TODAY! New Release in The Skin Quartet! Book #2!

Close to the Skin
The Skin Quartet #2
Zara West
The Wild Rose Press, 2017
Kindle ed, 264 pages
Genre(s) Contemporary romance, Ink, and Bad Boy Romance
Source Author's rep

Other books in this series: Beneath the Skin #1


Synopsis:
Head of a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise, Vernon Newell doesn’t let family ties or misplaced sympathy get in his way. But there is one chink in his armor—Bella Bell, a prospering tattoo artist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Despite her attraction to the fabulously sexy man, Bella wants nothing to do with a hard-headed, ruthless criminal. But when threatening messages start arriving, and Vernon disappears, Bella must choose to abandon the man she loves or risk her life to save him.

This not the typical military or spy romantic suspense. It is a gritty, urban thriller about criminals and tattoo artists, where the hero and heroine would rather not have anything to do with the law, and who eventually get their happy ending, but only after facing down incredible odds to do so. WINNER of the 2016 Pages of the Heart contest.


About the Author:
Award-winning author Zara West loves all things dark, scary, and heart-stopping as long as they lead to true love. Zara spends winters in New York City where the streets hum with life, summers at the shore where the sea can be cruel, and the rest of the year anywhere inspiration for tales of suspense, mystery, and romance are plentiful.

An accomplished artist by training and passion, she brings a love of art to every book she writes. A fan of handcrafted and ethically produced clothing, Zara’s original clothing designs and artistic creations have been sold in numerous venues including Bloomingdales, Putumayo, and the Museum of American Folk Art.

In a life full of misadventures, she has had sunstroke on the top of a Greek mountain while doing ethnographic research with shepherds, been stranded on the banks of the Rhine with no money and one chocolate bar, and while she has never been kidnapped, she has been abandoned on an uninhabited island in the middle of the wilderness for longer than she wants to remember.

In her spare time, when not writing award-winning books, magazine articles, and flash fiction stories, Zara tends her organic herb garden and whips up ethnic dishes for friends and family.


A member of RWA, Zara is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction. Her short stories have appeared in several anthologies, and she has received awards from Women on Writing, Stone Thread Publishing, Tryst Literary Magazine, and Winning Writers. Her novels have placed first in the Pages from the Heart, Romance Through the Ages, second in the Touch of Love, and long listed for the Mslexia Award.

My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review: ✰✰✰✰
This was a great story to follow the first book. The pacing was a bit uneven and I found my attention wandering a bit in parts with all the description of dark alleys. But this answers the questions I had from the first book about the other couple, Sirena/Bella and Vernon.

Remember the first book was Ari the former Olympian and Melissa. Sirena is Ari's sister and best friends with Melissa. The older couple has gone back to the island they own and living their peaceful life. Sirena's life is far from peaceful.

Sirena is desperately trying to build up her tattoo business and take care of her colony of feral alley cats. Her drawings for the big job get stolen and she loses the chance there. Her cats are attacked. She's attacked. Her shop is vandalized. She ends up teaming up and sleeping rough with some street kids. Actually, they are Ari's team of street kids.

But the love of her life is trying to go straight during all of this. He was a total thug and crime boss. Now he's an "ex". He's also her ex, but he wants her back. He's trying to go straight, but he's a bit naive about it. His stepmother and half-brother aren't being helpful at all because they want what he has and could continue to provide. It gets messy and a bit confusing with everyone running around in the dark. That's when it drags a bit, I think.

There are scary parts and sweet parts in this second book. The absolute sweetest thing is when Vernon brings Sirena three tiny kittens to care for. He couldn't have done anything more right if he'd brought her the moon or a million dollars! This might not be quite as good as the first book, but it is certainly a good read. The relationship between these two is funny and sweet and on-and-off. You just have to read it!

I've been unable to find a release date, yet, for Under the Skin Book #3.



A love story for gamers!

Wild Game
Wilding Pack Wolves #1
Alisa Woods
Sworn Secrets Publishing, Dec 2015
Kindle, 267 pages, also in paperback
Genre(s) paranormal romance, gaming element
Source Author's newsletter

Other books in this series: #2 Wild Love, #3 Wild Heat, #4 Wild One, #5 Wild Fire, #6 Wild Magic


Synopsis:
Her pack is being hunted. 
He’s a bodyguard with a secret. The Wolf Hunter is targeting them both.
GAME ON.


Owen Harding hasn’t shifted since he was in Agent Smith’s experimental cages—the only thing this ex-Army Texas boy is afraid of is what kind of beast he’s become. But with a hate group issuing more threats against the Wilding pack than you can shake a stick at, Owen’s doing what he can as a personal bodyguard. If only the Wilding girl he’s tasked with keeping alive wasn’t so damn sexy… and completely off limits.

Nova Wilding’s father was assassinated, leaving her a gaming company to run, a new game to release, and a pack full of wolves who want her for a mate… including a beta who’s determined to have Nova and her company. Choosing someone outside the pack will tear it apart, but Nova can’t stop watching the hot shifter who’s keeping watch over her.

