Tag Archives: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Radio Interview!

For our lovers of paranormal romance, you’ve gotta check this out…

Later today, I’ll be chatting with awesome author team and radio hosts of the Haunted Nights Live! show, Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross. This radio show is quite popular, and the Thorne & Cross team has seen some very famous authors on there. Check out the list of past guests here.

Check us out at 8PM EST to get some sneak peeks of two books I have coming out later this year, a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy, Blood Instincts, book two of the Blood at First Sight Series, and Awakening, a paranormal romantic thriller collection.

Plus, for those who have a fascination with the supernatural, we’ll be talking about that too. 😉

So stop by tonight! You can call in with questions or sit back and listen in. I’m not sure if the interview will be posted right away on the site, but you should be able to hear it as it airs.

Here is the official link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/authorsontheairradio2/2017/04/07/marie-lavender-joins-thorne-cross-haunted-nights-live

Follow the Haunted Nights Live! duo on their Facebook page here, or check out their Twitter handle and blog.

As always, thanks so much for being great readers on the I Love Romance Blog! ♥♥♥

Happy reading, and have a wonderful day! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, coming soon, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Radio, Readers, Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham

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Genre: Paranormal Romantic Mystery

Blurb: When Sarah McKinley is finally able to buy and restore the historic Florida mansion that she has always loved, she dismisses the horror stories of past residents vanishing and a long-dead housekeeper who practiced black magic. Then, in the midst of renovations, she makes a grim discovery. Hidden within the walls of Sarah’s dream house are the remains of dozens of bodies—some dating back over a century.

The door to the past is blown wide open when Caleb Anderson, a private investigator, shows up at the mansion. He believes several current missing-persons cases are linked to the house and its dark past. Working together to find the connection and stop a contemporary killer, Sarah and Caleb are compelled to research the history of the haunted house, growing closer to each other even as the solution to the murders eludes them.

But there is one who knows the truth…a spirit who follows every move they make. Soon Caleb begins to fear that if he can’t stay a step ahead, he could lose Sarah to a killer with an ability to transcend time in a quest for blood and sacrifice.

A few choice lines from the book:

“I feel like such an idiot for bursting in on you this morning, and at least this explains why I was so…confused.”

She was palpably sincere. Her eyes were silver in the moonlight, and he could smell the faint scent of her perfume. Somewhere in his core, he felt a stirring and a warmth. He’d wanted to touch her from the minute he’d seen her, but he’d never been more tempted than he was at that moment.

He needed to walk her home, see that she was safe.

He needed to keep his hands off her.

“Actually, you barging in that way was rather titillating,” he said, unable to prevent a smile.

She laughed, her cheeks turning a becoming shade of rose, but she didn’t look away. “Look, what I’m trying to explain to you is that I’m not a lunatic and I don’t usually go banging on a men’s doors and yelling at them. I guess I did have a dream, but if you look at this, you can see why I thought what I did. I mean…this could be a picture of you.”

“Point taken,” he assured her, then shook his head sadly.

“What?”

“I’m afraid this means you’re not going to barge in on me again.”

“I upset Bertie. I think I’d better behave from now on,” she said, turning away. “I need to explain things to her, and apologize.”

“Show her the picture. She’ll understand,” he said.

She smiled and started walking. He stayed by her side, shoving his hands in his pockets to keep himself from reaching for her, determined not to act like a jackass and ruin this tenuous connection between them. The night was warm, but with a sea breeze that stirred her hair as they walked and carried a tantalizing whiff of her perfume. He found himself noticing everything about her. The silky sheen of her hair and the way it swayed on her shoulders as she walked.

The way she walked.

The way she was built.

Her skin was smooth, and she was wearing a sleeveless knit dress that revealed a lot of that skin, and molded her curves so tightly that he had to swallow. Hard.

She had a great mouth, generous and well-defined. Beautiful lips. Perfect nose. He remembered how it had felt to have her underneath him that morning, the feel of her flesh against his.

He almost tripped over a cobblestone as they moved down Avila, ready to make the right that would lead them to St. George.

“Are you all right?” she asked.

“Yes, just clumsy,” he assured her.

“It was strange that day, when I saw you just staring at the house,” she said.

“It’s a beautiful old house,” he said.

“But it seemed as if you were drawn to it.”

I’m drawn to its owner.

“I like historic architecture,” he said lamely. They had reached her house, and stood staring up at it. The mansion had been magnificently constructed. That night, however, he felt as if the darkened windows were eyes, staring back at them. It was if something brooding was living inside the house. He gave himself a mental shake; he wasn’t prone to whimsy or flights of fantasy. It was a house.

A house and nothing more. But history happened in houses. Events occurred. The good, the bad and the very ugly.

Adam said there were two kinds of hauntings. Residual, the events of the past happening over and over again. And active, or intelligent, when spirits remained behind, chained by the trauma of their deaths. They could even learn to move objects and travel from place to place, which was why Abe Lincoln could be seen both striding the halls of the White House, or sitting in the seat where he’d been shot at Ford’s Theatre.

He couldn’t communicate with ghosts himself, but he worked with a number of intelligent and completely sane people who did speak with those long gone.

