Category: Fiction


From Author’s Website

A vampire never gets old. But neither do his enemies. When a figure from Ethan’s dark past makes a splashy debut in Chicago, Merit and her Master don’t know whether he’s friend or foe. But they’ll have to figure out soon, because trouble is brewing in the Windy City.

At an exclusive society soiree attended by the upper echelons of the human and supernatural worlds, Merit and Ethan barely stop the assassination of a guest. When the target turns out to be a shady businessman with a criminal edge, Merit suspects a human vendetta. But the assassins have fangs….

The connections to Chicago’s Houses go deeper than Merit knows, and even one wrong move could be her last….

My Review:

First a few things about the series. I originally added the first book, Some Girls Bite to my Goodread To Read list in August 2010. I don’t remember who recommended it to me. For some reason, it got lost in the shuffle of life. Recently, I was looking at Goodreads and discovered the book again. But this time I discovered that there was 11 books, and 3 novellas in the series. I will admit that I read the entire series in approximately 14 days (from initial ebook purchase of the first book to my finishing this book). I love these characters. I love Merit almost as much as I love Kate Daniels from Ilona Andrews. I have a feeling that I will be re-reading this series much like I do the Kate Daniels series.

This series is not a romance series. This series is a Paranormal Fantasy series that does happen to have some romance and sex included. But the romance does not drive the individual books or the series.

Now, on to Dark Debt. This was a great book. While the author does give basic background for first time readers of the series, I would not recommend reading this book without the previous ones, especially Blood Games. Of all of the books in the series, this one’s twists and turns are more complicated that involved than previously. Chloe Neill did an amazing job on this book.
As much as I loved this book, I couldn’t give it 5 Horseshoes. There are some continuity issues. One is series related, but the rest are related to this book only. The series related one is about the existence of Incubi. In book 9, Wild Things, one of the supernatural creatures kidnapped was an Incubus. However, in this book, the reader is told that Incubi do not exist and the legend was created as a way to explain the sexual bent that some vampires’ powers take. While it isn’t a big continuity issue, it still bugged me.

The book related continuity issues mostly had to deal with Merit’s wardrobe. While most nights she is dressed in her beautiful new leathers (which actually don’t get mentioned as being her new ones since she was gifted them) there are a few times that she wears the House’s standard uniform, a black suit. There is one scene where she is wearing the suit and ends up chasing a perp. After the unsuccessful chase, there are mentions of her wearing her leathers. Once again, for most people not a big deal, but for me…… I feel that this should have been caught in the various levels of editing that takes place. There are other continuity things but I can’t think of them at this time.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next book to come out in March 2016.

I give Dark Debt a 4 Horseshoe rating.

This book was purchased by the reviewer.

Dark Debt is available from Amazon in Kindle and Print editions. Also available from Barnes and Noble in Print and Nook editions.

Publication Details:

Author Chloe Neill
Title Dark Debt
Format Ebook
Length 295 Pages
Publication Date March 2015
Publisher New American Library
ISBN 978-0-6981-8071-0
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From Publisher’s Website

In the gleaming heights of Victorian London, a world of deception awaits an unconventional Society lady whose taste for adventure makes her a most formidable adversary . . .

Though Society demands that I make a good marriage, I, Cherry St. Croix, have neither the time nor the interest. I am on the trail of a murder with no victim, a mystery with no motive, and the key to an alchemical formula that could be my family’s legacy.

Yet the world is not so kind as to let me pursue simple murder and uncomplicated bounties. Above the foggy drift, an earl insists on my attention, while my friends watch my increasingly desperate attempts to remain my own woman. From the silken demands of the Midnight Menagerie—to whose dangerously seductive ringmaster I owe a debt—to the rigorous pressures of the peerage, all are conspiring to place before me a choice that will forever change my life.

My Review:

Ms. Cooper has landed herself in on an elite list of authors who have made me cry with their stories. The other members of this list are Diana Gabaldon (multiple times with her Outlander series, Sherrilyn Kenyon (Acheron), and Karen Marie Moning (Dark Highlander ). Like I said, an elite list.

This was my first Steampunk from Ms. Cooper, and I enjoyed immensely. I read most of it in one night. I didn’t realize that this was the second book in the St. Croix Chronicles. Never once did I feel that I needed to go read the first book (Tarnished) to enjoy this one. Ms. Cooper did a wonderful job of giving information to those of us who skipped the first book.

