#NewRelease: Black Hearts, by @MetalBlonde

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From New York Times bestselling author Karina Halle comes a BRAND NEW standalone duet that will get your pulse racing.

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into an obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

But it’s a love with tragic consequences.

Both the truth – and the lies – not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers.

And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

NOTE: BLACK HEARTS is BOOK ONE of the SINS DUET, with the sequel & conclusion, DIRTY SOULS, releasing on March 17, 2017.

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You can go grab a copy of Black Hearts from:

Amazon

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About the Author:

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Racing the Sun, Sins & Needles and over 25 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Waxman Leavell Agency and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

Find out more:

#CoverReveal: Avery, by @Chel_C_Cam

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Avery Benson is surly, fed up, and frozen in place. As the oldest Benson, his goal has been to set an example of success for his siblings to follow. He loves his job (most of the time) as a loan officer at the local bank and he’s got his sights set on moving up, but there’s something missing in his life. He’s standing still and doesn’t know what to do. And then Meredith Lee walks into his office looking for a loan to open her own yoga studio and it’s like the sun has come out from behind the clouds.

Meredith Lee is desperate, stressed, and waiting for her life to start. All she needs is a little bit of money to get Susurrus Yoga off the ground. All that’s standing in her way is securing a loan from the attractive and elusive Avery Benson. Who knew finances could be so sexy?

What starts out as a business relationship quickly turns into something else when Avery shows up at Meredith’s yoga class. He’s more than just a little distracting and it’s hard for her to focus on Savasana when all she wants to do is roll around with him on her yoga mat for a while. Avery isn’t looking for any type of relationship, and it would be highly inappropriate anyway, but sometimes, things happen…

What starts as just a physical connection deepens and Avery feels like he’s finally found what he’s been searching for. On and off the yoga mat. But will Meredith be willing to take a leap of faith and take their relationship to the next level? Or will Avery go back to being just another one of her yoga students, if that’s even possible?

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This book doesn’t release until the end of the month, but you can go grab book 1, BROOKS, right now.

Amazon

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About the Author:

Chelsea M Cameron

Chelsea M. Cameron is a YA/NA New York Times/USA Today Best Selling author from Maine. Lover of things random and ridiculous, Jane Austen/Charlotte and Emily Bronte Fangirl, red velvet cake enthusiast, obsessive tea drinker, vegetarian, former cheerleader and world’s worst video gamer. When not writing, she enjoys watching infomercials, singing in the car and tweeting. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Maine, Orono that she promptly abandoned to write about the people in her own head. More often than not, these people turn out to be just as weird as she is.

Find out more:

Story Time Friday: Returns Again…It’s Been Awhile

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It’s Friday. Its’ Story Time Friday. And none of you probably remember what that is. I just looked back at the list, and I haven’t done an STF post since last April. There were a series of Poetry Month posts meant to kickstart the STF series and that didn’t work as planned.

But STF is back, at least for this week. And it will be back for weeks to come as long as I have authors and poets who’d like to be featured here. Find out how to submit work at the end of this post or click on the image above.

How better to make a come back of a series called STORY Time Friday…than with a poem? Yea, I couldn’t work both stories and poetry into the title, so instead I just tell people “poems tell stories too, jerks!” I’ve never actually had to do that, but there’s your answer if you were wondering.

I wrote this story early in the month and it’s very rough. I borrowed a thick book of poetry from the library and since I was trying to find some more positive, happy poems for an open mic that week, I ended up having this reaction to the collection. Aside from that, it’s actually a really great collection of 20th Century poetry. I’m going to have to get myself a copy some day. Or, you know, my birthday is in October. Someone could always send me a copy 😉

Here’s that collection if you’re curious about it. I was joking about the birthday present thing. The 20th Century in Poetry. There seem to be penny copies on Amazon, so the next gift card I get, this book’s mine!

And now for my poem…

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20th Century, Ugh

by Robert Zimmermann

I picked up a book
the other day.
It was full of
poetry of the 20th century.
It turns out, it wasn’t
the greatest hundred years.