But this house…

It was as if the house itself wanted to tell him something.

He was suddenly anxious to get back inside.

But not tonight.

“Caleb?” Sarah said softly, studying him.

He turned to her. Her eyes were so wide and concerned.

Silver and beautiful.

“Let’s get you safely inside, okay?” he suggested.

And maybe, just maybe, I can stay awhile, he thought.

My Score:

Take two people brought together by the disappearances of several women, some odd historical events related to Sarah’s house and another murder, throw in some ghosts and a passion that can’t denied…and you have the recipe for a pretty riveting novel. Oh, yeah, and throw in some old magic? Yeah, that’s certainly the kind of tale I can get into.

The romance between Caleb, an investigator new to town, and Sarah, the new owner of a historic property where some old remains are found, develops naturally instead of immediately. For the rest, you’ll just have to read it to find out what happens next.

I give this one four hearts!

four hearts

Oh, just a quick note…this is part of the Harrison Investigation Series, comprised of eight novels.

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Sisters of the Night by Linda Lee Williams

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Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

Emaline Hoffbrau is a beautiful, confident vampire. After losing the vampire man she loved, she doubts that her soul mate exists. When the charming Garrett Thompson comes along, he turns her world upside-down. Can Garrett accept what Emaline is? Or will he break her heart in a different way?

Juliana Slater is a gorgeous, manipulative vampire. She’s married to Chad Browning, a “regular man.” Although Chad loves Juliana, he’s not sure he wants to be her husband anymore. Will a tragedy decide their fate? Or can the two of them forgive each other and learn to trust again?

Gretchen Eberhardt is living with Bertram Fulbright, a sexy vampire and “ladies’ man.” To complicate matters, he’s slept with her best fang friends. Can a vampire couple find lasting love together? Or will Bert abandon Gretchen for another woman one day?

A few choice lines from the book:

Best fang friends…

When Emaline returned to their table, Juliana grabbed her arm.  “Guess who I just saw?”

“Garrett,” she said as she sat down.  “I have no idea what he’s doing here, Hilliard.  I told him I never wanted to see him again.”

“He must want to see you, Emaline.”

“He doesn’t have the balls to come over, not with all of us sitting at this table.”

Juliana arched a brow.  “Really?  Well, if I’m not mistaken, that’s him heading our way right now.”

Emaline looked, and sure enough, it was Garrett…long, lean, and just as handsome as ever.  Her heart skipped several beats.  As if right on cue, Hilliard put his arm around her.

“Happy Saint Patrick’s Day,” Garrett said, grinning like a leprechaun.  His gaze drifted from Emaline to the cake.  “Are you getting married, Gretchen?”

Everyone was smiling at him, except Hilliard and Emaline.

Gretchen nodded.  “To this guy right here.”

“Hey, congratulations.”

Bert shook the hand he extended.  He glanced around the table.  “It’s nice to see you again, Juliana.  Sorry, I don’t know the rest of you…”

Emaline’s rudeness forced Juliana to introduce Garrett to everyone else.  His hazel eyes twinkled with alcohol and merriment as he watched her.

“Just wanted to say hi, Em.  Now, you don’t have to be afraid you’ll run into me.”

“Garrett, would you please just leave?” she said.

“Yeah, sure.  Have fun.”  His smile faded as he walked away.

Juliana stared at her.  “God, Emaline.  You didn’t have to be so mean to him.”

“Don’t you understand?  He views us as curiosities.”

Bert shrugged a shoulder.  “We are curiosities.”

“I don’t care.  I still think he had a lot of nerve coming over here when he can see I’m with someone else.”

Amused, Hilliard said, “I guess you shouldn’t have slept with him, then…or bitten him.”

Emaline flushed.  “I told you that in confidence, Doctor.”

All the women laughed, Carly the loudest.  “My, you are a busy girl, Emaline,” she teased.  “Seriously, it took a lot of courage for Garrett to come over here.  Hilliard doesn’t give a damn, do you, Hilly?”

“I only give a damn if he’s harassing her.  If not, then it’s Emaline’s call.”

“What is it you don’t like about him, honey?” Sonya asked.

“Maybe he’s no good in bed.  Most men aren’t,” Anke said, and she and Elsa snickered and nudged each other.  Bert chuckled, shaking his head.

Gretchen observed her.  “You should apologize to Garrett.  You hurt his feelings.”

Juliana nodded.  “Yes, you should.  Not that I recommend taking up with a regular man.  Right now, I could drain Chad dry and leave his lifeless body in a heap somewhere.”

Hilliard filled Juliana’s and his wine goblets.  “You never know, Emaline.  Garrett could be your heart’s true desire.”

“Oh, for God’s sake.  Now you sound like my poor, misguided mother.”

“Gretchen’s mother is misguided.  Yours is sage and sweet-tempered,” Bert said.

Emaline frowned, sure that everyone and everything was against her.  She started to pass around plates.  “Juliana, cut the cake.  Then maybe Bert will cut the crap.”

That brought a round of laughter.  Gretchen gazed at her fiancé, her dark eyes glittering almost as brightly as her three-carat diamond.

