Urban Fantasy Author
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The first in New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney's brand new Clan Sinclair series. It's true love in the Scottish highlands.
Virginia Traylor, Countess of Barrett, is in dire straights... Lawrence Traylor's death left his family in a desperate situation. He'd spent his wife's fortune on property that became entailed, passing to his cousin. If Virginia could have an heir before the allotted time was up, the title would remain in the family, but more important they'd have the income from the farms belonging to the estate. Only one problem: Lawrence had never wanted to bed his wife. Who would play surrogate husband?
Enter Macrath Sinclair, the self-made Scottish millionaire and the man with whom Virginia had fallen in love before her father chose Lawrence as her husband. Virginia travels to Scotland, becomes pregnant, and gives birth to a boy - who is promptly stolen by Macrath when he realizes he's become a father.
Virginia travels to Scotland in a desperate attempt to get Macrath to see reason. He must relinquish his son. The world sees the child as the 11th Earl of Barrett.
Another problem: Macrath isn't going to give up his son, and he wasn't all that happy about letting Virginia go, either.
Can they put aside their differences and make their new family work?
“Do you want this, Virginia?”
She pulled back and gazed up at him. “Yes. For the last year, I haven’t been able to forget you. Yours is the face I saw before I slept. I prayed for you when I should have been praying for my own husband. Perhaps if I had, I wouldn’t be here now.”
“Then we’ll go to perdition together,” he said, “because I can’t be sorry for your husband’s death.”
He pulled her inside his suite, closing the door firmly behind him, striding through the sitting room and into the bedroom to stand beside his bed.
He’d left the lamp on in the sitting room and considered lighting the one on the table beside the bed, dismissing the thought instantly. That would take too long, and he was impatient enough as it was.
He removed her garments one by one, gently set them aside, revealing her like she was a present lovingly wrapped for his delectation. The bow was, perhaps, her bodice with its jet buttons and full sleeves. The paper was her corset cover and the corset he unlaced with deft fingers.
The package was her skirt, shift, and pantaloons, until she stood in front of him naked with only her shoes and black garters holding up her silk stockings.
The contrast of her black stockings against her white skin was yet another present.
He held out his hand and she placed hers on it for balance. Bending, he removed her shoes then her stockings with such speed he was amazed at his own dexterity.
He stood studying her like she was one of his ice machines. He expected her to cover her breasts with her arms. Or shield the curls at the juncture of her thighs. She did neither, merely stood with her hands at her sides, letting him look his fill.
Now he wished he’d lit another lamp.
“You’re as beautiful as I always thought you’d be,” he said.
“You imagined me naked?” Her voice sounded surprised.
He smiled. “Endlessly.”
He had never touched her breasts, never stroked her skin with fingertips that were rough and tender at once. Yet it felt like he had, as if he knew her like he knew himself.
Still, some innate caution whispered at him to pay attention; there was more here than he could see. She trembled, but was it from fear or eagerness?
I've always been a big fan of historical fiction, enjoy Victorian era plots, and adore Highlanders. I was really looking forward to reading this book. It is well written, with an easy turn of phrase and understandable description with appropriate settings. However, I also like a Scottish burr to keep me firmly planted near a Celtic cross, and passion that resembles a sweep-you-away down draft on the Devil's Staircase of the West Highland Way. There was too much flashback and back again and again to develop the kind of whirlwind that whips the bangs of a Highland heifer or the cod piece of a tenacious shepherd. That disappointed me.
The plot, or to be specific the heroine's moral choice in the plot, was daring. Not even a part II Scarlet O'Hara would lie about something as important as paternity. That said, the author managed to retrieve the heroine's dignity by visiting upon her the trials and anguish of Job. (For those of you unfamiliar with Biblical references, think plague instead.) The subplots were ambitious and added flavor if not substance to the story.
Overall this was a well written if not always smoothly transitioned work. I do recommend it to historical, Victorian, and Highland loving readers. You will enjoy it and devour it in an afternoon.
Book Bling gives this work 3 Stars!
Meet the Author!
Karen Ranney wanted to be a writer from the time she was five years old and filled her Big Chief tablet with stories. People in stories did amazing things and she was too shy to do anything amazing. Years spent in Japan, Paris, and Italy, however, not only fueled her imagination but proved that she wasn't that shy after all. Yet she prefers to keep her current adventures between the covers of her books. Karen lives in San Antonio, Texas, and loves to hear from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lily Foster married right out of college. After three wonderful years of marriage, her dreams are shattered by an impulsive decision. Unable to forgive, she immediately files for divorce and hasn’t seen her ex-husband since. Now her friend Flora Magnus is getting married, with Lily as her maid of honor. The privilege turns into a nightmare when she finds out her ex is the best man. Can she survive a week of wedding preparations with Joe’s presence as a constant reminder of what she lost?
Joe Foster accepts the duties of best man for his long-time friend Bryson Mitchell knowing it could cause the maid of honor to bolt. Joe hopes he can get Lily to at least talk to him during the week they’ll be together. For three years he’s longed for a change to just talk to her. When he finally discovers the full reason why she left, will he be able to convince her to give their relationship another shot? Or has his honor been tarnished beyond repair?
Iris Sharpe is a Charleston born Southern belle filled with poise and grace now living in Denver. Her mother wants her to move home and marry into an established southern family. Iris only has eyes for Thorne, the man who causes her poise and grace to disappear whenever he comes within ten feet of her. The man who would fulfill all her dreams if she could just stop spilling her drinks on him and literally falling into his lap. Flora’s wedding might be her last chance to show him she really can be the woman of his dreams.
Thorne Hamilton can’t wait to spend the week with his friends and enjoy their company and celebrate Bryson’s wedding. He’s also secretly anxious to see what Iris will do next. The guys constantly rib him about his cleaning bills, but truthfully he likes the attention Iris gives him even if is at the expense of his wardrobe. Immersed in wedding preparation, not only does Iris practically ignore him throughout the week, she doesn’t spill or drop anything on him. Thorne realizes he not only misses her attention, he wants more from her. He wants the whole package
Finding a man has never been a problem for Heather Baker. Smart and beautiful, her friends tell her she should have been a lawyer instead of a Hollywood set designer. Determined to have fun at Flora and Bryson’s wedding, she’s set her sights on Colum Murray. They’ve flirted for years, but one or the other never seemed available for a weekend fling. But what Heather expects and what she gets are two totally different things. She fears she could fall for Colum, something she never intended.
Arriving for his friend Bryson’s wedding, Colum Murray knows he’ll be fending off the advances of Heather. Which is something any sane, single man would tell him was a stupid idea. Colum doesn’t want to be just another notch in Heather’s belt, he wants to be more. Instead of being just another man to her, he sets out to show her how it feels to be courted. When he decides to ramp up the heat between them without removing a stitch of clothing, Colum’s plan just might backfire on him.
Available September 24th
Flower girl and ring bearer duties bring Sam and Daisy’s children together. Sam’s had a thing for Daisy since they met. Can Daisy let go of her fears long enough to realize Sam just might be the one she’s been looking for?
Available October 22
Family and friends witnessed her devastating humiliation, including Evan, the man she secretly loved. After the debacle of her failed engagement, Aster decides she’s done with men. Evan, however, has other plans. Will she take one more chance on love?
Available November 19th
Flora and Bryson’s wedding is the perfect opportunity for Flora to help mend her friend’s broken hearts. While she’s busy working out their love lives, she feels hers is crumbling. Bryson is too perfect, too caring, too loving. Everything a woman looks for but she’s unable to fulfill all his dreams. Bryson has felt the underlying tension for months. Flora won’t talk about it until he received information from an unlikely source.
Meet the Author!
Melanie has been writing in some form or another as long as she can remember. From songs to plays (a bad one) to poetry (not her forte) to romance, the urge to write has always been there. She read her first romance book at the age of 13 and hasn’t looked back. A voracious reader, Melanie has been making an effort to expand her reading horizons, thanks to forced college papers. Other genres have captured her imagination, but Romance will always hold her heart.
A native Californian desert rat, Melanie has lived over half of her life on the Texas Gulf Coast. Braving mosquitoes, humidity, and the occasional voluntary hurricane evacuation, she and her husband and their two 4-legged children – who have their own page on the blog – spend time with family, friends, and planning their next travel adventure. She writes in most of her spare time and always makes sure to take a pen and paper with her just about everywhere she goes.
Click and follow tour for more chances!
"The old one will come. When he comes, his one true wife must carry within her a child of the old one who would be king. Only then can the heart be found and the evil of the world kept in its bounds."–The Prophecy of the Land
Sorann is the queen's daughter and training to be an empathic healer. Javert is a member of the wandering tribe called the Zingari and their future king. When Sorann's failed healer's magic test brings them together, they discover the prophecy governing the land is false. In order to prevent magic, and the Zingari, from being wiped from the land, Sorann must become Javert's wife and leave everything behind that she once held dear.
Tricked by demons, and followed by the queen's soldiers, they must find the fabled Wizard's Heart in the frozen Winter Valley.
What sacrifices will they have to make along the way, and will Javert ever discover the true meaning of the Wizard's Heart before his people and the love of his life are lost?
Standing in the makeshift shower, peace descended in a comfortable blanket. Nighttime birds sang and whistled to each other, a frog croaked bass, and the crickets formed the string section. Conceivably, Cryant lived far enough away from the city for the emotions of those in the city not to carry into his compound, to reduce the overflow from battering at her shell.
Sorann let down her guard, expecting a deluge of energies to cause her to feel dirty again. A dog barked and went silent. The pig grunted in its pen, perhaps upset at having its mud rearranged. But no feelings invaded her. In her palace rooms, a shield stayed in place to protect her from the invasion. Could the same be true of Cryant’s canvas?
Dim moonlight spilled in when she pushed the flap aside. She stepped outside marveling at the emotional vacuum she found herself in. Silly to think Cryant could afford the spell needed to empower a canvas to keep out the extended aura of others.
The sky above her wore a sprinkling of bright stars on an inky background. The cool night air caressed her skin. Goose flesh rose over her entire body. The hard ground under her feet felt warm with leftover heat from the day. The stones she stood on glowed in the faint luminosity of the yard light, wet here and there, the water from the shower ran in twin streams on each side of the stone path.
The clarity of her mind extended beyond her in the absence of others emotions and feelings. The world came to her in clear brightness--a veil of gauze lifted. She ran her hands over her stomach, her own skin felt different. The bumps caused by the cold felt alien and as she ran her hands over them, she could feel the tiny hairs on her skin, a chill shook her. She hadn’t even realized a barrier existed between her own hands and her flesh before.
Animal smells came to her, the scent of the soap was even stronger. Why did everything feel magnified? Perhaps subdued?
A result of the shell she kept in place? She’d lowered the shell before, and it wasn’t like this--not even in her rooms with their encasing spell. She spun around holding her arms out in the moonlight. She caressed her own arms, enjoying the feel of the gooseflesh on them. She laughed at the feel of the mud between her toes. She stepped off the path and took slow steps with her toes spread, so the mud curled as it squished between her toes. More laughter escaped her. Her hands traveled to her breasts, her nipples went hard in the cool breeze--had that ever happened to her before? Perhaps she hadn’t felt it?
“Sorann, you dressed?”
With a gasp, Sorann scrambled into Cryant’s robe. It stuck to her wet shoulders; luckily, it was over large for her. With quick movements, she wrapped her hair in the towel.
“Yes,” she called back. “I just need to re-rinse my feet. I . . . I accidently stepped off the path.”
“I’ve got soup on.” Cryant stood holding up the door flap. “Stay on the path.”
She quickly rinsed her feet in a clear puddle that remained on the platform under the barrel--the water mixed with mud creating patterns as it ran off her feet. Still puzzled, but prepared for the onslaught of Cryant’s life, she moved to the slice of light coming from Cryant’s doorway.
Cryant moved back so she could enter without touching him. Sorann almost tripped over the threshold. Nothing came from Cryant, no feelings, no buzz singing along her nerves in a stinging assault.
The upper wall revealed how the home stayed warm. Inside, plaster coated it, and, going through the door, she saw the wall consisted of two parts with what looked like straw stuffed in between.
The inside of his home held the aroma of potato soup and fresh bread. A slightly musty smell road on the tail of the soup. She rubbed her nose. Things in the room, a small wooden table with two chairs, a handmade broom leaning in the corner, two glow lamps, and a braided rug jumped into clarity. Things in her life were always fuzzy, smells, sizes, shapes, colors--all made so, she assumed, because of her constant battle to keep out the everyday life of others.
Perhaps the hog knocked her unconscious and this was the result? A dream? She pulled Cryant’s robe up around her neck, aware of how low the neckline rested over her breasts. The fabric carried a slight scent--a slight male scent. Cryant’s robe hadn’t been laundered since the last time he wore it.
“Here, sit by the fire,” Cryant told her. He stood near a makeshift clothesline stretched across the room. Using wooden clothes pins he hung her now clean clothes so they would dry.
Sorann carefully sat on the chair nearest the fire. Cryant finished hanging the clothes before he retrieved two wooden bowls from a homemade shelf hanging over a tin washtub. He spooned soup into both of them and set them on the table.
“Thank you,” Sorann managed. Questions tumbled through her mind. Why could she let her guard down in Cryant’s house? Why had she been so overwhelmed at first, but now--now since Cryant touched her in the pig pen--skin to skin, she didn’t need to be on her guard? Was it possible Cryant’s left over aura on his clothes allowed her a measure of control? Maybe Cryant himself?
Cryant picked up a small crate from near the fireplace and brought it to the table. He set the box on the floor in front of Sorann and set the thin towel covering the top aside. Small bird voices started up in a demand for food. Sorann pushed the chair back ready to spring away from the birds. She stopped.
“You saved the birds?”
“Some of them,” Cryant answered.
She peered back into the box. Birds. Young birds. The way they looked--one with a bandaged wing, another laying with its neck outstretched and its sides heaving as it tried to breathe.
“I can’t heal them,” Cryant said. His voice carried a note of sadness.
Slowly, Sorann reached into the box. She touched the gasping bird and almost shrieked when she felt its young body hit the pavement. Instantly, she knew about the bird’s broken bones, its injured ribs--the bird struggled in her grasp. She set him back in the box where he strutted around the other injured birds squawking and chattering at her.
“You healed him,” Cryant blurted. “But . . .”
Sorann reached into the box and one at a time she picked up the hurt birds. When she set them down they strutted about whole and healed. Cryant leapt to his feet and brought out a small cat from behind a curtain hanging around his bed.
He held the tiny black cat out to her. Sorann took the kitten in her hands and saw from the cat’s point of view the cart coming towards it and felt a flash of pain as the cart ran over the kitten’s leg and hip--her body didn’t feel as though she’d been run over. The cat’s feelings didn’t overcome her. She used her hands to completely surround the cat and in moments it struggled to be free. She let him go, and he ran to the box of birds and began batting at them. Cryant picked the kitten up.
“Out you go, but not in the street this time,” he said. He shut the crooked door over the curtain after he scooted the cat outside. “What they say about you, it isn’t true.”
Sorann looked up into his blue eyes. Lines creased his forehead, his thin face betrayed his puzzlement. She’d never noticed the shadow of stubble on his face before, or the tiny scratches, perhaps inflicted by an injured animal, like the kitten.
“It is true. I can’t heal. I get caught up in the emotions and can’t even diagnose what’s wrong because I feel as if all the things are happening to me. I don’t understand this at all. With animals, you aren’t supposed to receive the clarity to diagnose and heal the way you attain it with a person, but I didn’t expect to simply hold them and poof they are back to normal.” Her stomach rumbled, and she felt as if she’d eaten her last meal weeks ago.
“Eat, eat,” Cryant said and shoved both bowls of soup toward her.
She picked up the slightly bent spoon and touched a small bite to her tongue. Flavors exploded across her mouth, rich deep flavors of spices and onions she’d never experienced before. Spoonful after spoonful, each one a new adventure in taste and satisfaction until she cleaned both bowls of soup without a thought.
“Do you think the stories, you know from the Lost Lands, the ones about The Dark Towers are true?” He spooned more soup into the bowls.
Sorann glanced up at him and continued to shove food into her mouth. Her stomach kept begging for more with rumbles and demands she couldn’t ignore.
“I mean, the orange cat, outside, the one with three legs, sometimes, it almost feels like she is trying to talk to me.”
“The stories about those dark wizards turning their enemies into animals?”
Sorann chewed more food. She let out a small laugh. “I don’t think there is enough magic left in the world, dark or otherwise to turn people or animals into something else.”
“But isn’t that what we do with our gift?” He sat back and spread his hands on the table in front of him. He snapped his fingers shut. “Isn’t what we do magic of a sort? We take broken bones and turn them into whole bones, something other than what they were.”
Sorann stared at him a moment before she spooned more soup into her mouth. Around the food, she said, “Broken bone that was once whole bone, not something entirely different. Take the cat, where would all the difference in mass go?”
“Still, I think I would like a cat who could talk to me and could understand what I say.”
“I had a cat once, when I was small, I used to think she understood what I said. I think they do on many levels, if I can feel what they have eaten and their enjoyment, then . . .” Sorann shrugged. She looked up at Cryant after her spoon scraped the bottom of the wooden bowl.
“I’m sorry. You lied when you said you weren’t a good cook. I’ve never tasted anything, well, anything so full of flavors. I didn’t mean to eat all of it,” she added with a glance at the empty pot.
“Never mind. I have more friends in need, will you . . .?”
Sorann laughed, energy jumped along her nerves--she could heal. A miracle had happened this night--the speck of dust that sparkled with light--a wish fairy, if any still lived with the bounty on most things magic? Sorann laughed again, whatever had happened, she could heal. “Yes, yes, I will.”
Move over Harry, it's Sorann's turn. Howen creates a complex world into which the reader is quickly drawn. The norms and parameters are seamlessly woven into the vivid description and character interactions. The main character is well developed and solicits empathy and interest from page one.
This is a coming of age story cloaked in the guise of a fantasy novel, and comes with a bonus love story. Readers will zip through this book, trying to keep up with the adventure and high interest level only such a solid plot can evoke.
Book Bling gives this story 4 1/2 Stars!
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Review of Aberrant by Ruth Silver
In the future dystopian society of Cabal, the government instills equal-ity for all and offers its citizens the perfect sys-tem. There is food, shelter and jobs for everyone. The one requirement is to follow the rules without question, including the government’s match in marriage and “The Day of the Chosen”, a lottery that randomly selects families to conceive children as natural means hasn’t existed in generations. Following her eighteenth birthday, Olivia Parker accepts her requirement to marry her childhood best friend, Joshua Warren, and is eager to start her work assignment and new life when it all comes abruptly to an end as she’s arrested and thrown in prison. The only crime committed, her existence.
Olivia is unlike the rest of the world born not from “The Day of the Chosen.” The truth haunts the government and puts her life in grave danger as one simple fact would destroy the perfect system. With Joshua’s help, Olivia breaks free of prison and is forced on the run. Together they set out to find the promised rebel town in search of a new home and new life together. Their situation seems less than promising as they reach the town of Haven. New rules and customs must be adhered to in order to stay. Leaving would mean most certain death in the large expanse of the Gravelands. Time is running out as the government mounts an attack to destroy Olivia and bury her secret with her. Thrown into a world unlike their own, they must quickly adapt to survive.
If you loved The Hunger Games, you will love Aberrant. Silver weaves a Dystopian tale of whys and what ifs with enough fast-paced action and desperate moments to make this YA read a good choice even for those who don't normally choose Dystopian novels.
YA's, especially, will relate to the entire concept of being aberrant, with their hyper-awareness of fitting in by trying to be unique without being different.
The characters are believable and immediately evoke empathy from the reader. Their peril is thought-provoking and its outcome is vital. It's difficult to toot the horn of this work's success without a spoiler fest, so the best thumbs-up I can give it is:
Book Bling gives this work 5 Stars!
Meet the Author!
Ruth Silver is the best-selling author of Aberrant. The Young Adult/New Adult Romantic Dystopian Adventure, Aberrant is the first in a trilogy, released April 17th, 2013. Silver first began writing poetry as a teenager and reading heaps of fan fiction in her free time. She attended Northern Illinois University in 2001 and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Communication. While in college she spent much of her free time writing with friends she met online and penning her first novel, Deuces are Wild, which she self-published in 2004. Her favorite class was Creative Writing senior year where she often handed in assignments longer than the professor required because she loved to write and always wanted to finish her stories. Her love of writing, led her on an adventure in 2007 to Melbourne, Australia. Silver enjoys reading YA/NA novels and sharing her favorite books with other readers. She also enjoys photography, traveling and of most of all writing.
Outside the Lines
As an ivy-league ER doctor who eats double shifts for breakfast (and lunch…and dinner), Blake Fisher has little appetite for anything other than work. Being on the staff at Brenstville Hospital means taking care of people, a need Blake understands all too well from losing his brother to cystic fibrosis eight years ago. When he’s asked to coordinate a carnival fundraiser for the cause, he jumps at the chance to help others with the disease…until it lands him side by side with the one woman he never thought he’d see again: his ex-fiancée.
Streetwise and rough around the edges, Jules Shaw is no stranger to earning a living through hard work. But when her job as the restaurant manager of Mac’s Diner puts her shoulder to really broad shoulder with Blake Fisher, she nearly balks. She’d rather dodge and deflect than admit the real reason she broke things off, but the catering contract for the carnival means big business for Mac’s, and feeding people is Jules’s lifeblood.
