Review Round-Up – May ’15

Dear readers, Welcome to May’s Review Round-Up! We have plenty of romance reads for you, whether they be contemporary, historical, erotic or humour. Not to mention the paranormal fantasies and mysteries.

I have been a little quiet on the blog-front recently seeing my daughter through her SAT’s exams, and being busy with decorating the house. But, I have enjoyed Christine S. Feldman‘s hilarious romcom, Winging It, Jamie Drew‘s (aka Tim O’Rourke) November Lake: Teenage Detective books 1 & 2, and I am currently reading the amazing C.J. Pinard‘s dark paranormal, SOUL REDEMPTION (Rebel Riders #2)! Meanwhile, Tina has been busy at the Vestry with settlement papers and writing some text for the Staffordshire Archives Roadshow which will take place at Tamworth Library on 4th July. She has also been involved in proposals for Tamworth Literature Festival, in which we are both hoping to be a part of. All this at the same time as reviewing some great romances, from Skye Warren‘s Loving the Beast, to Lily Harlem’s Toy Boy, and erotic sci-fi time travel series When in Rome by Jessica Nyman. How does she find the time to make rhubarb wine too?!

We hope that you enjoy the selection of books, as well as the reviews we provide. As always, please click on the book titles and author for our main feature review plus more….

We hope that you have a super Bank Holiday weekend 🙂

Caroline & Tina ❤

Pose 1Pose for a Billionaire (Billionaire Encounter books 1-3) by Lucee Lovett, contemporary erotic romance (reviewed by Tina Williams)

Books 1-3 comprise of ‘When the Rent is Due, What Do You Do?‘, ‘There’s No Room for Mistakes, When You…‘ and ‘Secrets and Lies & Everything in Between‘.

Blurb (book 1): What choice does a young girl have, when she’s a twenty-two year old high school dropout? She has a deadbeat dad who has run off with his latest whore. Then her mother gets locked up for dealing drugs, leaving her with an eight-year-old to care for. Now, the rent is due and Mia Blackman, has no job, no money and very few options. She is forced to use the only asset she has when she poses for enigmatic, enticing, billionaire, Roman Evans. This changes Mia’s life in more ways than one.

November Lake: Teenage Detective (The November Lake Mysteries books 1 & 2) by Jamie Drew, YA crime/mystery (reviewed by Caroline)

November Lake 1Blurb (book 1): When 18-year-old police recruit, November Lake, joins training college, her curiosity and desire to solve mysteries soon has her investigating a series of creepy and chilling crimes.

With the help of her friend and colleague, Kale Creed, November is soon caught up in a dark world of strange and inexplicable mysteries, each with a deadly twist.

Three novella length mysteries in one book:

The Dead Girl In The Room

The Kidnapping at Blackwater Farm

The Menacing Stranger

November Lake 2Blurb (book 2): When police recruits November Lake and Kale Creed are ordered to stay away from each other by Sergeant Black, they can’t help but be drawn back together again.

Working side by side, November and Kale solve four more grisly and chilling mysteries. The first deals with deceit, the second betrayal, the third revenge and the fourth the greatest mystery of all – love.

Four novella length mysteries in one book:

The Reappearing Knife

The Death at Hook Inn

Splitfoot & The Dead Girl

The Mystery of November Lake & Kale Creed

WhereWolves Cover - realisticWherewolves by John Vamvas & Olga Montes, YA horror/thriller/paranormal (reviewed by Caroline)

Synopsis: 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 blood-curdling growls and 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.

WHEREWOLVES is a thought-provoking, intense, action-packed ride loaded with plot twists that will keep you guessing:

What is out there? Can it really be werewolves?

d5c5e-under2bthe2bmayhaw2btreeUnder the Mayhaw Tree by Charlotte Boyett-Compo, contemporary romance suspense (reviewed by Tina)

Keynote:

Living under a cloud of tragedy for which he’s assumed blame, Drew Dunne has known hell for the past sixteen years. Then he meets Allison Bennett. But in the small town of Colquitt, Georgia, evil lurks around every corner and capturing happiness has an incredibly high price.

