"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Interview with Author Jen Wylie and a Review of Sweet Light

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome my guest today, author of Sweet Light, Jennifer Wylie. I will not delay and just open the floor to Jen.

Author Bio:
Jennifer Wylie was born and raised in Ontario, Canada. In a cosmic twist of fate she dislikes the snow and cold.
Before settling down to raise a family, she attained a BA from Queens University and worked in retail and sales.
Thanks to her mother she acquired a love of books at an early age and began writing in public school. She constantly has stories floating around in her head, and finds it amazing most people don’t. Jennifer writes various forms of fantasy, both novels and short stories. Sweet light is her debut novel published in 2011 by Echelon Press.
Jennifer resides in rural Ontario, Canada with her two boys, Australian shepherd a flock of birds and a disagreeable amount of wildlife.

1- Tell the readers a little bit about your debut novel, Sweet Light.

Sweet Light is fantasy, with some paranormal, some action and tied up with love. Then come all the plot twists.

The official blurb:
When fate conspires against you and gives you three loves to choose from, what do you do? What if you make the wrong choice?

Shara is a healer, raised and trained from childhood until her unique gift manifests itself. When she gains the rank Journeyman she is hired to serve as the court healer for the barbaric kingdom of Glendor.

Untrained for war, she is thrust unmercifully into its bloody arms when the kingdom is invaded. Ordered by her king to the front lines to tend the wounded, she is forced to flee when their camp is attacked. Happening upon a wounded soldier in the forest, every mile back to the capital is a struggle, and breaking the healer's code, she falls in love with her charge.

If Shara thought that to be the least of her troubles, the appearance of a fierce warrior captain who appoints himself her protector, teaches her differently. Trouble comes in threes at the appearance of a former love and fellow healer. Faced with decisions of the heart and the sudden manifestation of her gift, there is little room for anything else to go wrong. Or at least that's what Shara thought.

2- How did you come up with the idea for the storyline?
All of my stories tend to write themselves and are very character driven. That said, I also love to make things interesting and unexpected, so enjoy throwing in a lot of unexpected aspects too.

3- I know you work for Echelon Press. Do you work for them in any other capacity besides publishing your books?
In the past I did some marketing and worked with the Explorations (Fantasy/Sci fi) Division.  Right now I'm very busy so only doing some occasional edits.

4- You have a series of short stories that you write, Tales of Ever. How many are there and will there be more? Are they connected in anyway?

Tales of Ever will have 6 stories. 1 to 4 are out now. The 5th and 6th are written and edited and with the publisher and should be coming out soon. Each story continues where the other left off, though are little stories within themselves as well. They follow 16 yr old Misha, who is a firestarter and banished to the crazy and dangerous land of Ever. The stories are about her learning to use her powers, searching for her father and making friends along way. And of course, surviving all the weirdness of Ever!
This series I specially wrote to get people reading. It is a very fast paced and exciting read. Though initially geared for ages 12 and up...I've a wonderful adult following for it as well!

5- I love the covers for your shorts and your novel, Sweet Light. Who designed them and did you have any input?
They were designed by my publisher. I didn't have a lot of input, though was shown them in advance. I gave some cover ideas and the publisher went with than in many cases. I'm not the best with coming up with ideas though, for example with Sweet Light I wanted it “really pretty!” :D

6- Do you have any WIP? If so, can you tell us a little bit about them?
Right now I'm in the middle of a load of edits. Another Echo short story, Jumps sequel, and I just contracted a new YA fantasy with Hadley Rille Books. Once I get these caught up then hopefully I'll have more time to write again!

7- What started you on your writing career? 
I've written since I was in public school. I've always had so many stories in my head, it helped to write them down (and it was fun!) A few years ago my parents pushed me to try to get published..and here I am today.

 8- What does Jen Wylie do for   fun and relaxation? 
Hmmm... I write, and read a lot. I've two little boys and love to hang out and play with them. On the rare occasions I have spare time, I like to putter at crafts; painting, scrapbooking, needle felting etc.

Thanks so much for having me today!!!

