Attention Authors or anyone wanting a review: I am currently NOT taking on any more reviews at this time. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm overwhelmed at the moment.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Haunted: A Romantic Suspense by Maris Soule

It doesn’t matter to Valerie Wiggins that most people believe Jason McLain killed his wife. She needs the three-time Oscar winner’s expertise in special effects if they are going to turn their local charity’s annual haunted house into a money maker. Besides, every since she first saw his picture in the tabloids, she’s been attracted to him: his piercing dark brown eyes, unruly brown hair, and unsmiling mouth. And even though he’s come to this small town in the Sierra Nevada mountains to hide, she won’t take no for an answer. Except once he says yes, he fears he’s pulled her into the darkness that continues to haunt him.

Excerpt:
Nowadays every town and city in the United States has a haunted house at Halloween time. If you want Slaterville’s to bring people from miles around, it’s going to have to be different. More spectacular, frightening, and mysterious than any other haunted house in Northern California.”

Valerie Wiggins parked her white Ford in front of a run-down, peak-roofed mountain cabin and cursed herself for standing up and giving that speech at the last WIN meeting. The squeaking door didn’t get oiled, it got volunteered. It was now her responsibility to create a “different” haunted house, and her job to make sure it was more spectacular, frightening, and mysterious than any other haunted house around.

Just what she needed, another job.

She didn’t have the time. She didn’t have the energy.

Cut the bull, she told herself as she stared at the cabin. The truth was, she did have the time. And the energy. And she didn’t mind being in charge of the project. What she didn’t want to do was talk to the man who lived in this house.

“We have just the person who can help us turn our haunted house into a success,” she’d said at the meeting that night. “Living right outside of town.”

As if every woman in the room didn’t know about Jason McLain.

So now, thanks to her big mouth, she was the one appointed to talk to Slaterville’s newest and most infamous resident. His reputation alone scared most of the other women.

His reputation scared Val.

Unless you knew, you’d never guess a man who’d won three Academy Awards for special effects lived in this house. If he was as rich as the papers had said, he sure wasn’t using his money to upgrade his property. In the six months since he’d moved to Slaterville, he’d done nothing to improve the exterior of the old Dalton place. The fence was broken in several places; beneath the snow, the small patch of lawn that had existed years before was no more than weeds; the bushes around the house were overgrown and dying; and the porch sagged. All of the wood needed a fresh coat of paint.

The only changes she could see from back when the place had stood abandoned for years were the broken windows had been replaced and heavy drapes and venetian blinds kept passersby from looking inside. There were certainly no signs of life. The snow hadn’t been shoveled from the walkway, no smoke curled from the chimney, and no lights showed behind the closed drapes and blinds. There was nothing to indicate anyone lived in the cabin except the tire tracks that led to the garage near the side door.

Or perhaps away from it.

Maybe he’s not home, Val thought as she opened her car door.

*****

Jason heard two raps at the side door and grumbled into the near darkness of his living room. It had to be Bud, back from the store. He’d said he was going for a six-pack of beer, but he’d probably bought more and couldn’t open the door.

Again there were two raps.

Light.

Hesitant.

Jason pushed himself up from the sofa and started toward the kitchen. Why had Bud come anyway? It wasn’t as though an invitation had been issued. The past was better forgotten, and that included friendships. Besides, in the past three years, Bud hadn’t exactly been Mr. Stand-By-Your-Side.

Jason had to admit, if only to himself, that had hurt.

He shook his head as he walked between the sink and the table, both of which were piled with dishes. Dammit all, he’d left Hollywood to find solitude, to get away from the memories. Two and a half years of being harassed by the police and media had been enough. His own doubts were enough.

If Bud expected him to be Mr. Jovial, he’d driven five hundred miles for nothing, and a few beers wouldn’t change that.

About the Author:
“Write what you love and know.” That’s the advice given to writers.

I fell in love with the Rhodesian Ridgeback the first time I saw one at a dog show. I love their temperament, their intelligence, and their personalities. I’ve shown them, bred them, whelped them, cried when I sent a puppy off to a new owner, and been as proud as a motherwhen one won at a dog show.

I also love living in the country. I have childhood memories of catching pollywogs in the creek that ran by our two acres in Walnut Creek, California; being able to pick ripe peaches from the tree (also almonds, pears, English walnuts, apricots and more); and sitting in my “thinking” tree making up stories.

When I married my husband, we were living in Santa Barbara, but his father was ill and we decided to move to Michigan to be closer to him. It was supposed to be a short-term move (just a couple years, my husband said). I won’t tell you how many years we’ve now lived in Michigan, but we now have grown children and teenage granddaughters. I haven’t regretted the move. Michigan is a beautiful state, and for 27 years we lived in the rural community of Climax. What a perfect location for a romance writer, and what a neat place to plot a mystery with a lot of suspense. (Yes, there are some similarities between the real Climax and my imaginary Zenith in The Crows and As the Crow Flies, but the events and people in those books are definitely fictional.)

We’ve now moved close to Lake Michigan (so my husband is near his sailboat), and we spend our winters in Florida, not far from the Gulf Coast. Both locations feed my love of being near water (remember that creek I played in and Santa Barbara) and are ideal places to nurture my desire to write. Whether I’m writing a romance, a mystery, or a combination of the two, I’m probably going to include an animal or two and there’s a good chance the characters will live in the country, the mountains, or near water. I’ve often used Michigan and California as settings, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Florida shows up in a future book. I’m sometimes asked if the characters in my books are based on me or someone I know. My answer is: Maybe bits and pieces, but my protagonists are always braver and smarter than I am (along with younger) and the antagonists are always nastier than the people I’ve known.



{Book Review} Haunted by Maris Soule

Haunted
by Maris Soule
Publisher: Self
Released: November 27th 2012
Genre:Fiction- Adult: Romantic Suspense
How I got it: Recived a copy via the author

Jason McLain, Hollywood's award winning special effects artist, was accused of killing his wife. A jury acquitted him, but the media crucified him. When he moved north to a small town in the Sierra Nevada, he thought he'd left the world of special effects behind him. But Valerie Wiggins, the local optometrist, has other plans. She's on the committee for the Women in Need's (WIN) haunted house, their annual money raiser, and she knows they need something spectacular if they're going to get people to come to their haunted house.
Neither Jason nor Valerie welcome the sparks between them. She wants to believe he's innocent, especially since she's falling in love with the man. But can she trust her judgment? Even Jason isn't sure he's innocent. People he cares for die. Is there a monster inside of him that comes out every time he gets jealous?

Review: Valerie works for a charity she feels very passionately about, WIN (Women In Need) they do an annual haunted house. This year they need a little boast to make their house stand out. Lucky for them Jason a three time Emmy winning special effects artist has move to their small town. Down side is he may have murdered his wife.  Valerie isn't going to let a little thing like a murder charge stop her, especially when he was acquitted.
The idea of a special effects artist creating a haunted house for a charity is a cool idea. I actually liked Valerie and Jason they had good chemistry. The problem was how Jason was so wishy-washy, I want you but I have to push you away for your own good. Arggh, I hate that! Thankful Valerie is a very smart cookie and saw through all of Jason's BS. The other problem was the whole murder thing, I totally saw how it ended. I mean there wasn't even a good twist. I found the ended contrived. It was just to predictable. 
So it had good points and bad, over all I have to say just read it for yourself and decide.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Author Interview R. Moses

Hi Dear Readers, I'm super excited about today’s guest. R. Moses has written three short true haunting books called My Paranormal Journals. These chronicle her interactions with the paranormal through out her life.

SJ: Hi R, is it ok I call you R? Or would you prefer Ms Moses?

R: Either is totally fine. Whatever feels right!

SJ: Would you be kind enough to tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing?

R: Why, yes I would! In terms of myself, I'm sort of a laid back artsy writerly type. I am happily married, have one darling little four year old girl, and I spend all my free time drawing, reading, and writing. I live in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina. I also eat too many fried foods and not enough vegetables. That about sums up my life.
Mostly I write fiction, so the My Paranormal Journals was a huge departure for me. I usually write swords and sorcery fantasy or paranormal romance.

SJ: What made you want to write or be a writer?

R: I love to read. I mean, I looovvvvveeeee to read. And at some point, the need to put words on paper that others would love to read became an all consuming passion. I would be reading a classic, say Watership Down or something like that, and I would think how great it would be to write it, to make something that helped people escape into an exciting story.
I started writing for fun when I was a kid, kept journals, wrote short stories and illustrated them, that type of thing, and at some point I got brave enough to publish. I always feel like I have a story to tell and as long as others want to hear it, I will keep writing!

SJ: What was it about this book that made you want to write it?

R: You know, at first I was hesitant. I have the humble world view that though I have led a good life, nothing much interesting has happened. My friends and husband kept egging me on, saying things like, “It would be so awesome if you published your ghost hunting journal! It's fascinating!”
So the more they mentioned it, the more I thought about it. I pulled out all my old journals from storage and started writing again. And as I started writing in it again, I came to the conclusion my friends and family were right. I had a story to tell from real life!

SJ: When did you become interested in the paranormal?

R: I was a weird little kid who preferred to read ghost stories, curled up in a soft chair, when I was like six or
seven, while all the other kids wanted to go outside and play in the mud. I think reading combined with offbeat ghost stories from family members piqued my interest at a very early age. I think I became much more interested in 'real life' paranormal events in early adulthood.

SJ: Where you then or are you now what we would call a Paranormal Investigator?

R: Back then? I can't claim I was an 'investigator' because all I kept for evidence was an old notebook. Investigators take prolific notes/pictures/do witness interviews/do research. I didn't even keep the pictures. I guess I was more of a 'seeker of curiosities.' Doesn't that sound nice and Victorian?
Nowadays, still a no, simply because I feel that I have left that part of my life behind me. That was another reason I wrote the journal, it felt like putting an end to my efforts to actively seek out strange phenomenon. Frankly, I have had enough 'negative' or 'demonic' experiences. I don't want any more, thank you very much!

SJ: Would you have called yourself a skeptic before all this happened? Now?

R: I used to believe every paranormal story I was told completely, which was a bit naïve. So when I was younger, I wasn't a skeptic at all. Now I am sort of a 80/20 skeptic. I feel that 80% of paranormal events can be explained away. Not that people are lying about their experiences, but sometimes there really is a boring, natural explanation. I talk about my 'skeptic' research a lot in the book because I was constantly seeking concrete answers to what happened to me.
As for the other 20% of paranormal events that I or others have yet to provide a satisfactory answer for, well, that's the part that still makes me think ghosts are real. So I guess I attempt to be an open minded skeptic.

SJ: Where you ever afraid something would follow you home from the investigations? In My Paranormal Journal Vol 1 after visiting the house on the hill, you mention depression, anxiety, and insomnia at that time you were a very active young woman college, work, and a social life. Did you ever consider that the entity targeted you due to stress or your emotional state at the time which then progressed into these other problems?

R: I don't think I was afraid it would follow me home at first. Maybe I had read about that danger, but if I did I brushed it off. Later, of course, I realized that it did follow me and that I had made a mistake in becoming so obsessed with it and its house. I did consider that the entity, whatever it was, did target me because I was stressed and emotionally vulnerable to negative influences. I don't know it's motives. It is all guessing on my part. Ugh. Even talking about it all these years later still gives me the creepy crawlies up and down my spine.

SJ: As the books progress you become rather obsessed with the house on the hill, to the point of being possessive of it. You mention being upset that people were partying in the house and disrespecting it. Did this concern you at the time? Did you consider something otherworldly was affecting your emotions?

R: It did concern me. I knew it was unhealthy, knew it was not normal. This was one of many warning signs for me to stay away, but being stubborn, I ignored all the red flags and kept going back.
I suspected the entity was affecting my emotions, yes. I had been reading more about these types of experiences and all the pieces slowly fell into place.

SJ: In the books you mention that your friend Jennifer was able to capture orbs in her pictures at the house. Since many paranormal investigators discount orbs, what is your take on them?

R: Oh, no, the orb question! That is like the hardest one to answer because it divides people so much. When we took the pictures, we were sure we captured ghosts. Now I do think they are just bits of dust floating around that reflects light. I've seen too many 'orb' pictures in dusty non-haunted places to think they could be anything paranormal. Just my two cents, though.

SJ: You also captured an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena), something many paranormal investigators try to do for years, what's your opinion of those as well?

R: I think EVP, for me, is the most convincing paranormal evidence out there. Once again, my skeptic research found an explanation, but when you hear voices/whispers/breathing on a recording when you didn't hear them in real life, man, let me tell you. Creepy. I don't think they are stray radio waves. I think they are voices from other intelligent entities.

SJ: For the most part the books talk about the house on the hill, but you mention other investigations in the books as well, could you tell us a little about those?

R: Most of my other investigations were duds. I think I mentioned in the book how 'famous' ghosts avoid me like the plague. Gettysburg is supposed to be one of the most haunted places in the country but I didn't have anything happen at all except heat stroke.
I think most of the other investigations were duds too because I usually only went once or twice. On TV, they cut out the hours and hours waiting to experience a paranormal event. In my experience back then, especially without the sensitive equipment available today, you had to keep going to a place over and over again and staying for a long time. Most of the time I would go with the friend who said it was haunted and they would tell me their experiences, but alas, no paranormal activity or very little.
Nowadays, though, with the wide range of equipment that is more sensitive to paranormal occurrences, I think it is easier than it used to be to capture evidence. Maybe if I had had that stuff back then, the other ghost hunting expeditions would have been more exciting! But there was just something about that house on the hill that drew me back. I have never experienced anything like that anywhere else.

SJ: You also talk about UFO's in My Paranormal Journal Vol 3 briefly, some people believe that ghosts are aliens what's your take on that?

R: I don't think so, no. I am assuming if they have the technology/intellect to travel across the stars to our humble planet, they wouldn't try to communicate with us via banging doors and whispering on recorders.

SJ: Did you ever feel that you were drawing the paranormal to you the more you investigated and learned?

R: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. The more these entities get attention from you, the more they want.

SJ: At the end of My Paranormal Journal Vol 3 you list some haunted locations people can visit. When you visit popular locations that are reported to be haunted are you ever worried something might follow you home? Especially given your experiences?

R: I am really not worried. It's that whole 'famous ghosts don't like me' theory that I have. Plus if you take a place like Latta Plantation that has thousands of visitors every year and there is one or two ghosts, they can't follow everyone home, right? So I feel pretty safe at these tourist traps.

SJ: All right I have to ask, if you could live in a haunted house with good ghosts would you?

R: No, no, no. I don't like the concept of being watched when I can't watch back. I know people often say they think the entity is good and protective, and that is fantastic, but it is not for me. I need privacy! I wouldn't want the 'good ghost' to actually see how much chocolate I eat, or me plucking chin hairs. I don't even let my husband see that!

SJ: Last question R, is there anything special you would like to share with the readers about your book or yourself?

R: I think (I hope) I covered all the bases with your excellent questions!

SJ: Thank you very much for joining me today. I really enjoyed chatting with you about your ghostly encounters.

R: Thank you! It's always nice to share with others interested in ghostly goings on. 

Check out all of R. Moses works on her site http://www.eclecticcycle.com 
My Paranormal Journal Volumes 1,2, & 3 are available on Amazon, B&N and iTunes 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

{Book Review} The Healing Power of Tea: Simple Teas & Tisanes to Remedy and Rejuvenate Your Health by Caroline Dow

The Healing Power of Tea: Simple Teas & Tisanes to Remedy and Rejuvenate Your Health
by Caroline Dow
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Released: November 8th 2014
Genre: Non-fiction- Adult: Food, Tea
How I got it: NetGalley

For centuries, tea has been used for healing and improved wellness, and now you can learn to rejuvenate your health with The Healing Power of Tea. Whether a new or expert tea drinker, Caroline Dow provides you with "tea-rrific" knowledge, including detailed explanations of different tea types and their advantages, as well as a list of ailments and what blends will alleviate them.

From black to green to oolong, enjoy many aspects of tea and tea culture. Discover the delicious ways tea will improve your life with extensive recipes and an easy-to-use reference guide. From the history of tea to growing a tea garden, this comprehensive book takes you on a fascinating journey into the world of teas and tisanes.

