**REVIEW** ~ Your Cottage Awaits, by Derek A Barrass

Mirth, Magic and Menace!

A cracking read for Halloween or whenever you want to reconnect with a little magic ……….

21750824Book Blurb

A couple in their late fifties planning to retire to the countryside discover what they believe to be their dream cottage. They return to finalise the details and to arrange to purchase the property, only to find all was not as they’d imagined. The property has completely changed, from being a rustic, rose covered pretty little cottage, to a tumbledown wreck of a building. Thinking it was just their imagination playing tricks on them they go ahead, despite their reservations when a number of strange and frightening experiences occur. A local witch is behind what is going on and she has plans for them within her coven.

My Review

Quirky and Original Modern Day Fairy Tale

Many of us dream of finding that ideal retirement home, often a charming cottage in the countryside, away from the stresses of modern life. Keith and Julie, the couple in this novel by Derek A Barrass, share this dream and are delighted when they find the perfect property in England’s green and pleasant land. Yet their ideas of rural bliss are anything but, as a series of strange events and mishaps start to befall them and their visiting family. They also begin to notice some bizarre and menacing goings on in and around their cottage and the village, not to mention some strange characters, not least their neighbour and local matriarch, Elfreda and her family……

Author Derek A Barrass weaves a quirky and original spellbinding tale, where magic collides with twenty first century ideas of reality. The reader, along with Keith and Julie and their visitors to the cottage, their son and daughter-in-law and their two grandsons, Tim and Luke, slowly become party to the strange happenings.

I loved the unpredictable nature of the tale – the author has a devilish mind and I particularly liked the way that the adults, Julie and Keith, for the most part remain clueless. It is the boys, Tim and Luke, who together with their new friends, Woodruff and Jill, from Elfreda’s household, who soon appreciate much of what is really going on. They do battle with Wellesley, Elfreda’s favourite, to counter his and Elfreda’s plans for Keith and Julie. There are some highly amusing scenes as the boys strive to keep Keith and Julie ignorant of what they know of the magic around them. The protagonist Wellesley has his own self-serving agenda as do others in the village. Indeed, all is not straightforward in this tale which contains mirth, magic and menace in equal measure.

I recommend this novel to those who, like me, suspect that the English countryside still has its secrets and believe that magic is still alive and kicking if we only open our eyes and look for it.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

Connect with the Author Derek A Barrass

https://www.facebook.com/dereka.barrass

Recommended Halloween Horrors for New Adults and Mature Readers (17yrs+)

PumpkinTo celebrate the month of Halloween this year we thought we would share with you a selection of books suited to the Halloween theme. Yesterday we posted our Recommended Halloween Horrors for Young Readers, Teens and Young Adults (11yrs+), and today we are recommending reads for the more adult reader. The books that have been selected are some that we have reviewed or are hoping to review in the not too distant future!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Caroline and Tina 🙂

Demonica_Cover_(Resized)Demonica by Will Davis (reviewed by Caroline)

Dark, psychological, modern day fairy tale and horror

When spoilt eighteen year old Miranda suffers a terrible accident she survives, but her face is hideously scarred.

Unable to bear what has happened to her, she locks herself away. Her only companions are Veronica, her cruel and beautiful mother, and Nelly, the sympathetic housekeeper.

As time passes Veronica inflicts cruelty after cruelty on her disfigured daughter. Lonely and filled with despair, Miranda is astonished when Bernard, Veronica’s handsome younger boyfriend, takes an interest in her circumstances.

For Bernard believes there is an operation that can restore Miranda’s face. But it will involve committing an unspeakable crime. A decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life…

In the tradition of Angela Carter and Daphne du Maurier, Demonica is a terrifying modern fairy tale.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Tatterdemon by Steve Vernon (reviewed by Caroline)

Terrifying tension, horrific, violent and gory, with some humour

In 1691 the town of Crossfall taught the witch Thessaly how to die. They beat her, they shot her, they hung her – but nothing worked. When they finally tried to bury her alive Thessaly set the field against them. The first man died as a gust of wind harrowed the meat from his bones. A root,flung like a dirty javelin, cut a second man down. Many more deaths followed. The Preacher Fell impaled the witch upon her very own broom but she dragged him down into the field to wait for three more centuries.

Three hundred years later Maddy Harker will murder her bullying husband Vic. She will bury him in the field as she buried her abusive father years before that. The very same field where the revenant spirit of Thessaly Cross lies waiting.

In three days Vic will rise again – a thing of dirt, bone and hatred.

Men will call him the Tatterdemon.

And hell – and Thessaly – will follow.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

on-the-lips-of-children_1On the Lips of Children by Mark Matthews (reviewed by Caroline)

A Marathon like no other

Meet Macon. Tattoo artist. Athlete. Family man.

He’s planning to run a marathon, but the event becomes something terrible.

During a warm-up run, Macon falls prey to a bizarre man and his wife who dwell in an underground drug-smuggling tunnel. They raise their twin children in a way Macon couldn’t imagine: skinning unexpecting victims for food and money.

And Macon, and his family, are next.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Control (The Soul of Voodoo, #1)Control (The Soul of Voodoo #1) by M.C. Lavocat (reviewed by Caroline)

Dark paranormal horror with romance and comedy

‘Control’ is a paranormal romance, about three lives that are thrown together in a desperate battle where love and lust are the catalysts that release a blood voodoo curse so dark that it could alter their destiny, as well as time itself.

******************

After spending three stale, miserable years in a neuroscience doctoral program, Cecelia Milonas throws caution to the wind and walks out; right into the arms of the man who has had the starring role in her panty-melting fantasies for over three years.

Andre St. Clair had never shown any romantic interest in Cecelia or anyone else, so she had resigned herself to the role of fangirl and very willing employee, since moving to New Orleans and into the apartment above his restaurant. Cecelia thinks that their relationship is a fantasy come true, but neither are prepared for a desire that burns hot enough to ignite a hatred, long thought dead.

As if one gorgeous man and deathly struggle aren’t enough, in walks Lance Bradley, with whom she has some kind of freaky-deaky, psychic-hotline connection that is determined to pull them together no matter who gets torn apart in the process.

So, nothing is easy in The Big Easy, where the past and the present are caught up in a struggle so dangerous and deadly that it’s changing destiny, and possibly time itself.

Author post by M.C. Lavocat

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy, #1)The Moon Trilogy by Tim O’Rourke (reviewed by Caroline)

Paranormal horror adventure

When eighteen-year-old Winter McCall is offered a chance to leave her life of poverty behind on the streets of London, she reluctantly accepts, and moves to a remote part of the south west of England.

Here she takes up the job as housekeeper to the young and handsome, yet mysterious, Thaddeus Blake.

Warned that he has some curious habits, Winter soon realises that not all is as it firsts appears at the remote mansion where she now lives and works.
Blind to the real danger that she is in, Winter finds herself becoming attracted to Thaddeus.

With nowhere to run and no one to turn to, she slowly succumbs to his strange requests. But none of them are as strange as his requests for her to stand each night in the moonlight.

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy #1)

Moonbeam (The Moon Trilogy #2)

Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy #3)

Author post/bio by Tim O’Rourke

Moonlight (The Moon Trilogy, #1) is available at Amazon for £0.77/$1.24 at the time of writing. (Please be aware prices are subject to change.) Check it out at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

The latest release, Moonshine (The Moon Trilogy #3) is also now available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

The Purple HazeThe Purple Haze (short story)/After the Haze (sequel/full novel) by Gary Richardson (reviewed/to be reviewed by Caroline)

Crime thriller to action-packed horror

In the small town of Leyland, a group of thieves plan to pull off their final job and steal three million pounds from a bank. The job seems to be a success, until the alarm is tripped and the police surround the building. A standoff ensues, and the police try to negotiate a resolution before the thieves begin to kill their hostages.

Things take a strange turn, however, when an eerie purple mist renders everyone unconscious. When people begin to wake up, they find that they are among only a small few who haven’t been killed and mutilated by the mist. Then, the dead return to feed on the living, forcing the surviving police, thieves and hostages to band together in a bitter struggle for survival.

The Purple Haze is available at Amazon for £0.99/$1.69 at the time of writing. (Please be aware prices are subject to change.) Check it out at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

The sequel, After the Haze, is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Cursed: A Werewolf's TaleCursed: A Werewolf’s Tale (Cheyenne Clark, Werewolf #1) (otherwise known as ‘Frostbite’ in the US) by David Wellington (reviewed by Caroline)

 Urban fantasy with panic and horror

For Cheyenne Clark, there’s a bad moon on the rise . . .

