Friday, August 27, 2010

Review: Glimpse by Stacey Wallace Benefiel


Title:  Glimpse
Author: Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Formats: ebook, paperback
Publication Date: April 20, 2010
Print Length: 262 pages
Word Count: approx. 52,660 (Short Novel)
Page count on Sony Reader: 116
Source:  Ebook version provided by author 

Zellie Wells, Book 1

Description: 
Zellie Wells has a devastating crush on Avery Adams, the son of her mom’s high school sweetheart. At her sixteenth birthday party, held in the basement of her dad’s church, she finally finds the courage to talk to him. Turns out, the devastating crush is mutual.

As Avery takes her hand and leads her out onto the makeshift dance floor, Zellie is overwhelmed by her first vision of his death; shocking because not only are they both covered in his blood, but they’re old, like 35, and she is pregnant.

Afraid to tell anyone about the vision, (she’d just be labeled a freaky black magic witch, right?) Zellie keeps the knowledge of Avery’s future to herself and tries to act like any other teenager in love. When they get caught on their way to a secret rendezvous by her mom and his dad, they are forbidden to see each other.

Convinced that their parents are freaking out unnecessarily, Avery and Zellie vow to be together no matter what. They continue their relationship in secret until Zellie learns that their parents are just trying to prevent her and Avery from suffering like they did. The visions are hereditary, they’re dangerous, and if they stay together the visions will come true.

Now Zellie must choose between severing all ties with Avery, like her mom did to prevent his father’s death, and finding a way to change Avery’s future.

*****

My Review: 
When I started to read this book I wasn’t sure what to expect.  What started out as an unassuming, though enjoyable, YA romance with a light clairvoyant theme suddenly took me by surprise (and kept doing so throughout the book) and ended up being quite an engaging read.

The point-of-view switches back and forth between Zellie (first person) and Avery (third person).  Though I really liked seeing both perspectives, at times it was a little confusing since the switch often happens from one paragraph to another.  With that said, I got used to it and it didn’t deter from my enjoyment of the story. The author’s “teenage” voice was fantastic and it was so easy to fall into this story.

Glimpse starts with Zellie totally crushing on Avery, not realizing that Avery feels the same way about her.  When they are finally coerced by their friends to step it up, the story really starts to get interesting.  I lurved this scene and was absolutely hooked at this point:

We loitered in awkward silence for what seemed like forever.  I finally turned towards him to espouse some more of my wisdom, when a strong gust of wind blew past us, unleashing my crazy hair from my ponytail, and blowing it right into his face. I rushed to smooth it back again, but Avery grasped my wrist.

"It's cool. It's not bothering me." He rubbed his thumb up along the inside of my palm. "Your hair is really soft. It's nice."

Commence heavy sigh and warm fuzzies! 

Zellie and Avery are so likable you can’t help but root for them.  In fact, all the characters in this book are well rounded and interesting.  The plotting was very good with unpredictable twists that kept me guessing which way the story would go next.  The climactic scene comes earlier than expected and reveals something quite intriguing about Zellie that sets up the remainder of the story.  By the end of the book a new mysterious character will be introduced as well. 

As I approached the end of this book I was sure there was going to be a huge cliffhanger.  I was wrong! Again!  The author did a great job of wrapping up the story for this short novel and was even able to create a satisfactory HEA (at least for this book) while still creating a wee bit of a cliffhanger to make you eager for the next book in the series, Glimmer, due to be released November 2010.  Yay!

Rating:  5 - I LOVED IT!

This book is available in both paperback and ebook versions.  You can find Stacey Wallace Benefiel on the web at:

Website: http://staceywb.webs.com/
Blog: http://staceywallacebenefiel.wordpress.com/
Goodreads: Stacey's Author Page

Get the book!  Kindle, Smashwords, Paperback

Note: I have to give the author some props on the formatting of this ebook.  I read the EPUB version and it is one of the best formatted ebooks I’ve read lately.  It made the reading experience effortless and enjoyable!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

GIVEAWAY! Signed paperback of Samson's Lovely Mortal

A little bird told me that Tina Folsom just received a big ole box of shiny new paperbacks of her book Samson's Lovely Mortal and she would love to give away one autographed copy right here to one of our blog readers...thanks Tina!

Deadline for entering this giveaway is September 10th 10:00 PM (EST). Winner will be announced here and will be notified by email.  Winner has 48 hours to reply before another winner is chosen. Open to US residents.



~~~~~

The random.org gawds have spoken and the winner of a signed paperback copy of Samson's Lovely Mortal is...

Nancy
(confirmed)
 
~~~~~

  1 entry just for leaving a comment with your email addy. 