Sweet Light
Ebook Available at:

twitter: @jen_wylie

Review of Sweet Light

Sweet Light
Jennifer Wylie
Echelon Press June 2011
ISBN 978-1-59080-850-4

   When Shara, a young healer receives the rank of journeyman, she is summoned to the kingdom of Glendor to serve as the court healer. On the brink of war,  her king orders her to the front lines to tend to the wounded. Completely out of her realm, she fleas when they are attacked. She happens upon an unconscious and wounded soldier.
   When she stops to help the young man, she has no idea that her life will become entangled in a triangle of love, desire, mystery and pain. She falls in love with her charge, elicits feelings with a harsh captain who becomes her protector, and continues to have feelings for her former lover, who just so happens to be the father of her child. The old saying, "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." No one knows how true it is.
   This is a wonderful paranormal/fantasy read mixed with a love story. This story had me by the shirt sleeve from the beginning. There were twists and turns in the plot with some total surprises thrown in. The heroine is a bit fickle. Some may call her a bit of a tease. She throws mixed signals to all the men in her life. She declares total devotion to David, while thinking in her head something else. One can't help but wonder if some of her problem was not of her own making. Don't get me wrong, we have some supernatural happenings going on here; but I was not drawn to Shara. Of course, her entire triangle of men had issues. I won't say anymore. You must read it for yourself. If you enjoy fantasy, you can't go wrong with this one. It kept me on the edge and I am definately looking forward to the next one in the series.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give Sweet Light 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 26, 2011

Winner of When Fate Dictates

Congratulations Amanda for being the lucky winner of the signed copy of When Fate Dictates. Please contact me by email with your snail mail address.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Interview and Giveaway with Author Elizabeth Marshall

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome a very dear friend of mine to my blog today, author, Elizabeth Marshall. She has not only been kind enough to answer some questions for us; but she has offered to give a signed copy of her book, When Fate Dictates, to one lucky commenter. Stay tuned after the interview for your chance to win .

Firstly, may I just take this opportunity to thank you, Eva for the amazing opportunity to be interviewed by you, I am honoured to be here and thank you most humbly.

1-      Tell the readers a little bit about your book, ‘When Fate Dictates’.
‘When Fate Dictates’ is the story of young girl called Corran who flees the village of Glencoe in the midst of the massacre of 1692.   Having escaped death at the hands of the Red Coats her life is very nearly claimed by a mountain blizzard, but Corran is mysteriously saved from death by a Highland Stag.
Confused, alone and frightened, she makes her way back to the village of Glencoe, and comes face to face with one of her enemies, Simon Campbell, a Red Coat, deserter and traitor. With her family massacred and her village destroyed, Corran trusts the fugitive when he offers to help her escape the village. Plans to flee the country are brought to an abrupt end by Simon's old enemy and fellow Red Coat, Angus. Pursued by Angus and seeking answers to the many questions in their lives, Simon comes into the possession of a Campbell crystal which leads the couple through time and into modern day York where a final confrontation ends their conflict.
2-      How did it come into being? That "light bulb moment."
It is difficult to visit the Scottish Highlands without being deeply touched by the sheer magnificence of the place. Standing in the small village of Glencoe, deep in the heart of the Highlands, one cold February morning, I was quite overcome by the atmosphere of the place.   Great mountains rose up around me as I wandered up a small hill towards a memorial, erected to commemorate a bloody slaughter of the village and its people back in 1692. Today this event is known as the ‘Massacre of Glencoe’.
I stood beside the memorial and looked back down the street and into the village. Tidy little cottages lined the street. Grey clouds of smoke rose from chimneys and hung poignantly against the clear blue of the morning sky.
Suddenly I could smell it –

The sickly, metallic copper stink of fresh blood and death.
I could hear the terrifying crackle of flames as they leapt around the walls of cottages. I could see the smoke as it hung thickly and heavily in the air.
Cries of panic and terror as families stumbled from their burning homes; the blaze of musket fire, the sulphurous smell of a fired gun and the bodies which lay upon the snow filled streets.
Without realising it, I had found the inspiration for my story.