What I found within
were decades upon
decades of war.
Just when I saw
a section 
with the word
“Peace”,
I got hope.
But even in those
years, we were troubled.

Humans aren’t a peaceful
species. We’ve never
been content for long enough.
So why would it be
surprising to find the 1900s
fulfilling of our true nature?
Well, I wasn’t surprised.
I was ashamed.

As the 21st century
moves along,
keep this in mind.

Are we just doomed to
keep up this cycle?
Death, war, false senses
of an ending?

Instead, as we reach
into this new century
let’s do so with a hug
for those who need one.
With a hand, open
to help, not clenched
into a fist.
We can be happy to
make it this far,
to make a place in
the world, but to also
help out our fellow
humans.

If the darkness we’ve
kept going doesn’t stop,
why should we keep
going into the darkness?

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For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to miztrebor88@gmail.com (normally just a review email, but also for STF submission, nothing more). Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

5 Years Later, Review Repost and #Indie Week Announcement!

I wanted to repost my review of S.M. Boyce’s Lichgates today because in a few days, it’ll be five years since I first read it. Long-time readers have probably seen this review, and various other reviews and posts about Boyce’s work. She’s one of my favorite authors and I talk about her any chance I get. Today’s no different.

A post on the Black Hearts Reviews Facebook page earlier today sparked this repost. It also got me thinking that I’ve been blogging for about five years, been in the Indie publishing world for just as long, as well as how much I miss the way some things in the Indie community used to be.

Back then, in 2012, while I was getting into the vast and ever-growing Indie world, I decided to dedicate a week to those authors, readers, and books. It was called Indie Week. And this is me announcing (without much detail) the return of Indie Week in April or May of this year! I think we could all use a place to get back in touch with that community feel we used to have in the book world. I’m hoping to bring back some authors from the original Indie Week. But I really hope I discover new authors who want to get in on the fun.

More details on that will be coming in the next few weeks. But if anyone’s already interested, drop me a message and I’ll tell you what I can at this time. And here are the original Indie Week posts.

Now, after all that, here’s my review of Lichgates, the first book in what was originally intended to be The Grimoire Trilogy, and is now a four book saga (all books available, separately and as a box set)! Hope you can read the whole thing. I wrote LONG reviews in the early days. I’ve shortened them up since. And the book is currently free. So grab a copy if you want to read it. Let me know if you enjoy it.

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Lichgates Title: Lichgates (The Grimoire Saga #1)
Author: S.M. Boyce
Rating: 5/5 Stars

“The final page will leave you breathless.

When Kara Magari uncovers a secret door in the middle of the forest, she discovers (and trips through) a portal to a hidden world full of terrifying things: Ourea. She just wants to go home, but the natives have other plans for her. She clashes with immortal shapeshifters, is carried off by a dragon, nearly dies on several occasions, and somehow becomes the master of an ancient book of magic called the Grimoire. Every time she thinks she’s safe, her new “friends” show their true colors.

Kara needs an ally, or she might not survive Ourea’s monsters. She drops her guard when Braeden, a native soldier with a dark secret, vows to keep her safe. And though she doesn’t know it, her growing attraction to him may just be her undoing.

For twelve years, Braeden Drakonin has lived a lie. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. Though he begins to care for this stranded girl, there’s something he wants more. He wants the Grimoire.

Welcome to Ourea, where only the cunning survive.” (description from Goodreads)

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*Please note that since the time this review was originally published, The Grimoire Trilogy has developed into the four book The Grimoire Saga. I haven’t edited my original review to reflect this.*

The Grimoire: Lichgates is the first book in The Grimoire Trilogy. In this first book the author, S.M. Boyce, throws Kara (the main character) and the reader into an entirely new work called Ourea. To get to this world, Lichgates are necessary. They are portals linking our world to the dangerous, yet beautiful, kingdoms of Ourea. They are scattered all over both worlds and it is through one of them in the Rocky Mountains that Kara stumbles.

Upon falling into an underground library, Kara finds waiting for her an old red leather book. The book is very magical. On it is a necklace with a pendant that looks like four crescent moons configured in the shape of a four-leaf clover. This book is so magical that there are blank pages throughout, but when asked the right questions the pages flip to sections and words appear with an answer.

This book is one of Kara’s only defenses against what lies in wait for her in Ourea. Upon opening the book, she has become the center of every kingdom’s focus; she is the Vagabond. Her purpose in this strange world is to reunite the four kingdoms in peace, fulfilling the goal of the first Vagabond who died a thousand years before.

This concept really caught me from the beginning. Like I said I was hooked from reading the first chapter alone. It takes a lot to do that with most books. Part of what kept me reading was the fact that this book doesn’t wait to get the reader into the action. There is no lead in chapters, no foreshadowing, no mercy. Kara is hiking one minute and in Ourea fighting for her life the next. Every time throughout the book it seems that there will be some time to relax (for the characters and readers alike) something happens. It’s almost impossible to put this book down. Lucky for me I was able to force the book down, which allowed me to savor every experience it held; there are many.

I loved many elements of this book. First off, the setting made me want to visit Ourea. I know this is impossible (not only because it’s not a real place) because if I went there, I’d most likely die (more on that soon.) Ourea is like the worlds of most fantastical stories. It has its beautiful landscapes, luxurious castles, and even a dreary kingdom no one wants to acknowledge. Its landscapes include forests, a kingdom nestled on top of a vertigo inducing multi mile high cliff, and even a kingdom found in a magical dome on the bottom of an ocean guarded by sharks. And it’s not just the places themselves that I fell in love with, it’s the way Boyce’s words describe them. I can’t do it justice in my own words, you’ll have to take my word for it or read the book. Her words paint a picture of every aspect allowing the reader to soak in the images.

The setting wasn’t the only exciting part of the book. There are also the various creatures of the land. To mention a few there are griffins, dragons, something Kara says is similar to a squirrel, and one of my favorites a flaer named Rowthe. I liked him a lot because he’s a huge dog like creature. Of course he has a unique ability, but I’m going to let you find that one out, it’s just really cool.

The characters Kara encounters are very hard to figure out. This helps the story be what it is more than anything else. The Grimoire from the beginning warns Kara that she can’t trust anyone in Ourea. A lot of the times it seems like the characters can be figured out and trusted, but then there’s either a subtle or drastic hint to the contrary. As a reader I was always jumping to conclusions about a character only to change my opinion soon after. I’m still waiting for a character to make a turn for the worse, but we’ll see if that happens.

Kara’s journey takes the reader all over Ourea and she meets a variety of good and evil. She even has encounters with the evil King, Blood Carden. He is the father of Kara’s companion Braeden. I guess I should have mentioned him by now. Carden is the ruler of the Stele, the banished kingdom who reeks havoc on Ourea even through a banishment. Braeden, his son, escaped from his father’s kingdom twelve years earlier and has been hiding elsewhere ever since. But the ever present question in my mind was whether or not he was one to be trusted. When would the evil in his blood consume him, if at all? For most of the book I kept liking and trusting him, but wanted to keep an eye on him for Kara’s sake (not that I could have helped here, that’s just silly she’s in a book.) There is also a growing connection between Kara and the mysterious Braeden which leads to some complications in the relationship of him as protector and one of her few friends.

To wrap this up, The Grimoire: Lichgates is on my top five favorite books I have read this year and possibly in recent years. I keep reading great books so this list should be extended to at least ten. I loved the story, I loved the setting, I loved everything about this book. The only problem that I had with it is that I didn’t have the next book to read. I only hope that the day comes when I can read book two, then book three, sooner than it will.

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Want a copy of this book? You can find it on:

AmazonB&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author

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When S. M. Boyce graduated with a degree in creative writing, she realized that made her well-qualified for serving French fries. It would take years of writing hundreds of thousands of words of all kinds before she became the bestselling action and adventure author she is today.

