Siren Suicides

Siren Suicides: Second Edition  by Ksenia Anske  description:

On a rainy September morning 16-year-old Ailen Bright flees her abusive father by jumping off the Seattle Aurora Bridge. Instead of a true death, in the water she finds several silver-skinned sirens who convert her to one of their own. As a newborn siren she is dead, supernaturally strong, and hungry for her new sustenance—human souls.
Ailen refuses to kill…at first. With time she must face the agony that comes with starvation, while being relentlessly pursued by a siren hunter. An enthralling and dark look into the mind and heart of a suicidal teenager, this urban fantasy follows Ailen’s struggle to figure out the meaning of life, her confusing feelings for her best friend Hunter, and her desperate battle for her father’s love.

Siren Suicides   3 STARS

The best thing about this book is how wonderful the writing style is. Anske does a beautiful job of drawing you into this world, and making it so vivid. She doesn’t just tell you what a room looks like, you discover it through the characters interactions, their insight and emotions, and it’s all done with ease. I loved her new take on sirens, how you become one, and the fact that she harkens back to the original Greek mythology with the names, and that she didn’t make the mistake of turning them into mermaids with a fishtail. The best part of this book though was the very beginning before Ailen turned into a siren. Seeing into her mind, and knowing why she loves sirens so much, and her still suffering from the loss of her mother, it was something that was tangible and understandable. I’m glad that Anske didn’t in any way romanticize suicide. She gives you the harsh reality of what it would be like hitting the water, what it does to your body, and how it feels to drown and the regret the victim goes through during it all. But once Ailen becomes a siren it’s like everything went into overdrive. It felt like everything was so on the nose with the whole siren bit. And as the story goes the way it circles around death can be extremely depressing and worrisome. I will say that right there at the end it finally began to really flow and Ailen goes through some real self-discovery and there is a lot of character growth that helped make this a book worth reading in the end.

 

Advertisements

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker description:

‘Alone with the dead! I dare not go out, for I can hear the low howl of the wolf through the broken window’

When Jonathan Harker visits Transylvania to help Count Dracula with the purchase of a London house, he makes horrifying discoveries about his client and his castle. Soon afterwards, a number of disturbing incidents unfold in England: an unmanned ship is wrecked at Whitby; strange puncture marks appear on a young woman’s neck; and the inmate of a lunatic asylum raves about the imminent arrival of his ‘Master’. In the ensuing battle of wits between the sinister Count Dracula and a determined group of adversaries, Bram Stoker created a masterpiece of the horror genre, probing deeply into questions of human identity and sanity, and illuminating dark corners of Victorian sexuality and desire.

Dracula   5 STARS

You know that scene in a horror movie when it gets dark and ominous music begins to play and you know that at any moment the killer is going to suddenly appear and murder everyone in a horrible fashion. That intense build up, and the anxiety of wondering exactly when you’re going to be scared, because you already know it’s coming. That’s this entire book. I had to take breaks at times to read some short stories that were a bit lighter, because the unnerving fear for the characters, as we the reader know what’s happening, could be a bit much at times. However, it’s easy to see why this is a classic, and how it has inspired others to delve into the dark world of vampires. Though, considering I’ve mainly read paranormal romance, it’s a bit disconcerting to see how the original was so completely evil. The vampires in this are soulless, not misunderstood, and kill children and anyone that gets in their way without remorse. More so, it’s incredible all the powers they are given, not just immortality and strength, but real mystical sort of powers, that I wish hadn’t been pushed off to the side in the other stories I’ve read. Beyond all of that though, I don’t believe I have ever come across a story written in this style, and it was this style that really made the tale such an intriguing one. Sure there have been plenty who have done rotating first person, but this is told in pieces of people’s diaries, the letters they’ve written to others, and even newspaper clippings. You’re getting the events after the characters have experience them and have pondered over them, as they try to understand what exactly is going on. Because of this you get to see how it all slowly melds together, and what each character really is thinking, and a much more personal aspect of the story that allows you to really feel for each of them as if these were actual historical letters that someone has stitched together. And I do so hope people were ever like this, this goodness and bravery and the way in which they talk so passionately about everything. It’s really a wonderful book. Though I would advise getting a version that has footnotes to explain certain things. Such as words that are no longer used in this way. As well as some of things that are referenced. I’m sure you could easily enjoy this book without such, but it was rather nice to have.

Redemption (Sea Assassins)

BOOK 1: Betrayal by Danielle Hardgrave

Redemption   description:

Sophia Davies is having the time of her life.

