The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

The Gates of EvangelineThe Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

From a unique new talent comes a fast-paced debut, introducing a heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her . . .

When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, The Gates of Evangeline is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won’t be able to put down.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is fascinating, there is no question about that. From the first few pages I was hooked and I didn’t want to put it down.

Charlie is a strong character and although she has a lot of unexpected events occur in the beginning of the story, she doesn’t heavily overreact or do anything that would seem particularly out of character, save for the one act that ties the rest of the story together–a necessary plot device used by the author, and one that I could appreciate.

I loved the atmosphere of this story and the plantation home setting. The structures were beautifully described and I really felt I could see the same things the main character was viewing. I was particularly impressed with the descriptions of the swamp and surrounding territory, including New Orleans–though it was perhaps a more positive perception than some visitors get from the city.

I won’t say that I gave this four stars instead of five for the language and the comparisons the author made to the people of Louisiana and Texas compared to a New Yorker with a college education–others already have. Frankly, having not lived there and only been a visitor to the south and to Texas, I likely would have done the same thing–dialogue is a tough nut to crack.

What I will say, is that I couldn’t totally get around the idea of a sick, dying old woman seemingly being completely out of it and then acting as though she were able to clear the fog and have a perfectly rational conversation as she wished.

Otherwise, I thought this was a brilliantly crafted novel and recommend it to anyone looking for a good, deep mystery with a lot of unexpected revelations.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Perfect Betrayal by Season Vining Blog Tour

If you haven’t checked out this book yet, you will want to. Hot and steamy, fun and very well written. This is one that I really enjoyed! So excited to share it with you.

Description

To the outside world, Taylor Hudson has it all: money, beauty and social status. But Taylor’s privileged life is far lonelier than it appears. Now it’s about to be rocked to its core when a gorgeous new employee shows up at her family’s mansion…but nothing about him is what it appears.

Levi’s always had to fight to survive. Now, as the inside man on a heist to steal fifteen million dollars from one of the town’s wealthiest families, he has the chance of a lifetime. But it puts him on a crash course the one thing he can’t have: Taylor, a woman who makes him want the impossible-to be a better man.
What started out as a wicked game of seduction is about to become so much more. But are they both willing to give up everything for the deepest connection they’ve ever known?

This book is on sale now and you don’t want to miss it if you love steamy romance !
Find it now on Amazon or your favourite book retailer.
Here are my thoughts on the book:

  Imagine, if you will, a modern day Romeo and Juliet, but with a level of heat that would have roasted Shakespeare alive–and then you will pretty much have ‘Perfect Betrayal.’

This book is interesting from the very start. The dynamic and tension between the two main characters is apparent before they even meet. How is that possible? Well, it is one of those books where the author does such a good job building her characters individually that even before they meet, you know it is going to be sexy and explosive when they do.

As predicted, the sparks between them fly early on and continue to increase into a raging inferno as the pages progress. There is a lot going on in this book–as the title indicates–betrayal plays a big role here. I was impressed by the ability of the author to keep the romance angle of the book fresh whilst still building an entertaining story of other events in the background.

At times, the female lead comes across as spoiled, bratty, bitchy and overall not the kind of character you can immediately love, but she also has a softer side, she can be vulnerable and she is the kind of character that you will learn to love as you go.

The male lead is somewhat the same way. He can be cocky, not always eloquent and fierce, but also has a similar vulnerability about him that makes you want to love him.

Overall, I liked this book. It was daring, incredibly bold at times and one that I think will keep almost anyone interested. If you like new adult books with just the right amount of tension and steam, this one will do nicely.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own

Americosis by Haydn Wilks

A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.
He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.
His aides think he’s crazy.
The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.

Americosis.

An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.

VOLUME 1
This short novella introduces the series. It’ll leave you begging for more…

My Review :

4 Stars

This is certainly an interesting way to introduce readers to a new series. If you are squeamish and offended by swearing and blatant sexual acts, this book will immediately be off-putting, but if you aren’t, then this book has a little bit of something for everyone.