Review: I'm a big tea drinker. All summer I drink iced tea and fall/ winter I drink warm teas. I drink various flavors of warm tea and love trying new flavors.
In reading this book I learned quite a bit about teas. How teas are made and the different kinds as well as what makes tea green, white or black. I was actually a little sad to learn that some of my favorite warm "teas" are actually not tea at all but tisanes.
I really liked how things were explained and how different teas could help with different ailments. I would highly recommend this book to any tea drinker.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

{Book Reviews} Shattered World (Broken World, #2) by Kate L. Mary

Shattered World (Broken World, #2)
by Kate L. Mary
Publisher: Self
Released: October 4th 2014
Genre: Fiction- Adult: zombie apocalypse, horror
How I got it: Received a copy from the author

***Contains Spoilers for Broken World***

Stranded in the middle of the Mojave Desert, surrounded by zombies, Vivian and Axl’s group are sure they’re facing the end. The dead are closing in and the shelter they were promised is sealed tight, only they refuse to go down without a fight. Just when they think they’ve run out of time, the doors to the shelter are thrown open and they’re given refuge. Five years in underground condos with all the provisions there for the taking. It’s almost too good to be true. With the promise of security, Vivian hopes she’ll finally able to take a deep breath and deal with everything that’s happened. The loss of Emily, her growing feelings for Axl, and the terrifying new world they’re facing.

But the group’s sense of security is soon shattered when they learn the shelter isn’t the utopia they thought it would be. It seems the company that built the shelter decided to solve their financial problems by selling off provisions, which means the group has to find a way to get food, fuel and medical supplies. Or face starvation.

And Vegas is the closest city.

With her feelings for Axl stronger than ever, Vivian volunteers to accompany him and a few others on a trip into one of the biggest tourist cities in the world in search of supplies. The city is overrun with the dead, but there are other survivors as well. Only not everyone they meet is a welcome sight. As the emotional baggage piles up, Vivian and Axl’s bond grows stronger than ever, but it doesn’t take long to realize that zombies aren’t the only thing they have to fear.

Review: This is book two in this serie. Vivian and her group have finally found a safe haven in the middle of the desert. The problem in things aren't quite as good as they seem.
In this installment Vivian and Axl are able to explore their relationship more. We also see how everyone relates when not on the run. Another new character on the scene is Vivian's mother. This allows us a look at Vivian's background more, getting to know and understand her a bit more.
The plot continues to move at a good pace. Even during the downtime the story was able to progress due to the romantic elements. I like how Ms Mary was able to balance action, suspense, and horror. I was a little perturbed by the cliff hanger ending, but hopefully everything will be sorted out in book 3.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Conceiving Evil by Jenna Fox


Conceiving Evil
Jenna Fox
Genre: Dark erotica/horror/suspense
contains a light BDSM theme
Publisher: Dark Hollows Press
Date of Publication: Release date October 16, 2014
Word Count: 10,577
Cover Artist: Eden Connors

Book Description:

Like everyone else after the economic crash, Abby Torrance was struggling financially. But then Dorian Lincoln, a political and business icon, sweeps her off her feet and into a life of promise. He’s a man who has enough power to change the world for the better, a man who can give hope to the masses, a man who can give Abby a baby.

But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions and Abby is having strange dreams that seem both a warning and a prophecy.

How can she give the evil undertones of her dreams any notice when she’s busy focusing on conceiving?

Excerpt:
Dammit to hell. I can’t even enjoy a movie.
The nighttime air bit at my skin as thoughts of him chomped at my brain. He’d polluted me like a poison that spread throughout my mind and body, seizing every thought, leaving no rest. I loved horror movies and yet I couldn’t recall a single scene. Jimmie kept glancing at me, concern etching his face all the way through the ninety-minute show.
Soon Jimmie and I walked out of the theater, my hand resting in the crook of his elbow. Bitterness raged inside, heating my face against the breeze when I saw the limo roll toward us. He found me like he always said he would, but three fucking hours late.
I knew I wasn’t Dorian’s top priority, and I’d made some progress at keeping my jealousy under control, but no woman wanted to be shoved to the side every time it was convenient for a man. I tightened my grip on Jimmie’s sleeve and pulled him along just as the driver stepped into our path. I gave the chauffeur a shotgun-glare as he motioned me to the car. “Miss Torrance, Mr. Lincoln is waiting.”
My heart skipped ten beats, I couldn’t tear my eyes away when the dark window lowered and Dorian tousled his ebony hair with his fingers. He wasn’t in his usual attire, a business suit. Tonight he presented himself in casual wear. His sharp, handsome features were expressionless.
I closed my eyes, digging deep for the strength to tell him to get lost for standing me up, but I knew the words would never make it past my lips. I was a fool to entertain the thought. One look from those black eyes sifted me like wheat. Dorian practically owned me. That man was my tempter and my savior wrapped into one.
I met him at the lowest point of my life, after my mother died of cancer. The three jobs I was working to keep my head above water and pay off her medical bills were about to do me in physically. While I was waiting tables at the country club, Dorian swooped in from out of nowhere and rescued me like an injured bird. His amazing sixth sense alerted him that life was too much for me, and he offered me a strong shoulder to cry on. The floodgates opened and I unloaded my personal problems. Dorian Lincoln promised those problems would disappear with a simple acceptance of his proposition: give him power over my body, something Bianca wouldn’t allow.
Lifting my palm to Jimmie’s cheek, I smiled. “Thanks for the movie. I’ll call you next week.”
“He’s a prick. You deserve better, Abby!” Jimmie yelled, as I eased myself inside the limo.
Dorian opened a small refrigerator under the seat, his hands cupping the base of a champagne glass. “You’ve wasted no time finding another way of entertaining yourself this evening.”
“You wasted no time in standing me up,” I scoffed.
When I left his office that afternoon, Dorian said he wanted me for some ‘quality time.’ Eight-thirty rolled around before I realized he was a no-show. The food got cold and eventually the long stemmed candles I lit for dinner burned out, along with my patience.
“Meetings...clients,” he said.
Top secret meetings and clients were always the excuse. The coldness in his voice was a sword to my heart, a reminder of my temporary ranking in his life. I held on tight to his promise of our relationship becoming more when the time was right.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

{Book Review} My Paranormal Journal: Volume Three by R. Moses

My Paranormal Journal: Volume Three
by R. Moses
Publisher: Self
Released: September 20th 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction- Adult: Paranormal
How I got it:Was gifted a copy by the author upon request

My Paranormal Journal: Volume Three is the conclusion of our journal writer’s tales. As she tries to destroy her ties with the house on the hill and the dark entity lurking within, she also finds herself desperately in love with the one she believes to be her life partner, her soulmate, if you will. But as the shadows in her life lengthen and darkness approaches, she wonders if the beacon of new love will chase the shadows away. And if the darkness does leave, how long before it tries to come back into her life?

My Paranormal Journal: Volume Three is the final installment in a three part journal. This installment also contains a short guide to the journal writer’s favorite North Carolina haunted attractions, including Latta Plantation in Huntersville NC and Fort Fisher in Kure Beach NC. This installment is roughly 15,000 words which is the length of a long short story/novelette.

Review:  All righty this is the final installment of the My Paranormal Journal series, it says so in the blurb. If you haven't read the first two I highly recommend doing so before trying to read this book. These are not stand alones, they are three parts of the same journal.
Volume three is broken down best in my opinion as part 1 and part 2. Part 1 is basically the finalization of our narrators journey with "the house on the hill". She's relating the closing of this chapter in her life and explaining how shes opening a new one with "the love of her life". Part 2 takes place several years later she is married, has a little girl and thought she had put all this paranormal stuff behind her. Little does she realize that they have moved into a haunted house.
I really liked how Ms Moses closed the story of "the house on the hill" yet didn't leave the reader hanging. She actually gave us closure, at least as much as she could. I also liked how she updated her own experiences and kept with the format of the books, giving us a entry then a little research tidbit. Unlike some ghost stories that just say 'we ran away and never went back, the end' Ms Moses touched base with what happened with her friends and the house as well as herself given us a sense of closure. I appreciated that a lot. Over all I really enjoyed reading this series and was a little sad to see it end.