When Nova barely escapes an attempt on her life, she finds herself in Owen’s arms… but her sexy new bodyguard is absolutely the wrong man at the wrong time. While Nova fights to keep her father’s business afloat, and Owen fights to keep her alive, the Wolf Hunter is playing a dangerous new game that might destroy them both.

WILD GAME is a complete novel with HEA, the first in the Wilding Pack Wolves series. All stories are standalone, but for maximum reader enjoyment, start with the River Pack Wolves trilogy.

Contains scorching hot shifters, alpha military heroes, and sexy female gamers. Only readers over 18 should dive into the dangerously hot world of the Wilding Pack Wolves.


About the Author:  
GET A FREE STORY: http://smarturl.it/AlisaNewsletter

Alisa Woods lives in the Midwest with her husband and family, but her heart will always belong to the beaches and mountains where she grew up. She writes sexy paranormal romances about alpha men and the women who love them. She enjoys exploring the struggles we all have, where we resist--and succumb to--our most tempting vices as well as our greatest desires. She firmly believes that love triumphs over all.

Alisa's web site: www.AlisaWoodsAuthor.com


My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book from the author's newsletter. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✰✰✰✰  
This was fast paced and hot! Between their always being in a crisis situation for one reason or another and their volatile relationship, there was always something going on in this book.

Owen was a black wolf, but since the experiments on him, he's not sure what creature lives inside him and he's afraid to let it out. But Nova makes his creature want out badly.

Nova's trying to figure out how to step into her father's shoes in the gaming company he left her when he was murdered. The pack is pressuring her to mate and the Beta wants that mate to be him. Her wolf wants Owen. But she doesn't want to! She just wants to do things neat and tidy. She keeps trying to do what she THINKS she SHOULD do, but life keeps getting messy and the SHOULD doesn't appeal.

This is a series, and the Wolf Hunter is part of the overarching story of the series. So he will continue to appear throughout. What fun...he's a bit creepy. Each book can be a standalone, but reading a series is so much more fun! There is no cliffhanger ending. The book ended where the story nicely comes to an end. But you can certainly see how the series can continue from there.

The main characters are well done and have some really great interaction. The storyline is great and I loved the gaming aspect. That should be very popular. The violence is bloody, but it's shifters so that's to be expected. And the sex is steamy hot, also to be expected with shifters. I really didn't expect too much from this when I picked it up to be honest, but it was a very pleasant 4-star surprise. I'm hoping the rest of the series is as good as this first book. The author is quite prolific and has other series going. I reviewed a book from one of her other series a couple of weeks ago, Jaxson from her River Pack series. That was also a great read. Check her out and see what else she has that you might like.

I just can't get this book out of my head...

The Bridge Club
Patricia Sands
Self-pub, Oct 2011
Kindle ed, 398 pages, also hardcover, paperback, audible
Genre(s) women's lit
Source Amazon

Other books by this author: Dreams of Tuscany, Love in Provence series, Soga's Second Chance, Cooking with Our Characters, Drawing Lessons

Synopsis:
How far would you go to help a close friend? Is there a place where you might draw the line and simply have to say no? 

Eight women. Four decades of friendship. One unimaginable request.

Where can you find a story about friendship, laughter and the good things in life that also touches on alcoholism, infidelity, porn addiction, illness, and grief? For many women, it's often within their own circle of friends. Whether your BFFs are in their twenties or are seniors, everyone has a story.

The Bridge Club reminds us of the complexities of women’s friendships through an entertaining and often moving tale of eight women whose lives intersect once a month initially to play the game of bridge. What began as one night turns into four decades that span the segments of a woman's journey from youthful optimism to embracing the challenges and opportunities presented in life's later years.

Based loosely on the author’s own bridge club, the story weaves the reader through a maze of life's inevitable scenarios.

This is a novel for anyone who values friendship. Not simply the "Hi, how are you?" type of friendship but rather the kind that weathers all sorts of storms, unselfishly celebrates triumphs, and hums along year after year with never an unkind word. It does exist.

If you have such a friendship in your life you will relate to the women in The Bridge Club. If you don't, perhaps the story will inspire you to search for it.

Throughout the story, each of the characters faces challenges and change in her life. The Bridge Club emphasizes how honest and loyal friendship helped to enable these changes and how these women empowered and learned from each other in the process.

Through laughter, tears, and everything in between the story meets life head on and affirms that building a strong foundation of friendship is a priceless asset.

About the Author:  
Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn't somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere ... particularly the south of France.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, a USA Best Book 2013 Finalist and a 2013 Finalist in Literary Fiction, National Indie Excellence Awards. In 2015, eLit Books Silver Award (Literary Fiction) ~ and ~ eLit Books Gold Award (Travel Fiction).

Due to tremendous reader response, The Promise of Provence became Book #1 in the Love In Provence series. Promises To Keep ~ Book #2 was released in Summer 2014. I Promise You This ~ Book #3 was released on May 17, 2016. The series explores a mid-life coming of age and allows readers to lose themselves in the beauty of the south of France without leaving home. Patricia was invited to join the Lake Union imprint (Women's Fiction) of Amazon Publishing in January 2015.

Celebrating the rewarding friendships and bonds women share, her stories examine the challenges life often throws in our paths. Location features prominently in all of her novels.

Her philosophy is that it's never too late to begin something new, to seize each day and be a possibilitarian! As the saying goes, just do it! Hearing from readers (both men and women, from ages 20 to 84) is her greatest reward.


My Disclaimer:  
I purchased this book at full price. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✰✰✰✰✰  
As soon as I finished this book, I went back and reread the first chapter to see if I had missed something. No, I hadn't missed it, I simply hadn't realized how important it was when I read it. The scene is set right there in the very beginning for the ending, and by allowing that to slip my mind, I had let the ending sneak up on me totally unprepared.

This book has definitely gone to my favorites list. I will have to read it several more times in my life. It has a lot to say. These eight women come together in a group to play bridge. Well, they do play bridge, but the group is so much more than that. The women support each other and socialize together over forty years. They know things about each other that no one else knows. 

Each of them has a crisis in their life and the book tells how the group helps each woman through the time when it happens. For each of them, it is something different. One of them discovers she is gay, another loses her husband. One woman needs to find her way in a traditional world when she is not a traditional person. Another has to face alcoholism. And still another a husband with an internet porn addiction. Then, in the end, they all come together to help one of their number deal with the ultimate crisis.

How this group of eight women deals with each other and each of these situations is amazing. Some of them have made connections with professionals in their careers that are helpful, one has very strong faith, and they are all there for each other with respect and love. 

This book definitely takes a box of tissues and some tea to read. And it must be done in one sitting because you can't put it down once you start it. I would recommend this as a fabulous book club choice as well. It would be great for discussion in a group. I highly recommend this to women's lit readers or to any women who like to read about women facing life and the changes or passages of life. No wonder this book got so many award nominations.

This review is dedicated to Kathy, Lesley, and Maria with love, respect, and sadness.

Nine years later, their recognition was instantaneous. Their rapport was not.

Sawbones
A Laura Elliston Novel #1
Melissa Lenhardt
Red Hook Book Apr 2017
Kindle ed, 421 pages, also in paperback and Audible
Genre(s) Historical Romance
Source Author's rep

Other books in this series: #2 Blood Oath, #3 Badlands

Synopsis
Wrongfully accused of murder, Dr. Catherine Bennett is destined to hang... unless she can disappear.

With the untamed territory of Colorado as her most likely refuge, she packs her physician's kit and heads West. But even with a new life and name, a female doctor with a bounty on her head can hide for only so long.


About the Author
Melissa Lenhardt is the author of the Jack McBride mystery series, as well as the Laura Elliston historical fiction series. Her debut mystery, STILLWATER, was a finalist for the 2014 Whidbey Writers’ MFA Alumni Emerging Writers Contest, and SAWBONES, her historical fiction debut, was hailed as a "thoroughly original, smart and satisfying hybrid, perhaps a new subgenre: the feminist Western" by Lone Star Literary Life. A lifelong Texan, she lives in the Dallas area with her husband and two sons. 

My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✭✭✭✭
At Antietam, she's dressed as a male orderly and has been assisting her father in the medical tents. An officer with his face brutally sliced open listens to her exhausted chatter while she stitches his face for him since no doctors are available. Nine years later, she meets a man with a facial scar on a different sort of battlefield. He remembers her talk about Aunt Emily and her embroidery lessons. Their recognition is instantaneous. Their rapport is not. But again she is called upon to use her medical skills to save his life as she races to save him ahead of a coming storm.

That is the first 20% of the book. Captain Kindle spends the next 30% of the book recuperating at the fort under her care while she goes about causing trouble just being herself and being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She tries to clean up the place and runs into dishonest people right and left. She causes ruffled feathers with the women of the fort because she's an attractive woman and she's interacting with the men, especially with Captain Kindle. She crosses the officer-in-charge's sister, Harriet MacKenzie, but in the end, they understand each other very well and find common cause.

When Catherine/Laura is kidnapped by a man bent on vengeance, the Captain rises from his sick bed to go after her and save her life. This brings the Army down on them with all its authority. He has deserted his post without proper authority to do so, and the Army doesn't take desertion lightly. Even when your post is a sick bed and love is involved.

I really liked this book, but it did have its problems. The situation at the fort was really strange and I would have liked it explained better so that I could have "seen" it better. I felt like I was bumbling around half blind most of the time. I know description isn't popular these days, but a bit more of it would have helped me. It was frustrating, and it didn't add to the story for me. Believe me, Laura had enough frustration of her own to deal with.

I felt the characters were well written. They had some great personalities. The people in the wagon train were well-done, especially Catherine's companion. Harriet MacKenzie was wonderful with her presentation of the typical spinster type and her disapproval of Laura, particularly the way things worked out later on. The wagon train portion was richly portrayed, but the fort part was rather sparse. More details so that it could have been a clearer picture would have helped.

But, like all good romances, it has its HEA. I definitely enjoyed this book. The story of a historical feminist is fun! If I get a chance, I'll certainly try another in this series. I suggest you try this one and see how it fits onto your reading shelf. 

