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Archive for May, 2014

The Hanging Tree

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The Hanging Tree by Michael Phillip Cash

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Enter a world where spirits roam the earth in Michael Phillip Cash’s haunting new novella, The Hanging Tree. Set amid the eerie backdrop of Long Island, an area famously steeped in old legend, two young would-be lovers contemplate their future while visits from those who have come before them reveal the lure of fate…and the power of free will. At seventeen years old, Arielle’s relationship with her parents is slowly deteriorating. Angry and defiant, she is at a loss on how to cope with the tumultuous situation in which she finds herself. Arielle’s only comfort is Chad, an eighteen-year-old young man who seems to truly understand her struggles. Arielle and Chad meet beneath the low-hanging branches of what the local community has nick-named the “Hanging Tree”. An ancient and majestic landmark, it has long been rumored that the tree is haunted by ghosts. These ghosts span various centuries and vary wildly in age, but each one of them has one thing in common: their deaths are all somehow connected to the tree itself. As Arielle and Chad commiserate over their current situation and their precarious nature of their future, the spectral inhabitants of the Hanging Tree witness their conversation. One by one,the ghosts begin reminiscing about their own lives-and deaths- as they examine the inner demons with which their human forms long struggled. An eerie meditation on the oft-overlooked power of choice, Cash’s The Hanging Tree will stay with readers long after they turn out the light.

The story starts with Arielle and Chad under the “Hanging Tree” in the evening. Chad is pushing Arielle to have sex with him and she is hesitant. Arielle has had a rough home life recently with the loss of her mother and her father finding someone else to be with. So, she is trying to fight his control by going out with Chad.

But this is no ordinary tree. In it are ghosts from several generations that have been trapped by a witch that was killed on the same spot years prior. Goodie Bennett was assumed to be a witch during the puritan times because of her knowledge. He son died and she is supposed to take care of her grand daughter. But the grand daughter has fallen in love with the preacher and is trying to set Goodie Bennett up to be tested as a witch. This has lasting effects throughout time.

This is a good concept for a story. A woman is accused of being a witch for her knowledge and vows revenge. I liked how you got a teaser about the other souls in the tree. The one thing that got to me was how the story jumps around. It took me a little bit to figure out what was going on and when that part of the story was taking place.

I did like the story. It’s a quick little thriller. This is one that I recommend others read. You might like it too.

You can find The Hanging Tree on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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She Speaks to Angels (The AngelFire Chronicles – 1) by Ami Blackwelder

5 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) What if everything you believed was a lie?

A Suicide
Seventeen year old Allison Maney attends Millennium High School in Manhattan. Nothing out of the ordinary, unless you consider the occasional suicides at the school. At least that is what everyone is told, what everyone believes. But Tommy Bachelor was a popular football player; why would he jump off the roof of the school?

Dangerous Liaisons
When Dameon pays attention to Ali, she couldn’t be more excited, because for the past three months he was all she could think about. But now that Dameon is finally pining for her affections, she is becoming more and more wrapped up in a clique of three who, as new transfers to the school, are proving to be trouble. But at least Dameon loves her, doesn’t he?

Kian- a dangerous love interest she did not ask for.
Powers- belonging to an underworld she never knew existed.
A Clique- that could be friends or foes?

A Soul Purpose
The underworld of angels and demons have one thing on their mind: Earth.
Demons want to do what they want.
Angels want to protect humans from these rogue angels, AKA: Demons
For Allison Maney, everything is not exactly what it seems…

A Suspenseful Romance
Caught between Dameon and Kian, the suicide and the clique of three,
Ali won’t know who to trust…or who to love.

Alison Maney attends Millennium High, a typical high school except for a high rate of suicides. When Tommy, the popular football player jumps from the roof of the school, everyone figures it was another suicide. But Ali and her friends don’t think so and plan to figure out what is really going on.

At the same time, Ali is being pursued by two guys. Dameon is the dark guy that Ali has been thinking about nonstop for the last couple months but doesn’t seem to be the right person. Kian is the light guy that she didn’t really expect but us there to protect her. It seems they have something going on and Ali is in the middle of it with her investigation.

This is a great new take on angel stories. The writing flows so well that I couldn’t help getting drawn in and wanting more. There are great plot twists that kept me wondering where it was all going to lead from several suicides. I can’t wait to read the next one in this series.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

You can fine She Speaks to Angels on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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All For Hope

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All For Hope by Olivia Hardin

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) To protect her heart, he left her behind.

