My Best Books Calendar 2017

Many ‘best of’ posts/lists will appear in the coming weeks. I’m beyond proud to be a part of this one because of the variety of genres and richness of culture. Add some (or all) of these to your TBR today! Step away from your reading comfort zone and find a new-to-you author! 😀

Just 4 My Books

It’s been a wonderful year for book-lovers like me, so I thought a post about my favourite reads for 2017 would be appropriate. I had a real struggle getting this down to just twelve – still, that’s because I wanted a calendar style, so I have only myself to blame for the self-imposed limits. Doh! I’ll get on with, shall I?

It’s an eclectic mix from cosy mystery to serial killers, romantic comedy to historical fiction, legal and medical thrillers to contemporary women’s fiction. But, variety is the spice of life 🙂

Links to the books are below, and I’ll vouch for every single one of them. Not that I’m alone though, many of these have dozens – if not hundreds – of five star reviews, so if you choose any, you’ll be sure of a great story.

January – Winters Day – DM Wolfenden

February – Finding Miranda –…

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What Are You Reading (Or Writing) Online? #FreeReads

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Besides the ARCs/review copies I volunteer to read, I have a ‘few’ books I’m dying to dive into. How many is a few? Numbers aren’t important here. Dozens. Hundreds. Thousands. Are we truly counting? Do we need to? My mister tries to, but I’m just too fast for him. My TBR is so long, I really should have a librarian to keep it…and me…organized and updated.

But books, whether they are eBooks or print, are not the only things we’re reading. Many of us read online. Sites and blogs packed with exceptional poetry, prose, novellas, and full novels post daily. Online reads can enhance your website/blog by introducing new readers to your writing style…and lead you to meet new people…and make new friends. I’m only up to part five with my own online read – Free, A Novella – and have established connections and friendships with other writers and authors because of it.

Some of my favorite online reads right now are:

Thief of Dragons: The Echelonites of Cauldex (an Alternate-Earth, Erotic Sci-Fi Fantasy) by A.C. Melody (chapter 10 was just posted),

and

Flash Fiction – A Holiday Meeting (a holiday short story) by Nicole R. Locker (chapter 3 was just posted).

Blogger Simply Marquessa has several great online reads on her site, and is gearing up for 2017!

The poetry and prose by Christine Ray on Brave and Reckless is nothing short of amazing, and I cannot wait for her to update Leaving and Absence!

I recommend them all!

What are you reading (or writing) online? Feel free to post your links in the comments!

 

Review – “Dark Menace MC- Stone”

Dark Menace Stone

“Dark Menace MC – Stone”

by Tory Richards

Amazon          Goodreads

4/5 Stars!

Hang on – Stone’s Coming!

A well developed and executed storyline kept me glued to this book and made it a one-sitting read.

The Dark Menace MC is going about their usual “business” – trying to collect on a bad debt – when the sister-in-law of their ‘client’ barges in. The bikers have no intention of leaving before sending a message to the deadbeat client (Ronald) and collecting collateral on the debt. In a bid to save the idiot’s “naive” wife…and her younger sister, from what being held by an MC could mean, the sister-in-law, RACHEL, agrees to go in her place.

And we’re off and running!

If bad decisions had a queen – it would be Rachel. Still not sure what made her feel she was better suited to go with the bikers than her sister. She worked in a bar – big whoop! She was not street savvy and had no swagger. She always believes she can “handle” a situation…until it blows up in her face. Fortunately for Rachel, MC prez, Stone, is fast developing a thing for her. While she’s argumentative and confrontational at every turn, it takes her far too long to understand that being under Stone’s protection is the best thing for her.

Stone is no choirboy and the Dark Menace MC is no charity. Despite his growing feelings for Rachel, the club and the debt owed them comes first. He inadvertently finds out about the horror Rachel endured as a child at the hands of a sadistic stepfather, Wildman, who turns out to be the same  slimy prez of a truly foul MC who want to take over Dark Menace (and everyone else’s) territory by any means necessary. He also wants Rachel back.  Stone doesn’t plan to let that happen as he bands with other MCs to smoke out Wildman and end him and his lot once and for all.

With a couple of epic MC battles (the battles are awesome!), it probably would have been over and done, but where would this story be without Rachel’s BAD DECISIONS? OMG, this woman!  Ten seconds more of true thought each time would probably have saved lives, but that’s not her way. There’s a passage early in the story where Rachel speaks of her sister’s lack of good judgment. HA!  Hello Pot, meet Kettle!  Rachel’s extreme lack of good judgment, and yet another bad decision, leads Stone to make the douche-bag move of all douche-bag moves! I had to put the kindle down and take a moment. I “understood.” Everything has a cost and a price has to be paid. I just didn’t agree with HIS decision.