Boyce specializes in action-packed stories that weave in fantasy, mystery, and heroines with an knack for mischief. All romantic leads are based loosely on her husband, who proves that soulmates are real. She has a deep love for ghosts, magic, and spooky things. If you’ve already finished her books, check out her blog or twitter feed for a dash of adventure.

Find out more:

Happy #ValentinesDay! Want a #free #poem?

Four years ago today, I released my poem I WOULD. It was a Valentine’s Day poem I wrote for my then girlfriend (now fiancé), but I felt the world could benefit from reading it. So I published it and made sure it was free for anyone who wanted to read it.

I don’t have anything new for you today, but I’m sure some of you may have missed this poem over the last few years. Some of you are new readers. Some may just have not seen that I Would is out there. Today may be a good day to read the poem. Or at least grab a copy!

And if you end up enjoying it enough, I want to let you in on a secret (not so much a secret since it’s in the book’s description): I Would is a bonus poem in the latest paperback editions of From Where I Stand! So if you wanted to have this one on paper, that’s the only way to get it. And you also get my debut collection along with it. Seems like a win-win to me (the unbiased author, wink). Don’t worry, the book isn’t very expensive. It’s $5.99 for a copy. It’s pretty much the lowest I can price it and still make some royalties on it…not much, but a little bit.

Find more about the poem, and how to get it free (or in print for a small fee) below. And I hope you enjoy and please spread the word!

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I Would

I Would, is a short poem that touches on the difficulties of being in a long distance relationship. Yet, with the difficulties there are always hopes of a reunion on the horizon.

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This book is ALWAYS FREE

Amazon | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

And if you wanted to buy From Where I Stand which includes I Would in print, find it here:

Createspace

(p.s. – Yes, From Where I Stand is available on Amazon, too. But if you like supporting authors, buy directly from Createspace. Royalties are a good deal more on CS than through Amazon since it’s another level of distribution on Amz. Just a heads up. No one really likes talking about that stuff, but every little bit helps us all.)

#NewRelease: My Sweet Villiantine, a collection

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MY SWEET VILLAINTINE – A VALENTINES COLLECTION OF DELICIOUS DARKNESS

Happy f*cking Valentines Day.

That’s what your favorite sexy-as-sin villain would say to you, right? And he’d probably say it with one hand around your throat and your dress bunched around your hips.

It’s doubtful that he’ll buy you flowers.

He definitely won’t serenade you.

But there’s a good chance he’ll tie you up and spank you if you ask nicely. And the only jewelry you’ll be getting? Is a pretty pearl necklace. Unless you count the rope bracelets he threads around your wrists when he straps you down and f*cks you until you forget your own name.

Leave the chocolates and the jewelry to the good guys. It’s time to go dark side this Valentines Day.

******

My Sweet Villaintine – a collection of dark tales from some of your favorite dark romance authors…

Skye Warren
T.M. Frazier
Callie Hart
Lili St. Germain
Shari Slade

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You can grab a copy of this book for FREE from the collection’s website:

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Why isn’t this available to purchase on retailers like Amazon or iBooks?

Simple – because we knew we wanted to break the rules. We wanted to bring you the darkest, most fucked-up pieces of our characters. Think dubious consent. Think bondage. Think violent delights.

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About the Authors:

Skye Warren

Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance such as the Chicago Underground series. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, two sweet dogs, and one evil cat.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

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T.M. Frazier

T.M. Frazier is a USA TODAY bestselling author. She resides in sunny Southwest Florida with her husband and her young daughter.

When she’s not writing she loves talking to her readers, country music, reading, and traveling. Her debut novel, The Dark Light of Day was published in September of 2013 and when she started writing it she intended for it to be a light beachy romance.

Well…it has a beach in it! 

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

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Callie Hart

Callie Hart is a USA Today bestselling author of dark romance novels. She is an obsessive romantic who loves throwing a dark twist into her stories. Her characters are imperfect, flawed individuals who dictate when she eats, sleeps and breathes. She loves to travel, and often pens her books when she’s on the road, drawing inspiration from her often unique and wild surroundings.

