Review: DAILY GRIND (Takeover #4) by Anna Zabo

daily grindDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend and have promoted her projects on my blog. However, I purchased this ebook for full price.


This novel was sweeter than the others in the series, but certainly no less hot for it. Brian and Rob go through a much more traditional meet-cute and love story, with the added twist that this is the first time Brian is going through these steps with another man. Watching his character explore new things, both in life and business, was rewarding as a reader. That’s not to say I didn’t want to smack him upside the head a few times! But the promised happily ever after is still delivered.  Continue reading

Review: DUE DILIGENCE (Takeover #3) by Anna Zabo

due diligenceDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend and have promoted her projects on my blog. However, I purchased this ebook for full price.


This next novel ties into the Takeover series by featuring one of the engineers in Sam’s new consulting firm. While it was lovely to be reunited with Eli as a secondary character, my personal favorite so far and much, much happier and more relaxed these days, Fazil stole the show with everything that made him stand out as a leading man. Zabo has not shied away from diversity in this series, and she uses it deftly and sensitively as a source of characterization and conflict. Continue reading

Review: PRISON MADE OF MIRRORS by Jennifer Loring

If that author’s name sounds familiar, it’s because I interviewed her yesterday about a completely different project! Jennifer is one of the most prolific authors I know, and I was honored to receive an advanced copy of her latest fantasy novella to review. This story debuts today, and I highly recommend snagging a copy of your own if my (spoiler-free) review intrigues you.


prison-made-of-mirrorsABOUT THE BOOK

Aithne is a warrior kidnapped from her homeland during a Viking invasion and forced to marry her captor. Shortly before the raid that claims his life, she becomes pregnant with a child whom she believes cursed. Spurred by the dark sorcery she learns from relics her late husband’s mother left behind—including a magic mirror—Aithne descends into a madness that threatens not only her child’s life but also the lives of everyone around her.

Exiled by her mother, Brenna is taken in by a clan of dwarves who treat her like their own. They soon learn that no one is immune to Aithne’s lunacy—not even the prince to whom Brenna was once betrothed. Brenna must face and conquer death itself if she is to save the land that rightfully belongs to her, and to break her mother’s terrible spell on the man she loves.

Amazon


REVIEW

Disclaimer: I have promoted this author’s projects on my blog, and I received an electronic copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

This is not a fractured fairy tell so much as a retelling of the familiar Snow White story set within the realm of a new culture and environment. The level of research Loring did for this story is stunning, and fully immersed me into the world of Vikings during their era of plundering Britannia. The realistic details of running a chieftain’s longhouse intertwined seamlessly with the larger fantasy elements of magic, werewolves, and dwarves tailored specifically for the world the author created. Continue reading

Author Interview with Jennifer Loring

Late last year I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a novella for a holiday anthology, “No One on Earth” (part of Starstruck Holidays). Today, I’m happy to revisit this sexy speculative fiction story through an interview with author Jennifer Loring.


no-one-on-earthABOUT THE BOOK

Jon, a psychic since childhood, has never felt at home in the world, even less so after his lover died on Winter Solstice a year ago. Since his abilities failed him when he needed them most, he turns to alcohol and rejects his family’s assertion that he is a Star Child—an alien/human hybrid. When Jon’s sister suggests he should look into the legend of Handsome Fellow, Jon decides that if he cannot find happiness himself, he will bring it to others.

Erukkass’ people, a species of interdimensional aliens, have been observing Earth and interacting with humans for so many centuries that some Native American tribes believe their ancestors originated from the stars. After his lover passed away in what appears to be a medical accident, he accepts a scientific mission… but not for the reasons his government expects. He has located his beloved on another timeline, in another universe—ours—and he will not leave without him.

Jon returns home from work one evening to find a gift of his own—a strange young man waiting for him. Erukkass unveils one stunning revelation after another, including the truth behind his lover’s death and the nature of time itself. Can he and Jon forge a future together, or will two timelines that have always intersected, no matter when or where, finally be forced to diverge?


The mixture of themes for the Starstruck Holidays anthology is pretty unique. Did you already have your story written, or did you write it specifically for the anthology call?

I wrote it specifically for the anthology. That’s not something I do very often, but the call intrigued me enough to give it a shot. Plus, I really wanted to write something about indigenous culture. It’s largely untapped aside from some of the more horror-oriented legends like the skin-walkers and the wendigo. Continue reading

Schedule for Cleveland ConCoction 2017

cleveland-concoction-2017-logo

I’m looking forward to returning to Cleveland ConCoction for my second year (March 10-12)! It’s a great mix of literary, media, gaming, and costuming focus, with something for everyone. It’s also my favorite con in terms of they way they are set up to promote authors, with an Author’s Alley where the con sets up it’s own bookshop so authors don’t have to lug their books around all weekend, and where authors can hang out and meet fans during downtime. I was so pleased to be invited back.

Let me know in the comments where you’ll be at this con so I can be sure to say hi! Or, here’s my schedule so you know where to track me down.

Friday

  • 12:00 PM: Author Perspectives on Fan Fiction
  • 9:00 PM: What is Urban Fantasy?

Saturday

  • 12:00 PM: Vampires, Werewolves, and Gods — Rewriting Legends
  • 2:00 PM: Author Showcase — Reading from the Steel Empires series, following by time for signing
  • 9:00 PM: Why Villains Matter

Sunday

  • 11:00 AM: Post Apocalypse — How Will It End?

 

Review: TAKEOVER by Anna Zabo

takeoverDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend and have promoted her projects on my blog. However, I purchased this ebook for full price.


I’ve had this book on my Kindle forever, and while had previously read and greatly enjoyed another novel by Zabo, I wasn’t sure whether my love of her urban fantasy would translate to love of real-life romance. However, I recently interviewed her on my blog and one of her answers piqued my interest. A main character from the first book in this series also shows up each of the subsequent books, and I just had to see how that happens. Continue reading

February Wrap-Up & March Goals

steel-empires-at-awp

Steel Empires classing up the joint at AWP.

Whew, this month flew by (and not just because February is a short month). While things continue to be rough and stressful in the larger scheme of things, I’m pleased with what I accomplished in my own small corner of the world, and I’m looking forward to whatever is next.

I’d also like to take a quick moment to thank all of you. I have no way to tell how many of the subscribers to this blog are here because they are fans of my writing, here to follow my book reviews and my support of other authors, or both. Earlier this month I did a two-part holiday special, giving some details and background info on two of the romantic pairings in my books. I held my breath in case of negative feedback in the case of Kane and Archer — but absolutely none came! Thank you for being awesome, being accepting, and loving my guys as much as I do.

Okay, enough mushy stuff. Let’s get to work. Continue reading

Review: THE EIGHTH by Stephanie M. Wytovich

eighthDisclaimer: The author and I share a publisher for her poetry collections and I consider her a friend. However, I purchased a hardcopy version of this novel for full price.


I hate starting reviews with “I don’t usually read this genre, but…” In this case, however, it’s 100% true. I’m not a horror reader (or viewer). It’s not my chosen form of escapism. However, I’ve been in love with Dante’s Inferno since the first time I read it in high school, and I because I’m lucky enough to know this author personally, I was intrigued by Wytovich’s version of Hell.

I could have easily devoured this book in mere hours, but I took my time in order to stop and reflect on a regular basis. Comparing The Eighth to Inferno does both books a disservice, because they both serve very different purposes. In Inferno, you shadow Dante and Plato through a sterile museum tour filled with curiosities and historical tidbits. In The Eighth, Wytovich drags you kicking and screaming in Paimon and Arazel’s wake, thrusting you into the gory trenches, forcing you to be a participant rather than a spectator. Not only is it a different view of Hell, but it’s a more visceral experience that provides its own agony and depth. Continue reading