Friday, May 30, 2014

Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows #1) by Kim Harrison

Title: Dead Witch Walking (The Hollows, Book 1)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Rachel Morgan 1
Format: Paperback; 432 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager (October 2, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0007236093
ISBN-13: 978-0007236091
Author's Website:
Notes: I bought this one.

Almost forty years ago, a quarter of the human population died from a mutated virus named the T4 Angel. The virus was tracked back to an Arctic lab, where the lethal chain of DNA escaped by way of a bioengineered tomato which found its way to store shelves. Most Inderland species were resistant to the Angel virus. With so many humans dead, the supernatural community decided it was time to make their presence known. With the virus' apparent preference for humans, some believed, incorrectly, that the supernatural community had engineered it. The Turn, as it came to be called, changed the world irrevocably. Humans attempted unsuccessfully to rid themselves of supernaturals, but slowly the realization came that they weren't going anywhere. From the dust, the Federal Inderland Bureau, aka FIB, emerged. It replaced the local US law enforcement and was created to police Inderlander activities. The Inderlanders, in turn, created their own law enforcement agency, Inderland Security, aka IS.

Rachel Morgan has worked for the past three years as an IS agent, and was in training for four years prior to that. For the past several years Rachel has gotten the jobs nobody else would want in league with what would be given to an intern. While attempting to take in a tax evading leprechaun, a tempting offer is made. The leprechaun will give Rachel three wishes in exchange for its freedom. Rachel sees this as an opportunity to quit the agency and not get caught letting the leprechaun go. What she didn't take into account is that the IS is the sort of place you can't leave. If you try, you're a dead witch (or other supernatural) walking. She'll have to brew up something quick to get them off her back.
Kim Harrison has created a wonderful world with delightful characters. Rachel is a very likable witch with a heart of gold who seems to attract all sorts of trouble and danger. Her boss hated her and, as we find out when she gives her notice, did everything in his power to thwart her missions. When she leaves the IS she planned on doing it alone, but two of her coworkers end up joining her and they start their own agency. Her former boss is not pleased and vows she'll not have long to enjoy her new found freedom.

Ivy is a nonpracticing vampire. She still drinks blood, just not directly from the vein. She's been vein free for several years, but once a vampire, always a vampire and the temptation to indulge is always there. She comes from a prominent vampire family and was born a vampire, she wasn't made one. What makes Ivy a fun addition to the book is that she's attracted to Rachel, but Rachel doesn't swing that way. Vampires by nature have sort of compulsion which makes them virtually irresistible to those around them, It's that attraction which tugs at Rachel when she realizes Ivy is interested in her. While nothing much scares Rachel, the compulsion induced attraction paired with the thought of a vampire biting her and drinking her blood disturbs her beyond words. She may like and respect Ivy, but being anyone's snack is not something she wants any part of.

Jenks is a pint sized (truth be told he's tinier) pixie with a huge attitude and sense of humor that rivals any regular sized human's. While he might be easily overlooked, his personality more than makes up for the height he's lacking. The image of him swinging on Rachel's hoop earrings and grumbling about something or teasing Rachel about something she said or did immediately endeared the little fellow to me. Add in that his devotion to his wife and kids and I admit to being a fan.

While Rachel is under a death threat when she leaves the agency, Ivy is able to avoid the threat because of her family's political ties and their social standing and by forfeiting her substantial inheritance to the IS. That leaves Rachel with the dilemma of trying to figure out a way to rid herself of her threat. While her boss truly wanted her to leave, taking Ivy with her brought out his fury. I'd love to know the reason for the man's hatred of her. It seems like there must be a story behind it. Rachel's plan to rid her self of the IS death threat is to take down someone the IS has been gunning for for some time--Trent Kalamack. If Rachel has her way, she'll get her man and embarrass the IS in the process by doing something they couldn't.

Trent Kalamack is a good looking man who oozes power and wealth. The IS believes he creates and distributes an illegal drugs. One of the most interesting things about Trent is that everyone knows there's something not quite normal about him, but nobody can figure out what type of supernatural being he is and they're all puzzled. While Trent may be a despicable character, we see the sparks of what will soon become Trent and Rachel's ongoing love/hate relationship. 

The whole tomato incident reminded me of the movie attack of the killer tomatoes and I laughed so hard at the whole scenario even though the tomatoes didn't come to life in this story. Plus, once upon a time tomatoes were feared to be poisonous. In the 18th century the tomato species was named Lycopersicon esculentum, which literally means, "edible wolf peach". I kind of liked that Ms. Harrison picked the tomato to be the carrier of the virus. It has history. It should be noted that the series debuted prior to the real life tomato salmonella scare of 2008.

Cleverly written and interspersed with laughable moments, witty banter, and compelling characters I couldn't help but give this book 5 out of 5 roses. All the elements combined enchantingly together to create a bewitching tale. I highly recommend this book and series and I can honestly say this was a full and utter book seduction for me. 

P.S. A friend, Sara, and I are reading this series together and have only just finished the first book. If you'd like to join us, we plan to read books three or four books in June and attempt to read all twelve previously published books prior to the thirteenth (I love the fact the author's leaving off on the thirteenth book) and final book, The Witch With No Name, is released in September. We plan on tracking down the paths of everything leading up to the end. Sara is a veteran to the series and has read all the books and novellas while I'm still somewhat of a newbie having only read books one - four and the twelfth in the series. Yes, I'm a series jumper and proud of it. lol  If you'd like to join us, we'll be doing our buddy series read in the Goodreads group Who's Your Author?  Here's the link to the first three discussions (just click on the name--it's linked): 

Order of the series:

And coming September 9th, 2014:

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cover Reveal of Kay Thomas' Personal Taget

Coming July 29th in eBook form only
Personal Target: An Elite Ops Novel
 by Kay Thomas

AEGIS: an elite team of ex-military men working under the radar of most governments. If you have a problem no one else can handle, they can help.
A former SEAL and Black Ops specialist who left the CIA, Nick Donovan gave up a life on the edge to work in the private sector. But that didn't stop his enemies from coming after him—or his family. In a case of mistaken identity, a drug cartel kidnaps his sister-in-law's best friend … a woman from Nick's past.

One minute Jennifer Grayson is housesitting and the next she's abducted to a foreign brothel. Jennifer is planning her escape when her first "customer" arrives. Nick, the man who broke her heart years ago, has come to her rescue. Now, as they race for their lives, passion for each other reignites and old secrets resurface. Can Nick keep the woman he loves safe against an enemy with a personal vendetta?

About the author:

Award-winning author Kay Thomas didn’t grow up burning to be a writer. Until fourth grade she wasn’t even much of a reader. That’s when her sister read THE BLACK STALLION aloud to her. For hours Kay was enthralled—shipwrecked and riding an untamed horse across desert sand. Then tragedy struck. Her sister lost her voice. But Kay couldn’t wait to hear what happened in the story—so she picked up that book, finished reading it herself, and went in search of more adventures at the local library. Today she lives in Dallas with her husband, their two children, and a shockingly spoiled Boston terrier. Her national best-selling "bulletproof" novels have been translated into multiple languages. In November 2013, HARD TARGET: Elite Ops-Book 1 was published in her new series from Avon Impulse. Look for PERSONAL TARGET in July 2014. Visit her website at

Pre-order your copy today.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Interview and Giveaway with Author Roxanne St. Claire

About Barefoot in White:

Destination wedding consultant Willow Ambrose has fought a battle with the scale for much of her life, but she has finally won the war. By putting her past behind her and cutting off all contact with anyone who knew her before and, of course, controlling everything she can, Willow has carved out a new body and a new life. But when she comes face to face with someone who left an indelible mark on her heart years before, all that threatens to crumble.

Navy SEAL Nick Hershey is on medical leave, doing a friend a favor as a stand in “man of honor” at a beach wedding. He might not be that interested in the nuptials, but the wedding planner catches his eye the minute they meet. When he realizes Willow is really a girl he knew in college—and a girl he unintentionally hurt to the core—he knows he has some making up to do.

Willow has learned how to beat every temptation...but Nick’s sweet-as-candy kisses just might be the one thing she can’t resist. But the closer they get, the more the past threatens to tear them apart. Can they finally let go of a painful past in order to find a forever future?
(The above books synopsis found on Goodreads)

Meet Roxanne St. Claire:
Photo found on Goodreads
Check out Roxanne's website, 
'Like' her on Facebook: 
Follow her on Twitter at

Roxanne St. Claire is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty novels of suspense and romance, including three popular series (The Bullet Catchers, The Guardian Angelinos, and Barefoot Bay) and multiple stand alone books.

In addition to being a six-time nominee and one-time winner of the RITA Award, Roxanne’s novels have won the National Reader’s Choice Award for best romantic suspense three times, as well as the Daphne du Maurier Award, the HOLT Medallion, the Maggie, Booksellers Best, Book Buyers Best, the Award of Excellence, and many others. Her books have been translated into dozens of languages and are routinely included as a Doubleday/Rhapsody Book Club Selection of the Month. (information taken from Roxanne's website)

~ The Interview ~

Thank you Roxanne for taking time out of your busy schedule and answering some questions. 

Thanks so much for having me here today! I’m happy to answer your questions, pop in to respond to comments, and give away a book today!
The first romance most little girls read when they’re young is a probably a Disney version of Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or some other similar tale based off of a fairy tale. Do you incorporate any elements of fairy tales into your stories? If so, what and how?

Obviously the happy ever after part is ALWAYS there! In my Barefoot Bay Billionaires books, there’s a huge element of the “prince sweeping the fair maiden off her feet” - especially in the first one, SECRETS ON THE SAND.  (It’s free, by the way and has been called “A Cinderella story” and “Pretty Woman on the beach.”)  The Barefoot Brides are less “fairy tale-like” in nature but still promise a big change for the characters and a super-satisfying ending.

