Saturday, September 29, 2018

Prince of Dreams Review

Title:  Prince of Dreams
Series:  House of Terriot #4
Author:  Nancy Gideon
Publisher:  Nancy Gideon
Release Date:  Oct. 2, 2018
Purchase Link:  Amazon

My Rating:  4.5 Emotionally Charged Hearts

*Many thanks to the author for the opportunity to beta read this book.


Kip . . . Prince in the shapeshifter House of Terriot

He'd said he wasn't a mobster. . . She should have asked if he was a monster.

Who was this too good to be true, always ready in a crisis guy working a menial job for her father? Ophelia knew things. Something was not quite normal about the Kip Terriot hiding behind another name in lace-up dress shoes and a preppy wardrobe – something wild and exciting as all hell. A dangerous something calling to that restless difference in her own soul.

Ophelia . . . daughter of his enemy, girl of his dreams

So sassy, so sweet so perfect . . . and what he had to do would destroy her.

Kip was in New Orleans to save his clan and his kind, not to play white knight for Ophelia Brady with her quirky habits, curvy body and tormented past. His deception would rip the heart from her world, not help heal it. Was his family’s nemesis using his own daughter to make Kip the played instead of the player, pulling him between love and duty to make an impossible choice? 

A gripping, emotionally charged finale to the House of Terriot series featuring the youngest prince Kip Terriot and Ophelia Brady, the daughter of his clan's mortal enemy.  Although Prince of Dreams is the final book in the HoT series, the greater overall story arc woven throughout both the By Moonlight and H.o.T. series leaves me with hope we haven't seen the last of the Terriot princes yet.  Their ultimate fate may be written in the cards, but this fierce clan of shapeshifters won't give up until they abolish every threat . . . or they're all dead.  If you're new to either or both series, rest assured you can pick up this book and read it as a standalone without issues.  Author Nancy Gideon does a fantastic job of filling in the blanks without overwhelming readers with backstory.  Having said that, fans of paranormal romance will want to dive in at the beginning and binge all the books.

True identity unknown, shapeshifter Kip Terriot goes undercover in the Brady stronghold looking for evidence that will break the terrorizing grip Warren Brady and those from the North hold over New Orleans and Kip's clan and kind.
  There's no place in Kip's plans or life for sweet, lovely, sensitive Ophelia who saw him coming a mile away - or more accurately . . . in the cards and her dreams.  Operating on emotional overload, these two characters connect in mind, body, and soul even as each plays their own predestined hand in opposing family politics.  Phe wants to believe Kip is the white knight she's dreamed of for years, but Kip knows the ugly truth of who and what he is will destroy her, banishing all illusions of a happy-ever-after.  Kip is a prince, but he's riding a dark horse of doom on a mission for his king as he's honor bound to do whatever it takes to save his family and their people -  including wrecking life as Phe knows it.  There's a dark, deadly undercurrent of danger rippling through New Orleans, and time is quickly running out.  Lives will be forever shattered and altered.  Who will be left standing once the dust all settles?  

You'll need to strap yourself in for the wild, twisted ride and explosive climax Gideon delivers in Prince of Dreams!  From cover to cover, the intensity and air of urgency build to a fevered pitch that will keep readers burning through the pages as once missing pieces of the puzzle finally fall into place even as new questions arise.  Jaw-dropping action and explosive revelations culminate in this game changing addition to the By Moonlight series. A support cast rich in both new and past players ups the ante and changes the game rules as everything comes to a head that's guaranteed to rock readers worlds and leave them anxiously awaiting the next By Moonlight book - Rise By Moonlight!  That's right, baby . . . Max, the big dog, is back!  I say "Bring it on!"  A Must Read by an author who never fails to deliver in a big way, Prince of Dreams is another priceless gem in the crown jewels of paranormal romance that's sure to leave fans reeling and ravenous for more.

My Rating:  4.5 Emotionally Charged Hearts . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx

Monday, September 24, 2018

Picture Perfect Cowboy Review

Title:  Picture Perfect Cowboy
Series: Original Sinners #10
Author:  Tiffany Reisz
Publisher:  8th Circle Press
Release Date:  Nov. 5, 2018
Purchase Link:  Amazon

My Rating:  4 Picture Perfect Hearts

Many thanks to the author & publisher for an arc of this book.

Jason "Still" Waters' life looks perfect from the outside—money, fame, and the words "World Champion Bull- Rider" after his name. But Jason has a secret, one he never planned on telling anybody...until he meets Simone. She's the kinky girl of his dreams...and his conservative family's worst nightmare. 

Picture Perfect is a perfect blend of sweet, sexy, sassy, and naughty!  Jason "Still" Waters, former World Champion Bull Rider, now leads a quiet, lonely life on a horse farm in Kentucky.  Raised a true, conservative gentleman, he struggles to keep a tight rein on his darker desires . . . until he meets Simone, a quirky, pink-haired photographer (think naked men + calendars!) and a pro-sub and "sub" sub (think Soren!).  Simone is sweet, loving, giving, and confident in her own skin.  She knows who she is and what she wants and has no qualms about going after it.  When their paths cross at a calendar shoot, sparks fly - each recognizing something in the other that causes Jason's darker fantasies to roar to life as he considers whether he can take what he wants and still be a "good" man.  He didn't fear climbing on the back of a pissed-off bull dead set on goring him to death, but can he accept the consequences of coming out of the closet as a Dominant? Including losing his family's respect?