She lives with her two best friends in a city she loves and every day is a new adventure. Case in point, stumbling into her bedroom after a great night out and finding her ultimate childhood crush waiting for her.
But things have changed since the last time Sophia saw Nate. For starters, she now knows what he does for a living. And there’s the whole shark shifter thing…

Nathan Redman is burning.

He thought his mistakes would fade away with time, but the closer he comes to taking leadership of his clan, the more they sear into his skin. Revenge is the best cure for any wound, which is why Nathan’s heading out to see an old friend.

It’s nothing personal, really.
Getting close to Sophia is no problem. Killing her on the other hand…

BOOK 2: Redemption  4 STARS

This book was far more developed than the last, and perhaps it’s because Nate is to be next in line as clan leader, and so we get a closer look at what the lives of shark shifters tend to be like. Which is cold and cruel. It really helped you understand Nate, and what he was going through, and really how he felt about the humans he’d been around. It was interesting how he didn’t get why the others found silly things fun and amusing, and him trying to figure out why he ever hesitated to kill Sophia. And Sophia is awesome. She’s fun and really relatable in trying to figure out what’s up with their relationship. Liking Nate. even though her sister has given a veiled excuse to stay away, and wanting to see him in shark form really makes her a fun counterpoint to Nate’s very serious and brooding personality. I also really liked the addition of her friends and all that’s going on in their life and the quirky things they do. It made this story feel more alive, than the limited view we got with Betrayal when we basically only had the 3 main characters to get to know. Really though, the ending of this book, what the hell is that? I’m not even sure I want to know, but I do know I won’t rest until I find out.

Betrayal (Sea Assassins)

Betrayal by Danielle Hardgrave  description:

On a calm November evening, a ship disappears off the coast of Washington without a trace…

When Darcy Davies finds a handsome man washed up on the beach, he’s three things: injured, naked, and rude. And he’s got a few demands. Somewhere safe. No hospital.
Tell no one.

While Darcy takes him in, she’s no fool. She knows he was involved in whatever happened at sea that night. But is he a victim or a villain? One thing’s for certain—even if he’s not a danger to her person, this sexy stranger is a danger to her heart.

Gabriel Barnes can’t tell which is more of a pain in his side—the curvy brunette who plucked him off the beach, or the literal pain in his side.
Gabriel’s secret will be hard to keep in such close quarters, especially with injuries that are healing much too fast. But he’s got bigger problems.

It wasn’t an accident that brought him here.
It was a betrayal.

BOOK 1: Betrayal   3 STARS

The best part of this book is how it steps away from the pack. It’s not the same ol’ werewolf and vampire sort of books, though it is in the same world as those stories that Hardgrave has already told. I have definitely never read about shark shifters before, and I liked that they’re not even like other shifters out there. It makes sense as they point out that others are changing from one mammal to another, while they’re basically turning into a fish. This makes for an interesting new look into the world of myth and magic. The biggest step away is that this isn’t like some misunderstood vampire or giant fuzzy werewolf that has the loyalty of a dog. These sharks are cold blooded killers and are raised to be such from the beginning. They don’t even like each other, and have a hard time understanding the softer side of humanity. Gabriel is a killer, and Hardgrave does lessen the severity of such a life style by having him go after folks who are just as bad as him, but it’s still a whole other world and not exactly one anyone would want to get mixed up in. Which is probably why I did like Darcy so much, because she’s a no-nonsense sort of woman. She helps him, in what he sees as greed, because she knows money will help get things that need doing done. She isn’t some sweet damsel in distress wooed by the bad boy vibe, even if she finds him attractive. She’s got her own plans that she’s striving for, and it really does make for a good match. My main problem is that this story is short, and so you don’t get the development or view into this world that would really help make it more real and understandable. Worse though, was the typos and grammatical errors. No they’re not horrible but they do stick out like a sore thumb, and another read through would’ve really helped this story out a lot.

However, it was nice to learn that permie is short for permanent, as in a human that’s always a human.

Writing Rituals

Yes, you guessed it, Kyle Robert Schultz is just on a rampage to prove how utterly lame I am. Why Kyle, why?

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)

When do I write? hmmm… sometimes? Mainly when I’m at work supposed to be doing a job I still kind of suck at. Seriously who thought it’d be a good idea to put me in charge of computers? It took me a year to figure out how to schedule posts on here. So yeah, that’s when.

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?

ummm… by going home. Where there’s only a fuzzy dog to ignore me.

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?

Wait… am I supposed to do this? Interesting. I tend to only review my work if I’ve got writers block or (and this is the usual) if it’s been months since I’ve touched this particular piece of work. And then while I’m reading through I edit it to death crying giant tears of sorrow over how much it sucks.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?

I guess whatever song I’ve decided is my favorite at the time. It changes a lot. I have a short attention span. Right now I’m torn between Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do and Sing’s soundtrack song I’m Still Standing by whoever voiced the gorilla.

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?

I like watching movies like Something’s Gotta Give or Alex and Emma so I can watch other people suffering through writer’s block as well. Misery loves company and all that. Though I do read a lot, but I’m not sure if that helps with the block, but it’s definitely good for relaxation and gets me thinking. Plus, at the very least, I’m writing a review afterwards. So some kind of writing gets happenin’.

What tools do you use when you’re writing?

A pen? What else would I use? I mean I could use a pencil, but then I’d probably wear a hole through the paper with so much erasing. So I use a red pen, then I edit with a blue pen, then I edit the blue with a red pen. And so it continues…

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?

Probably air. And then water. Sometimes I eat, but that gets crumbs on my pages, and usually I can survive long enough till my ideas run out before I absolutely have to eat. But one must always come prepared.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?

Isn’t this the same question as before? I am so confused.

How do you know when you’re done writing?

I type THE END and then I know.

Now I’m sure you’re over wowed by my truly in depth answers, and so if you feel like spreading the joy just copy the questions below and slap them on your own blog.

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)
How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?
How do you review what you wrote the previous day?
What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?
What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?
What tools do you use when you’re writing?
What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?
How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?
How do you know when you’re done writing?

THE END

What’s New Pussycat?

BOOK 1: An American Werewolf in Hoboken  by  Dakota Cassidy

What’s New Pussycat?  description:

Derrick Adams is not happy. His pack of wolves isn’t like all the others. He’s got a brother who found his lifemate in the pound, a cousin who’s a vegetarian and now he has a lifemate of his own and she isn’t barking.
Martine Brooks is in a pickle. Derrick Adams is in a jam.
Pickles and jam. Not exactly a hot combo. Unless the “pickle” is a sultry, sassy cat shifter and the “jam” is a gorgeous hunk of wolf.

Derrick is cursed to die if he doesn’t make the woot-woot with his life mate on the night of the next full moon. Martine’s been held captive by a power-hungry warlock for six long months, forced to do his bidding before finding herself stuffed in a cat carrier and ditched at a 7-Eleven.

After rescuing her from a dumpster, Derrick and Martine strike a mutually beneficial deal: Mate, save a life, walk away—both alive and kicking. Win! Yet, there are kinks in the plan. Like the fact that Martine’s one-time captor is on the hunt, planning to extinguish all of her nine lives at once. Or the fact the curse threatening Derrick’s life is about to throw him a monster curve ball.
But the biggest kink might prove to be Derrick and Martine themselves, two avowed commitment-phobes…who are beginning to wonder what forever looks like.

 

BOOK 2: What’s New Pussycat?   3 STARS

The humor wasn’t as prominent as it was in the last book, though it still managed a light, fun story. However, it’s such an overused and ridiculous trope to have the two main characters be completely against the idea of a forever sort of love, and to then be surprised and unsure why they suddenly think about the other so much and are so happy to be near them. Regardless, it was nice that from the very beginning Martine knew exactly what was going on with Derrick, and happily agreed to be there for him, which did allow for other plot twists to come up. As well as for the fact that they’re in Cedar Glen for the most part, and so we get to see all the characters that were brought up previously and really get to know the strange bunch of paranormals that make up this little safe haven. It really added to the story, and makes for the promise of more books set here a rather appealing one. I want to know what’s to come of all these characters, not just the main ones that are the star of the book. Derrick, of course, is a werewolf, and it was funny for him to be initially opposed to Martine being his potential mate because she’s a cat, and we all know cats and dogs don’t mix. Martine was really the more interesting part, because she’s not just a cat shifter, she’s a witch’s familiar. This is the big driving point of the story, and gives us a lot more magic to deal with than just another shape-shifter to read about. Altogether it was a good story with a surprise ending.

Danielle Lori has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Danielle Lori.

Website: www.authordaniellelori.com

Twitter: @DanielleLori2

Facebook: @authordaniellelori

Instagram: @authordaniellelori

  1. Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.

Aside from writing, I beta read and edit for other writers. My hobbies include reading, reading some more, and my dogs. I do Schutzhund training with my German Shepherd which lets me see the light of day since writing and editing keep me in the house most of the time.

  1. How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I honestly only started writing a couple of years ago. I was the girl who wrote her English paper on the wall five minutes before class. I had no desire to write, but it always seemed to come easy to me. After reading for years, it became harder to find what I wanted to read. And so, I naturally thought, ‘Well, I’ll just write it then.’ And from there I went. A Girl Named Calamity was my first novel, and took me two weeks to write. I enjoy a lot of different genres as long as there is romance of some kind. But I write fantasy/romance and have a contemporary romance in the works.

  1. What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

My biggest influence is reading. I never would have picked up a pen if I hadn’t loved reading so much that I wanted to recreate it. It’s my motivator, my inspiration, and my greatest teaching tool.

There are a few authors I love who have inspired my writing. Mostly old school romance authors such as Johanna Lindsey, Judith McNaught, and Lisa Kleypas.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

Yes, I’m working on my third book in the Alyria series, Calamity’s final story. I also have a contemporary romance in the works, but it’s in the roughest of stages.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I jump in head first. Because of this, I probably have a lot of pitfalls along the way, but a story comes best to me as I’m writing. I know very little when I begin; usually only the most basic idea of the characters and their dynamic. I don’t do basic rough drafts. I have a slight case of OCD, and so it’s hard for me to go on when the beginning is in a rough state. I do something I like to call layering, where I go back and develop the first chapters. Continue writing, and then go back and develop those. I’m only on my third novel, and I’m sure that I will learn a better procedure as I go on, but this is what I’ve learned works well for me.

I usually focus on one project at a time, but occasionally when I’m in a certain mood or if I feel like I have to get something down, I will move onto another one and then return shortly.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I think my strengths are probably descriptions and making it feel as if the reader’s submerged in the world I create. I also have a love for dialogue, and think I do well with making it witty and entertaining. Motivation would be my weakness. It’s hard for me to get the motivation to start a novel, but after I begin and finish the first 10k words, it’s usually smooth sailing.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Ah, yikes. The dreaded marketing. I’m not a professional in this department, and am still learning quite a bit. But I’ve contacted bloggers and reviewers, sent out emails to Amazon reviewers with a free copy of my novel in exchange for a review. This works pretty well. If I would have known how difficult marketing was before I published, I would have started way beforehand.

Contact as many bloggers as you can who review in your genre. This is very time-consuming, but it’s a free way to market as a self-published writer.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

WRITE. It’s as simple as that. There are so many distractions, so many doubts, but you can never succeed if you don’t sit down and write. As for authors who are publishing for the first time, I offer the same advice. Don’t let criticism stop you from writing. People will always find something they don’t like, but you can only grow from it. Don’t give up if it’s truly your passion.

An American Werewolf in Hoboken

An American Werewolf in Hoboken by Dakota Cassidy  description:

Wooing a life mate can be hard enough for a wolf, wooing one while under the threat of a curse even more so.
Wooing a mate while pretending to be her dog? Nearly impossible.

After being drugged and captured by Animal Control, Max Adams is on Hoboken’s doggie death row when his life mate adopts him, takes him home, and promptly names him Fluffy. While JC, in all her new-pet-owner-ness, feeds “Fluffy” vile kibble, dresses him in mortifying dog couture, and schedules to have his manhood removed, Max’s human side gets to know JC. Especially in the biblical sense.

Hopefully well enough to make her fall madly in love, mate with him under the full moon, and move with him to Cedar Glen to live happily every after forever and ever amen. And fast.
Because the curse comes with a deadline…and the clock is ticking.

BOOK 1: An American Werewolf in Hoboken   5 STARS

This book earned every star for all the non-stop laughter it gave me. I was practically smothering myself trying to remain quiet in public, because it is that hilarious. Yet, while it had it’s silly quirks, it honestly brought up some interesting challenges and dangers that a shifter might would actually face in the world. Like being caught in wolf form by animal control, and drugged before you knew what hit you. And the things Max goes through trying to keep JC happy, and unaware that her new dog is actually a man, was so wrong it was… yes you guessed it, hilarious. There are no complaints about this story. From the way the paranormal world works, to why Max is cursed, and all about their little haven in Cedar Glen was just a fun adventure. JC is an awesome girl with a big heart who just wants to take care of her overgrown dog she just saved, and Max is just a man stuck in an impossible situation and trying to figure out which way is up. All the characters around them really filled in the tale, and are something to look forward to seeing again in future books. I’m definitely going to be diving into book 2 as soon as I can.

