Thursday, 30 July 2015

To Tame The Wind, by Regan Walker - Blog Tour Review

To Tame the Wind, by Regan Walker
Agents of the Crown, Book 0 (Prequel)
Published: Via CreateSpace, May 9, 2015
Pages: 285 Kindle, 285 paperback
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Author

All Claire Donet knew was the world inside the convent walls in Saint-Denis. She had no idea her beloved papa was a pirate. But when he seized Simon Powell's schooner, the English privateer decided to take the one thing his enemy held most dear... her.

The waters between France and England roil with the clashes of Claire's father and her captor as the last year of the American Revolution rages on the sea, spies lurk in Paris and Claire’s passion for the English captain rises.

This is the prequel to the Agents of the Crown trilogy but can be read as a stand alone.
Claire is an Ursuline convent girl reared in Saint-Denis, France, but she has a spirit like no other nun-to-be that belies her promise to a dying friend. Caught up as a pawn in her father’s nefarious activities, Claire finds herself suddenly living aboard the ship of privateer, Simon Powell.

In this historical romance novel, the author intertwines historical elements of the times into the story adroitly. It was interesting to learn, for example, that convent girls of the time were actually well educated and in the book this will stand Claire in good stead.

Regan Walker also blends in historical elements of the French assistance in the American war for independence seamlessly, and this runs as an interesting sub-plot to the story. It is not so widely known just how much France helped the 13 colonies gain their independence but there is much of the matter in To Tame the Wind.

The story just draws you in inexorably and I found myself reading into the night about Powell’s efforts to regain his stolen ship and men. Claire is a wonderful, independent miss who at the same time makes the most of her situation.

If you were ever kidnapped by a sailing privateer, you’d want it to be gentleman Simon Powell. I love that the romantic attachment between Claire and Simon is very gradual, and natural. It is expertly interwoven into the story line which initially is focused on Simon reclaiming his ship and crew but then grows into the relationship between Claire and Simon.

It is a little too convenient how Simon steals Claire away the second time, but you just love it anyway.  

This is a Happy Ever After feel-good enjoyable read, with quite a sentimental ending. Well written, and the historical elements don't overwhelm the story at all.  4.5 Stars!

To Tame the Wind is actually the prequel to the Agents of the Crown series, and Book One which follows is Racing With the Wind.

Regan Walker writes historical romance that sweeps you away... She can be found on the internet here:

Monday, 27 July 2015

Wish For Me, by Diantha Jones - Review

Wish For Me, by Diantha Jones
The Djinn Order, Act One
Published:  April 27, 2015
Genre:  Paranormal, Djinn, Fantasy Steampunk
Pages:  147 PDF
Source:  Xpresso Book Tours, Author

Three wishes. Two lovers. One destiny.

When the snarky Glory St. Pierre discovers the gold mechanical vase in her deceased grandmother’s basement, she has no idea that she has uncovered a priceless treasure: a genie lamp. With a real genie inside. A very sexy genie with a not-so-sexy grudge against the entire human race.

Irving Amir hates being called a genie. He’s a Djinn, and he is none too happy to be in the service of Glory, who is as intolerable, and beautiful, as humans come. Now he owes her his gratitude for freeing him and three wishes. Damn his luck.

But an arrow through the shoulder alerts Irving to the fact that he is being hunted, and after a truce dinner with Glory ends with them both almost being killed, hating each other goes right out the window. As feelings change and love starts to develop, they must dig through the secrets and lies to find the truth...a truth neither of them will ever see coming.

WARNING: Not suitable for ages 18 and under. A significant source of bad language, sexy times, and dirty jokes. If you suffer from a lack of a sense of humor, take with plenty of wine. If the symptom persists, see a doctor.

Wish For Me is a funny, adventurous, smart-ass read!

Upon grandma Addie’s passing, Glory St Pierre and her family find out grandma has been keeping shrunken heads in the basement along with other memorabilia, and a mysterious gear work vase. Curiosity rules and Glory must test the key on the vase once she sneaks it home.

The djinn, with the unlikely name of Irving of the amethyst eyes, is as sassy as Glory herself, making for lots of sparks and fun interaction. But Irving, by the rules, must grant Glory three wishes. Glory has the moxie to spend a little time thinking about what she will wish for, never mind getting to know the sexy djinn she has conjured.

Things get complicated when Irving appears one night, shot through the shoulder with an arrow. He’s being hunted by a mysterious human order. And eventually, Glory inadvertently wishes for something that just gets them both into worse trouble. Now the Army of Brass and Steel is attacking them.

