#Review(s): The Light Tamer books 1 & 2 by @DevynDawson

Title: The Light Tamer (The Light Tamer Trilogy, #1)The light Tamer
Author: Devyn Dawson
Rating: 3/5 stars

“Jessie moved from New York to North Carolina over summer break. Now that Jessie and her mom are living with her grandma, she finds out the split up of her parents is more complicated than she thought. Living in a retirement community is not how she wanted the summer before her junior year to start. 

Things begin to look up when she is reintroduced to Caleb, the boy that saved her life one summer at the beach. Caleb is no longer scrawny and nerdy, he is now tall, dark and handsome. The instant he shook her hand, she felt warm vibrations running through her veins. They soon learn what it means to be bound to one another. Fate is more than responsible for their meeting and their future together.

This book is appropriate for young teens and people of all ages. Remember what it was like to kiss for the first time, or what it was like to fall in love. 

This paranormal romance will keep you on the edge of your seat with humor, romance, and determination. Fall head over heels for Caleb and Jessie.” (description from Goodreads)

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The Light Tamer has been on my TBR for quite a while. I found the premise to be interesting and I was looking forward to reading a book with, what to my experience is, a unique paranormal premise.

The idea behind the light tamers in this book is great and new. It’s not often a paranormal book isn’t about an exhausted type of “creature.” But I did feel that there was also some strange things to it. The writing in this book wasn’t the best I’ve read before. I think that lead to some of my disappointment.

Dawson has great promise with this book, but there are aspects that could have used some work. To just touch briefly on that, I felt mainly like all of the characters didn’t react realistically to much of the reveals of the book. There was often a moment of questioning, but then it was explained away with a vague “we believe it could be….” explanation and everything’s back to normal again. Also, the conflicts that arise are almost too easily resolved. This is most apparent at the main event of the book.

Some of the dialogue wasn’t to my liking either. Jessie sounds enough like a fifteen year old, but Caleb who’s not much older than her, sounds too mature for his age. The way they deal with issues also makes many characters feel older than they are and the responsibilities given to them so easily by adults makes it seem like they’re older teens.

It wasn’t all iffy though. I wanted to keep reading and to find out more about light tamers and what was all going on. The book is very fast paced, if not a little short even at roughly 60K words, and this helps more things along nicely. I really liked Amber’s character, though she was a little upstaged by Jessie and Caleb’s insta-love relationship (explainable insta-love but still slightly too fast).

I did enjoy this book, even if it wasn’t all that I think it could have been if it were fleshed out more and given time to blossom in various ways. I grabbed a copy of book 2 and plan on reading it soon to continue in this trilogy.

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You can grab a copy of The Light Tamer from:

Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N

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Title: Enlightened (The Light Tamer Trilogy, #2)Enlightened
Author: Devyn Dawson
Rating: 3/5 stars

“Jessie Lucente, a Light Tamer, has started her junior year at Parca Academy in New Bern, NC. She has a new boyfriend, Caleb Baldwin. He is beyond good looking, he is her mate for life. They’ve been bound by the light and will rule and heal with it too. Her new classes aren’t what she expected. Finding out the school is filled with ‘gifted’ kids is almost too much to comprehend. She finds out what it really means to be a Light Tamer. Some of the assumptions she had are debunked and now everything is crystal clear…well, clear as mud. Now that she is enlightened with the facts, she struggles with the truth. 

Thorne Woodson has all of the girls swooning. His Doc Martens and hoodie stand out against his school uniform. He might be the guy to heal Amber’s broken, grieving heart. What’s his story, and why does he appear everywhere Jessie is? He has a secret that will change the game for everyone. Who is he in cahoots with? 

The secrets that have been revealed by Fate will leave Jessie in a new role. It will all come down to bloodline versus logic. She must step up and embrace her new title, and life on the other side of the shimmer. With her small army together, they promise to vanquish Nyx back to the Underworld and seal the portal she came through. 

The second book in The Light Tamer trilogy will answer the questions that are burning in your head. A beautiful tale of first love and friendship. Be prepared to be amazed at the twist in this story. You didn’t see it coming, but you’ll be glad it did!” (description from Goodreads)

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Having finished book 1, The Light Tamer, recently, I was compelled to check out Enlightened, as well. As with the first book, there was an intrigue to see what Dawson has in store for these characters and for the light tamer mythology.

In Enlightened, there’s more time given to reveal more about the light tamers and the way things work, than in book 1. Eventually, the explanations get  more complicated by throwing in some other things (which I won’t spoil), shedding new light on what’s really going on for Jessie and her friends. I can feel that there’s a conflict building up for book 3, though, there wasn’t really a main conflict in this book at all.

In a way, with reading book 1 and 2 so close together, I get the feeling that they could be put together in one book, and possibly the 3rd (not released as of writing this review) might fit into that combination as well. There’s a bit more to this book than the first, but still I felt there was enough for there to be just one stronger more fleshed out book.

The reader will need to suspend their beliefs to a higher extent than I’m used to for some aspects of this book. For reasons, that I won’t reveal, I was again left with the feeling that these 15 and 16 year old characters are written as if they are young adults (in the real world sense of 18 & 19 year olds, not the literary world’s definition) and not like more realistic 15/16 year olds. I understood that this series was written for a YA audience, yet, I felt as if, while the writing suites the genre well, the characters and situations didn’t fit the ages well.

As mentioned just above, this book is most likely to please a YA reader. I think the style would to be a younger reader’s liking and they’ll be able to relate to it well. Again, the insta-love didn’t sit well, as it’s explained away with the wave of a hand. But it still fits the rest of the book’s flow. All-in-all it was another enjoyable, fast, read. I’m sure I’ll grab book three when it’s released so I can finish the story, that’s only in its infancy with book 1 and 2. I have a feeling more will take place throughout the next book, and it might help me appreciate the previous books, as well.

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You can grab a copy of Enlightened from:

Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N

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About the Author:

I live in New Bern, NC – home to a very famous author…nope, not me. He writes for adult women, I write for young adult teens.

All about me….. that story isn’t nearly as interesting as the stories I write. The young adult genre has my heart…does that prove I never grew up? I love everything paranormal in the YA spectrum. There are so many fabulous authors that have created amazing worlds for teens to read about. More adults should check it out, they might find themselves sitting up past 10 to read the next chapter. Just sayin’

Find out more:

#Review: Zero Point, by @SteveUmstead

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Title – Gabriel: Zero Point (Evan Gabriel Trilogy 0.5)
Author – Steve Umstead
Rating – 4/5 stars

“Evan Gabriel wasn’t always a feared and respected North American Federation Navy Commander. Before dangerous missions to the ice-bound planet of Poliahu, the deadly jungle world of Eden, and politically corrupt Mars, he was a simple recruit, fighting to make his mark in the elite Naval Special Forces…and was part of a top-secret military experiment that would change his life forever.

Zero Point tells the tale of a young man faced with difficult choices and dangerous trials. Fans of the series will see part of the mysterious past Evan Gabriel carries with him, while readers new to the series get a preview of what is to come in a military man’s haunted life.

Zero Point is the true beginning of Evan Gabriel, and his story is just getting started.

~Note: This is a novella of approximately 22,000 words (~90 printed pages) and can be read either before the trilogy or after. Includes excerpts from all three Gabriel books (not included in word count). (description from Goodreads)

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*Please note that I haven’t read the rest of this trilogy, so I went into this novella with a blank slate. The description mentions this could be read before or after reading the other. I’m sure my reaction would be a little different had I read it after the other books.*

Gabriel: Zero Point was a pretty good novella. There isn’t that much to it in terms of building the futuristic world that it’s set in, but it does a great job of setting up Gabriel, the main character. Being that he is the main character of the trilogy that follows this novella, I think getting the story of where he started is probably better than getting the grander world view. The novels have more room for that. Still, this is only, for the most part, a small glimpse into what is to come and I felt like maybe just a little more info would have made it that much more enjoyable for me.

Overall, it’s filled with action, there aren’t any lulls to the story, and it’s gotten me interested in the other books. I think Umstead has much in store for me, once I start the trilogy. I’m looking forward to it.

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You can grab a copy of this novella from:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords
Audible

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About the Author:

Steve Umstead has been the owner of a Caribbean & Mexico travel company for the past ten years, but never forgot his lifelong dream of becoming an author. After a successful stab at National Novel Writing Month, he decided to pursue his dream more vigorously…but hasn’t given up the traveling.

Steve lives in scenic (tongue-in-cheek) New Jersey with his wife, two kids, and several bookshelves full of other authors’ science fiction novels. Gabriel’s Redemption is his debut novel.

Find out more:

2013 #Review Recap – Sacrifice, by @JessFortunato

2013 Recap

Last year I was introduced to The Sin Collector by Jessica Fortunato randomly on Twitter. I knew next to nothing about her or the book, but it got my attention fast and it was definitely worth it.

The Sin Collector became one of my top books from last year. Then, later on, Fortunato released Thomas a companion short story to the trilogy focusing on the title character who’s a minor (but one of my favorite) characters in the first book.

When I heard that Sacrifice, book two, was coming out, it jumped up on my reading list, I devoured it, and now I’m waiting for book three. My only hope is that Fortunato sits down and writes that thing soon. If you’re looking for something different, maybe you’d like to check out the Sin Collector series. Here’s my review of Sacrifice and Happy Christmas to everyone who’s celebrating it today.

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Sacrifice

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Title: Sacrifice (The Sin Collector Book 2)radiance
Author: Jessica Fortunato
Rating: 5/5 stars

“As an immortal Sin Collector, Liliana lead a transient life of solitude for over one-hundred years.

Now with a growing family, she has found herself liking normalcy and the façade of being human. However, when old friends begin to turn up dead, it is clear Collectors are not safe. The battle that Liliana thought she’d won, has only just begun.

She must save herself, her family, and her friends from the Castus, a fanatical group sworn to eradicate her kind.

As Liliana travels the globe making allies, and discovering secrets, she soon learns that the threat to her safety is closer than she ever thought possible.

Will she be able to fight her fate, or will she succumb to an ancient Castus prophecy?” (description from Goodreads)

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I read The Sin Collector last year, as well as Fortunato’s companion novella Thomas. After reading each of these I was left craving more and needing the next book. Now that I’ve finished book 2, Sacrifice, I can confidently say “Bring on book 3!”

Throughout the time I read it, this book was hard to put down. Fortunato’s writing has always grabbed me in, and she didn’t fail me this time either. It was easy for me to jump back into the story even after so much time between book one and now. That’s how much the story stuck with me. There’s also a sophistication to her writing that I find some modern writers don’t have. It’s not an insult, only something that sets these books apart for me. The word choice of the characters is a nice mix of modern with more aged terms. This helps show the effects of a Collector’s long  life-span, as well.

As I said earlier, this story jumps right into things from where book one left off.  The great characters I grew to love are back as well, yet this time, we get even more out of them. There’s room for more development and more history to come out of the woodwork. This book was a little different in the sense that there was a bit less action, but more information and development of the trilogy as a whole. I can see that there was a lot of thought put into where this story is going, and I’m pleased with the direction it’s taking.

There’s so much I’d like to say about various characters, some events, etc but it’ll be hard not to spoil it for readers, so I’ll refrain. For fans of The Sin Collector, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. For those new to the series, I hope you check out book 1 first, obviously, but you’re in for a great story with some great paranormal (and “normal”) characters. Also Lily, the main character, is still a badass!

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You can purchase a copy of the Sin Collector: Sacrifice exclusively from:

Amazon

If you still need to read book 1, you can find it below. There’s also a short story to check out (also below).

Book 1: The Sin Collector

Thomas

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About the Author:

Jessica Fortunato is a writer in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

She has been a freelance reviewer for the past three years. She has always loved a supernatural aspect to literature, as well as the addition of theology, so it is no surprise that her debut novel “The Sin Collector” combines just that.

She has been a waitress, a cook, a librarian, a book binder, nanny, and even a hairdresser when the occasion calls for it. However writing is her main focus and she is thrilled to share the first installment of what she hopes will be a a beloved book series.

Find out more:

♠     Website
♠     Twitter
♠     Facebook
♠     Goodreads
♠     Amazon Author Page

#Review: Seeds of Transition, by Carolyn Holland and Kef Hollenbach

Title: Seeds of Transition (The Genesis Project Book One)
Author(s): Carolyn Holland & Kef Hollenbach
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Seeds Of Transition: Book One – The Genesis Project is full of gripping adventure, psychological thrills, and emotional conflict from start to finish. 

As the world’s population approaches 10 billion people, and severe weather extremes impact crop and livestock production, the demand for and price of food is rising. The American government, as well as other powerful individuals, find themselves looking for intelligent, albeit unlikely heroes in the world of academia.

Jarod Farra, a professor of agriculture at Cornell University, quickly finds himself at the forefront of both his longstanding dreams, and perhaps, some of his worst fears. Out of the turmoil and fear of an impending international food shortage, a range of characters come together to perform an experiment that will forever change the world as we know it, and provide new hope for generations to come.” (description from Goodreads)

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Seeds of Transition was an enjoyable book. Despite some issues I found in the writing and formatting, I’m awaiting the next book in The Genesis Project series.

This books takes on many of the issues that plague our ever-changing and ever-growing world, and shows readers some possible ways for our future generations to cope and adapt. I’m not knowledgeable about agricultural advancements in today’s world, but if some of the technology in place in this book is in development it’d be great to see it in use. I found the idea behind The Genesis Project (the actual project in the book, not the series name) intriguing and as it’s the driving force behind the novel, I’m anxious to see what becomes of it in future books.

What I also liked about this book were the characters and the extent that the authors built up global relationships, events, and the possible future history of our world. Most of what happens in the book doesn’t seem too far-fetched in terms of where our world is heading. i found the characters to be interesting. Though at times the story the characters were leading and the broader events taking place in the country often pushed each other out of the way to get attention.

To expand a little on that, I felt that this could have been a full-length novel just with Dr. Farra’s story alone. Added into this was the global crisis of extreme weather and food shortages, the President’s struggles, and those of a few characters. Most of the time all this played out well, and they are indeed all linked, just at times I felt it wasn’t presented as a fully meshed story.

A few more minor issues I had while reading were the lack of smooth transitions inside the chapters. It wasn’t until the later half that chapter breaks were in place to show transitions of time or character points of view. Before this, I found myself rereading a few paragraphs to find where the POV switched characters, place, or time. To go along with this issue, there was a total format change once I got to chapter 13. The format went from the text being justified to it being left-aligned for the rest of the book. This struck me as odd and took me a little bit to get my reading flow back because of the way the right side of the page is jagged. It might sound harsh, but when reading a paperback justified for half the book, then it changing, it can mess up a reader.

I’m sure those issues won’t be much of a problem when the next book comes along, as it seems that as the book went along (aside from the alignment of the text) the editing (misplaced or forgotten quotation marks, misspelled words, etc) improved. As I said when I started this review, I’m looking forward to book 2. This story has intrigued me from the start, and I’m expecting that the authors will not disappoint their readers when this story continues.

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You can purchase a copy of Seeds of Transition from:

Amazon | Smashwords | KoboB&N

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About the Authors:

Carolyn Holland grew up during the 70’s in the coastal wetlands of North Carolina in a small, rural fishing village near Topsail Island. Her love of books developed at a very young age, keeping her up late in the night reading about faraway places and distant times. In summer, every other Thursday would find her waiting on the front porch of their little house for the Book Mobile, as the closest library was 20 miles away. Her favorite genre was historical fiction and in the summer of her tenth year, she checked out Margaret Mitchells Gone With The Wind. Even as a small child she dreamed of being an author someday.

Kef Hollenbach was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1925, Karl F. Hollenbach graduated from a local public high school in 1943 as a major in the junior ROTC. Entering the army on Christmas Eve that same year, he served as a sergeant in World War II with the U.S. Engineers. Assigned to the Seventh Army he crossed the Rhine River into Germany, ending up in Austria at the end of the European war.

Find out more:

Sacrifice #BlogTour: #Review – Sacrifice, by @JessFortunato

While I have a review for you all to read today, there’s also a bit more to go along with this post. Today’s review is part of Jessica Fortunato’s blog tour for her newest release The Sin Collector: Sacrifice. This is book 2 of The Sin Collector Series. As you might remember from last year, I reviewed Book1 and the companion novella Thomas.

So please, read the review, but don’t forget there’s more to come. Just follow this link and you’ll find the full tour schedule so you can follow along at each stop for more fun!

Continue to the rest of the tour

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Title: Sacrifice (The Sin Collector Book 2)radiance
Author: Jessica Fortunato
Rating: 5/5 stars

“As an immortal Sin Collector, Liliana lead a transient life of solitude for over one-hundred years.

Now with a growing family, she has found herself liking normalcy and the façade of being human. However, when old friends begin to turn up dead, it is clear Collectors are not safe. The battle that Liliana thought she’d won, has only just begun.

She must save herself, her family, and her friends from the Castus, a fanatical group sworn to eradicate her kind.

As Liliana travels the globe making allies, and discovering secrets, she soon learns that the threat to her safety is closer than she ever thought possible.

Will she be able to fight her fate, or will she succumb to an ancient Castus prophecy?” (description from Goodreads)

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I read The Sin Collector last year, as well as Fortunato’s companion novella Thomas. After reading each of these I was left craving more and needing the next book. Now that I’ve finished book 2, Sacrifice, I can confidently say “Bring on book 3!”

Throughout the time I read it, this book was hard to put down. Fortunato’s writing has always grabbed me in, and she didn’t fail me this time either. It was easy for me to jump back into the story even after so much time between book one and now. That’s how much the story stuck with me. There’s also a sophistication to her writing that I find some modern writers don’t have. It’s not an insult, only something that sets these books apart for me. The word choice of the characters is a nice mix of modern with more aged terms. This helps show the effects of a Collector’s long  life-span, as well.

As I said earlier, this story jumps right into things from where book one left off.  The great characters I grew to love are back as well, yet this time, we get even more out of them. There’s room for more development and more history to come out of the woodwork. This book was a little different in the sense that there was a bit less action, but more information and development of the trilogy as a whole. I can see that there was a lot of thought put into where this story is going, and I’m pleased with the direction it’s taking.

There’s so much I’d like to say about various characters, some events, etc but it’ll be hard not to spoil it for readers, so I’ll refrain. For fans of The Sin Collector, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. For those new to the series, I hope you check out book 1 first, obviously, but you’re in for a great story with some great paranormal (and “normal”) characters. Also Lily, the main character, is still a badass!

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You can purchase a copy of the Sin Collector: Sacrifice exclusively from:

Amazon

Also, until September 3rd, you can grab a FREE copy of Thomas the companion novella to the series.

Amazon

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There’s also a Giveaway going on right now. You can win some ebooks from the series! Head on over to Noree Cosper’s tour post for more!

About the Author:

Jessica Fortunato is a writer in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

She has been a freelance reviewer for the past three years. She has always loved a supernatural aspect to literature, as well as the addition of theology, so it is no surprise that her debut novel “The Sin Collector” combines just that.

She has been a waitress, a cook, a librarian, a book binder, nanny, and even a hairdresser when the occasion calls for it. However writing is her main focus and she is thrilled to share the first installment of what she hopes will be a a beloved book series.

Find out more:

♠     Website
♠     Twitter
♠     Facebook
♠     Goodreads
♠     Amazon Author Page

#Review: Futures and Frosting, by @TaraSivec

Title: Futures and Frosting (Chocolate Lovers #2)
Author: Tara Sivec
Rating: 5/5 Stars

“Carter, Claire and Gavin have formed the perfect little family. Their friends are getting married and everyone is growing up, maturing and ready to face the future. Or are they?

From bachelorette party hell, porn addictions, dinner roll baseball and botched wedding proposals to finding out everyone’s extended family is chock full of crazy, Carter and Claire begin to question the strength of the ties that bind them. Unfortunately, these ties have nothing to do with fuzzy handcuffs and everything to do with the mounting differences between them.

Will their friends make a mess of things with their inappropriate comments and need to know everything, or will they convince the couple that happily-ever-after sometimes really can start with beer pong?” (description from Goodreads)

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It’s been quite awhile since I read Tara Sivec’s first Chocolate Lover’s book, Seduction and Snacks. Because of this, I was happily surprised with how easily I fell back into the story that began in book one.

One of the  best things this book and series has going for it are the characters and the dialogue they have. Sivec has spared no one from the obnoxious, outrageous, and flat-out insane antics of Clare and her friends. Gavin, her son, will have most readers either appalled or in tears (maybe both) whenever he happens into a scene…which is often.

I feel that I enjoyed this book even more than the first for a few reasons. First, I think it helps that a lot of the characters, their relationships, etc…it was all already established. The comedy and story in general were allowed to play out and I was already familiar with things. I also feel that there was a better balance between the story and the sex scenes (often hilarious ones) in this one. The series can’t go on without them, but in Seduction and Snacks I felt there were too many or a few were out-of-place, enough to get in the way of my enjoyment of the story. In Futures and Frosting, I think the balance was found.

I don’t really have any complaints about this book. If I were to point out something for readers to beware of, it’d be going from one chapter to the next. Depending on the chapter, the point of view will be Claire’s or Carter’s. This threw me off often early in book one. Now in book two, I was ready for it, but it wasn’t always easy to figure out who for was talking for a few paragraphs. Most of the time it wasn’t too awkward though. Putting the character’s name under the chapter title would have fixed up any confusions. Maybe book three will utilize that option. And I WILL be jumping into book three much faster than I did from one to two.

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If you’d like to purchase a copy of Futures and Frosting, you can find it from:

Amazon | B&N | Smashwords

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About the Author:

Tara Sivec is a wife, mom, chauffeur, cheerleading coach, soccer coach, babysitter, short-order cook, genius and albino squirrel hunter. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids. In her spare time she likes read, write and cover things in chocolate. Most of her material comes from real life experiences with family and friends. Lucky for them, the names have been changed to protect the innocent (aka, drunk).

Tara also writes under the pen name T.E. Sivec where she can be serious, suspenseful and not at all funny.

Find out more:

#CoverReveal: Sacrifice, by Jessica Fortunato

Sacrifice is the second book in The Sin Collector Trilogy by author Jessica Fortunato.  Today only, you can pick up The Sin Collector FREE!  Click Here to begin the journey, and Get Collected.

To go along with The Sin Collector being free today, I’d like to share the reveal of book 2’s cover. I’ve been waiting for the release of The Sin Collector: Sacrifice since I finished reading The Sin Collector. I’m very excited that it’ll be released soon. I can’t wait to read it.

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Find The Sin Collector: Sacrifice, exclusively for Kindle August 30th, 2013!

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As an immortal Sin Collector, Liliana lead a transient life of solitude for over one-hundred years.

Now with a growing family, she has found herself liking normalcy and the façade of being human.  However, when old friends begin to turn up dead, it is clear Collectors are not safe.  The battle that Liliana thought she’d won, has only just begun.

She must save herself, her family, and her friends from the Castus, a fanatical group sworn to eradicate her kind.

As Liliana travels the globe making allies, and discovering secrets, she soon learns that the threat to her safety is closer than she ever thought possible.

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J Fortunato 3

Also from Fortunato is The Sin Collector, The Sin Collector: Thomas, Steam and the short story Banished which can be found in the Nocturnal Embers Anthology.  She lives in Pittsburgh PA with her family, a clumsy black cat, and year round Halloween decorations.

You can find Jessica: