High Five to all the Vets out there! A review of Surrender to the Cyborgs by @LuvGraceGoodwin

Surrender to the Cyborgs (Ebook) by Grace Goodwin  Okay, yes, this book is exactly what it sounds like. I purposely read across genres absorbing different styles, deciding what I like and don’t like. Recently, I went on a binge of alien-centered books like this to see if any of them could crawl out of the depths of your typical loosely edited, “spit it out quick and don’t think much about plot” alien erotica. In this genre, you can’t even trust reviews for the most part, because the reader isn’t always that discerning. However, I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a single author out there who cared about craft. So I kept looking, and looking and abandoning, and abandoning… I was about to give up when I came across Surrender to the Cyborgs. (I think I saw it on a Bookbub ad, but I’m not sure anymore.)

Anyway, this book will slap you upside the face with sex on the first page (which was almost enough for me to throw this one in the pile with the others) But then I realized that the author was appeasing the typical erotic reader with ‘what they wanted’ right off the bat, because she was about to feed them something they were not used to… an actual well-plotted, well-rounded story.

Now, hold on, I’m not saying this is rocket science, but what this author gives us, which is normally lacking in the genre, are actual, real, distinct characters. They each have their own stories, their own hurts, their own reasons for being. And right around where most erotic stories end, because we’ve seen our three-to-five required very graphic sex scenes, this story continues with a shocking event that (gasp!) has nothing to do with sex!

This is when we see the main character shine as a hero in her own right, using her backstory to help solve a crime and better the lives of others. There is also a great message (not at all subtle) in this story that we should honor our vets. That gets an extra star in my book for theme alone.

So, as far as erotic goes, I give this an enthusiastic thumbs up. No, this will not contend for novel of the year, nor would it stand up against mainstream non-erotic books, but I see this as a shining star in a genre not really known for its quality. I’m very interested in seeing where this author takes her storytelling abilities in the future, because she’s definitely setting the bar higher than most of her counterparts.

ADULTS ONLY! (And this made me blush A LOT)

(And, umm, no, I am not posting the cover that makes me blush. Look it up online if you want to see it.)

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Crawling out of the pit of despair. A review of NIGHTINGALE by @JocelynAdams

Nightingale by Jocelyn Adams (Ebook) I am a pretty big Jocelyn Adams fan, and while this is not my favorite book by her, I think it will stand out as an ambitious, thought-provoking effort to those who enjoy deep themes and slow-36359941burn romance.

Micah is a rich former playboy who has been brutally disfigured after being held captive by a Columbian drug lord. Darcy is an ambitious reporter who nails the interview of a lifetime when Micah finally agrees to reveal what happened, and how he and a small group of captives escaped. She finds herself falling for Micah over the week-long interview, and ends up questioning which is more important to her… printing a story that rockets her to fame, or protecting the secrets of a man who used the horror of an unthinkable experience to refocus and devote his resources to saving people’s lives.

I really liked how Darcy didn’t take the easy way out and sleep with him right off the bat to get him to talk. I enjoyed watching them get to know each other, and how their very different lives had so many similarities that I could actually believe they would fall for each other despite the class lines.

There’s not really anything to complain about here. If you enjoy a more realistic romance, where people take the time to fall in love before falling into the sheets, this book should be a winner for you.

There’s one of these Raffle-Copter things associated with this book’s release. Here it is if you are the contest-type. $25 Gift Card up for grabs.

Rafflecopter linky-thing

Catch you later!

Gearing up for a Hot Pursuit – A review of Julie Ann Walker’s latest Black Knights book

Hot Pursuit by Julie Ann Walker (Ebook) This book is part of the Black Knights series, where a team of ex-military guys are undercover in a motorcycle shop, and actually working for the president as independent contractors. The 31676242books are all self-contained, but interwoven with the same characters. Each book centers on not only a special op, but on the romance between one of the operatives, and a girl we’ve either seen in other books, or one that just pops up. For several books, we’ve been watching Ex-UK special OPS Christian Watson spar against Emily, the office manager. (Kind of annoyingly so, IMO) Hot Pursuit is their story.