If she’s not writing, you’ll undoubtedly find her with her nose buried deep in a book, or binge watching Game of Thrones.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

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Lili St. Germain

Lili writes dark, disturbing romance. Her #1 bestselling Gypsy Brothers series was created in a serial format – quick, intense episodes released frequently with some wicked cliffhangers. The Gypsy Brothers series focuses on a morally bankrupt biker gang and the girl who seeks her vengeance upon them. The Cartel series is a prequel trilogy of full-length novels that explores the beginnings of the club, to be released in 2015 by HarperCollins.

Lili quit corporate life to focus on writing and so far is loving every minute of it. Her other loves in life include her gorgeous husband and beautiful daughter, good coffee, Tarantino movies and spending hours on Pinterest.

She loves to read almost as much as she loves to write.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

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Shari Slade

Shari Slade is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy new adult and rock star romance. She’s a snarky optimist. A would-be academic with big dreams and very little means. When she isn’t toiling away in the non-profit sector, she’s writing gritty stories about identity and people who make terrible choices in the name of love (or lust). Somehow, it all works out in the end. If she had a patronus it would be a platypus.

Frequently found in a blanket fort, you can also find her contributing at Wonkomance, on twitter, facebook, or tumblr. For new release updates, sign up for the newsletter.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Smashwords

#Review: The Toad Prince, by @NikkiJefford

once-upon-a-kissTitle: The Toad Prince (found in Once Upon a Kiss)Author: Nikki Jefford
Rating: 4/5 stars

“THE TOAD PRINCE: Isabel Ivers’s stepfather will do anything to secure his place as Far North’s new ruler, even if it means marrying her off to the depraved prince of the lowlands.

ONCE UPON A KISS: Seventeen all new, magical stories from NY Times and USA Todaybestsellers and award-winning authors that will warm even the coldest hearts. Inspired by old favorites as well as lesser-known tales, find retellings of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Old Rinkrank, King Thrushbeard, The Princess and the Pea, and many more – all with fresh, romantic twists – just in time for Valentine’s Day!” (description from Goodreads)

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Fairy (or Faerie) tale retellings have always intrigued me. Most readers know the basics of the major tales out there, and have seen Disney retellings or read some here or there. I’ve read some good ones and some not so great ones. The Once Upon a Kiss collection is likely one that I’ll end up putting in the “good ones” pile. There are many familiar author names in here and I’m looking forward to reading them all. For now, I’ve read Nikki Jefford’s retelling entitled The Toad Prince.

What first jumped at me when reading this was something later confirmed in the author note after the story. There’s a Pride and Prejudice feel in it. While I didn’t love that book, I did appreciate the story and I like how Jefford was able to work in some light elements into her story. I also liked how, while it didn’t feel exactly like a retelling of The Frog Prince, the main event of that one was worked in  without doing the obvious.

Another reason I enjoyed the story was the world building. This is set in the world of an upcoming series from Jefford, and she used this story to help introduce it. I may have liked a little more world building, but it’s a short story and there wasn’t much space. It’s more of a teaser and it did what it needed to do.

I’m not sure where this Far North Fairy Tales series will go, but I’ll definitely be reading it. And I’ll be returning to this collection soon, as well.

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You can grab a copy of this book from

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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About the Author:

Nikki JeffordNikki Jefford loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt. Books, travel, TV series, hiking, writing and motorcycle riding are her favorite escapes. She loves meeting people from all walks of life, from around the globe, and wouldn’t trade her French husband in for anyone – not even Spike!

She’s a third generation Alaskan, born & raised in Anchorage, now living in Northern Washington. Crazy about her dog, Cosmo. (Writer’s best friend.) The dark side of humanity fascinates her, so long as it’s balanced by humor and romance.

Her favorite TV heroines are Buffy, Veronica Mars, and Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan.

Find out more: