Category Archives: Book Reviews

On the Spotlight: The Moreva of Astoreth, by Roxanne Bland

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Blurb

In the world-building tradition of Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey and Ursula K. LeGuin, The Moreva of Astoreth is a blend of science fiction, romance, and adventure in a unique, richly imagined imperialistic society in which gods and science are indelibly intertwined. It is the story of the priestess, scientist, and healer Moreva Tehi, the spoiled, headstrong granddaughter of a powerful deity who is banished for a year to a volatile far corner of the planet for neglecting to perform her sacred duty, only to venture into dangerous realms of banned experimentation, spiritual rebirth, and fervent, forbidden love.

Link to Follow Tour:  http://worldwindtours.com/index.php/2016/08/04/tour-sign-up-the-moreva-of-astoreth/

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29614594-the-moreva-of-astoreth

Buy Links:      Amazon | B&N | Kobo 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Moreva-Astoreth-Roxanne-Bland-ebook/dp/B017JY331W/

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-moreva-of-astoreth-roxanne-bland/1122928113?ean=9780996731607

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-moreva-of-astoreth-3

roxanne

I’ve been a fugitive from reality since forever. As a child, I constantly made up stories–some would call them lies–about my family, friends, neighbors and even strangers on the street. I had friends that only I could see. Oh, the adventures we had!

Learning to read was a revelation. Words fascinated me. Whole new worlds opened up, and since my parents forbade nothing, I read everything. Some of it I didn’t quite understand, but I didn’t mind. I read it anyway. I even read the dictionary. When I was a little older, I was big on mysteries–English cozy mysteries, that is, Agatha Christie, were my favorites. Then I graduated to horror. Whenever a new book came out by Stephen King, Peter Straub or Dean Koontz, I was first in line. I was reading a little science fiction at this time–Robert Heinlein and authors like him–but I really didn’t get into it until I was in college. The same with fantasy. I really got into high fantasy–Lord of the Rings style–in college.

During this time I was still making up stories, but not writing them down. They were private. Besides, I thought my family and friends would laugh at me. In fact, the only story I recall writing was one that won a contest when I was in elementary school.

So anyway, life goes on. I went to law school. After I graduated and entered the workforce, I finally started writing down my stories. I wrote a bit here and there, short stories that never saw the light of day (which was probably a good thing). Then I fell ill. I had the flu for a month. Bored out of my skull, I started writing a piece of fan fiction, though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time. I showed it to a friend of mine who suggested I finish the story.

Well, that piece of fan fiction fell by the wayside, but in its place came a manuscript that would eventually become my first book, The Underground. I absolutely adored writing it. I absolutely adore writing, period. Slipping into that alternate reality for hours on end, there was a time in my life when it was called daydreaming and I got into trouble for it. Now it’s legitimate. And that’s the best part of all.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook 

Website:  http://blackrosepress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Roxanne-Bland-Author-289392377750996/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoxanneBland2

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Book Review: The Last Wife of Attila the Hun, by Joan Schweighardt

The Last Wife of Attila the Hun by Joan Schweighardt is an ambitious, superbly researched, excellently written novel based on Germanic legends and the true life of Attila the Hun that will mesmerize fans of historical fiction. There isn’t a lot of fiction based on Attila, so being a lover of history I was instantly intrigued about reading the book.
The novel moves back and forth in time, interweaving two stories. In one, we meet Gudrun, a brave Burgundian noble woman with a lethal mission, destroy the infamous Attila the Hun. In the other, the reader travels to the past to learn the overwhelming events that brought Gudrun to this difficult, suicidal undertaking.
From the beginning, Schweighardt’s imaginative storytelling and attention to detail shine through the pages, bringing Attila’s fifth century landscape to life in all its gritty vividness. Characters are deftly drawn, and I found myself instantly sympathetic to Gudrun’s situation, as well as absorbed by the other characters. This was especially true of Attila’s second in command, with whom Gudrun develops an unusual relationship. Attila himself is portrayed in chilling detail.
Needless to say, I love the fact that the story is seen from a female perspective. At times, her focused obsession for revenge propels the tale at a breathless pace. Juxtaposing with her present life as Attila’s prisoner are her memories of her great yet tragic love with Sigurd.
I’m not surprised the novel has won awards and it’s been translated into other languages. Dark, mysterious, and beautifully layered, The Last Wife of Attila the Hun is filled with lust, revenge and passion, and comes highly recommended by this reviewer. If you’re a historical fiction enthusiast, this is for you.
Find out more about Joan Schweighardt here. Read my interview with her on Blogcritics. Purchase the book on Amazon.

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Book Review: ‘The Crimson Calling’ by Patrick C. Greene

crimsonThe Crimson Calling by Patrick C. Greene is a suspenseful, fast-paced tale featuring a strong, bad ass heroine, and lots of non-stop action. It puts a new spin on vampire lore by combining the old myths with the modern military.

In a world where just a few hundred vampires secretly remain after the eradication of 1666, Olivia–Liv–Irons is a young woman with unusual military talents who is emotionally tortured by the loss of her child and the man she loved. One day, she is a approached by an ancient alluring vampire with a proposition she can’t refuse.

Now, it rests in her hands to save the good vampires–as well as humankind–from a sect of the evil undead who want nothing more than to rule the world on their own terms. Including turning humans into foodbags. But at the heart of this mission, there lies a secret…

Olivia is a lovable character, strong and independent, yet kind and vulnerable, the perfect combination with her bad ass attitude. There is also an array of interesting secondary characters as well as a villainess readers will love to hate. Intense and entertaining fight scenes between the immortals will satisfy fans of the military/vampire fiction sub-genre. Adding to this mix are the alluring forests and rolling hills of Eastern Europe, as well as erotic descriptions of vampire transformation.

Greene has a gritty writing style that doesn’t shy away from the nastier side of things–and language. His combat descriptions are awesome. At the same time, he does a skillful job in getting into the mind of his young and vulnerable protagonist, showing us her doubts and fears with a caring touch. The ending seems to be open to a sequel so I’m definitely looking forward to read more. Entertaining and recommended!

Find out more on Amazon.

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Book Review: ‘Luck Is Just the Beginning’ by Celeste Leon

LuckcoverthumbBased on a true story, Celeste Leon’s beautifully written debut novel is the story of a young man in 1940s Puerto Rico who wins the lottery, only to realize that, as the title states, luck is just the beginning.

Young Ramon is able to see visions, a gift he inherited from his mother. When he sees a number flash across the sky, he decides to buy a complete lottery ticket. At first, he’s thrilled to have won a fortune, for his plan is to go to college, become a dentist, and make the world a better place by helping the people of his village. But, as it turns out, money changes a lot of things—people’s intentions, expectations, desires—even one self’s, and not always for the better. Now, people approach Ramon because they want something from him, and he starts to doubt everyone, even the girl who claims to love him. Likewise, he starts doing things he later regrets.

This is the era of WWII, and in the midst of it all Ramon tries to face the challenges that threaten to destroy his life, especially a man whose envy has made Ramon his target for revenge. Overnight, all facets of Ramon’s life turn upside down—his dwindling family business, his relationship with Elsie, his dream to go to college in the States. At some point, even the police are after him.

The novel is rich with Puerto Rican flavor and historical details, and Leon writes with simplicity yet profound perception about human nature. Ramon is an endearing, utterly likable character—an honest, good-hearted man who makes mistakes yet rises above them.

Luck is Just the Beginning was honored with a Mariposa award for Best First Book in the 2016 International Latino Book Awards, and was also a finalist in the “Fiction: Multicultural” category of the 2016 International Book Awards.

Read my Blogcritics interview with the author.

Find out more about the book on Amazon or from the author’s website.

This review was originally published in Blogcritics Magazine.

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Book Review: ‘The Asset’ by Anna del Mar

The_Asset_High ResTrying to survive from a deadly past that torments her, Lia Stewart is hiding in a small Rocky Mountain town until, one day, a wounded warrior with a dog shows on her doorstep; a gravely injured SEAL with a heart and soul just as tortured as hers. Against her best judgment, she decides to help him – a kind act that may cost her life.