A sick knot formed in the pit of Emaline’s stomach.

My Score:

The author, Linda, is a close friend of mine, and I have to say I have been dying to read Sisters of the Night ever since I read the first book in the Blood & Company Series, Old Town Nights! I absolutely loved it and when there were other sequels, I knew I’d love them too!

Now, though I haven’t yet read Sisters, I do have it on my Kindle. I’ve just been so swamped with work. I do plan to read it as soon as I can.

I give this book five hearts, because who can resist three paranormal romance tales in one book? Or a book about vampires? Not me! 🙂

five hearts

And readers, don’t forget to check out the whole series!

Blood & Company Series

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Playing with Fire by Devika Fernando

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Playing with Fire by Devika Fernando

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Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

WHAT READERS SAY

5 stars – “Very well written with characters readers will love. A fantasy adventure on elemental powers, with plenty of romance along the way. I highly recommend this book.” (LadyDestinyRose, Book Blogger)

5 stars – “Super-hot mix of Fire & Ice. This is Paranormal Romance at its best! This book has everything you can want and more.” (Azia, Reader)

5 stars – “The true power of this book is the emotional depth of each character, the interactions and especially the dialogue. I can’t wait for the next one!” (Booklover Reviews)

5 stars – “One of those books you just can’t put down; the author has a way with words that draws you into the main character’s world and holds you till the very end!” (Paula, Reader)

5 stars – “It was like a raging inferno of a roller coaster. As I read through the book I kept guessing.” (Jason T., Author)

BOOK DESCRIPTION

If you’re playing with fire, prepare to get burned – or to fall in love.

Sparks fly when Felicia and Joshua meet. Discovering her inner fire and unleashing unimaginable powers makes her realize that all her life, she has been hiding her true self. When buildings burn and people are in danger, the tempting game of playing with fire becomes serious. Will their love and desperate struggle for control save her life, or will the fire magic turn itself against its mistress?

FIRE Trilogy, Book 2: Dancing with Fire
FIRE Trilogy, Book 3: Living with Fire

A few choice lines from the book:

Joshua took a last step closer until there wasn’t more than an inch or two of space between them and she could feel her heat and his coldness warring with each other, testing the boundaries for a chance to leap and attack – or to leap and dance.
When he leaned his face down, Felicia’s breath hitched and her pulse started racing. Inside her belly, the flames shot higher and higher, wanting the kiss that was surely about to happen.
“Don’t,” she whispered despite the almost aching desire to feel that connection again.
Stopping a hair’s breadth before her face, he whispered back, “Why?”

His cool breath that smelled as minty and wintry as the whole man brushed over her trembling lips.
Struggling to put her conflicting feelings into words, she blurted out, “You’ll get burned.”
That purely masculine, dangerous grin tugged at his lips which were so enticingly close that she could almost taste them.
“What if I enjoy playing with fire?” he asked, voice deep and low and full of promise.

My Score:

If that hot teaser doesn’t say it, I don’t know what will.

Devika Fernando is an author pal of mine, and as soon as she released a paranormal romance, I knew I had to have it! No, I haven’t read the book yet, but is on my Amazon Wishlist and my Goodreads TBR shelf!

This one sounds quite intriguing. Who doesn’t like a little magic with their romance? I give it four hearts, because I can’t wait to read it!

four hearts

Oh, and don’t forget to pick up the whole series! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

As you know, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging for the month of April.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

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Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb: 

#1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward’s thrilling new novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them?

A few choice lines from the book:

“What do you say?” her healer murmured.

“I think you came at the perfect time. That’s what I say.”

She shifted in his arms and stared up at him. As she sat in his lap, she wished she could feel more of him. All of him. But from the waist down there was only a nonspecific warmth, one that was better than the chill that had persisted since the operation, yes…but there was so much more to be had.

“Healer…” she whispered, her eyes going to his mouth.

His lids lowered and he seemed to stop breathing. “Yeah…?”

“May I…” She licked her lips. “May I kiss you?”

He seemed to win, as if in pain, but that scent he carried roared, so she knew that he wanted what she did.

“Jesus…Christ,” he bit out.

“Your body wants this,” she said, bringing her hand up to the soft hair at the nape of his neck.

“And that’s the problem.” At her look of confusion, he leveled a hot stare right at her breasts. “It wants a hell of a lot more than just a kiss.”

Suddenly, there was a shift inside her body, one so subtle it was hard to pin down. But she felt something different throughout her torso and all her limbs. A tingling? She was too wrapped up in the sexual energy between them to worry about defining it.

Snaking another arm around his neck, she said, “What else does it want.”

Her healer groaned deep in his throat, and the sound gave her the same shot of power as when she’d had a weapon in her hand. To feel that again. It was like a drug.

“Tell me, healer,” she demanded. “What else does it want?”

His mahogany eyes were on fire as they locked on her own. “Everything. It wants every square inch of you – outside…and on the inside. To the point where I’m not sure you’re ready for how much I’m after.”

“I decide,” she countered, a strange, pounding need taking root in her gut. “I decide what I can and cannot handle, yes?”