Synopsis:

SWEET VICTORY

Small-town football star Drew Dunne sacrificed everything for friendship and guilt. He’s spent most of his life unloved and unwanted. A kind touch, a gentle smile, an encouraging word are all wisps of memory from before the accident. For him there is only family, duty, loyalty. And longing. Until he meets Allison.When Allison Bennett looks in the mirror, she sees a woman whose life has gone from bad to worse. At the mercy of an abusive husband, sweet tenderness is something she can only dream about…until she finds it in the arms of Drew Dunne.Not every sacrifice is worthwhile, not every promise is worth keeping, and events in a small Georgia town will test this pair to the very depths of their souls, but at the end of the journey is the truth that—if you’re willing to pay the price—true love can conquer all. Drew Dunne will finally be with the woman he loves. Or die trying.

When in Rome (An Unexpected Vacation & The Emperor’s Dungeon, books 1 & 2) by Jessica Nyman, erotic sci-fi fantasy (reviewed by Tina)

Jessica Nyman 1Blurb (An Unexpected Vacation, #1): A young and geeky college girl wins a trip to Rome and while visiting the ancient ruins, she gets transported two thousand years back by a mysterious magic artifact. She is immediately seized by the city guards and brought before the most notorious emperor Rome had ever known. She’s in for a big surprise and some hot, steamy, action beyond her wildest dreams.

When In Rome Vol 1: An Unexpected Vacation is the first part of an erotic romance serial short stories exploring the lifestyle of ancient Rome from the eyes of a twenty first century college girl. Approximately 7000 words.

Jessica nyman 2Blurb (The Emperor’s Dungeon, #2): Our heroine meets a mysterious witch who agrees to help her go back to ancient Rome. However the locket’s magic effects last for a limited time and she comes back to the 21st century when it expires. Will she be able to solve the mystery of the locket and stay in ancient Rome for good? Will she break and tell her secret when the emperor ties her up in heavy chains and ‘interrogates’ her in the dungeon?

When In Rome Vol 2: The Emperor’s Dungeon is the second part of an erotic romance serial short stories exploring ancient Rome from the eyes of a twenty first century college girl. Approximately 5000 words.

Loving the BeastLoving the Beast: A Beauty Epilogue by Skye Warren, erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: The sexy journey began in Beauty Touched the Beast and continued in the Beauty series. Now read the breathtaking conclusion in this epilogue novella…

Since their forbidden beginning, Erin and Blake’s relationship has been marked by deep sensuality and intense emotion. Each challenge only makes them stronger, and Blake is ready to take his new fiancee to meet his family.

Home holds secrets for them both. A dark legacy threatens everything they’ve worked to build. When old debt comes between them, both Blake and Erin must fight to protect each other–and their love.

Books in the Beauty series:
1. Beauty Touched the Beast
2. Beneath the Beauty
3. Broken Beauty
4. Beauty Becomes You

And now the sexy ever after… Loving the Beast: A Beauty Epilogue

coverThird Debt (Indebted #4) by Pepper Winters, dark erotic romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: “She healed me. She broke me. I set her free. But we are in this together. We will end this together. The rules of this ancient game can’t be broken.” 

Nila Weaver no longer recognises herself. She’s left her lover, her courage, and her promise. Two debts down. Too many to go. 

Jethro Hawk no longer recognises himself. He’s embraced what he always ran from, and now faces punishment far greater than he feared. 

It’s almost time. It’s demanding to be paid. 

The Third Debt will be the ultimate test… 

To Tame the WindTo Tame the Wind (Prequel to Agents of the Crown Trilogy, #1) by Regan Walker, historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Paris 1782… AN INNOCENT IS TAKEN 

All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell’s schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear.… her.
 
A BATTLE IS JOINED
 
The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire’s father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.This is the prequel to the Agents of the Crown trilogy but can be read as a stand alone.