As Blake and Jules join reluctant forces, they quickly rediscover the spark between them. But the possibility of a future together hinges on coming clean about the past, with potentially devastating consequences. Can Blake and Jules overcome their drastically different backgrounds and learn to love again, or will they always be outside the lines?
Do you like cinnamon buns and apple turnovers? Then flop into a chair, grab a snack and get ready to sink your teeth into another great read by Kimberly Kincaid. Her love story is peopled with real folk who speak, act and react like the three-dimensional characters they are. Lively, like-able and in love--perhaps not in that order--best describe her heroine. I love Jules' tenacious yet intelligent personality. You not only want her to obtain her goals, you also can't wait to see what she does to achieve them.
Besides being a hunk-a-hunk-a-burning-love, Blake has an enthusiasm for life and a passion for Jules. Watching him try to fight it is just too good to pass up.
Don't start hungry, but definitely get ready for a romantic feast with this one.
Book Bling gives Outside the Lines 4 1/2 stars!
Meet the Author
Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she's not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as "The Pleather Bomber", she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She has written two digital novellas, Love On The Line and Drawing The Line, about hot cops and sexy chefs, with a third novella, Outside The Lines, due this summer. She is also thrilled to have collaborated on a Christmas anthology with Donna Kauffman and Kate Angell, titled The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, to kick off her Pine Mountain foodie series with Kensington this October. Kimberly’s first full-length novel, Turn Up the Heat, will follow in February 2014. She resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.
Visit her any time at www.kimberlykincaid.com or come check her out on Facebook
What is the book about? Where did you get the idea?
The book is about an Ivy League ER doctor and a rough-around-the-edges diner manager who must organize a charity event together, despite the fact that they were once engaged and have been estranged for eight years. These two characters have been in my other two novellas, so putting them together seemed like a no-brainer, but the story idea came from my absolute love of “the one who got away” stories. One of my favorite tropes!
Do you have a target reader?
Outside The Lines is a foodie romance, so obviously anyone who likes happily ever after is someone I’d say would like the book. If the book was a movie, it would be rated a solid “R” for steaminess and language, but it’s definitely a love story.
What is your favorite thing about this book, and what sets it apart from other books you’ve written?
I love both characters, but there was something about my hero, Blake, that really tugged at me in this one. He’s quietly intense, but he really has a lot of layers and also a lot of emotion. I try to always write complex characters, but he’s a definite winner for me in that department! He made writing this book easy.
What is your hero’s fatal flaw?
His heart is on the line, no bones about it. He’s not afraid to risk it all for Jules. It’s just a question of whether he can convince *her* to risk it all too!
What is your heroine’s greatest desire? Why?
She wants to be good enough, and learning self-worth is really her arc throughout the story. She has lots of reasons why—I won’t spoil! But that need to be loved for who she is and the tough outer layer she’s constructed to cover that desire up is a big part of her story.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell your readers about this story?
Don’t read hungry! But in case your stomach is rumbling when you finish, the recipe for the signature dish (stuffed French toast) is in the back of the book, and there are lots of recipes on my website. Drop by for a visit any time!
How To Get Good Reviews On Amazon is a simple, no-nonsense guide that teaches exactly what it says it does. Based on both psychological science and thousands of hours of conversation with some of Amazon’s top reviewers, it takes you behind the scenes into the reviewing subculture that has grown up on Amazon’s website. It gives you a deep, insider’s knowledge of how the top reviewers think and operate. It not only shows you what to do: it takes you inside the reviewers’ heads so that you can see for yourself both how these techniques work and why they’re so effective.
· A simple, four-part formula for writing emails that get your work reviewed.
· Three things never to say when communicating with reviewers!
· How to pick reviewers who are more likely to give you a good review.
· How to reduce the chance that a reviewer you contact will post a bad review – even if it turns out they don’t like your work!
· How people get caught out when receiving reviews from friends and family.
This book teaches an honest, straightforward approach that works. It works because it’s not based gimmicks or tricks but on a real understanding of how Amazon reviewers operate: most of all on what they expect from authors and other sellers. If you want to know how to talk to Amazon reviewers in a way that will make them respect you as a professional and see you as the kind of seller they actually want to help, this is the book for you.
One of the most fundamental ideas in this booklet is that there’s a definite reviewing subculture that has grown up on Amazon’s website. Like any culture, it has its own particular values and mores: its own ideas about what’s right and what’s wrong. When we come to the issue of shill reviews, we collide headlong with the values of the reviewing culture. As you might expect, most reviewers see shills – and the sellers who use them – as very, very wrong.
Because this section is all about values, I think it’s important to stress that I’m writing here as your guide to Amazon’s reviewing subculture. I’m not writing as a missionary on its behalf.
Simply put, I believe that your journey through the Amazon Jungle will be smoother, easier, and more successful if along the way you’re respectful of the values of the natives who dwell there. For that reason, I’m going to lay out for you some of the more commonly held tenants: the basic beliefs that most of the natives would hold to. It’s not for me to tell you whether you should embrace these values to the core of your being and make them your own. I’m just telling you that as a matter of pure pragmatism, you are going to make trouble for yourself if you ignore them.
Oddly enough, this work isn't available on Amazon. Okay, just kidding. It's obviously on Amazon, and the link is provided below. I found this work to be straight-forward, clear, and accurate. It offers newbies and veteran authors alike some well-needed insight into the hows and whys of reviewing.
Theo begins by telling us how reviewers think and what they want. He also explains very thoroughly, the process and rules for playing the reviewing game on Amazon. He explains what kinds of reviewers there are and how each one can be expected to react to a review request--or which ones you should never approach at all. Even the Amazon reviewer analytical tool and how they use it is explained. Also helpful is the way he explains how an author can contact reviewers.
This work is also very helpful to reviewers. Theo has taken years of experience reviewing, analyzed every aspect of the "game" and explained the rules in simple, well-organized narration. A must read for both authors and reviewers.
Book Bling gives this work 4 1/2 Stars!
(He would have gotten 5, but I didn't want anyone to think I was his mom...) B)
Meet the Author!
Theo Rogers combines years of coalface experience on Amazon's website with formal training and qualifications in a range of business and social science disciplines. He's spent literally thousands of hours talking with Amazon reviewers, getting inside their heads, and learning what makes them tick. He's spent almost as many hours observing the carnage that so often takes place on Amazon's forums. In the process he's developed a deep insider's knowledge of the reviewing subculture that's grown up on Amazon's website.
He's also seen a lot of authors and other would-be sellers make the same mistakes in their dealings with that subculture - over and over again.
As a result of his experiences, Theo has come to believe that yes, there is a simple formula that works: a way of dealing with reviewers that's honest, powerful, and extremely effective at winning reviewers over, getting them on your side, and making them actually want to help you.
She follows her gut—he follows the rules.
Rachel Copeland’s fearless spirit makes life an adventure. Yet when her grandfather goes missing, she finds herself embroiled in an undercover sting operation with a by-the-book detective. Their partnership should be a disaster, but the spark between them is far from boring.
Detective Michael Delaney is hot on the trail of a drug kingpin, and fears Rachel’s grandfather may be involved somehow. That doesn’t mean he’s ready to accept Rachel’s help, though. Despite her sharp intuition, she’s an ordinary citizen and he shouldn’t risk her safety. But as they work together, his respect for her grows…and so does his attraction.
Stolen cameras, a criminal seeking revenge, a cabin at the Salton Sea, and one fluffy white dog make for a complicated case. Can Michael find Rachel’s grandfather and solve the case in time? Or will Rachel’s impulsive spirit get them both killed?
"Oh, dear God--"
Rachel didn't look back. If she was about to die, she didn't want to see the bullet coming. Another burst of gunfire sounded. A bullet lodged in a tree trunk above her head. She squashed the backpack against her chest, keeping Ralph in place, and pumped her legs hard to get over the slight rise.
Once down the other side, she darted through a field of date palms and got to the old truck, which she'd parked off the main drag. Opening the truck door, she slid into the seat and shoved the key into the ignition. With a quick gasp for air she tossed the backpack onto the floor of the truck. Slick with sweat and trembling with fear, her fingers shook as she turned the key in Grandpa's old truck.
"Please start. Please start." It leaped into action. She yanked on the zipper of the windbreaker, and let Ralph out onto the seat. He ran to the open window and barked.
"Shh, Ralph," she whispered. "Good boy. Lie down."
There was no sign, or sound, of movement. She pressed the accelerator hard. The truck roared across the unsealed track, and out from under the cover of tall date palms like a raging bull released from a rodeo pen. She headed for the highway and toward the safety of Grandpa's cabin.
"Oh, hell, oh, hell...oh, hell," she said, and tried to slow her panic.
The empty camera case still hung around her neck and it bumped against her chest. Pulling the strap over her head with one hand, she gripped tight to the steering wheel with the other, and then shoved the case on top of the backpack.
I risked my life for a freakin' camera?
Loved the heroine, Rachel, right off the bat. After all, she has a Bichon, just like me. Seriously though, the heroine is tenacious, fun, and spontanious enough to be interesting. What I really liked was the pairing of an anal by-the-book undercover cop with this small town, pantser female. And after all, isn't being a by-the-book and undercover cop a contradicton anyway? It led to some humorous exchanges and fast-paced adventure.
Opposites attrack? Apparently they do.
From the moment he mistook her for a criminal, discovered his mistake and watched her smile at another man Michael was hooked. He wanted her to smile at him like that. She, on the other hand, barely registered his existence. Until she did. That rock-hard chest and broad-shouldered, self-confident carriage would be hard for any woman to resist--and Rachel is nothing if not all woman.
Grant packs a lot of meaning into a single phrase. Her quick-flowing narrative keeps her readers page-turning. The plot is strong and well-developed, especially for such a tight box as a romantic suspense story. Romantic Suspense readers will enjoy this love story.
BOOK BLING gives this novel 4 1/2 Stars!
Meet the Author
Robena Grant is Australian by birth but resides in Southern California. She has two adult children, enjoys reading, swimming, friends, simple dinners, a glass of wine, a board game, and heaven forbid…karaoke! Travel has always been her greatest love. France, Australia, Italy, England, and Scotland have featured in her stories. She often chooses a setting that has captured her senses through travel.
Contact the Author
Though he's fought in hundreds of battles in a dozen countries, Dominick the Immortal has never known defeat. Now the King has given him his greatest challenge, to become the Lord of Godwin, and marry its lady, Eleanor.
Upon meeting her, he is instantly attracted to the green-eyed beauty, but angered by the King’s order she vows she will never love him.
Dominick could see spirits of the dead his entire life, but after his capture during the Crusades he closed his mind to the tortured souls that were left to wander in eternal darkness. The door remained closed until the strong spirit of a woman broke through his barrier and warned him that Eleanor was in danger. Dominick had one more battle to wage, winning the lady’s heart.
Nearly succumbing to her greatest enemy after long months of bloody siege, Eleanor sends a messenger to beg for the King’s help. He is her last hope of saving her beloved Godwin and its people. Eleanor gets more than she bargained for. Decreed by the King, her savior is to become her husband.
Raised by an abusive father whose vile behavior led to her mother’s death, Eleanor vows that she will love no man. Yet Dominick is like no other man she has ever met. Unexpectedly, she finds that the legendary warrior has both honor and compassion. Losing her resolve, she must face her greatest fear, losing her heart.
Eleanore needed to put the castle as far behind her as possible before it was discovered she was gone. A hawk flew overhead screeching loudly as if discovering a rat or a plump field mouse. Shading her eyes, she watched it land in a nearby tree making another call. It was strange behavior for a bird. She had an odd feeling that it was watching her. “Your imagination is running away with you, Eleanore, It’s nothing more than a bird sitting in a tree.” she said to herself, and continued on her way.
The soft wind blew against her back. Riding on it was the sound of thunder. Looking up into the bright blue sky, there were no clouds in sight, but the sound was getting louder. Her skin prickled when she realized it was the sound of horses.
Choking fear nearly took her breath away. She looked around. There was no place to hide. Self preservation started her running. Picking up her skirts, she jumped over rocks and small shrubs. The bag she slung over her shoulder bounced with every move, pulling at her neck. One arm was forced to hold it down, restricting her ability to gain momentum.
Without looking back she could hear the hoof beats getting closer. Her lungs began to burn from exertion. As hard as she tried, the muscles in her body refused to keep up such a pace for long. She developed a stitch in her side, slowing her down. Reason finally came over her, and Eleanore stopped. Bending over, she took deep breaths to ease the pain in her side and swallowed down the rawness in her throat. When she was capable of breathing normally, she stood straight and turned toward her pursuers.
Immediately she recognized the dark giant, leading his army toward her. She planted her feet. Swallowing her fear, she clenched her teeth, and awaited the wrath that was about to fall upon her.
Dominick reined his horse just a few feet from her. Vapor escaped its flaring nostrils, as though it were a demon from hell. Soldiers surrounded her in a tight circle.
She looked up into the dark eyes of the man who held her fate. The legends were true. His eyes held no mercy as he looked down at her, yet she couldn’t turn away. She wouldn’t be a coward, and vowed no man would see her fear again--ever.
A whistle broke the silence between them. A hawk that had been sitting in a tree flew to the outstretched arm of one of Dominick’s men. He whistled to the bird once more and the hawk took flight again, heading toward the forest. For a brief moment she thought it uncanny, the relationship between the soldier and the animal, but had little time to ponder it. The man and a handful of soldiers followed the hawk into the woods.
The clinking of chainmail brought her back to Dominick. As his feet hit the ground, he drew his sword. Her knees nearly buckled. Involuntarily she stumbled two steps back, as he slowly walked toward her. Aware there was no place for her to run, she stood her ground, not allowing herself to move further. Dominick stood only inches in front her, forcing her to look up at him.
He grasped the strap of her bag that crossed her chest. She was sure he could feel her heart pounding against her ribs.
“Did you really think to escape me Eleanore, to defy the king’s order?” His voice was deceptively calm.
“I won’t do this. I won’t become your wife.”
His hand tightened in a fist around the strap, pulling her closer. “You have no choice. The king has ordered us to marry, and his order will be done.” His voice boomed. “It’s treason to do otherwise.”
Anger took over her reason. It bubbled from her gut, and exploded through her arms, as she shoved Dominick hard, to back him away from her. It was like pushing a stone wall, yet she turned her fury on him like a brush fire. “Damned be the king’s orders and damn you. I will not marry you or any other man that walks this earth.” Her arms flailed with every word. “If it’s treason I commit, then strike me down with your sword, for I will never—do you hear me great knight never live in fear again.” Her chest heaved with the force of her anger.
He stood silently for a moment, his eyes never leaving hers. Slowly he raised his sword to her chest, its tip rested over her heart. Eleanore could barely breathe. Her last moment on Earth had come. He looked toward his brother. Randolf nodded, and raised his hand.
She froze when she heard the familiar voice of her maid. With her hands tied behind her back, Martha kicked and screamed as a guard pulled her into the clearing. The guard forced the woman to her knees.
A click sounded in the air when Randolf pull back on his cross bow, and aimed it toward Martha.
“No!,” Eleanore screamed. The tip of Dominick’s sword pricked her skin when she tried to move toward her friend.
“The choice is yours, Eleanore.” Dominick’s low voice brought her attention back to him.
“You bastard!” she spat.
“That is a well known fact, but right now your maid’s life depends on your cooperation.”
Her eyes moved from the cross bow to her maid. There was no escape. Lowering her head she nodded her surrender. Dominick withdrew his sword. She looked back at Martha’s terrified face. The guard who had pulled her to the clearing, cut her bonds and gently pulled her to her feet. Eleanore found the compassion in contrast with what just happened. Randolf disarmed the crossbow and placed it at his side. Looking back at Dominick, tentacles of loathing wrapped itself around her heart.
The muscles in his jaw moved as he clenched his teeth. Dominick held her arm tight as he moved her to the middle of the clearing. A growl escaped from the back of his throat. With her arm still in his grasp, he thrust his sword into the ground. The acid sound of metal hitting rock as it pierced the earth set Eleanore’s teeth on edge. He pulled her to her knees before the sword that now formed a cross with its hilt.
“Place your hand on the sword, Eleanore.” She hesitated for a moment. “Now!”
Her hand shook as she wrapped her fingers around the hilt. It was still warm from his grasp. He sank to his knees in front of her, placing his hand over hers, completely engulfing it.
“Swear on this sword that you will never leave Godwin or me again.”
She looked up in surprise that he should read her thoughts.
“Vow to me now, or I swear your people will suffer.”
She glared back at him. “You’re the devil’s own.”
“Don’t forget what I’m capable of. Now swear it.” His hand tightened slightly putting pressure around hers, but not enough to cause pain.
“You have my word. I will never leave Godwin again.” Conviction settled in her heart. “But know this, a meek wife you will never have. I may surrender my land, and my life to this marriage, but I will never surrender my heart.”
They both rose off the ground. “It’s not your heart I seek. My liege has given me a command, and it will be obeyed. Unlike you, I don’t betray my king.”
“Any mindless beast can follow orders. I know you’re a beast, but are you mindless as well?”
His fists clenched tight at his sides. Anger flared in his eyes. The urge to step out of striking distance encompassed her being, but she stood still. Moments passed between them, yet the blow she’d expected never came. Instead the merciless warrior of legend jerked his sword out of the ground.
Did he intend to kill her now? This time she did step back. Looking around she saw no escape. Her heart pounded loudly in her ears. She could not draw a breath. Had she pushed him too far? Perhaps he had decided she was too much trouble and would end her life now.
When he faced her again, a ball of dread settled in her chest. It was not until he sheathed the sword that Eleanore’s let out a breath of relief.
Striding to his horse, his form was rigid. In one fluid motion he mounted the great steed. Eleanore was frozen in her spot when she saw the storm of anger cross his face. Moments passed. His chest heaved. Suddenly, he moved his horse toward her. Instinctively she stepped out of its path, but not before he scooped her up in his arms, and planted her firmly in front of him.
His men broke the circle around them. “Ha!” he shouted to the horse. Then spurred it into a breakneck speed toward Godwin.
Meet the Author
Victoria Craven discovered her love for story-telling in her sophomore year of high school. Those teenage adventures always had a romantic happy ending, and they still do today, whether she’s writing thrilling contemporary suspense or paranormal historical romance.
Having lived most of her life in Western Michigan, Victoria relocated to the suburbs of Chicago where she lives with her husband, who is the love of her life. She has three beautiful daughters, and two toddler grandsons who keep her busy.
Supported by her friends and family, she left a career as a media account executive to pursue a career doing what she’s passionate about, writing happy endings that she can share with others. Her first paranormal historical romance was recently purchased by Tell-Tale Publishing and will be released in 2012.
When Victoria isn’t writing or revising, she is playing with her grandsons or curled up with a good book and a vat of hot chocolate. You can visit Victoria at her:
Barry Carlson had it all, a successful career in professional baseball and the adoration of any woman he wanted. Except one. Forced to retire in his prime, Barry returns to his hometown of Summerville, New York to coach the Minor League Hornets.
Twenty years ago, Barry broke through Amanda Marsh's trust issues. He melted her ice, won her love, then walked away without a backward glance to survey the wreckage. Now Amanda is the head of public relations for the Hornets and happily single--until Barry slides back into her life.
Still reluctant to trust, Amanda gives Barry another chance. But the announcement of their twenty-fifth high school reunion leads to an asinine bet between Barry and his old buddies, and threatens to ruin their newfound relationship. As scandals of the past and present converge, can Barry and Amanda get beyond their differences to find their second chance at love?
To Be Or Not was my first read in the Class of 85 series. Each book is a stand-alone addition with a common thread--their upcoming 25th class reunion.
The hero is Barry Carlson. He left town to become a star athlete and only returned after an injury ended his pro baseball career. Returning to his small hometown gave him a new opportunity, however, to take care of some unfinished business with heroine Amanda Marsh.
This work has a pleasant, fast-flowing narrative, with lifelike characters who have real problems and hangups. Hoornstra blows stereotypes out of the water. Though not a very long novel, the subplot of a young rookie accused of sexually asaulting the love of his life ads enough drama and confusion to heighten the tension. A sensitive subject is handled in a realistic and tasteful way, with both subjects over the age of consent.
Hoornstra has another winner on her hands!
BOOK BLING gives To Be, Or Not 4 stars!
Like many writers, it’s hard to determine exactly when my fiction writing career began. I remember composing a short story in grade school (I have no idea about what) which was chosen for publication in an all school anthology. A journalism class taken in junior high school led to a job on the school newspaper and a weekly column.
I always loved reading. I loved writing too. Someday, I thought, maybe when I grew up and received the right training, I could actually write a book. After all, I was often told, laughingly most times, I had an extremely vivid imagination.
Through the years, the desire to write was always there. I had so many ideas and characters roaming around in my head, so many stories. But the business of living—going to college, getting married then raising a family—took precedence over something as frivolous as writing a book.
Then one day out of the blue I was downsized—effective immediately—from a job I’d held for over thirty years. What seemed so unfair at the time, I now recognize the tremendous gift I was given that day. As I’m now able to spend more and more time doing what I love—writing romantic fiction—I find I really do have an abundance of stories to share.
I blog there the 18th of each month!
Elizabeth Alsobrooks's books on Goodreads
Illuminati - The Book of Life
ratings: 12 (avg rating 4.33)
Illuminati: The Book of Life
ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.80)
The Keeper's Secret: Tell-Tale Publishing's Annual Horror Anthology
ratings: 2 (avg rating 5.00)
2016 NaNoWriMo Winner!
My Newest Release
An Amazon Bestseller!
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