The Sweetest Oblivion COVER REVEAL!!!

The Sweetest Oblivion by Danielle Lori

Coming June 20th, 2018

She’s a romantic at heart, living in the most unromantic of worlds . . .

Nicknamed Sweet Abelli for her docile nature, Elena smiles on cue and has a charming response for everything. She’s the favored daughter, the perfect mafia principessa. . . or was.

Now, all she can see in the mirror’s reflection is blood staining her hands like crimson paint.

They say first impressions are everything . . .

In the murky waters of New York’s underworld, Elena’s sister is arranged to marry Nicolas Russo. A Made Man, a boss, a cheat—even measured against mafia standards. His reputation stretches far and wide and is darker than his black suits and ties. After his and Elena’s first encounter ends with an accidental glare on her part, she realizes he’s just as rude as he is handsome.

She doesn’t like the man or anything he stands for, though that doesn’t stop her heart from pattering like rain against glass when he’s near, nor the shiver that ghosts down her spine at the sound of his voice.

And he’s always near. Telling her what to do. Making her feel hotter than any future brother-in-law should. Elena may be the Sweet Abelli on the outside, but she’s beginning to learn she has a taste for the darkness, for rough hands, cigarettes, and whiskey-colored eyes. Having already escaped one scandal, however, she can hardly afford to be swept up in another.

Besides, even if he were hers, everyone knows you don’t fall in love with a Made Man . . . right?

If you want to learn more about the author, check out this INTERVIEW!!!

Advertisements

Laura Holtz has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

I’m author Laura Holtz and you can find me at www.lauraholtz.com, and on social media at @lauraholtzauthor on Facebook and Instagram.

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

First and foremost, I am the dedicated mom of three terrific kids.  I am a cycling enthusiast and I regularly spend time outdoors on my bike, Chicago weather permitting, or in a spin studio when it’s cold or rainy.  I love a good creative project, so I often consult on home design or visual media endeavors.  Right now I’m working with a small food company on their logo and brand materials.

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

I am a musical theatre lyricist and bookwriter, and I completed my first show, Gatecrashers, just before starting Warm Transfer. Musicals are like mental Sudoku, and they require extensive rework – it’s just a matter of time before I get back to Gatecrashers for another round of revisions.  

Years ago, I wrote a screenplay about Tsar Nicholas II and his Russian ballerina mistress while my newborn napped, however I never did anything with it.  It remains on a diskette somewhere in my basement.

With respect to books, I have written commercial women’s fiction and YA science fiction.

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

My childhood family dynamic has influenced my writing, especially my fascination with gender power and control imbalance.  

As a kid, I often escaped into books about aliens – these both terrified and intrigued me, which is probably why I enjoy conceiving stories in the YA sci-fi realm.  

While in college, I spent a year abroad studying English Literature.  My college at the University of London used the tutorial method of instruction and the lessons were intense and immersive.  Reading Dickens, Hardy, Austen and Brontë gave me a huge appreciation for refined language and the precision of well-crafted imagery, among many other things.  One novel, Jane Eyre, was particularly compelling to me.  My mother had told me tales of her youth and somehow I felt like I had a better understanding of her cruel upbringing by reading about Jane’s own plight.

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

Yes!  I am working on book one in a YA science fiction series.  I am also in the early stages of my next musical, a full length drama skewed toward a younger audience.

6.      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?

Ideas come to me when I am moving – especially when I’m on my bike.  Once I have an idea, I begin by creating a list of story events – a timeline, then I flesh out each scene.  When a given scene has a purpose, and it serves the plot, I know I’m in good shape to begin writing.  Characters take real focus.  It’s almost like I have to court each one over a period of time before I really know what they’re about.  

I like to work actively on one project at a time.  For me, it would be tough to divide my time and attention between two activities.  I prefer to put all my energy into one project, and mentally flirt with the idea of the next.  Looking forward to my next project is extremely motivating to me.

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

My strength is definitely my ability to make the perfect cup of coffee (with real whipped cream on top) before I sit down to write.  My caffeine fueled descriptions of place are probably my strength, and the internal dialogue of my characters is something on which I am always working. 

8.      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?

I’ve been fairly proactive on social media, and I am working with local Chicago bookstores on events.  I have a long list of podcasts I am soliciting, and I have also reached out to to woman’s organizations that support survivors of partner abuse.  Plenty of my friends and family are part of a grassroots promotional effort; many of them are also in bookclubs and are excited to get the word out.  I’ve also engaged Smith Publicity to cast a wide PR net.  