3-      What was the defining factor that made you change the original book cover?
      The original cover was designed by my daughter from a photograph which I had taken of a Highland stag. We were driving through the mountains when I spotted the animal. I don’t know now why I stopped the car, it wasn’t like we had never seen a stag before, but something about the creature intrigued me and I just felt as though I had to take a better look at it.  It was too far away and I couldn’t see much more than its outline through the light snowfall against the rugged mountain, but I reached for my camera and zoomed in on the animal. What happened next had a profound and lasting effect on me and ultimately provided the inspiration for the stag in my story. 
As soon as the creature came into focus I realised that it was staring at me. Through the lens of the camera our eyes locked and in those moments I felt the animal was trying to communicate with me. The experience was surreal, majestic, deeply humbling and one I am unlikely to ever forget.

I clicked the button on the camera and recorded the moment. The resulting photograph was not a terribly good one. The resolution was grainy and the composition really only meant something to me.
I used the cover initially because the picture had become such a big part of the story. The stag was there on my screen, watching me as I wrote the book, there in my memory as I developed the plot and characters. Every step of the way that stag was with me and I just couldn’t imagine any other picture on the cover of the book.
However, in the cold light of day, the quality of the picture was not good enough to use on the cover. It looked like an amateur photograph, which is of course it was, and as cheap as the camera I used to take it.
A kind friend finally convince me the picture had to go.

4-      Did someone design the cover for ‘When Fate Dictates’ or did you do it yourself?

The new front cover for my book proved something of a challenge. I really struggled to move on from the old cover and no matter how many suggestions and pictures people threw at me I just couldn’t visualise any of them as part of the story. This was until my daughter and son-in-law brought me a picture of young girl; as soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect. I was so excited by the new picture and I think my daughter was so relieved to have found something I liked, that she set to work on the cover design immediately.
The genius of this cover lies with my daughter and son-in-law. Finding a single image that captured not only the atmosphere of my story but also the perfect physical characteristics of plot location and characters of the book was an outstanding achievement.
My Highland stag will always be on my screen, watching and inspiring me but when it comes to front covers, I think mine is as epic as it gets and I adore it!

5-      You know I have this "love affair" with Highlanders, Scotland and time travel. What made you decide to take Simon and Corran into the future?
        Many years ago, quite by accident, we discovered a place called Barley Hall in York.  Andrew and I had been struggling around the crowded streets of York with four children for what felt

like hours.  Simply, we were hot, bothered and tired.  The children were irritable and bored with the endless stream of museums around which we had dragged them, when quite by chance we stumbled upon a restored medieval building called Barley Hall. Immediately we all fell in love with the place. The children sat at a long medieval table, painting eggs for Easter,  they dressed up in medieval clothes and played with toys - long since forgotten.
For many years we have visited the hall with children and each time there has been something new and exciting to delight us. So last year when Andy and I escaped for a weekend on our own to York, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to return to Barley Hall.
This time I found, not the medieval hall, but the location for my characters’ home in York.
It was completely unplanned.  On entering the Hall and moving through the small gift shop into the main body of the building, I saw not the medieval restoration but the cottage of a family in 17th/18th century York. 
One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was standing in Barley Hall imagining myself to be Corran in today’s world. I wondered how she would have felt, seeing the place she called home, restored to a point in history which pre-dated even her occupation of the building.

I let my imagination taken me 300 years into Corran’s future as I stared up into the hole in the ceiling where the stairs broke through to the next floor.  ‘Plague, Poverty, Prayer’ loomed down on me from a dark poster, lit by tiny spot lights.   I could see the high beams of the ceiling as I slowly climbed the staircase and then as I reached the top and turned to my left a body dressed in a green gown and red bonnet guarded the fireplace. I was Corran in today’s world and that was the moment when Simon and Corran took me into the future.

6-      Do you have any WIP? Will there be a sequel to When Fate Dictates?
There certainly is going to be a sequel to ‘When Fate Dictates’.  I am working on it at the moment and loving every second of it. The time travel element of the story is going to be a big part of the next book and there are a lot of twists and turns to come for Simon and Corran.

7-      Who is your favorite author and why?
Gosh, this is a hard question to answer.  I think I would probably say that I have three favourite authors. Winston Churchill, Kathleen Winsor and Diana Gabaldon.
Winston Churchill because I find the way he writes mesmerising. As a child I used to love to read his books aloud because I loved the way the words he used sounded. He was a brilliant author and orator and I think he wrote the way he spoke.

Kathleen Winsor because her book ‘Forever Amber’ was the very first historical novel I ever read and it was solely responsible for my addition to both history and historical fiction.

Diana Gabaldon because she brought the Scottish Highlands to life for me in a way no other author ever has.

8-      What do you do for fun and relaxation?
I find reading and writing both fun and relaxing and can read for days on end if the opportunity presents.
 I write when I find inspiration. It may be that I will see several things in a day that inspire me to write, or I may go weeks without writing.  I never set targets or force myself to write. I do it because it brings me pleasure and that is how I intend to keep it.

 I like to sing and have always loved music.  I will quite happily turn the volume of my car stereo up to maximum and sing along to Scottish folk songs and golden oldies such as Frank Sinatra and Vera Lynn. I adore Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand and I am totally addicted to old musicals.

When the opportunity presents I like to spend time in the Highlands, Edinburgh and York. My perfect day would be to sit on the edge of a loch with my husband and just listen and watch as the world moved on around us.

Twitter - @Em_Writes
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002402558722

Anyone interested in receiving a signed copy of When Fate Dictates, leave a comment along with your email address so I can contact you to get your snail mail address. I will leave the contest open through Sunday, September 25, 2011  at midnight EST. Elizabeth has kindly agreed to open the contest to the US, Canada, and the UK.  You will have three days to respond to me with your address so I can notify her with the winners name and address. If I do not hear from you within the allotted time, I will pick another winner. Thank you all and enjoy!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review of To the Moon and Back

To the Moon and Back
Jill Mansell
Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN 9781402243851

   It has been over a year since Ellie Kendall's husband, Jamie, died in a tragic automobile accident. She remains stuck in the past and is unable to let him go. Actually, she frequently sees him and carries on conversations with him. Her father-in-law convinces her to move to London's posh Primrose Hill where no one knows her or her past.
   After some time, Ellie decides to look for another job. She has found that people who know her, walk on egg shells around her. After some initial mix ups, Ellie accepts a job in  her own neighborhood. Her new boss is a workaholic, not to mention drop dead gorgeous. Fortunately for Ellie, she has no interest in that department. Her dead husband's father, however, has other ideas. He is determined to reconnect her with Jamie's best friend; but will she be able to get past the fact he lived and Jamie died? Will there be any chemistry between these two?
   This is an extremely enjoyable read full of romance, laughter, betrayal, and pain. This book will not only make you laugh; but also make you cry. It starts out with a fairytale romance that ends tragically and moves on to the struggle to recover from the pain. There are quite a few romances going on in this book with struggles with them all. The storyline is well written and flows well despite the different and unique characters. If you enjoy a humorous and charming romance, I highly recommend this one. I don't think you will be disappointed.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give To the Moon and Back 4.5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Interview with Jon Hartless and Review of Jack the Theorist

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I welcome my guest today, author, Jon Hartless. He has kindly agreed to answer some questions for us and will welcome any questions you may have. So, without further delay, Jon Hartless.

1-Tell the readers a little bit about your book, Jack the Theorist.

It’s basically a satire on Ripperology; that is, the industry that has grown up around the murders of certain women in the East End of London in 1888. At the core of this industry is the ‘character’ of Jack the Ripper, an urban myth created by ripperology and popular culture.

2- I have always been fascinated by Jack the Ripper, so I jumped at the chance to read and review your book. Tell us how your book came to be.

I found a second-hand book, The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper, edited by Maxim Jakubowski and Nathan Braund, a collection of theories on the killings, some plausible, some so utterly ludicrous I wondered if the writers were poking fun at the whole concept of ripperology. The Duke of Clarence as the Ripper is a well known bit of bunkum, but that is nothing compared to some of the barking mad ideas out there...

It was this which inspired Jack the Theorist. An early draft, somewhat absurdist in tone, was based on multiple ripperology theories, and featured multiple Rippers – the first murder is committed by an unknown, insignificant man, this spurs the second killer, a mad doctor, into action, the third murder is committed by the Masons for ritualistic reasons etc. Eventually this got refined to the finished work, in which the first ever ripperologist investigates the murders as they occur, and quickly loses all sense of scale, reality, and decency.

3- What was the biggest challenge you faced trying to get your books published?

There have been two problems. The first was with me and my writing style, which was far too overwritten for today’s market, for which I blame the nineteenth century; I started writing in earnest while I was doing my MA in English Literature, and what I was creating would have been fine for  Dickens or Wilkie Collins, but not for today’s market.

It wasn’t until a stranger saw my work online, and offered some very perceptive comments/criticisms, (in a very nice manner, I should add), that I recognised the problem with my prose and set about my work with the editorial chopper. It was harsh and unpleasant, and I lost a great deal that I liked, but it had to be done. For the patient to live, drastic surgery was required...

The second problem lay fairly and squarely with publishers and agents. I just do not understand why so many of them claim in their guidelines that they are open to new work, and will give everything consideration, when in fact they reject your work without even bothering to read it. I’ve submitted a manuscript via snail mail on a Monday and got it back by Wednesday with the claim that they’d looked at the work and decided it wasn’t suitable. Given that we are always told that hundreds of hopefuls send their work in each month, it is inconceivable that each manuscript is given a decent amount of attention. The pristine condition of the pages, showing absolutely no signs of handling, is also a bit of a giveaway.

4- Who or what has had the most influence on your writing?

That is difficult to say; I wonder how many influences there have been over the years and how they may have affected my world view, style etc. In books, as a child I loved Asterix, and from a young age I’ve enjoyed a good murder mystery, with the Sherlock Holmes stories being the all time favourite. As I got older, I discovered The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, while at college and University I was reading widely for my English courses. (Our Mutual Friend is my favourite Dickens’ novel). On TV, probably the likes of the original Doctor Who, the original The Prisoner, The Avengers and Blake’s 7 also influenced me.

Looking at the list, it’s interesting to note how many of these works are concerned, in some way, with individuals trying to find their place in the world, (Arthur Dent) and/or retaining their sense of individuality against other (sometimes aggressive) ideologies, Asterix versus the Roman invaders, Number Six resisting conformity in the village, Steed and Mrs Peel fighting diabolical masterminds with their own style and wit. Even Our Mutual Friend is concerned with identity, both individually and as a society, in which the elemental rubbish dumps of civilization, and the filthy, polluted river, threaten to pull us back down to the dust and primordial soup.

Maybe I also want to impose order on the world in a way that I can’t in real life, which would explain the enjoyment of Holmes and other literary sleuths. And Blake’s 7 must shoulder some responsibility for giving me a rather dark view of the world.

5- What does Jon Hartless do when he is not writing?

Work, mostly. I enjoy my job, which is training people to use assistive technology, as I get to go out and about across the area, meeting new people, and seeing new places, but it does eat into valuable writing time.

6- Do you have any WIP? If so, can you tell us a little about them?

I’m writing a Young Adult novella that reworks the Greek Pandora myth, in which the moral minority - those outraged by permissiveness, youth, different opinions, people of the ‘wrong’ colour or class etc - attain supernatural powers that enable them to remove these ‘disruptive’ or ‘evil’ elements from the world. It’s turning into quite a disturbing work, not in the sense of being violent or gory, but in the theme of forcing an ideology on the world that everyone has to adhere to.

7- What do you do for fun and relaxation?

Writing is my fun and relaxation. I also enjoy reading, and when possible, getting out to new places, especially if there is a bit of history there; a good cathedral, an old church, some Victorian alleyways etc.

8- Tell us something about Jon Hartless that the readers may not know.

I now have three pen names on the go... I’m not entirely sure where they all came from.

Jon Hartless can be contacted at jjhless@yahoo.co.uk, or at

Reiew of Jack the Theorist

Jack the Theorist
Jon Hartless
Vagabondage Press 2011
Digital Edition

   London 1888: Jack the Ripper is stalking the East End striking fear in the community. Professor Wolf, the first Ripperologist, has the answers and he thinks he knows the truth of who Jack the Ripper is. There are many theroies going around ; but does anyone really know the truth?  A friend of Wolf, Sir Arthur Smythe,  has some theories of his own. Before it is all over, the East End may just never be the same. Is Wolf after the truth or out for his own ill begotten gain?
   I have been intrigued for many years with Jack the Ripper; so I jumped at the opportunity to read and review this novella. This story gives a totally different twist on the many theories behind the terror that wrought through the East End in the late 1800's. Professor Wolf had some dubious things to say from the very start; but he had some rather intriguing things to say also. It wasn't until the end when Sir Arthur gives his theories on the subject that a twist is thrown on the story. Little would you suspect that things will turn out the way they do. 
   I highly recommend this book. Not only will it give you something to think about; but it is entertaining as well. If you want a quick read that can be easily read in a single sitting, prop up your feet and get ready to go back and meet Jack the Rpper again.
   I wish to thank Vagabondage Press for providing me with a copy of the eBook for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.

I give Jack the Theorist 4.5 out of 5 stars


Monday, September 19, 2011

Review of Soul Quest

Cover for 'Soul Quest'
Soul Quest
Amy Maurer Jones
Smashwords Edition 2011
   Starting high school is hard enough; but when you are a Human Oracle, life gets even more complicated. Liv Glyn is the kind of girl who likes to remain inconspicuous. Unfortunately, Liv, Laith, Brayan, and Meena have been commanded at birth by The Great Spirit, Hala, to be Human Oracles.
   If their lives aren't messed up enough, Laith's sister is a bit of a trouble maker and always has her nose where it doesn't belong. To complicate life even more, Liv's best friend since third grade seems to understand things that no human should be able to understand or see. To make matters worse, Liv thinks she is falling in love with him. Can her life get anymore messed up?
   This is quite an unusual fantasy read. You have the Spirit World that is located in a place called Arcadia where Halla resides. Hala just happens to be a bit ancient but lives in the body of a seven year old. You have Guardian Spirits who look after the Human Oracles and guide them in their chosen path. Our Human Oracles are destined to save the world. To complicate their lives even more, they have to protect the world from soul-sucking Daeva and their mutant progeny, Aengels.
   Generally speaking, this is a fairly good story, but it had a tendency to drag on way to much. After the story made it to school starting, we had to see the high school records of each of the four chosen. It kept flipping back and forth with each of them following their day and much of the same information was repeated. At one point Liv became angry at Meena for keeping information from them and she had done the exact same thing. She also had a problem with Meena being practical even though at one point she admired her for that. Once I reached about half way through the book, my interest in the story picked up and the storyline really started to move. By that point I was able to see where the story was actually going. I would be interested to see if the next book in the series moves along better then this one.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy of the book for reading and reviewing purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving a copy of the book to review.
I give Soul Quest 3.5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review of No Proper Lady

No Proper Lady
Isabel Cooper
Sourcebooks Casblanca
ISBN 9781402259524

   The year is 1888 in Victorian England. Joan is an assassin from two hundred years in the future. Her mission is to destroy a dark magician before he can summon the demons that will completely destroy her time. Before she is able to do so, she must learn how to act in polite Victorian society.
   Enter Simon Grenville, who has his own reasons to want Alex Reynell destroyed. Simon and Alex were best of friends until Alex almost destroyed Simon's sister. When he meets a half naked Joan in the forest, he thinks he may have found the means to bring Alex down. As the days roll on, and Joan steps into her role as the almost proper Victorian lady, Simon is afraid he wants her no where close to Alex Reynell.
   The author paints a world where dark magic is all too prevalent and the world as it is known, will be all but obliterated in the future if our alpha female does not intervene successfully. Joan is your futuristic terminator type who is expected to turn into "My Fair Lady" in a very short period of time. As the story progresses, sexual tension flies between Joan and Simon; but he is too much the gentleman to act on it no matter the cost. The question remains, can he can hold out without driving them both crazy in the process? Simon is determined to protect Joan with his magical powers; but terminator woman doesn't need his help. We have Eleanor, Simon's younger sister, who is afraid of her own shadow. Joan's strong will helps to draw Eleanor out of her shell and she eventually shows some back bone. 
    All in all this was an okay story; but it just did not flow very smoothly. It also had a tendency to drag along the way and you just wanted some action to develop. I had some difficulty maintaining interest because of the lack of action until almost the end of the book. Once the confrontation started, you were almost at the end and then it was over. This was an average fantasy read with some romance mixed in. I cannot, however, rate it on the top of my list.
    I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to read and review.

I give No Proper Lady 3 out of 5 stars

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review of Black Diamond

Black Diamond
Black Diamond
Laura Wright
Smashwords Edition 2011
   Josie Stapleton and her family move to a small town named Sunnyside. Josie is not a real out going person and is the type the snobs love to take advantage of. She befriends a young autistic girl and she is the only one who understands. Josie finds that no matter where you move, the story is always the same. Just different faces.
   Some of the local girls decide to take advantage of Josie. She goes along for reasons of her own. They arrive at her house one evening and the four of them take a walk. Josie has various horrors in mind; but then the girls are being very casual. Josie thinks she is home free until they arrive at the Devil's Bridge. The bridge is supposed to be off limits but curiosity always wins over. The old train bridge 200 feet above the ground brings legend face to face with reality.
   This is an excellent story of small town legends being brought to life with reality. The train that used to travel the bridge closed down years ago. The owner of the train was the devil in disguise and had a reputation for taking advantage of his employees, as well as, their families. Legend has it that Lloyd Fletcher, now roams the tracts  and his train still travels. Anyone who is unfortunate enough to  connect with the train may not survive intact. This story is a bit of a cross between the twilight zone and Alfred Hitchcock.  As the Twilight Zone so infamously said, "You are traveling through another dimension-- a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind."Your mind can travel in this time zone as far as your imagination can take you. Read for yourself and see where your imagination will take you.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy of her book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to review.
I give Black Diamond 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Hint of Murder: The Writer by Lia Fairchild

   A Hint of Murder is a short story in the murder mystery series by Lia Fairchild. This is a well written story about an author, Alicia Fairfield who writes murder mysteries. Serial murders are taking place correlating to her books and starting from her newest book and working backwards.  Alicia has felt guilty from the start because she feels responsible since her books are involved.
   Alicia is the nervous type and is always talking to herself in her own mind. Her agent, Edward, is very supportive and is a bit mysterious. He has something he wants to tell her; but keeps putting it off. In order to make Alicia more comfortable during the investigation, he offers to stay with her until the murderer is caught.
   Since this is a short story, I won't say anymore because of spoilers. You must read this short story for yourself to find out what happens. Short stories are not something I read frequently because I always want more. I have to say that this has the makings of a full length novel. I was pulled in from the start and was thrown a curve by the way it ended. I bounced back and forth to several different suspects. Once I had finished reading, I could look back and saw all the signs as to who committed the murders. All in all this is an excellent read.
   I wish to thank the author for providing me with a copy of the short story to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the story to read.

I give A Hint of Murder 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Interview with Heather Lynn Riguard and Review of Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star

It is my pleasure to welcome my guest today, Heather Lynn Riguard. She has taken the time from her busy schedule to answer some questions about her book and herself. Please help make her welcome.

1- How did Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star come to be?

FDRS was written and posted as a serial to a Jane Austen Fan Fiction board called the Hyacinth Gardens. It was originally titled Slurry, after Darcy's band.

As for why Rock Stars? I wanted to do a modern version of Pride and Prejudice, and I wanted to maintain the class difference between Darcy, Elizabeth, and everyone else. There are already plenty of stories with Darcy as a CEO, so I wanted something original and different. It occurred to me that fame separates people from the everyday, and sometimes, but not always, fame comes from talent. So from there I was inspired by a song that was so perfectly Darcy, that I knew I had to write my story with Rock Stars.

2- There are so many remakes of Pride and Prejudice out there, what is the appeal for this interest in Eliz and Darcy?

Elizabeth and Darcy are perfect characters: Elizabeth is very smart but not the prettiest, and I think that's something everyone can relate too. We've all felt like that. And we can relate to Elizabeth emotions, even if most women aren't trying to win a rich husband so their mothers and sisters won't be thrown out into the street. We've all had our pride stung by a rude remark. We've all been embarrassed by something our family or companions have done. We've all felt like we were wronged when something was done against us, or someone we love. We've all been ashamed when we've found something we thought we knew was wrong. She's all of us. She's sparkling, she's fun, she's fearless. She always has a quick remark in any situation- why wouldn't we want to be Elizabeth

As for Darcy, he's the perfect man. He's wealthy, he's handsome, he's passionate, he's protective. And we watch him, over the course of the book, get broken down and remade. He's a proud man who's made humble. That's pretty irresistible.

3- I love the book cover on your book. Who designed it for you and did you have any input?

I love the cover too. It was designed by the art department of my publisher Sourcebooks. I had very little input- they ask you to fill about a form listing the physical characteristics of your hero/heroine and that's pretty much it.

I do know it's the third cover they did, because back in January they had a survey of 'Vote for your favorite cover' between two different ones, and neither of them were the final one.

4- How long have you been writing and do you do it full time?

I've been writing for about 10 yrs. When I'm working on a story, I'm going pretty much around the clock. There are many days were my family has to fend for itself for dinner. But when a book's done, I'll take a break and not write at all for months. So I'm kind of either completely on or completely off.

5- Who or what has had the most influence on your writing?

It's hard for me to answer this fully, because I'm something of a sponge, and I'll soak up anything I'm exposed to that I find interesting from books to music to movies to conversations I overhear at the mall. But the obvious answer is Jane Austen. The less obvious answer is Jennifer Crusie who's an excellent modern fiction writer who also takes a great bit from Austen, but is a little more sneaky about it.

6- Who is your favorite author and why?

Has to be Austen. I admire her for her talent. For the way she can convey something so completely with just a turn of phrase. For her devastating wit that could fillet a man without him even knowing it. She's my hero. And I always have one of her books on my bedside table.

7- Did you have to do any particular research while writing your book? If so, what?

Oh goodness! Did I? I worked with professional stage lighter to get details about the concerts right. I worked with a professional movie maker to get the video shoot details right. I watched documentaries of concert tours to get the pacing correct. I consulted with a couple lawyers to get the legal aspects right. I spoke with addiction counselors and with security experts and with professional musicians and many, many more. It was kind of crazy, but I wanted things to be true and right.

8- Do you have any WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about them?

I'm working on another modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, this one set in a medieval recreation society. (I know, sounds nuts, but so does rock stars) I'm also in the early stages of an adaptation of Northanger Abbey, which I think is really timely, because Austen's heroine was obsessed with Gothic novels, which really translate well into Young Adult Paranormal romances. And I've got an original work that's a para-normal romance cooking in the back of my head.

Thank you Eva for having me here today. I'm looking forward to comments from your readers and I'll be around to answer questions.

Review of Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star
Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star
Heather Lynn Rigaud
Sourcebooks 2011
ISBN 9781402257810
   Fast music and wild reputations have made Fitzwilliam Darcy's band Slurry into rock's newest bad boy band. Unfortunately, they have lost another opening act and their summer tour may just be on the fast track to disaster. They need to find another act fast before the tour goes down the tubes.
   Enter, Elizabeth Bennett and her all girl band, Long Borne Suffering. Elizabeth, her sister Jane, and friend Charlotte Lucas, jump at the chance to accompany Slurry on their summer tour. None of them are prepared for the trails and tribulations of what lies ahead.
   The story starts out a little slow with a rather lengthy prologue involving an interview on Inside the Music. Once we get past that the story starts to take shape with the audition of Long Borne Suffering. The story progresses into the life of the bands while on their summer tour and breaks. It takes on the daily grind, along with the disagreements between the various members of the bands. Of course, no journey of the band would be complete without the sex, romance and drugs.
   All in all this was a great story. The one thing that interested me about all of the main players in this book, they were all rather dysfunctional. All of the band members had some real issues that they were facing as individuals. You had Eliz and Darcy who had control issues. Charles was not being truthful with Jane and she was a bit insecure. Richard has addiction issues and Charlotte is destroying herself by loving someone who is unable to commit to one person. That is all I will say because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone. I recommend you read it for yourself. If you like a good story about love, romance and rock and roll, this is the story for you. Warning: This story does contain adult content and has lots of sex.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in anyway except for receiving the book to read.
I give Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star 4 out of 5 stars