EXTRA ENTRIES:  Do as many of these as you want - the more you do, the more entries you get! 

**Please put all entries into one post**

+1 Be a follower of this blog (new or old) via Google Friend Connect
+1 Be a follower of Tina Folsom's blog via Google Friend Connect: http://authortinafolsom.blogspot.com/
+1 Sign up for the Indie Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Newsletter:  http://www.indieurbanfantasy.com/contact/contact.html
+1 Read the excerpt from Tina's upcoming release A Touch of Greek and give me one word to describe Triton, the main character.
+1 Vote on the poll at the top of left sidebar "Do ebook covers really matter?"
+1 Share this Giveaway on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or other social network - 1 point per site.  Come back here and leave the link(s).
+3 Choose ONE of the following and leave a link where it can be found. (only one 3-point entry per person)

  • Add this giveaway to your blog's sidebar.
  • Do a quick shout out for this book or the giveaway on your blog.
  • For Non-Bloggers: comment about this giveaway in any appropriate forum at Goodreads,  LibraryThing, or other book related forum.
+1 Add up your points for me! (Don't forget the initial entry and this one).

Good luck to all!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Review: Amaury's Hellion by Tina Folsom

Note:  the cover art for Amaury's Hellion has changed since this review was posted.

Title:  Amaury’s Hellion
Author: Tina Folsom
Genre: Erotic Paranormal Romance
Format: ebook
Publication Date: July 2010
Word Count: 93,301 (Novel)
Page count on Sony Reader: 276
Source:  Smashwords

Scanguards Vampires, Book 2



Description:
Vampire Amaury LeSang is cursed to feel everybody's emotions like a permanent migraine. The only way to alleviate the pain is through sex. When he meets the feisty human woman Nina, a cure for his ailment seems within reach: in her presence all pain vanishes.

Unfortunately, Nina is out to kill him because she believes he's involved in her brother's death. And she would succeed if only Amaury's bad boy charm didn't play havoc with her hormones and catapulted her into his arms and his bed every time she was near him.

As every kiss brings them physically closer, danger is lurking and threatens to destroy the little trust they have in each other.  Warning: explicit sex scenes.

*****

My Review:
Another winner by Tina Folsom!  I enjoyed this book as much as the first book in the Scanguards Vampires series, Samson’s Lovely Mortal, where we are first introduced to Amaury.  He is Samson’s friend and works for him in Samson’s security company. He was an enjoyable character in a bad boy way in the first book and I was glad to see he was the focus of the second book.

Amaury is your typical alpha hero but he becomes a big ole softy with Nina. He is protective in that yummy growly way we love to see in our alpha heroes, but Nina is constantly fighting Amaury’s need to protect her. She is independent and stubborn and a good match for Amaury. Because of her past she is distrustful of men and resists her attraction to him almost to the end.  

As with the first book, the romance between Amaury and Nina includes some snuggling, canoodling and talking, as well as hot sex scenes. Again, the author has done a great job in this area with a hot erotic romance that balances the sex with a suspenseful story while creating a sizzling connection between the main characters.

The secondary characters are also enjoyable and I look forward to their future stories. I like that Samson and Delilah have a fairly significant role in this book.  It gives me a sense of their continuing story.  I get to see the other secondary characters that I enjoyed in the first book as well and some new characters are introduced who I’m sure we will see in the future.  Since the characters do carry over from one book to another, I recommend reading this series in order so you can understand the references and relationships between the characters.

Tina Folsom is officially on my watch list! I eagerly look forward to the next book in this series and her new Greek Gods series expected to be released this Fall.

Rating: 5 – I LOVED IT!

You can visit Tina Folsom on the web at:
Website: http://www.tinawritesromance.com
Blog: http://authortinafolsom.blogspot.com/

Purchase Links: Kindle, Smashwords


Saturday, August 21, 2010

WINNERS! HP Mallory Ebook Giveaway

Great news!  HP Mallory has decided to give away one each of both her ebooks so we actually have two winners today! yay!



The random.org gawds have spoken and the winners are....

Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble goes to CathyD (confirmed)


To Kill a Warlock goes to SandyG265! (confirmed)

Congrats to Cathy and Sandy!



Winners have been contacted and confirmed. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do ebook covers really matter? Hell, yeah!

So I’m browsing the books over at Smashwords recently and decide to check out the Site Updates page.  In the August 14, 2010 post, Mark Coker, Founder and CEO of Smashwords, poses the following question (I assume it is Mark as his contact info is at the bottom of the page).  


“Still wondering if ebook covers really matter?”  