Chaos and destruction, insanity and excitement–this book doesn’t slow down from the first page to the last. If you are looking for something with a dystopian twist that also borders the line of horror, this will do nicely.

I liked the different stories that all combine together to make for a wider angle than you get with most stories. For a short book, this packed a punch. Recommended to those who like something a bit different and edgy. It was a lot of fun.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Hanover House (Hanover House Chronicles #0.5)Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Hanover House
The Hanover House Chronicles

Prequel novella to my new Hanover House Chronicles (digital only).

Welcome to Hanover House….

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the psychopathic mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries.

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong…

From Sweet Dreams Boxed Set

Whiteout
The Hanover House Chronicles

Coming September 2016

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a bit of a change for Brenda Novak, but she knows how to work it. I agree with her that the minds and inner workings of psychopathic personalities are a very interesting subject and certainly one that is fun to explore.

I liked the dynamic between the two main characters in this book. The tension between them was the perfect mix of sensuality and frustration. Evelyn is a strong character that I see being able to carry a series like this well, without the reader losing interest in her. The memories of her past and the violent things she has suffered through give her a strength that a lot of female characters lack.

Overall, I was really impressed with this and am looking forward to the release of the first novel “Whiteout,” coming in 2016.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Enchantress of Paris by Marci Jefferson

Enchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King’s CourtEnchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King’s Court by Marci Jefferson

Fraught with conspiracy and passion, the Sun King’s opulent court is brought to vivid life in this captivating tale about a woman whose love was more powerful than magic.

The alignment of the stars at Marie Mancini’s birth warned that although she would be gifted at divination, she was destined to disgrace her family. Ignoring the dark warnings of his sister and astrologers, Cardinal Mazarin brings his niece to the French court, where the forbidden occult arts thrive in secret. In France, Marie learns her uncle has become the power behind the throne by using her sister Olympia to hold the Sun King, Louis XIV, in thrall.

Desperate to avoid her mother’s dying wish that she spend her life in a convent, Marie burns her grimoire, trading Italian superstitions for polite sophistication. But as her star rises, King Louis becomes enchanted by Marie’s charm. Sensing a chance to grasp even greater glory, Cardinal Mazarin pits the sisters against each other, showering Marie with diamonds and silks in exchange for bending King Louis to his will.

Disgusted by Mazarin’s ruthlessness, Marie rebels. She sacrifices everything, but exposing Mazarin’s deepest secret threatens to tear France apart. When even King Louis’s love fails to protect Marie, she must summon her forbidden powers of divination to shield her family, protect France, and help the Sun King fulfill his destiny.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Historical fiction can go either way, and usually I tend to be disappointed with some part or the other of it. Either the dialogue is all wrong or the characters based on real people seem nothing like what we know of the actual person from historical documents.

This book not only managed to avoid those pitfalls, but also filled in the gaps in our knowledge of certain aspects and characters with a brilliantly crafted and quite plausible narrative. I was thrilled with this novel, and found it impossible to put down. The letters the author crafted between Marie and Louis are amazing, since those, in reality, did not survive. For her to create such eloquently worded and realistic correspondence nearly made me forget I wasn’t reading the real thing. Loved it.

I loved the portrayal of Marie and her relationship with King Louis. She was not a helpless waif in this story that was just another of the king’s mistresses, and he was very realistically drawn as a man struggling to learn the ropes of ruling a kingdom. He was intelligent, cocky, yet vulnerable to the powers of Marie. The love story was beautifully written and I was excited that the author did not change the true end result of their lives just to make her book work.

It takes a lot of research, time and effort to write an excellent historical novel, and this is one of the best that I have had the pleasure of reading. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the period as well as for those just looking for a well-crafted read to keep them entertained.

