Heart of a Warrior is an extraordinary vampire romance and epic fantasy book. We are introduced to Elena Murphy at the start of the book. Elena is distressed as her fated mated was not for their union which she so much looked forward to. One could feel her frustration and irritation as she stood on the deck of her house watching the dark clouds, thinking about Gabriel and where he could be. Elena is half-human. Gabriel was an old hunter from planet Laizahlia. He was, among other things, a patient and resilient character when he wanted to be. Gabriel had looked for his mate for years. He spent time and resources just to find his fated mate, his eillelé. His mate carried half his soul wrapped within Elena.
Gabriel is in a dilemma. He wants to claim Elena but he is conflicted as his council will make him do things he is not comfortable doing. To be safe, Gabriel has to convert Elena to a full vampire so as to be accepted by the council. This move is risky as Elena is happy being a half human. The conversion may tamper with her mind and even jeopardize her sanity.
Heart of a Warrior is a gripping and thrilling fantasy book. The vampire theme and twist in the story are exciting and held my interest. The author is able to engineer some creative scenes that make the unique character both charming and scary at the same time. Following the part about the missing children was scary and fascinating given they had potential threats like the Council and Slavers. Gabriel is a great character whom every reader will, eventually, empathize with. Heart of a Warrior is action-packed, with events that are unbelievable, but you don’t care, and characters who were perfect for their roles.
Every character had some sort of superpower which felt balanced and not overused. They were able to face their obstacles and even confuse the enemies for a while. I appreciated the odd, but well constructed, love story in this book. This novel combines a bittersweet love, a vampire story, and some fantastic characters that really carry this story. This is the fourth book in the ‘Immortal Warriors’ series but I didn’t feel lost and I think anyone can jump into the series from here. You will love the conversations between characters as they are witty and humorous. The plot was epic and the entire story entertaining.
Pages: 347 | ASIN: B07X5TRQRF
Jade is a sassy, sexy, and steady woman leading a double life. By day, she is a member of high society, basking in the pampering that only wealth can afford while associating with the upper echelons of prosperity. By night, she surrounds herself with unsavory crowds of miscreants, whore-mongers, and infidels. It is in debauchery that she makes her living, participating in deplorable sex acts. Jade must work tirelessly to keep her two worlds from colliding as she continues to run from her past. However, a new development threatens to destroy her picture-perfect life. Enter, multimillionaire bachelors, alluring playboy Christopher, and risqué haughty Malachi. Both seem hopelessly smitten with Jade and seek to know more about her. She has only two options; retain this exhausting facade, or expose everything to her friends and suitors, all of whom know nothing about her past or present. Just Add Pepper is a drama-packed prolific erotic romance with a perfect combination of naughty and nice. It’s the first in “The Pepper” Trilogy. Will Jade be able to overcome the slow but inevitable collision of both her worlds or will the ruin be too much for everyone to bear?
Left On Main is an emotional romance novel following Libby and Seth as they grapple with their love and their past. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
As a person who has experienced divorce myself, I wanted to tell a story that shows how the experience can become a turning point and an opportunity for change. The challenges that happen in our lives can make us reassess ourselves and our lives— but only if we choose to learn from it. But I wanted to tell more than a love story between two people. Left on Main– and the Heart of Madison series- is equally the story of a town and the people drawn together inside of it.
Libby is an interesting and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
Libby came into my head fully-formed. As positive as she often seems, she’s equally careful and guarded. I wanted to take the readers through her heartache and through her falling in love to show that trusting others and moving on isn’t as simple as it sometimes seems. Her choices throughout the story are reflective of her complexity.
I enjoyed the relationship between Libby and Seth. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with their relationship?
Libby and Seth are like any of us in that their past relationships have shaped how they relate to others in the present. As a former therapist, I know well that many of our coping skills are drawn from our experiences, and how we react to the present is often as much- if not more so- predicated on the past as on what’s actually happening in the moment. Still, how we love and exist within relationships comes down to our choices. Seth and Libby are faced with very relatable choices about life and love.
This is the first book in the Heart of Madison Series. Where will the next book pick up and when will it be available?
The next book drops right into the story of Seth’s sister Lindy and will be out in the Spring of 2020. Expect a faster paced story with plenty of twists ahead, and you’ll also get a chance to follow up with Seth and Libby and the rest of the cast of characters in Madison.
Libby Reynolds is having to reboot her entire life after a sudden divorce and relocation. Seth Carver has let work become his whole life, becoming himself the kind of anachronism he surrounds himself with in the antique store he owns. They’ll fall together, but can their love withstand a visit from the past she’s left behind? Left on Main is the first in the Map of Madison series.
Floating on Secrets follows the intertwining lives of Flair an Austin through a neo-psych rock romance story. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this novel?
I wanted to write a Romantic Suspense with Gothic elements – that was also a Psychological Suspense like the rest of my novels, to keep that momentum going (so I call it a Seductive Psychological Suspense.) I planned for it to work for New Adult readers, who are often conservative people in the Midwest. I grew up in Indiana, and I researched what young people are like there, now. I hoped the book would have more mass appeal than my other novels, as this one doesn’t take on such heavy historical and social themes as they do. It focuses on issues that young people deal with such as establishing themselves solidly in the work force.
I wanted to write a book that portrays the white-hot need to be with a certain person and dramatizes the wild-fire of love. A book that men would like as much as women, because it’s not just Romance, but crime, Lynchian weird mystery, and a band.
Your book uses a sensory deprivation tank in a unique way. How did you come about this idea for your book?
I like Gothic Romance, in which the heroine isn’t so sure about the man she’s intrigued by. Is he a criminal, a murderer, a manipulating liar? So, it began with her having no idea what kind of man she encountered in the tank. She makes a very risky decision to give him the benefit of the doubt, putting herself in danger, but also in the way of love.
The tank is an engine of the Hero’s Journey, as it’s how one can cultivate visions in the other world of the subconscious to bring back to the tribe to enrich it.
The relationship between Flair and Austin was uniquely and deeply developed. Did their relationship develop organically while writing or was it planned?
Much of it developed through the process of my listening to Neo-Psych Rock the whole time while writing the manuscript. I listened to that in order to get in touch with my raw passion and longing for romance. At first, music wasn’t such a big part of their world. But they became identified to me by the type of songs they resonated with. Austin was like The Black Angels’ most throbbing drum-heavy, driving brave songs like “Young Men Dead,” and Flair was like The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful, mystical “Anemone.” The two sounds intertwine perfectly.
As I felt how much the music helped them reach the hallucinatory state they sought in the float tank, how much it embodied their intensity of desire and aching inwardness, I wanted it to play a larger role. I decided to use the book to introduce people to that type of music, and to entertain people who already love it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next books are non-fiction, such as about the craft of writing. I’m taking a break from novels to focus on my work – teaching fiction writing and editing manuscripts.
When the tank sets her mind free, will it open her heart to love or set her down a dark, fiery path?
Flair’s a neo-psych rock outcast in her small Indiana town. Spending her time in a sensory deprivation tank in an effort to enhance her mind seems like the right thing to do. But when the bartendress discovers the chamber is anything but isolated, she’s left with a question: who is the man who caressed her hair and escaped into the night?
With the mystery going through her mind like a playlist, Flair sees something she can’t explain in the corner of her vision. Do the strangely narrow men she hears tales about have a darker purpose in mind for him? To answer one sensuous question, Flair may just have to solve an existential one. Before it’s all over, music, telepathy, and love could be the least of her worries…
Floating on Secrets is a seductive psychological suspense novel that’s meant to turn your bath steamy. If you like indie rock, chilling Gothic Romance, and just a hint of David Lynch, then you’ll love award-winning author Tantra Bensko’s New Adult novel that delves far below the surface. Buy Floating on Secrets to solve the mysteries of the heart and mind today!
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What is it about high school that brings out the worst in people? The hormones, the pressure to know your future, the mind games? Probably all of the above. Zachary Ryan pens his first book in a series, High School Queens set at Johnson Prep, and complete with all the rich, narcissistic, angst filled teens that any drama queen could ask for. This story delves into a darker, edgier version of high school antics, with exhortation, blackmail, physical and emotional abuse. A One Tree Hill meets Lord of the Flies vibe.
High School Queens packs a deep emotional punch and the depth of the character’s issues are interesting and intriguing. The book tackles a myriad of issues: Alcoholism, eating disorders, self harm, family loyalty, abuse and a whole gamut of complex issues that face youth today. Zachary Ryan attributes the necessary attention to these issues with detail and heart equally. However, I felt that there was detail lacking in certain places? What does Johnson Prep look like? The picture of the story feels incomplete for the lack of setting.
Johnson Prep has a lack of diversity, which is not surprising, but the one Spanish character is poor and the one Indian character is trapped in a ultra traditional family. The cliche here is painful because the author has a clear knack for creating intriguing and well defined characters otherwise. Readers can relate to Andrew, Danielle, Aman and Delilah, root for them and become invested in their characters. The endless cattiness and shallowness by the Marked Queen starts as fun and entertaining but gets repetitive where I would have liked to see creative twists.
The climax of High School Queens is set against the back drop of prom, but the character’s stories don’t all end on the same note and there were some surprises that were developed and unveiled superbly. There is a cliffhanger that sets up for the continuation of Johnson Prep’s students but for next installment of High School Queens to match the high bar set here I expect to see more flavor, humor and twists.
Pages: 311 | ASIN: B07PXFZVLF
Left on Main (Heart of Madison Series Book One) by Crystal Jackson is a contemporary fiction story. Freelance travel blogger Libby Reynolds moves to the small town of Madison, Georgia after her marriage falls apart, and she is determined to make a new life for herself. But it’s hard for her to move on when she was blindsided by her husband’s desire for a divorce. Then she meets Seth Carver, the owner of Lost Horizon Antiques, and she can’t deny that she feels drawn to him. But is she ready to take another chance on love? Especially with a man who has his own reasons for protecting his heart. Or will they allow their fears and past hurts to tear them apart?