Um, o-kay.  As I pick my jaw up off the floor my initial reaction to that question is a big, fat, resounding…. DUH!  Of course they matter!   I was completely floored that the Founder and CEO of Smashwords would pose such a question.  I think ebook covers are essential and here are some reasons why:


Cover art is probably the first thing to attract a reader’s attention whether on a real or virtual shelf.  This may be even truer for the virtual shelf because you can’t pick the book up and look at it.  When I browse the new additions to Smashwords, my eye scans through the cover images first looking for one that pops out at me and screams “Look at me! You read this stuff!”  Even in a bookstore, the cover is the first thing that attracts my attention and makes me look more closely at the book.  Could you imagine walking into a bookstore and just seeing a bunch of blue covers with a title?  Yikes!

Cover art can give a reader some insight into the book.  Most fiction genres have a certain look and feel to the cover art.  If a cover is well done, a reader will know instantly if it’s a book in the genre/subject they read.

Readers often judge a book by its cover.  As an indie reader, it is an important piece of criteria for me to use when deciding if a book is worth a try.  The only criteria? No. An absolute indicator? No.  But it’s an important part of the decision.

It’s purty!  Yeah, simple as that.  I like well done covers because I like to look at them.  And if you’re browsing through your ereader of choice do you want to see just a plain cover with a title?  I don’t.
    So yeah, Mr. Coker, this reader thinks covers do matter… a lot.

    What about you?  Do ebook covers matter to you?  Are they important to your ebook browsing experience?  Are there other reasons why they matter or even why they don’t?  (Don't miss the poll on the sidebar for this topic.)


    Saturday, August 14, 2010

    Review: Samson's Lovely Mortal by Tina Folsom

    Note:  the cover art for Samson's Lovely Mortal has changed since this review was posted.

    Scanguards Vampires, Book 1

    Samson Woodford is a vampire. Gorgeous. Wealthy. Sexy. Virile...um, well maybe not so much lately.  Ya see, Samson has a bit of a problem. He can't get it up. Yup, ever since he was betrayed by his vampire lover on the eve of their blood-bonding his sex drive has gone down the drain.  That was nine months ago and still the hydraulics aren't working until Delilah, a human, enters his life and suddenly things start "looking up".  Maybe this is the answer to his problem.

    Delilah Sheridan, working on an assignment as a forensic auditor just wanted to pick up some dinner on her way home.  Out of nowhere she is attacked but she breaks away from her attacker and runs...right into the arms of Samson Woodford. Now that wouldn't be so bad except that he thinks she's the stripper that his friends set up to help him with his problem.  Gah!  Never mind that his friends were just trying to help him.  And never mind that her body seems traitorously attracted to him or that he looks at her like he's ready to devour her. She's not that type of girl...or is she?

    When a second attack occurs Samson is convinced it is no coincidence.  Someone is out to get Delilah, but who?  And why?  What started as just a solution to his impotence problem is turning into much more than he bargained for. And Delilah?  Well, she doesn't even know this hunk of sexiness is a vampire...yet.

    *****

    My first thought when I finished this book was, "Wow! That was  awesome!".  My next thought was, "Damn, there better be another book". (And there is, yay!)

    The first line definitely gets your attention and it didn't let go from there.  There was a small part where you got some character backstory that went a little slow but not enough to lose the momentum. The suspense part of the story wasn't that involved and I figured out at least one of the "bad guys" fairly soon.  However, it was enough intrigue to keep me interested. 

    What really drives this story is the romance between Samson and Delilah. My favorite part of the book  was the main love scene between them. I think the author did a fantastic job on this part. The actual sex scene flowed well. The scene was actually fairly long but it wasn't all about the sex. It was intimate, emotional, and even playful at times. It really helped to create the connection between them. 

    The attraction between Samson and Delilah grows as they try to figure out the mystery behind who is after Delilah. Samson is worried about how Delilah will react to his being a vampire.  He knows she is the one he is meant to be with, he feels their connection and senses her pain from a past secret regret. He just needs to convince Delilah they were meant to be together.

    This book is an erotic paranormal romance so there is explicit and graphic sex. There is one short scene between some secondary characters that includes rear-door activity, but other than that it is straight-forward m/f romance.  For an erotic romance there was a very good balance between sex and story.  I definitely recommend this one to lovers of vampire romance.  The next book in this series is Amaury's Hellion.

    Rating: 5 - I LOVED IT!

    You can visit Tina Folsom on the web at:
    Website: http://www.tinawritesromance.com
    Blog: http://authortinafolsom.blogspot.com/

    Ebook Info:
    Format read: EPUB on a Sony Reader
    Page count on Sony: 228
    Word Count:  approx. 90,050
    Source:  Smashwords
    Pub. Date: May 2010


    Purchase Links: Kindle, Smashwords, Createspace (paperback)

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    GIVEAWAY! Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory

    As a follow up to the review for Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble, HP has kindly offered to give away one copy of her ebook.  Winner will be sent a Smashwords coupon where it is available to download in various formats including Kindle.

