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Friday, July 29, 2016

Book Review: All the Broken Places (The Healing Edge #1) by Anise Eden (rough)

All the Broken Places (The Healing Edge #1)
by Anise Eden
Paperback, 262 pages

February 16th 2016
by Diversion Books
All of Cate's problems are in her head. That may be her greatest strength. 

Cate Duncan is a promising young therapist, dedicated to her work. But after her mother's suicide, she is seized by a paralyzing depression. To save her job, Cate agrees to enter a program with Dr. Angeline MacGregor, run by her stern son, Ben, and housed in a repurposed church. Cate doesn't quite understand what the program entails, but she soon learns that the skills she will develop there may not only help her learn how to cope with her own problems, but will also lead her to a much greater purpose. 

The MacGregor Group is a collection of alternative healers whose unconventional approaches include crystals, aura reading and psychics. They know that their life's work invites skepticism, and welcome the chance to prove naysayers wrong. But they need the unique abilities that Cate can bring, and as she slides ever closer to her own abyss, they will do everything in their power to protect Cate from those who wish her harm -- including herself. 

A powerful novel of suspense and a wildly inventive start to The Healing Edge paranormal romance series, ALL THE BROKEN PLACES engages readers with its striking blend of the supernatural and the psychological.


Review by Denise B
Getting 5 sheep



Cate has decided that she will go to work for the MacGregor Group, a group of alternative healers that she is beginning to call friends. She has started her two weeks of interning to finish off her training and she is excited to learn more about her empathic healing techniques and the gifts the others have. Before Cate can really get started on her internship she agrees to join the group on a secret mission with Ben’s former Marine Corps unit. She is hoping that she will learn more about the man she is falling in love with as well as have a chance to put some of her talents to use. 

The protective nature of Ben is so charming and even though Cate has some fragile features her strength comes out in abundance. A really enjoyable look into the different paranormal gifts and healing techniques that may exist. The passion between Ben and Cate is sizzling while the other relationships in the group are intriguing too. I’m not sure if more books are coming in this series but I sure hope so!

Review by Jeanie G.

Getting 3.5 "fibrous" sheep
Empath healing, crystals, Reiki, acupuncture, precognition and communication beyond the grave; not much not to like in the training program Cathryn Duncan is forced to attend by her boss.  But Cate is not convinced that all that mumble jumbo is scientifically sound.  To keep her job, she must attend a 3 week program that she is adamant that she does not need and she is NOT happy about it.

Good storyline and interesting characters (I loved the fact that they were all adults and comfortable with their paranormal skill sets) make a great foundation for this story.  I was interested in the premise from the beginning.  I foresaw a little history on the origination of these skill sets but it never really covered everything it eluded to and I hoped for.  I would like to see a little more character development and substance in the next installment.  There is a lot of "hard head butting" between Cate and most everyone else but especially the possible love interest that goes by the name of Ben....the manager of the program.  The romance felt a little immature and monotonous after a while as if the author had to include it for more spice but it still fed into the story.  

Only one week of the 3 week training program was covered in this episode and I am assuming that the others will be covered in future installments or the "training" will become an "orientation" for Cate.  I liked the method of heading some chapters "Day 1", "Day 2", etc. Helped keep a handle on timeline.  

I will pick up the next installment to see how Cate's journey evolves.


Comic Reviews: Neil Gaiman's How to Talk to Girls at Parties from Dark Horse Comics

Neil Gaiman's How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon
Cover Artist: Gabriel Ba, Fabio Moon
Genre: Graphic Literature, Fantasy
June 22, 2016
Dark Horse Comics
Format: FC, 64 pages; HC, 7'' x 10''
Price: $17.99
Age range: 16
Preview
Neil Gaiman! Fábio Moon! Gabriel Bá!
Two teenage boys are in for a tremendous shock when they crash a party where the girls are far more than they appear!

From Neil Gaiman—one of the most celebrated authors of our time—and award-winning artists Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, this sumptuous graphic novel is not to be missed!
* Moon and Bá adapt the Gaiman story they were born to draw!



I freely admit I am a fan of Neil Gaiman's writing. When I saw there was a comic coming based on one of his short stories, I knew I had to read it. This adaptation does not disappoint.
It's a tale of two young gentlemen getting lost looking for a party. Vic is a confident jock trying to give advice to his less-confident friend, and our narrator, Enn. During the tale, Enn is convinced to engage with several of the young women at the party. Without spoiling it, the story gets interesting in a very Gaiman way from there.
The art from Moon and Ba is beautiful with a flowing almost watercolor aesthetic throughout. The expressions they draw on the faces conveys all of the complex emotions going on throughout the comic. Whether it's the joy of a girl dancing, sadness of loss, or just annoyance at being interrupted, it draws you in and could almost tell a story on its own.