Many of your romances tend to focus on characters that have issues to overcome or are flawed. Do you feel making the hero or heroine of a romance less than perfect helps the reader relate and bond with a character? Is it more fun to write a character who has something to overcome so they can grow throughout the book?

In a word, YES.  Yes to all of the above.  A heroine HAS to be flawed to be relatable and a hero HAS to be flawed to be truly attractive and they both have to learn from those flaws -- preferably because the other has “taught” them -- to be happier, healthier, better, and more capable of true love.  That’s sort of the essence of every romance novel, right?  The tricky part is making them flawed but likeable.  I think a lot of writers make a heroine nasty or cold or awful in some way so that they have lots of room to grow by the end.  I don’t think readers like that as much as someone who is truly likeable, but has a very relatable flaw.  Willow, the heroine of BAREFOOT IN WHITE, has lost 120 pounds and one of the ways she’s done that is by truly cutting herself off from the past -- including her parents.  She works very hard to convince herself she’s happy because who WOULDN’T be happy if they lost the weight that made them miserable?  That’s relatable...and so is the fact that she needs to work on the “inside” as much as the “outside” before she can love and be truly happy. 

I’ve always suspected most writers live vicariously through their characters. When you create a character, whether male or female, do you tend to pick professions you yourself find interesting or want to learn more about? Do you do a lot of research?

I don’t think I live vicariously through the characters -- though I do feel their emotions.  I tend to choose professions that will showcase the character’s change and growth and be somewhat fascinating to the reader.  That’s why with this series, I’m focused on destination wedding planners because they are experts at arranging dreamy “I do’s” but have never had one of their own.  I do a ton of research all the way through the writing of a book.  Many of my plot lines are directly a result of something I’ve learned in the research, so that step is very important for me.

I saw at one point you were an actress. Do you think any of the skills you learned from that profession helped you with writing?

(Wow -- you did your homework! I was an actress and my brush with fame was a bit part on an episode of Bosom Buddies!!)  Training in method acting absolutely helps in writing -- I  am acting every time I open a document and choose a point of view.  Writing is climbing into another person’s head and body and taking on their personality in order to “see” the world and “tell” the story through their viewpoint.  Everything I learned in acting classes is employed in writing -- and when I cry during I scene, I know I nailed it because I’m deep, deep, deep into character! That’s truly the most fun you can have at the keyboard! 

What, besides good chemistry between the two main characters, do you feel is most important element to include in a romance?

Incredible pacing.  I do NOT want my reader to ever be bored or really want to put the book down.  I spend as much time on pacing and keeping the story moving forward as I do on character development -- I believe it’s critical to that “unputdownable” feeling I want every reader to experience.

Was there a resort or perhaps an event that inspired your Barefoot series and/or Barefoot in White? I saw you experienced the loss of a house during a hurricane and I’m guessing that experience inspired the same situation in the series?  Did anything else?

Not really a resort per se, but the whole of Barefoot Bay is inspired by a beach near Naples, Florida, where my parents used to live.  The west coast of Florida has very distinct beaches, with a certain kind of powdery sand and an abundance of seashells.  My parents lived in a beach house directly on the water after they retired and I spent a lot of time there, dreaming up stories!  And, yes, I lost my home in Hurricane Andrew in Miami, so that experience definitely colored the very first book of the series.

What do you find is the most challenging part of writing?

First drafts -- the raw, rough, ugly laying down of the first words of any scene or chapter -- is absolute torture for me.  I actually hate writing, LOL!! I do love, love, love to revise and polish and tweak.  I can rewrite an entire 100,000 word novel in a month -- with 80% brand new words.  That’s easy.  But the first draft?  Sheer hell.

What do you like most about being an author?

Writing “The End.”  I always call a family member in to my office to witness that moment!

What do you hope the reader will take away from one of your books?

I just want them to close the book with a deep sigh and a little shiver of joy.  I want them to get utter satisfaction from the story and think about the characters for a few days or more.  I want them to get so involved in the book they carry it with them from place to place.  Once, I was reading WELCOME TO TEMPTATION by Jennifer Cruise and I had to go upstairs for something one of my kids wanted.  I read on the way up the stairs!! Now that is a great book!!

What do feel is the most romantic thing a person can do for another?
Listen.  I love when my husband gives me his undivided attention and I try to remember to do the same for him.  I think it is incredibly romantic to just shut out the world and really listen to your beloved talk about something that matters to him or her, even if it doesn’t matter to you!
Thanks, Roxanne, for answering our questions. I loved reading your answers. 
Thank you so much! And thank you for asking such in depth and personal questions! Do you want to give away a book?  Let’s have readers comment -- I love your last question! What is the most romantic thing a person can do for another!!  Let’s give away a digital or print copy of BAREFOOT IN WHITE! Winner's Choice!

Again, thank you, Roxanne, for joining us today and answering my questions, and  a huge thank you for allowing me to do a giveaway.
~ Giveaway #1 ~

We're giving away ONE digital or print copy (winner's Choice) of Barefoot in White by Roxanne St. Claire (Thanks Roxanne)

~ Giveaway #2 ~

Plus, I'm giving away ONE signed copy of Barefoot in the Sun by Roxanne St. Claire with a bookmark. I met Roxanne at the RWA annual conference last year. She was nice enough to let me have a signed copy to give away on my blog.

Rules of eligibility:
1) Leave a comment below about what you think is the most romantic thing one individual can do for another. (P.S. With each additional question you ask of Roxanne (with a 5 entry max for questions), you'll earn another entry.) 
2) Leave me a way to contact you--either in the comments or email it to me at Winners will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond (from when the email was sent by me) with their information (either the email the digital copy should be sent or the address **No P.O. Boxes, please.** the print copy should be sent to).
3) Be at least 18 years or older and reside in the US (Sorry I can't afford the shipping to other countries).
4) For an additional entry, be a member of my Blog (just leave your GFC or Networked Blogs name so I can verify)
5) Follow Roxanne on Twitter for another entry  (just leave your twitter info so I can confirm) 
6) Tweet about the giveaway (just leave your twitter info so I can confirm) 

***Please note, if a person has multiple entries, they could potentially win both books, but each will have its own drawing from those who enter below and are eligible. 
***Winners will be randomly chosen. Giveaway ends on May 31st, midnight Eastern time. Winner will be posted on my blog and notified by email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond with their information before another winner will be selected. Good Luck!

Barefoot in White (Barefoot Bay Brides Trilogy, #1) by Roxanne St. Claire

Title: Barefoot in White (Barefoot Bay Brides) (Volume 1)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Barefoot Bay Brides
Format: Paperback; 336 pages
Publisher: South Street Publishing (May 3, 2014)
ISBN-10: 098837367X
ISBN-13: 978-0988373679
Author's Website:
Notes: I was given an eARC by the publisher, but I also bought it because I wanted a print copy for my keeper collection.

We've all experienced moments in our lives when we've wished there was a do over option. A part of our own history we wish we could rewrite or erase. For Willow Ambrose the time period she'd like to forget includes the majority of her life. Fighting a life long battle of the bulge, she's finally won the good fight and now sees the world in terms of 'The Before' and 'The After'. Anyone whom she'd known from 'The Before' time period she's broken ties with leaving them to lie buried like the life she's put to rest and never wishes to remember. Unfortunately, the past has a way of coming back to haunt us and when a guy from her past finds his way into a wedding party being held at Barefoot Bay, she's forced to deal with her inner demons. Sometimes the best way to deal with the past is to face it dead on, see it for what it is, accept it and move on because our pasts are a part of us that make us who we are.


I always love Roxanne's books and this one's no exception. I was a little leery at the beginning because Nick Hershey, a gorgeous Navy Seal on medical discharge with the nickname Kiss (get it--hershey's kiss?), was a guy Willow had once propositioned to be her first lover. At the time Willow had been twice her present size and the humiliating answer had been a definite 'No'. I couldn't help but wonder if Willow's weight hadn't been the part of the equation that had tilted the balance towards Nick's answer of no. Luckily, that did not end up being the case.

Willow is strong, smart, brave, and more forgiving than I am. Granted, as she walked in on the man as he was butt naked (along with other things) she didn't have much of a choice but to face him in that moment of  mayhem and confusion. Over the past several years, she's taken control of her life and managed to lose a lot of weight which is admirable because it takes a lot of self control and will power. She's realized she can't rewrite her past so she's opted to erase it.

Nick is a sweet, sexy, nice guy who always tries to do the right thing. He's gorgeous and has a tendency to wander around his rental naked. He's been nicknamed by the majority of the women at the resort "the man of dishonor" because they all want to do dishonorable things with him. He has things in his past he'd also like to rewrite. In fact, he's literally attempting to do just that by writing a semi autobiographical book where he rewrites events the way he'd wished they'd turned out. He's suffering from an overwhelming sense of guilt about events that were pretty much out of his control. He's agreed to step in for one of his best friend's sister's, as man of honor, because his friend is out on active duty and won't be able to fill the position himself. He's hoping that by coming to Barefoot Bay he'll be able to find his creative muse and finally write the ending of his true life story his way. 

What I adored about the story was the repeated theme that you can't rewrite history. It is what it is and can't be changed. That is so true and I love how Willow and Nick are each other's trigger for coming to that realization. I also loved the way Nick handles things this time around. You may not be able to rewrite history, but you can definitely learn from it. 

I gave this one 4 1/2 roses. It's a great uplifting light read that will leave you with a smile on your face and an extra step to your walk. A funny, lighthearted, and sweet combination perfect for reading this summer on the beach or by the pool. Granted, it may make the temperature seem a little hotter than it truly is and make you sigh once or twice, but you can probably get away with blaming it (if someone should chance to notice) on the sun. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1) by Samantha Shannon

Title: The Bone Season: A Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Fantasy/Dystopia/Paranormal
Format: Hardcover; 480 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition/First Printing edition (August 20, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1620401398
ISBN-13: 978-1620401392
Author's Website:
Notes: I own this one.

"Almost two centuries had passed since Scion arrived. It was established in response to a perceived threat to the empire. The epidemic, they called it—an epidemic of clairvoyance. The official date was 1901, when they pinned five terrible murders on Edward VII. They claimed the Bloody King had opened a door that could never be shut, that he’d brought the plague of clairvoyance upon the world, and that his followers were everywhere, breeding and killing, drawing their power from a source of great evil.

What followed was Scion, a republic built to destroy the sickness. Over the next fifty years it had become a voyant-hunting machine, with every major policy based around unnaturals. Murders were always committed by unnaturals. Random violence, theft, rape, arson—they all happened because of unnaturals. Over the years, the voyant syndicate had developed in the citadel, formed an organized underworld, and offered a haven for clairvoyants. Since then Scion had worked even harder to root us out."

While something happened nearly two hundred years ago, the truth of the matter has never been released to the general population. Paige Mahoney, a clairvoyant, has been working for the past three years for the Jaxon Hall, one of the mime lords of the syndicate. She's managed, with the help of the seven seals, as Jaxon's group of clairvoyants have come to be known, to avoid capture and detection. Unfortunately her luck has just run out and she's about to learn what is truly going on in the world. 

Because something did indeed happen nearly two hundred years ago--they came and began to carve out a place in our world for themselves...The Rephaim


This is the first book in what is rumored to be a seven part series. Ms. Shannon did an extraordinary job of creating a world that is unique yet easy to relate to and picture. The characters are believable had have a lot of depth to them. It's set in the future of an alternate version of our world. If anyone tells you this book is like any other, they're really grasping at threads. It's unique unto itself.

Reminiscent of the the witch hunts of old, clairvoyants are being hunted, but not killed. Every ten years, clairvoyants are harvested from the general population and sent to the Tower where they're held in inhumane conditions until the day of the next Bone Season comes. Not every clairvoyant survives their capture.
       “Why are they called Bone Seasons?” 
       He smiled. “Don’t know if you know, but bone used to mean ‘good,’ or ‘prosperous.’ From the French, bonne. You might still hear it on the streets. That’s why they named it: the Good Season, the Season of Prospect. They see it as collecting their reward, the great condition of their bargain with Scion. Of course, the humans see it differently. To them, bone just means that: bones. Starvation. Death. That’s why they call us bone-grubbers. Because we help lead people to their deaths.”

In the world Ms. Shannon has created there are seven known types of clairvoyants (aka voyants). There are soothsayers, mediums, sensors, augurs, guardians, furies and jumpers. Jaxon Hall,  Paige's mime-lord (think voyant crime lord), has a goal of having at least one of each of the different varieties of clairvoyants. Each of the voyants he employs has a rare talent which is unusual. No other mime-lord or mime-queen has such vastly gifted crew. The group Jaxon has assembled is known to all as the seven seals and rule the I-4 section known as Seven Dials. They make their money doing mime-crime which includes anything that can produce money from dealing directly with the spirits of the dead. Whether that be obtaining intelligence about someone, letting the dead spirit of a painter enter into someone to produce a masterpiece, or any of the shadier dealings you might imagine. Mollishers, as those who work for a mime-lord are called, are bound by contract to their mime-lord and in exchange for their loyalty and usefulness, they receive protection. But as Paige states, "Mime-lords expect payment for protection." Life outside the syndicate/mime-lords for a voyant isn't easy if not impossible. A clairvoyant's best chance for survival is to hook up with one.

Jaxon is not only unique among mime-lords for his talented crew, but also for his interest in the talents/gifts of clairvoyants. He even created a pamphlet called On the Merits of Unnaturalness which lists every major voyant type according to his research. (FYI--The author created a copy of the pamphlet for your perusing pleasure at the beginning of the book.) It's this slightly obsessive tendency that makes him stand out and the fact we don't learn a whole lot about him in this book makes me very curious about him. 

Paige is smart, loyal, and more kind hearted than most voyants. Perhaps it is because she joined the syndicate fresh out of school and hadn't had to struggle for a position that she never harden herself against the world. She is one of the rarest of clairvoyant, she's a dream-walker. She can walk the aether and detect people's auras surrounding her for quite a distance out. This allows her to sometimes identify who and what type of clairvoyant is around. As far as anyone knows, she's the only dream-walker in existence and that makes her extremely valuable. She has yet to learn the extent of her talent and what all she can do. When she disappears after accidentally killing two Underguards with her powers, Jaxon and the rest of the seven seals launch a major search for Paige. Paige meanwhile, finds out what is really going on behind the scene's of the Scion and learns the real reason clairvoyants are hunted and it isn't pretty.

The Scion, are the security of the amaurotics. Amaurotics, aka normal people, "were said by voyants to be afflicted with amaurosis, just as they said we were afflicted with clairvoyance." The security is divided into two divisions, the NVD--Nighttime Vigilance Division and the SVD--the Sunlight Vigilance Division. NVD sleeps during the day which is when SVD takes over. The NVD employs voyances who sign a 30 year contract with them. Upon completion of their contracts they are euthanized. NVD is allowed to be more brutal in their take-downs than their day time counterparts as the general public is less likely to see the darker side of their dealings at night. SVD, by the way, only employs amaurotics. While there is more to Scion than what is stated, the rest is kept secret from all who don't need to know.

The Rephaim are said to be human like beings from another world originally separated from ours by the aether. The frightening thing about them is not much is known about them. They have powers similar to those of voyants, but are perhaps more powerful. They descended upon our world nearly two hundred years ago with plans to take it over. They are behind the voyant round ups. After Paige's capture, she is transferred to Sheol I, the Rephaim's headquarters which is located in present day Oxford. That is where she is indoctrinated into the world of the Rephaim. The voyants are used to do their bidding and the Rephaim feed off their auras. If they're lucky, they'll reach the status of red jacket and their job will be to bring in more voyants. If they're not so lucky, they'll become performers or killed. One thing is clear, humans are seen as only slightly more intelligent than animals and are expected to perform in one way or another. Paige's future looks bleak as she becomes the property of a Rephaim who's never laid claim on a human before. Warden, as she is to call him, will be her keeper and her life is about to change as is her perception of the world.

I gave this one 5 out of 5 roses. It was fast paced with a lot of information packed in and a lot more to be learned and revealed in the next book. While I didn't feel like I'd been info dumped upon, a lot isn't explained until later in the book. This might throw some off and is the reason I explained so much in my review. If you have yet to read the book, be aware there is a Glossary of terms at the end, so if you're reading an eBook version you may wish to bookmark it before you start. I fell quickly into the story and became completely immersed. The characters were easy to identify with and become attached to. The world was masterfully crafted and easy to envision. It ended in a cliffhanger that makes me want the next book now. This is actually my second time reading this one and, if you know me, I don't normally do rereads. I have too really like a book to do so and when this came up as one of Nothing but Reading Challenges' book of the months, I decided to read it again and finally write a review.

While I have many questions about things in the book which will undoubtedly be answered in future books, I have one I wish someone could answer now. What does "Off the cot" mean? It was used several times and I'm guessing it is a fairly common expression in the UK, but I don't know what the translation is and neither did anyone else I asked.  Other than that this was a great book that I highly recommend. It is not like Hunger Games, Divergent, or any other of the books that have come out. My status last week on Goodreads read, "Please stop saying a book is like The Hunger Games because it contains a strong female lead. Please stop saying a book is like Harry Potter because it contains a magical element. Please stop saying a book is like The Passage because it contains beings that take over individuals. Please just stop. Enough with all the lies. The links are too weak." This is one of the books that inspired that statement. 

Some pictures of Seven Dials (Yes, I'ts a real place): seven dials photo: Seven Dials IMG_0755.jpgseven dials photo: Neal's Yard, Seven Dials, Covent Garden 12-2.jpgseven dials photo: Neal\'s Salad Yard, oasis near Seven Dials nealssaladyard.jpg

Pictures of Oxford: oxford photo: Oxford 9 IMG_0712.jpgoxford photo: Oxford 7 IMG_0718.jpgoxford photo: oxford DSC_1302_526F672C_zps5ffa5362.jpgoxford photo: iron gate to college courtyard, Oxford collegegatetocourtyard.jpg
Carfax Tower: oxford tom tower photo: Oxford DSCF0463.jpg Tom Tower:
  tom tower oxford photo: Tom Tower/oxford christ church college OxfordchristTomTower.jpg

Trafalgar Square pictures :trafalgar square photo:  IMG_1896.jpgtrafalgar square photo: Lions at Trafalgar Square SAM_0411.jpgtrafalgar square photo:  DSC_0020-2.jpgtrafalgar square photo: Day Four: Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery DSCN2695.jpgtrafalgar square photo: Trafalgar Square London201107195.jpg photo ceb90825-1e02-4625-90ce-46a6054b1c74_zps4a8f697f.jpgtrafalgar square photo: trafalgar 7327_792207647394_3315066_45573972_.jpgtrafalgar square photo:  2-15-08023.jpgtrafalgar square photo: trafalgar square IMG_1060.jpg
*** Please note: The above photos were found on Photobucket in the shared pictures area. They are not mine.

Notes to keep you in the know:
Rephaim (according to the Bible Hub) are " the shades or spirits of the departed, dwelling in Sheol or Hades, generally rendered in our version, "the dead" ("dead things," Job 26:5); Psalm 88:10; Proverbs 2:18; 21:16, etc." (Information found at )
Youngs Literal Bible is the only version of the bible for which I could find any references to Rephaim. Reference in Psalm 88:10: 
"To the dead dost Thou do wonders? Do Rephaim rise? do they thank Thee? Selah."
Reference in Proverbs 21:16
"A man who is wandering from the way of understanding, In an assembly of Rephaim resteth."
There is also mention of them with bible verses quoted in Jewish Views of the Afterlife by Simcha Paull Raphael on page 55.
Sheol "She'ol (/ˈʃiːoʊl/ shee-ohl or /ˈʃiːəl/ shee-əl; Hebrew שְׁאוֹל Šʾôl), translated as "grave", "pit", or "abode of the dead", is the underworld of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. It is a place of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous, regardless of the moral choices made in life, a place of stillness and darkness cut off from God.[1]

The inhabitants of Sheol were the "shades" (rephaim), entities without personality or strength.[2] Under some circumstances they could be contacted by the living, as the Witch of Endor contacts the shade of Samuel for Saul, but such practices are forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:10).[3] While the Old Testament writings describe Sheol as the permanent place of the dead, in the Second Temple period (roughly 500 BCE-70 CE) a more diverse set of ideas developed: in some texts, Sheol is the home of both the righteous and the wicked, separated into respective compartments; in others, it was a place of punishment, meant for the wicked dead alone.[4] When the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek in ancient Alexandria around 200 BC the word "Hades" (the Greek underworld) was substituted for Sheol, and this is reflected in the New Testament where Hades is both the underworld of the dead and the personification of the evil it represents.[5]" (Information found at )

L'Inconnue de la Seine was mentioned  in the book and is a piece of artwork (if you can call it that) that made its way into homes in the 1900s. Rumored to be the death mask created by a pathologist who was intrigued by a young woman who was pulled out of Seine, he decided to immortalize her profile.     Here is a picture of it . The picture was found in wikipedia commons and is reportedly no longer under copyright: 
Wonder where idea the cover came from?
FYI, the Rephaim symbol, created for the fictional beings, was inspired, according to Sammantha Shannon on Pinterest, "by an ancient Nigerian language system called Nsibidi. The glyph which provided the basis for the anchor, 'ójȯ', conveys fear." Here's a link to see more of her posts on the book,

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Scoundrel's Seduction Blog Tour Giveaway and Excerpt

About the Author:
Jennifer Haymore
Follow her on Twitter:

USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Haymore is the author of sexy historical and contemporary romance. You can find Jennifer in Southern California trying to talk her husband into yet another trip to England, helping her three children with homework while brainstorming a new five-minute dinner menu, or crouched in a corner of the local bookstore writing her next novel.

About the House of Trent series:

The Duchess Hunt 


Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother's disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved--and the last woman he should desire...

Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon's touch. But dukes do not long for lady's maids--or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer's web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family's future or break Sarah's heart.

The Rogue's Proposal

Lord Lukas Hawkins, the rakish second son of the House of Trent, has never found a wager he couldn't win or a woman he couldn't seduce—until his search for his missing mother leads him to a mysterious encounter with a beautiful stranger.

Luke's mother has been missing for months, and while his honorable older brother Simon, Duke of Trent, leads the official investigation from London, Luke sets out on a somewhat seedier path. Sources have told him his mother was last seen with a scoundrel named Roger Morton, but their association isn't clear. Was she kidnapped or did she go willingly?

While searching for Morton, Luke meets Emma Anderson, a secretive beauty with her own reasons for hunting Morton. At first Luke laughs at the idea of allowing a woman to join him in his search, but soon Emma's insights into Morton—like the woman herself—prove impossible to resist.

The Scoundrel's Seduction

Temptation Knows No Bounds…

Undercover agent Sam Hawkins has devoted his life to protecting king and country. So when he receives orders to assassinate a ruthless traitor, he doesn't question his mission. But Sam didn't know his deed had a witness—the beautiful and mysterious betrayer's wife. Now he has no choice but to take her as his prisoner—one he can neither trust…nor resist.

Élise, Lady Dunthorpe, will do anything to escape her powerful captor—including seducing him senseless. She didn't know of her miserable husband's crimes, but she has secrets of her own—secrets that threaten everything she holds dear. With his piercing dark eyes and gentle touch, Sam inflames Élise's deepest desires, but how could she ever trust a man who won't let her go? Caught between the crown he's sworn to serve and the woman he's come to love, Sam will risk his heart—and his very life—to keep her safe.

~ Excerpt  from The Scoundrel's Seduction ~

       All of a sudden, Sam hauled her into his lap and wrapped his arms around her. “Shh, Élise. It’s going to be all right. I’m not going to allow anything to happen to you.”
       “How . . . how can . . . you promise that?” she gasped out. She couldn’t get enough air. Her chest was constricting, closing in on itself. She couldn’t take a deep breath, couldn’t breathe at all. . .
       “I promise it,” he murmured. “I promise.”
       His big, blunt fingers pressed through the fabric of her dress and into the tight muscles of her back. He gathered her closer to him, and she curled up against the hardness of his chest. Safety. His touch brought her such comfort. Such . . . peace. Slowly, her breaths began to calm, and warmth traveled through her, bringing with it a deep longing, a craving she’d never experienced in her life.
       A craving for more. For more Sam.
       He gazed at her, his expression tender even as his eyes glittered. And she saw it there in his eyes. Desire climbing until it equaled her own. Ever so slowly, his fingers dragged up her back. Then his hand moved around until he cupped her cheek and tilted her face toward his. He moved closer, inexorably closer, until she could feel his strength and his heat, palpable forces in the tiny space between their lips.
       Then he closed the distance. His lips touched hers, the tiniest, most erotic brush.
        Her own reaction shocked her. She should have gone stiff, pulled away, slapped him. But she did none of that. Instead she melted against him. His lips firmed, moving gently, transferring calmness and strength into her. They glided over her mouth in a gentle caress, exploring, tasting, soothing. He tasted smooth and warm and sweet. How could such a man, such a large masculine man, taste sweet? But he did. He was delicious. She gripped his coat in her hands and pulled herself even closer to him. She wanted to sink into him.
       He’d kidnapped her and held her against her will, yes. But despite the violence in him, there was something about this man that was pure goodness. There was something about him that she trusted completely. She had never trusted a man in her life. It seemed insane that she should trust this one.
       But she did.
       She kissed him harder, pushing her body to him, opening to him, allowing the heat of his breath to wash over her and through her, allowing his tongue to touch the inside of her lip. He nibbled at her mouth, from the edge to the center. Their noses brushed as they adjusted the angles of their heads so they could kiss more, taste more, closer and deeper.
       The simmer in her core rose to an inferno that spread through her limbs. She was on fire, her body aching, burning . . . for what exactly, she didn’t know. But she did know one thing . . . Her body wanted Samson Hawkins. She wanted him.

***Please note: Excerpt used with permission from the publisher.

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Early Review of The Scoundrel's Seduction (House of Trent, #3) by Jennifer Haymore

Title: The Scoundrel's Seduction: House of Trent: Book 3
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: House of Trent
Format: Paperback; 416 pages
Publisher: Forever (May 27, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1455523356
ISBN-13: 978-1455523351
Author's Website:
Notes: Received an eARC loan from the publisher

He was sent to assassinate her husband for his treasonous ways.
She was in the wrong place at the wrong time and witnessed said crime.
He could not see his way to kill her.
Now, thrown together by extenuating circumstances, hostage and captor find themselves unreasonably attracted to one another.
While Élise's marriage had been far from a love match, can a relationship survive such a questionable start?
Unbeknownst to Élise Sam may be the key to her survival.


This is the third book in the House of Trent series. While you can probably get by without reading the previous books, there are a couple of facts you may wish to be aware of before starting this one. Sam's mother, the Dowager Duchess of Trent, has been missing for a year and he and his siblings have been desperately searching for her ever since. Since her disappearance, rumors and accusations have been flying regarding their mother and some of Sam's sibling's parentage. He and his siblings are desperate to find their mother and lay to rest the gossip that has been drifting about. Even if the rumors prove to be true, their number one priority is their mother's safe return. So if any information surfaces about her, they'd pretty much drop everything to find her. I'm happy to say, the mystery surrounding her disappearance will finally be revealed in this book.

One of the things I love about Ms. Haymore's books is the delightful characters she creates. Élise is a surprisingly strong young woman who, because of the time in which she lives, has been stifled by her husband. Trapped in a loveless marriage, she'd tried to make the best of it, but living in a country that is not on the friendliest of terms with your homeland is not easy. While many think she'd be loyal to France, the country unto which she'd been born, she holds no love for it. The majority of her family, former aristocrats, had been sentenced to the guillotine and she had barely escaped a similar fate. When Sam kills her husband she guiltily feels relief because at times, when he wasn't ignoring her, her husband could be quiet cruel. The dynamics of her marriage were unknown to outsiders and to many they had appeared to be an ideal loving couple.

Sam may be a bastard by blood, but he's a gentleman by nature. He works for a secret government agency and does the deeds they don't want to get caught doing--like assassinating well liked citizens who've been found to have committed treason. Over the years the job has satisfied Sam and he's never had a problem doing it. You'd think he'd be a cold hard killer, but he can't seem to bring himself to murder a woman and ends up kidnapping her instead. Waiting for the agency he works for to hand down its judgment on her, he and Élise come to know each other better and an overwhelming attraction develops which they each try to deny. With a the murder of her husband lying between them, a relationship is the last thing either wants, and it is the sexual tension created by their circumstances that makes this book so much fun. 

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. There was plenty of action, suspense, drama and steam. I enjoyed how the initial attraction between Sam and Élise was strong, and while each was tempted to give in to their feelings, they proceeded with caution and took things slow. I liked how a mutual respect for one another developed before they allowed a relationship to form and grow. Each had good reasons not to trust the other and they had to get past that before moving forward. I liked how each had issues to work through and helped one another to do so. Plus, I loved the drama associated with Élise's fate. It made for a great story. Additionally, finally learning the details of Sam's mother's disappearance was also fun. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one received a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I absolutely adored the chemistry between these two and look forward to reading more romances by Ms. Haymore.

Order of the series:
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