The middle of the book slows down a bit when Glory travels to Shrinelyn, Irving’s homeland, and to the Sultan’s palace, but we see more of Irving’s family and take a magical train ride.

There is clever magic, an intriguing secret, and bizarre twists come out that I didn’t see coming at all. And Glory discovers the shocking secret of her birthright.

This is a unique and very entertaining take on djinn, mixed in with sorcery, historical characters, some interesting gadgets, a heated attraction between Glory and Irving, and unexpected secrets that come back with a bite.

I would recommend this as a really fun, sassy read, especially if you’re looking for a magical pick-me-up.  4 Stars !

Diantha Jones is a library-lover from Georgia. Wish For Me is Book One in the Djinn Order, with Dream of Me, and Yearn For Me percolating in her mind. She has also written other series. Check her out on the web at these links:

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Torn, by Laney McMann - Review

Torn, by Laney McMann
Book Two of The Fire Born Novels
Published by: J. Taylor Publishing, August 28, 2014
Pages:  249 Adobe Digital Editions
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Paranormal
Source:  J. Taylor Publishing, via NetGalley

Find Max. That’s all Layla cares about. Not healing from the Fomore attack. Not finding answers to how she survived a fall that nearly killed her. Nothing will stop her. She will find him. She’ll even pair up with an overbearing Fallen Angel who’s hell bent on making everything harder than it needs to be if she has to.

Protect Layla. For Max, nothing else matters. Not the bruises covering his body. Not the pain radiating from his broken bones. Not even his hands tied behind his back. He will find a way to save Layla, and the Fomore will pay if they’ve hurt her. Every. Single. One of them.

In the second installment of The Fire Born trilogy, a new breed of villain looms—one Layla and Max will never suspect, and this killer has nothing to lose. Better yet, with Max & Layla’s deaths, victory is in the grip of the enemy.

Will Max and Layla find each other in time, or is it already too late for them both?
I came into the Fire Born series at Book 2, Torn. I don’t think you need to read Book 1 first, but it just takes a little while longer to sort out the story.

Layla and Max have just been through a horrific battle in Book 1, but Max is now missing and Layla must recuperate. She’s willful though and driven and takes off asap with fallen one, Justice, to hunt for the door to the Shadow Realm to find Max.

The action is constant and we learn some new things about Max that are contrary to his Fire Born tie with Layla. We also find out about Layla’s kind and the divide between her and Max. Layla is very determined and fierce, and there’s no doubt about her and Max’s commitment to each other despite powerful obstacles.

I love the Celtic lore, magical scenario, and the use of the raven, and the oghams (ancient British/Irish alphabet) as living symbols with power. Also, the build up to what's happening within Layla is well done.

However, I find that the author tries too hard to describe all the scenes. There are too many adjectives, too many descriptive sentences to frame scenes that would come through clearer with less. As a result, I found the book somewhat overwrought. There are many explosions, scenes with lightening, blood, and the oghams constantly searing their skin. It’s exhausting and I found this took away from my reading experience of an otherwise interesting story.

I think King Elethan is a great evil character, and he’d make a great movie villain.

We are left with a cliff hanger as Layla and Max must apparently now battle to the death to break the curse that lays over them.

Ultimately, I like the story line but think I will need to be wired on coffee for Book 3 to enjoy the energy level. Love the cover!

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Keeper of La Tecla, by Yza-Dora - Review

Secrets of Ravenstone
Keeper of La Tecla (The Key), by Yza-Dora
Published:  July 2, 2014
Genre: Paranormal, Sci Fi Dystopian, Fantasy,
Pages:  Print 683, PDF 276
Sold By: Amazon Digital Services

Yzavela thought her life would be simple. But that was over rated.

A panic arises in the Great City of 2025 London caused by a takeover in Parliament. Yzavela and her mother escape with their pets by train and find themselves in the end-of-the-line town of White-haven. A woman on the train has predicted their futures, and directs them to a mysterious realtor in town who somehow knows that they must journey further to an unknown destination.

Mother and daughter endure a bumpy coach ride through a strange, lingering fog which seems to have a mind of its own. Along the way, Yzavela remembers other strangers she has met, like the peculiar gentleman in the book store.

They arrive at castle Ravenstone, a compound walled off by a black slate Morder-looking wall where supernatural and paranormal beings dwell together.

It is at Ravenstone that Yzavela learns the truth about the man in the book store, and how her unexpected future is linked to his, and to Ravenstone. Through tests of strength and courage she must prove herself worthy of her surprising destiny.

... so how will she get through it?

Secrets of Ravenstone is quite a fantastical epic debut Middle Grade/YA book series written by daughter-mother team Yza-Dora. I read Keeper of La Tecla. This is a long book chock full of magic, adventure, and paranormal beings of all kinds to keep you very entertained.

Set in 2025, Yazavela and her mother escape the Great City of London after a terrible takeover of the city. They meet a mysterious stranger along their train ride out of the city who foretells their futures. Then Yzavela, her mom and their pets, find themselves ultimately guided to an 18th century gothic castle called Ravenstone. Supernatural beings, humans, witches, warlocks, and vampires all strive to live together in harmony at Ravenstone under the guardianship of the mysterious M.C.

I love Yzavela as a strong-minded young female lead character who is not afraid to speak up for herself. She’s quite a character actually, and is also incredibly kind. She also has lots of sass and displays it in a charming, youthful way.

The book is themed on disparate paranormal beings learning to live and function together in the spirit of cooperative harmony; very commendable. The story is a grand adventure as Yzavela experiences challenges in coping with these beings and other learning challenges given her by M.C.

This book is an inexplicable magical hodge podge that you just want to keep reading because it’s so delicious that you don’t even notice some paragraphs are ½ page long!  I couldn’t help laughing in delight at Yzavela reading up on the background of vampires with descriptions resembling arcane grocery list descriptions of their feeding habits, natures, and abilities, etc.

The authors pay a lot of attention to details, filling out scenes with curious information that seems fitting somehow; for example, the specific dimensions of things like books, castle rooms, etc., which I admit to not understanding the meaning of in the least!

I think the book would benefit from some minor editing. The authors are very enthusiastic but I felt they put in just too many magical elements. For example, towards the end shadowy human spirits attack Ravenstone. These made me think of Harry Potter death eaters right away and I think the story would have been better without. Marginal steam punk elements are also thrown into the mix but I think the story would be fine without.

My favourite quote, Page 107  “Just like everything else, they’re evolving.”

At the end is a sneak peek into the Boar-Wolves of the next book.

I wholeheartedly recommend this amazing series especially to Middle Grade and Young Adult readers who love paranormal adventure, and certainly to all young-at-heart readers.

My thanks to the author for a free reading copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Spaniard's Kiss, by Nina Croft - Review

The Spaniard's Kiss
By Nina Croft
Published by: Entangled Publishing, Indulgence, July 14, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 211 Adobe Digital Editions
Source: Entangled Publishing, NetGalley

One moment will change their friendship forever…

Widow Isobel Sinclair knows it’s time to move on, and she believes the next chapter in her life involves a baby. All she needs is a man to help her with the finer details. Unfortunately, right now the only man in her life is her husband’s best friend, Rafael Sanchez. And an incredibly wealthy, super-hot player is not exactly family material.

That’s okay since she wants a baby sans the husband part.

Billionaire playboy Rafael has carefully hidden his longing for Isobel over the years. He’s wanted her from the moment they met. When desire sparks between them, Rafael faces a choice beyond imagining: give Isobel what she wants…or lose her forever. He has a good reason why a child can’t be in his future, but telling Isobel the truth could destroy everything.
My thanks to Entangled Publishing, Indulgence, for an advance reader copy via NetGalley of Nina Croft’s new romance in anticipation of her July 14, 2015 release.

This book had me smiling from the beginning with Nina Croft’s undertone of teasing humour!

Bella’s husband, Gary, has passed away, leaving her a young widow. Gary’s best friend, hot Spanish guy, Rafael, has been just a friend to Bella, until the kiss. And Bella’s crazy idea that what she’s missing in life is a baby, the one she should have had with Gary.

Rafe is busy running a multimillion dollar business and isn’t into the family thing, but he does have protective feelings for his friend’s widow, Bella. And other feelings that he thinks are very inappropriate.

Rafe is the quintessential noble Spaniard, wanting to help Bella with her baby quest but he likes his relationships attachment-free, and has his own secrets. Having a baby with Bella would most certainly bind them together, whatever Bella says otherwise. I like that Rafe tries to strike a middle balance, bringing Bella to London to be near him, but living separately, while they figure out whether they want to take things into the bedroom or not.

Bella is a realistic and quirky modern female, and this is kind of a funny race to see whether Rafe and Bella can keep their hands off each other long enough to sort out all the background secrets and issues in order to have a decent relationship. Nina Croft constructs an amusing and tantalizing romance, though I admit to being partial to dark Latin men!  4 stars

Nina Croft writes romance across several genres including science fiction, and paranormal. You can find her on the web here: