Friday, June 29, 2012

Through the Shadows by Gloria Teague

Published: April 1, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Tori is a fledgling writer looking for her big break. She has poured her heart and soul into creating her fictional worlds, but has a special place in her heart for her character Avery, a womanizing cad that she can't help but love. Due to her dedication and complete lack of ability to nurture her real life relationships, Tori experiences a painful divorce. But no matter how alone Tori may feel, she is anything but, for the very man who is the source of her ruin is about to become her salvation.

I had high hopes for this story. The description drew me right in, but it was clear from the get-go that it was going to be a tough read. There was just too much wrong to dismiss.

Despite what the description says about Tori's husband being jealous of the character she had created in her book, I didn't get that impression. I'm not even sure it was mentioned, actually. I'm not positive on the time frame, but I am fairly certain it's been about five years since the divorce and all I get from Tori is that she suffers from extensive writer's block, not that she is aching over love lost. But when her ex calls her up out of the blue, which bothered me immensely (why would he call her?), to inform her that he was remarrying and about to become a father, I just found it out of place and a convenient excuse to push her into depression and to further Avery's transition into reality.

Another problem is Avery's existence. It is only (somewhat) explained nearest the end. I gathered that Tori has been working on this novel for ages, and he has been watching her for nearly as long through dreamscapes and such. So just how long has this been going on, and why?

Tori fell pretty flat to me. I actually didn't like her much. I found her to be pretty annoying with her constant self-talk and mental jabbering. I understand that she was alone in her world and all that, but it became more an annoyance than an endearment. Her interaction with her mother were very unrealistic to me, and had she used the term "mommy" I wouldn't have been surprised. Thankfully, she did not. Also, her relationship with her agent was kind of strange and didn't strike me as deeply as it was meant to.

Tori's insistence that her mother and agent not interfere in her love life was also a source of aggravation. The two women were like twenty-somethings running around having drinks and scoping the scene for men, and the minute they decide it's time to set Tori up, she complies without argument. The date she is set up on is actually pretty nice and I got a warm feeling from Roger (the date). He seemed pleasant and charming and genuinely interested in getting to know Tori, but by the second date, he has done a complete 360 and was crude and bordering on being a rapist. It was almost like a snap decision had been made here. As if the author wanted to shake up the storyline to achieve the ending she was going for, rather than take the longer, more logical route and have Roger become a possible love interest that Avery would have to contend with. To me, it just didn't work well.

The only attachment I held to any character was Avery, which was actually quite well-developed and likeable. The writing here was descriptive and the thoughts and feelings Avery conveyed made him come alive in a way that none of the other characters did. Unfortunately, these qualities made Avery's part a bit of a departure from the rest of the story, almost like there were two stories smooshed together. The writing styles were so different, they just didn't mesh.

Overall, this could have been much better. The idea was great, the execution needs some work. I was trudging through the first quarter of the book, and the only thing that really held my attention was Avery's portion. However, the many questions this left me with and some of the unexplained things that I've already mentioned, really hurt my opinion of it. I give this story three stars because I appreciate the effort that went into it, and it isn't an altogether bad story. The problem is that, even though I think I understand what the author was shooting for, I shouldn't have to interpret it. It should be fairly plain and straightforward to avoid guessing games.

 Through the Shadows can be found on Amazon for $2.99 here.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kobo- The Latest Self-Publishing Authority

Okay, so we have all heard of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, etc. and recognize them as leading entities in the publishing world, especially for those who are self-published, like me. But I'll be that not everyone has heard of Kobo. 

Now, I have been watching this since early this year, and have come to the conclusion that this is something to watch out for. Based in Toronto, Kobo has been making a footprint in the online community with a strong presence in popular iPad, iPod, Blackberry (and the list goes on!) applications. Kobo even has it's own line of ereaders, including the Kobo Touch and the Kobo Vox, giving Amazon's Kindle and Noble's Nook a little healthy competition, in my humble opinion. 

Kobo is slated to launch its publishing program for authors like you and me sometime around the end of June, giving us all something to think on. For instance, Amazon's Prime program demands fealty for authors who choose to sign up for it, allowing Prime members to "borrow" their books from the Amazon library. Now, I had a few good sales through this channel, but it was nothing to write home about. There too, Amazon's KDP program requires the same loyalty, locking author's into a single selling platform and potentially stunting sales as a result. Many of us who have signed on to this are not able to use places like Noble and Smashwords anymore. A plus for Amazon: you can schedule free sales that draw in potential readers. This is a fantastic opportunity, but again, it has its drawbacks. Sure, people scoop your books up by the armful, but do they ever get around to reading it, or is it falling into the pile of endless other books resigned to the same fate? 

Kobo does it different. 

Kobo doesn't pretend to be the one and only true platform for authors or demand that you bow down and kiss its feet and swear never to leave its side for fear of retribution. Instead, Kobo says do what you will! They're your works of art. We are just happy to assist. You also earn 10% higher royalties, and at the end of the day, who doesn't love having more money in their pockets?

My conclusion: Maybe Kobo is worth taking a chance on. Maybe it's worth losing perks, like free days on KDP and borrowing features on Prime. Perhaps traveling down a new, unproven path will result in unimaginable wonders. Time will only tell, but when the time comes, you can count on this girl jumping in with both feet. 

What will you do?

If you want to learn more about Kobo Writing Life, you can check it out here. And while you're there, be sure to sign up so you can be notified the moment it launches.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review of Enemies and Playmates by Darcia Helle

Title: Enemies and Playmates
Published: June 8, 2009
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Lauren Covington leads the perfect life, with the perfect parents. They live in the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood with great friends. Perfect. Only it's all a perfectly crafted lie to hide what happens behind closed doors.

Alex Convington, Lauren's father, is a brutal man who rules with an iron fist. He has everyone under his control. His family lives in fear of his wrath. Her mother suffers constant physical abuse at his hand, her brother suffers from severe mental abuse that is leading him down a path of self-destruction, and Lauren has lost the ability to trust men.

Then Lauren meets Jesse. He is everything she could ever dream of in the perfect guy: strong, tall, handsome, confident. And it scares the hell out of her. An instant, mutual attraction that quickly turns to love brings them together, but her father threatens to tear them apart.

Jesse, who once worked for Alex Covington, no longer wants to do his bidding. He's called it quits, but Alex doesn't let go of his possessions easily. Alex wants Jesse on his side, and if he can't have him, then Jesse would best serve him buried six feet under. Now, Jesse has to find a way to bring Alex's reign of terror down before he finds himself on the wrong side of a bullet.

This story moved at a steady pace, but felt a bit too long for me. I think it could have been condensed and been all the better for it. The main thing that kept me reading was the desire to see Alex Covington pay for his crimes. He was a deliciously detestable character, and probably the most interesting one, aside from his son.

I found Jesse to be a pretty strong voice, too, but the constant idiocy in which he just seemed to "forget" to watch his back, even though he knew full well Conington's men were out to kill him, had me shaking me head numerous times. Jesse constantly walked into glaringly dangerous situations as if he had no sense of self-preservation, got his butt handed to him and walked into a similar situation before the bruises even had a chance to heal. Similarly, Lauren kept putting herself in her father's path, thinking that, although he had beaten his wife right in from of her, slapped her brother around and berated him into a truly sad outcome, and she knew he had people knocked off before, that she was somehow beyond his wrath. How blind could she possibly be?

I finished this story because it does have that illusive something that keeps you wanting to know what happens next. Granted, it takes awhile to get there, but eventually it does. I found the entire scheme Jesse cooked up to be solid and, sometimes, brilliant, but, as I said, it took far too long to get there. The sheer intricacy of the plot, how many people were involved, the lengths they went to to cover their tracks, was definitely well thought out, which is something I can very much appreciate.

Overall, this was a decent read. I would recommend it for those who like a smidgen of romance heaped with a whole lot of sinister and a sprinkling of melancholy.