I enjoyed the romantic element of this story, and I liked the characters because they were relatable and believable. The descriptions of the town and various businesses, as well as the changing seasons, painted a vivid picture of Madison, Georgia. Libby and Seth both had interesting jobs (travel writer and owner of an antiques shop), which were different from other books I’ve read, and I liked that unique aspect of the story. After their past heartbreaks, I wanted to see a happy ending for both of them.
The story starts out a bit slow with too a lot of focus on secondary characters. At the beginning of the book, there was a lot of interaction with secondary characters and not enough interaction between Libby and Seth. Libby doesn’t meet Seth until Chapter Five, and then after that brief introduction they are apart again until Chapter Fifteen. During the first quarter of the book, there was an issue with repetition, when the same information was mentioned more than once as Libby related the same details of her upcoming coffee date with Seth to multiple characters. There were so many characters–at the tea room, the coffee shop, the newspaper office, the antique shop, and all Libby and Seth’s family and friends–that it was hard to keep track of them all and remember who was who.
Once the story shifted to focus more on Libby and Seth’s romance and less on the secondary characters, things began to pick up and the book held my interest. I would have liked the story to end with a proposal and Libby saying ‘yes,’; but I suppose that’s just me being emotionally invested in the characters. There was a sneak peek of the next book at the end of this book, and I’m interested in reading more of Libby and Seth’s story.
Pages: 249 | ISBN: 198828175X
During World War II a young Serafima Krivenkova’s life changes forever after her lover, Vitya leaves the village to go to the front. Soon after Vitya leaves, Serafima’s home is taken over by Germans, and she and her mother are forced to follow the orders of the German officers who live there. Despite the hardships, Serafima tries to stay positive and often thinks about her future life together with Vitya after his return from the war. But something terrible happens that will make Serafima the target of hurtful gossips in the village and destroys her dreams.
The Cruel Romance by Marina Osipova is a sensational historical fiction novel about war, love, distress, cruelty, faith, and tragedy. The story takes place mostly in Russia, 80 miles from Moscow in the 1940’s and 1950’s and describes the life of Serafima, who continuously has to adapt to the difficulties and cruel circumstances caused by the war. Although the story is fictional, I got a deep insight into the cruelty of World War II and how it affected the lives of Russian citizens. Osipova has in depth knowledge of the topic and the Russian-German conflict during that time in history. The author uses different narratives to show the events, which helps to reveal new information about what has happened.
The story was consistently interesting but also depressing at the same time. At first, I thought that this would be a typical love story that, despite the difficulties, finishes with a happy ending. But it’s an unconventional story with many unexpected turns. In the beginning, the story builds slowly, but later events come fast and the years go by quickly. I would have preferred the time jumps not to have been so large, but this is mostly due to the fact that I wanted to stay with the interesting characters longer.
The characters are well-chosen and I liked that they have unique personalities. Osipova focuses on the description of what happened with the characters and what feelings they have rather than giving a detailed portrayal of them.
Overall, the novel is a great read. I would suggest this book to everyone who likes historical love stories.
Pages: 342 | ASIN: B0794VPFRW
Having been homeschooled until now, Maeleigh is nervous about starting at her new high school. She knew things would be different, but there was no way to prepare her for Gearden. Nor was she prepared to hear his voice in her head. Born deaf, she hasn’t heard anyone’s voice clearly before so why now? And how?!
That’s not the only weird thing going on in town. There’s a whole other society living amongst the norm. And she’s not just thrust into it, he tells her she’s a part of it, too. If that wasn’t enough, she now has to deal with someone out to harm the people she’s come to call family. Only, there are still too many secrets for her to navigate all that’s happening and know who to trust.
Elena Murphy is devastated when Gabriel walks out of her life. When her granddaughter is abducted by aliens and left to die on a hostile world, Gabriel is part of the rescue party sent by his Council to find her. From the start, Elena feels a strong connection between them, but she fears Gabriel is embarrassed that she is only half vampire while he is a powerful Hunter who has lived for over three thousand years. But when two children under her care are abducted, Elena will do anything to get them back, even if it means swallowing her pride to beg Gabriel to take her with him to find them.
Gabriel has spent thousands of years searching for his destined mate, his eillelé. When he finally finds her in Elena, it is to learn she is half human. He knows this makes their options as a couple limited. If he takes her back to his world, Laizahlia, his Council will force him to convert her fully to vampire, and he knows she might not survive with her mind intact. It is forbidden for their kind to live on Earth, so rather than risk her life, he chooses to turn and walk away . . . until two children under her care are taken by Slavers, and it’s his fault the Slavers were there.