83e80-bride_cover_finalThe Duke’s Bedeviled Bride (Royal Pains #2) by Nina Mason, erotic historical romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: The tawdry tale of the Duke and Duchess of Dunwoody continues…

Maggie Armstrong, the long-lost illegitimate daughter of the heir presumptive to the throne, is bedeviled by her husband’s limited definition of fidelity. After observing him in a ménage à trois at the court of King Charles II, she is determined to bring him around to her way of thinking—by any means necessary. Robert doesn’t mind being punished for his transgressions. Rather,  he enjoys being whipped, especially by his beloved bride. Unfortunately, her heart might not belong to him alone. His younger brother, who he’d sent abroad to clear the way for himself, is coming home sooner than expected, and Maggie’s feelings for Hugh may not be as dead as her husband had hoped.Both duke and duchess soon learn, to their peril, Hugh Armstrong is not the honorable man they’d been led to believe. Insanely jealous of his brother’s situation, Hugh will stop at nothing to strip Robert of all he holds dear—including his life.But the real danger for Robert and Maggie is not the villainous Marquess, but the growing friction betwixt Catholics and Protestants in Restoration Era Great Britain.Can their love survive the trials that await them?

Toy BoyToy Boy by Lily Harlem, erotic cougar romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Getting something unexpected can be a shock, but it can also be a wonderful treat, if you allow yourself to indulge, that is.

Kay is bubbling with excitement. She’s booked a sailing holiday of a lifetime in Greece with a man she’s fallen for hook, line and sinker. They met on the Internet. She’s from Oxford, he’s from Washington State. She’s a business lecturer, he runs his own successful business.

They’re perfect for each other, and she can’t wait to meet him and spend time in and out of his bed, allowing him to seduce her for real and not just with softly spoken words over the telephone.

But when she arrives in the idyllic port of Fiscardo, she’s in for a shock. There’s a reason Sullivan’s photographs were grainy, and it’s not because he’s sporting a potbelly or balding as she’d suspected. It’s because he’s over a decade younger than her and could rival any Greek god in the looks department. What’s more, his sex appeal and lust for her is off the scale.

Should Kay take what she can with her ‘toy boy’ and have some fun in the sun or hop on the first plane back to England? It’s a tricky decision for a woman who believed she couldn’t be surprised by life anymore.

Werewolves of Shade 5Werewolves of Shade (Beautiful Immortals #5) by Tim O’Rourke, paranormal fantasy (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: From Tim O’Rourke #1 bestselling author of ‘The Kiera Hudson Series’ comes ‘Werewolves of Shade’ a werewolf romance with a twist.

When the entire population of Shade go missing, investigative reporter Mila Watson knows this could be the big break she has been waiting for. Setting off into the mountains to the village of Shade, Mila soon learns that the village isn’t as deserted as she first believed it to be and that creatures lurk in the shades…

‘Werewolves of Shade’ (Part Five)

Note: This ends in a cliff-hanger. Part six will be published within the next few weeks.

For readers 16+

the girl in betweenThe Girl In Between (The Girl In Between #1) by Laekan Zea Kemp, YA/NA+ up paranormal fantasy (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Bryn Reyes is a real life sleeping beauty. Afflicted with Klein-Levin Syndrome, she suffers episodes of prolonged sleep that steal weeks, and sometimes even months, from her life. But unlike most KLS patients, she doesn’t spend each episode in a catatonic state or wake up with no recollection of the time she’s missed. Instead, Bryn spends half her life in an alternate reality made up of her memories. For Bryn, the past is a place, until one day a boy she’s never met before washes up on the illusory beach of her dreams with no memory of who he is.

But the appearance of this strange boy isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Bryn’s symptoms are worsening, her body weakening as she’s plagued by hallucinations even while awake. Her only hope of finding a cure is to undergo experimental treatment created by a German specialist. But when Dr. Banz reveals that he knows more about her strange symptoms than he originally let on, Bryn learns that the boy in her head might actually be the key to understanding what’s happening to her, and worse, that if she doesn’t find out his identity before it’s too late, they both may not survive. 