His half smile was all evil. In a good way. “Yes, ma’am.”

As a low, rhythmic sound filled the air, she was surprised to realize it was her. Purring. “Do I have to ask again, healer?”

There was a pause. And then he slowly shook his head back and forth. “Nope. I’ll give you…exactly what you want.”

My Score:

This book is part of the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series. I love J.R. Ward books! I have read all of this series, except for the latest book, The Beast, which released on April 5th.

After so many novels centered around the ‘Brothers’, the feminist in me finds it a bit refreshing to see a kick-ass heroine pop up in Lover Unleashed. Only one other character in the series so far could have fit that description, and that was Xhex, also a warrior/assassin.

Payne has been tucked away in a prison of her mother’s making for a long time. Through unusual circumstances, she gets the chance to experience the real world. She meets Manny because she is injured and he’s her physician.

As Payne heals, she learns all about this new world, regains her strength and awakens to a desire she’s never known. We also get the human/vampire relationship complications. This is a really great book, the perfect companion to the series, and J.R. Ward lets us delve a little deeper into the mind of Vishous, Payne’s brother, in the process. I give this one five hearts!

five hearts

And don’t forget to check out the rest of the novels in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, or the recent spin-off series, Black Dagger Legacy! 🙂

Black Dagger Brotherhood -J.R. Ward

 

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance

A to Z Challenge: Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

As aforementioned in my last A to Z post, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

For these posts, I’ll be giving an I Love Romance Blog score, not an official review, for books currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what books inspires us as authors) or ones that are on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And for fun, I’ll give  a heart rating! ♥

This is my scoring system:

I hope these A to Z Challenge suggestions will help you find a new favorite author, or further cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

Let’s jump into our next book, shall we?

Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts

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Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense

Blurb:

In the town of Hawkins Hollow, it’s called The Seven. Every seven years, on the seventh day of the seventh month, strange things happen. It began when three young boys-Caleb, Fox, and Gage-went on a camping trip to The Pagan Stone. And twenty-one years later, it will end in a showdown between evil and the boys who have become men-and the women who love them.

A few choice lines from the book:

Cal saw her come in while he cut into his short stack at the counter. She had on those high, sharp-heeled boots, faded jeans, and a watch cap, bright as  a cardinal, pulled over her hair.

She’d wound on a scarf that made him think of Joseph’s coat of many colors, which added a jauntiness with her coat opened. Under it was a sweater the color of ripe blueberries.

There was something about her, he mused, that would have been bright and eye-catching even in mud brown.

He watched her eyes track around the diner area, and decided she was weighing where to sit, whom to approach. Already working, he concluded. Maybe she always was. He was damn sure, even on short acquaintance, that her mind was always working.

She spotted him. She aimed that sunbeam smile of hers, started over. He felt a little like the kid in the pickup game of ball, who got plucked from all the others waving their arms and shouting: Me! Me! Pick me!

“Morning, Caleb.”

“Morning, Quinn. Buy you breakfast?”

“Absolutely.” She leaned over his plate, took a long, dramatic sniff of his butter-and-syrup-loaded pancakes. “I bet those are fabulous.”

“Best in town.” He stabbed a thick bite with his fork, held it out. “Want a sample?”

“I can never stop at a taste. It’s a sickness.” She slid onto the stool, swiveled around to beam at the waitress as she unwound her scarf. “Morning. I’d love some coffee, and do you have any granola-type substance that could possible be topped with any sort of fruit?”

“Well, we got Special K, and I could slice you up some bananas with it.”

“Perfect.” She reached over the counter. “I’m Quinn.”

“The writer from up in PA.” The waitress nodded, took Quinn’s hand in a firm grip. “Meg Stanley. You watch this one here, Quinn,” Meg said with a poke at Cal. “Some of those quiet types are sneaky.”

“Some of us mouthy types are fast.”

My Score:

This book is on my personal shelf, along with the other two novels in the Sign of Seven Trilogy.

sequels-Sign of Seven

Nora Roberts is one of my favorite authors, and I have rarely found a book by her that I don’t like.

The sign of Seven Trilogy is a ‘good versus evil’ series, if I’m to sum it up so succinctly. I love the brotherly bond between the three childhood friends, and, of course, the romance. Nora is, I have to say, practically the queen of developing a romance amid a dark, action-filled moment. And this series is full of them. You know how much I love paranormal! 😉

Book one is, for the most part, about Caleb (Cal) and Quinn, two people who somehow make falling in love look flawless. Despite all the craziness going on around them too. This is about a group of people who find out their destinies are entwined in ways they never imagined.

I recommend the whole series, and Gage, the hero of the final book, is my favorite because he is the least likely ‘brother’ to settle down.

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Nora Roberts nails it every time! I give this one five hearts, hands down! 🙂

five hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A to Z Challenge: Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

Shocker! For the month of April, I’m putting myself to the A to Z Challenge for blogging.

