Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Visitor Review

Title:  The Visitor
Series:  The Graveyard Queen #4
Author:  Amanda Stevens
Publisher:  MIRA
Release Date:  March 29, 2016

My Rating:  4 Ominous 's

My Review of The Restorer


My name is Amelia Gray. I'm the Graveyard Queen.
Restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries is my profession, but I'm starting to believe that my true calling is deciphering the riddles of the dead. Legend has it that Kroll Cemetery is a puzzle no one has ever been able to solve. For over half a century, the answer has remained hidden within the strange headstone inscriptions and intricate engravings. Because uncovering the mystery of that tiny, remote graveyard may come at a terrible price.

Years after their mass death, Ezra Kroll's disciples lie unquiet, their tormented souls trapped within the walls of Kroll Cemetery, waiting to be released by someone strong and clever enough to solve the puzzle. For whatever reason, I'm being summoned to that graveyard by both the living and the dead. Every lead I follow, every clue I unravel brings me closer to an unlikely killer and to a destiny that will threaten my sanity and a future with my love, John Devlin.

My Review:

Like many other fans, I have waited a long time for the next installment in the Graveyard Queen series.  The creepy, surreal world created by author Amanda Stevens has both fascinated and spooked me since I read the first book in the series, The Restorer.  As the story of Amelia Gray evolved over the next couple of books, I continued to be drawn to this mysterious cemetery restorer like a moth to a flame - even as her story gave me goosebumps and sent chills down my spine.  Stevens has a beautiful, almost lyrical, way of writing that is both hypnotic and haunting.  It was with much anticipation that I opened The Visitor and stepped back into her world.

As I began reading, I was ecstatic to find Amelia and John Devlin together.  John appears to be free of the ghosts of his wife and daughter as he seems to be moving forward in a relationship with Amelia.  But it's soon obvious that something is seriously wrong.  John is withdrawn, moody, secretive, and Amanda is harboring some big secrets of her own  The distance between them grows.  While the sexual chemistry between them is explosive, the emotional connection is fading . . . something is coming between them.  What is it?  Will they stand together to figure things out or allow it to tear them apart?

Since breaking her father's rules, Amanda's life has spiraled out of control.  Her powers are evolving, drawing unwanted attention from the dark, supernatural beings that reside in the Underworld.  As she works to find answers, she learns some shocking things about her past, things about who/what she really is and what her true destiny may be . . . while also discovering the answer to an old mystery/murder that puts her life in danger.  Is Amanda's fate sealed?  Does she have the power to overcome and trap the evil entity that stalks her?  I won't say more as I don't want to let any spoilers slip . . . but I will say this story is intense, twisted, and extremely ominous.  While the story does take a bit of a turn from the first three, after finishing and reflecting on it, I realized that it actually made sense for it to play out this way - in a very spooky, twisted kind of way.

While The Visitor started out just a bit slow for me - mostly as I found my way back into this complicated, haunted world, I was soon hooked - my heart racing as I burned through the pages to get answers.  An ominous feeling of impending doom blanketed this story and me throughout - one I could not shake off as I read late into the night.  Once again, I found myself hesitant to turn off the lights, jumping at every little sound of the night.  Stevens is pure magic with setting tone, mood, and pace and sustaining it throughout a story.  While some things may not have played out exactly the way I had hoped, I could not put this book down.  The ending sets up the next book perfectly . . . as in Give it to me NOW!  A Page Burner!  A Must Read!!

My Rating:  4 Ominous 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Monday, March 14, 2016

Entangled - March Release Day Blitz!

Two new sweet romances you won't want to miss!

On sale now! Be sure to to get your copies!

About the book:

When bad weather closes the airport, free-spirited Jules Bloom finds herself stuck with the admittedly hot but total suit Dexter Elliott. One night and one large pitcher of “Vegas Sunrise” later, Jules wakes up in a hotel bed with a vicious hangover…wearing nothing but a wedding ring.

Determined not to ruin his brother's wedding, Dexter strikes a deal with the frustratingly gorgeous Jules to continue their quickie marriage through the weekend. Only she keeps getting under his skin in unexpected ways.

