Raven Pirate Assassin Spy, by Landra Graf

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Raven Pirate Assassin Spy

The Final Stop

First off, thanks to areadersreviewblog (Tina and Caroline) for hosting me today. It’s been a whirlwind of a tour with lots of excerpts, fun facts, and talking about myself and my story. The great news is readers can buy a copy at any ebook retailer as of today. If you do purchase a copy, please drop me a line and let me know what you think. Feedback is the one true validation for a writer.

As for the actually blog topic let’s talk plot and inspiration. The plot in a sentence is: Sorella, a raised assassin and air ship captain, is searching for her brother who acted as her ransom to a mercenary gang called The Cursed.

The plot was mainly inspired by the Grimm Fairytale, The Seven Ravens. But the story is also inspired by my love of Steampunk and alternate history/realities. I wanted to touch on something I hadn’t read yet. A time period not often in the NYT Bestsellers romance books. So the 1930’s popped into my head. A serious time between the two world wars that involved a lot of pain and sorrow. It saw the beginnings of German renewed dominance, and a country in the throes of a Great Depression. The only problem, I didn’t want to write about the Great Depression. I wanted things to be different.

In Sorella’s world Germany has won World War One and the United States has closed their borders. This is a world where the U.S. never got involved and Britain survived the insanity by seceding to Germany’s domination of the main European continent. This opened a world of possibilities for me, and I had a lot of fun playing with the details.

My question to readers: What are your favorite time periods to read about? If there was alteration to history you could make in a book what would it be?

RavenPirateAssassinSpy

Book Blurb:

Once Upon A Time…  Sorella Corvino lost her brother to The Cursed years ago. Sorella is so determined to find him, she’ll make any deal, rescue the outcasts and those like him, and risk flying into any port to rescue him. When her latest pirate efforts partner her with a bounty hunter who’s too charming, sexy, and handsome for his own good, she knows she’s in trouble.

Ian Marshall no longer believes in fairy tales… Disowned and a marked criminal in the United States, this merchant turned bounty hunter, is one bounty away from freedom; and freedom’s price is handing over one person to the most cutthroat gang in the world, The Cursed. Yet, he can’t get to them without Sorella’s help. Too bad she’s gorgeous, aggravating, and a little trigger happy.

As the attraction mounts, the danger grows and the pair find themselves invading a skin trader den, the ballrooms of dictator-ruled Germany, and fighting battles in the sky in the hopes of getting everything they want. Only thing they didn’t plan on… falling in love.

About the Author:

Landra Graf consumes at least one book a day, and has always been a sucker for stories where true love conquers all. She believes in the power of the written word, and the joy such words can bring. In between spending time with her family and having book adventures, she writes romance with the goal of giving everyone, fictional or not, their own happily ever after.

You can find Landra at: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, WebsiteSilken Sheets & Seduction, or Newsletter

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Review Round-up July ’15

Hello readers, we hope that you are enjoying the summer holidays! We have had an amazing month, most notably our attendance at the Second City Signing, which was our first. Here we met some amazing authors, some known to us and some new. You’ll be hearing more of them over the coming months, and if you are a fan of romance and/or erotic romance you will certainly be in for a treat! You can read our “special report” on the signing, complete with plenty of pics!

We were also preparing for Helena Fairfax‘s latest release, Palace of Deception. Not only have we reviewed her contemporary romantic suspense/mystery novella, but she has also given us a great deal of her time in helping produce a fantastic interview, whereby she speaks of her work, her blog, her awards and the membership of The Romantic Novelist Association. You can read all about her tips and suggestions to help promote your work too on her blog.

Along with our children’s end of year activities at school, and arranging plans for the holidays it has left us with a quieter month than usual – especially on my part. However, we still have nine fantastic reviews for you (two of which are double reviews – books 1 & 2 of a series) with YA futuristic/time travel in Future Girls by Catharine Bramkamp, and V.L. Brock‘s Dark Evoke, dark romantic suspense/psychological thriller series. As always, please click on the titles and authors to view our complete review post!