The imagery and setting that you have in Ms. Cooper’s Victorian London. You feel like you are with Cherry in the drift, feeling suffocated by the smog and smells of the lower levels of society. You understand and empathize with the plight of those who are stuck below, not just in a societal class system sense but also in reality. When the smog started to overtake the posh neighborhoods of London, the Queen had parts of London lifted above the smog on stilts. Which left people behind and below in a place called the drift, never able to escape the smog. The smog hid not just the middle class and the poor, but also crime. Lots of crime, especially murder. In the drift, just about anything happens. There is murder, theft, brothels, “escorts” called sweets, opium dens and other drug offerings, and many gangs. It is a rich world that was created by a brilliant mind.

The character of Cherry St. Croix is a very complex character. She isn’t title but is an upper class member of society, even with the taint of her father’s madness following her. Cherry is intelligent and fascinated by science and debating the pros and cons with her best friend. But she has a dark side. To fight off the memories of the abuse she suffered in the drift at the hands of her own father, she relies on laudanum to sleep and sometimes to get through the day. But there is a small problem with this habit. The small stipend she receives from her guardian (who holds the key to her inheritance until she is 21) isn’t enough to by the laudanum. So to get the money for her drugs, she works in the drift as a collector, a type of bounty hunter. But because of another debt to a gang, not always does she get paid. At night she sneaks out of her house and spends hours in the drift. Trouble does find her, but for the most part collectors are left alone, much like clergy in war zones.

I’m not going to spill any more on this story. You will just have to get the book and read it. Come back and let me know if you cried also while reading this book.

I give Gilded a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Gilded is available from Amazon Print in Kindle editions.

Publication Details:

Author Karina Cooper
Title Gilded
Format Ebook
Length 384 Pages
Publication Date December 2012
Publisher Avon Books
ISBN 978-0-0621-2766-2


Kathryne Kennedy has won awards from the Arizona Author Association and the Colorado Romance Writers for her magical romances. She has lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives with her wonderful family in Arizona, where she is working on the next book in her Relics of Merlin series, Everlasting Enchantment. She welcomes readers to visit her her website where she has ongoing contests.

Meet My Dragons by Kathryne Kennedy

A big hello Jenn and all your readers! It’s a pleasure to be a guest at your blog today, and to meet another serious book and animal lover! After visiting your blog I knew right away which character I would be introducing from my book today. The dragon. Although many of my books feature animals—from Chihuahuas to monkeys to shape-shifting stallions—my current release features an intelligent, sometimes sarcastic, golden-scaled dragon.

I can’t help including an animal or two in my stories. They often provide that touch of whimsy or charm that make the book fun and engaging for me, and hopefully for my readers as well. When I was younger, I had a passion for horses. Although I couldn’t have one of my own, I had several friends who were kind enough to share theirs. Over the years I’ve had rabbits, dogs, cats, fish, snakes, tadpoles, geckos, birds and a crawdad or two. I currently have two little Chihuahuas that bring more joy and pleasure to my life than their 16 combined pounds should. And because I think they’re the most darling girls in the world, I had to share some of their pictures with you and your readers. The fluffy one is Precious, and the short-hair is Baggins…and they weren’t really into ‘modeling’ with one of my books. :}


In The Elven Lords series, the seven mad elven who invaded England flew through the barrier between worlds on their dragon-steeds. Each dragon is the color of the magical scepters of the elven lords, and carries a form of each particular power. Here is a glimpse at each of them:

Ador of the black scepter spouts fire.
Kalah of the blue scepter breathes lightning.
Mi’cal of the green scepter exhales a mist that creates thorny vines, a grove of trees, meadows of flowers.
Grimor’ee of the golden scepter puffs a misty smoke of illusion.
Midaz of the violet scepter can expel a fog that can turn anything to stone.
Grendl of the silver scepter spews molten metal.
Kiz’rah of the brown scepter has a roar that can cause the earth to split.

In The Lord of Illusion, we meet Grimor’ee, the golden dragon of glamour and illusion. In this scene, we see him through my hero’s point of view:

Drystan watched in amazement as a rosy hue flushed the dragon’s golden scales from snout to tail. Great wings rose and covered Camille for a moment, apparently the version of a dragon’s hug.