Jules has her own reasons for staying married to Dex but they seem less important with each exaggerated touch and staged kiss. But one marriage, one major secret, and two complete opposites don’t add up to a happily ever after…

Find it online: 

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Goodreads

About the book:

Derek Carmichael has harbored a secret crush on his best friend’s older sister for years, but she’s always been out of his reach. Now that Hannah is back in their hometown and newly single, suddenly the five-year age gap doesn’t seem so huge. But convincing her to see him as more than just the kid she used to know is another story.

Hannah Willmett can’t believe how grown-up Derek Carmichael has become. The troubled kid from her youth has turned into a sexy, successful TV celebrity, but Hannah’s wary of his player past and the rampant rumors connecting him to beautiful socialites. Still, she can’t help but give in when their attraction reaches a boiling point.

Trying to keep their fling a secret from her overprotective brother is one thing, but when Hannah finds herself unexpectedly expecting, her life is thrown upside down. She and Derek may be becoming parents together, but that’s no basis for a happily-ever-after.

Find it online:

Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Goodreads

Follow the blog tour for your chance to win an Amazon gift card

Played Book Review

Title:  Played
Series:  Elite PR #2
Author:  Clare James
Publisher:  Entangled:  Brazen
Release Date:  Oct. 19, 2015

My Rating:  3.5 Red Hot Smexy 's


Play. Or be played.

The music should be enough. End of story. But Aaron Major is finding out it's not, and now his agent has hired a firm of suits to help launch his debut album, turning his life into a goddamn circus. Smile here. Play there. Be nice. Well, screw that. If Aaron wanted to spend his time shaking hands and kissing babies, he would've gone into politics.

Helping launch the career of country singer Aaron Major should be a cakewalk for PR pro Melody Sharp. Aaron is charming, sexy, and oh-so-appealing when he's on stage. Off stage, though, he's her worst nightmare. A stubborn, ornery, reclusive nightmare without a lick of business-or fashion-sense. The only way he's going to make it in music is with a serious makeover-and quite possibly a personality transplant.

Soon, they're engaged in a game of give and take, and though it's Melody calling the shots, it's Aaron who holds all control...
My Review:
A struggling ex-country music star and a demoted PR girl - a match made in heaven, right? Since we all know things are seldom that simple, read on!  Aaron Major had a career most only dream of, but too many all-nighters - booze, parties, easy women - took its toil on both his body and his career.  After crashing and burning, he decided to step away from the limelight and take time to find himself and his music again - find out what's real and what's not.  Aaron moves in across the hall and first meets his sexy neighbor as she tries to find her keys after an all-nighter of her own - and drops her lacy panties out of her purse.  Well, isn't that intriguing?  Believing that this was the kind of woman that was part of the life he had left behind, Aaron steers clear of the temptation of Melody Sharp . . . until she finds herself locked out of her apartment for non-payment of the rent.  Aaron has no choice but to invite her into his apartment and allow her to stay a couple of nights - that turns into a few weeks.  And so, these two damaged people begin an erotic dance - swaying back and forth between physical desire and their need for something more . . . something real, something that lasts. He helps her by giving her a place to live, and she repays him by convincing the Elite PR firm where she works to take him on as a client - with her managing his PR.  And so the fun, hot sex, and array of misunderstandings begins.
Played is a hot, sexy read that also tugs on the heart strings.  I really liked Aaron as he worked to rebuild his career and came to realize that it's okay to lean on someone else, to need someone else.  I came to like Melody once she grew a pair and took charge of her own career and life.  As it turned out, these two make beautiful music together!  Played is a good, sexy, and yes, even sweet romance.  A Must Read!
My Rating:  3.5 Red Hot Smexy 's . . . And that's the truth!
Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Confessions Review

♥Title:  The Confessions - An Original Sinners Collection
♥Series:  Original Sinners
♥Author:  Tiffany Reisz
♥Release Date:  March 15, 2016
♥Publisher:  8th Circle Press

♥My Rating:  4.5 Shamelessly Sinful 's

♥First Thoughts:  Some burdens are too heavy to carry alone while others are too heavy to share.  But they say confession is good for the soul.  You're about to find out if that holds true for Soren, Nora, & Queen Tiffany!

♥Many thanks to author Tiffany Reisz for the opportunity to read & review an ARC of The Confessions.

Original Sinners Recommended Reading Order

♥My Reviews: The Siren The SaintThe Queen

*Warning:  The eight Original Sinners books should be read prior to reading The Confessions.  I highly recommend this addictive, mind-blowing series.

**The Confessions is not a full length novel.  It is a collection of two confessions and an interview with author, Tiffany Reisz.  It also includes a section of fun facts about Marcus Stearns aka Soren.  A Must Read!

Tiffany Reisz is the author of the highly acclaimed series The Original Sinners. Her first novel, The Siren, won the RT Book Reviews Editor's Choice Award for Best Erotic Romance of 2012. Slightly shameless, Tiffany dropped out of a conservative Southern seminary in order to pursue a career as a writer. This move, while possibly putting her eternal salvation in peril, has worked out better than she anticipated. She lives in Oregon with her husband, author Andrew Shaffer. Find her on Twitter @tiffanyreisz.


Father Stuart Ballard has been Marcus Stearns’ confessor since the young Jesuit was only eighteen years old. He thought he’d heard every sin the boy had to confess until Marcus uttered those three fateful words: “I met Eleanor.”

So begins the 40-page “The Confession of Marcus Stearns,” a moving coda to the RITA® Award-winning Original Sinners series. Originally published as a limited-edition paperback for the 2014 RT Booklovers' Convention, and available worldwide for the first time.

This collection also includes “The Confession of Eleanor Schreiber,” a companion 36-page story written exclusively for The Confessions.

And, finally, all secrets are revealed in “The Confession of Tiffany Reisz,” an exclusive, in-depth interview.

Three Sinners. Three confessions. And all the dirty little secrets you could possibly desire…

Excerpt from The Confession of Marcus Stearns

Father Ballard sat up straighter when he sensed a presence behind him. Smiling he glanced skyward again. “Stop paying attention to us,” he whispered in his mind, a prayer God was sure to answer with a hearty “no.” Where Father Marcus Stearns was concerned, God always paid attention.
When Ballard leaned his head back, the presence behind him leaned forward.
“Six months, Marcus,” Father Ballard said, tapping his wrist as if he were checking the time. “No one goes six months without sinning.”
“Do you have time for me today?”
“I might. What’s her name?” he asked, his usual joke when another priest approached him for confession. Ballard looked back and saw Marcus had his rosary beads wrapped around his fingers. Something about the way he held them, tight and nervous, made Ballard’s blood drop a degree or two in his veins.

My Review:

If you're a fan of the Original Sinners Series like me, the excerpt/quote above will have your pulse racing, your fever spiking, and your libido rising.  Why?  Because we're about to listen in on the darkest, sinful secrets of Marcus Stearns - Father Stearns - aka Soren.  Yes, Queen Tiffany has spun her magic again - this time giving readers an upfront and personal peek at the confessions of three sinners:  Marcus Stearns (Soren), Eleanor Schreiber (Nora), and the slightly wicked queen herself - Tiffany Reisz.  The vote's still out on which of the three confessions is the most sinfully shocking - but I'm betting on Queen Tiffany!  One thing's for sure - they're all heart-touchingly honest, giving readers an intimate look inside the heart and soul of each character/person as they confess their darkest sinful secrets.  There's no way to read their confessions and remain unmoved, untouched . . . they instantly brought the entire series back to life for me - a story that is revealed through all eight Original Sinners books, pages overflowing with pain, pleasure, need, desire, love, and so many secrets.  If these books and confessions don't move you, don't make you feel, you're not breathing.

In The Confessions, readers are privy to two different intimate discussions between two characters . . . 'reconciliations' - the Roman Catholic sacrament of penance, and readers are also treated to an interview/confession with author Tiffany Reisz and a bonus section of fun facts about Marcus Stearns aka Soren.  Marcus's confession occurs during the historical timeframe of the Original Sinners White Years novels The Saint and The King.  Nora's confession takes place the year before the present-day events of The Virgin and The Queen.