    The deadline for this giveaway is Aug 20th 11:59 PM (EST).  Winner will be announced here and will be notified by email.  Winner has 48 hours to reply before another winner is chosen. 



    - One entry just for leaving a comment with your email addy
    - See how to get extra entries below



     *********

    WINNERS:
    Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble goes to CathyD
    To Kill a Warlock goes to SandyG265!


    Extra Entries - the more you do, the more entries you get (please put all entries in one post):
    +1 Be a follower of this blog (new or old) via Google Friend Connect
    +1 Be a follower of HP Mallory's blog via Google Friend Connect:  http://urbanfantasyauthor.blogspot.com/
    +1 Sign up for the Indie Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance Newsletter:     http://www.indieurbanfantasy.com/contact/contact.html
    +1 Read the first chapter from To Kill A Warlock and tell me your favorite line.
    +1 Share this Giveaway on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter - 1 point per site.  Come back here and leave the link(s).
    +3 Choose ONE of the following and leave a link where it can be found. (only one 3-point entry per person)
    • Blog about this giveaway
    • Do a quick shout out for this book on your blog
    • For Non-Bloggers: comment about this giveaway in any appropriate forum at Goodreads,  LibraryThing, or other book related forum.
    +1 Add up your points for me!

    The deadline for this giveaway is Aug 20th 11:59 PM (EST)


    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Review: Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble by HP Mallory

    Jolie Wilkins is just your average ghost whispering, sometimes psychic, tarot card reading girl next door with a lackluster love life, a quirky BFF, and unbeknownst to her... some latent witchy powers!  Rand Balfour, the hunky warlock who comes by for a reading, knows Jolie has powers and needs her ghost whispering talents to  help him discover who killed his client.

    What neither Jolie nor Rand expected was not only could she talk to ghosts, but she could reanimate the dead as well!  Word spreads fast about Jolie's ability as a necromancer and now there are factions of the underworld who want to use Jolie for their own agenda.

    Jolie's world is turned upside down.  Not only is she suddenly thrown into a world of vampires, witches, fairies, and werewolves, but she has to try and prevent an underworld coup while maneuvering around the advances of an amorous werewolf, a sexy vampire, a rake of a ghost and a randy fairy king. And then there is Rand, her gorgeous warlock who waffles between wannabe lover and distant employer.

    *****

    Though the author labels this book an Urban Fantasy, I personally view it more as a light Paranormal Romance.  Regardless of what you want to call it, it was a fun and absorbing read that kept me turning the pages.  The romantic tension between Jolie and Rand is carried throughout the book.  Rand is constantly struggling between his attraction to Jolie and his position as her employer (or at least that is the excuse he is using, eh?).  Much to Jolie's chagrin, he is kissing her one minute and keeping his distance the next. This is an ongoing struggle throughout the book that will likely continue into the next book if the cliffhanger ending is any indication.

    I like that the story did not take itself too seriously, but neither was it overly silly.  The characters were likeable, quirky, and fun with plenty of alpha male sexiness to go around.

    This was a great debut from an author that I will definitely be keeping an eye on.  If you like the lighter side of Urban Fantasy with a dash of romance and a plethora of paranormal characters then give this one a try!

    Rating:  4 - I REALLY LIKED IT!

    For more information about HP Mallory and her books, please visit her author page at Indie Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance website.

    ------

    Ebook Info
    Format read: EPUB on a Sony Reader
    Page count on Sony: 291
    Word Count:  approx. 115,520
    Source:  Smashwords
    Pub Date: July 2010

    Purchase Links: Kindle, Smashwords 

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    And so we begin....

    A brand spankin' new blog and a brand spankin' new blogger!   I'll be learning as I go so bear with me and be gentle :)

    This blog will feature honest reviews for readers by readers and will focus on Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy books by independent authors.  As the blog develops and grows, I hope to add additional features such as interviews, giveaways, contests, polls, guest bloggers, indie related topics and more.  If there is something you would like to see this blog focus on drop me a line at mishcara (at) gmail (dot) com and let me know your thoughts or post a comment here. 

    I will be developing review request and reviewer guidelines, but until then don't hesitate to drop me a line if you are a PNR/UF indie author who wants a review or a PNR/UF reader and would like to contribute your review to the blog.

    And now I should head off and start working on the first review, and who else better to start with than our very own H.P. Mallory!   Stay tuned....