There’s one sound a woman doesn’t want to hear when she’s lost and alone in the Arctic wilderness: a howl.

When a strange wolf’s teeth slash Cheyenne’s ankle to the bone, her old life ends, and she becomes the very monster that has haunted her nightmares for years. Worse, the only one who can understand what Chey has become is the man–or wolf–who’s doomed her to this fate. He also wants to chop her head off with an axe.

Yet as the line between human and beast blurs, so too does the distinction between hunter and hunted . . . for Chey is more than just the victim she appears to be. But once she’s within killing range, she may find that–even for a werewolf–it’s not always easy to go for the jugular.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White & Zombies (Scary Tales, #1)That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White and Zombies (The Scary Tales #1) by Rob E. Boley (to be reviewed by Caroline)

Zombie horror with a twist to the Snow White fairytale

The zombie sequel to Snow White begins where the classic fairy tale ends, with the Prince’s kiss waking Snow from her cursed slumber. Snow wakes up, but she doesn’t wake up right.

Now a deranged zombie, Snow infects both the Prince and the seven dwarfs’ leader. That leaves the young dwarf Grouchy, who is secretly in love with Snow, to find a cure for her malicious curse. So begins an epic journey that pits the lovesick Grouchy against dwarf-hating human soldiers, Snow’s ever-growing zombie horde, and his own bad temper. But when Grouchy and his motley crew of survivors escape Snow’s clutches and seek refuge in a nearby human village, he soon finds that her affliction has spread faster and further then he ever could have imagined. Snow is hell-bent on spreading her horrid curse across the land, and it’s up to Grouchy to stop her before it’s too late.

So begins THE SCARY TALES, a dark fantasy series featuring mash-ups of traditional fairy tale characters and classic horror monsters.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Stilts ResizedStilts (Tessa Dark Trilogy #1) by Tim O’Rourke (reviewed by Caroline)

Edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting, excruciating excitement

‘Stilts’ is the first book in a new dystopian trilogy by #1 bestselling author Tim O’Rourke.

While eighteen-year-old, Tessa Dark was serving her prison sentence for murder, the world beyond her cell walls changed forever. The thunder came and destroyed the world she had once known. 

Trapped inside the prison and faced with no future, Tessa’s only glimmer of hope is her friendship with fellow inmate Joe McBride. 

Despite Tessa’s fear, Joe decides to go beyond the prison walls to seek help. But when he fails to return, Tessa is determined to go and search for him. 

To gain her freedom, Tessa must first learn to walk, run, and fight on stilts if she is to survive the new and terrifying world on the other side of the prison walls.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Child of Woe, Dark Hunter (Children of Woe, Dark Hunters Book 1)Child of Woe, Dark Hunter (Children of Woe, Dark Hunters #1) by Simon Goodwin (to be reviewed by Caroline)

A horror journey through hell

The reports were growing in number: the Dead rising, zombies attacking people, others being found across the world drained of blood, and still others being torn apart by supposed wild animals in the middle of big cities. Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves and they are just the beginning.

The Walls between myth and reality are faltering and soon those walls will be gone and the Earth will become a battleground of chaos. As governments falter and civilisation tips ever closer to the abyss, one man and his dog find themselves on a journey home. It is a journey that will take them through hell and back.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Bellmere Common: There Is Nothing Common about BellmereBellmere Common: There’s Nothing Common About Bellmere by Mark Steen (to be reviewed by Caroline)

Supernatural horror

Patrick never knew he had an aunt until he was told she was dead. No one had ever mentioned her. He organises a family trip to sort out the house she has left him. Everything starts off well, but it isn’t long before an old sinister family secret rears its demonic head, and his wife’s recurring nightmares turn out to be visions. There is death and destruction all around them. Who can they trust? Will they survive?

Review Excerpt’s

E. Kerry (Amazon.co.uk) – “I really enjoyed this book.
I read a lot and enjoy thriller and horror novels, this was a really good example of the genre. Plenty of bits that made me nervous to be alone in the dark, some really good twists (which I love trying to see coming nice and early to ‘beat’ the author to it when I can – I failed here!) and a shocking and dramatic ending.
Great debut novel and an author I will be watching out for in future!”

S. Pearson (Amazon.com) – “I enjoyed this story very much and found it to be engrossing and exciting.”

Violence and explicit scenes.

75,000 word length

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

For more great reads and best sellers in the horror genre for adults please visit Amazon UK or Amazon US.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

Interview with Caroline Barker, A Reader’s Review Blog by Mystery/Romance Author, Saylor Storm

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00017]A Reader’s Review Blog took part in author, Saylor Storm’s virtual blog tour of her recently released mystery, contemporary romance, Sue’s Seduction! During this Saylor Storm was interviewed by myself, and in turn posted an interview with me on her website. The interview covers, blogging, reviewing, inspirations and an insight into how it all began! Enjoy!

Caroline 🙂

CarolineAuthor, Saylor Storm’s interview questions for Caroline Barker of A Reader’s Review Blog, with regard to book blogging, in return for the blog tour for Sue’s Seduction!

How did you begin blogging?

After reading paperbacks quite heavily over 2010 and 2011, I decided to keep track of my reads, and later my opinions, on Goodreads – purely for personal reasons. When I bought my first Kindle I became a little obsessed in downloading some of the free reads by self-published authors, one of them being Tim O’Rourke. I became engrossed in his Keira Hudson series, and to my surprise, he had ‘liked’ some of my reviews of his work on Goodreads. After reading his early books of the series he suggested that I set up a book blog. As well as the suggestion from Tim, my close friend, Tina Williams (now co-blogger) and I used to meet up weekly and discuss our reads. Between us we thought a blog would be a great idea – we could keep tabs of all our reads and preferences as well as assist authors to promote their work. We did some research on book blogging and in October 2012, very late one evening, I decided to take the plunge and A Reader’s Review Blog was born!

Do you have a special time to blog or how is your day structured?

Most of my blogging is done late at night and in the early hours. I have three young children, my youngest still at home for the best part of the week, and therefore I do tend to juggle my time. I usually spend the daytimes corresponding with authors, publishers, bloggers etc, and also making many to-do lists. Whilst my youngest is at nursery, and during evenings, I spend my time reading. Even once I have scheduled posts, I retire to bed at 2 or 3am with my Kindle in hand to read before I drop off!

What motivates you?

First and foremost are probably the authors/publishers that request reviews. Once I have agreed to review their work I would hate to let them down. It can easily go unnoticed just how much time and effort it takes to write, and even though I do not currently write myself, I can imagine. And even once the book is written, it is a completely different task to promote it. I would then have to say the great stories themselves – I feel that people miss out on so many wonderful and brilliant characters and storylines. Reading a book is so much more than just watching a movie sometimes. As a reader you can visualize and interpret most for yourself and live in that book for a few days, opposed to just 2hrs with a movie. I also belive that Tina and myself motivate each other. Every time we meet up we both have new characters to talk about and share our take on different outcomes and maybe what we would have liked to have read, or simply go off on a tangent and create even more fantasy-like ideas!

Why do you blog?

See questions 1 and 3. We always hope we can introduce readers to something different to try and read, or something more within their favourite genres. At the same time, it is supporting authors and helping to promote some great reads. And, I enjoy keeping a log of what I like to read, my thoughts and what I will be reading. I like the idea of bringing authors and readers together and we have made some fantastic friends in doing so. It also provides another sense of purpose, as I am a stay-at-home mum currently, and blogging also allows me to express my feelings in regard to the books I am reading.

How do you use Facebook?

We use our Facebook page to link to posts we have added to our blog, to communicate with authors and readers and to help promote other author/publisher Facebook pages and their posts/works/books.

What challenges have you set for yourself?

Maybe the biggest challenge that I have certainly set for myself is the ever-growing reading list I have. I do hate to turn authors down (in regards ro review requests), however we have had to have a break of adding more to our lists until they have become a little lighter. I like to spend time focusing on one book at a time so that the author has my undivided attention. However, I have realized this is almost impossible. I also set a certain number of books that I like to read within that year with the Goodreads challenge.

Are you a brand?

I suppose one could associate us as being a brand as we do provide a service, we do have a distinctive logo (design Dark One, Shutterstock Images) and we have recently designed our business cards. However, the term brand hasn’t been one that has entered my mind. Maybe at a later date this may change.

What do you read, and how do you read it?

I like to read books from almost any genre. I like to adapt as some reads can be quite heavy, whilst some are light and refreshing. I think its good to have a change and it broadens my mind further. I like to read paperbacks and mobi (Kindle) copies. Paperbacks are more of a daytime/evening read for me, whilst I can read a Kindle any time, anywhere and even in bed with the lights turned off! I have read a paperback in the day, whilst reading my Kindle at night in the past. I can differentiate between the two books in this way. The Kindle, being compact, certainly helps if you are expecting to be in waiting rooms, or are a passenger on a long journey. I dislike reading pdf’s as they never look quite right on the Kindle, and my laptop can give me headaches if I stare for too long. Lucky I have a pdf converter to mobi!

What are you grateful for?

In life, I am grateful for my wonderful family and friends. I consider myself extremely lucky to have close people around and they are very supportive. In terms of blogging, I am always grateful for the books we receive in return for our reviews. I also appreciate it very much when authors respond positively and share our links. We have made some amazing author/blogger/reader friends along the way and for this I am also very grateful.

What are you good at?

It is always difficult for me to answer this one. I have never been very good at praising myself up. I like to think that I have an open mind and can empathize with situations. I love writing my reviews about the characters and the inter-relationships they have – probably moreso than the main storyline. I am a people person, even though it can take me some time to open up. I enjoy finding out what drives people. I also like to ensure that I reply to people, whether it be texts, e- mails, Facebook/Twitter comments. When writing reviews I do like to be honest, but at the same time (if it happens to be a story that I find difficult to read) I like to be fair and try to choose the good and the bad points to make a well-rounded review.

What would you most like to learn on your own?

Well, I would probably need some help along the way, but in terms of the blog, I would love to be able to display more graphics and artwork. I am not so arty and also not too good when it comes to web design. These are two areas I would love to learn. I also think that later on, when my little one is older, I would love to learn to write a novel myself and going through the self-publishing process.

Who inspires you?

Inspirations in the author world have to be Enid Blyton, Tim O’Rourke and J.R. Ward (amongst many others).These authors keep momentum, build strong characters for their audiences to love and create action and adventure superbly. I am also a huge fan of TV and movies. I am a fan of John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles). I love the characters and how they react towards one another – how they affect each other’s lives and the emotions involved. Shane Black (screenwriter – Lethal Weapon) is also another favorite. I always appreciate two strong characters forming a bond like no other, even if they are from opposite backgrounds. And, again, the action, adventure and even comedic value is brilliant. Not only that, but there is the tragic element of character Riggs having just lost his wife, and his whole attitude comes across as though he has just given up. Many of his colleagues feel he is mad and not up for the job (he’s a detective for those unfamiliar with the movie). And yet, he still goes to all lengths to ensure his partner’s safety and the safety of the public. Another one of my inspirations is Kurt Sutter (creator of tv series, Sons of Anarchy and writer on The Shield). I think Sutter is an absolutely amazing writer for the screen and never ceases to shock the audience at the same time as build up the drama from strength to strength.

What have you done to earn money?

In terms of A Reader’s Review Blog, we do not currently earn any money. Tina and myself volunteer our services for the sheer love of reading, reviewing and creating some great relationships with our authors and fans. It is possible that at a later date we may try different avenues in which earning may be a part but for now we are a non-profitable service.

Where is the line between truth and fiction?

Interesting question. I don’t feel there is a line. It’s kind of a grey area. Many fictional works have been based on fact, whether it be loosely or not. Authors may even add elements of their own experiences in there. Plus, in reality there have been some amazing events take place that you simply would never have imagined to write about and that can completely baffle people.

How productive and organized are you?

Depending on how much I have on in my private life does depend on how productive and organized I am with the blog. I am a stickler for writing lists and use these regularly to organize my reviews and posts for the blog, and even correspondence. I do have to use my time as and when I can. Therefore, it is quite common for me to have a quiet week and then reel many posts out in a short space of time – I do this sometimes as when my mind is 100% focused on the blog I can be like an express train and just keep on typing. However, as we have begun to schedule blog tours and similar posts over the past year or so, I am beginning to schedule my posts around these and prepare for them in advance much more than I used to. Tina and myself work closely to ensure we can accommodate as many authors posts as possible and we do try to work around each other. This way the blog is continuously busy and a high volume of posts and messages are sent out, making out for an interesting blog and hopefully something for everyone.

When have you ever failed at something? What happened as a result?

I feel lucky to say that I don’t feel that I have failed at much – but please don’t mistake this for arrogance. Maybe it is my approach that makes me feel this way. If I don’t quite reach something that I hoped I would, I will persevere and continue to try. Sometimes I decide to go down a different path by either trying in a different manner or trying something different altogether. Sometimes one failure can lead to other opportunities and it always is a great learning curve that makes us stronger – even if we don’t feel like this at the time.

How full is your glass?

Usually around two thirds! I do feel positive most of the time and will try to work my way through negative periods. There are, of course, days when I don’t feel quite so positive but I see these as short phases and tend to overcome them reasonably quickly. It always helps to have an incredible other half and some fantastic friends to talk my troubles out with. That is usually the best medicine – as long as I don’t feel alone I feel I can get through most things.

What do you want out of life?

As simple as it sounds, happiness. It would also be nice to explore the big, wide world, however I am a homely person and like to settle when I am familiar with my surroundings. Although, I do tend to surprise people sometimes with my more adventurous side.

What will make you feel successful?

If my children grow up to be the best they can be, that will make me feel successful. I feel successful every time I receive a positive comment with regard to our blog or a review I have written. It would be amazing to write my own book one day and maybe have a few good reviews and some sales. But that is a dream for now. Another avenue I have considered is training to become a counselor. If I made that, I would feel like I had achieved something great as I do like to help people, especially with their outlook.

What makes you happy?

My better half and my children make me happy. Knowing that they are all doing okay is the be all and end all. But it’s also nice to have a snuggle on the sofa with a cup of tea, either watching some great TV or reading a fab book. A simple life really.

Thank you! Caroline Barker, A Reader’s Review Blog

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to Saylor Storm for her time! If you would like to find out more about her novel, Sue’s Seduction, you can check out our post here. There is also a fantastic giveaway that she is hosting at the moment so don’t miss out!!

Caroline 🙂

 

Recommended Halloween Horrors for Young Readers, Teens and Young Adults (11yrs+)

PumpkinThis weekend we are looking at our recommended reads for Halloween. With little than a week to go, and with half term holidays here in the UK, it is a fantastic chance to check out some reads for this season and hopefully read them over the hols! Today we are focusing on our younger readers (11yrs+), but of course the reads are just as much fun for mature readers too. Tomorrow we will be checking out some Halloween horrors for our adult readers (17yrs+). Be sure to come back then!

So without further ado here are some great reads for the younger and coming-of-age audience! (Please check recommended ages as there are some for 15/16yrs+.)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Caroline and Tina 🙂

WaysToSeeGhost CvrWays to See a Ghost by Emily Diamand (reviewed by Caroline and Tina)

Teenagers Unite to Combat Evil in Explosive Paranormal  Thriller              

For ages 11+

Isis, the daughter of a charlatan psychic, can see ghosts – including that of her dead little sister, Angel. Gray is the son of a UFO-chasing conspiracy theorist. The two teenagers are forced together when their parents start dating. After a reluctant start, a friendship develops and Isis confesses her secret ability to Gray. But when Isis’ mum is inducted into an elite psychic society, run by charismatic Philip Syndal, Isis discovers there are sinister intentions beneath Philip’s charm. She and Gray find themselves in grave danger and Isis is forced to use her considerable powers to save them both.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

WolfstoneThe Wolfstone Curse by Justin Richards (reviewed by Caroline and Tina)

Thrilling Paranormal Adventure

For age 12+

If Death were an animal, she would be a wolf…

Welcome to the historic town of Wolfstone, where dark secrets lurk in the shadows and strange beasts stalk the land. Can teenagers Peter and Carys uncover the real truth behind the legend of the werewolf and will they survive the Wolfstone Curse? Read on, if you dare…

When Peter joins his archaeologist father in the strange village of Wolfstone, he has no idea what dark secrets the village and its manor house hold. From ancient standing stones, to the genetically engineered Wolfen SS soldiers, he uncovers the real truth of the werewolf myth in this action-packed adventure. The plot is interjected with ‘source documents’, letters and other ‘authentic’ material.

Exclusive interview with author, Justin Richards

Justin Richards Bio

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blue Moon (The Blue Crystal Trilogy #1)Blue Moon (The Crystal Trilogy #1) by Pat Spence (reviewed by Caroline)

Supernatural, spellbinding horror

For ages 15yrs+

“Forget vampires,” he laughed dismissively.

“Who wants to drink blood for eternity? What we have discovered is far more seductive and a great deal more dangerous…”

When 17-year old Emily Morgan meets beautiful but strange Theo de Lucis, there is an immediate attraction between them. But what is his secret? What ancient link ties him to Emily? And what is the significance of the Blue Moon Ball?

As Emily is drawn irrevocably into the glamorous and mysterious world of the de Lucis family, so she is forced to change every perception she has ever had about life, love, aging and death. The truth is terrifying and the consequences unthinkable…

A supernatural horror story, based on society’s obsession with aging and the desire for eternal youth, Blue Moon is the first book in the ‘Blue Crystal’ trilogy…

“For all ‘Twilight’ fans who want a change from vampires, this is the book for you.”

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Keira Hudson Series 1, 2, and 3 by Tim O’Rourke (reviewed, or to be reviewed, by Caroline)

Paranormal horror adventure

For ages 15yrs+

When 20-year-old police recruit Kiera Hudson is posted to the remote town of The Ragged Cove, her life is changed forever. Investigating a series of horrific murders, grave desecrations, and missing persons, Kiera uses her unique ability of seeing, and soon realizes her own life is in danger. When Kiera falls for police officer Luke Bishop, not only are her mind and heart opened to a terrifyingly new world, she comes to suspect that Luke might be involved in the killings. In a race against time to unearth the truth, Kiera must discover the identity of who – or what – is behind the gruesome deaths on her Vampire Shift.

Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson series One, #1) is available at Amazon for FREE at the time of writing. (Please be aware prices are subject to change). Check it out at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

The latest release, Keira Hudson & the Creeping Men (Keira Hudson series Three, #1) is also now available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

All titles in the Keira Hudson series are mentioned below, with either a link to our review or to reviews on Goodreads. We do intend on reviewing the remaining books in the not so distant future!

Vampire Shift (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 1)

Vampire Wake (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 2)

Vampire Hunt (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 3)

Vampire Breed (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 4)

Wolf House (Potter’s Story) (Kiera Hudson Series 1 Book 4.5) – novella

Vampire Hollows (Keira Hudson Series 1, Book 5)

Dead Flesh (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1)

Dead Night – Potter’s Secrets (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 1.5) – novella

Dead Angels (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 2)

Dead Statues (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 3)

Dead Seth (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 4)

Dead Wolf (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 5)

Dead Water (Keira Hudson Series 2, Book 6)

Dead Push (Keira Hudson, Series 2, Book 7)

Dead Lost (Keira Hudson, Series 2, Book 8)

Dead End (Keira Hudson, Series 2, Book 9)

Keira Hudson & the Creeping Men (Keira Hudson, Series 3, Book 1)

In addition to the above, please check out:-

Vampire Shift – The Graphic Novel (Volume One) (Keira Hudson Series One) –  illustrated by Craig Twyman

CursedCursed by Georgina Hannan (to be reviewed by Caroline)

Scary and suspenseful horror romance.

For ages 16yrs+

A young adult story about a group of four friends who emark on a holiday together to the georgeous countryside of Dartmoor, Devon. Each of them hoping for an adventure, something they will always remember. However, it isn’t long before they get what they want.

The group are plagued by noises after hearing the myths and legends of the area. Is it just overactive imaginations or is there a visitor in the spare room who is trying to get their attention?

Join the group on a spectacular journey as they discover what Dartmoor has to offer.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Amethyst's incredible journeyAmethyst’s Incredible Journey by Lisa Bland (to be reviewed by Caroline)

Fantasy adventure

For ages 11yrs+

Amethyst is a witch with extremely evil and powerful parents. Amethyst is terrified that if she don’t stop her parents soon it will be too late, and they will gain control of Golden Dragon City and the Fountain of Magic. Amethyst knows that she has only got until her next birthday to stop them!.Amethyst has to travel through different realms to collect the blood red rubies that she needs to stop them.

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US(Please note that this book is showing as currently unavailable. We do hope that it is available as soon as possible.)

WHEREWOLVESWherewolves by John Vamvas and Olga Montes (to be reviewed by Caroline)

Horror thriller

For ages 16yrs+

Using a fun, explosive style, full of new slang and fresh dialogue, WHEREWOLVES is the story of a group of high school seniors, most “military brats”, who are headed for an army-type survival weekend.

The underdogs, Jeffrey and Doris, do not want to go as they fear for their safety among the disdain and cruelty of the popular students. Sergeant Tim O’Sullivan, their teacher, as well as their dysfunctional parents pressure them into going, but it is an unforgivable act by their peers that propels the pair to go. Likewise, Elie, a student resented because of his Arab roots, is even more determined to prove himself this weekend. In the background, a news report cautions of a wanted couple with alleged super-human strength supposedly brought on by a new drug on the streets.

In the woods, the students hike, hunt, camp, and soon act in unity as the forest brings them closer together. But does it? O’Sullivan leaves them alone for the night. The students bond, chant, tell campfire tales, and quickly lose their fears and inhibitions. HOO-AH! Though sexual tensions are high, it soon turns to violence and everything quickly turns sour.

When the kids start disappearing one after the other, the remaining begin to unwittingly “act like the natives” carving spears, ready to face whatever is out there. What has gotten into them?

Amid the blood-curdling growls and the gruesome deaths, the story’s underlying layers are revealed. We see how misconceptions, prejudice, greed, fear, and hatred bring out the worst and best in them.

What is out there? Can it really be werewolves?

Available at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

For more great reads and best sellers in the horror genre for teens and young adults please visit Amazon UK or Amazon US.

And be sure to come back tomorrow for our recommended reads for mature/adult readers, 17yrs+!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

 

**DOUBLE COVER REVEAL** ~ Tempting His Mistress and Once Upon a Rake, by Samantha Holt

Today I’m delighted to share not one but two cover reveals for Samantha Holt’s upcoming Victorian Romances, Tempting His Mistress and Once Upon A Rake! Scroll down to read the book blurb. Tina 🙂

Tempting His Mistress

Coming November 10th

temptinghismistress800

Book Synopsis

What could possibly induce a woman to follow in the footsteps of her mother and further sully her reputation by becoming a mistress?

Lilly Claremont is well used to being at the centre of gossip.  Being the illegitimate child of a rich businessman never failed to titillate the gossips and while she cared little about the wagging tongues she never intended to reinforce their opinions of her by ruining herself completely.

But it seems Lord Hawksley is determined to make the fascinating Lilly his mistress…

Evan has no doubt her bold tongue and beautiful body could keep him entertained for some time. Captivated by her, he must find a way to burn through his desire for her. He cannot marry a woman of such social standing so why not make her his mistress?

After the murder of her father, Lilly is searching for answers and they lead her directly to Lord Hawksley. But will they also lead her to his bed…?

Once Upon a Rake

Coming November 24th

Onceuponarake

Book Synopsis

In Victorian England, little Ellie Browning swiftly discovered happy endings did not exist, and rakes were simply rakes. When the man she had adored for years kissed her and left her heartbroken, she resolved to put any dreams of fairy tales aside.

Seven years later, the widowed Eleanor, Countess of Hawthorne, has returned to England after years of travelling with a few ideas in mind. Firstly, she will continue to be the refined, elegant woman she has learned to be—or at least she shall try her best—and secondly, she will make a difference to the lives of those less fortunate than her. A fine opportunity presents itself when she discovers she is now a part owner of a cotton mill.

But the owner of the mill and the very same rake who had hurt her, has no desire to let a woman interfere with his business, let alone little Ellie Browning. After one of Lucian’s mills succumbed to fire, he’s fighting to save the other and continue his father’s legacy of fine business decisions and accruing wealth.

However, after a series of accidents, it becomes clear someone wishes the mill to close. But who, and why? Forced together to investigate the incidents, they must get past their shared history if they want to save the business.

If only the growing attraction between them did not prove such a distraction. With things heating up between them, it becomes clear that they are both at risk of getting burned…

VictorianPromoman

 

Victorianpromowoman

 

**INTERVIEW** Howard Kaplan, author of The Damascus Cover – Bestselling Espionage Thriller

DAMASCUS COVER, KaplanWith espionage thriller tv series HOMELAND back on our screens for a fourth season here in the UK, we are certainly excited about today’s post. Today we are privileged in hosting an interview with author Howard Kaplan with regard to his Los Angeles Times bestselling espionage thriller, THE DAMASCUS COVER. The book is currently being made into a feature film starring Jonathan Reis Meyers (Match Point, The Tudors). Howard Kaplan is a Middle East expert and has had his own spy experience smuggling microfilm out of the Ukraine!

THE DAMASCUS COVER was originally published by Dutton (an imprint of Penguin), and has been translated into seven languages. It’s received rave reviews from Kirkus, the Los Angeles Times, BBC News, the Hartford Courant, the Chicago Daily News, the American Library Association, and more (you can see quotes from these reviews below). Clive Cussler, author of the Dirk Pitt Adventure series, says Kaplan is “up there with the best.”

The movie is being produced by H Films and also stars Jürgen Prochnow (Das BootThe Da Vinci Code), Navid Negahban (Homeland, character Abu Nazir), and Igal Naor (The Honourable Woman). For more on the film visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3457508/

Synopsis:

In a last ditch effort to revive his career, washed up agent Ari Ben-Sion accepts an undercover mission he never would have 30 years ago: to smuggle a group of Jewish children out of the Damascus ghetto. Or so he thinks. Once in Damascus, he meets a beautiful American photographer, Kim, who seems to be falling in love with him—but she’s also asking too many questions. Then his communication equipment disappears. His contact never shows up. Just hours before the operation, everything has gone awry.

Desperate to succeed, Ari must navigate the precarious terrain of love and survival in Syria, risking everything…even his life.

Howard Kaplan Author Photo 1About the Author:

Howard Kaplan, a native of Los Angeles, has lived in Israel and traveled extensively through Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. At the age of 21, he had his own spy experience while attending school in Jerusalem, when he was sent on two missions into the Soviet Union to smuggle out a dissident’s manuscript on microfilm. His first trip was a success. On his second trip, however, he was arrested in Khartiv and interrogated for two days in the Ukraine and two days in Moscow, before being released. He holds a BA in Middle East History from UC Berkeley, an MA in the Philosophy of Education from UCLA, and is the author of four novels. Follow him on Twitter at @kaplanhow.

INTERVIEW with HOWARD KAPLAN, The Damascus Cover

Hi Howard,

Welcome to A Reader’s Review Blog! We would like to thank you for participating in an author interview for The Damascus Cover.

1. Did you have any idea how successful The Damascus Cover was going to be?

I was happy to just be published at all with a first novel.  When Dutton sent the book out to the then 10 paperback houses, all ten were interested in reprint rights and Fawcett immediately bid $75,000 for the rights. I was 27 and pleasantly stunned, shocked, thrilled.  Soon foreign translation rights started being sold.  Portuguese rights in Brazil were sold without the publisher even reading the book on my agent’s recommendation, which really surprised me.  Then a publisher in Yugoslavia bought the book but the Central Committee of the Communist Party prevented them from publishing it and banned the book in Communist Eastern Europe.  All this was beyond any expectations of interest I had.  But I always find what happens in life suprising.

2. Being a Middle East expert, I suspect that some characters/scenes are based on experiences you may have had or witnessed. How much of the book would you say is fact over fiction?

See answer to #4   When I was 21 I took a shared taxi from Beirut to Damascus with a close friend.  We visited the famous Omayyad Mosque and then went to visit the Jewish quarter of Damascus.  Soon, we saw a man we had spotted in the Omayyad following us; this was far across the city.  Mike Wallace did two programs on 60 Minutes about the Jewish community of Damascus in the 1970s then about 5,000 strong.  When we were followed in the Jewish quarter we immediately returned to Beirut.  But I later did very detailed research on the city of Damascus.  God bless the Brits, who have gone everywhere and written memoirs about it.

3. I believe that you had a spy experience of your own in the Soviet Union. Could you please tell us a little about that?

I made two trips into the Soviet Union and travelled from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) to  Tashkent and Samarkand in Soviet Central Asia.  Under the Soviets any manuscript not yet published was considered property of the state and anybody who emigrated had to leave what they’d written behind where it was then never published.  The first time I went into the Soviet Union, I brought out a dissident’s manuscript on microfilm to London.  On my second trip, I transferred a manuscript from a writer to the Dutch Ambassador inside their embassy; he sent it to the West by diplomatic pouch.  He was a sympathetic friend to the dissidents.  Soviet citizens were prevented from entering foreign embassies, but with an American passport I told the KGB guards outside that I had a close friend who was a friend of the Ambassador’s wife and they let me in. The Ambassador and  I made small talk inside while we passed each other notes.  In the last one he said, “Be careful, this is not James Bond.”  Then he burned all the notes.

4. What was your inspiration to write The Damascus Cover?

When I was in Damascus, I visited Marjeh Square.  In the 1960’s the Israelis had a high placed agent in Damascus, Eli Cohen, who became the chief advisor to the head of the Syrian Minister of Defence.  He was uncovered and hung in Marjeh Square in 1965 though the intelligence he provided enabled Israel to easily take the Golan Heights in the 1967 6 Day War.  It was my inspiration for a novel of an Israeli intelligence agent who penetrates the upper echelons of Syrian Intelligence.

5. Were there any scenes that you found particularly difficult to write?

I wrote the first draft of the book in 9 frenetic months, and enjoyed what I was doing.  I had a detailed map of Damascus taped to my wall.  I had real passion for the injustice in the world:  the folly of the Vietnam War, the murders of the Kennedys so in my mid 20’s I had a lot of anger.  A  lot of that was released in some torture scenes in the novel.  They were not hard for me to write then; they are hard for me to read now.

6. Having travelled in many countries, which is your favourite and why?  

I have great passion for lots of places:  London, the south of France, anywhere in Italy, and Jerusalem, which I know best of all these places.  I’ve had great travel experiences almost everywhere. Once in the Greek section of Cyprus, which appears in The Damascus Cover, we could not understand the menu so the waiter took us into the kitchen and lifted the covers on the pots.  I went on photographic safari in Kenya and Tanzania for 10 days when I was 23.  Most of the other members were Pan Am stewardesses in their late 20s.  I thought I had found Nirvana, but alas they treated me as younger brother but it was great fun nonetheless.

7. What was your reaction to the great reviews you have received and finding out that a movie was to be made?

The reviews came out in 1977 and the movie came together in 2014.  I remember reading once about how hard The Beatles worked, that though the sound seemed effortless, the production of it was not.  I worked very hard on The Damascus Cover, but the calibre of the reviews still surprised and delighted me.  The movie is simply a miracle and a hoot, 37 years after the book was published but it’s testament to how a good story endures the passage of time.

8. How much involvement have you had with the movie production, and will the movie remain true to the story?

I made a few suggestions to the movie script, all of which were greeted by the director  with excitement.  So we have a very good relationship but this is his script and film and I’m thrilled with it.  He has Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Abigail Spencer, Jurgen Prochnow and the actor who played Abu Nazir in Homeland.  It’s almost as good as falling in love.

9. Are you an avid reader? Do you have a favourite author/book?  

I am a great fan and admirer of John le Carre both for the story telling ability, wrestling with moral issues and the calibre of his prose.  I read my regularly for inspiration.

10. What is next for Howard Kaplan?

I have been getting another of my novels, BULLETS OF PALESTINE, ready for release as an Ebook and paperback in November 2014.  It’s as novel of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.  It too seems even more timely than when I originally wrote it.  The first week of November 2014 I’ll be in Casablanca on The Damascus Cover film set.  I’m doing a walk on.

Thank you for your time! We will look forward to hosting The Damascus Cover.  All the best for The Damascus Cover and future works!

Caroline Barker, A Reader’s Review Blog

The Damascus Cover can be purchased at:

Amazon US paperback

Amazon US Kindle version ebook 

Amazon UK paperback

Amazon UK Kindle version ebook

And we are excited to be reviewing Howard Kaplan’s bestseller some time in the near future!

Praise for THE DAMASCUS COVER:

“In the best tradition of the new espionage novel. Kaplan’s grasp of history and scene creates a genuine reality.  He seems to know every back alley of Damascus and Cyprus.”—Los Angeles Times

“A mission inside Syria, a last love affair, and the unfolding of the plot within a plot are handled by the author with skill and a sure sense of the dramatic.”—The American Library Association (starred review)

“A fine, taut, tense spy story full of furious action.”—The Hartford Courant

“It’s suspense all the way through.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Exceedingly rich in color about the Syrian capital.”—Chicago Daily News

“The plotting is beautiful.”—BBC News

“… a smartly paced criss-cross laced with enough Mid-East semicruises to snare the MacInness armchair tourists.”—Kirkus

 

**BOOK BLITZ** ~ Prisoner, by Skye Warren and Annika Martin (includes excerpts and super giveaway!!!)

Young Adult, Dark Erotic Romance 18+

PrisonerBlitzBanner

I have been waiting impatiently for the release of this dark erotic romance, a collaboration between Skye Warren and Annika Martin and I’m over the moon to be able to share the book blurb and a couple of smexy excerpts with you today!

The authors  have also been very generous  in allowing each blog participating in the blitz to host a giveaway (and that includes us YAY!). The lucky winner will win one e-book copy of On the Way Home by Skye Warren and one e-book copy of The Kinky Bank Robbers boxed set by Annika Martin. Open internationally. For a chance of to winning the giveaway on our blog scroll down and follow the details at the bottom of this post. Tina ❤

Book & Author Details:

Prisoner by Annika Martin & Skye Warren
Publication date: October 23rd 2014
Genres: New Adult, Romance
prisoner

Synopsis:

He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

“Sexy, dark and thrilling. I loved every second of it!” – New York Times bestselling author Katie Reus

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23303963-prisoner?ac=1

Purchase Links

Amazon US   Amazon UK

Excerpt 1 

Heavy bars close behind me with a clang. I feel the sound in my bones. A series of mechanical clicks hint at an elaborate security mechanism beneath the black iron plating. I knew this would happen—had anticipated and dreaded it—but my breathing quickens with the knowledge that I am well and truly trapped.

 “Can I help you?”

 I whirl to face the administrative window where a heavyset woman in a security guard uniform stares at her screen.

 “Hi,” I say, pasting on a smile. “My name is Abigail Winslow, and I’m here to—”

 “Two forms of identification.”

 “Oh, well, I already filled out the paperwork at the front desk. And showed them my IDs.”

 “This isn’t the front desk, Ms. Winslow. This is the east-wing desk, and I need to see two forms of identification.”

 “Right.” I dig through my bag for my driver’s license and passport.

 She accepts them without looking up, then hands me a clipboard with a stack of papers just like the ones I’d already filled out.

 I’ve been dreading this day for weeks, wishing I’d been assigned any other project but this one. You’d think I was being sent here for a crime. My professor—the one who’d forced me into this—warned me that prisoners were not always receptive to outsiders. Apparently nobody here is.

 I complete each form, arrange the pages neatly on the clipboard, and bring them back up to the window. The guard accepts them and gives back my IDs…still without looking at me.

 My hands clench and unclench, clench and unclench while the guard eyes my paperwork.

Seconds pass. Or are they minutes? The damp chill of the place seeps in through my cardigan and leaves me shivering.

 Leaning forward, I read the name tag of the guard. “Ms. Breck. Do you know what the next steps are?”

 “You can have a seat. I have work to do now, and then I’ll escort you back.”

 “Oh, okay.” I glance at the bars I just came through, then the open hallway opposite. “Actually, if you just point me in the direction of the library, I’m sure I can—”

 The woman’s hand hits the desk. I jump. Her dark eyes are faintly accusing, and I wish we could go back to no eye contact. How did I manage to make an enemy in two minutes?

 “Ms. Winslow,” she says, her voice patronizing.

 “You can call me Abby,” I whisper.

 A slight smile. Not a nice one. “Ms. Winslow, what do you think we do here?”

 The question is clearly rhetorical. I press my lips together to keep from making things worse.

 “The Kingman Correctional Facility houses over five thousand convicted criminals. My job is to keep it that way. Do we understand each other?”

Heat floods my cheeks. The last thing I want to do is make her job harder. “Right. Of course.” I shamble back, landing hard on the metal folding chair. It wobbles a little before the rubber feet stop my slide. 

I understand the woman’s point. She has to keep the prisoners in and everyone else out, and keep people like me safe.

 I reach down and pull a book from my bag. I never leave home without one, even when I go to classes or run errands. Even when I was young and my mother used to take me on her rounds.

Especially then.

I would hide in the backseat with my nose in the book, pretending I didn’t see the shady people who came to her window when we stopped.

A little green light above the barred doors flashes on and there’s an ominous buzz. Somebody’s coming through, and I doubt it will be a library volunteer. I slide down.

Pretend to be invisible.

It’s no use. I peer over the top edge as a prisoner saunters through the door, and my pulse slams in my throat double time.

He’s flanked by two guards—escorted by them, I guess you’d say. But they seem more like an entourage than anything. Power vibrates around him like a threat.

Read, read, read. Don’t look.

The prisoner is half a foot taller than the guards, but he seems to tower over them by more than that. Maybe it’s his broad shoulders or just something about the way he stands, or his imperiously high cheekbones. The dark stubble across his cheeks looks so rough and unforgiving I can feel it against my palm; it contrasts wildly with the plushness of his lips. His short brown hair is mussed. There’s one scar through his eyebrow that somehow adds to his perfection.

The little group approaches the window. I can barely breathe.

“ID number 85359,” one of the guards says, and I understand that he’s referring to the prisoner. That’s who he is. Not John Smith or William Brown or whatever his name is. He’s been reduced to a number. The woman at the desk runs through a series of questions. It’s a procedure for checking him out of solitary.

The prisoner faces sideways, spine straight, the corner of his mouth tilted up as if he’s slightly amused. Then it clicks, what else is so different about him: no visible tattoos. Tough guys like this, they’re always inked up—it’s a kind of armor, a kind of fuck you. This guy has none of it, though he’s far from pristine; white scars mar the rough skin of his hands and especially his forearms, a latticework of pain and violence, a flag proclaiming the kind of underworld he came from.

The feel of brutality that hangs about him is compelling and…somehow beautiful.

I drink him in from behind my book—it’s my mask, my protective shield. But then the strangest thing happens: he cocks his head. It’s just a slight shift, but I feel his attention on me deep in my belly. I’ve been discovered. Caught by searchlights. Exposed.

My heart beats frantically.

I want him to look away. He fills up too much space. It’s as if he breathes enough oxygen for twelve men, leaving no air for me at all. Maybe if we were in the library and he needed help finding a book or looking something up, then I wouldn’t mind the weight of his gaze.

No. Not even there. He’s too much.

Two sets of bars on the gate. Handcuffs. Two guards.

What do they think he would do if there were only one set of bars, one guard?

My blood races as the guards draw him away from the window and toward the inner door, toward where I sit. His heat pierces the chill around me as he nears. His deep brown eyes never once meet mine, but I have the sense of him looming over me as he passes, like a tree with a massive canopy. He continues on, two hundred pounds of masculine danger wrapped in all that beauty.

Even in chains, he seems vibrant, wild and free, a force of nature—it makes me feel like I’m the one in prison. Safe. Small. Carefully locked down.

How would it feel to be that free?

“Ms. Winslow. Ms. Winslow.”

I jump, surprised to hear that the woman has been calling my name. “I’m sorry,” I say as a strange sensation tickles the back of my neck.

 The woman stands and begins pulling on her jacket. “I’ll take you to the library now.”

 “Oh, that’s great.”

 That shivery sensation gets stronger. Against my better judgment, I look down the hallway where the guards and the prisoner are walking off as one—a column of orange flanked by two thinner, shorter posts.

The prisoner glances over his shoulder. His mocking brown gaze searches me out, pins me with a subtle threat. Though it isn’t his eyes that scare me. It’s his lips—those beautiful, generous lips forming words that make my blood race.

Winslow.

No sound comes out, but I feel as though he’s whispered my name right into my ear. Then he turns and strolls off. 

Excerpt 2

I’m coughing, wheezing. I had asthma as a kid, and that’s what it feels like now as the pepper spray stings me all the way down. “Get off!” I gasp. “You’re too heavy—I can’t—get air.” 

“It’s the spray you hit me with,” he says. “Breathe normal.” 

I gasp for air, panicking. “I can’t!” Is this how I die? Suffocation? 

“Pretend,” he says, letting up his knee. He shifts so that he’s straddling my back. He grips my wrists now, pressing them above my head, and I feel his boots locked over my thighs. His weight is off my back. “It’s something every thug like me knows, how to not breathe in the fucking Mace.” 

I choke and cough. I still can’t breathe. He’s going to let me die. He’s going to sit on me and watch me die.

 “Relax,” he says softly. “You’re making it worse by panicking.”

Hoarsely, I try to get air. The sounds scare me. I really can’t breathe. I suck faster as the panic rises.

“Hey,” he whispers. “Shhh.” He brings his head near mine, breath tickling the back of my neck. “Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent, okay? It swells your throat and sinuses, but it doesn’t shut them.”

 I gasp.

 He continues to speak in his calm, strangely soothing voice. Why is he soothing me? I can feel him rattling against my defenses with every word. “You’re still getting air, okay? Focus on that, Ms. Winslow. That little passage of air you can still breathe through. Slow it down now, got it?”

I can’t slow it down. It’s like I don’t know how to breathe anymore, and I’m shaking.

 And suddenly he’s stretching his big body over me, on top of me. His weight isn’t entirely on me, or else I’d be squished; it’s more of a dull weight, as though he’s holding himself against me, warming me, pressing me to the forest floor. Into my ear he whispers, “Breathe with me.”

 I suck in a faint breath. “Get off me, you caveman!” Why is he even trying to help me? 

“You’re okay, baby,” he says. “Match my breath.” 

I feel his chest expand against my shoulder blades. He’s like a big, warm animal on me. I twist, but there’s no moving. He presses down harder, and something about his weight soothes me. I hate that he’s actually calming me, helping me. I don’t want him to make me feel good—he’s my enemy.

 I wheeze lightly. 

He breathes on, hot and slow against me. A bird calls in the distance. I can hear the hum of the highway, the drone of a helicopter. My eyes tear, and my limbs feel floppy and warm, and suddenly I’m doing it—I’m breathing. I take an almost regular breath.

“There you go,” he whispers.

“Fuck you. I don’t want your help.” I gasp in another breath.

His whisper caresses my cheek. “Nice and slow, Ms. Winslow.” There’s something sensual in the way he says it. “Nice and slow.”

 He breathes again, as if to demonstrate. On the next breath I match him. Soon we’re breathing together. It’s strangely intimate, like we’re two wounded creatures under the forest canopy. It’s almost like dancing. 

Almost like having sex.

 I crane my head around just enough to see that he still has his eyes shut tight, dark eyelashes wet with tears from the irritation of the spray. Did I hurt him? Did I burn his eyes?

 “Stop moving around,” he growls. “Lie still.”

 Like I have any choice with him pinning me. My heart pounds under his weight.

 Breathe in, breathe out.

 It’s as if we’re in some kind of time-out, a no-man’s-land with the two of us fucked up and lying on the forest floor on a bed of pine needles that actually feels sort of soft and nice. The moments stretch on and on. I wonder how long it will take him to recover.

 Maybe I really injured his eyes. Could I have hurt his eyes permanently?

He shifts, and I think maybe he’s getting up. But he doesn’t.

In a weird way I’m glad. If he got off me, that would end this strange, relaxing time out. It would bring back the harsh reality of who we are to each other.

For now, there’s nothing I can do with him lying on my back, and I let my limbs go soft, let my breathing calm, giving myself permission to relax. I feel like jelly suddenly, spread underneath him, spine flattened out. Us breathing together.

My eyes drift closed. The warm patch on my neck feels lit up every time he breathes out, and I imagine his lips hovering just over my skin.

 I imagine him kissing me there, and a wave of forbidden feeling swells through my core.

 My eyes fly open. There is no way I’m turned on.

 Except I am.

 My heart races. My breath gets fitful again.

 “Hey,” he says. And then more softly. “You’re okay.”

I become aware of a hardness against my thigh. An erection. A melty sensation pulses through my pelvis. I’m trembling deep down, and it’s not just fear; it’s excitement.

 Horrified, I try to shake him off, and he tightens his legs and arms around me. I feel his weight and warmth keenly now. “You don’t want to give me any more trouble, do you?” 

“No,” I whisper huskily.

The energy of sex runs wild between us, and I don’t know how to stop it. Does he know? I flash back on him in the prison waiting room, the way he looked at me, and all that power and beauty barely contained in shackles. How stupid I was to think he was beautiful.

“No, you don’t want to give me trouble,” he affirms. “So we’re going to stay just like this until my eyes can recover.”

“So you can kill me? 

“If I was going to kill you,” he says, warm and tickly beneath my earlobe, “don’t you think you’d be dead?” There’s something about the way he says this that makes my belly quiver, and I can’t stop focusing on his erection. His big, strong heart beats against my back, beating my heart like we’re conjoined in some primitive way. 

His breath feels soft on the side of my neck, and heaven help me, I want to feel more of him. I imagine his skin on my skin. Dimly I’m aware that my breath is changing, speeding, shallowing. 

I stiffen as he presses his lips to the warm spot; it’s a kind of kiss. Or is it? And then he whispers, “Penny for your thoughts, Ms. Winslow.” 

Oh God, he knows. This man who’s going to kill me, this man I’ve been breathing with, he knows. 

 Author Bios

Annika

Annika

I’m a NYT bestselling author living a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi with my awesome husband and two cats in a home full of plants, sunshine and books. I’m heavy into writing love stories about criminals–some of them are dirty and fun (my Kinky bank robbers!) others are dark and intense (Prisoner!)I also write gritty romantic suspense as the RITA-award winning author Carolyn Crane.

Author links:

http://annikamartinbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AnnikaMartinBooks

https://twitter.com/Annika_Martin

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5826888.Annika_Martin

Skye 

Skye Warren is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of dark romantic fiction. Her books are raw, sexual and perversely tender. For those new to her work, consider the bestseller Wanderlust or Don’t Let Go.

Author links:

http://www.skyewarren.com/

https://www.facebook.com/skyewarren

https://twitter.com/skye_warren

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5339130.Skye_Warren

Giveaway 

The winner of the giveaway on our blog will win one e-book copy of On the Way Home by Skye Warren and one e-book copy of The Kinky Bank Robbers boxed set by Annika Martin. Open internationally. To enter it’s easy – just leave a comment on this post with your email address by November 10th, the closing date for the giveaway on this blog. You can also enter by leaving your name against this post on our FB page. A winner will be selected at random and contacted after this date and their prize will be sent out after November 18th.

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Sue’s Seduction by Saylor Storm *BLOG TOUR with Author Interview & GIVEAWAY*

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000026_00017]Sue’s Seduction

By Saylor Storm

Genre: Mystery/Romance Contemporary

Middle aged, overweight, depressed and lonely, Susan Kent, becomes part of an anti-aging clinical trial and is offered a lease on life. She swiftly transforms into a budding beauty. Her new found tender age brings opportunities, lovers and tragedy. Sue’s youthful path takes her on a journey that she never could have imagined and catastrophe brings sobering consequences. Sophisticated attorney, Roger Grayson, enters her life and saves the day. In the end does Susan choose youth or the promise of love?

INTERVIEW

Hi Saylor,

Welcome to A Reader’s Review Blog!

I love the synopsis for Sue’s Seduction. What were your main influences for the story/character?

My first thought was to take a real life anti-aging product that I had heard about and researched and combine it with who I saw as the average, depressed, middle-aged woman who blames everyone else for her misery. I wanted my character, Sue, to evolve into a better, more likable person as the story unfolds.

Have you based any characters or scenes from your own or your friend’s experiences?

Most of the time I do base my characters and scenes from real life experiences, but not so in the case of Sue’s Seduction. The only reality-based part of the story is the anti-aging product.

Who is your favourite character, and why?

Even though we don’t care for Susan Kent much in the beginning, we can’t help but grow to love her as she learns what is truly important in life.

Were there any particular scenes that you found either more difficult or easier to write?

It was fun and challenging to write about lesbian love scenes as a straight woman. In the end I interviewed men about their first time with a woman; what were their first thoughts and impressions, what was it like for them and used that as Sue’s point of reference for the book.

What inspired you to write Sue’s Seduction?

I was inspired to write Sue’s Seduction when I learned about a real life anti-aging product that is currently on the market. I took this piece of reality and turned it into a reverse aging product that my character, Susan Kent, consumes during as a participant in a clinical trial. I imagined all the positive changes that might occur from reverse aging 35 years as well as the negative ones. In my mind, there would be plenty of both!

Do you have a favourite author/book? If so, who/what and why?

I grew up reading John D. MacDonald’s books and loved the fact that they were quick reads offering a temporary escape from reality.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

I love to hike in the Sierras near my home in Lake Tahoe.

For those who have not read your work, how would you describe your writing style?

My writing is style is clean, straightforward, and imaginative.

What’s next for Saylor Storm?

We have a book of love trivia and fun facts coming out next month, a compilation of my daily posts on Facebook for the past couple of years. My first romance thriller called, Basking in the Light, will be coming out in March.

Thank you for your time! We will look forward to hosting you as part of the blog tour! All the best for Sue’s Seduction and in the future!

About Saylor Storm

Saylor Storm smileSaylor Storm takes something from real life and turns it into something fun, and perhaps a bit twisted. Reality becomes fantasy, or is that imagination turns into real life experience? Her stories include places where she has lived or visited from the beaches of Malibu to Islands of Fiji and destinations in between. Love and passion are at the root of her novels; after all isn’t that what life is all about? Storm is a long-time resident of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Saylor is currently working on several new books and loves to hear from her readers! Visit her at http://saylorstorm.com and see her interview me, Caroline, on her site in regard to book blogging!

Saylor Storm trailer –  http://youtu.be/HlbwporBScE

Twitter: @SaylorStorm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saylor.storm

Sue’s Seduction is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK OR Enter below for your chance to WIN a copy of Sue’s Seduction!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8c7fd74d1/

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5) (short story) by Alisa Woods **REVIEW**

Sacrificed (True Alpha 5)

For fans of paranormal, shifters and plenty of action!

Shifters live in the shadows of Seattle, just under the skin of the alpha male, dot-com entrepreneurs who are building a new Silicon Valley in the Emerald City.
Sacrificed (True Alpha 5) – New Adult Paranormal Romance

Even with Jak’s help, Mia finds escaping Mace’s grasp isn’t easy… in fact, it may require a sacrifice neither she nor Lucas want her to make.

Sacrificed (True Alpha 5) is 50 pages or 12,000 words. It’s the fifth of six episodes in the True Alpha serial.

REVIEW

Sacrificed is the shortest of the True Alpha series, focusing on the escape of Mia and her friend, Jupiter, from the Red pack. And the story picks up just where we left off in Captured, book 4. It appears that Jak, a shifter and member of the pack that is holding her, is trying to help her and Jupiter escape.

Mia is struggling with her thoughts. There is the question of why Jak would be interested in going against his pack and helping them. But worse still is the strong hold that her submission to Mace has over her, making it almost impossible to go against the wishes of her captor.  In her human self she knows that she doesn’t belong here, with the Red pack, but her wolf has little control now that she has submitted. She must obey his wishes. Mia needs to find the strength to do the right thing, if not for her then for Jupiter.

Meanwhile, Lucas and his father’s pack have their own rescue plan to save Mia. Without spoiling too much, I can sat that there is plenty of action and it doesn’t go as smoothly as one would like. However, it is exciting to read and the fear for both Mia and Lucas’ pack reaches a high.

Mace was not so easy to escape from, and now the reader does not know what Mace will have in store for Mia. Lucas is only too aware of the situation and is helpless, regardless of his growling and snarling inner wolf. He knows that Mace will claim Mia for his own unless they can come up with something…………….. and quickly!

Sacrificed, as well as the previous books of the True Alpha series, create a fantastic build-up of tension and excitement for the final instalment, Claimed. I loved the ending of Sacrificed, especially with a nice surprise that no reader would guess. I am certain that Claimed will be as thrilling, if not moreso, than the first five!

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5) was provided by the author, Alisa Woods, in return for an honest and fair review.

Check out my previous reviews for Desired (True Alpha #1), Guarded (True Alpha #2),  Hunted (True Alpha #3) and Captured (True Alpha #4)!

Sacrificed (True Alpha #5) is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US. (Currently individual books 1-6 can all be bought from Amazon for a small price. However, if you would like all books together in one set – this will be released on Tuesday 28th October, again for a small price. Book 6 and the boxset are available to pre-order in the time being.)

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

**BLOG TOUR** ~ Cafe in the Park, by Elodie Parkes (includes 18+ excerpt and giveaway)

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 BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – Café in the Park
AUTHOR – Elodie Parkes
GENRE – Contemporary Erotic Paranormal romance
PUBLICATION DATE – September 9, 2014
PUBLISHER – Siren Publishing
COVER ARTIST – Elodie Parkes

Cafe in the Park - Book Cover

 BOOK SYNOPSIS

When Emily joins a dating agency, she never expects to meet someone like Chris. Everything she ever hoped for in a man, he’s special in more ways than one. Their intense attraction to each other is fueled by their shared loneliness. Will Emily find out his shocking secret when someone from his past comes back to haunt him?

How can love blossom, when someone is trying to tear them apart?

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 BUY & TBR LINKS

AMAZON KINDLE USAMAZON KINDLE UKGOODREADS

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 EXCERPT

18+ erotic excerpt – only suitable for mature readers

Desire flared low in his stomach. He let it take him over. He knew his next kiss was searching, needy, hard. He grasped one of her breasts and kneaded, the softness drove him crazy. His cock, fully erect now, pushed at his pants. He sighed into her mouth. “I want you so much.” He relished the hard peak of her nipple through her T-shirt. He bent his head and sucked.
When she ran her fingers into his hair, he felt the pressure in them, and moved away. He could see her nipple now through the soft white fabric in the wet patch he made. He looked into her eyes. “I said I wouldn’t rush you next time, but it’s killing me already.”
Emily stood. She pulled her T-shirt off, followed by the skirt.
Chris reached out and grasped her hips, pulling her to his mouth as he leaned forward. He kissed her stomach, and slid his palms over her ass to cup her there with his fingertips pushed inside the lace of her panties.
She held his head as he kissed across her stomach to each hipbone where he nibbled.
Chris heard her sighs grow ragged. He liked her pretty panties, but he wanted them off her. He yanked them down her thighs, and calves, bending to thrust his tongue into the cleft of her pussy. It delighted him that she was shaved there.
Emily arched to his face.
The scent of her creaming pussy called to him. He let her go. The need to pull her down and fuck her hard was scary. It tore right into his wish not to rush her. His thoughts filled with pictures of holding her thighs apart and pounding his erection into her pussy. His cock leaked and his balls ached.
She stood before him naked.
He gazed up into her eyes.
“Take your pants off. If I don’t have you inside me soon…” The need in her voice soothed his fear.
Chris took his pants off. His cock bumped on his stomach muscles sending hot pre-cum streaking across them.
He stood to pull Emily into his arms and kiss her lips. He plunged a hand between her thighs. The wet welcome there sent spears of sensation right through his body. He was on fire with the need to bury his cock in her, but he pushed his fingers into her pussy to make sure he wouldn’t hurt her when he fucked her. Her folds swollen, her cream flowed on his fingers. The air was laden with the erotic perfume of sex. His urgency brought his kisses down her neck along the soft place in her shoulder and he sucked.

©Elodie Parkes 2014 Siren Publishing All Rights Reserved

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 AUTHOR BIO

Elodie Parkes is a British author writing romance, erotic, contemporary, and often with a twist of mystery, paranormal or suspense. Her books are always steamy — cool stories and hot love scenes.

Elodie lives in Canterbury with her two dogs. She works in an antique emporium by day and writes at night, loving the cloak of silent darkness that descends on the rural countryside around her home.

Elodie writes for, Hot Ink Press, Moon Rose Publishing, Eternal Press, Secret Cravings, Evernight, and Siren Publishing.

She has also released titles as an individual indie author.

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 FOLLOW LINKS

BLOGTUMBLRFACEBOOKTWITTERGOOGLE+
PINTERESTYOUTUBEAMAZONAMAZON UK
SMASHWORDSBARNES & NOBLESALL ROMANCE
BOOK STRANDEVERYNIGHT PUBLISHING
ROMANCE REVIEWSMANIC READERS

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 GIVEAWAY PRIZES

One $10 or £10 Amazon Gift card

Five eCopies of Elodie’s latest release from Hot Ink Press, Love at First Sigh, for kindle and gifted from Amazon a duo of contemporary erotic romance for 18+ readers

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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1-MINIBUTTON