This book is well worth tracking down. I highly recommend it.

4.5 Sheep




Guest Reviewer: Wes Smith

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Sheep Book Review: Dragon in the Blood (Vale of Stars Book Two) by Juliette Cross + giveaway

by Juliette Cross
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
July 26, 2016
ASIN: B01FNI7L1E
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
When desire bites, there’s no patience for a slow burn.

While all seems quiet in Gladium Province, the Morgon Guard—the global justice force for the dragon hybrid race—knows their enemy is rebuilding its forces in the underground.

Valla Moonring, an assassin for the Order of the Morgon Guard, is ordered on a mission into the Wastelands of Aria—a formidable, icy wilderness fraught with all manner of dangers, including outlaws, deadly weather, and big-game predators.

To her great distaste, she’s partnered with a Nightwing Security operative, Conn Rowanflame, a Morgon with the aggravating ability to get under her skin. While she takes her mission seriously, Conn’s confident charm throws her off balance, a dangerous place to be in conditions like these. Especially when cold nights require close contact.

Sensual attraction binds them ever closer, igniting a passion of unexpected force—the soulfire. But when the hunters become the hunted, their bond could prove perilous. Even fatal… 


246 pages was just not enough, this sizzling dragon romance was so tasty and delicious! I honestly did not want this one to end. Sometimes you just luck the hell out and get a story that touches on all the things you love about PNR. Dragon in the Blood did that for me!

While I didn't read the first book in this saga, it didn't matter one bit. Book 2 was very easy to pick up and get going without losing a beat. A totally realistic feeling tale of badass females, action and the alpha men who make me shiver. I loved the chemistry between these two, the back and forth playful dialog was just enough without being over the top exaggerated. While the romance left me hot and looking for my own dragon!

I was absolutely sucked into this multi-layered story and had a hard time letting those last pages go. PNR is done right with this saga and I sure can't wait to read more from this talented author!


Getting 4 and 1/2 Sheep 
KD
  



Excerpt: 
Conn slowed his descent as treetops came into view beyond the fading mist, which had thinned to nearly nothing in the past hour. Whipping open my wings, I landed softly on the hard ground among a grove of evergolds. Even in this frozen tundra, the giants famous for their flora of fire-gold leaves grew tall and thick-branched in abundance. I lifted my visor to a brilliant burst of color that contrasted against the brown earth and snow-swept embankments. 

Bowen landed quietly behind me. “How about some lunch before we set out on foot?” He removed and tucked away his visor and unpacked his crossbow from its sheath on his back for the first time on this journey. 

“Let’s get into the cover of trees,” said Conn, moving along the natural path. “And lunch sounds perfect.” 

“Benta’s breakfast wasn’t enough for you?” I asked, meeting his long stride. 

“I always have an appetite, sweetheart.” 

“While you two continue flirting, I’ll find some small game nearby. Set up the hotpad over near that big evergold.” 

Without a sound, Bowen disappeared into the trees. 

“Flirting?” I scoffed. “I wasn’t flirting.” 

“I was.” Conn grinned. 

“Stop it.” 

“I haven’t even gotten started yet.” 

“You’re infuriating.” 

“So you’ve said before.” 

“Listen—” I put up both gloved hands to stop his snarky banter for just one second. “I’m glad we’re finally alone.” 

“Me, too.” His lopsided grin made my heart flutter. 

Exhaling a frustrated sigh, I stopped under a thick oak with ample coverage from above and unhooked my chest pack before dropping it to the ground. “There’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about…about last night.” 

“Mmm. Last night.” 

He removed his own pack and gloves, then pulled out the small, electronic hotpad. After opening the tripod that kept it off the ground, he turned it on. Gisa ordered us to use the hotpad instead of fire when we were in the open to avoid alerting predators or criminals to our presence. 

Conn stood and propped his hands low on his hips. “Would you like a second round?” 

“No…no.” I cleared my throat and shook my head, my ponytail sliding on the smooth leather of my jacket. “Actually, that should never have happened. I shouldn’t have let that happen. But I—” 

“Couldn’t resist,” he finished, a devilish smile brimming his beautiful face. “It’s okay. It happens a lot.” 

“You’re such an ass.” I rolled my eyes. “I could’ve resisted.” 

“Could you?” 

He broke his rigid stance and sauntered closer, a feral glimmer in his gaze. By instinct, I backed up a step, my wings scraping the rough bark of the evergold behind me. He moved into my personal space. 

“What are you doing?” I asked, heart hammering. 

He flattened one hand against the tree above my head, his finger grazing the arch of my wing. I shivered. 

“Are you sure you could resist?” 

I cleared my throat. “Of course,” I said, trying to sound confident, but my voice betrayed me and broke. 