Happy reading! And happy holidays!

Caroline & Tina ❤

Alison MerrittHer Heart’s Surrender by Allison Merritt, historical romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: After sneaking out with her brother, Eoghann, one night, Ealasaid discovers Viking ships sailing up the river to sack their home in Northumbria. They attempt to warn their father, but it’s too late and the Vikings slaughter or enslave all the inhabitants of Suibhne. In attempt to save her family, Ealasaid stabs a young Viking warrior, but her father is killed, her family scattered, and she’s taken to Solstad Hall where she serves as a thrall for the Viking king. Years later, the king’s son, Hella, ventures on many raids and to trading sites across Europe, but his desire is to set up a farm in Solstad with Ealasaid as the thrall in charge of his household. He tells her of his plan and they expression their passion for one another. When Hella petitions the king for her freedom, but is turned down and order to the Frankish lands in retaliation for raids on the Viking coastal villages. Ealasaid, aware the king would never free her, tells him that he should look for a brighter future across the sea, away from his father and resigns herself to be his slave for the remainder of her life.Called home to watch his father die, Hella is stunned when his father’s final command is that Hella must marry or the throne will go to his adopted brother. Furious with his father’s orders and worried about being left without lands or money, Hella looks to the thrall who’s always captured his attention—Ealasaid. Ealasaid harbors a secret—the single afternoon she spent in Hella’s arms resulted in a son, her treasure, her reason for living.

Sandra ScwabEagle’s Honor: Banished by Sandra Schwab, erotic historical romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: A proud warrior.
A brave woman.
A forbidden love that is tested by the intrigues of ancient Rome and the hostilities at the northernmost edge of the empire.Centurion Marcus Florius Corvus has a splendid career in the legions ahead of him. Yet a visit to Rome and a chance encounter with an old friend change his whole life: He falls in love with one of his friend’s pleasure slaves and becomes entrapped in an evil scheme designed to destroy him. And yet—he cannot help risking everything for Lia, the woman he has given his heart to, even if it means he will be banished to one of the most dangerous places in the Roman Empire: the northern frontier of Britannia.

Seeking Nirvana & Eluding Nirvana (Dark Evoke #1 & #2) by V. L. Brock, dark romantic suspense/psychological thriller, reviewed by Tina

Seeking NirvanaSeeking Nirvana Blurb: They say that old habits die hard, and twenty-seven year old, Kady Jenson, is about to discover how true that statement actually is.

Waking up in a hospital room with a complete stranger at her bedside, should have caused panic and confusion, but for a reason unknown to her, Kady finds herself drawn, and calmed by the presence of the rugged, devastatingly handsome man with the pleasant Irish brogue. It’s when she discovers that she has just woken from a four day coma, with a three year void in her memory, which spawns confusion and panic.

Kady soon comes to realize that things change with time, and not only appearances.

Not only is the sexual chemistry she once shared with her long-term boyfriend, now a long-ago memory, but Kady also begins to unconsciously fall back into unremembered habits, and with each day, the increasing sense of foreboding, becomes increasingly harder to ignore.

Left on her own when her boyfriend goes on a business trip, Kady seeks help from the Irish stranger as they go on a quest together, in a race against time, to piece the puzzle together.

Eluding NirvanaEluding Nirvana Blurb: Three years lost; a body marred and a mission complete. Waking after a four day coma, Kady Jenson felt her life was crashing down around her. Three years of her memories were missing, and the compelling man at her side was not her years-long partner, but a stranger – a stranger who promised to help her recover what she had lost.

But how did Kady come to such a place?

What dark, mysterious events stole her past and threatened her future?

How did her lover become a stranger, and a stranger become so terribly important?

What happened to turn Kady’s orderly life into a terrifying nightmare which would leave her permanently marked, body and soul?

**AUTHORS NOTE**

Eluding Nirvana is the second instalment of The Dark Evoke Series, and is therefore not intended as a standalone novel.

Stolen petalsStolen Petals (novelette) by Katherine McIntyre, steampunk romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: One man has swiped bounties from Viola, the Brass Violet, for years. Longstanding rivals, they’ve only had brief encounters, and if she had a choice, she’d avoid him entirely. When he saunters into her bar with an offer to work together on a job, the proper response would be to shoot him down and send him back to Shantytown. However, curiosity’s a wicked beast, and Viola needs to know why, after so many years of stealing her marks, he’d approach her now. The man is insufferable, annoyingly cavalier, and tends to stir up memories she’d rather forget–but she needs assistance on this job and he’s offering aid and blueprints which could cut their work in half.

Given the intense way he looks at her though, working together isn’t all he has in mind. Van Clef is known for his persistence and, with his charm, he wins women over effortlessly. Viola’s not so easy though–she’s wise to his tricks. But if he wants to play the game, she will gladly rise to the challenge. By the end of this bounty, she’ll be the one leaving him in the dust.

Samantha-Holt_Knight_ConKnight’s Captive by Samantha Holt, historical romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: Queen Elizabeth sits on England’s throne. A once Catholic country is now ruled by a Protestant queen. In a time of fear, turmoil and bold deeds, many heroes are seldom written into history…

After aiding in the capture of the flagship Rosario and helping to defeat the Spanish Armada, Sir Henry Bainbridge is set to make his mark on the world and strengthen his position as a man of authority. Now in charge of the Spanish prisoners, Henry must negotiate their return to Spain and manage the care of his people.

However, when he comes across a woman amongst the survivors, his future plans are put on hold. The exotic beauty draws him in and his honour will not let him doing anything other than protect her. Henry takes her into his home and places her under house arrest. He can only hope his principles are enough to protect her from his desires…

In a time when small differences spark fear into the heart of many, Antonia finds herself drawn into a battle between a zealous priest, a discontented population and the most honourable man she’s ever met. Nothing can ever come of their attraction, not while he’s holding her father prisoner and not when so many differences divide them.

Or can it?

TorqueTorque (The Redline Series #2) by Skye Callahan, dark erotic romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: In the dark underworld of Ashville, crime, deceit, and blackmail reign supreme. Everyone wants that little piece of leverage—that one small key to getting ahead.

Aubrey would be happy—and lucky—to simply make it out alive. After falling in debt to one of the city’s most dangerous men, she found herself caught in a dispute between two brothers who will do anything to see each other suffer. Aubrey knows she’s only a pawn in their game and her only hope is to find some key of her own—a way to guarantee her own safety and the safety of her family.

Colt has a long and sordid past with the criminal element. He knows how the game is played and has found himself on all sides more times than he cares to remember. Aubrey is his newest escape route, but their tentative alliance is doomed to crumble if Colt can’t find a way to fulfill his end of the bargain with Devlin.

How will Colt and Aubrey handle Devlin’s newest threat?

Bloodlust deniedBloodlust Denied by Christina Phillips, erotic historical paranormal romance, reviewed by Tina

Blurb: Tired of the thin-blooded aristocrats in 1815 London, Alexius yearns for better sport. He is drawn to a dark-haired seductress who shows no fear and refuses to obey his commands. Entranced by such novelty, he denies his bloodlust and decides to keep her to warm his bed.

Immortal vampire hunter Morana has never mistaken her prey before, but the dark stranger mesmerizes her, enticing her to forget everything but the dangerous pleasure she finds in his arms.

Neither one can deny the pull of the other, but there is something beyond the lust—a recognition neither can put a name to. The past and present collide and unless they discover the truth behind the lies, Death will triumph once more.

palace of deceptionPalace of Deception (novella) by Helena Fairfax, contemporary romantic suspense/mystery, reviewed by Caroline

Blurb: A sinister housekeeper, a silent bodyguard, and a missing princess – mystery and intrigue in this gripping romantic suspense.

Lizzie Smith is contacted by her old drama teacher over the summer and offered the acting job of her life. Princess Charlotte of Montverrier has disappeared on the eve of her Investiture…and Lizzie must take her place.

But in the run up to the ceremony, all is not what it seems in the Palace of Montverrier. Why does the housekeeper insist Lizzie keep to her suite of rooms? What danger lies outside the palace walls? As Lizzie learns her role, her only confidant is Léon, her quiet bodyguard…but what secrets is he keeping from her?

Mystery and suspense against the backdrop of a beautiful Mediterranean city.

Future Girls & Future Gold (Future Girls #1 & #2) by Catharine Bramkamp, YA sci-fi fantasy, reviewed by Caroline

Future Girls Book One of the The Future Girls SeriesFuture Girls Blurb: On October 10, 2145, eighteen-year-old Charity Northquest’s whole future is ahead of her–and the future sucks.

On October 11, 2145, she unexpectedly has a chance to fix it. When her best friend is reported killed, but then re-appears the next day as an old woman, everything Charity has been taught is called into question. Even if she does not believe in time travel, she has little choice. So the ill-prepared Charity travels back to the mysterious and captivating 21st century where her single purpose of changing the future fades with the increasingly more urgent question of whether she can survive the past.

Future Gold (Book Two of the The Future Girls Series)Future Gold Blurb: What part of the past would you change?

Jordan didn’t want to travel back in time. She thought the members of the Time Cult were, frankly, a little whacked. But as the daughter of a daughter of a daughter, she had little choice but to prepare, take part, be knowledgeable and be ready to travel back in time. But nothing could prepare her for what happened. Or when.

**REVIEW** ~ Stolen Petals, by Katherine McIntyre

Steampunk Romance

Novelette

Blurb

Stolen petalsOne man has swiped bounties from Viola, the Brass Violet, for years. Longstanding rivals, they’ve only had brief encounters, and if she had a choice, she’d avoid him entirely. When he saunters into her bar with an offer to work together on a job, the proper response would be to shoot him down and send him back to Shantytown. However, curiosity’s a wicked beast, and Viola needs to know why, after so many years of stealing her marks, he’d approach her now.The man is insufferable, annoyingly cavalier, and tends to stir up memories she’d rather forget–but she needs assistance on this job and he’s offering aid and blueprints which could cut their work in half.

Given the intense way he looks at her though, working together isn’t all he has in mind. Van Clef is known for his persistence and, with his charm, he wins women over effortlessly. Viola’s not so easy though–she’s wise to his tricks. But if he wants to play the game, she will gladly rise to the challenge. By the end of this bounty, she’ll be the one leaving him in the dust.

My Review ***** FIVE STARS

Fun and Flirty Steampunk Adventure

Stolen Petals is a fun and flirty steampunk read with plenty of sexual tension between the main characters Viola and Van Clef (Edward) and a rollicking and adventuresome plot.

I liked and admired the character of Viola, a strong yet vulnerable woman who has dragged herself up in the world from lowly roots to be one of the best bounty hunters around. We find out about her back story as the tale unfolds and I loved how the author pairs her with Edward, a rival who is a bit of a ladies man who tempts her against her better judgement. Edward labels Viola the ‘Ice Queen’ and I was kept guessing as to his true motivations.

Indeed, it is a battle of wills in terms of who will triumph in terms of the bounty and also in terms of their developing relationship. Will Edward get his way and seduce Viola or will Viola manage to rebuff his advances whilst still keeping her heart intact? Indeed, can this scoundrel of a man be trusted at all?

I found the descriptions of the Steampunk world of New London and Shanty Town created by the author to create just the right level of atmosphere to allow me to escape into an alternate world without detracting from the storyline and the romance between Viola and Edward. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the night time streets and the apparel of the characters, especially Viola and Edward’s special ‘tricks’ of their trade! There is more to both Viola and Edward than meets the eye and the author packs a lot into the novelette.

I really enjoyed the read and recommend it to fans of both Steampunk and historical romance. I would certainly not hesitate to pick up another read by the author.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review. 

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