Winging ItWinging It (short story) by Christine S. Feldman, comedy/humour, contemporary romance (reviewed by Caroline)

Blurb: Up until now, straitlaced Simon Kirkendale has done an admirable job of keeping his high society mother’s demands for grandbabies at bay, but lately she’s kicked things into high gear. So he isn’t too disappointed to delay her latest matchmaking attempt when a pretty stranger hops into the backseat of his car en route to one of his mother’s dinner parties and tells him to drive. A car-jacking? Nope. More like a bird on the run, but this particular bird happens to be a parrot who has slipped its cage, and Simon’s new acquaintance desperately needs to get it back before she loses sight of it altogether.

Ever the nice guy—and okay, maybe also a little intrigued by the colorful Miss Juleen Pruitt’s sudden appearance in his car—Simon hits the gas pedal and obliges only to find himself unwittingly dragged into a wild goose chase around town for a bird who seems to be determined to either get itself killed or the two people trying to catch it. Simon’s money is on the latter.

But it turns out that a little disruption and chaos in his life might just be what Simon needs most—especially if it comes in the form of Juleen.

If he can just manage to survive meeting her…

**Review with excerpts** Wherewolves by John Vamvas & Olga Montes

Wherewolves is a horror thriller, with a hint of paranormal, and was written as a screenplay in 2010 by John Vamvas and Olga Montes. They wrote the novel, edited by award winning Canadian author/poet Shelley A. Leedahl, to get the story out whilst waiting for it to hit the screens!

“SPARKLING DIALOGUE… THE WRITING IS SENSATIONAL.” Emmy and Peabody Award winning writer, William Mastrosimone

WhereWolves Cover - realisticTitle: Wherewolves

Author(s): John Vamvas & Olga Montes

Genre: Horror, paranormal, thriller, mature YA

Date released: February 17th, 2013

Length: 304 pages

Synopsis: 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 blood-curdling growls and 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.

WHEREWOLVES is a thought-provoking, intense, action-packed ride loaded with plot twists that will keep you guessing:

What is out there? Can it really be werewolves?

“KEPT ME ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT. GETS YOUR PULSE POUNDING.” Author and award winning investigative journalist, Victor Malarek

AMAZON REVIEWS:

“5 stars. A MUST READ!”

“5 stars. It reminded me a bit of Lord of the Flies versus Silver Bullet but only way cooler.”

“5 stars. Finally! A thriller that is unpredictable. A real page turner that expertly knows how to balance dialogue and description.”

“Chillingly terrifyingThis is one horror novel that will have you thinking long after you’ve finished reading.”

“5 stars. Great keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat writing! Love the depth of the characters.”

REVIEW

The reader is drawn in from the beginning. The first scene is full of fast-paced action and terror as a woman runs for her life, terrified she will get caught and killed by the hairy beasts that are following her through the trees. I love a story that has this much intensity at the start, gripping the reader before they have even begun, and Wherewolves certainly does that!

We are then later introduced to the characters of the class. It is clear early on that Doris and Jeffrey are teased quite a lot by their peers. They are viewed as the class geeks, making them a target for nasty comments and pranks. Their parents and teacher, Sergeant Tim O’Sullivan, make matters even worse for the two as they are pressured into taking part on a survival trip that neither want to go on. This would leave them being surrounded by a whole class of taunters, and who knows how far they’ll go!

Jeffrey and Doris are not the only two to stand out from the rest. Elie is also recognised as different due to his Arabic roots and does receive some racist comments. Some of the main characters take it upon themselves to ensure that Elie doesn’t make it to the trip.  The dialogue, jokes, mockery and bullying are certainly areas that anyone who has experienced High School will empathise with, and the strength of the modern-day dialogue will connect young and new adult readers (I would recommend 15ys+).

Once on their camping trip for their survival weekend the story begins to twist. The plot is unpredictable and doesn’t work out quite the way as expected. Is it a paranormal, or is it a teenage horror? Or both? There is the suspicion of the super-human reaction, brought on by a new drug, that has been mentioned on the news not too far from where the group are camping that may explain what is going on. But then again, amid the hills and trees, who knows what lurks about in the darkness just waiting for it’s next kill! Or, could it be that Elie has been pushed too far and decided to retaliate?

As one by one the class students are being killed the tension escalates to a higher level. The reader will have to keep on reading to find out what is happening, and who or what is being so savage. With so many class students to remember I did get a little lost keeping track of some of them as they disperse and run from these terrible beasts. This would be easier to follow if watching the screenplay and visualising them on stage or on screen.

I also felt that when reading the dialogue between the students early on it was very much like reading a script, albeit with a little more description. As a book this made the reader wait a little too long before the action really began to start up again. However, as a screenplay and watching it on stage I would imagine the atmosphere to be electric. The book may benefit in parts to a little more description and atmosphere building to create a more fluid read and even more tension.

That said, the authors do get their message across very clearly. Whilst there may be dangers out there in the world, we are a danger to ourselves. The way in which we treat each other, hold grudges, taunt and attack is sometimes the biggest beast of them all. Wherewolves shows how a group of people, some of whom can’t stand each other, can pull together during times of trouble in order to survive. And a message to the younger reader in particular is to not mistreat others. You never know who the bigger beast will be eventually, and you may need to pull together to beat an even bigger one!

Wherewolves is a lively story throughout, whether it be from the taunting and jeering between the students, or the action and horror. As it draws to an end you can really see the brilliance as everything comes together, and even areas that haven’t been explained earlier are covered later on. It is well worth the read, and I would imagine it would be fantastic to watch!

A copy of Wherewolves was provided by the author, Olga Montes, in return for a fair and honest review.

Wherewolves is available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

About John Vamvas and Olga Montes:

John Vamvas and Olga Mendes“BANG-ON DIALOGUE. Vamvas and Montes make it look, sound, smell real.” The Edmonton Journal

“IMPRESSIVE TALENT in this writing/producing/acting team”, The Winnipeg Free Press

“Montes and Vamvas continue to demonstrate their skills with SWITCHBLADE-SHARP EARS FOR DIALOGUE and hard, thoroughly believable plot lines.” The Sunday Journal

“A SEXY and EXPLOSIVE style that pulls the patrons forward to the edge of their seats”, The Edmonton” Journal

“RAZOR-SHARP LINES” SEE Magazine

Together for over 20 years, John and Olga started as an acting team but soon began to write their own scripts through lack of finding two-person plays they could travel across North America. They wrote and toured four full-length critically acclaimed plays to packed houses across Canada and the United States, including, Bad Boy, which they performed Off-Off-Broadway at New York’s Creative Place Theatre in the heart of Times Square.

In 2001, they were approached to star in and rewrite the short film, Things Never Said in Playa Perdida, Playa won the audience award at the New York Short Film Festival in 2002 and tied first place at the Festivalisimo festival in Montreal.

WHEREWOLVES was written as a screenplay in 2010. They wrote the novel, edited by award winning Canadian author/poet Shelley A. Leedahl, to get the story out while they wait for it to hit the screens!

John Vamvas headshotABOUT JOHN VAMVAS

John Vamvas grew up in one of Montreal’s (Canada) roughest boroughs. His high school teachers always told him that he’d be in jail or dead by eighteen. Thank God for the Arts. Actor, playwright, screenwriter and now novelist, he has been writing with his writing partner/wife, Olga Montes, for over twenty years. He loves words, especially dialogue, and has a lot of fun coming up with new ways to say the same thing.

Olga Mendes headshotABOUT OLGA MONTES

Mother, preschool French teacher, avid reader, Olga dreamed of being a writer as a child and spent many high school lunch hours working on her writing with her English teacher. She has a college degree in Professional Theatre and a university degree in Spanish and French grammar and literature. She was on her way to becoming a translator for the UN when she heard of an open audition at one of Montreal’s biggest English theatres. She almost didn’t get the role, though, because the director and co-star, John Vamvas, was scared of falling in love with the actress and ruining the play. That was 1992. She and John have been writing and working together on stage, screen, and in life ever since.