In The Confession of Marcus Stearns, Marcus/Soren seeks out Father Stuart Ballard to hear his confession.  Having first confessed to Father Ballard as a heart-broken eighteen year-old, Marcus/Soren trusts him with his darkest secret sins.  And now, eleven years later, the forbidden secret he shares with Father Ballard has the potential to destroy lives.  I was touched by the magnitude and possible life altering ramifications of Marcus's confession.  I was touched by the man behind the collar and by the sincerity of his need to serve and protect those he loves.  I was touched by his anguish as he comes to recognize and accept responsibility for some truths.  And, as always, I was touched by the limitless depth of his love.  I've often heard "It ain't love if it can't break your heart."  After hearing his confession, what Father Ballard fears most for Marcus is that his heart will be broken . . . again.

In The Confessions of Eleanor Schreiber, Nora seeks 'reconciliation' from Father Ballard also.  I have to say Nora's confession may have touched me the most - maybe because I discovered there's something our whip-cracking, shameless Nora fears.  A heart-touching vulnerability is exposed as she breaks down and cries - finally owning and sharing her grief with Father Ballard. What has the power to cause Nora such devastating pain?  What has bruised her soul and broken her heart?  Nora's confession brought tears to my eyes as she finally recognizes and accepts some truths about herself and the men in her life.  

The Confession of Tiffany Reisz is an interview between Tiffany Reisz and reviewer Cyndy Aleo that took place on January 22, 2016.  All I'll say is it's an eye-opening, "educational", fascinating, and yes, maybe even slightly wicked interview in which no subject is taboo.  This ole Southern girl was rendered speechless a time or two and was heard yelling "OMG" more than once after reading it twice . . . okay, three times but who's counting?  I literally felt pieces click into place (what I call "Ah Ha" moments) as I listened to the author sharing a few of her "surely that's a sin" secrets!  Tiffany is her usual witty, brilliant, fabulous, outrageous self, and I can't thank her enough for sharing the riveting, twisted, mind-blowing experience that is the Original Sinners with readers. Here's to you, Queen Tiffany!  It's been one hell of a ride and just so you know - I would definitely saddle up for more!

I'm dying to say more about each of the confessions, but I can't without revealing spoilers which this reviewer refuses to do.  I will just say - If you're a fan of the series, you're going to love this book.  If you haven't yet read all eight of the previous books, stop right now and complete the series before you read this one.  Anything as potent and addictive as the Original Sinnersincluding The Confessions, should be labeled a "drug" - illegal without a prescription.  Fortunate for readers, it's not.  If you're open to spreading your wings, stretching your boundaries and having your mind blown, read this series.  Love it or hate it, there's one thing I guarantee - you'll walk away feeling lucky to have survived the avalanche of intense emotions these books evoke . . . and you'll be begging for more!  They say confession is good for the soul. You're about to find out if that holds true for Soren, Nora, and Queen Tiffany!  The Confessions is a Page Burner!  A Must Read!

My Rating:  4.5 Shamelessly Sinful 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx
Pre-Order the Ebook:

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Archangel's Blade Review . . .

Title:  Archangel's Blade
Series:  Guild Hunter #4
Author:  Nalini Singh
Published:  May 8, 2011 by Berkley Publishing

My Rating:  5 Fang*Tastic Stars

First Thoughts:  There's nothing like peeling back the layers to discover what haunts a tortured BadBoy like Dmitri . . . learning what turned him into the seemingly heartless, brutal man he is now.  There's also nothing quite like watching a woman bring him to his knees.


The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past...but Dmitri's need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel's right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality...the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting...and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more...