The Asset by Anna del Mar is an emotionally compelling and sizzling romance, has two protagonists to die for, a well-thought out plot with carefully-timed, revealing twists, mounting tension, and thrills that will keep you turning pages.

From the beginning, I was hooked with the story and mystery. I was also impressed with the quality of the writing and the emotionally compelling aspect of the romance as it evolved between Lia and Ash. The backstory was deftly handled by this promising author. Bits and pieces of information about the characters and their stories bring one to light as the story progresses. Each new revelation seems to be more important then the previous one and adds to the novel’s sense of impending danger as it approaches the climax.

Aside from the lead characters there is also a lethal antagonist and an adorable German shepherd in the mix. While the former is of course important to the plot line, the latter gives the story, and readers, needed breaks from the tension.

Anna del Mar is an exciting new name in the steamy romance genre and I look forward to reading more from her. If you love romance, especially military romance, this is a must read!

Read my interview with the author on Blogcritics.

Cover art credit: Carina Press/HarperCollins. Published with permission from the author. 

My review was originally published in Blogcritics.

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Review: ‘Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters’ by Donna McDine

deeTitle: Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters

Genre: children’s

Author: Donna McDine

Websitewww.donnamcdine.com

Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc.

Purchase linkwww.donnamcdine.com and Guardian Angel Publishing and Amazon

About the Book: The anxiety of finding one’s own place and friends in kindergarten without the comfort of having her fraternal twin sister nearby at first overwhelms Dee until she realizes even without her fraternal twin sister, Dee and her classmates for the most part are in the same boat.

My thoughts:

This is a super cute picture book about two twin sisters, Dee and Deb, who go to kindergarden for the very first time. The story focuses on Dee. She’s anxious about being separated from Deb, as they go on their separate classrooms. However, Dee soon finds out that mostly all of the other kids in her class have the same worries she has, and she ends up making a very good friend, soon realizing that she can have other friends besides her twin sister Deb. The little girls are adorable. This is a very simple story written for ages 3-6. If you have twins in your family who are soon attending school, this is the perfect book to read to them and discuss first day jitters and separating issues. Recommended!

donnaAbout the Author:

About the Author: Multi award-winning children’s author, Donna McDine’s creative side laid dormant for many years until her desire to write sparked in 2007. Her latest release Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters joins the four early reader children’s picture books, A Sandy Grave(January 2014), Powder Monkey (May 2013), Hockey Agony (January 2013) and The Golden Pathway (August 2010) all with Guardian Angel Publishing. Join McDine as her adventures continue as she ignites the curiosity of children through reading. She writes and moms from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI.

Connect with Donna on the Web!

www.donnamcdine.com

www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/DonnaMcDineAuthorhttps://twitter.com/dmcdine

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Book Review: ‘Christmas Romance 2015 – Places to See Series’

Christmas Romance 2015If you’re a fan of romantic stories and you love traveling and being transported to other countries, curl up in front of the fireplace these holidays with Christmas Romance 2015 – Places to See Series.

Now available as a box set, this uplifting collection is made of four interrelated stories about four women who encounter unexpected love during Christmas in the countries of their dreams. Friends and co-workers Aubri, Paget, Erika, and Jade work as buyers for Simon’s Department Store. Their boss and “surrogate” father, Mr. Simon, having lost his daughter and believing that life is too short, decides to send his four favorite employees on their dream trips, all expenses paid.

The collection includes:

“Kisses and Strudel: Christmas Romance – Germany,” by Jennifer Conner

“In Love with Paris: Christmas Romance – France,” by Sharon Kleve

“Christmas in Tuscany: Christmas Romance – Italy,” by Angela Ford

“Twice as Nice Christmas: Christmas Romance – Bulgaria,” by Natalie-Nicole

Four stories to warm up the hearts of romance readers, Christmas Romance – Places to See features four lovable heroines, four to-die-for heros, and last but not least, four settings that sparkle to life with all their sights and sounds. Each tale is a delicious piece of chocolate to devour in one sitting. Christmas Romance is a light, upbeat, fast read and perfect for this time of the year.

My review originally appeared in Blogcritics

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