Picture Perfect is a story of self-awareness and acceptance of ones self - of giving yourself permission to explore your own sexuality freely without worry of condemnation by others.  The plot line isn't complicated, but it delivers an encouraging message of hope, love, and peace that comes with embracing ones inner self and finding the strength to overcome fear of adversity.  As always, Reisz delivers a story that sizzles with sexual chemistry and desire, but more than that, she opens the door to the heart and soul of these two characters and invites readers in to witness first-hand their inner struggles and turmoil.  An appearance by two of the OS masters, Soren & Nora, is sure to delight fans of the series as will the bonus short story "Flogging 101" with a lesson in flogging-done-right delivered by Soren. This is "light" erotica at its best served up with a healthy side of romance and humor!  A Must Read!

My Rating:  4 Picture Perfect Hearts . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG: Choosing A Path to Publication

 IWSG Mission Statement:  The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a website media business with affiliates to enhance our service to visitors. We are a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support. Visit IWSG to learn more about this great writing community!  

IWSG posts the first Wednesday of every month. It's a great writer's resource that I'm sure you'll find well worth your time. Be sure to stop by and visit with other IWSG Members.  

I'd like to thank September's awesome co-hosts:    Toi Thomas, 
T. Powell Coltrin,  M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!  Be sure to stop by and say hello!

September IWSG Question:  What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

Great question!  Traditional Publication vs. Self or Indie Publication or a Combo of Both - It's nice that authors have alternative choices in today's publishing world.  There are pros and cons to all routes, and we'll take a brief look at those later.  I will say I seriously doubt there are many authors who could honestly say they don't aspire to be published by one of the five publishing powerhouses, including me.  As a writer, how can you not drool over the thought of that? But the reality of receiving an acceptance from a big time publisher is about as rare as pulling hen's teeth (at least for most us mere mortals).  There are, of course, many large to mid-size to smaller presses that offer wonderful opportunities for publication for those that choose to pursue that route.  Just do your homework and beware of false advertising.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!  On the other hand, indie publication is a very attractive alternative affording authors much more creative control over their work.  

As for me, I reserve the right to choose Either or Both, and in today's publishing world that's possible.  I certainly wouldn't hesitate to pitch the right project for traditional publication while maintaining my right to self-publish other projects.  The important thing for me is having the power to make an informed choice.  While there's no guarantee of acceptance or success when querying traditional publishers, you'll never know unless you try.  The same thing can be said about self-publication as there's no guarantee of financial success once you self-publish so you might want to hang onto that day job awhile longer.  One thing's for sure - either way you choose, it's a lot of work.

Short List of Publication Pros & Cons:
Traditional Publication:
  • Validation that you're indeed "good enough"! 
  • Work with a professional team
  • No upfront publication fees
  • Eligible for literary acclaim and prizes
  • Space on bookstore shelves
  • Broader distribution

  • Slim chance of getting rich! (haha)
  • Loss of creative control and many rights to your book
  • Slow process to publication
  • Little marketing help (authors expected to have established platform)

Self or Indie Publishing:

  • Total creative control over content and design
  • Higher profit margins
  • Distribution available online reaching broad audience
  • A sense of empowerment and control of destination
  • Faster getting book to market
  • Retain all rights
  • You're on your own from beginning to end.  Beware pitfalls!
  • Start up costs can be high 
  • May need professional help which adds to costs
  • Difficult to get bookstore distribution
  • Most indie authors do not receive any validation from literary critics

As I said, this is an abbreviated list of pros & cons.  There are many books and online articles available with in-depth information to guide you on your path to publication.  One good source of information I recommend is Jane Friedman's free 2018 Key Book Publishing Paths.  Friedman breaks down the different publication options in a handy pdf chart giving the Who, How, What, and Value of each path.  It's available on her website at 2018 Key Book Publishing Paths.

So - which path to publication have you chosen?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sadie Review

Title:  Sadie
Author:  Courtney Summers
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Release Date:  Sept. 4, 2018
Purchase Link:  Amazon

My Rating:  5 Soul Searching Hearts

*Many thanks to St. Martin's Press for a copy of this book.

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial-like podcast following the clues she's left behind.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

This has been my year for discovering stunning, unique books that now occupy my 2018 Favorite's Shelf!  Once again, my gut instinct led me to a powerful story that totally encompassed me, invading my heart, mind, and soul and leaving me reeling.  I'll admit to having reservations about choosing Sadie to read because of the Young Adult label as it's a genre I can go either way with.  Let me say now that this story defies all genre labels and stands in a class of its own.  Do not let the genre deter you from reading this book!

Through nineteen year old Sadie's pov and a serial podcast called The Girls hosted by radio personality West McCray, this haunting, heartbreaking story plays out.  By alternating chapters, readers feel a real sense of urgency and desperation as it's soon clear time for intervening with fate is running out.  Driven by unbearable grief, guilt, and the need for revenge on the man who murdered her little sister, Sadie appears to be teetering on the edge of sanity with growing, blatant disregard for her own safety.  The story pacing and dark suspense build to an almost frantic level throughout and while I could sense a tragic catastrophe coming, I couldn't put the book down.  With my heart pounding and prayers on my lips, I read the final pages - and then sat there in a trance-like state feeling like all the air had been sucked out of the room.  It's been days now since I finished, and I still see the story playing out in my head.  It's a huge credit to the author that these characters, especially Sadie, haunt me as I hear their cries of despair, pain, and loss - begging for help stop the monsters stalking their nightmares before it's too late.

Needless to say, Sadie tackles some sensitive issues including child abuse and pedophilia.  While the individual acts are not graphically described, the devastation of lives is clearly defined by Sadie and her dark, chilling journey.  I applaud the author for lending a voice to children of abuse and encourage readers to give this book a chance.  Sadie is a raw, gritty suspense story that is brilliantly written and delivered in a powerful, unique manner.  A 2018 Favorite!  A Must Read!

My Rating:  5 Soul-Searching Hearts . . . And that's the truth!

Cross My Heart . . . xxx