Review Round-Up November 2014

Hi readers, Tina and myself hope that you enjoyed your Halloween, and here in the UK Bonfire Night. There have been some fantastic fireworks displays this year in and around Tamworth where we reside. We are now concentrating on enjoying the autumn/fall weather, watching the leaves as they fall from the trees and spending most of our time snuggled up on the sofa with a book or our laptops preparing for our best reads of 2014 and of course, Christmas!!

Below you will find our latest reviews over the last month covering the horror genre, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, erotica, fantasy adventure and crime thriller.

As always, we hope that there is something for everybody and that you all enjoy visiting our blog.

Keep on reading!

Caroline & Tina 🙂

(Please click on titles for review)

23358060Distant Love by Layla Merritt, erotic contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Kate Braxton has fallen into the role most women do by putting someone else’s needs above her own. In reality, she lives day to day unable to overcome the scars of her past to allow herself to move on with her life. Her divorce and a new job just might open the door to a brighter future for her.

Brayden Bennett is sexy and successful in the marketing firm he works for, but has been used and discarded by women, leaving him hurt and guarded. The beautiful new hire in Atlanta captures his attention in ways he didn’t think possible and he can’t help but wonder if she holds the key to his caged heart.

Kate is taking care of her ill father in Atlanta and Brayden’s son ties him to Chicago. Can they dare to dream of a future together? Can Kate survive the freak accidents that keep occurring, or will their relationship end in tragedy before they can figure out a way to be together?

Claimed (True Alpha 6)Claimed (True Alpha #6) (short story) by Alisa Woods, paranormal romance (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

New Adult Paranormal Romance serial – LAST IN SERIES

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.

Mia has found her way free of the dark wolves, but what price will her friends pay? And will she finally be able to find a place among their packs?

Claimed (True Alpha 6) is 65 pages or 16,000 words. It’s the final of six episodes in the True Alpha serial.

Adult content. Ages 18+.

Amethyst's incredible journeyAmethyst’s Incredible Journey by Lisa Bland, fantasy adventure (reviewed by Caroline)

Fantasy adventure

For ages 11yrs+

Synopsis: 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.

After the HazeAfter the Haze by Gary Richardson, horror (reviewed by Caroline)

Synopsis: The haze ravaged everything. Human life as we know it is over. Those who survived the haze awoke to find themselves in a new nightmare, as the dead returned with the insatiable desire to hunt down and feed on the remaining humans. Yvonne thought she had escaped her nightmare. Safely aboard the HMS Lancaster, Martin, Mike and herself believed they had found salvation with their military saviours. Things change when a devastating realisation is made. Humans no longer control the Earth. With this in mind, Yvonne has no choice but to assist in the operation to take back control of the UK and bring together all the survivors, but she soon learns that there are bigger threats to mankind than the living dead…

22436820Afraid to Hope (Secrets and Seduction #3) by M.J. Nightingale, erotic contemporary romance (reviewed by Tina)

Blurb: Louisa Sears is ready to start over. Escaping her small town where prejudice, long memories, and old fashioned values haunt her, Louisa embarks on her dream of finding love, and a man who can warm up her bed at night. Pregnant at sixteen, divorced from an abusive husband at twenty, and raising a daughter alone, Louisa is now ready to live. She wants what every woman wants. A rock hard man, who knows how to love. Will Florida be the place where her dreams come true?

Jay Russell is battle scarred. A past filled with horrors from childhood, the war in Iraq, and the most devastating event of his life that occurred when he returned home, he is definitely not looking for love. When he first meets Louisa Sears, the bombshell with the fantastic body, he wants one thing, and one thing only, her body underneath him. The hot little ticket that walks by his t-shirt shop, meets all his requirements for a night of passion.

The scars in them run deep though, and they both have secrets. Can two people so deeply wounded by the past learn to trust each other enough to share those secrets? And if they do, will they be able to get past them and learn to hope again?

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

BLURB: 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.

TheNewGovernessLargeFINALThe New Governess/Awakening (The Erotic Adventures of Belinda #1 & 2) by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross, gothic erotica (reviewed by Tina)

The New Governess blurb: When Belinda Moorland leaves her old life behind to become the new governess to a wealthy businessman’s children, she finds herself in a dazzling – and allegedly haunted – house called Ravencrest Manor. Her beautiful new home comes with an assortment of unusual staff members, including a handsome English butler surrounded by secrets, an icy power-mad housekeeper with a chip on her shoulder and a whip in her hand, and – most attractive of all to Belinda – her mysterious new employer, Mr. Eric Manning.

After just one night in Ravencrest, Belinda realizes that the staff, as strange they are, have nothing on the other residents of the house – the ones who only come out at night… the ones who enter and dictate her dreams, twisting them into dark, carnal visions of her deepest desires… and her greatest fears.

The erotic adventures of Belinda have begun…

awakeningfinalAwakening blurb: In The New Governess, Belinda Moorland became governess to the children of handsome and mysterious millionaire, Eric Manning. She met several interesting employees at Ravencrest Manor, including the mischievous butler, Grant, and the frightening house administrator, Mrs. Heller. During her first night, Belinda was also greeted – and groped – by other inhabitants of the house; ones who are more phantom than flesh.

Now, in Awakening, we find out more about Grant Phister, the wicked Mrs. Heller, and some of the other inhabitants of the house, both living and dead. There are more secrets than ever waiting within the walls of Ravencrest, but Belinda has one final requirement to meet before she can get down to work: She must pass her physical examination – and it will prove to be far more intimate than anything in her wildest dreams – or her darkest nightmares. Will she get through her first day at Ravencrest intact?

