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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Book Review: Shadow Reaper (Shadow, #2) by Christine Feehan

Shadow Reaper (Shadow, #2)
by Christine Feehan
May 30, 2017
400 pages
Berkley  Publishing
#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan returns to her scorching-hot series starring a Chicago crime family that has built its empire in the shadows...
Billionaire playboy Ricco Ferraro knows no other life. Being a shadow rider is in his blood—but so is a haunting desperation stemming from the secrets of his dark past. His recklessness puts not only his life at risk, but also the future of his entire family. To save them all, he must find a woman who can meet his every desire with a heat all her own...
Just when Ricco has given up hope, he meets her—a mysterious woman whose shadow connects with his. She’s someone looking for a safe haven from the danger that has stalked her over the last several months. In Ricco’s embrace, she finds one. But the darkness in which they so often find sanctuary can also consume them...

Christine Feehan’s Shadow series is paranormal romance meets crime family saga. Each book chronicles the adventures and romance of a Ferraro sibling. Book One, Shadow Rider was the tale of family patriarch Stefano. Book Two tells the tale of Ricco, a brother deeply troubled by a long-buried secret. The Ferraro family rules a section of Chicago. These wildly successful business men and women live the lives most people dream of. Benevolent to their friends, ruthless with their enemies, the family has a specific paranormal advantage that makes them virtually untouchable. The Ferraros can “ride the shadows” allowing them to travel quickly and stealthy from one place to another, sight unseen, until it’s too late … for their prey. Trained, efficient killers, each Ferraro is a warrior; their glamourous, party reputation merely a cover for covert operations.

In this installment, the Ferraros are besieged by a set of Japanese Shadow Riders intent on Ricco’s ruin over a long-time family grudge. Ricco has lead a reckless life of fast cars and women, but is ready for more stability and substance. And, as if one cue, a mysterious rider enters Ricco’s life. He’s sure she’s connected to his former life in Japan and immediately wants to uncover just how she’s connected. As one would suspect, a very heated romance ensues as Ricco learns to give and receive love.

This book is a hot, neck-snapping good time. I was entertained from beginning to end. It’s not entirely original, but it’s not the same old either. The Ferraro men are alphas to the core; jealous, possessive, domineering. Feehan writes a story with a good mix of intrigue, action, and steamy romance. Add to this Ricco’s penchant for Shibari, Japanese bondage art, and this paranormal romance really has something for everyone.

I’m looking forward to the rolling out of this series. I am curious how Feehan will keep it fresh. I look forward, in particular, to Francesca’s story as the only female sibling in the family. She seems to have a star-crossed lover vibe with the son of a rival crime lord. I predict this book will deliver sexual tension overload.

Four Sheep

Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
I write every day and have done so since I was old enough to pick up a pen. (I spent a lot of time getting in trouble at school for writing instead of doing the things I was supposed to do.) Once I create my characters, I try very hard to have them react to situations as they really would. Sometimes I have preconceived ideas of what I would like them to do, but they don't mind me, because it would be out of character for them. They take on a life of their own. Sometimes when I throw difficult situations at them in the hopes I'll get a certain reaction and they don't do what I want, I complain bitterly to my husband and he laughs at me. Still, it is important to me to have them be real, not perfect people, so they make mistakes we lesser mortals might make.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Flock Talk: Favorite book snacks

What's better than reading? Eating while reading! So I asked our sheep reviewers what was their favorite book snack...

Photo via Visual hunt
Hmmm...that's a hard one. Especially, since I read almost constantly... I read with breakfast, I read with lunch and I read with supper (or any combination of above. But late in the evening in lieu of TV, I read with a snack. My favorite? Why popcorn and chocolate of course. Reading is like going to a movie. You have the plot, the stars, the supporting cast and the visual department is outstanding! (Of course that's because you are the director doing all the choreography and special effects in your mind). 

And who goes to a movie without popcorn and candy? Not this girl. I have been know to go to the theater just to buy the popcorn and take it home to enjoy. Hey, don't judge, the theater is making a killing on that popcorn and it's one of my guilty pleasures.