To protect her life, he’ll leave the life he’s made behind.

Sometimes the safest distance between two hearts is no distance at all…

Kidnapping a baby wasn’t something Hope ever dreamed she would do. But she’s been burned by the legal system before, so when the court places her friend’s child into the custody of an abuser, she takes matters into her own hands. She steals the baby and fakes her death, hoping to make a clean getaway. She planned every detail, except one.

Her high school sweetheart and best friend, who left her years before, sees her at a gas station. Hope thinks all is lost, until he offers to help them.

Brennan had always been the love of Hope’s life, but he never wanted to be. She knows she cannot depend on him for long. However, as each day passes, it becomes painfully obvious that she is in way over her head. She goes with him, intending to keep him always an arm’s length away to protect her heart. But being on the run together sparks the old flames that once burned between Brennan and Hope.

Families, friends, and lovers must band together to save an innocent baby and a daring woman or both of their lives will be destroyed. Together, they’ll do it All for Hope…

Hope has seen the legal system ruin lives before. So when a friend’s baby is going to be given to an abuser, she can’t stand by and let it happen. She decides to kidnap the child and fake their deaths. But she doesn’t know what she is going to do beyond that.

Brennan dated Hope years ago but decided that he would rather have a pretty, shallow girl than someone that wants to be with him for the long haul. But things have been strained with his current girlfriend. So when he sees Hope at a gas station he can’t help but talk to her and decide to help her out no matter what was going on.

They go on the run with the child and decide to visit the house that his mother left him. There they discover that he has more family than he expected. Brennan is getting the family he always wanted. But then the police catch wind of Hope and plan on catching her and giving the baby to the Grandfather.

This is not a typical topic that stories are about. But I have to say that I couldn’t wait to find out what is going on. Hope is a great, strong character. Brennan, although initially not my favorite character, I loved watching him mature.

This is a great, heart warming story with a great ending. I can’t wait to read more from Olivia Hardin.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

You can find All For Hope at Amazon and Goodreads.

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Alice Close Your Eyes by Averil Dean

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Ten years ago, someone ruined Alice Croft’s life. Now she has a chance to right that wrong–and she thinks she’s found the perfect man to carry out her plan. After watching him for weeks, she breaks into Jack Calabrese’s house to collect the evidence that will confirm her hopes. When Jack comes home unexpectedly, Alice hides in the closet, fearing for her life. But upon finding her, Jack is strangely calm, solicitous . . . and intrigued.

That night is the start of a dark and intense attraction, and soon Alice finds herself drawn into a labyrinth of terrifying surrender to a man who is more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. As their relationship spirals toward a breaking point, Alice begins to see just how deep Jack’s secrets run–and how deadly they could be.

Alice has had a rough life. After her mother and grandmother pass at an early age, she is bounced around between foster homes with various levels of abuse. Now that she is an adult, she is a famous author of a young adult series but has some bad habits. She likes to break into homes. She doesn’t take anything but wants to find peoples secrets.

Alice starts stalking Jack with the thought to get revenge on those that wronged her years earlier. Then jack catches her in his house but instead of being mad, he lets her go just to stalk her in return. They then start a dysfunctional relationship that keeps getting more violent.

I have to say that I was not expecting the story that I got from reading the back of the book. This is a very good psychological thriller. I admit that I could not bring myself to like Alice. There were times that I felt sorry for her, but overall I couldn’t really stand her. And Jack just got under my skin. I couldn’t stand him but he was a good match for Alice.

The one part that got to be was the erotica. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that. The issue was how it kept progressing more violently. I understand it in the overall aspect of the book but it was way too much for me.

This is a surprising book. There is an adequate story with lots of sex but it wasn’t a block buster for me. I do think this is a good for a first book. I will read other books by Averil. But this is going to be one of those like it or hate it books.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

You can find Alice Close Your Eyes at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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Phoenix

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Phoenix by AJ Scudiere

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Jason Mondy’s world is unraveling.

His seemingly secure job as a fire fighter is suddenly thrown into chaos. The bright spot in his week is that he rescued two children from a house fire, but he returns home that night to find all his furniture is missing. His girlfriend has left him without warning and his nightmares keep him from sleeping. Even just a simple trip home to find some rest leads his adoptive mother to sit him down and tell him that maybe his troubles aren’t quite as innocuous as they seem. Then his she divulges a secret she’s kept for over twenty-six years . . .

