Review Round-Up for our October reads

12087236_10154263570968696_5735409078405643180_oDear readers, we hope that you have enjoyed these autumn months, and that you celebrated Halloween in style. It would be great to see your Halloween photo’s!! This was my attempt (right) at being a vampiress at a much-loved friend’s birthday party – a friend who is absolutely hooked on Halloween, and then celebrated her birthday in style by going to New York and visiting Central Park at this real beautiful time of year!

And, how time seems to be sprinting by this year, with Thanksgiving only a few days away, and Christmas a few weeks!

During October we had 12 fab reads to review for you from Tim O’Rourke‘s Beautiful Immortals series 2 release to international best-selling author Catherine McKenzie‘s Smoke. We had a cheeky contemporary comedy horror short with Deborah Melanie‘s Vivian’s Vampire and the dark horror/sci-fi of J.G. Clay‘s Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor. Not to mention the many romances and paranormals in between. We hope you enjoy our selection of reads, as always.

Much love.

Caroline & Tina ❤

(As always, please click on the title and author for our full review)

Living the DreamLiving the Dream by Celia J. Anderson, contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: When dreams and reality crash and mingle, escape can be the hardest challenge of all.

Longing to get away from her troubled marriage, the opportunity to cross America by train seems like a dream come true for Vita Craythorne. But charismatic travel agent Moriarty Miles has other ideas; by replacing their mutual friend Jack on the trip, Vita has unwittingly set herself up as a guinea pig for Moriarty’s mind-blowing and potentially dangerous virtual-travelling project. His plan is to give clients the holiday of a lifetime without ever having to leave the comfort of their own homes. It’s exciting. It’s time-saving. It’s innovative. Maybe this trip is just what Vita needs? That is, if she can avoid becoming trapped inside her own, miraculous dream world.

Vampires of Maze 1Vampires of Maze (Beautiful Immortals, Series 2, Book 1) by Tim O’Rourke, paranormal romance, thriller adventure (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: From Tim O’Rourke #1 bestselling author of ‘Werewolves of Shade’ (Beautiful Immortals Series One) comes ‘Vampires of Maze’ (Beautiful Immortals Series Two) a vampire and werewolf romance with a twist.

Witch, Julia Miller, has been sent by the Wicce to bring an end to the war that rages between the Beautiful Immortals. Joining a pack of werewolves, Julia must travel with them to a land unknown to her. Here she will learn the horrifying truth about the dark secrets hidden in the town of Maze.

To stay alive, Julia will not only have to figure out who to trust but also who to love. For Julia’s worst nightmares are about to get a whole lot more terrifying as she heads into the war raging between the vampires and werewolves where even her own magic abilities won’t be able to protect her.

Into the UnknowmInto the Unknown by Lorna Peel, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: London on 3 September 1939 is in upheaval. War is inevitable. Into this turmoil steps Kate Sheridan newly arrived from Ireland to live with her aunt and uncle and look for work. When she meets Flight Lieutenant Charlie Butler sparks fly, but he is a notorious womaniser. Should she ignore all the warnings and get involved with a ladies man whose life will be in daily danger?

Charlie Butler has no intention of getting involved with a woman. But when he meets Kate his resolve is shattered. Should he allow his heart to rule his head and fall for a nineteen-year-old Irish girl while there is a war to fight?

Private conflicts and personal doubts are soon overshadowed. Will the horrors of total war bring Kate and Charlie together or tear them apart?

SmokeSmoke by Catherine McKenzie, contemporary women’s fiction, mystery drama, chicklit (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: From the internationally bestselling author Catherine McKenzie comes an evocative tale of two women navigating the secrets and lies at the heart of a wildfire threatening their town.

After a decade-long career combating wildfires, Elizabeth has traded in her former life for a quieter one with her husband. Now she works as the local arson investigator in a beautiful, quaint town in the Rockies. But that tranquil life vanishes when she and her husband agree to divorce and a fire in nearby Cooper Basin begins to spread rapidly. For Elizabeth, containing a raging wildfire is easier than accepting that her marriage has failed.

For Elizabeth’s ex-friend Mindy, who feels disconnected from her husband and teenage children, the fire represents a chance to find a new purpose: helping a man who has lost his home to the blaze. But her faith is shattered by a shocking accusation.

As the encroaching inferno threatens the town’s residents, Elizabeth and Mindy must discover what will be lost in the fire, and what will be saved.

White HeatWhite Heat by Serge de Moliere, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A frigid wilderness. A blazing encounter.

In the frigid wilderness of Northern Canada, Carol treks through the snow, desperate to escape her violent and obsessed husband, Dugan. Unprepared for the harsh conditions, she soon finds herself trapped in the ice. She’s rescued by Josh, a loner who has fled society for his own reasons, and he brings her to his isolated cabin.

Carol and Josh are trapped together in the cabin as a snowstorm rages outside. Soon neither of them can fight their building desire, giving in to the temptation of shared heat and intimacy. Josh is nothing like the man Carol fled. He brings out feelings in her she’d long since suppressed.

But Dugan is hunting for her, and he plans to have his revenge on any man who dares share her company…

prettyPretty When You Cry (Stripped #3) by Skye Warren, dark erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A new dark romance novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Wanderlust and Prisoner…

I came from a place of dirt floors and holy scriptures. They told me the world outside was full of sin, and the first night I escape, I find out it’s true. Ivan saves me, but he does more than that. He takes me. He makes me his own girl.

My conditioning runs too deep. Ivan sees what I am.

That’s the thing about showing a mouse to a cat. He wants to play. And it’s terrifying, even for me. Because the only thing darker than my past is his.

Jace (River Pack Wolves 2) for Kindle_28Jace (River Pack Wolves #2) by Alisa Woods, NA paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: His wolf is out of control. She’s a wild thing that won’t be tamed.
Ex-Army Specialist Jace River has a lock on his bedroom door, but it’s not to keep anyone out; it’s to keep his nightmares from breaking loose. His wolf is an out-of-control killer, which means he can never risk shifting, never truly be part of his pack, and definitely never take a mate.

Piper Wilding works for the Army as a civilian, traveling the world for her work in counterintelligence and fighting the bad guys while bedding down the good ones. The best part? It keeps her far from her asshole father in Seattle, the rest of the Wilding pack, and the pressure to take a mate. Settling down isn’t her thing, and after what happened to her mother, Piper vowed she would never be tied down by magic or men again.

While Jace’s wolf keeps him Sleepless in Seattle, Piper returns home to find her missing kid brother. When she breaks into the River brother’s safehouse, sparks fly and claws come out. Her sexy skills threaten to bring out Jace’s wolf, and Jace’s good-guy hotness reminds Piper how tempting shifter men can be. They’re like fire and gasoline, and as they race to find Piper’s brother, the heat threatens to burn down all their carefully constructed walls. But falling in love has never been so dangerous—and being together means taking risks that neither might survive.

Jace is a complete novel with HEA, the second in the River Pack Wolves trilogy (all standalone stories, but best enjoyed if you read them in order!).

Contains scorching hot shifters, alpha military heroes, and sexy spy girls. Only readers over 18 should dive into the deliciously hot world of the River brothers.

BrakeBrake (The Redline Series #3) by Skye Callahan, dark romantic suspense (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Bitter feud between brothers, Colt and Devlin, speeds out of control.

From Colt’s pawn to Devlin’s captive, Aubrey is caught even deeper in their pact to destroy one another. Imprisoned in darkness, she fights for her life–and her sanity. Her only hope is a cocky and sadistic car thief who is already wrestling with his own demons.

Colt swore he’d never end up in this place again. That he’d never be held captive to heroin or rendered helpless by his brother to watch as another life is destroyed. He’s ready to tear the city apart to find Aubrey, but that’s only if his own mind doesn’t tear him apart first.

Lines have been crossed. Promises broken. Souls shattered. And the worst has only begun.

Note: If you’re looking for rainbows, butterflies, and happy endings coated in chocolate and caramel, turn back now! This story deals with dark themes and intense situations that aren’t suitable for sensitive readers. If you’re looking for an intense roller coaster of emotions and situations that will warp your sense of right and wrong and drag you through the debauched underworld of crime and deceit, then you’re in the right place.

This is a work of serial fiction, so it will be released in distinct parts with no resolute ending until the end of the series.

Watcher Lotus's Journey 2 cj pinardWatcher (Daughter of Darkness): Lotus’s Journey Part II by C.J. Pinard, paranormal mystery romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: As hybrid vampire/faery Lotus’s journey has taken her from solving the vampire-committed murders in Denver to Las Vegas, she begins to learn a lot more about herself and the evil vampire of a father who has been searching for her for years. She has to make a decision on whether she’s going to run from Vlad or search for him and confront him as he continues to terrorize her dreams. She wonders if finding him will lead her to her faery mother, or if it will just lead to more death, destruction, and heartbreak.

With the relationship between her sexy neighbor, Drew, and her beginning to blossom, Lotus wonders if she should just give up the search and try to lead a normal life for once. She’s finally found a decent guy who is not only gorgeous, but seems to want to protect her. Something she’s never needed, but is now finding she wants. That is, until she finds out Drew’s got his own secrets.