So to those of you who say they don't like to read...get an audio book if your eyes are lazy. Use your E-reader, IPad, laptop or, heaven forbid, pick up the real thing of paper and ink! Let your imagination be the producer and director of the play or movie that is always available. And indulge yourself in your favorite snack and plot. It might be watermelon (one of my alternatives) or guacamole and chips (another of my favorites) or ice cream (not my choice...little messy and you have to use two hands) or any of the favorite health foods (UGHGH!!) you desire.

Personally, I am sticking with my popcorn and chocolate for snack of choice, whether I sit in a movie theater or my private showing of any book I happen to immersed myself within! I even give myself "stars" or "sheep" after I am finished depending on how well the author and myself as producer and director got along. Happy Snacking everyone!

Photo credit: solofotones via Visualhunt /CC BY-NC-SA

I'm such a big foodie so it's no surprise that I like to munch while reading. My favorite snack is baked tater tots. No lie. I bake them in the evening and then slip them into a sandwich bag once they're cooled off. Then when I'm reading, I munch to my heart's delight with a cold bottle of Sprite next to me. And my dog Hayley, because she's a foodie too and wouldn't pass up a possible food opportunity. 

Photo credit: Svadilfari via Visual Hunt /CC BY-ND
Most times, I read in bed fore I go to sleep, but when I read in the living room, I like to drink either a Coke, or Kirkland (Costco) diet green tea or Nestle Splash (orange-flavored water). As for snacking; it can be peanuts, a sandwich (if lunchtime), chips, or chocolate candy. Most times, though, I don't snack, just the drink.

Photo credit: HamrickCE via VisualHunt /CC BY-NC-ND
I typically don't eat after dinner. I need to stay in shape, 'cause zombie attack? You never know. On weekends, I do sip a cocktail (or three) while reading. My drink of choice is Canadian whisky on the rocks (all the rocks) with a splash of Diet Coke. And, hey, if zombies attack some weekend, I'll be better fortified for a fight. 

hoto credit: Grace Courbis
via Visual Hunt /CC BY
I don't really eat and read. I tend to binge right before I sit down to read. Frozen chocolate is a favorite. Matter of fact, just about all chocolate/cookie/cake/brownie taste better when frozen. If I don't have anything in the freezer, I will eat a bowl of cereal before I read. My all time favorite is Honey Smacks (Sugar Smacks to us older folk). I could eat that three times a day... 

So....what do you like to snack on while reading?

Friday, May 26, 2017

FlockTalk: Trials of a Camping Book Reviewer

Recently my husband and I bought a travel trailer to act as a residence near our adult children (with our grandchildren) who normally live about 4 hours away from us. Now they are only 30 and 40 minutes away. We spent a couple years contemplating moving entirely but WOW what an undertaking to dispose of a house you have lived in for 30 plus years! So we decided to be campers!

Now, mind you, we we loved having 5 acres, horses, a multitude of animals, barns, bonfires, etc. but never, never did we take our kids camping with limited comforts. So we still think it's just fine to go from a 4000 sq. ft. home to a 340 sq. ft. travel trailer! After all, I am hooked on "Tiny Houses" on the FYI channel.

We found a campground that allowed us to leave our camper all year. "GREAT," we said. It even has free Wi-Fi and water. The price was fantastic. I'm thinking to myself..."Holy cow, I will be able to read so much more with all the time I save not having my house to keep up with." Silly me!

I find myself in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by cows, cornfields, woods and a small lake. Pretty, for sure. But I also find that no one wants to put in reliable internet or phone service. Timed out applications, "no service" available notifications and even the Millersburg General Store has a big sign saying if we want to pay with debit or credit cards to have a seat because it may take a while to get through! Are there really still places like that around?! How am I to survive in the wild?!

Try cooking most of your meals on the grill and showering in a 1'X4" tub with only a 6 gallon hot water tank. ONE!, yes I said only 1', TV that might pick up a couple channels on the digital antenna built into our trailer. A closet the size of a wardrobe and a bed that you have to walk around sideways. Hmmm...maybe I didn't think this through, entirely.

The biggest problem is getting email and phone service. I even went so far as to get a "hot spot" for my phone but it's "not so hot" when there still isn't cell phone service readily available. Hmmm...that would be a waste of 40 dollars/month! SOOO, I read in between batting flies and mosquitoes. I type up reviews and trek a few miles to upload. Even that is sometimes slow, depending on how many people are huddled around the tables trying to do the same thing I am. I have met many people that way!

Now, I know I sound like a spoiled brat but when did we become so dependent on current technology that we forgot how to survive without it constantly at our fingertips? We are all spoiled and sometimes need to be reminded that there is a whole world of wonder, even outside our books. I wake to the sounds of birds chirping, the quiet of the sun rising over the lake and the wildlife scouring our area for food. I could get more reading done but have decided I enjoy sitting outside or lying in the hammock watching the world go by one day at a time.

I am slowly realizing that life passes way too quickly and we need to condition ourselves to enjoy the small things. The phrase "stop and smell the roses" has new meaning for me. I never thought I would get to this age and wish I would have been able to see what was always right in front of my eyes. I use books to escape (and always will) but I also now "escape" into some quiet bits of nature that seem to have helped replenish my soul. I highly recommend it!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Book Review: Demon Kin (Soul Tracker Book 2) T.G. Ayer

Demon Kin (Soul Tracker Book 2)
T.G. Ayer
January 17, 2017
308 pages
When a business tycoon hires Mel Morgan to find his missing daughter, the SoulTracker is thrown headlong into twists and turns of unexpected deaths and unusual killers. But to find the girl in time to save her, she has to first understand the killer. Demonic or human killers? Mel can't decide which will be worse.

Things get a little complicated when she has to help find both a Panther Alpha's mother, and a reluctant Djinn Queen. Add to the mix an evil spirit plus her mentor Samuel sending her terrifying messages in the Ether. Save him, or else.

It's just all in a days work for a SoulTracker.

Soul Tracker Mel Morgan can find almost anyone almost anywhere. Something of an anomaly in the paranormal world, Mel can use the DNA material of a lost person to track their ‘threads’ and pinpoint their location, be it on the earthly plane or some other dimension. Mel’s gifts of astral projection and ‘jumping’ allow her to rescue people from peril and return them to safety. Tracking has become a career for Mel and her roommate assistants and she’s the best in the biz. Much to the puzzlement of Detective Fulbright, Mel typically succeeds where local law enforcement has failed. So when local police fail to produce meaningful leads on a local teen, Mel is hired by the teen’s tycoon father to find answers.

I quite like this series and its cast of characters. The storytelling is colourful and imaginative. I like how Ayer uses a few conventions of horror in this particular installment. There were a couple moments I found myself actually shuddering. I enjoy the more thrilling aspects of the story and the fast-paced action. Ayer also tosses in a little romance, though the relationship between Mel and Saleem, a djinn turned police detective, has yet to be fully realized.

My major criticism of this book is a plot that can be best described as frantic. There are no fewer than three storylines unfolding in this book in addition to the Mel’s current case. In defence of Ayer, this book is a spinoff to a larger series that I have not read. As such, I was confused by the shifter kidnapping subplot. Additionally, Saleem’s family troubles continue to slowly develop in the background. Add to this Mel’s own failing health, and abject instance to soldier on at all costs, the mysterious disappearances of her sister Ari and mentor Samuel, and the pace is almost too much. I really liked the main storyline. It’s creative, eerie, and horrific. It definitely had enough substance to carry the book without some of the extras. Simplification would have improved this book.

Review: Blood Magic (DarkWorld: Soul Tracker #1) 

Three sheep

Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
Tee is the author of over 25 Contemporary Fantasy, Thriller & Paranormal novels

Tee's Valkyrie Series is a Norse Mythology based Young Adult Contemporary Fantasy

Her Hand of Kali Series is a diverse YA Contemporary Fantasy using Indian Mythology as a setting

Tee's DarkWorld contains two current series:
* The SkinWalker Series, a NA Shifter & Magic Urban Fantasy with a black panther, reluctant alpha tracker who will keep you on your toes.
* The SoulTracker Series, a NA Contemporary Fantasy with a teleporting, astral-projecting kick-ass main character.
Upcoming in the world are:
* The MetalSinger (Tara), * The DeathTalker (Nerina) & * The Stolen Queen of Dracys

Tee also has an Angels & Demons Urban Fantasy series, the Chronicles of the Irin, and if you like strong female leads with wings, and a dreadlocked albino demon side-kick, Evie's story is for you.

Tee also writes Romantic Suspense and Psychological Horror as Toni Vallan. Click on Thrillers on Tee's website to find out more.

And because Tee hardly ever sleeps and loves making stuff up, look out for more books, coming soon.