Playmates and Enemies is currently available for purchase on Amazon for FREE

Monday, June 11, 2012

Review of Sin Undone by Larissa Ione

Another winner! If you haven't tried the Demonica series yet, you don't know what you're missing! Here is a rundown of the 6th book in what I consider to be a fantastic series. 

Due to some fluke of her breeding, Sin is the first--and only--Seminus demon to be born female. Like her brother, Lore, she has lead a harsh life full of hurt, sorrow, and loneliness. Her mother didn't love her, her grandparents died, and her brother left, convincing Sin that eventually, everyone leaves. Stealing herself against all emotions, she never lets anyone get close enough to hurt her. After falling victim to the demon world and her Seminus blood, Sin eventually finds herself playing the role of assassin. And she's good. Maybe too good.

Part of an anomaly, Sin is capable of infecting her victims with a disease unique to them, but after a hit gone bad, Sin finds out that the infection she spread has gone out of control, and now the entire warg population is in danger of extinction. Now, the Council is out to get her, her assassins want her dead, and the world is about to go to pot.

Con, a half-vampire, half-werewolf, had been put in a precarious situation. After a recent hook-up with Sin, he finds out that she is not only the sister to some of the most powerful Seminus demons he knows, but is also the cause of the deadly plague wiping out his friends and family. When he is charged with bringing her in for judgement, and probable execution, he has a decision to make: bring her in, or keep her safe until a cure can be found.

I'm not going to say this was my favorite of the Demonica series, but I will say it was pretty darn lovely. I enjoyed the steamy connection between Con and Sin, and I even enjoyed the detailed explanations about the virus and the warg communities. I think what I liked the most was the raw, intensely honest emotion that was wrung from these characters. It can be difficult to capture emotion in a character, but the author did exactly that--in spades. Overall, the romance that slowly developed was believable and heartwarming, but certain aspects of the story caught my attention even more. Example: I really liked the side story of Luc and Kar. I wanted so much more of that, to delve deeper into their history, but it was pretty well wrapped up, so I am sure that will never happen. Also I really liked the appearance of the Horsemen. Since I was first introduced to Ione's stories via the Horsemen series, I am well-acquainted with them, and I feel like they added a great twist to the story and direction for the sister series, which is already well underway.

I haven't looked into whether or not there will be more to the Demonica series, but I really, really hope there will be. I love all the characters and their history, and even though I will be fine following on the heels of those delicious horsemen, I want to see more of Sin, Eidolon, Lore, and, especially, Wraith.

I give this book 4 Stars! 

Want a copy for yourself? Pick it up here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Warrior's Betrayal Round-Up

We're getting down to the wire! It's hard to believe that A Warrior's Betrayal is just two short months away from being released. I am working hard to get all the kinks worked out and my head on straight so I can finish it on time, and I hope that I don't disappoint you guys.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Let's back it up a bit.

As some of you may have noticed, I am diligently working on a few projects, namely my upcoming novel Spring Cleaning, which is my first women's fiction. It's coming along nicely, we're about halfway there, and the cover has just been finished. Some of you, who are members on Goodreads, may have already seen it, but for those of you who haven't, take a look!

I expect for this title to be out sometime in August, shortly--very shortly--before the release of Warrior...

So, now that you know what I have been working on lately, it's time to get back to business and answer some questions you may have.

What's A Warrior's Betrayal?

This is book #2 in the Brotherhood series. In this edition, Behr is tasked with caring for a distraught Cheyenne after Erias's disappearance into the underworld (the infamous cliffhanger that so many of my readers were furious over!). There will be many exciting things happening in this edition, to which I hope to please you all...but not too much! I do love my cliffhangers, after all!

What's to come

As the date gets closer, expect to see freebies galore in the form of giveaways and Amazon discount days. Don't worry, I will keep you posted! I hope you all will join in and help me celebrate these new releases.


If you are familiar with Kindlegraph, then you already know you can request a FREE autograph here.

I think that about covers it for now. I am so excited to get these stories finished and out to you, my readers. As always, I love your feedback and without you, none of this would be possible. See you at the finish line!

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