I wish I would have started developing my online presence much earlier than I did.  It would have been nice to document the process of developing Warm Transfer earlier.

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

Invest a little money in a class, coach, or online course.  Once you have skin in the game, you’re more likely to follow through when you hit a wall or decide your story is worthless.
Your story is not worthless.

Fire in His Fury

BOOK 1: Fire in His Blood  by  Ruby Dixon

BOOK 2: Fire in His Kiss

BOOK 3: Fire in His Embrace

Fire in His Fury   description:

Just like Rapunzel from the fairy tales, dreamy, romantic Amy lives a hidden life. She’s kept locked away in a tower for her own safety, with her sister as protector. Amy knows it’s for her own good. If a dragon catches her scent, she’ll be carried away and forced to become a drakoni’s mate.

But Amy has a secret – she desperately wants to be stolen. She would love to be rescued from her life of idleness and the thought of a devoted drakoni male charging in and saving her from her boredom sounds perfect to her. Of course, she wants a romantic, loving male who will adore her.

What she gets is Rast.

He’s not kind. Not romantic. Definitely not gentle. But he is utterly and completely obsessed with Amy and he’ll stop at nothing to make the delicate female his

BOOK 4: Fire in His Fury  4 STARS

I really blame Claudia. If you’re living in a world where a dragon may snatch a girl up because he thinks she his mate, you might want to have a bit of a talk about the birds and the bees. Poor Amy. Honestly, part of me almost dropped this to 3 STARS because of Amy, and how she viewed Rast in the beginning. She kept calling him murderer after seeing him kill another dragon, and thinking he was so evil, but it seemed a bit unrealistic. She knows dragons are being driven insane by this world, and that they fight over territory, and that yes to a degree they’re all murderers because they’ve burned entire cities to the ground, so why is she shocked? But as you go, it is more about Amy just having been so caught up in a fantasy that when faced with reality of the situation she got herself in she just doesn’t know how to handle it. That is something that I’ve really liked about this series, Dixon deals with the horrible truth of what living in such a world would be like. This isn’t just some cute little love story, it’s people fighting for survival in a land filled with death from above, and possibly more death on the ground. I was glad that Rast had more of his memories, because we then get to see a better picture of his world, and even more how the Salorians treated the Drakoni. It also leads to a lot of struggle on his part to come to terms with how humans see the world. Amy, though, grows a lot and I loved how it all turned out in the end. It’s an interesting set up for at least 2 other books, depending on which cliffhanger Dixon wants to handle next. I really don’t care which, I just want more.

Catching a Man

Catching a Man  by  Elizabeth Corrigan   description:

Kadin Stone’s life is finally going according to plan. She’s starting her new job as a homicide detective’s aide at one of the premier criminal investigation companies in Valeriel City, the capital of a 1950’s-style kingdom. Kadin is certain her new position will introduce her to any number of eligible men, so she’ll finally be able to get married and stop burdening the brother who insists on supporting her.

On Kadin’s first day, the royal family calls in her team to investigate the murder of gossip-rag cover girl Queen Callista. Kadin’s superiors think it’s an open and shut case. The queen’s jilted lover Duke Baurus DeValeriel had motive, means, and opportunity, but Kadin can’t help but spot holes in their theory.

After checking into a few leads of her own, Kadin inadvertently ends up in the confidence of Duke Baurus. When she tries to share what she knows with the rest of the team, she finds them unwilling to listen to the opinion of a girl who they know is only after a ring on her finger. In order to see justice served, Kadin finds herself doing the last thing she expected when she started working for a homicide detective—solve a murder!

BOOK 1: Catching a Man   5 STARS

I’ll admit, I went into this book thinking it’d be a fluff romance with a murder mystery in the background for a bit of plot. Instead it was an intense and very well developed mystery, that had twists you never saw coming, and an ending that left me completely surprised and yet the most logical. I loved that this was set in a 50’s style world, you get the clothes and the technology that is familiar to us for that era. Even the misogynistic views of women, where the only stable life for a girl is to find a man and get married while she’s still young and pretty. However, that is where the similarities to this world ends. Corrigan has built an entirely different society and government that vividly brought this world to life, and left so much to be discovered. I found it fascinating that here the medical field is run by the government, and so easily accessible to all, while investigations is the service you need insurance for. Meaning if a family member can’t afford or chooses not to pay for an investigation a criminal just goes free. Even the way women are rated, and what they go through to stay employed or to receive benefits, just shows how much thought Corrigan put into this. The mystery itself was also well calculated, and I loved how Kadin became a woman not just looking for a man, but one looking for justice. She was never the ditzy sort willing to do whatever to get married, she’s just a reasonable woman that understands the rules of this world, and doesn’t want to be a burden on her brother anymore. But more so, she’s clever and observant, and is willing to put her career and life in jeopardy in order to find the truth. Absolutely hoping there are more in this series to come, and it better come soon.