What Goes Around, Comes Around

Carve Me A Melody
Music Box Romance, Book 2
Rachelle J. Christensen
Peachwood Press, May 2017
Kindle ed, 431 pages, also in paperback
Genre(s) Historical Romance, WWII, Faith
Source Purchased

Other books in this series: The Soldier's Bride #1

Synopsis:
World War II has ended but the scars of the war have carved deep grooves in Sophie Wright’s heart. Now a widow with two young children, she returns home to Aspen Falls and meets Leland Halverson, a handsome carpenter who appears interested in her, but afraid of a relationship. Leland wishes he was worthy of the beautiful Sophie, and he adores her two children, but his past still haunts him. Sophie knows that Leland fell apart after his little girl died and his wife left him, but she doesn’t know the real reason why.
Meanwhile, David Alexander, a decorated bomber pilot has returned to Aspen Falls, and Sophie catches his eye. Confused by the two vastly different choices of men, Sophie searches for answers from a heart that has betrayed her before.

When Sophie discovers a message inside a music box that Leland once owned, the pieces start to fit together. The enchanting melody urges her to share the secrets of her heart so that she can understand his. Leland knows the tune from the music box well and if he can find the courage, he’ll carve a melody for Sophie from the solid wood surrounding his heart.


About the Author:
Rachelle J. Christensen is a mother of five who writes mystery/suspense and solves the mystery of the missing shoe on a daily basis. She graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in psychology and a music minor. She enjoys singing and songwriting, playing the piano, running, motivational speaking, and of course reading.

Rachelle’s first novel, Wrong Number was awarded Outstanding Book of the Year from the League of Utah Writers and was also a 2010 Whitney Finalist. She is also the author of Caller ID and the Rone Award-winning novella with a Timeless Romance Anthology, Fall Collection. Her latest novel kicks off a new wedding planner mystery series, Diamond Rings Are Deadly Things.

Rachelle's new nonfiction book, What Every 6th Grader Needs to Know: 10 Secrets to Connect Moms & Daughters is co-authored by Connie Sokol. Learn more about this new series at www.coachmom.org

Visit www.rachellechristensen.com to learn more about upcoming books.


My Disclaimer:  
I purchased this book on sale. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review: ✭✭✭✭
The second book in the Music Box Series, this had a similar feel as the first book. The music box makes its appearance again and works its magic with music and its messages. And some of the names are familiar from the first book, though they are seen from a totally different angle this time. This is a definite romance. Sophie Wright is a war widow. Her husband had died in Pearl Harbor. And she carries a dark secret. Does she dare leave herself open to another love?

Two very different men have their sights on Sophie, but only one of them understands her. And one knows her dark secret. Who will win her heart and her hand?

This story was really good, but it dragged in some places. Sophie agonized over her dark secret a bit too much. The characters were really well done. They had great depth to them and wonderful personalities. Even the children were more than just placeholders. And they had a real role to play in the story and were actually a key element of the story.

The pacing was pretty good for most of the book. Just when Sophie kept obsessing about her dark secret, before we knew what it was, caused the timing to get off. It didn't add to the suspense after awhile it got to be irritating. Other than that, it was really good. Surprises came when you needed them. Explanations came when you had questions. Laughs when you needed a lift. This is a heartwarming story about life and how it really happens. How people are affected by what others do and say. I highly recommend this book to those of you who love romance and women's lit, books about real life.

Don't you just hate surprise guests for dinner?

Ignited
Whiskey Nights #2
Suzannah Daniels
Self-pub, Dec 2014
Kindle ed, 285 pages, also in paperback
Genre(s) Contemporary Romance
Source Author's newsletter

Other books in this series: #1 Wasted, #3 Deceived, #4 Betrayed, #5 Seduced

Synopsis:
James "Hawk" Hawkins always knew he'd be a firefighter. At twenty-four years of age, he's dedicated his entire adulthood to the perilous job of saving lives and extinguishing flames. After a chance encounter, he carries a young woman to safety, but it's unlike any rescue he's ever performed. She touches something deep inside of him, not because he finds her attractive, which he does, but because she doesn't want to be saved. For the first time in his life, he doesn't need to put out a fire...he needs to start one.

Twenty-year-old Amber Lawson escaped to the small town of Creekview, Tennessee. She was running...fleeing from a tragedy that left her heartbroken and shrouded in despair. Struggling with the desolation that has engulfed her, she tries to start anew, hoping that if she evades the reminders of her past, she can slowly begin to heal.

Hawk is determined to rekindle her passion for life. Along the way, he realizes that's not the only passion he wants to ignite. With his heart on the line, it could be his most hazardous rescue yet.
About the Author:
Suzannah Daniels has had an affinity for words for as long as she can remember. She grew up in North Georgia with four brothers, so she learned at an early age to admire snakes and motorcycles. When she wasn't pestering her brothers, she could usually be found reading or writing. She is the author of Viking's Embrace, a historical romance, Perfectly Able, a new adult contemporary romance, the Dangerous Trilogy, a mature young adult contemporary romance trilogy, and Ghostly Encounter, Book One of the Ghostly series, a young adult paranormal romance/adventure. Currently, she lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband and her college-aged daughter. Her son lives nearby. The family pets include a Lab mix, a Basset Hound, a Shih Tzu, and a sweet, little kitty.

My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's newsletter. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✭✭✭✭
Imagine you are engaged to a nice guy but his mother doesn't like you. He's in a car accident, you're told he's dead, and don't come to the funeral; Mama doesn't want you there. But she wants you to return your engagement ring because it's a family heirloom. It's the only thing you have of him. Everyone is telling you that you need to get over it and get on with your life. This is what Amber had in her head when she and Seren were in an accident.

Hawk and Cade were the first responders. The two guys are firefighters in town and were close by when it happened. Hawk can't figure out why Amber would say she didn't want to be saved while he was pulling her out of the wreck.

Hawk tries to help Amber as a friend, but she's not very open to him. But each time she needs something, he's there for her with his helping hand and shoulder to lean on. And he's, of course, one hot-looking fireman. Romance writers don't write about ugly men very often. So, Amber finds herself being drawn to him and having to fight herself to keep her distance. But you know how well women keep their distance from hot men in romances. So, Amber decides to take him home to her Mom's for Thanksgiving dinner. As a guest, not a menu item. But there's a surprise guest at dinner this Thanksgiving and there may not be room at the table for everyone.

This was a good book, but it was a bit depressing to me when Amber would get down and start going on about having to be alone. She wouldn't take the help that was right there with no strings attached, and it was frustrating to see happen over and over. 

It was quite well written. The characters weren't just run-of-the-mill, they were individuals. Yet, somehow it was all just a bit off for me. Then you had a major jolt near the end and weren't sure where you were going.

So, romance readers, I recommend this book to you to see how you like it and if you find the same things I did. Perhaps you will understand Amber's need to stay away from people. And perhaps you will like the turnabout towards the end. Maybe you will see it as a challenge or a test. If you read it or have read it, do let me know what your thoughts are.

A Debut Novel Worth Reading Now!


The Razvak Hunter
The Razvak series #1
Arel B. Grant
BZN Writing House, Feb 2016 
Kindle ed, 292 pages, also in paperback
Genre(s) Fantasy
Source Author

Other books in this series: Not yet published.

Synopsis
Before… 
Aelwyd has worked hard to become strong. As the Fairest One of Vallenthar, her power is formidable. Years of battle honed her into a fearsome warrior who never falters in front of an enemy.
However, there are shadows that when they come, they can swallow you whole. 


After a hundred years of praying against it, the minute she walks into the chilling scene of death in front of her, she knows her personal nightmare is back.
He nearly destroyed her once, but she isn't a victim anymore. This time, she will stop him, or she will die trying.

Now...
Dalbran knows nothing of friends, joy, or mischief. The orphaned ward of a ruthless warrior woman, she’s never showed him love or affection. Instead, she fills his days with learning the art of battle, savage teachings of how to survive in their harsh world. Days are filled with pain and exhaustion, but nighttime used to be his own. Even that is now lost, though, for something lurks in the shadows of sleep, clawing at him the moment his eyes close. He tells himself it’s okay, that he can handle it. However daunting the voices may be, however cold the hand that chokes him in the darkness, as long as it stays within the nightmare, everything will be all right.

As long as it stays within the nightmare…


About the Author:
Arel hails from the sunny land of Florida, USA. She struggles with the heat and the social life and washes off the frustrations of it with large (likely unhealthy) doses of J. K. Rowling, J. R. R. Tolkien, Christopher Paolini, Anne McCaffrey, T. A. Barrons, and whatever other books she can get her greedy hands in.

She’s been writing since she was a little girl, and proudly declares herself a mythology junkie. She loves Fantasy, Romance, and History and is a big fan of comic books, especially Japanese manga (that’s right, you heard her!). Things would be far easier for Arel if she was not a writer, but hey, who doesn’t like a challenge, right?

You can contact her through her email: abgwriter@gmail.com
Or website: www.abgwrites.com

She will answer you (most likely) as soon as she can.


My Disclaimer
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✭✭✭✭
This is amazing for a debut novel. It is so complex and detailed. The characters are well thought out and interesting. The world is well done and the magic makes sense in it.

There is the confusion of the "then" and "now" that the author uses to tell the story. Switching back and forth can be very effective when telling this type of story and it can be confusing. It can also be both. This time it's a double header. It really works well to tell the two aspects of the story this way, but initially, it is very confusing. It took me several switches to get comfortable with it. And figuring out who was the common character took me almost three-quarters of the book.

We start out with Rodan, the elf king's brother and head of the White Knights, and Aelwyd also called Fairest One, who wears the Rose of Vallenthar, a blood ruby which holds great power and is hers for life. We meet a horrid monster who kills all he comes in contact with. And we end up with Dalbran Darod Thord, a strong warrior, and Naviri, the last unicorn.

This is the beginning of an epic fantasy series, I think. The author has set it up so that there are monsters aplenty to conquer. And a whole wide world to see for Dalbran and Naviri.
  

What is under the rock when a gargoyle comes to life? I think Disney might have it wrong...

Knights of Stone: Mason
Highland Gargoyles #1
Lisa Carlisle
Self-pub, Jan 2016
Kindle ed, 155 pages, paperback also
Genre(s) urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Source Author's newsletter

Other books in this series: #2 KOS: Lachlan, #3 KOS: Bryce, #4 Seth, #5 KOS: Calum

Synopsis:
Gargoyles, tree witches, and wolf shifters have divided the Isle of Stone after a great battle twenty-five years ago. When Kayla, a tree witch, hears about the unconventional rock concerts in the gargoyle’s territory, she sneaks from her coven and into their territory to see for herself. Night after night, she returns to see one in particular shift into human form and play guitar at these unconventional shows.


For several nights, Mason has kept watch for the pixie-like female. He plans to seduce her, thinking she’s a visitor from another island. When he discovers she’s one of the tree witches, he retreats, attempting to keep his distance. The temptation is strong but forbidden.

Kayla and Mason attempt to meet in secret, but other elements on the isle command their attention. A magical cloak created by the three clans on the island is thinning, leading to repercussions for all the clans. Kayla and Mason are caught in the middle of it, and their actions may change the fate for all.

This novella was originally released as part of the Highland Shifters paranormal romance boxed set.
18+ due to adult content.


About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Lisa Carlisle loves stories with dark, brooding heroes and independent heroines. She’s honored to be a multi-published author writing in different genres since she’s wanted to be a writer since the sixth grade. For much of her professional career, she’s written non-fiction — but she’s discovered writing romance is the most fun. Her romances have been named Top Picks at Night Owl Reviews and All Romance Ebooks.

When she was younger, she worked in a variety of jobs, moving to various countries. She backpacked alone through Europe and lived in Paris before returning to the U.S. She owned a bookstore for a few years as she loves to read. She’s now married to a fantastic man, and they have two kids, a cat, and many fish.


My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book from the author's newsletter. I am voluntarily providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:    
This was a fun read and I'm betting the rest of them are as well. The whole concept is such that it could either be really bloody or really fun. Since this one was fun, that's what I'm thinking the rest will be. The setting is an island. The magic system seems a bit all encompassing with the three races. The characters develop well, but you really only have these two main ones and some peripherals that come and go.

Kayla was born and raised on the island these magical races call home. There are magical boundaries to keep them apart, but these aren't too hard to get around for a bored witch. On stage, these huge stone gargoyles come to life for a rock concert and play long into the night. Not ugly little Disney gargoyles, but tall, ripped, gorgeous guys and Mason has caught her eye - five nights in a row. He's noticed her as well. So what's a smart, ancient, magical creature do when presented with another magical creature that it's dangerous to be near? He gets out of there fast, right?

Ha, ha. Yeah. No, not Mason. She petite and pretty and he's curious. To Kayla, once she gets past how great looking Mason is, the best thing about him is that he's been off the island and can tell her about what's out there in the wide world. Do they sit and chit chat all night? Yeah, right. No, they don't. They do kiss, a little. At first, it's just a little. Then, of course, they get carried away. This is a paranormal romance here, folks. Should I mention that it's steamy hot? Yeah, I should.

But they have a serious situation to resolve here, too. Their magical shield over the island is deteriorating and the outside world will find them. The other magical race on the island needs the help of these two races, gargoyles and witches, just to survive. They must get the barriers between races down and help each other. Can these two fight the Witches Council and their friends to bring peace back to their home? Well, pick up the book and find out who loses some friends and who gets turned into a toad!


How many ways can one couple get to the altar?

One Love, Two Hearts, Three Stories
A Pride and Prejudice Anthology
J. Dawn King
Quiet Mountain Press, May 2015
Kindle ed, 287 pages, paperback and audible also
Genre(s) historical romance, Jane Austen re-tale
Source Author's rep

Synopsis:
This is a collection of two novella length stories and one full-length novel.

The Library 

What happens when Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet are alone in the library at Netherfield Park and they decide to talk instead of ignore each other? In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the half hour passes without either our hero or our heroine speaking one word to each other. This sweet variation has them breaking their silence. What follows is a conversation filled with confrontation, clarification, and love.

Married! 

Fitzwilliam Darcy needs a wife! Elizabeth Bennet needs a husband! What results when two strong-minded, kind-hearted strangers unite in this most sacred state? Will love grow? In this full-length novel, Darcy and Elizabeth are faced with frustrations and blossoming feelings of tenderness. Our favorite couple finally reach their happily ever after. Or, do they?

Ramsgate
When Miss Georgiana Darcy stumbles upon her beloved George Wickham willingly wrapped in a passionate embrace with someone else, the elopement is off. Running to her new friend, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, she involves her in a plan to get help from her brother, Fitzwilliam Darcy, and bring Wickham to justice.

In this novella length story, does Darcy marry Elizabeth? Does Colonel Fitzwilliam find the woman of his dreams? And, what happens to the nefarious Mr. Wickham? Enjoy this alternate path to our favorite couple’s happily ever after.
  

About the Author:
Joy Dawn King fell in love with Jane Austen's writings in 2012 and discovered the world of fan fiction shortly after. Intrigued with the many possibilities, she began developing her own story for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.
At the time she wrote her first novel, "A Father's Sins", she was living high in the Andes Mountains of South America. Joy loved to take an occasional break from the Latin culture and bury herself in reading English literature about her favorite English characters. Joy, and her husband of 35 years, lived next door to their only child, Jennifer, her husband, and twin grandchildren and is a native Oregonian.

In late 2014 the Kings relocated to Oregon where other stories popped into her head. She is typing as fast as she can to keep up.

My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative. I am providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✭✭✭✭
A book with three Jane Austen re-tales in it should keep you busy on a damp and dreary afternoon. Well, it kept me well occupied. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

The story lines varied widely from what JA might have written had she thought of these ideas. But the style of the stories was much in her line. I could close my eyes and picture the ladies dressed just the same as every other Elizabeth Bennet I've ever seen. And Mr. Darcy was just as starchy and correct. Tea was the solution for every ill and social faux pas. Mr. Bingley still as convivial and in love with the beauteous Jane. The settings and the characters were just as JA had written them. And in each one, Miss Elizabeth Bennet marries her Mr. Darcy.

The first story in the book, The Library, was my favorite of the three. I loved their conversation, the depth and detail in it were much more like a JA. It was fun, lighthearted. And it has stayed with me, while the other two have not. Though the other two were enjoyable, that first story was the one that stuck and plays back in my mind from time to time. Bits of the conversation and the way I picture them there in that room. Her finger stuck in the book to hold her place. And the footman's complicity at the door.

Yes, this is a good rainy day book you should have on your shelf. By all means, don't miss The Library.

Like Jane Austen with Magic!

 Shades of Milk and Honey
Glamourist Histories Book 1
Mary Robinette Kowal
TOR Books 2010
Kindle ed, 208 pages, also in hardcover
Genre(s) historical romance with magic, fantasy romance
Source Author's rep

Other books in this series: #2 Glamour in Glass, #3 Without a Summer, #4 Valour and Vanity, #5 Of Noble Family

Synopsis:
The fantasy novel you’ve always wished Jane Austen had written

Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane’s skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody’s suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.


About the Author
Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and her short story "For Want of a Nail" won the 2011 Hugo. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year's Best anthologies. She is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey and Glamour in Glass (Tor 2012).
Mary, a professional puppeteer and voice actor, has performed for LazyTown (CBS), the Center for Puppetry Arts, Jim Henson Pictures and founded Other Hand Productions. Her designs have garnered two UNIMA-USA Citations of Excellence, the highest award an American puppeteer can achieve. She also records fiction for authors such as Kage Baker, Cory Doctorow, and John Scalzi.

Mary lives in Chicago with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters.

My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book by the author's representative. I am providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✰✰✰✰✰
Yes, yes, yes! You must read this book if you like Jane Austen style stories and magic. This was wonderful. The added touch of magic to the JA style was really marvelous. I really wanted to say magical, but...well, it was!

We meet Jane Ellsworth, who is plain with a large nose and mousy brown hair. That's her personal description of her appearance. Her sister, Melody, is gorgeous with lovely golden hair and is a happy flirt. Why would Melody be jealous of Jane? Melody took the same lessons with the same instructor when they were old enough to learn glamour. She simply doesn't have the same talent with it. And it seems to be making a difference.

While Melody can swish in the draperies for the party, it's Jane who has to add all the details and perfect the elements that go into what's there so that the draperies hang just so and the tasseled tie backs are all tied at the same length. She makes the fruit arrangement in the epergne for the table setting as well since she can perfect the blush on a peach until it looks as if you should be able to bite it and the juice would run down your chin. You see, women are supposed to use their glamour for household things to enrich the home. While for men, glamour is an art.

That's where we meet Mr. Vincent. The very mysterious Mr. Vincent. Who is he really? What makes him so rude to Jane? She was admiring his glamour and trying to see how he created it. She tried to do something similar and added a little something to it. She felt she could learn so much from an artist as great as he.

The book was paced much like a tea party. Everyone arrived and was admired for this or that. Soon, they are all settled into their places and exchange a bit of gossip. Then for the big moment, the tea and goodies are served. A cup is tipped over and tea is spilled. Someone chokes on crumbs from a tea cake. A lace hankie has been misplaced. Please, pass the glamour and gossip. Then everyone is set straight and all lost items returned to their rightful owners and people are on their way. But did they all go home with the ones they came with?

Yes, you really do need to read this book!

Everyone has to fight their own war...

Wives of War
Soraya M. Lane
Lake Union Publishing 2017
Kindle ed, 350 pages, also in audible book
Genre(s) women's lit, historical novel
Source author's rep

Synopsis:
London, 1944. Two young nurses meet at a train station with a common purpose: to join the war effort. Scarlet longs for the chance to find her missing fiancĂ©, Thomas, and to prove to her family—and to herself—that she’s stronger than everybody thinks. Nursing is in Ellie’s blood, but her humble background is vastly different from Scarlet’s privileged upbringing. Though Ellie puts on a brave face, she’s just as nervous as Scarlet about what awaits them in France.

In Normandy, the two friends soon encounter the seemingly unflappable Lucy. Scarlet and Ellie are in awe of her courage and competence, but the experienced nurse is well aware of the dangers of the job they’ve chosen—and even she is terrified they won’t make it home alive.

Pushed to their limits by the brutality of a world at war, Scarlet, Ellie, and Lucy will need to rely on each other—and the power of their friendship—to survive.

About the Author:
#1 Kindle Bestselling Author of Wives of War. Purchase your copy here! https://www.amazon.com/Wives-War-Sora...

As a child, Soraya dreamed of becoming an author. Fast forward more than a few years, and Soraya is now living her dream! Soraya describes being an author as "the best career in the world", and she hopes to be writing romance for many years to come.

Soraya loves spending her days thinking up characters for books, and her home is a constant source of inspiration. She lives with her own real life hero and two sons on a small farm in New Zealand, surrounded by animals and with an office overlooking a field where their horses graze.

For more information about Soraya, her books and her writing life, visit sorayalane.com or www.facebook.com/SorayaLaneAuthor or follow her on twitter @Soraya_Lane. She would love to hear from you.
  

My Disclaimer:  
I purchased this book for full price. I am providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✭✭✭✭✭
When Scarlet lets her letter to Thomas flutter from her fingers into the wind, that was the hook. The book is riveting and I read it in one sitting. I simply couldn't put it down.

Scarlet's looking for Thomas, who seems to be missing in action. Ellie goes to do her share and Lucy's trying to become a doctor. They all find love in a variety of ways and remain the closest of friends for life eventually.

This is no romp. This is a gritty, down-and-dirty story about what the nurses of WWI went through at the front in the mud and rain and under attack. The poor living conditions. The total lack of privacy. The non-existent hygiene conditions. The scarcity of food and poor quality of what was available. The fear and loneliness. The blood and constant pain and death surrounding them. And this is about trying to return to a normal life once you get home safely.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this period and the nurses of WWI.

She does't have a clue what she is!

Hugh
Her Warlock Protector series #9
Hazel Hunter
Allure Press, May 2017
Kindle ed, 206 pages
Genre(s) romance, paranormal, magic
Source Author's newsletter

Other books in this series: #1 Dominic, #2 Sebastian, #3 Logan, #4 Colin, #5 Vincent, #6 Jackson, #7 Trent, #8 Matteo 

Synopsis:  
A sexy warlock who’s also a doctor. You’ll love his bedside manner.

General Fitzhugh Colmain isn’t your normal field operative. In fact, he’s not a field guy at all. Instead, he’s a member of the Magus Corps’ medical branch, a surgeon who can manipulate chi. But the rumor of a witch with a rare talent has lured him from the healing covens.

Phoenix Brielle and her giant poodle, Anubis, have been working at the hospital for nearly a year. As an animal therapist, she takes him to visit patients, spreading her canine friend’s love. But the hospital also gives her a unique opportunity. About the time she discovered Anubis, she started to revive the dead.

But as healer and necromancer get to know one another, jealous eyes watch from the periphery. The hospital’s chaplain would do anything for Phoenix—absolutely anything.

*** This is a standalone novel. Her Warlock Protector books can be read in any order. ***

About the Author:
Hazel and her husband stopped being separate people years ago. They live their happy life in the always crowded, mostly sunny, and sometimes sweltering city of LA. Though they haven’t managed it yet, plans are afoot to add a kitty to the household, thereby giving the allergist fits.
Hazel has been writing full-time for several years, with some traditionally published work in other genres. But it’s her indie-published romance that fuels the creative fire. It turns out writing isn’t a job, it’s an obsession.

When you can pry Hazel’s fingers from the laptop, you’ll find her: on the elliptical watching a documentary, indulging her audio book habit, or spending quality time with Candy Crush. Although she’s vegan, she’s a disaster in the kitchen. Luckily, potato chips and pinot noir come ready-made.


My Disclaimer:  
I was provided a free copy of this book from the author's newsletter. I am providing an honest review in which all opinions are fully my own. I am not being compensated in any way.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  ✭✭✭✭
I picked this book for its description, but the cover art didn't seem to go with it. Somehow in my mind, that's not the way I picture Dr. Colmain. Lucky girl, if that's what he's really built like, but it just doesn't seem to fit what I read in the book. In the book, he seems a bit on the nerdy side. But I guess you can be a nerd and still be ripped. I just don't know where he's going to put his pocket protector. 

Nix was such a sad character in her poverty and isolation. And yet, she's out helping others and taking care of her saved animals. She camouflages herself in baggy clothes and goth makeup so people won't get too close or even look too closely. And she hasn't a clue what she is or how to control her power. I think her name is so appropriate, Phoenix, Phoenix rises! And her giant poodle, Anubis. What a pair.

The Sergeant Brother Templar's turning cartwheels in his head thinking he's having his own special holy day with her dropped into his lap. And then there's the Professor. What a creepy guy. Thank heavens and the Magus Corps for Hugh!

Parts of this didn't quite fit together and didn't seem likely, even in a fantasy novel. That's why I docked it one star. I liked the story line and the two main characters, but I would have like to have gotten to know them a bit better. They're like acquaintances, not friends.

With eight other books in the series, I suspect there are some more pretty good stories in there. I'd definitely suggest fantasy readers try a few. Maybe not starting with the 8th one in the series, though they are all standalones. You don't have to read them in order. Hazel Hunter has several other series and is a rather prolific author, so give her a try.