A2Z-BADGE_[2016]

And to stay with our romance theme, I thought I’d do a book a day. By that, I don’t mean that I’m doing official book reviews on the blog, by any means. What I will do, however, is offer an overview of either a book currently on my shelf at home (I know readers must wonder what inspires us as authors) or one that is on my TBR list (what I want to read so bad I can’t stand it!). For each book, I will give the blurb, a few choice lines from the text, then why I liked the book or why I’d want to read it. And why not give a score as well, huh?

This will be my scoring system:

Though I put all scores for the sake of common sense, I probably won’t be giving anything below three hearts. I hope these suggestions will help you find a new favorite romance author, or cement your love for one, if that’s the case.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into our first book, all right?

Awakening the Fire by Ally Shields

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Genre: Paranormal Romance

Blurb:

Guardian Witch Book One

Arianna Calin has sworn to keep the peace in Riverdale. Most of the Otherworlders prefer to haunt the Olde Town district—partying at vampire strip clubs, dining in elegant supper clubs, and inhabiting the cliffside caverns along the Mississippi. Being a cop is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it, and Ari’s got her gun, a good sharp knife, and a few handy charms against things that go bump in the streets. She’s also a fire witch—a pedigree that comes in handy, since her partner’s only human.

But when a virtual reality drug hits the streets, people (and non-people) start to die, and an elusive pack of werewolves threatens the status quo. Ari and Ryan are drawn into a web of murder and evil that will lead sworn enemies to a confrontation, and while the city simmers around them, only Ari can prevent an all-out supernatural war…

A few choice lines from the book:

The vampire’s coal-black eyes found her and silken threads of magic wrapped her in a soft web. The room faded away. She floated as in a dream, warm and safe. A place to linger forever. Her witch magic began to sing in concert with his, and Ari called it back to her. The effort brought her out of his web with a jolt.

Damn, how strong was he? She wrapped her magical aura around her. As long as she kept it in place, his magic was held at bay. Then, mercifully, the song was over. Andreas bowed to a wildly applauding audience and left the stage.

“Good evening.” Startled, she stared at him.

“Uh, hello.” How did he move so fast? He produced a polite smile.

“If you will come this way.” He waved a hand toward a hallway on the left.

Ari hesitated. A meeting in private? She hadn’t anticipated that.

His brows rose. “We have twenty minutes.”

Swallowing her doubts, Ari preceded him down the hall. It was better this way, she told herself. Fewer interruptions. At least she knew her time parameters. He ushered her past four closed doors, not stopping until they reached an exit door at the end. He touched a security panel, the door opened, and they stepped into a paved lane leading to the rear parking lot. Dense trees lined the opposite side of the lane. Total privacy.

The night was pleasantly cool. The crisp cleanness of fall filled the air. Ari hung back and watched her companion as he stopped in the middle of the lane. Andreas arched his shoulders and threw back his head, breathing deeply. For a moment all Ari could think about was how sexy he looked.

“I hope you don’t mind talking out here. It has been a long evening, and I needed the fresh air.”

“Not at all. It’s nice.” She looked up at the stars, pinpoints in an uncluttered sky, to keep from looking at him. “What was that last song you sang?”

“An Italian love song. Did you enjoy it?”

“Amazing.”

He turned to look at her. “It was, or I was?” His voice invited a broader interpretation.

She smiled. “Both,” she said, not bothering to hedge. “But who’s fishing for compliments now?”

“Touché.” His familiar laugh came then, rich and intimate, strangely companionable.

My Score:

I haven’t read this book yet, though I plan to. I added this one to my Amazon Wishlist long ago and anytime I see a post on Twitter about it, I just keep on yearning to pick it up. SO want to read! 🙂

I want to read the entire seven-book series.

Guardian Witch Series

What’s not to love about witches, vampires and shifters? I love all of them. Oh, yeah, and when magic kicks butt, sign me up. 😉

To be fair, let’s go with four hearts for this one, because I can’t wait to read it!

four hearts

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Filed under Authors, Blogging, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Reviews, Romance, Writing

A Character Interview with Julie from JULIE’S ASCENT plus a conversation with author Emily Walker!

Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Eryn Black’s character on November 24th and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Emily Walker, the author of Julie’s Ascent, on my author journey and I asked her if she’d let me borrow one of her main characters, Julie, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Emily in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Julie!

Julies

Marie Lavender:  Hello, Julie.  Please have a seat.

Character Julie: Thank you for having me here.

Marie:  Of course!

We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?

Julie: Okay.

Marie:  What is your occupation?  Are you any good at it?  Do you like it?

Julie:  My occupation, if you can call it that, is Succubus. I guess I should explain. I know a lot of people think we feed from sex with men and that we survive and kill that way. It’s not what I do. My task is to send the bad people of the world where they belong. They pass through me and go directly to Hell where their punishment awaits them.

Marie:  Oh…interesting!

So, tell us. What is your family like?

Julie:  It’s hard to remember them since I went to Hell and then came back to Earth. We’re kind of supposed to let it go, the memories. I loved my parents, though, and when I got lost in another dimension, the scariest thing my mind conjured was my parents being tortured. I think about them a lot, even if I can’t remember everything.

Marie:  Oh, so sorry to hear that. 😦

Let’s try something else, shall we?

What did your childhood home look like?