Crystal Kingdom

BOOK 1: Frostfire  by  Amanda Hocking

BOOK 2: Ice Kissed

Crystal Kingdom   description:

The kingdom she loves has turned against her. Can she save it before it’s too late?

Bryn Aven—unjustly charged with murder and treason—is on the run. The one person who can help is her greatest enemy, the gorgeous and enigmatic Konstantin Black. Konstantin is her only ally against those who have taken over her kingdom and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. But can she trust him?

As Bryn fights to clear her name, the Kanin rulers’ darkest secrets are coming to light…and now the entire troll world is on the brink of war. Will it tear Bryn from Ridley Dresden, the only guy she’s ever loved? And can she join forces with Finn Holms and the Trylle kingdom? Nothing is as it seems, but one thing is certain: an epic battle is under way—and when it’s over, nothing will ever be the same…

BOOK 3: Crystal Kingdom  4 STARS

Hocking definitely knows how to end a trilogy. I was very excited when we got to see the other tribes more. It’s the first time really going to the Omte tribe, and they’re definitely a different sort, but I was happy getting to see the Trylle and Vittra more, and knowing how the characters we came to know in the Trylle series are doing now. There was a fair amount of surprises, and it was interesting to see how they came to really knowing the truth of the plots that had been against the Kanin kingdom this whole time. The only thing that bothered me was Bryn. She’s intelligent and well trained in defending herself, and has now gone through so much, but obviously she was never really a soldier so I get her not exactly having been used to dealing with the things that were coming about in having to bring down Mina. Yet, even as no one would want war, and no one would want to hurt people who are simply being manipulated, I also think Bryn was just a bit too naive about a lot of things. As well as being very reactive, constantly trying to go on what would’ve amounted to suicide missions, which repeatedly led to Konstantine having to talk her down. That part got a bit old at times, but the rest of it was really well done. The war and dealing with those just trying to serve their kingdom, and those that are simply dealing with greed, and sadly the innocents who are caught in the crossfire. She didn’t wash over the bad side, and it made for a heart wrenching but realistic and worthy ending to the story.

My Top 5 Favorite Books of 2017

Long ago in 2017 I surpassed my Goodreads reading challenge of 60 books, and made it all the way to 63. I know, I’m amazing. However, I wanted to look back and list the top 5 books that I read last year. Now I am skipping over books I’ve read before, and only listing those that I read for the first time in 2017.

  1. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

This book is as sweet as it sounds. I’ve come to love several of Allen’s books, and I actually read 2 other of her books this past year. This I think was my favorite of hers simply because I can relate to the sugary sweet cravings that Josey is subject too. But like most of her books, there’s this hint of magic in the air, where even in a world that’s created to be as realistic and relatable as our own, there’s still that chance that anything is possible.

  1. An American Werewolf in Hoboken by Dakota Cassidy

If you ever read a book by Cassidy you know how much good humor there is in them. This one by far is the most hilarious. I practically had to smother myself to keep from laughing out loud at work. It was so much fun to read, and an interesting set of issues for werewolves to have to deal with that I’ve never once seen brought up in other books. Which in a way made it more realistic, and of course more interesting.

  1. A Girl in Black and White by Danielle Lori

This is actually the 2nd book in the Alyria series. While the first was rather good, this took Calamity to a whole new level. It’s always nice to read a series that gets better with each book, and this one was a fascinating story to begin with. Definitely one that keeps you wanting more.

  1. The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz

I love fairy tale retellings, and I love the old detective stories of a world weary gumshoe just trying to do the right thing. In this I got both. It’s funny and exciting, and it’s another series that each book takes you on a new twisty turn of old tales.

  1. T&A: Revelations of a Romance Novel Heroine by Jill Monroe

If you love romance novels, but are also the sort to wonder why the heroine always makes such silly mistakes, or does crazy things, then this is definitely a book you should pick up. After all Annalise actually knows she’s in a romance novel and is just trying to figure out exactly where the script is taking her.