This is part II of Lotus’s journey. Part III will be out in early 2016.

Dark CityDark City (Nick Harland, British Detective Series #4) by Bill Carson, dark crime (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: A must read for all those who like to sit uncomfortably on the edge of their seats.

Dark City is the fourth book in the Nick Harland detective series. In this one we follow him on his most perplexing and disturbing case to date, as he tracks down a serial killer from the past.
The book begins with an elderly man being released from prison, after serving seventeen years for a double murder. A few days after his release a young woman is snatched from outside a London pub.

The police seem to be dragging their heels, so the family of the missing girl call on the services of the tough, uncompromising ex murder squad detective, turned Private Investigator, Nick Harland. During his initial investigation another girl suddenly goes missing, he then gets a tip off that Charles Thorpe had just been released from prison. Nick knows the killer, as he was the detective who put him behind bars when he was a detective in the murder squad. And so the hunt is now on for Thorpe, and Nick will not rest until Thorpe is found, and he promises that Thorpe will pay the ultimate price for his crimes this time around.

Much more can’t be revealed, as it would give too much of the exciting plot away.
This is a fast paced dark and gritty story, packed with hard hitting action, highs and lows, intrigue and tension. This story has characters, that are good, and sometimes very, very bad. Dark City is crime noir in the truest sense.

Vivian's VampireVivian’s Vampire (short story) by Deborah Melanie, contemporary paranormal comedy horror romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: She’s got a scythe, a severed head and she’s looking for love.

Waitress Vivian Shawcross loves a costume party. When Halloween comes along, she can’t wait for the spooky fun to start. However, a mix up over her costume and a road diversion, are just two of the mini disasters she encounters en route to her ghostly night out. Stranded in a remote English village, isn’t her idea of fun, but when a gorgeous vampire is thrown into the equation, Vivian discovers that her fun night out has only just begun. 

Tales of Blood and SulphurTales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor by J.G. Clay, dark horror sci-fi (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Eleven Tales steeped in Blood and reeking of Sulphur

There are cracks in the skin of Reality. Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin……

A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England.

J.G. Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem.

The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent!

**Halloween Horror Review** Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor #1 by J.G. Clay

We had the pleasure to meet horror author J.G. Clay at the Second City Signing author event in July. Since then I have been eagerly awaiting to read his eleven Tales of Blood and Sulphur in time for our Halloween Horror review!

jgclayCover-TOBSTitle: Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor (The Tales of Blood and Sulphur Volume 1)

Author: J.G. Clay

Genre: Horror

Date released: July 20th, 2015

Published by: Forsaken

Length: 214 pages

Blurb: Eleven Tales steeped in Blood and reeking of Sulphur

There are cracks in the skin of Reality. Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin……

A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England.

J.G. Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem.

The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent!

jgclay Excerpt Promo one The Smiling Men

REVIEW **** (4* rating)

Full of twists and surprises, Tales of Blood and Sulphur is mind-blowing and your head will certainly spin as you endeavour to seek all of the answers you are looking for, and then find yourself lost in another tale. This is definitely a dark, horrific and gory read for the mature reader. With it’s grittiness and violence it certainly has it’s moments of being seemingly real, yet written with profound sci-fi fantasy creativity, thus making for a fantastic dark horror.

With a mystical suspect, Null, being interrogated in the epilogue it soon becomes clear that there is a rare, eerie wisdom about him that gives you the heebie-jeebies. His tales will terrorise you and drive you to insanity. Be warned!

Have you ever sneaked out for a ciggy, looked at a patch on the lawn suspiciously, and found it to have grown with no explanation? Or, maybe you have walked home one evening after a few drinks, cutting across the bleak, dark, desolate park and heard noises – a voice ‘help me’? Then again, maybe you’d prefer to have a pint with the devil, listening to The Clash on the jukebox, and being encouraged to join his dark side whilst in an almost trance-like state? Perhaps you’re trapped in an apartment, with little or no food, caged in by zombies, and you need to leave for a few minutes to get some supplies? Or find yourself in a Dr Who-like scenario with creepily smiling cyborgs, with automated voices set, out to control and intimidate those who go against the new regime. If you don’t conform you won’t want to wait to see what will become of you!

Tales is a disgustingly gory read, with scenes of saliva, mucous, blood and many more bodily fluids having an important role in the horrific action scenes. Brains are squished, bones are cracked and blood runs extremely freely. Heads are taken off, skin is burned by flame and acid-like saliva, organs are shredded. I could go on. For a most frightful read, you may wish to read at night with little light, and you’ll feel the full power of this chilly collection.