Julie:  I can’t remember it. I can’t remember being anywhere except the dorms and the park. It’s sad, but some of my memories just didn’t return.

Marie:  All right.

Do you have any hobbies?  What do you enjoy doing?

Julie:  I like spending time with my mentor Asa, and staring at him. That’s not a hobby really. I enjoy reading some. At first I couldn’t find joy in anything, but reading these days helps pass the time.

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Marie:  Can’t blame you there! Reading is awesome! 😉

So…what is your greatest dream, Julie?

Julie:  To send people to Heaven. I can’t; it’s not what I do. I just think it would be nice to send someone to a good place for once. I don’t even know what it’s like.

Marie:  I see.

What kind of person do you wish you could be?  What is stopping you?

Julie:  I truly wish I could be alive again, tell everyone I care about that I do and soak in every moment so the memories would be too strong to erase. I am dead, so that’s stopping me. (Laughs.) I’m truly not being funny, it’s the truth. It just still makes me laugh uncomfortably to admit that I’m dead.

Marie:  It is unfortunate. I can’t even imagine it…:(

All right, so I’m going to throw another random question at you now. 

Who was your first love?

Julie:  I fell in love with the wrong kind of guy for my first time. I don’t really want to talk about it.

Julie-pre

Julie in her old life…

Marie:  Okay, I respect that. I think most of us are guilty of that kind of mistake.

So, what’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Julie?

Julie:  Drowning was terrible. Being lost in some scary dimensions and not thinking I would ever get out was also terrible. I think they are tied.

Marie:  Again, I’m so sorry that happened to you. 😦

Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?

[Julie nods.]

What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?

Julie:  I don’t remember my dreams and aspirations so I’m just going to guess. When I was in college, I think I was majoring in Science – Biology, if I am not crazy. When I was majoring in Biology, I wanted to be a scientist, like a legit breaking discovery scientist. I gave that major up when I met him so I didn’t achieve that. Then when I changed majors to something else, I can’t remember what, I died.

Marie:  All right.

So, tell us…who is your role model, Julie?

Julie:  Asa, my mentor, is my role model. He’s also supposed to be teaching me, but the dude has been through a lot, and he’s been in Hell a long time. He’s kept a sense of humor; that takes something special. At least I think so.

Marie:  I agree.

Okay, let’s try something else. Well, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question. 

Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?

Julie:  Not in this lifetime. Unless you count my teachers. Since I have to pretend to be a college student and Asa makes me actually go to classes, I dislike pretty much all of my teachers.

Marie:  All right.

So, what is your deepest desire?

Julie:  I think my deepest desire is to find peace. It’s hard putting horrible people through me and seeing what they did, how they did it. The world is full of some bad people.

Marie:  That’s true.

Let’s try a different question.

What is your greatest fear, Julie?

Julie:  Disappearing.

Marie: I  see.

Well, we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Julie. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂

(Waves goodbye to her guest.)

Marie:  Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective.  We have author Emily Walker on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Hello, Emily!

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Author Emily Walker:  Hello! Thank you for having me!

Marie:  My pleasure!

We just got to talk to the heroine of your story, Julie. Quite an interesting character.  Can you tell us a little about her?

Emily:  Julie dies in the beginning of the story, so that’s no spoiler she was handing out there. She goes to Hell and has to deal with the fact that even though she doesn’t remember it, she did something on Earth while she was alive that put her in the situation.

All right.

So…what are your character’s greatest strengths?

Emily:  Julie’s strengths are her drive; she goes into this job pretty much head first and doesn’t know what’s going to happen to her. She accepts it, so she’s driven to find out what happened to her and she thinks doing the job is the way to do it.

Marie:  Guess I can’t blame her there!  I’d want to know too.

Now, let’s take the opposition on that. What, do you feel, are Julie’s greatest weaknesses?

Emily:  Slowly remembering things that don’t make sense are really hard on her and so is the fact that she has to control her power. If she doesn’t control it, she can kill everyone around them just sucking in their life essence. It’s like a drug.

Marie:  I see.

So, let’s try something else.

What are some of her favorite foods?

Emily:  Asa cooks a mean breakfast with bacon and all the fixings. Since they are in a married dorm, pretending to be married, he makes her food, although she doesn’t have to eat.

Marie:  Okay.

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Emily:  She was pretty; she was just insecure. In her Succubus form, she’s as close to perfect as it gets, but she doesn’t realize when she was alive she was just as appealing.

Marie:  I think a lot of women can relate to that…

So, will readers like or dislike this character, and why?

Emily:  I think they will like her. She’s dead and succubae, but she has some real insecurities, a crush on Asa, and fears. She’s realistic about what happened to her. Once it starts coming back, you have to root for her.

Marie:  Great!

So, now that we have a real taste of Julie, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.

What first gave you the idea for Julie’s Ascent?

Emily: Originally the name of the story was The Reluctant Succubus, which I still like. It’s the name of the series and the prequel to Julie’s Ascent, where we explore some characters a bit more before Julie died. Julie’s Ascent has a couple of meanings; she rises to the challenge of finding out who she is, and she rises from Hell to Earth to do her job.

Marie:  Works for me! 🙂

Let’s try something else.