“You humans,” he rumbled, “have such capacity for greatness within your concept of love.” His golden eyes glanced at Drystan, who stood with arms crossed, watching the beast with as much obvious distrust and skepticism as he could display with a raised brow and a sneer.

“And weakness,” added Grimor’ee, removing his wings from around her and pointing them skyward. “We will speak again, Camille. You must promise to visit me tomorrow evening. Will you do so?”

“Yes. Yes, of course, if you wish it.”

Grimor’ee gazed at her silently, the smaller scales covering his forehead folding together as if contemplating a serious and disturbing matter. “I do so wish it.” He stretched out his wings to their full length, easily twice his height. “Now get the man from my sight before I turn him into a frog. He annoys the human hell out of me.”
She backed up as the dragon stroked the air with his wings, the cozy fireplace Grimor’ee had conjured disappearing as if washed away by the breeze he created. Drystan leaped forward and shielded her body with his as the dragon took to the air, his golden scales shining against the night sky as brilliantly as the stars twinkling above.

“You hurt his feelings,” said Camille.

Drystan sighed. “Dragons have no feelings, Camille. At least, none that remotely resemble a human’s. It is a grave mistake for you to think so.”

“Is it?” She pulled away from him, heading back toward the bridge between castle and tower. “He has never lied to me.”
Drystan scowled, trudging after her through the freshly fallen snow.

Devil take it. Could he be jealous of a dragon?

My dragons became more pivotal to the plot than I had first intended. Their interactions with humans gave them empathy and emotion that developed over the course of the series, until they fought the enchantment the elven lords had put on them, and became actively involved in the fight for England’s freedom.

Thank you so much for having me here today, Jenn! I hope you and your readers enjoyed the sneak peek into the dragons of THE ELVEN LORDS series. Do any of you have a favorite fantasy creature? Or a favorite pet? I would love to hear about it!

My Magical Best,
Kathryne

*********

Thank you to Ms. Kennedy for coming to PonyTails today to talk about your fur-babies and dragons!

The wonderful Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks Casablanca has agreed to sponsor a giveaway of 2 copies of THE LORD OF ILLUSION . It is open to US and Canadian residents only. I will do a random selection from the entries for the two winners on March 1, 2012. To enter, please fill out the form at the end of the post.

About The Lord Of Illusion:

He’ll do anything to save her…

Rebel Lord Drystan Hawkes dreams of fighting for England’s freedom from the endless evils of the Elven Lords. He gets his chance when he finds a clue to opening the magic portal to Elfhame, and he must race to find the slave girl who holds the key to the mystery. But even as Drystan rescues Camille Ashton from Dreamhame Palace, it becomes unclear exactly who is saving whom.

For the fate of humankind lies with Camille…

Enslaved for years in a realm where illusion and glamour reign, Camille has learned to trust nothing and no one. But she’s truly spellbound when she meets Drystan–a man different from any she’s ever known, and the force of their passion may yet be strong enough to banish the Elven Lords from this world forever.

From Publisher’s Website:

Dying is hard enough. Coming back to life is brutal.

Vanya has been hunting and killing demons ever since one of them scarred her face and killed her sister. Correction—since she was forced to kill the demon possessing her sister.

Then some sort of angel offers her a deal she can’t refuse—that if she becomes one of them, she gets to kill even more demons. Tonight, she’s made that choice. The death she smells on the air will be her own—and she welcomes it.

Silence feels a darkness is looming. Change—something he has every reason not to welcome. The deeply hidden memories that robbed him of his past, of his own name, render him unfit to teach anyone the ways of the Grimm. Yet here he is in the dankest sex club in town, waiting to assume his charge—after he stands by and watches her die.

When Vanya awakes, their complicated, dangerous dance begins. And so does something else—a searing need that blisters along their unexpected mental connection. Silence shouldn’t be drawn to his student, but once they touch, he can’t think of a reason to stop. Even though acting out their darkest desires puts them in more danger than they realize.

Product Warnings

This book contains sex-starved demons, lonely angels, demon-angel sandwiches, blood, violence, death and a happy-ever-after.

My Review:

Locked In Silence is the 5th book in Shiloh Walker’s Grimm Circle series. This one follows Vanya as she changes from mortal to Grimm and her training with Silence. Up until this book, Ren (from Crazed Hearts) was my favorite Grimm. Now Silence is my favorite. I guess I like the strong, silent type.