Sleeping With the Fishes

Sleeping with the Fishes by Mary Janice Davidson      description:

Fred is not your ordinary mermaid. She’s not blonde. She’s not buxom. And she’s definitely not perky. In fact, Fred can be downright cranky. And it doesn’t help matters that her hair is blue. While volunteering at the New England Aquarium, Fred learns that there are weird levels of toxins in the local seawater. A gorgeous marine biologist wants her help investigating. So does her merperson ruler, the High Prince of the Black Sea. You’d think it would be easy for a mermaid to get to the bottom of things. Think again.

fishesBOOK 1: Sleeping with the Fishes     4 STARS

Davidson has a knack for taking old ideas, like mermaids, and turning them on their head. Fred is about as un-Disney as you can get, but what makes her great is that she’s still somehow likeable. She wants everyone to leave her alone, and yet goes out of her way to solve the mystery of the toxins in the water. Mermaid aside, she’s definitely not your average heroine and that’s what makes this book so much fun to read. Plus, it’s not just about Fred, there’s her parents thinking of adopting, her friend, Jonas, who’s so secretly in love with Fred’s boss it’s adorable, and even her boss who just wants everyone to take her seriously. Even Thomas, the marine biologist, who is in love with Fred is a quirky fella that brings his own snark and humor to the equation. My one problem with the book is Artur, High Prince of the Black Sea. Mainly, I want to know how he even knew about Fred to suddenly find her, when she’d never made contact with any merpeople before. Also, he was just so over the top and out of touch with how humans work that it was rather ridiculous. I never understood how if they could mostly blend well, and do live on this earth, that they’re so ignorant of humans, and why he shames Fred for not letting everyone know she’s a mermaid, when clearly merpeople haven’t been going out letting everyone know they exist in the first place. It just didn’t add up for me. It wasn’t enough to ruin the book by any means, I still love this story and have read it several times, but honestly Artur just didn’t bring much to the table really.

A Girl Named Calamity

A Girl Named Calamity  by  Danielle Lori  description:

I was a simple farm girl living in the magical land, Alyria, where men ruled and women only existed.
Call me sheltered. Call me naive. I was probably both. I never expected to be the key to Alyria’s destruction.

The journey I was on wasn’t only one to save me. But one where I had a lot of learning to do. With men. With magic. And with myself.
But I wasn’t alone. I had an escort. One I wasn’t so sure about. But one I couldn’t afford to lose and one I wasn’t so sure I could even leave.

I had many hopes. But the most important one was that my name wouldn’t become my fate.

WARNING: This novel contains blood, violence, profanity, and some sexual content.
It does end on a cliffhanger.

BOOK 1: A Girl Named Calamity   4 STARS

If there ever was a character too stupid to live, it would be Calamity. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book. I tore through it as fast as I could wanting to know what would happen next. Between the fascinating cities, such as the one surrounded by cold fire, the insane history of areas that lie cursed, and just the varying cultures that exist within this world were all wonderfully developed and alive in this book and sucks you in from the start. Character wise, Weston is probably the best part of the story. He’s not a good guy, you can’t even describe him as an anti-hero, because he’s rather villainous. And yet he’s the one that has to repeatedly save Calamity from trouble that she gets herself into 90% of the time, because she stubbornly refuses to listen to any of Weston’s warnings, or even just plain common sense. She’s wishy-washy on everything, from whether she wants to cut her hair to whether she wants to sleep with basically every guy that comes her way. Yes, she is a horn-dog. I don’t think I’ve ever described a girl as asking to be raped, but that’s her. And I don’t mean she’s a tease, though she definitely is, or in any way saying the way she’s dressed is just too tempting for a guy. I mean, a guy literally tries to rape her and then she’s mad at Weston for saving her. And then she fantasizes about what it would’ve been like if he hadn’t stopped. How she’s still a virgin is the true mystery of this book. I mention all of this mainly because I know how such topics can be very uncomfortable for some readers, though this isn’t an erotic book by any means. But there is a lot of talk of rape and violence towards women in general, and that’s something you should be aware of. Honestly I hope that Calamity matures a bit more by the next book, and gets her head on straight. Weston can keep being murderously evil and sexxy and just pretty much his awesome self.