LINKS:

Link to cover, author bios and pictures, book excerpt (first two chapters), synopsis, and reviews: www.wherewolvestheblog.com

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/WHEREWOLVES-ebook/dp/B00BHIPYQY, http://www.amazon.ca/WHEREWOLVES-ebook/dp/B00BHIPYQY, http://www.amazon.co.uk/WHEREWOLVES-ebook/dp/B00BHIPYQY

Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/422814

Twitter: @WHEREWOLVESfilm https://twitter.com/WHEREWOLVESfilm

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

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17540116-wherewolves

3 EXCERPTS:

EXCERPT 1:

Dilly runs. The deafening beat of her panting isn’t enough to drown out the monstrous growls and trampling that rumble behind her. Though she can’t see well enough to dodge the naked branches slicing into her, the full moon’s rays help her find the path. This way, the young woman tells herself, and takes a left. Now right! Her body veers. She slams her beaten shoulder against the thick trunk of a sugar maple. Ah, fuck! The pain electrifies her cells. Like sticking a finger in a thousand volt socket. She falls to one knee. Don’t you fucking stop! Move! Move! Move! She forces herself up and implores her feet to barrel forward.

There it is! The fallen stump that looks more like a giant claw! She makes a mad dash for it, hurtles over the trunk, lands on all fours, and snaps her head back. She gasps, “Yes!” eyes on the nest-like bundle cradled between the two lower branches of the tall yellow birch before her.

She can hear whatever is out there tearing through the brush.

She leans against the tree’s peeling, gray bark and kicks at the dead leaves on the ground. Come on! she screams in her head. And at last feels the line dig into her ankle. She yanks it back hard. Click.

A thunderous roar!

She throws herself to the ground and in the next instant, a burlap sack swooshes over her.

Slam!

A canine screech rips through the forest.

Dilly jolts, feels the ground, and snatches a heavy rock. She thrashes her head from side to side and strains to hear the danger, but hears only the sack’s long suspended rope creaking as it swings. She gets to her knees. A branch snaps, she spins to pitch the rock— Nothing’s there. “Breathe, girl, breathe,” she reminds herself. And inhales deeply. The prominent scent of balsam firs transports her to the weekend she spent with Brian in a cozy bed and breakfast last May. Her eyes well. Brian … She scans the beech, spruce, and birch tree outlines, caressing her ring—its diamond lost to the forest. We should have never … ahh … She brushes off tears. Be strong, she compels herself. She staggers to a stand and lumbers off.

A harrowing growl booms—her feet are in the air, her face smashes to the ground.

No! Nooooo!” she screams, as she’s dragged across the underbrush.

Pebbles, leaves, and branches cut into her. Her fingernails claw a trail into the earth as she tries to grip at something—anything—that will anchor her long enough to turn over and hurl the rock she still has gripped in her hand. A trio of saplings gashes her chin and she grabs onto them, jerking to a stop.

She fears she’ll be rent in two as she’s tugged savagely. But she doesn’t let go. I’ve got to … She tries to twist—turn my fucking arm … over …

Light shines through from approaching high beams. Distant, but just enough of a distraction. Yes!

She whips the rock.

A painful yowl!

Fuck you!” she bellows as she scrambles to her feet and darts for the auspicious lights. She pushes her way through a thicket of juniper shrubs, waving and hollering—”Hey! Hey!”—and scarcely manages to catch herself. Shafts of light from the oncoming vehicle reveal there is nowhere to go but down. Down a ridiculously steep hill, she discovers.

The charging footsteps close in.

Shit! She glances over her shoulder—Fuck!—and drops to the ground. She gropes the ridge, clasps a sturdy root, and slides over the edge. Splinters stab into her hands. “Ahhhh!” she squeals—Shut up!—and hangs on. She cocks her head east to west. I need … something … else … to grab on … to.

The thicket rattles and cracks.