There were plenty of other good books I read, some within the series of the ones I listed, and some that I chose to read over and over again. But when scrolling through my list these were the main ones that jumped out for me, and I definitely won’t be forgetting them any time soon.

The Chemist

The Chemist  by  Stephenie Meyer  description:

In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.
When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.
In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors. 

The Chemist   2 STARS

This is a rare review for me, because I usually don’t review a book unless I read it all the way through, which is why I gave it the benefit of the doubt with 2 STARS instead of just 1 STAR. I’ve never been ashamed to admit that I liked Twilight. Don’t know how so many people can act like the didn’t considering how well it did. More so I loved Host, and had really wished that she would write the sequel like she said she would. Instead we get what is supposed to be an adult thriller novel, however it really doesn’t read like one. Meyer should perhaps just stick to writing YA, because she’s good at that, and that’s really what this reads as, because the main character sounds more like a naive teen than an adult government agent whose job is to torture people. After all, if she was such an agent she would be trained in many tactics that would’ve helped her while on the run. She definitely wouldn’t have needed to steal books from the library, especially fictional ones, in order to get good pointers on what to do. What was even sadder was when both the book she read, and her own common sense, said the email offering to wipe her slate clean was a trap, but she decided that maybe she should just take a chance anyway. And while I believe in forgiveness, and rectifying ones mistakes to the point that a romance could blossom from the situation she finds herself in, it also feels like it was a bit rushed and too forced to be viable. It’s like Meyer herself has never read a thriller novel or did any research on secret agents. Also the cliche of an agency being so clandestine that it doesn’t even have a name is so over done. Why wouldn’t it have a name? Wouldn’t it be more suspicious for government funds to be disappearing to pay for people and stuff in a nameless agency than one that had a name even if its purpose was classified. Like does giving it a name somehow make it more likely for someone to figure out who they were and what they did? It just never makes sense to me. But what do I know, I’m just a civilian being lied to by the government who assures me that such things don’t really exist.

The Barbarian Before Christmas

Due to the number of books in this series I’m just going to add the link to the list of books I’ve reviewed by Ruby Dixon. While this is apart of the Ice Planet Barbarian series, it still requires you to have read the first book in the Icehome series.

The Barbarian Before Christmas   description:

The growing barbarian tribe is about to celebrate No-Poison Day – a time of love, laughter, and gifts. But all Elly wants is for her mate to be at her side before the brutal season arrives. All Bek wants is a way to quickly return to his female despite the mountains between them. Thanks to the talents of a newcomer…they’re both about to get their wish and celebrate the happiest of holidays together

BOOK 17.5: The Barbarian Before Christmas    5 STARS

This was a short story, but still managed to give such a fun look at their No Poison Day celebration. I love these short stories because you get to see so many of the couples and get a more rounded view of what’s going on in the village, both in Croatoan and Icehome. The main focus was on Bek and Elly, who are definitely my favorite couple. I loved that Dixon didn’t just automatically “fix” Elly. Elly loves Bek and they have a great relationship, but she still has trouble socializing, and hasn’t gotten over her fears, such as needing someone else to taste her food before she eats. Perhaps I like her so much because I can relate to the anxiety and depression of being a part from the one you love for long periods of time, and altogether Dixon handled it perfectly. After them, seeing Lila and getting to know what it was like for her being able to hear now was wonderful. I’d been curious considering she hadn’t seemed all that moved over the change when it first happened, but in this we really get to experience what it’s meant to her. All the Barbarians, humans, and new alien men gave a lot to this story even in such a short format, and it always just makes me want more.

Elizabeth Corrigan has been INTERVIEWED!!!

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

I’m Elizabeth Corrigan! The best place to find me is on Facebook.

Twitter: @ERCorrigan

Website: www.elizabethrcorrigan.com

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

Well, I’m just coming out of NaNoWriMo, so I’m a little like, “What is life outside of writing?” 😉

By day I am an Army contractor. I’m a QA data analyst for a part of the Army that works on monitoring and preventing suicides and other behavioral health issues. By night, when I’m not writing, I’m usually playing games. I’m a huge fan of cooperative board games and tabletop role-playing games.

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

I wrote my first novel in high school. My friends all liked it, but in actuality, it was terrible. It was an over-dramatic contemporary young adult novel. My published novels are all fantasy novels—the first three books in the Earthbound Angels series and my mystery/fantasy Catching a Man. Last week I finished the first draft of my first science fiction novel, which I hope to publish next fall.

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

My writing has so many influences, it’s hard to pick any as the “greatest.” Probably the thing that has sparked the most plots for me is my dreams. I can’t count how many times I’ve woken up from a vivid dream and thought, “That would be a great novel!” Sometimes it pans out and sometimes it does not.

My Earthbound Angels series is most influenced by the television show Supernatural and the Nightside books by Simon R. Green. Probably the biggest fiction influence on Catching a Man was the novel Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. She wrote about a military dictatorship who were the good guys, and I wanted to do something just as different.

As for my writing structure, that has been influenced a lot by Red Adept Publishing/Editing. They’ve really helped me clean up my style.

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

I just finished the first draft of a science fiction novel called Arachne’s Web. It’s a space opera about a group of characters who are suddenly having memories of past lives. One of its working titles is “Space Trains” because the primary method of traveling between moons is trains in space. And yes, one of the first scenes features two of the characters robbing the train.

Up next after that is the sequel to Catching a Man, because I’ve been putting that off for way too long.

6.      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 spent a lot of time planning books in my head before I write anything down. It’s something for my mind to do when I’m bored on a long car drive or I’m trying to fall asleep. At this point in time, I’m on-and-off working on about 6 series in my head. I generally do a brief outline, just a one-liner of what’s going to be in each chapter, before I start writing, and I find that my outlines change a lot as I write the novel.

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

I always say my strength is punchy dialogue. I like writing conversations between characters. People also tell me I’m good at having distinct voices for my characters. My weakness is descriptions. I don’t pay attention to them when I read, so I don’t bother putting them in my first drafts. I have whole scenes that have no real setting. So when I edit, I need to pay extra close attention to putting in that kind of detail.

8.      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?

Can I go back and make marketing my weakness on the above question? I’m definitely not great at it. I’m trying out some new things, though, that will hopefully work out. BookRazor is a great service that will help you find reviewers.

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

If someone asks you to pay for their publishing service, they are not a real publisher! Read the Query Shark archives to learn how to query (and write book descriptions). Don’t believe people when they say you have to write for you—you can write for any reason you want. But you’ll probably be happiest if you’re writing for yourself.

The Stroke of Eleven

BOOK 1: The Beast of Talesend  by  Kyle Robert Shultz

BOOK 2: The Tomb of the Sea Witch

The Stroke of Eleven  description:

The adventures of Beaumont and Beasley are at an end.

The Council of Scions has finally caught up with Nick Beasley and his friends–and the sinister enchantress Madame Levesque has plans for them. Nick and Cordelia must solve an ancient mystery for her. Otherwise, Crispin and Molly will be lost forever.

The investigation leads Nick and Cordelia to the Castle of Basile, a bizarre place detached from space and time. Old friends are trapped there, and Nick and Cordelia are soon imprisoned along with them. Their jailer is the Fairy Godmother from the tale of Cinderella…who turns out to be far less benevolent than the storybook version.

A masked man offers to help–but can the White Rabbit really be trusted? What is Cinderella’s dark secret? And what will happen when the clock strikes twelve?

BOOK 3: The Stroke of Eleven   3 STARS

Like the other books, this was a new and rather dark twist on the fairy tales we know and love. After surviving on the run for so long, they’re finally captured. It’s interesting to be back dealing with the Council, as well as Nick’s dream Beast still coming in to play, and them finally questioning what really happened to Cordelia’s father. It helps to tie the stories together to develop this larger over arching plot, and not just a new case of the week. The building of the time loop, and how the world changes around them was fascinating, and practically apocalyptic. And while this is supposed to be about Cinderella’s real story, it was surprisingly more Beauty and the Beast than even the first book was. With the outfits, the song, and even living furniture making little debuts, which was rather charming. However, I found it ridiculous how the other magic users in the story kept ignoring Nick because he was just an ordinary guy, even if he is currently a beast. After all he’d done and the cases he’s solved, it felt like a rather strange turn of events to act like any idea he comes up with couldn’t possibly be worth their time. Also, while this story had so much to offer, and a lot of questions were answered, as well as plenty of plot lines that could build for more stories, it ultimately ended up being rather predictable. The “big reveals” were more of a confirmation of what you already knew. It was a good book, but just wasn’t on par with the previous stories. Even the whole sci-fi bit of Doctor Who style clockwork people and robots really tainted the normally magical aspect. Plus there were a lot of typos. It feels like Shultz may have rushed this story. I still do look forward to see what happens next, especially after that ending which really makes me wonder which Liddell was in that locked room.