My Review:  

Archangel's Blade gives readers an up-close and personal look into the life of Dmitri - vampire leader of the Seven and Raphael's right-hand man.  Cold, brutal, vicious in delving out punishment, Dmitri shows no emotion and no mercy . . . until he meets Honor, a "ghost" of the Guild Hunter she once was - now in hiding as she recovers from a brutal kidnapping & attack that lasted for over two months.  In an effort to draw her out of her shell, Sarah assigns Honor to a case working with Dmitri, a bad*ss vampire, and the sparks fly. Inexplicably drawn to the deadly vampire, Honor slowly returns to her former life as a Guild Hunter, rising out of the pit of terror and nightmares she's been living in since her attack to claim revenge on those responsible.  Voices whispering through her head haunt her with visions of something beyond the here and now with Dmitri.  They are magnetically drawn together by an undeniable sexual attraction, but is there something more?

Dmitri is attracted to Honor in a way he hasn't felt for centuries.  She stirs emotions in him that he buried one dark, mournful day long ago.  Is it possible this cold-hearted vampire actually has a heart & soul?  As Dmitri's past story unfolds, a vulnerability and soft spot is revealed as the reader learns what turned this once mortal into a vicious, vengeful vampire.  Singh does a masterful job of evoking empathy for Dmitri - a character who seemingly deserves none.

As Dmitri and Honor work the case, they slowly open up to the possibilities happening between them.  They waltz around one another as both let their guard down, daring to take a closer look at the emotional explosion igniting between them.  I loved that Honor is no wilting violet as she stands her ground with Dmitri while working to overcome her fear and reclaim her life.  Dmitri proves himself to be a worthy Hero as he unravels the case and keeps his vow to help Honor investigate and dole out vengeance to those who hurt her.

Archangel's Blade is an intense, explosive, and yet romantic addition to this series. Revealing Dmitri's heartbreaking backstory allows the reader to know the man he was before and to see the life he lost and believes he will never have again.  I fell in love with this bad alpha vampire while reading this book.  This is Dmitri and Honor's story . . . A Page Burner!  A Must Read!

My Rating:  5 Fang*Tastic 's . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

IWSG: Inspire Me!

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a community of writers who love to share ideas and encourage others.  It's a great place to express doubts and concerns as well as offer and receive tribulations and guidance from other writers. IWSG posts the first Wednesday of every month.  I think you'll find it to be a great writer's resource that's well worth your time.  Be sure to stop by and visit with some of the other IWSG writers/bloggers at IWSG Members.

The awesome co-hosts for the March 2 posting of the IWSG will be Lauren Hennessy, Lisa Buie-Collard, Lidy, Christine Rains, and Mary Aalgaard! 

What Inspires You?

Inspire:  vb. - to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration; to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence upon; to affect; to bring out or about

I think it's safe to say we're all inspired by the world around us - people, places, events.  All these things influence our daily lives in one way or the other.  But lately, I find myself wondering what inspires others to write . . . what motivates and moves a writer to put his/her words on paper.  Where does your inspiration come from?

For me, it feels like its always been there . . . always lurking beneath the surface nagging and pushing me to write.  It's a yearning, a need, an itch to be scratched less it drive me crazy.  Even during my barren writing years, I still felt an urgency - an unfulfilled need, something missing from my life.  I revel in the satisfaction of a good writing day or week however rare they may be and feel a sense of all's right in my world when I meet my writing goals.  

But that still doesn't answer my question - What inspires Me?  The short answer is Everything & Everybody!  People in all phases of my life - family, friends, neighbors, people on the News, people in the store . . . and Events - daily events, special events, events on the News, good events, horrific events . . . and Places - home, mountains, fields, woods, beaches, little towns, big cities.  All are food to feed and inspire my need to write.  

Taking it a step farther, one specific thing that inspires me to write is Music - such a powerful, mood setting, influential thing.  The right song or lyric releases waves of emotions, crashing down on me, reaching deep inside.   The power of music is both shocking and inspiring as it never fails to evoke a range of emotion that either lifts me up in laughter or weighs me down in tears . . . emotions that inspire me to write, inspire me to elicit those same emotions from my characters.

Can you identify the things that feed your need to write?  What motivates you to tap into your creative energy?  Is it a person, place, or thing?  A feeling or an instinct?  Share the things that inspire you to write.