She winces. No! The rocks beneath her feet crumble. Oh my God, oh my God. Don’t you fucking let go. Her feet dangle. The roots dig deeper into her palms. “Ahhhh!” She presses her mouth into the dirt and feels the earth above vibrate. A pebble bounces off her head.

Beastly snorts and growls turn into sniffing and heavy panting.

She holds her breath. Go away, go away, go away!

The noises above her suddenly fade; all she hears is an eerie, unsettling breeze.

Oh my God! She listens hard. They’re gone. Breathe, she reminds herself again. She inhales and looks down. The slope is too extreme. She needs another path. She waits a long moment—God help me!—takes another mouthful of air, then musters the strength to pull herself up. Please don’t be there. Please don’t be there. Please—Fiery breath steams her forehead, and a snarl swells into a ferocious roar.

Dilly glimpses the blur of black, indigo, royal blue below. And lets go.

EXCERPT 2:

Sir?” Elie asks—wondering, What does he want?

Your slip?”

Sir, I already gave it in, sir.”

O’Sullivan goes through the list in his hand. “Then why don’t I have it?”

Sir, I handed mine in last month, the day after you gave us the form,” Elie says, politely. “You told me to leave it on your desk, sir.”

Well I never got it.”

That’s impossible, Elie thinks, looking over at O’Sullivan’s desk and catching J.J. and Lance locked in on him, bumping fists. “Sir, maybe—”

Sir, maybe Osama here decided to chicken out, sir,” Lance throws in.

What you talking about, Willis?” Jonathan interjects. “Ahmed isn’t afraid of anything.” He bows in prayer. “He’s got Allah on his side.”

Shut up!” Elie says.

Jonathan turns to Lance, “Maybe Omar’s just got something better to do, like pray or 9-11 our asses again?”

You’re such an idiot, you know that?” Elie tells him. “I think you’ve been sacked one too many times.”

What do you know about football, Al-Qaida?” Jonathan says. “In your country, instead of strapping on shoulder pads to play ball you strap on bombs to kill all.”

I know that QB stands for quarterback, but in your case it means queer boy,” Elie retorts.

The class “oohs!”

Jonathan jumps out of his seat. “You shut your a-hole, A-rab.”

Elie stands, and blows Jonathan a kiss. “You like it when they pile up on you, don’t you, QB?”

Jonathan marches up to Elie. “You shut your sand trap, Habibi.”

Elie leans in, “Yeah, or what are you going to do about it?” The class turns deathly silent. He waits for Jonathan’s next move.

Go back to your country.” Jonathan reaches for Elie’s eyebrow—

O’Sullivan takes a step forward, but stops when Elie grabs Jonathan’s wrist.

This is my country, QB.” Elie pushes Jonathan’s wrist away. “And my name isn’t Ahmed or Omar or Al-Qaida. My name is Elie El-Hage. A proud American, born and raised in this country, and I would gladly give my life to protect it … just like my grandfather did, and my father is doing right now.”

Oh, yeah?” Jonathan turns and struts to his desk, “On whose side, Mohammed?”

EXCERPT 3:

There’s no such thing as werewolves,” Lance cuts in. “Just a bunch of shit made up to scare people,”

How do you know that for sure?” Zack asks, and pitches a stone into the fire.

“‘Cause I do,” Lance spits back.

Zack stands. “What if I told you that one of us is a werewolf?” He gazes at all of them. “Hmm?”

They eye him, frowning, open-mouthed. Jeffrey can feel his arms prickle.

I wouldn’t believe it,” Lance says, and pulls up his jacket collar.

Neither would I,” Billy Bob concurs, rubbing his knuckles.

Zack takes a step toward Lance. “Let’s just pretend that one of us is,” he says, “for real,” and then continues, in a low whisper. “Would you be able to sleep tonight?”

They all eye one another, wary, and many glances stop on Jeffrey and Doris.

Yeah, I wish, Jeffrey thinks.

What are you talking about? Who, motherfucker?” Lance scans the group. “Who?”

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!