What is your writing style like, Emily? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Emily:  A little of both. I pantsed Julie’s Ascent, but I’ve become a lot more fond of plotting.

Marie:  All right.

Now, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing Julie’s Ascent or publishing it?  What would you do differently the next time?

Emily:  Writing Julie’s Ascent was hard sometimes; it was dark. It gets dark and while it’s a paranormal romance, there are some scenes that kind of make you cringe a bit. Those are hard for me sometimes to write when I sit back and think man, where’d that come from. Also my mom was like, “Where do these thoughts come from?” I think she was a bit disturbed, but I balanced it out with humor, angst, and romance so I think it all comes together nicely. I don’t think I would do anything differently. I learn every day as a writer, and this one has been written for a while now so thinking things through and just going with my gut, a lot of the same the whole time I’ve been writing.

Marie:  Isn’t it interesting how the muse works?  🙂

Emily: Yes. Thank you so much for having me and Julie today! It was a lot of fun.

Marie:  Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog!  And how apropos is that, considering what a great story Julie’s Ascent appears to be.

Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this awesome book by Emily Walker, a very talented author! 🙂

Julie's Ascent(1)

Here is the blurb for Julie’s Ascent:

When Julie Monroe ends up in Hell, she has no idea why she’s there.

What she’s sure of is: she’s dead, she’s transparent, and she’s been given a second chance.

Kind of.

Given the unique opportunity to return to Earth as a Succubus, she jumps at the chance to get out of Hell. Problem is, she isn’t too keen on sucking souls for the Underworld. To make things even more complicated, she has a crush on her mentor, Asa. He’s been in the business of the Succubae for hundreds of years, and Julie can’t help feeling drawn to him.

Convinced she can escape, Julie tries to run and hide from the forces of hell. But, as she discovers different dimensions of Hell on Earth, she begins to realize that maybe, just maybe, there isn’t a way to escape her fate…

 

Emily is also offering us a great excerpt from the book!

He doesn’t apologize. He just smiles an unnerving smirk and continues telling me about the world in which I would soon belong. I wonder if he is trying to anger me on purpose to see what I can do. Making me angry is not good for him, I don’t know how I know that, but I can feel the power at the end of my consciousness and it is a scary sensation.

“You will have to watch that temper, too, Julie. It will get you into trouble. Another thing you should know is it’s very easy for a succubus such as yourself to go over to the dark side.” He holds up his hand before I can ask him a question. “I know, you are already on the dark side, but you aren’t. You really have no idea how dark things can get, and I promise you the evil that will rape your soul is not worth the thrill you get from letting go.” His dark eyes hide a memory of some sort that he does not wish me to know.

Ooh…I definitely want to know what happens next! 😉

Purchase Links:

Universal Amazon link:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00ZPM8Q36

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/julies-ascent-emily-walker/1122231067

CreateSpace:  https://www.createspace.com/5561086

About Emily Walker

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Emily Walker loves creating worlds and stumbling around in them. She is constantly losing her chap-stick, and has an obsession with the color pink. Currently a resident of the mountains and loving the view she writes mostly paranormal fiction, horror and some romance. Her small family consists of her red bearded other half, a rat terrier named Rebel, and a cat called Mr. Creepy.

Emily’s Books:

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Julie's Ascent(1)

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And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Emily Walker, here are some of her author links:

Website:  http://authoremilywalker.com/

Blog:  http://www.selfpublishordie.com/author-emily-walker/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authoremilywalker

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/authorewalker

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Emily%20Walker/e/B0088EDLDS/

Google+:  https://plus.google.com/+EmilyWalkerauthor/posts

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/64304.Emily_Walker

Publisher:  http://www.beaucoupllcpublishing.com/emily-walker

Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Julie, the female main character of Julie’s Ascent, and Emily Walker, the brilliant author of the novel, for stopping by!  It was so much fun to have you here! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Books, Character Interview, Contemporary, Event, Fiction, Interview, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing

Random Teaser from Blood Instincts!

If you follow my work, then you know I published a paranormal romance/urban fantasy book called Second Nature in December of 2014. Well, the sequel is not done yet, but I randomly find myself working on book two of the Blood at First Sight Series. It is titled Blood Instincts. Here is a brief teaser to keep fans in the loop:

subbotina, 123RF Limited.

Again, the conviction that this “date” was a bad idea didn’t leave. It was too late to cancel, and what was more, he actually wanted to see her. She had a lovely face, somewhat exotic, with dark, shiny hair he wanted to touch. He’d bet her long waves were soft. Her skin too, he thought idly. And those eyes…she had dark brown eyes, almost black but not quite…eyes he wanted to gaze into as she climaxed under his hands.

Oliver shook himself with a reminder that he didn’t have to get involved with her to watch her. He’d go out with her tonight, but following her might be a better idea after all. Oliver finished dressing and went to the car he’d rented for the evening. He wanted to celebrate this woman in style, to really treat her right. When he realized how that sounded, he cursed. It was too late to change his plans now.