I really enjoyed that, aside from the individual eleven tales, there is this running undercurrent throughout all of them. This really weaves each tale together, making for a brilliant, compact all-round read. Tales is written very well with so much information to take in and various situations with alien lifeforms, cyborgs, zombies and more. It is a read that fans of this genre will love as I am sure that there will be so much more to realise about each story with every read. It is definitely a keeper for any mature bookshelf, and one to be read again and again.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

Author Bio

JJ.G clay 2015.G. Clay is definitely a Man of Horror. There can be no doubt. Putting aside the reverence he has for the horror greats, such as King, Barker, Herbert, Carpenter, Romero and Argento, there is another fact that defines his claim for the title of the ‘Duke of Spook’. He was born on Halloween night. By a quirk fate, it was also a full moon that night. Co-incidence?

Here at Clay Towers, we don’t believe in coincidences.

The 41 year old hails from the Midlands in the United Kingdom, is married with one step child and two dogs that bear a strong resemblance to Ewoks. Beyond the page and the written word, he is music mad and can hold down a tune on a bass guitar pretty well. He is an avid reader and also has an enduring love of British sci-fi, from the pages of the ‘2000A.D’ comic to the televised wanderings of Gallifrey’s most famous physician. Clay is also a long-time fan of the mighty Birmingham City Football Club and endures a lot of flak from his friends for it.

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jgclay1973

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JGClay1

jg clay Excerpt Promo two Pete the Neat

Available from:

AMAZON

Kindle US : http://amzn.to/1TX8Jhu

Paperback US: http://amzn.to/1CZpm7F

Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1RYqLlM

Paperback UK: http://amzn.to/1KoFNKP

Nook (Barnes & Noble): http://bit.ly/1CUUYMd

And Apple iBooks

jg clay Excerpt Promo three Writers Friend

*Promo* Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor by J.G. Clay

Since our exciting experience at the Second City Signing we have been in touch with many of the authors in order to introduce our readers to their work. Our first promo post is for horror author J.G. Clay’s eleven Tales of Blood and Sulphur.

jgclayCover-TOBSTitle: Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor (The Tales of Blood and Sulphur Volume 1)

Author: J.G. Clay

Genre: Horror

Date released: July 20th, 2015

Published by: Forsaken

Length: 214 pages

Blurb: Eleven Tales steeped in Blood and reeking of Sulphur

There are cracks in the skin of Reality. Some are microscopic, others are as wide as a four-lane motorway. As the fault lines increase and widen, the door to our world shines like a beacon in the darkness, a warm and inviting sight to others beyond our understanding. When They cross over into our realm, The Tales begin……

A gambler taking one last desperate throw of the dice. A struggling writer making an unholy alliance. An eternal being fighting to stay alive in the financial capital of India. A man burdened with a terrible town secret. The Law Enforcers who must never cry. The End of Days live and direct from the rural heartland of England.

J.G. Clay takes you on a journey through the voids of Reality and into dark places where demons, mutants and inter-dimensional creatures taunt, taint and corrupt Humanity. Survival is not guaranteed, sanity is not assured and death lurks in every corner. These are the Tales of Blood and Sulphur: Apocalypse Minor; eleven twisted tales of terror and mayhem.

The blood is warm, the sulphur is burning, the tales will be told, the Apocalypse Minor is imminent!

jgclay Excerpt Promo one The Smiling Men

Author Bio

JJ.G clay 2015.G. Clay is definitely a Man of Horror. There can be no doubt. Putting aside the reverence he has for the horror greats, such as King, Barker, Herbert, Carpenter, Romero and Argento, there is another fact that defines his claim for the title of the ‘Duke of Spook’. He was born on Halloween night. By a quirk fate, it was also a full moon that night. Co-incidence?

Here at Clay Towers, we don’t believe in coincidences.

The 41 year old hails from the Midlands in the United Kingdom, is married with one step child and two dogs that bear a strong resemblance to Ewoks. Beyond the page and the written word, he is music mad and can hold down a tune on a bass guitar pretty well. He is an avid reader and also has an enduring love of British sci-fi, from the pages of the ‘2000A.D’ comic to the televised wanderings of Gallifrey’s most famous physician. Clay is also a long-time fan of the mighty Birmingham City Football Club and endures a lot of flak from his friends for it.

Author Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jgclay1973

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JGClay1

jg clay Excerpt Promo two Pete the Neat

Available from:

AMAZON

Kindle US : http://amzn.to/1TX8Jhu

Paperback US: http://amzn.to/1CZpm7F

Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1RYqLlM

Paperback UK: http://amzn.to/1KoFNKP

Nook (Barnes & Noble): http://bit.ly/1CUUYMd

And Apple iBooks

jg clay Excerpt Promo three Writers Friend