The erotic adventures of Belinda continue…

TheLoveofMarisol_WP2014The Love of Marisol by Christos Toulouras, contemporary emotional romance (reviewed by Caroline)

 Synopsis: When Leo’s marriage ends, he falls into the depths of depression. He decides to escape the loss and the heartbreak with a trip to the other side of the world – Lima, Peru. In some ways, his journey becomes an unexpected salvation as his passions are reignited by the local food and people, the climate and the beautiful and alluring Marisol. The Love of Marisol is a poignant and passionate journey of heartbreak, loss but most of all self-discovery… it reminds us that at the end of one love story, there is always the possibility of a new one…

17562987 (2)Windhaven by Charlotte Boyett-Compo, dark erotic fantasy romance (reviewed by Tina)

Synopsis: “Open your mouth even once, tell anyone about us, give them a name, and we’ll come for you, Sammy. There will be nowhere you can hide that we won’t find you.”Samiel Brell is being held against his will in the WindHaven Mental Hospital. His life there is a brutal nightmare from which he can not wake. The only anchor he has in this dark world is nurse Katelyn Tarnes who sees beyond the psychotic, self-destructive patient to the lost, lonely man desperately needing her help…and pleading for her love.

The CabinetmakerThe Cabinetmaker by Alan Jones, crime drama/thriller (reviewed by Caroline Barker)

Synopsis: The Cabinetmaker, Alan Jones’ first novel, tells of one man’s fight for justice when the law fails him. Set in Glasgow from the late nineteen-seventies through to the current day, a cabinetmaker’s only son is brutally murdered by a gang of thugs, who walk free after a bungled prosecution.

It’s young Glasgow detective John McDaid’s first murder case. He forms an unlikely friendship with the cabinetmaker, united by a determination to see the killers punished, their passion for amateur football, and by John’s introduction to a lifelong obsession with fine furniture.

This is the story of their friendship, the cabinetmaker’s quest for justice, and the detective’s search for the truth.

This unusual crime thriller contains some Glasgow slang and a moderate amount of strong language.

 

 

**Review** That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White & Zombies by Rob E. Boley

That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White & Zombies (Scary Tales, #1)

That Risen Snow has a twist on the Snow White fairytale and is to be read as a sequel to the original, albeit adult readers only (17yrs+). Complete with Snow White, the seven dwarves, the prince and the evil Queen it is a quirky horror story that will certainly be a treat for Halloween!! This is  Rob Boley’s debut novel, published earlier in 2014 by StoneGate Ink. And the first in The Scary Tales series.

BLURB: 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.

REVIEW

Trick or treat? That Risen Snow is a brilliant combination of horror, quirkiness and fairytale, although certainly for the adult reader! It is definitely a ‘treat’ in my opinion. I imagined the dwarves to be scared for their life in a truly dark, life threatening and terrifying horror, filled with blood, guts and gore. Although this was a part of the story, what really surprised me was the fun and humour content as well as the heart-warming feelings that Grouchy has for Snow White.

The dwarves are like you have never imagined, with bad language and sarcasm, but these moments add another element. They are not typical of the dwarves we are familiar with, but in fact have characteristics of real people, which I loved. Even Snow White wasn’t as graceful and elegant as one would think!

The layout of the story is interesting too, with chapters written from the different character’s perspectives. The reader learns what is happening with each character which keeps the reader informed and able to see where the author is going, and suspense can be built-up from this. Another area of the story which fascinated me were the flashbacks. The flashbacks were mostly Grouchy’s personal thoughts and feelings towards Snow since she came to their cottage. The reader feels the growth of affection that Grouchy has for Snow and begins to understand why he wants to find a cure for her curse, rather than just be rid of her and the undead.

After reading this you will certainly feel that you know the dwarves more personally than ever before. From the past thoughts and dialogue between the dwarves we are made aware that they have all been having private discussions with their leader, Bones. Each dwarf has their own problem and obstacle that they need to overcome and Bones was helping them with this. Merry’s story was one that touched me, as we learn that he longed to be trusted and respected by the others. Bones gave him tasks to do to make him feel worthy and needed, but once their life changes and they are being chased by the undead Grouchy tells Merry how it really is. It is then up to Merry to either pity himself or do something about it.

Battson, a dwarf-hating human soldier working with the Prince, is, initially, an unlikeable character who would prefer to see the dwarves harmed in a typical encounter. Yet, as the story unfolds and continues into a survival story, the war between human soldiers and dwarves is swept aside as they begin to work together to keep the remaining survivors alive and hopefully find a cure for this disease that their friends are suffering from. Battson does begin to slowly show a quiet, heroic side which changes the readers opinion into respecting and admiring him for his new-found quality.

Although an extremely trying time of desperation, hardship and fear, the reader does not be given many opportunities to feel the tragedy and terror due to the humour and fun way in which it That Risen Snow is written. However, as the story continues, and more dwarves and soldiers are turning, it does become a little more serious and desperate for the remaining survivors. The reader is left on a hanger at the end, and I for one really want to know the outcome in the sequel, That Wicked Apple! Grouchy has come so far, and for the reader to walk away at this point would be like leaving him there for the curse to take him too!!

A copy of That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White & Zombies was provided by the author, Rob E. Boley, for the purpose of an honest and fair review.

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

You can check out our SPOLIGHT for That Risen Snow with author bio for Rob E. Boley, along with extracts of more reviews here.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

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!