For those unfamiliar with the Grimm Circle series, Shiloh basis one or maybe both characters in the story on a classic story (i.e. Dracula, Hansel and Gretel, etc). She does a great job of incorporating the character’s past but not telling the reader who it is until almost the end of the book. I had a pretty good guess about half way through the story on who Silence is, but I’m not going to spoil the fun of finding out!

Shiloh wrote a beautiful story that was also heartbreaking. Silence can’t speak and uses a form of sign language that was developed before sign language was. But he discovers that he can “talk” to Vanya mentally, which is very freeing for him. There was a few times in the story that I wanted to take a two by four to the side of Silence’s head, but he redeemed himself.

This was a well written story that flowed beautifully. Shiloh does a wonderful job of incorporating the classic characters in to modern-day life. If you ever wondered what happened to your favorite classic characters after their story ends, then you need to read this series.

I give Locked In Silence a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Locked In Silence is available from Amazon in Kindle edition and from Barnes And Noble in Nook edition.

Publication Details:

Author Shiloh Walker
Title Locked In Silence
Format Ebook
Publication Date September 20, 2011
Publisher Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-6092-8528-9

From Back Of The Book:

Feisty reporter Corlis McCullough isn’t afraid to push boundaries in the name of journalistic integrity. When passion for the truth lands her in New Orleans in need of a job, an assignment at a TV station pits her against her old college nemesis, King Duvallon.

The sultry streets of the French Quarter, the glamorous Garden District, derelict riverfront cotton warehouses, and gritty back alleys come alive as the reporter’s story inexplicably slips between the nineteenth century and today. A long-forgotten drama of blackmail, swindles, and a love affair that is still changing lives leaves Corlis and King wondering if their burgeoning, unholy attraction will render them pawns in a matrix of mystery and deceit.

My Review:

Midnight On Julia Street is another re-release that Sourcebooks is publishing. This book was originally published in 1999. There is a note from the author at the beginning of the book stating that this book “provides a snapshot of New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina…” She goes on to state “Fortunately, the French Quarter and Garden District locales and building described in this novel miraculously survived the storm.” I have never been to New Orleans, so I would have never known the difference. But I feel that the books is just a relevant today as it was 12 years ago.

This story had two major story lines. The one following our lead character Corlis in 1999 and one following her namesake in the late 1830s. While working on a story about the pending destruction of a historical building, Corlis finds herself transported back to the era of when the building was built and discovers a way to help save it. Corlis also learns of the scandals surrounding the people involved with the building.

I greatly enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down. Ms. Ware brought New Orleans to life for me. I could imagine the streets and the people very easily for both the modern and the historical story lines. It makes me want to visit New Orleans even more that I already did. I want to see the locations she has mentioned in person, not just through Google.

Even thought I’m not a big fan of Women’s Literature this book was very enjoyable and the ending was very satisfying. I recommend this book those who enjoy a non traditional mystery suspense novel with a little romance thrown in.

I give Midnight On Julia Street a 5 Horseshoe rating.

Midnight On Julia Street is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. Also from Barnes And Noble in Print and Nook editions.

Publication Details:

Author Ciji Ware
Title Midnight On Julia Street
Format Print
Length 487
Publication Date August 2011
Publisher Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN 978-1-4022-2272-6

From Back Of The Book:

Recently divorced, Anna Fox decides to cheer herself up by retracing a Nile cruise her great-great-grandmother, Louisa, made in the mid-nineteenth century. Anna carries with her two of Louisa’s possessions-an ancient Egyptian scent bottle and an illustrated diary of the original cruise, a diary that hasn’t been read in a hundred years.

As she follows in Louisa’s footsteps, Anna discovers in the diary a wonderful love story from the Victorian past-and the chilling, more distant secret of the little glass bottle. Meanwhile, two men on the cruise are developing an unfriendly rivalry for Anna’s attention and a disturbing interest in Louisa’s things. Most frightening of all, Anna finds herself the victim of a threat that grows in strength and darkness as the dramatic stories from three different eras intertwine along the mysterious waters of the Nile.

My Review:

It took me a bit to get in to this story but once I was hooked, I couldn’t put it down. This is a reissue of this book, which was originally published in 2001.

This story is written from two different point of views. Anna’s view taking the Nile cruise in 2000 and from Louisa’s point of view from doing the cruise in 1866. We see Louisa’s point of view when Anna is reading the journal Louisa penned while on the journey.

Louisa describes the Egyptian monuments as they looked during her time. While on her cruise in 1866, Louisa is given a small bottle as a gift. She soon discovers that it is cursed. When she returns to England, she hides the bottle in a secret compartment of her desk. Over a century later, the bottle is discovered and is given to Anna. Anna takes it with her to Egypt thinking “it had seemed only right to bring it to the land of its origins”. Anna quickly finds herself immersed in Egypt, the center of a rivalry between two men, and dealing with an ancient curse.

Ms. Erskine did of beautiful job of bringing Egypt to life for those who have never visited. She also masterfully weaved together the two different story lines. I never once felt disjointed or lost between the transitions of the two main stories.

This book is not a romance story. Romance between characters is not the main focus of the story. However there is a budding romance between a few of the characters. This is a Woman’s Literature book. It doesn’t have a happy ending. I personally found the ending abrupt and felt the story was unfinished. However the author has included an Afterthought at the end of the book talking about how hard it is to decide how to end a book. She says “… I like sometimes to leave the characters at a significant turning point in their lives. They have survived and they have won through thus far. The future however, for them and the reader, is still mystery. Thus it is with real life.” Even though I would have liked more of a conclusion to the story, I am able to accept the ending as it is.

I give Whispers In The Sand a 4 Horseshoe rating.

Whispers In The Sand is available from Amazon in Print and Kindle editions. Also from Barnes And Noble in Print edition.

Publication Details:

Author Barbara Erskine
Title Whispers In The Sand
Format Print
Length 468
Publication Date July 2011
Publisher Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN 978-1-4022-6175-6

Fallen Legion, the fourth book in the Timeless series by Laura Kreitzer, scheduled to be released this winter by Revolution Publishing Inc.

SUMMARY

The full force of the Empyrean Guard leaves Gabriella trembling where she stands. Even with the Fallen at her back, she lacks the proper training and knowledge to win the inevitable Angelic war. In the Timeless Oblivion, Gabriella seeks the advice of the one person who’s never failed her and comes back with more than she bargained for. Now Gabriella must do the unthinkable: break the most important law the Celestial Gods decreed thousands of years ago to protect the Angels. Now that she’s crossed the line, will she find a way to save the Angels? Or has she doomed them all?

From Publisher’s Website:

What do you do for fun if you live in a small rural town, dauntingly far from the nearest city’s plentiful amusements? Upon what resources do you draw to spice up your existence? Letters From Wheatfield provides the answer – and it isn’t always pretty.

The fictitious town of Wheatfield is a tiny island in a vast sea of wheat fields and cattle ranges. Its nearest neighboring towns, similarly small, are well over the horizon. But its isolation has no effect on its inhabitants. Theirs is a society of mirthful, blithe, spritely wags – a condition abetted by the presence of not a few eccentric individuals.

In Letters From Wheatfield, two transplants from Manhattan write to a cousin back home about the remarkable community that has assimilated and transmuted them – much to their amazement and great pleasure.

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having grown up in a small town in Colorado, I was laughing at the couple’s, Fred and Sarah Moore, attempt to adjust to life in rural Montana. They quickly learned that the whole town had ears and knew everything. They also learned that things get blown out of proportion very quickly. As fast as it takes for a person to move from the back of the grocery store to the front. I often found my self saying out loud, “Oh, no” or “you don’t want to do that”.

When I got the request for this book, I was excited. I always wondered what someone from a big city (and you can’t get much bigger than New York City) would see and experience in a small western town. How they would adjust from living in an area where no one cares about anyone else’s business to everyone being in each other’s business!

Patrick Shannon did a wonderful job portraying small town life in rural Montana. I can easily picture this town being not far from Great Falls, my mom’s hometown. Many of the characters of the town reminded me of some of my mom’s cousins who live in a small town north of Great Falls. I can’t wait to pass my copy on to my mom to see what she thinks about it.

I give Letters From Wheatfield a 4 Horseshoe rating!!

Publication Details:

Author 

Patrick Shannon
Title 

Letters from Wheatfield
Number of Pages 230
Publication Date May 12, 2010
Publisher Outskirts Press, Inc
ISBN 978-1-4327-5705-2