“Well…I couldn’t.” He brushed the back of his knuckles along my jaw. I held still, caught. 

“Actually, I want to taste you again. Right now.” 

Even stone-cold sober, I felt drunk from a single touch, longing to fall back into his arms and let him show me what his hazel-gold eyes promised without a word. 

He leaned close, his warm breath grazing my ear. “Let me taste you again, Valla.” 

I planted my hands on his chest, wishing there weren’t the layers of thermal suit and leather between my palms and his rock-hard chest. 

He nuzzled the shell of my ear with his nose, then his lips. “Let me.” 

His darkened voice pleaded and demanded at the same time, spreading warmth between my legs. What had gotten into me? I pushed him out of my way and stormed toward a densely wooded area. 

“Where are you going?” he laughed. “Running away?” 

“I’ve gotta go to the bathroom,” I yelled over my shoulder. 

“Not by yourself, you’re not.” His footsteps crunched across the thin blanket of snow and leaves behind me. 

I whirled, heat burning up my neck, now from anger not lust. “Whoa, there, big boy.” I threw up a hand, halting him several feet away. “Look. You’re not my keeper. And just because we shared one kiss doesn’t mean anything. I’m going to relieve myself by myself. Do you understand?” 

His wings twitched at his back. Agitated. Whatever.


“And stop scowling at me,” I called back as I spun and trekked off the path into the brush. 


About the Author:
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Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona. Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review and excerpt: Damned if He Does by Marcella Burnard

Damned if He Does
by Marcella Burnard
333 pages
July 19, 2016
Light Paranormal Romance
Rejected by heaven, twisted by hell, what’s a damned dead man to do when he stumbles upon a life and love worth fighting for?

Though damned for his earthly sins, Darsorin Incarri likes being an incubus. Prowling women’s dreams to siphon off their sexual energy for Satan's consumption has its perks: an array of infernal power and a modicum of freedom. Sure, Ole Scratch holds Dar’s soul in thrall, and Dar has to spend a few hours recharging in Hell every day, but it could be much worse. All he has to do is hold up his end of his damnation contract – five women seduced, satisfied and siphoned per night for eternity. So when he encounters gorgeous, bright, and funny Fiona Renee, it’s business as usual. Deploy the infernal charm and rack up another score. Except it doesn’t work. She’s immune. He has to find out what’s gone wrong or face Lucifer's wrath.

Fiona Renee has the life she’d always wanted: a career, a home, a cat with a bad attitude, and peace. Fiona’s dated. Had boyfriends. And hated every minute of it. She’s reconciled to being lonely. So when a man shows up in her bedroom in the middle of the night demanding to know why her dreams turn to nightmares every time he tries to seduce her from within them, Fiona winds up negotiating a contract with a demon that allows him access to her life. She never anticipated that it would also give him access to her heart. If she's going to fall in love at all, something she never thought would happen, shouldn’t it be with someone who’s alive? If Fiona wants to hang on to Darsorin, she has to find his true name—the one he’d been given at his birth over a thousand years ago. But Satan, himself, stands in her way. Even if Fiona can dodge Lucifer, she and Darsorin have to face the question neither of them can answer: What happens to a dead man if you manage to wrest his soul from the Devil?



Damned for his philandering ways while alive, Darsorin Incari is slated to live out his afterlife collecting sexual energy from human women as the devil’s favoured incubus. Darsorin is an exceptional satanic employee and has always reliably delivered his quote of vialed sex mojo to the devil. But when Dar falls for asexual pharmacist Fiona Renee, his job and his very livelihood are in jeopardy. 

The concept for this book was a little curious for a paranormal romance. But, I commend Burnard for trying something new and instead of generating interest with steamy sex scenes, she goes for the unconventional. I applaud the voice she’s given to asexual readers and appreciate this element of risk.

As a paranormal romance, Damned if He Does wasn’t for me. I failed to identify with Fiona. While she’s strong and smart and resourceful, she’s not a female character who resonates with me personally. The book is fairly imaginative and creatively descriptive. I particularly enjoyed the character of Louis Sieffer (Lucifer) as an STD-ridden, slick CEO type. Though, I’m just not sure why the almighty Prince of Darkness isn’t immune to herpes etc. Dar and Fiona’s romance is touching; slow to evolve and sweet. In the end, though, I think I prefer my paranormal romance to take a more traditional (sexy) approach. 

So, recognizing its merits and the effort of the author to diverge from the generic beaten path, Damned if He Does was an average read. If you like a little romance, more on the tender, chaste side, you may appreciate this book more than me.


3 ½ sheep






Bianca Greenwood


Excerpt
Fiona jogged her warm-up distance, then pushed her pace hard, something to work the tension of remembered fear from her muscles. Savoring the song of blood surging with the rhythm of her heartbeat, she settled in, stretching her gait, reaching for the moments between one footfall and another, the moments when she flew, not connected to the ground. Sweat beaded her skin. Trickled down her spine.

She’d made her halfway mark, the end of the Burke-Gilman trail at the Lockspot Café, before she caught sight of the motorcycle and the familiar, dark-haired–even if that hair was now cut short–man lounging in the saddle, arms crossed. Ogling her.

He’d invaded her pharmacy, her dreams, her bedroom, and now her run? After turning her cat into a foul-tempered traitor? She stopped short, squaring off on him over the handle bars of the bike. “What did you do to my cat?”

Darsorin shook his head. “Nothing!”

“Nothing,” she repeated, crossing her arms, her brows low. “That’s why he howled all night? That’s why you have your shoulders hunched up around your ears like you expect me to take a swing at you?”

“Are you going to?”

“Give me reason,” she gritted.

“Nope,” he said, holding up his hands in surrender. “Sorry about the cat. I’d been bribing him.”

Alarm jolted her upright.

“Mice.”

“Mice?” she sputtered. “You’ve been releasing rodents into my duplex? Are you insane?”

“I asked him not to leave presents on your pillow.”

She uttered a sound that came out half way between a snort and a guffaw. “Do you know how impossible it is to get blood spots out of beige carpet? Not to mention how cruel it is to hand over some poor, innocent . . .”

“They aren’t,” he interrupted.

“What?”

“The mice. They aren’t innocent.”

She gaped.

“Part of the deal,” he said. “I can’t go into specifics, but we’re not allowed to persecute the innocent. Only the damned.”

Frowning, she backed away a step. “The mice?”

“Damned souls that I turned into mice. They’d been cruel to animals in life.” He shrugged. “Ole Scratch never passes up a punishment opportunity, and I needed a species appropriate way to bring Archimedes around to my way of thinking.”

His use of Archimedes’s name washed some of the tension out of her. She took a deep breath and uncrossed her arms. “That is messed up.”

“I am sorry about the blood stains,” he said. “Give me a chance. I’ll help get them out.”

“No. I don’t even want to know how Hell goes about remedying bloody carpet stains,” she said.



About the Author:
I blame my father for my love of science fiction and fantasy. We watched many a late night science fiction movie together. I was five. By the time I was six, I was having raging nightmares inspired by The Omega Man, The Fly, and The Incredible Shrinking Man. The sum result seems to have been that I wouldn't walk into a dark room until well after I'd turned ten.

Growing up an Air Force brat, I moved often and traveled all over the US. We spent two years in Iceland, watching blue whales migrate, volcanoes erupt and geysers spew steaming, superheated water into the cold air. The whole family did plenty of reading. When the tiny base library ran out of interesting books in the kids' section, and wouldn't allow me in the adult section yet, I began writing my own stories.

My family finally settled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Western Washington. I graduated with a BFA in acting from Cornish College of the Arts in 1990 and promptly went to work for a large software company.

I live with my husband and our cats aboard a sailboat on Puget Sound.

Spotlight: Lucy Trilogy (Winged Series books 11-13) by L.M. Pruitt

Burden (Lucy Trilogy Book 1)
Winged Series Book 11 

by L.M. Pruitt
Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal romance
Publisher: SP Press
Date of Publication: July 26
Word Count: approx. 90K
Cover Artist: Najla Qambler
All my life, I've had plans.

Dying the day before beginning the final year of my surgical residency wasn't one of them.

Finding myself drafted in the eternal war between good and evil wasn't one of them, either.

And dealing with friends, enemies, and lovers I don't remember?

Definitely not in my plans.
 

Curse (Lucy Trilogy 2)
Winged Series Book 12

by L.M. Pruitt
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: SP Press
Date of Publication: August 27
Word Count: approx. 90K
Cover Artist: Najla Qambler
The problem with plans?

Even the best ones can go awry. And when they do... all hell breaks loose.

If I've learned only one thing in the last few months, it's the past never dies.

Four plagues down. Six more to come.

We need more than a plan.

We need a miracle.

Redemption (Lucy Trilogy Book 3)
Winged Series Book 13
by L.M. Pruitt
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Publisher: SP Press
Date of Publication: September 29
Word Count: approx. 90K
Formats available: ebook
Cover Artist: Najla Qambler
The problem with miracles?

They require a deity who cares.
And if you don't have one of those... you need a sacrifice.

Or the world ends
Winged (books 1-9): The Complete Series Box Set
$.99


About the Author:
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L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. She knows this because she's killed bamboo. Twice. She is the author of the Winged series, the Plaisir Coupable series, Jude Magdalyn series, the Moon Rising series, and Taken: A Frankie Post Novel.