I am anxious to see more from this author and encourage you to check out this book.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Indie Author Help Page Answers Elizabeth Tyree

Today Elizabeth Tyree is joining us to share her experience as an indie author. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom, Elizabeth! You can find the answers of other authors who have been generous enough to help us out on the resource page of this blog and the blog of Charles Yallowtiz . Feel free to answer the questions and send an email if you would like to share your own experience. Every bit of knowledge we can get helps! (readfulthings@gmail.com)

You can find Elizabeth’s Author Central Page HERE with a list of all her books.

1. How did you decide to become an indie author?

It was 2012 and I had already completed 2 novels in my Stone Dragon Saga and was working on the 3rd, but could not seem to find an agent. In all reality, I sent maybe 4 or 5 queries to agents and only a couple to publishers before just giving up and deciding to die in obscurity (I was rather outwardly dramatic at that point). Then my father, who is a minister and spiritual author, pointed me in the direction of CreateSpace. He had published his long time work with that site a few months earlier and was enjoying all of the benefits of having control over his projects. I researched, wrote, and eventually chose to use the site as well. I love it!
2. What genre do you write in and why?


I typically write in YA fantasy. I love the freedom you have to really delve into both the crazy amazing creativity children and teens enjoy (but many adults forget) and the depth of characters you can bring out at the same time.
I also have some picture books, a children’s adventure book, leveled science readers (fictional animal stories with facts), and new adult/adult short stories that I enjoy working on occasionally. Each different age group and genre offers a new challenge and new opportunities for creativity.
3. What social media sites do you use and can you offer a tip for each one?


Twitter – I try to tweet a few times a day, but do my best to make 85-90% of those tweets personal. I interact with people, post about my day or my writing, and include teasers when something I’m writing seems like it would grab a body. Don’t just advertise 24/7 or you’ll get unfollowed and blocked pretty quickly!
Facebook – Dad and I have a page together for our Tyree Tomes platform (since we are both authors, we put the Tyree Tomes logo on publications etc.) We post interesting tid-bits, blog posts, teasers, and occasionally personal factoids or questions to our followers.
Goodreads – I love the Ask the Author options, as well as being able to see if people have added my title to lists etc. I’m still very new to this site though.


4. How important is blogging to an indie author in your estimation?
I believe blogging is incredibly important for an indie author, and probably for most authors! Not only does it help you build your platform, brand, and followers; it helps connect you to people who write in your genres or age levels. Having a support system that understands when you suddenly lose the storyline or someone to talk to when you suddenly decide to switch it up and write something completely different than ever before is absolutely invaluable!
5. How do you go about getting reviews?
This is something I need to work on! I do utilize the free give away option on Kindle and request that people who read the books review them. I also use Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to remind/ask people for their opinions in review form.
6. What do you price your books at and do you give away free copies?


They are currently $12-$15 for the physical copies and $4 for the e-book. I do give away free copies, mostly through Kindle. However, I did a combined give away recently where I had Dragon on My Neck free for e-download and if you posted that you a) had reblogged my post about it, b) had downloaded the book, or c) already had the book I entered you in a drawing (every time someone used you as a reference, or you reblogged, etc you got another entry). Then 2 people won a physical copy, signed and personalized!
7. Do you use a cover artist or make the cover yourself?
I have made all but one of my covers myself and the other was made by my mother, who is an artist and about to embark on the adventure of being an illustrator!
8. What do you do about editing?
I have used Beta readers in the past, although I do the first three full edits with minimal assistance from ‘outsiders’. This past year I also used passages needing to be edited in my 5th grade writing class. It boosted their confidence and helped me out!

9. What do you do when sales are slow to encourage more books to be sold?


I post teasers, have free give away days, and make sure to link up in my blogs. I haven’t done any paid advertising yet, but I plan to try it soon.
10. What do you know now, that you wish you had known before?
I wish I had known the time it takes and all the work you need to do in order to be an Indie author. As an Indie Author you need to be the author, editor, PR rep, advertising agent, and usually the financial backer as well. That takes a LOT of time and research even without the writing part of the deal. I wouldn’t trade it for much of anything!

11. Do you use a mailing list or newsletter to promote?
I do not use either, though I have been thinking about it. In the past I have always just used the blog and social media outlets for promotions.
12. Any further advice, tips or tricks you think would help others?
Set a schedule and write a to-do list! Don’t just think ‘oh I’ll do that tomorrow’ without actually scheduling it out, especially if you’re like me. I have to write it out or I forget all about the tasks I meant to finish, and then I’m up all night trying to get things done. Do this for everything, not just your actual writing time, but time spent on social media, time spent advertising, promoting, cleaning house, and cooking food. Schedule it out and you’ll get a lot more taken care of without as many frustrations (most days anyway).
13. Where do you sell the largest majority of your books and do you do just ebooks or print as well?
I do both e-books and print, though 95% of sales are of the e-book variety

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long IslandStillwell: A Haunting on Long Island by Michael Phillip Cash

Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife’s spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife’s soul free.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was interesting and the author knows how to set a good story. I didn’t, however, get the traditional sense of horror from this book. Michael Phillip Cash creates a very realistic set of characters and circumstances in the beginning of the book. A family is suffering through the grieving period of losing a young wife and mother and the author did an excellent job of showing how the husband dealt (or rather didn’t deal) with her loss and how the family was at odds over it.

My problem with this book, was that it seemed to me, most of the story was setup, for not much payout in the end. I believe horror novels need a lot of mini-moments of suspense, which this one had, but they also need some hugely frightening moments that make you afraid to turn the page. That was where I thought this book fell down.

It was a good story, and the characters were easy to relate to, but the author didn’t torture them the way one expects a horror author to.

Overall, it was a good book for those who like their horror on the lighter side.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Author Help Page Answers: Duncan M Hamilton

Today, Author Duncan M Hamilton is sharing his wisdom and experience with us. Thank you, Duncan! (He really has some great advice!)

You can find Duncan’s Amazon Author Page here:

http://www.amazon.com/Duncan-M.-Hamilton/e/B00BOUK5ZA/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1438180933&sr=8-1

1. How did you decide to become an indie author?

I’ve been writing all my life, but always as a hobby, and never as something I thought I could make a living at. When a relative fell seriously ill, she said not to get to that point in your life with any regrets. Publishing one of the books I had written was my first thought. It was around the time self publishing was getting some media attention, so I decided to give it a try.

2. What genre do you write in and why?

I write in Fantasy. Historical fiction was always my thing, but I usually hit a road block when historical events wouldn’t allow my story to progress. For that genre, I’ve never liked the idea of playing free and easy with real events, so this was a bit of a problem. One day it struck me that making up my own history would not only help solve this, but would also be a lot of fun! I haven’t looked back!

3. What social media sites do you use and can you offer a tip for each one?

A WordPress based website and blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads author profile, and a Google Plus page that I never use. I’m not great at this stuff, so the main tip I’d suggest is the thing I rely on. I have my WordPress set up so my blog posts are automatically shared on the other sites, populating them with content and saving me a lot of effort!

4. How important is blogging to an indie author in your estimation?

In honesty, I don’t know. I don’t blog that often, and probably far less than I should, because it’s not something I’m particularly good at. When I do, it’s limited to book related news, and things that give me inspiration. I’ve always seen it as a resource for people who’ve already encountered my work to visit, rather than a tool to grow my audience. Not sure if this is the best approach or not. Probably not.

5. How do you go about getting reviews?

For my first book, I spent some time making a list of all the review sites and book bloggers that were open to my genre, then went about emailing them all (it took quite a while!). I mailed nearly two hundred sites, heard back from about 10, of which 4 ended up posting reviews, so it can be something of an uphill battle.

6. What do you price your books at and do you give away free copies?

They range from $2.99 to $5.99. I’ve given away some copies as part of promotions, but I don’t have a permanently free title.

7. Do you use a cover artist or make the cover yourself?

I use a cover artist. In my opinion, the cover is too important not to have expert input.

8. What do you do about editing?

I use professional editors.

9. What do you do when sales are slow to encourage more books to be sold?

Panic! Work harder to get another release ready sooner. This is something I really don’t have much of an answer for. There’s no silver bullet that I’m aware of. If you have one, I’m listening!

10. What do you know now, that you wish you had known before?

I can’t think of anything. There’s so much information out there for writers looking to venture into self-publishing, that a bit of time spent researching can cover most of the pitfalls before plunging in. As with anything, there are minor things I change and refine with each book, but they’re more matters of personal preference rather than anything substantive.

11. Do you use a mailing list or newsletter to promote?

Yes, I do. Conventional wisdom is that it’s pretty important. I can’t say with any certainty how helpful it’s been for me.

12. Any further advice, tips or tricks you think would help others?

If you hope to make a career out of this, behave professionally in all areas and at all times. Only release your work when it has the level of production quality you would expect from a book you buy.

13. Where do you sell the largest majority of your books and do you do just ebooks or print as well?

Amazon, with Kobo in second place. I have my novels available in print through print on demand.

London from my Windows by Mary Carter

London From My WindowsLondon From My Windows by Mary Carter

Ava Wilder’s home in small-town Iowa is her sanctuary. A talented sketch artist with severe agoraphobia, Ava spends her days drawing a far more adventurous life than her invisible disability allows. Until she receives a package from London, explaining that she has inherited her Aunt Beverly’s entire estate—on condition that she lives in Bev’s West End flat for a year.

Once overseas, Ava wonders if she’s simply swapped one prison for another. The streets and shops are intimidating, and Bev’s home appears to be a drop-in center for local eccentrics. Worst of all, Bev left a list of impossible provisos to be overseen by her quirky, attractive solicitor. Ava is expected to go out—to experience clubs, pubs, and culture; to visit Big Ben, Hyde Park, and the London Eye. After years of viewing the world through a pane of glass, she’s at the messy, complicated center of it. As exhilarated as she is terrified, will she be able to step up, step out, and claim the life she was meant for?

In an insightful, poignant novel, Mary Carter delves deep into self-discovery and the meaning of courage, exploring the fears that serve to protect us—until life calls us to connect at last.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m not sure how I feel about this book, even after completing it. I absolutely loved the main character, Ava. Watching her experience life in a bit different way than the rest of us do was enchanting. She is a smart, thoughtful and likable character that the author clearly put a lot of effort into creating.

The story itself I wasn’t so sure about. Whilst I enjoyed Ava’s personality and her reactions to things, some of the story I had a hard time suspending belief enough to get around.

This was the sort of book that I kept wavering on a star rating for. I eventually decided on 3 stars, because I had a hard time believing the character would act the way she did at some points, and yet the writing was beautiful and Ava was so charming.

Overall this is a book that I would still recommend. It was different and intriguing and obviously the author cared about it enough to put herself into it fully.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Center of Gravity by Laura McNeill

Center of GravityCenter of Gravity by Laura McNeill

The truth could cost her everything.

Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true. In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.

Or is it?

When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It’s temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.

If only Ava could believe her own excuses.

Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.

Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game? Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! This is really a very compelling and exciting book. I read this in the space of one evening as I found it impossible to put down.

For anyone who has had issues with a crazy ex–this book will remind you why you were lucky to get away. I loved the relationship between Sam, Jack and Ava. The way the author portrayed the selflessness of the main character and her desperation to be with her children was so on target. I found myself wishing I could jump into the pages and fix the situation for her.

This story unfolds rather quickly, and after the first few chapters there is no way you can put it down without thinking about it when you walk away. The writing is excellent, the conversations seem realistic and the emotions that the characters display are genuine. This is an author who knows how to captivate her readers.

I did find in some places that Jack seemed a bit advanced for his age. Particularly in one spot where he is using a computer, it seems he has knowledge of how things operate way beyond his years, whereas the rest of the book he appears as an intelligent, yet appropriately minded young boy. I wanted to hug him.

Still, this was a nearly perfect book. It grabbed my attention early on and gave me a reason to keep turning pages–I even found that I missed the characters when the story was finished.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great read. Fast paced, witty and well planned.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.