’s just something about telling a story that drives me in everything that I do. Whether I’m creating a content outline for a website, or pulling together assets to write to, or even putting together a video production, it’s all about the storytelling. I hope you all check out the Summer Solstice: Enchanted and I look forward to connecting with you!

Author Links:

Goodreads Twitter Facebook | Website

Click below for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Summer Solstice!

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Since I’ve been purchasing more e-books, I’ve been noticing book covers more closely. Imagine my surprise when I saw the same model on three different books by three different authors:

Mystery Girl Is she the ‘go-to girl’ for urban fantasy/paranormal new adult/young adult books? Just wondering….

Happy reading!

Goodreads.com Description: “She does not know what awaits her at the enemy’s gate. Elisa is a hero. She led her people to victory over a terrifying, sorcerous army. Her place as the country’s ruler should be secure. But it isn’t. Her enemies come at her like ghosts in a dream, from foreign realms and even from within her own court. And her destiny as the chosen one has not yet been fulfilled. To conquer the power she bears, once and for all, Elisa must follow a trial of long-forgotten—and forbidden—clues, from the deep, hidden catacombs of her own city to the treacherous seas. With her go a one-eyed spy, a traitor, and the man whom—despite everything—she is falling in love with. If she’s lucky, she will return from this journey. But there will be a cost.”

My Thoughts:

My first word after finishing this book? Wow!

Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and Thorns series tackles the topics of religion and sorcery. Carson continues the story of a gutsy seventeen-year-old queen with The Crown of Embers.

The second installment in the series pushes the button a bit more when the “unholy” Inviernos are compared to Native Americans. Queen Elisa makes the comparison and then steps to the edge of the cliff when she realizes her people are interlopers. Talk about bringing a history to fiction! Just wow!

I loved The Crown of Embers. It was stronger than the first book in the series. Gone was the sense of reading a historical romance. Queen Elisa is maturing and testing the waters with her sovereignty. The people around her are tested as well. In life, some people change for the good and some for the bad. We see those changes in this tale also–Ximena, Belen and even Storm. What’s nice is that Carson reveals those changes at the right time. The reader doesn’t figure things out ahead of Queen Elisa. She’s the queen, after all. Her subjects shouldn’t be smarter.

Lots of truths come out in this installment: 1) Not everyone has your best interest at heart (Queen check your court and those closest to you.), 2) Don’t underestimate who you may love (Queen he’s under your nose), 3) You’re stronger than you think (Queen seek out your strengths), 4) Friends can be found even amongst your enemies (Queen sometimes your greatest ally is cloaked).

Once again, I applaud Carson for writing such a diverse, enriching tale. This series should be considered a classic and on a Must Read list for high schoolers.

Goodreads.com Description: “From the author of the Mindspeak series comes the first in a brand new dystopian romance series. Six years ago, a highly contagious virus wiped out more than ninety-nine percent of the country’s population. The only person to contract the virus and survive, Cricket fled her identity and the safety of New Caelum, an airtight city. Now eighteen, she watches the city where the wealthy cocooned from the devastating outbreak. When the city’s rumbling incinerator wakes her one night while she and her friends are camping just beyond the city walls, she alone knows what the fiery machine means: the lethal virus is back. Only eighteen, Westlin Layne is already being groomed to succeed his mother as New Caelum’s next president. Suddenly West’s sister develops symptoms of the deadly virus thought to be eradicated years ago. Placed under quarantine, the president confesses to West a long-held secret: Christina Black, West’s childhood friend and first love, survived the virus, and her body alone holds the precious antibodies to save his sister. Now West must leave the city to find Christina. But Cricket has no intention of being found.”

My Thoughts:

Hands down–this book was absolutely good! I read it in two days.

Heather Sunseri’s Emerge is a screen worthy narrative focused on life after a devastating worldwide pandemic. This intriguing plot embraces society’s current concerns about Ebola, measles and the spread of other illnesses. 

Along with a dynamic plot, Sunseri gives us strong, vivid, likable characters. Cricket is so well-developed it is easy to forget she’s only eighteen. West is the disillusioned love interest–think of him as the male equivalent of Alice in Wonderland. He slid down the rabbit hole and someone turned the light on for him. It was interesting to see how he developed and changed by the end of the book. Dax and Dylan prove that identical twins do not necessarily have identical personalities. Dax is the hot button side of a love triangle–he reacts before thinking. But, you get the feeling that thinking isn’t too high on his list of priorities. Dylan is the calmer side of the pair. But, we don’t get a good look at his personality in this book (maybe he’ll show up in Book Two). Hats off to Sunseri for creating a great antagonist–Vice President Justin! At no point will you like this man.

Description is handled expertly by Sunseri. New Caelum is a fictional city in a bubble located in close proximity to Biltmore Estates! (Thank you for a great frame of reference.) I pictured the city as a large Habitrail for people–air tight with no real escape route. The details of the settlement outside of New Caelum were superb–think fortified suburb meets Puritan village.

Yes, Sunseri’s book is dystopian. And, yes, it’s a romance. But, it doesn’t read like a stereotypical, formulaic piece of dribble. Instead, it is well-written and thought provoking. What measures would any government take to protect its citizens from a worldwide pandemic? Would only the wealthy do well? Or, would everyone get a fair shot?

I enjoyed Emerge and can’t wait for Book Two.