By six-thirty on the dot, he was standing at the door to her apartment. Clearly being a practical woman, he knew she’d appreciate punctuality. Absently, he ran a hand through his short hair, then looked down, saw the single rose in his hand and scowled. He couldn’t have made his intentions clearer if he’d tried. Myah was going to think he was interested, and not just for the short-term. Of course, it was possible that she didn’t know the meaning of flowers as he did, for a single red rose meant ‘life-long devotion and love’. His chest began to ache, and he attributed it to guilt. He didn’t want to use her, he realized, not for blood and not for her body. She deserved…more.

He took a deep breath, and then knocked. A few seconds later, the door swung open. He was still looking down at the bloom in his hand when he caught her scent. His nostrils flared, aware of the heady combination of jasmine and the sweet fluid in her veins.

“Oliver, is everything all right?”

“Yes, it’s…” His gaze swung back up to hers, but didn’t stop there. Oliver took her in like a man long deprived of water. Tonight, her hair had a fine sheen and was straight as if she’d ironed it. It fell straight down her back and she’d gone to a little more trouble with her makeup, yet she still appeared natural. She’d done something amazing around her eyes, however, and they really stood out. He wanted to drown in that gaze. How silly, he thought, but then got a look at the rest of her. Her silver earrings dangled down in a marquis pattern. Her neck and the top of her chest were somewhat exposed as she’d squeezed herself into a mid-thigh length black dress with thin straps. The dress was made of soft black lace, causing him to wonder if she wore matching panties as well. Her legs were athletic, but smooth, and he had to stifle the urge to drop to his knees and kiss all the way up her perfect thighs. Her small feet were strapped into shining black heels.

“Oliver, did you hear me? Are you okay?”

He cleared his throat, forcing his eyes back to her face. “Ah…I’m fine. My God, you look amazing.” His throat was incredibly dry, and he was aware of a thirst that not only had to do with her appearance but her life essence. He worked on suppressing the bloodlust.

The blush that moved across her cheekbones was charming. “Oh, thank you. You clean up well too, Mr. King.”

He smiled, then handed her the rose. “This pales in comparison to your beauty, but I wanted to give you something.”

“Oh, it’s lovely! How sweet.” She leaned down, inhaling, and as her nose got closer to the red rose, he thought she made quite the picture. Again, he wished to paint her; he would use the brush strokes to really capture who this woman was. When she looked back at him, there was a teasing light in her eyes.

“What?”

She shook her head. “Oh, it’s nothing.”

“Tell me,” he urged her.

“I wasn’t sure you were interested the other night or if you just felt bad for me and did it to appease your guilt.”

He shook his head. “I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t interested. I thought the diner was the way to try to make up for it, of course, but the more I saw you, the more I wanted to know.” He didn’t add that his foolish, impulsive side didn’t seem to want to listen to anything he told it. ‘No’ clearly wasn’t in its vocabulary.

That pretty blush returned to her face. “Ah…let me put this rose in a vase.”

“Sure.”

When she came back, she’d put on a black coat, closing the two buttons in the front as she got to the door.

“Do you have everything you need?”

She nodded.

“Great. Shall we?”

“Of course.” Myah locked up, and soon they’d left the apartment building. He led her to the sleek black car at the curb. “This is yours?”

He shook his head. “A rental. It is nice, but I don’t usually drive cars.”

“May I ask why?”

Oliver shrugged. “I just prefer walking, that’s all.”

She stared at him with a strange look on her face for a moment when he opened her door.

“Is there a problem?”

She shook her head and smiled. “Not at all. I am partial to walking as well. But, this car…it is very fine and appropriate for the evening.”

“That’s what I was going for.” Her cheek dimpled and he couldn’t resist leaning forward and pressing his lips against it. Her face was warm, incredibly soft beneath his mouth, and he had to move away before he did something really stupid. The surprised glance she sent him sealed the deal.

He had to go slowly with Myah. He sensed an unusual innocence about her, which only made his protective instincts fire even more. “My lady,” he murmured, gesturing to the open car door. He reached out and grasped her hand to give her some leverage as she climbed into the leather seat in those insane heels. Her quiet thank you was natural, and yet it made him feel like he could climb a mountain. He shook off the sensation, closed her door then rounded the car and got in.

 

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Filed under Authors, Fiction, Love, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Relationships, Romance, Writing

Great news for Second Nature!

I just received some awesome news! Second Nature, book one of the Blood at First Sight Series, was nominated to compete in the TRR Readers’ Choice Awards  for Winter 2015. Yay! Thank you, TRR! 😀

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Second Nature is now in the next round, where readers must vote for it!

In the Nomination Round, Second Nature has to garner at least 50 nominations within the time period in order to qualify for the next and final round. The nomination will start on September 11 and end on September 30. Please feel free to nominate the book here: http://www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=16286

OR you can vote here at http://www.theromancereviews.com/bookvote.php

You’ll find Second Nature listed in the Paranormal Romance category about three-fourths the way down the page.

Anyway, this is quite an honor! So, don’t forget to vote for Second Nature, as well as your other favorite books! 🙂

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Filed under Authors, Award, Books, Contemporary, Event, Fantasy, Fiction, Message, Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, Readers, Romance, Writing