Tory Richards truly knows how to reel her readers in because just as I was about to start drinking…excessively…I actually began to kinda, sorta like Rachel – and I loved her compared to Rita…Ew! (Wait until you meet Rita – and wear a body condom!) LOL!

Stone as the anti-hero is perfect. He has the respect and loyalty of his club, and the respect of other clubs, but even he’s perfectly flawed and capable of making a few bad decisions. While he’ll never walk away from Dark Menace, his internal thoughts key you into the true man.

It’s a wild ride with plenty of bumps, but “Dark Menace MC: Stone” is definitely a ride worth taking.

Enjoy!

 

Blog Tour & Review: “Toma (The Dark Shadows 2)”

Toma

Title: “Toma”
Series: The Dark Shadows Book 2
Author: Ariel Marie
Cover Designer: Natasha Snow
Release Date: February 20, 2016

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

For centuries, the Dark Shadows have been charged with protecting the Vampire nation. Necromancers, their mortal enemies, are growing bolder and stronger in their attempt to destroy the vampires.

Anika Massey, best friend to the vampirian princess, has lusted after her friend’s older brother, Toma, for years and he doesn’t seem to even notice she exists. At least, she didn’t think the Dark Shadows warrior did, until the necromancers turned their focus on her.

He noticed her. One touch and Toma Olaru knew he wouldn’t be able to give her up. Since their first meeting he could not get the curvy human female off of his mind. He knew it wasn’t right for him to have feelings for his sister’s best friend, but fate had decided that she’s his mate. She’s human and according to Vampire laws, he cannot have her and should have never touched her.

Anika understands the ways of the vampires and knows she must let Toma go, but will Toma be willing to let her go?

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Toma Olaru is the middle offspring of the Vampire King. He’s one of the most deadly members of the Dark Shadows. His presence has been known to produce fear in the heart of most… except Anika’s. Fear is the last thing that comes to mind when he’s around her.

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Goodreads

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Sneak Peek
After working a 12-hour shift she took a deep breath and stared out into the eerily quiet parking lot. A pitch-black parking lot, she added, laughing nervously to herself. Anika Massey never thought that she would be too chicken to walk out of the hospital at night by herself.
“You can do it, Massey!” she muttered to herself.
She had become accustomed to having her vampire guard trailing her everywhere she went after her best friend, Nadira, had been attacked about a month ago. Today was her first day with no guard and she was more nervous than a prostitute walking into church.
Taking a deep breath, she pushed open the door to the hospital and practically ran to her silver Toyota Camry. She looked into the car first, made sure no one was hiding in the back seats and then jumped in and locked the doors.
“This is crazy!” she said, shaking her head as she started the car and put it into drive.
She didn’t live far from the hospital and made sure that she drove a little faster than normal to hurry home. She thought of all the tips that her Vampire guard, Idris had given her before he was pulled from guarding her. He had taught her tips on how to spot someone following her; he had installed a new alarm system in her condo and even taught her a few self-defense maneuvers, just in case someone threatened her.
Her best friend Nadira Olaru, a vampire princess, wanted to have a purpose in life and had become a nurse. They met back in nursing school and have been inseparable since. Nadira was even able to pull some strings to help Anika get her nursing job at Lutheran Hospital, a private paranormal hospital that few humans were privileged to know about and Anika was one hundred percent human. She was one of the few humans that work at the hospital.
In all of her twenty-nine years, she would never have thought that there were supernatural beings walking this Earth with humans. Nadira was patient in explaining about her being born a vampire and the other paranormals.
A little over a month ago, Nadira became the target of a group of powerful beings called necromancers who were currently at war with the vampires. An attempt was made to snatch Nadira, and Anika was with her right before it happened. As a precaution, Nadira’s father, the king of vampires, assigned a guard to watch over Anika. It had been a month now and since there were no other occurrences involving Anika, it was decided that she would no longer require a guard.
“I’ll be fine. The necros do not want a pleasantly plump human,” she tried to reassure herself as she pulled into the parking lot of her condominium.
She didn’t live in the best of neighborhoods but at least there were plenty of street lamps illuminating the parking lot. Her building was an all brick three-story building with two condos on each level. Goosebumps spread across her arms as she began walking up to her third floor condo. The Cleveland night air could be chilly in the fall.
She hurried up the stairs when a feeling of dread began to appear in her belly. She slowed down as she made it to the top of the stairs on her level. She silently cursed herself for taking the top floor condo and the buildings lack of an elevator.
At five foot five and one hundred and sixty pounds, she wasn’t drastically over weight but she was definitely out of shape and had thought it would be great exercise when she first bought the place. She definitely wasn’t what was plastered all across the supermarket magazines.
The condo across from her had been empty for a few months. The previous owners moved due to the husband’s job transferring him to Phoenix, Arizona. She stopped outside her door, putting her ear to it to listen to see if someone was in her apartment.
“Get a grip Massey, there is no one in your condo!” She unlocked the door, and immediately noticed something was wrong. She pushed the door open and flipped the light switch in her entryway and immediately a scream tore from her throat.
“Oh my God!”
Her place had been ransacked. Everything was flipped over, her pictures slashed and thrown across the room. The pillows in her couches were slashed and the filling scattered across the floor. Even her television didn’t make it; it was cracked as if someone kicked it in.
“Snowball?” She called out for her little West Highland white terrier that her parents had given her for her birthday seven years ago.
She didn’t come running like she normally would when Anika came home. She frantically wiped her face as tears flowed down her cheeks. She knew she shouldn’t go into the apartment but she had to find her beloved dog.
“Baby, mommy is home,” her voice cracked ending on a whisper.
She pulled out her phone as she carefully entered into her apartment stepping over her broken coffee table and slowly making her way down the hallway. She stopped dead on her feet at her bedroom door, frozen, as she stared at Snowball’s tortured, bloody body hanging from the ceiling fan in her bedroom.
“No….” she moaned falling against the doorway, sobs racking her body.
She backed up, bumping into a solid mass. She quickly turned around and saw a hooded figure. A scream flew out of her mouth, quickly cut off as the figure grabbed her by the throat and lifted her off her feet, then slammed her into the wall.
“Where is she?” the figure growled.
She shook her head as she clawed at his hands. She fought to get a breath as he pulled back and slammed her again against the wall causing her world to go black.
****

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*** My Review ***

5/5 Stars!

This Is How You DO It!

It was not my plan to read this book in one setting. I had edits to get through, errands to run, dinner to cook – all of which didn’t happen. Again. LOL!

Instead, I got lost in Toma and Anika’s story…as well as the rest of the Olaru family, Cooper, the Dark Shadows, necromancers and their versi, kidnappings, threats, a vampire ball, and, of course, Xalak. (Sucks to be you, Xalak!) Toma is in big time denial about his future…or lack of one…with Anika, as Xalak and his army pull out all the stops to get to Nadira.

Ariel Marie has done an amazing job with the continuing story of the Olaru family and the Dark Shadows. Tension is present from the beginning as the Dark Shadows are determined to hunt down the necromancers and keep Nadira safe. When Nadira’s best friend, Anika, is attacked by Xalak, Toma, already frustrated by not being able to claim his fated mate, is barely capable of controlling his rage. Plans to keep Anika safe go slightly awry when she and Toma grow closer. Too many secrets and words unspoken lead Anika to turn away from Toma…and become Xalak’s hostage. (Where is Idris?)

The author’s descriptive emotions are spot on! I felt Toma’s frustration and rage, Anika’s heartbreak, Nicu’s anger, and even Xalak’s malevolence. Queen Alin is still regal and elegant, but I found out she is definitely a force to be reckoned with. With each scene, the tension grows…as each act of disrespect and violence is more foul than the last. By the time the group reach the cemetery, I was on the edge of my seat! My heart was breaking for the wounded Anika, but when two Olarus go missing, I was ready to join the Dark Shadows! LOL! (Okay, I get a bit over-invested.) There’s some pretty cool supporting characters in this installment – Brian, Cassia, Selena…Idris. (Where is Idris?) Might there be a future pairing in that group?

While the Olarus prevail (where is Idris?), a new evil has been unleashed that just might hate their family more than Sodan Magnus.

I definitely love the pairing of Toma and Anika, and hope to see more of them as this family saga unfolds. The emotional and physical price they each paid, not to mention the sacrifice they were each willing to make, is the true heart of this story.

I highly recommend “Toma (The Dark Shadows Book 2)” – go ahead  – scroll down and 1-click!

Enjoy!

******

About the Author

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Ariel Marie fell in love with books at an early age. She can still remember her first favorite book from childhood. She read the book so many times that it fell apart and she was devastated! Fast-forward thirty years later, Ariel now writes books she hopes readers will fall in love with and read over and over. Paranormal romance is her favorite genre. Who doesn’t love Shifters, Witches, Faes and all the other paranormals? She just loves writing about couple’s first meeting, the magnetism of when their eyes first meet and the first kiss! Her favorite part of writing paranormals is creating the world that the characters live in.

Ariel Marie’s Social Media Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/the_ArielMarie

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WB1SBFC

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/the_arielmarie

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

Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ArielMarieauthor/

Purchase Links:

AMAZON US
AMAZON CA
AMAZON UK
AMAZON AU


Toma (The Dark Shadows 2) Signed Paperback Giveaway
Giveaway opens 1/25/16 and ends 3/1/16 at 11:59 pm EST

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Review – “Unconventional (The Manhattanites Book 4)”

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“Unconventional (The Manhattanites Book 4)”

by Avery Aster

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Amazon          Goodreads

4/5 Stars!

Truly, Madly, Deeply!

While I own the ‘Undergrad Years’ series by this author, I have not had a chance to read it, so “Unconventional” was my first venture into world of the Manhattanites, and I liked the time I spent there.

The question is whether two men can share the same woman forever…and when it’s Luigi and Rocco…and Jemma, I don’t see a problem – if they can get past their fears, drama and dump a load of unnecessary baggage. They have been together for quite some time, and have weathered the storms of public scrutiny and disapproval…and Jemma’s fight with breast cancer. The three lovers followed their hearts and prevailed in the eyes of the public, but it’s Jemma’s feelings of inadequacy, low-self esteem and fears of her illness returning that could be their undoing.

I cannot say Jemma’s fears are unfounded. Surviving breast cancer is the victory, but then there’s the challenge of LIVING again. Getting past the one year mark…the five year mark, always wondering if the cancer will return. She needed to trust in the love she shared with Luigi and Rocco more – to reach out, instead of withdrawing, because it affected not only their relationship. but her entire life. When Jemma’s latest fashion line falls flat, the Manhattanites plot with Luigi and Rocco and the “sexual safari” is planned so Jemma can get her groove back – OUTSIDE and INSIDE the bedroom.

This is where I had a bit of a disconnect. If these three have nothing else, it is over-the-top obvious they love each other desperately. You read it in their internal thoughts, you hear it in their words, you feel it in the author’s spot on descriptions of their expressions and body language. But the sex itself…not so much. Don’t get me wrong, there is much hot, steamy smexiness going on in this story, but, for the love I felt these three had for each other, the sex felt random and casual. I expected more sensuality, and definitely more passion. Luigi, Rocco and Jemma are all extremely intense people outside the bedroom – I expect to hear fire alarms once they get inside. LOL!

Jemma’s personal epiphanies arrive just in time…because the road has begun to get rocky. My heart went out to poor Rocco, the most sensitive of the three. He didn’t just want a home and family, he NEEDED them to survive. Luigi wanted a home with them…and Jemma just wanted them.

These are all very likeable people, and you’ll be in their corner, routing for them to get their HEA. The Manhattanites are a fun, snarky bunch who pull no punches, but look out for and support each other.

1-click this…while I go catch up with the rest of the series!

Around The Blogosphere #1

Excellent reading challenge! Check out the blog, then follow the link! Step out of your comfort zone and explore. You may find a new favorite author or genre!

Musings of A Romance Junkie

Around The Blogosphere

Okay, so my girl Codie over at Reader’s Anonymous made this awesome post about books to read in 2016, but not just any books. It’s a reading challenge where you pick books based on specific categories like reading a new series, a story from a male POV, cool shit like that. I am so down with this! Head over to her blog and check it out, then spread your reading wings. I am definitely going to give this bad boy a shot! I follow the best people:D

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Source: Reader’s Anonymous – 2016 Reading Challenge

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More holiday reads to check out!

Kim Talks Books

Yes, it’s the third Sunday of Advent and here in Sweden it’s Saint Lucy’s Day, which pretty much marks the beginning of Christmas here.

I love Christmas and I love reading novels set during the holiday season. So let’s continue with more books you can read to help you get in the spirit! 🙂

ChristmasWishesJenny Hale‘s latest, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses, sounds like my cuppa tea!

An uplifting, beautiful story about never letting go of your dreams, the special magic of a family Christmas… and the rush of falling in love under the mistletoe.
Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn’t regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold. But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the…

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