Jason has a brother he doesn’t remember existed.

He doesn’t remember his life before he was adopted at age seven. He only knows that he was rescued from the fire that took his birth mother’s life. But the story is deeper than that, and the foundation on which he built his world is now cracking. The brother he doesn’t remember it out there somewhere, left behind.

Armed with only this stunning new piece of information, Jason embarks on a quest to find the truths buried deep in his past. As he searches, one by one the pieces of his life fall like dominoes. And the more he uncovers, the more everything he thought he knew about himself and his past begins to turn to ash.

His truth isn’t true at all . . .

Jason is a firefighter. After a day where he rescues two boys from a fire, he comes home and finds his girlfriend left him and took everything. He decides to go see his mother and learns that the fire that in the fire that killed his birth mother, he had a brother that was rescued too. Jason doesn’t remember anything about the fire or before that. So, he goes on the hunt to find his missing brother.

I loved all the research that went into firefighters. This book is so realistic that you can easily find yourself right there with Jason. I liked Jason. You felt for him when his girlfriend left yet at other times you just want to pound his thick skull in. The more I read, the more I liked him and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

This is another great book my AJ Scudiere. I loved her other books and can’t wait for the next one to come out.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

You can find Phoenix on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.

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The Jazz Cage

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The Jazz Cage by Ray Chen Smith

4 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) Prohibition-era mobsters collide with Underground Railroad abolitionists in The Jazz Cage.

It is 1924—sixty years after the South’s victory in the Civil War.

Frank McCluey, bounty hunter for the mob, is sent to help out a wealthy Virginian bootlegger. Frank’s job: track down two female slaves who’ve run away from the millionaire.

But the mob has made a bad choice. Instead of capturing the women, Frank decides to help them escape to Canada, his mission now aided by the pint-sized but steel-willed runaway Della and the outlawed Underground Railroad.

Soon Della and Frank become the target of slave catchers, cops, gangsters, and most chilling of all, a Confederate agent nicknamed the Hound for his ability to always sniff out and kill his prey.

It is the roaring 20’s and the South won the Civil War. Frank McCluey is a bounty hunter for the mob, who is trying to control the North. Frank gets called in to catch two slaves that have run away from their Master.

Della and Cece have been abused physically and sexually but have decided to try to escape one more time. They run into Frank but instead of getting sent home, Frank decides to help them get to Canada. But they are being hunted by The Hound and it’s looking like they are not going to make it.

This book is full of history. Although the South winning the Civil War was fictional, everything else rang true. I admit that I had to look up different things while reading. I enjoyed it. It made this book more than just a read, it made you think about what is going on. I liked how there were points of view for each of the main characters. It helped to get closer to them and understand what is going on. I liked how they had a past but you don’t really learn about it right away.

This was a really good book. It’s one of those that you don’t want to miss.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

You can find The Jazz Cage on Amazon and Goodreads.

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Codename: Chimera by JK Persy

3 stars

(Excerpt from Goodreads) A famous millionaire dies under mysterious circumstances in the Brooklyn ghetto. What it was that made him go to such a dangerous place at night remains a mystery. The only clue is a book, Mythical Creatures of Ancient Greece, left on his body and opened at a page on Chimera. Private detective Kevin Kris takes on the case, helped by Penny, his trusty assistant, and Michael, his best friend. They soon uncover a chain of bloody events shrouded in mystery from the past. Little by little the private detective and his friends discover the real truth hidden by the Man With No Face.

Kevin Kris is a private detective that has been asked to look into a mysterious death. Edmund Peterson wants Kevin to check out his step mother, whom he thinks killed his father. But there is more to this story than a cut and dry murder. Morris Peterson was in the process of selling a medallion at an auction. But when his body is found a witness sees The Man With No Face and a copy of mythology is found on the body left open to the chimera page. It looks like the curse associated with the medallion has claimed another victim.

Kevin then gets his assistant, Penny, and his best friend Michael Millis to help him find out who the real murderer is. They track the medallion to London, a monastery, and a graveyard with secret tunnels all the while following the history of the medallion and the owners. How this relates to the death of Morris Peterson will surprise you.

I honestly didn’t expect what I got with this story. It has the feel of a noir detective with the smart assistant, rich friend, fancy cars, and kick butt moves. The problem I had was the story felt rough. I couldn’t really get into any of the characters and some of the stuff they did just didn’t flow.

This is a rough book. You may or may not like it but I felt it was ok. I think it could be refined and made into a great mystery. If there was a sequel I think I would read it to see how the story progresses. It was not a horrible book and it has a lot of potential.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Codename: Chimera at Barnes and Noble or check out GoodReads.

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Summoned Tour

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I am so excited to be part of this tour. This is a great story about genies, not a usual topic you find in books.

Blurb

Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Find out more at the Summoned website.

 Image of Rainy Kaye

Author Bio

Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at Rainy of the Dark and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona. When not plotting world domination, she enjoys getting lost around the globe, studying music so she can sing along with symphonic metal bands, and becoming distracted by Twitter. She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Interview with Rainy

What preconceived notions do people have about being an author?

Some people seem to think coming up with concepts is the hard part. Telling me I should write about a guy who does this one thing is not, in fact, “half the work done already”. Now I just say “Great idea!” and bust out with the plotting charts, scene outlines, and character development papers. That usually stops the little hamster in its wheel mid-spin, and I can go back to eating unhealthy amounts of chocolate and making weird faces at the monitor.

What is one piece of advice for aspiring authors?

Don’t mistake terrible writing with “voice.” I would like to elaborate on this, but that pretty much covers it. If nine of out ten people in the critique group say they have no idea what’s going on in your story, and the tenth person is fascinated with their fingernail dirt, chances are you need to pop open an energy drink and get back to work.

What process do you go through before writing?

Step 1. Do the dishes because that won’t happen again for a while.

Step 2. Stock up on caffeine like beer for a frat party.

Step 3. Apologize to the significant other that for the next few weeks, he will be known as Person Who Doesn’t Let Me Starve.

Step 4. Say farewell to the sweet bliss of sleep.

Step 5. Make an awesome playlist.

Did a character or plot in Summoned take an unexpected twist?

Silvia Walker. She started out as just a logical piece of the world building—of course the master would have an heir—but once she stepped into her first scene, it was on. He role became so fundamental to the story, I can’t believe she wasn’t part of the original outline.

How did you decide on the cover?

Ha, the cover. That’s a topic all on its own. I actually wrote a post about it, and it turned out two pages long. The short version: I tracked down the model for the concept photo, then drove my graphic designer insane until the cover was perfect. Hey, that was less than 140 characters! I knew all that Tweeting would pay off.

Cover Design: Kris Wagner https://www.facebook.com/digitalgunman

Model: Adam Jakubowski https://www.facebook.com/LadyJakubowsky

Photographer: Marcin Rychły https://www.facebook.com/karrdepl

 

My Review of Summoned

Dimitri is a jinn. Generation’s years ago his grandfather gave control to the Walker family that has been passed down for years. Karl Walker can summon Dimitri to do his bidding and the jobs seem to be coming faster and faster. The story starts with Dimitri kidnapping a little girl. Then he is sent out to kill some guy at a lecture then steel some books and burn down a laboratory.

The one night stands are about the only thing keeping him semi sane. Then he meets Sydney. He is drawn to her against his will. She is sexy, assertive, and crazy and he just can’t get her out of his head. Against his better judgment he is planning on running away with her. Reality kits home when he is ordered to kill her. There has to be more to Karl’s wishes and to survive Dimitri is going to have to put the pieces together quickly.

I really liked this book. Poor Dimitri has gotten the crappy role of the dice with his life. Being at the beck and call of a power hungry jerk is no way to live. But that is all he has besides the one night stands. He never really thought about the things that Karl had him doing but he is going to have to start. I really felt for the poor guy. But I have to say that Syd was a good character. She is part insane herself but when you find out her story you understand why.

This is a great story that sucks you in from page one. It’s weird to feel for the bad guy but that’s what you get. This is one book that you don’t want to pass up. I can’t wait to read more of Rainy Kaye’s books.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway

Make sure to check out the giveaway for Summoned.

Purchase

You can also find Summoned at Amazon.

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Email Hacked

Well, about two weeks ago I managed to have my blog email hacked. It was nice to discover that all of my sent emails from the last three years have been deleted and there is no way to recover them. Mental note, save your sent mail in another folder. Then I see that most of the blogs that I had subscribed to have deleted me from their lists.

I’m sorry if you have received a spam email from me. I just wanted to let everyone know that I have everything reset and hope no one has to deal with this one.

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