I had a little trouble with this one, because while Christian has been a favorite character of mine through these books, Emily has always annoyed me. While I knew this matching was inevitable, I guess I hoped he’d find someone else. By the end, I must admit, I’d grown a little fonder of Emily, but I’m wondering if the story being about her is what stopped me from getting completely engrossed.

Also, this special Ops part of the story fell very flat for me. While most of the books made sense, I felt like this one was forced. I completely understand the story, what happened and why (I don’t want to spoil it) but for the first time in a Walker novel, I found myself rolling my eyes at the action-part of the novel. I guess I just didn’t buy the bad guys or their reasons for doing what they did. I suppose when you’re writing a series that is as long as The Black Knights you’re going to throw a ground ball once in a while. I just wish it wasn’t in Christian’s story.

Then again, I’d have to admit that my bar was set pretty high where Christian is concerned, so that might have a lot to do with it as well. We still see the great writing, wonderful flow and super-readability that I expect from Walker. I’m looking forward to the main plotline picking up again in the next book to re-hook me with Black-Knight goodness.

Beyond Thunderdome-Creating a world inside a futuristic Dome

Today we’re welcoming Melanie McFarlane, talking about building her futuristic world inside a dome. Giveaway at the end of the post. Woohoo!

Hi there, Mel!  Which did you come up with first, the characters for your story, or did the world come first and then the characters?

When I wrote There Once Were Stars, the world came to me fast and furious. I wrote my first draft in three months.

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I had always wanted to write a story about people who lived in a domed city, because of radiation from a nuclear war. But it wasn’t until I was watching The Walking Dead that I realized I wanted the story to be about people trying to survive after a global pandemic. From there the character of Natalie Greyes developed. I needed someone sweet, yet broken by the system – which is where the idea of the death of her parents developed. But I also needed her to be so innocent and naïve that the thought of a rebellion from inside the safety of a dome was a challenge to her. I tried to give her the personal stakes, similar to Katniss in the Hunger Games, but without the inborn survival skills.

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When it came to developing the dome, I researched biodomes, ventilation systems, and basic engineering. I stayed away from writing any hard science, and let my imagination take over from there. To do this I focused on three things, making them important to the plot – the exterior had to be able to withstand a nuclear war, the Outer Forest needed to exist inside the Continue reading

An interesting look into the future. A review of 1984 by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell (Audiobook) I’m not much for classics, because they tend to drag on and not get to the point (in my opinion). Love or hate them, you have to admit that the style of writing has changed drastically throughout the years. 264196Anyway… when my 16 year old son was assigned 1984 as required summer reading, I decided to give it a try so we could discuss it. Overall, I was not as bored with 1984 as I have been with other classics. It was very interesting; being that this was published in 1949, what George Orwell thought the world would be like 35 years into his future. What is chilling about this novel is that although 1984 did not look much like his future, there is an awful lot going on 264196today that could easily lead to a future like this. True, that I don’t think society could ever be as broken down as depicted in this novel, but there are tiny changes in the current world political climate that if not curbed, could lead in this direction. Overall, the book was quite interesting, but I do admit there were several places where I thought “get on with it” and I skipped big hunks of pages and poor Winston was still thinking about the exact same thing. This book could easily have been a novella and it would have had the same emotional impact. (In my personal opinion, I know others may like this type of writing)

What’s your writing nemesis? And Win a Kindle Fire!

Today we’re chatting with author J. Keller Ford, who’s celebrating the release for book 2 of her Dragon King series.

25721483If you’d like to see my son’s review of Book on, In the Shadow of the Dragon King, click here.

Welcome back Jenny! My son is grumbling that he can’t start Rage of the Dragon King because he has too much schoolwork.

Aww, poor kid. But school comes before dragons!

Yup, always! So, while you’re here, can you talk a but about what keeps you from writing? You know, like a writing nemesis?

Oh, wow, Jennifer, what a great question, and such an easy one to answer. In a nutshell, my writing nemesis is myself.

36062252I am such an insecure person it’s not even funny. I never think I’m good enough at anything I do. There is always a better mom, a better wife, a better friend, a better writer. Sometimes I feel you could put me next to another person and we could write the same exact story, yet his/hers would become a best seller, and mine would end up at the bottom of a kitty litter box. Sometimes, I get so down and depressed, I think “Why try?” So, I don’t. I go into shutdown mode, and the story sits there and waits. Sometimes its days; other times its weeks or months before I decide to get back to work. My own self-doubt can be so crippling at times that I wonder how I ever completed three novels.

I’m not sure what it is that kicks in that sends me back to the writing cave. Maybe it’s my inability to leave anything unfinished. Maybe I do it because I know others are counting on me to do what I said I was going to do. Sometimes, I return because I think whatever I’m writing isn’t too bad. In truth, I think it’s a little of all three.

36062252I’m getting better (I think), at least, I’m trying to. I really need to stop comparing myself to other authors and be happy with the author that I am. I mean, not many people can say they’ve been published at least five times. That’s an accomplishment, right? I suppose I need to get out of my own way and be happy with the successes I’ve had, instead of dwelling on those I wish I had. It’s easier said than done, but I’m evolving. Maybe someday, I’ll break free from the chrysalis I’ve placed around myself, spread my wings, and fly. Sounds like a plan, eh? J I mean, who knows. I could be a best-selling author someday. It could happen. Maybe.

Thank you for having me today, Jennifer. It’s always an honor to sit and chat with you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Giveaway! One lucky reader will win a Kindle Fire! Click here to enter!

About Rage of the Dragon King

David and Charlotte paid their dues. They traveled to another realm, battled the Dragon King, recovered the all important magic key to the mage tunnels, and found the heir to the throne of Hirth, as promised. Now it’s time to go home. There’s just one problem: the powerful crystals needed to activate the tunnels have been stolen…and David’s parents have mysteriously disappeared along with them. Guess who’s not going home to Havendale anytime soon.

36062252Eric Hamden, squire extraordinaire, survived the poisonous knick of a shadowmorth’s blade, rescued the king of Hirth from the bowels of the dragon’s lair, and confronted a heartbreaking betrayal that nearly got him killed. Still reeling from the news, Eric sets his sights on a daring rescue only to wind up in a prison of his own with David and Charlotte at his side. But rescues come in strange ways, and before they know it, the three end up in David’s hometown of Havendale…and Eric gets a quick schooling in Modern Life 101. He’d rather fight a dragon.

With secrets, lies and betrayals meeting them at every turn, David, Charlotte and Eric soon discover that Havendale isn’t the sanctuary they’d hoped for. Even their best-laid plans can’t prepare them for the danger that stalks them. This time, no amount of magic or prayers can save them. War has been declared, and in the final battle, someone must make the ultimate sacrifice. Let the battle begin.

Goodreads  | Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N |TBD | iBooks

About J Keller Ford

J. Keller Ford (known to all as Jenny) is a scribbler of Young Adult and New Adult speculative fiction. As a young Army brat, she traveled the world and wandered the halls of some of Germany’s most extraordinary castles in hopes of finding snarky dragons, chivalrous knights and wondrous magic that permeated her imagination. What she found remains etched in her topsy-turvy mind and oozes out in sweeping tales of courage, sacrifice, honor and everlasting love.

When not torturing her keyboard or trying to silence the voices in her head, Jenny spends time collecting seashells, bowling, swimming, screaming on roller coasters and traveling. Jenny is a mom to four magnificent and noble offspring, and currently lives in paradise on the west coast of Florida with a quirky knight who was silly enough to marry her, and a menagerie of royal pets. Published works include short stories, The Amulet of Ormisez, Dragon Flight, and The Passing of Millie Hudson. IN THE SHADOW OF THE DRAGON KING is her debut novel and the first installment in the Chronicles of Fallhollow Trilogy.

I can’t get enough of those Merrick Brothers. A review of Spirit by @BrigidKemmerer

Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer (Audiobook) This is book three of the Elemental Series, a story about a family of brothers with the powers of the 13494365elements, and the people who keep coming to try to kill them. Hunter is introduced in book one as one of the people coming to kill the brothers, so I was a bit surprised to see him in his own book, but the author makes it work, and delivers a well-rounded, deep character that you could understand— even if you want to smack him upside the head for being stupid and annoying most of the time.

The real shining star in this book is Michael, the oldest brother, who is struggling to raise his three high-school aged brothers on his own (while people are always trying to kill them). Now he’s faced with another troubled teenage boy who Michael wants to help, but he needs to be wary of, because this dude was trying to kill them all in the first book. Checking ahead, Michael gets his own book in book five, so I’m suddenly very interested in getting there, but cautious, because the book’s name is “Sacrifice”. Nooooo! Anyway, the next book is about the third younger brother, and I’m totally looking forward to it.

OOO! OOO! I wanna play with the sticky Goo! A Review of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen @scott_thought

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (Ebook)

Omigosh! This book was such a great surprise! This was like The Hunger Games in outer space… A group of low-income teenagers are recruited for a job on another planet. The voyage will take a long time, and they will be trained along the way. They and their family are 27426044going to get paid a TON of money for these kids working this job. But there is a catch… they will be trained during the flight to the other planet. Each day they will receive a score. There are twelve kids, but only ten get the job. The lowest two go home. (I may have gotten the numbers wrong in that synopsis, but that’s the jist of it.)

Holy cow did I enjoy this book! I loved the diverse characters, and how they interacted, and how each on was a distinct person. I was rooting for some, and booing at others, and who I was rooting for changed throughout the book. Also, every time I thought I know what was going on… BAM! Plot twist! And I mean multiple plot twists. Even when I was nearing the end, BOOM! There’s another, just in case you were getting comfy near the very end of the book.

Whew! Now, this is most definitely a book one. You do not get a complete story here, but enough of the story to make me happy. There is definitely more adventure to be had, and I am first in line to see what happens after they all XXXX on the XXXX! I mean seriously, what is XXXX going to do to XXXXX when she finds out XXXXX. Arghhhhh! So good! And easy five stars from me.


 

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You can find the Fire in the Woods series at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound | Google Play


 

Catch up with me on social media!

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Finishing a series the hard way, with Jennifer Jenkins @authorjenkins

Writing FEARLESS was extremely humbling. I knew a lot of people had high 21843172expectations for this final book in the Nameless Series and I had only four months to turn in a solid manuscript to my publisher. Usually, I like to take about 4-6 months to write a first draft of a novel. Then I usually give the book to a few trusted readers for feedback, and spend another two months editing and revising.

I managed to produce the 90,000 word first draft in just under three months, but I knew there were some serious problems with the draft. Almost like a puzzle where a few pieces don’t fit as snugly as they should. The feedback from my writers group was, in a word, devastating. Why? Well, because I agreed with the changes my group suggested, and making those changes required a major revision.

28247422Every now and then, opportunities arise in our lives that force us to do things we normally never would have thought possible. Necessity really is the mother of invention.

I scrapped about 80% of my manuscript and started again, but this time with only ONE MONTH to supply my publisher with a clean draft, revisions and all.

And I did what I never would have thought possible: I wrote a book in a month! All of the little plot puzzle pieces clicked together and I am so happy with the final project.

So what did I learn?

That I can do hard things. That chocolate covered almonds can sustain a person for days. Laundry is optional … and so is sleep. But mostly, I learned that we are capable of more than we may think.

Thank you so much for having me! I hope everyone enjoys FEARLESS! It really is my favorite book of the series!

About FEARLESS

32991897In  exactly twenty-three days, Gryphon will offer his life to Chief Barnabas in exchange for the lives of his best friend and mess brothers. Until then, he must keep his plans from Zo while avoiding the Wolves of the Allied Camp. But Gryphon is not the only one harboring secrets. To spare her own life, Zo has made a blood oath promising to help the Kodiak Clan free their families living as Nameless slaves. When Gryphon learns the truth — that the peaceful life he’d planned for Zo is not secure — he divulges a secret that will give the Allies the upper hand against the Ram.

Now, The Great Move is underway and a final battle between the Wolf, Ram, Kodiak and Raven cannot be stopped. Strength will be tested. Loyalties will be questioned. Alliances will form. In a world of uncertainty and danger, Zo and Gryphon may finally have what they’ve each always wanted.

_____________________________

You can get your copy of FEARLESS

at any of these great retailers

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

About Jennifer Jenkins

With my degree in History and Secondary Education, I had every intention of teaching teens to love George Washington and appreciate the finer points of ancient battle stratagem. (Seriously, I’m obsessed with ancient warfare. Weird? I know.) However, life had different plans in store when the writing began. As a proud member of Writers Cubed, and a co-founder of the Teen Author Boot Camp, I feel blessed to be able to fulfill both my ambition to work with teens as well as write Young Adult fiction.

I have three children who are experts at naming my characters, one loving, supportive husband, a dog with little-man syndrome, and three chickens (of whom I am secretly afraid).

Twitter  authorjenkins

I’m going to be in a HUGE Anthology! Check it out!

You Guyszzzzzz!

I finally have the okay to announce that my new book DRAGONMOUNT will world premier on January 9 as part of Sirens and Scales!

Sirens and Scales is a huge anthology of over 20 full-length Dragon and Mermaid novels by some award-winning and USA Today Best Selling authors!

And guess what? To help get the word out, for a limited time you can get the entire collection on ebook for just $0.99!

No, that’s not a typo. It is really only $0.99.

That’s less than five cents a book!

Here’s the gorgeous cover. Can you stand it?????

You can preorder Sirens and Scales today and take advantage of the $0.99 introductory price and all the books will magically show up in your E-reader on January 9.

 

Order now on: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | iTunes | Barnes & Noble

I’ll have more on my contribution, DRAGONMOUNT in the upcoming weeks.

Here is the anthology blurb. Enjoy!

1 Collection. 26 Tales of Enchantment and Danger!  From the darkest skies to the deepest seas, dive into a breathtaking collision of mermaids, dragons, sirens, and more in SIRENS & SCALES, a unique Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Collection!
Your travels through these stories of dazzling ocean tides and the dizzying reaches of the heavens will leave you breathless. Join dragon shifters and mer-creatures for an experience of salty seafaring adventures and magnificent airborne enterprises where sky meets sea, love meets its match, and imagination has no end. With 26 full-length stories of enchanting fiction, you’ll learn the secrets of Atlantis, soar to uncharted peaks, and discover creatures of wing and fin and those who love them. Ready to set sail and catch the tide before your chance for adventure is lost forever? Then order this collection of BRAND NEW and EXCLUSIVE material from your favorite USA Today and award-winning authors before it’s gone for good!

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | iTunes | Barnes & Noble

Including material from the following authors: Kellie McAllen, Award-Winning author Pauline Creeden, RJ Blain, Graceley Knox, Starla Night, USA Today bestselling author Gaja J. Kos, A.L. Knorr, Bethany Wicker, Ivy Quinn and Midnight Voss, Award-Finalist Natasha S. Brown, Isra Sravenheart, Harper Alexander, Rone Award Nominee C.S. Moore, Tina Glasneck, Award-Winning author Carly Fall, B. Kristin McMichael, Award-Winning author Natalie G. Owens and Zee Monodee, Konstanz Silverbow, N.D. Jones, USA Today bestselling author Cate Farren, USA Today bestselling author Kelly Anne Blount, TRR Reader’s Choice Nominee Jennifer M. Eaton, Jennifer Laslie, Mindy Ruiz, USA Today bestselling author Katalina, Leon D.D. Miers & B. Crow

Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Nook | iTunes | Barnes & Noble

There you have it! I hope you are as excited as I am. I’ve been dreaming of an anthology like this since I was a little itty bitty baby author. I’m so stoked that I can offer all of you this amazing collection. I hope you love it!