ARC Review: The Rising

THE RISING-final cover

The Rising (The Painted Maidens Trilogy, #1) by Terra Harmony
Pages: 271
Genre: Sci Fi & Fantasy, Teens & YA
Publisher: Patchwork Press
Review Source: Publisher
Release Date: Nov 7 2013
My Rating:
4 ★★★★☆

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Serena is the youngest member of a dying race. The increasing acidity of the ocean is destroying her home, slowly eating away at the once thriving underwater landscape. But since the night of Serena’s birth, it is an outside force that most threatens their dwindling population. Werewolves, who once served as protectors for mermaids in the Kingdom of the Undine, now seek to eliminate all who dwell in the ocean — and Serena is about to find herself right in the middle of the deadly conflict.

Given the title of Werewolf Liaison, Serena is determined to make things right for her people. When she ventures to The Dry, she meets Liam, the werewolf with hazel eyes, and her whole world gets turned upside down. As Serena discovers the real history between werewolves and mermaids, she is left wondering who her true enemies are.

My Thoughts:

I’ve read about mermaids and werewolves, but this is a wonderfully unique story. I don’t really read a lot of young adult books and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed The Rising. I’m now waiting for the next book to come out. This doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, but you know the story will continue and I’m looking forward to the next book. The underwater world of the Undine (mermaids) is truly brought to life. Look at the cover for just a touch of the beauty in Serena’s world. I loved the way the Undine could manipulate their scales according to their needs or protocol. The connection between the Undine and Werewolves really made the story interesting and gave that added bit of mystery that I like.

Serena is an orphan that would much rather be alone than in the thick political and social world of her people. She isn’t scared to go to dry land and does so even though it gets her into some serious trouble. Serena is basically an outcast, not liked much by anyone. I’m not really sure why that is and wish it had been addressed more fully. She has one person she considers her best friend, but since he left the orphanage before her and took his place in society they don’t see much of each other. Having no one to truly count on but herself her whole life Serena is an independent and strong young woman who will do what needs to be done. Her growth from being in the classroom to accepting and thriving in her role as Werewolf Liaison isn’t without pain, feelings of isolation and rejection; especially when she is betrayed by one who is supposed to be looking out and caring for her. Serena also finds love and feelings of desire for the first time as she faces the difficulties that have been forced upon her.

The secondary characters are pleasantly detailed and come to life. I really ended up liking Kia, although I wasn’t sure about him at first. Liam is still a bit of a mystery, but has promise of being a strong and possibly likable character as we see how he deals with recent events and learns of his place ( or not?) in Serena’s life. I thought I had it figured out and then the direction changed just a bit; I like to be surprised and was glad I liked the new direction.

There’s really not much else I can tell you without spoiling something and I feel one little spoiler may reveal too much as you read. I recommend this if you enjoy mermaids or werewolves with some great action, mystery and a bit of romance.

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ARC Review: Wild Cards

Wild Cards

Wild Cards (Wild Cards #1) by Simone Elkeles
Pages: 352
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Review Source: Publisher/NetGalley
My Rating: 4 ★★★★☆

Synopsis:

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.
Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain—people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

My Thoughts:

This was my first Simone Elkeles book and I’ll definitely be reading more of her work. This was a thoroughly engaging read. I don’t read a lot of young adult, I would if they were more like this one. In this unique story we have two people dealing with family issues, romance, and betrayal.

Ashtyn is a complex young woman. She plays football for her high school, but has her feminine side as well. She has been raised by her father who has dealt with his wife’s (Ashtyn’s mother) abandonment. He pays little if any attention to Ash. All she feels from her father is disappointment or neglect. Ash thought being the kicker for her team would get some notice, if not love and approval, from her father. You would think that being the only girl on a High School football team is what made Ahstyn tough, but it was actually the neglect and lack of love coming from her father.

Derek is a bad boy who plays a prank at school with his friends and is expelled. Left with nowhere to go he has to move back home with his step mom. His father is in the military and deployed. Derek is basically a loner; in response to the upheaval of his life he seems to reevaluate and start to grow into the man he will become.

I felt for Derek and Ashtyn as they face challenges and the growing attraction to each other. I really don’t want to spoil this one which is making this review a bit difficult 😉 If you’re looking for a romance that offers humor, personal growth, mystery, and some angst this is for you.

Wild Cards on Amazon

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Review: The Vincent Boys

I was lucky enough to win a copy from AToMR Tours!

Vincent Boys

The Vincent Boys by  Abbi Glines
Pages: 259
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Tsula’s Rating: 3.5/5

Blurb:

Get seduced by a sizzling account of attraction and betrayal in this previously self-published phenomenon.There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly?

Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.

Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.

Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist..

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Right from the beginning, it had me hooked.  A lot of contemporary romance books go through the whole “Oh golly gosh, we want to be together but can’t” phase for at least a couple of chapters, which puts me off as a reader.  This book didn’t fool around with that, which I thoroughly appreciated.  Ashton, a good girl tired of the restraints of perfection, is faced with a serious problem right from the get-go.  Her effortlessly perfect boyfriend, Sawyer, is off on a camping trip all summer, leaving her alone to deal with his bad boy cousin, Beau.  The second she goes to pick up him and his extremely intoxicated girlfriend, she feels old feelings beginning to reemerge with startling strength.

Like I said, I appreciated that there wasn’t any time wasted on a wishy washy hero or heroin.  The closest it gets to that is Beau constantly making sure this is what Ashton wants, which didn’t detract from the story but instead helped to show that Beau is not the selfish piece of trailer trash that everybody thinks he is, but actually cares deeply about his cousin and the girl they both love.

I loved the way they fit together seamlessly despite years of being apart.  The passion and love was intense and enjoyable throughout the entire book, up until a couple of chapters from the end.  I’m not going to spoil it, but there was a turn of events that put me off completely so that I had to flip to the end just to skim and see if I should just put the book down and leave it unfinished.  Though it ended up ending exactly how it should have and it was a fantastic book, I would not reread it and the bit at the end leads me to put it somewhere around 3.5 stars.

 The Vincent Boys on Amazon

AToMR

Review: Dare You To

Dare You To

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2) by Katie McGarry
Pages: 462
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Review Source: Publisher
Release Date: May 28, 2013
My Rating: 5 ★★★★★

Blurb:

Ryan lowers his lips to my ear. “Dance with me, Beth.”

“No.” I whisper the reply. I hate him and I hate myself for wanting him to touch me again….

“I dare you…”

If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom’s freedom and her own happiness. That’s how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn’t want her and going to a school that doesn’t understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her, but does….

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him.

But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all…

My Thoughts:

WOW, this was a fantastic read. I was up way to late because I couldn’t put it down. It didn’t hurt that Beth lived in the city where I grew up and that I had friends from Ryan’s County.

Ryan is the star ball player for his High School and has the perfect family. At least that’s how it all looks from the outside, but it doesn’t feel so perfect when you’re on the inside. Ryan misses his brother and behind closed doors his parents’ true feelings for each other are let out. It appears they can’t stand each other. His dad acts as if his brother no longer exists and refuses to allow Ryan or his mother to have any contact with him. All Ryan is focused on is making into the Pros and his dad is just as obsessed with it, so much that it’s not clear whose dream it really is at times. Then Ryan is dared to get Beth’s phone number and that’s when his life starts to change. At first he doesn’t see anything past Beth’s hard exterior, but that’s OK ‘because she’s just a dare and he’ll never see her again, right? Wrong, Beth’s uncle brings her to Ryan’s small town to get her away from her mother. Ryan has to deal with his dysfunctional, yet perfect on the outside, family and figure out what he really wants. He also has to fight to be his own person, making his own decisions. Ryan has to overcome the “dare” and the hurt he’s inflicted on Beth to get her to trust him and her love for him.

Beth is from the wrong side of the tracks and has the attitude to go with it. She’s never had it easy, always struggling for food, clothing, and most of all a parents love. Beth’s best friend is a tattooed “tough” guy that looks out for her. They also drink and drug together, until Beth takes the fall for her mom and is “rescued” by her long lost Uncle. Beth doesn’t want to go with Scott, she doesn’t want leave Isaiah or her mom. Beth lives with her aunt, but makes sure her mom eats. There would be no one to look out for her mom when Beth’s gone.  Beth has to struggle to overcome her past and learn to let her mother go (if she can).

This is a touching and dark journey of two young people falling in love and fighting to be with each other on top of finishing their last year of high school. This is listed as young adult, but I would say it’s for mature young adults due to the subject matter; there isn’t any sex in this book.

Dare You To on Amazon

Tour: Sliding Beneath the Surface

As You Wish Presents Promotional Event

Book Title:  Sliding Beneath the Surface (Book 1)
The St. Augustine Trilogy
Author:  Doug Dillon
Release Date:  August 24, 2011
Print Length: 166 Pages
Genre:  YA Paranormal
Presented by:  As You Wish Tours

 Hello St. Augustine Fans! Let’s not forget the YA Paranormal Fans!

For three days, the Kindle version for Sliding Beneath the Surface will be available FOR FREE on Amazon.com—a special promotion. Those days will be May 3rd, 4th and 5th. Spread the word and tell everyone you know about this wonderful opportunity. This is also a final chance for anyone who has not yet entered the Puzzle Ball Contest to do so. “Buying” one of these free books on Amazon will count for one half of the contest requirements. All you would then have to do for the other half of the contest requirements is to write a quick review on Amazon.com before the contest ends on May 10. You’ll find the rules to the contest and more here: About the Contest / What’s going on here?

BRIEF SYNOPSIS

 In old St. Augustine, Florida, fifteen-year-old Jeff Golden’s recurring dream of being stabbed in the chest and bleeding all over his bed is driving him crazy. It’s causing him to lose sleep and giving him severe headaches. When his psychically gifted friend Carla and an ornery Native American shaman named Lobo try to help, Jeff is inundated with terrifying paranormal experiences.

Reaching out of Florida’s distant past, something increasingly entangles Jeff in tentacles of danger that threaten his sanity and eventually his life. But the harder he tries to understand, the deeper he gets. When comprehension finally dawns though, time has almost run out. Lobo does his best to prepare Jeff for what he must face in order to survive but it may be too little and too late.

It’s at this point that both Jeff and Carla find themselves swept headlong into an alternative reality from which they may never return. If they don’t quickly and fully adapt to this situation, all hope is lost. From Lobo they know how it might be possible to change what is happening but the question is, can they? Repeatedly, Lobo has told both teens, “You create your own reality whether in this world or in another.” If acted upon properly, that advice just might save their lives and end suffering on an even wider scale.

Slide beneth the surface

BLURB

 A new resident of America’s oldest and most haunted city, St. Augustine, Florida, fifteen-year-old Jeff Golden suddenly finds himself up to his eyeballs in frightening paranormal experiences. At the end of his rope in trying to figure out what is happening to him, Jeff decides to rely on his friend Carla Rodriguez, and Lobo, an old Native American shaman, for help.

Despite this guidance, things get even worse. Jeff’s spine tingling encounters increase in number and intensity at an alarming rate, scaring him even more. Eventually, he makes the startling discovery that unresolved circumstances involving a bloody event directly out of Florida’s distant past threatens his sanity and possibly his life.

Finally, overwhelmed by forces he cannot understand or control, Jeff’s world shifts from frightening to downright terrifying. In desperation, and on Lobo’s advice, he leaps headlong into the unknown in order to save himself. What Jeff discovers though is that he has entered a level of reality he is completely unprepared to handle while unwittingly dragging Carla with him.

Like all the books in THE ST. AUGUSTINE TRILOGY, the premise for Sliding Beneath the Surface is simply this: You create your own reality.

Trilogy Graphic

EXCERPT

“So tell me about this dream,“ Lobo said to me in his rumbling voice as he sat back down in his chair.

“Dream?“ Neither Carla nor I had mentioned my dream yet. If anybody else had brought me there besides Carla, I would have sworn that person had already talked to Lobo about my problem.

“Am I not speaking clearly enough for you?“ The man replied with this sour look on his face.

“Yes, your dream.“

“Uh … OK. My dream. Well, for the past three nights I‘ve been waking up with a horrible pain in my chest like something has stuck me hard while I‘m sleeping. When I sit up and look down, my bed is glowing and there‘s something long and pointy coming up out of the mattress trying to get me. Blood is everywhere, all over my chest, my stomach, my sheets and on the pointy thing. It’s all so real, like it‘s actually happening. Then when I jump out of bed and turn the ceiling light on, it all goes away, but my chest still hurts. I still feel like I‘ve just been stabbed. I‘m telling you, it scares the crap out of me.“ I hadn‘t planned on saying that last part. It just popped out.

Lobo grunted and looked all around me in his weird way, his unblinking gaze all fiery.

Everybody blinks, right? Not him. I‘m telling you, it felt really odd to be talking to somebody who keeps his eyes constantly open. Shifting his attention away from me, he put his water bottle down on the coffee table, got up and went to the display case I had touched earlier, the one with all the weapons. As I watched him, for the first time I noticed the circular display case over the fireplace held a huge collection of arrowheads, spearheads and stone knives. I wondered if they were Seminole. “Come over here,“ he said, his words a rumbling command. I could feel my stomach twist the way it does when adults try to boss me around, but I resisted the temptation to say something back.

When I got to the case, he asked, “That something sharp coming out of your mattress look like any of the objects in here?“ He squinted as if he somehow wanted to see the answer within me as much as hear it. I guess by then I was a little paranoid about the possibility of him being able to get inside my head. After what I had experienced while standing there before, I wasn‘t sure I wanted to look, but I did. As I searched, my headache intensified, making me wince, but even so, my eyes stayed glued to this one item.

About the Author
Doug Dillon
A former award winning educator, Doug writes about things paranormal and historical. His interest in the paranormal comes from personal experiences as detailed in the nonfiction adult book he and wife wrote titled, An Explosion of Being: An American Family’s Journey into the Psychic. Out of those events and extensive historical research, he then created Sliding Beneath the Surface for young adults, Book I of the St. Augustine Trilogy. Doug set his trilogy in the oldest and most haunted city in the United States, St. Augustine, Florida. Books II and III of the trilogy are on the way

AUTHOR LINKS
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/TheStAugustineTrilogy
Twitter https://twitter.com/Doug__Dillon
Website http://dougdillon.com
Amazon Author http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005ZEJTJ4
Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580090.Doug_Dillon

BOOK LINKS
Amazon
B&N
Goodreads
Book Depository

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Spotlight: The Sixth Power

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The Sixth Power

The Sixth Power by Carol Nicolas
Genre: Young Adult (YA) Paranormal
Number of pages: 337
Word Count: 99,595
Cover Artist:  Emilie Duchesne

Book Description:

Tania Westing, a high school senior, is one of the Gifted Ones, descendants of an ancient family with seven special powers. Some of the powers are common, and some are rare.

Until her geneticist brother Tom was murdered, Tania lived an ordinary life. Now hidden in her mind is a clue that will reveal Tom’s research, including secret formulas to unlock all seven powers. During spring break, Tania meets and falls in love with handsome Dan Maclean. When Tania reveals her rare power to heal, the evil Gifted Ones who killed Tom suspect Tania has his research and formulas and come after her. Tania must learn to use her powers to help save Dan’s sister in time to keep Tom’s secrets safe.

Kindle     Nook   Smashwords

Excerpt from CHAPTER 1

Sometimes, even when you know that death is imminent, you just have to go ahead and complete your small task in the great plan, Tom thought as he glided through the still, dark room.  His bare feet made no sound on the smooth, hardwood floor.  He felt strange sneaking around like a thief in his own house.

Tom paused at the ornate chess set on the living room coffee table.  His sister, who always played white because his dad insisted she have the first move, could lose in three moves if she wasn’t careful.  Tom moved her bishop.  There, that should buy her some time.  Too bad his own problems weren’t so easily solved.

The grandfather clock ticked steadily in the elegantly furnished living room.  He had to hurry.  He used his Gift and sent out a mental sweep of the La Jolla neighborhood.  None of El Calavera’s men were in the area, though he had spotted them following him earlier that day.  He knew they were close and would catch up to him.  He planned to be far from here by then.

Tom entered the study and sat down at the family computer where he and his sister had spent many hours playing on-line games.   He accessed his email and opened a file he had sent earlier from Triumph Genetics Lab.  At once the virus he had created began to destroy all the files in every system.

“Forgive me, Tania.  You’ll understand someday.”

He opened the door to his father’s bedroom and moved noiselessly to the dresser.  His father had set up a shrine there:  a vase of gladiolas and lilies, his mother’s framed picture, her gold cross on a fine gold chain, and a pair of fat purple candles that illuminated the room and sent the fragrance of lavender through the air.  Three sympathy cards stood open on the left.  In the center was a bronze box with a plaque engraved with the words ‘Maria Valdez Walters Westing.’

“Mother.”  He kissed his fingers and touched the words.

He glanced at the rumpled bed.  His father must have taken a sleeping pill; his mouth was slightly open and his breathing hoarse and ragged.  Tear stains glistened on the side of his haggard face.  Tom bent down and kissed his father’s forehead.  “Love you, Dad,” he whispered. Sorrow flooded Tom’s heart.  He knew he was about to cause his father even more grief.  He touched his father’s forehead and sent a specific command to his subconscious.

Next, he went to his little sister’s room.  At fourteen years old, Tania was already a beauty:  tall and slender, with straight black hair that fell past her shoulders, and smooth, light brown skin.  She was so much like their grandmother.  Her eyes were closed, her breathing slow and peaceful.  Her favorite book, The Lord of the Rings, lay beside the pillow where it had slipped from her loosely curled fingers, and her bedside lamp cast a dim glow into in the dark room.  He wondered if she ever turned it off at night now.  Even in sleep, she looked a little sad.  His heart ached.

He leaned over and kissed her forehead.  “Sweet dreams, little Sis.  Remember me.  Take care of Dad.”

Tania surprised him when she opened her large, dark eyes and grinned.  “Gotcha!  You thought I was asleep, didn’t you?”  She sat up and wrapped her arms around him.  “Are you home for the weekend?”

“No, I just stopped to say goodbye.” He squeezed her tight, memorizing her.

She sniffed.  “You smell weird.”

He sighed, released her, and sat down next to her on the edge of the bed.   Tania was much too observant, but he would let her play their game.  “Go ahead.  Deduce.”

Tania’s eyes twinkled as she studied him.  “You’re wearing old clothes, and you smell like smoke, sea brine, and sweat.  There are ashes in your hair.  Your left forefinger and thumb are red.  Your sleeves and cuffs are wet at the edges.  Therefore, you and some of your fellow profs — no, make that your two buddies at the lab — those other dolts are much too stuffy to do something fun — had a hot dog roast at the beach before you came here.  Whatever you used for wood had a lot of chemicals in it.  You got a little too close to the fire.  Try using a coat hanger next time.”

He grinned.  “Very good, my dear Sherlock.  The hot dogs were delicious.  We even tossed the football around.”  He was dressed in his darkest jeans, a faded black t-shirt, and a black wool coat, but it was more for camouflage than anything else.  There hadn’t been time to clean up before he’d come from the lab.  He wouldn’t tell her what he had really been doing there.

Tania reached out and tugged gently on his long, tangled hair.  “It’s grown since I saw you last.  If you stick around, I could cut it for you tomorrow.”

Tania looked so hopeful, but he shook his head.  “No.  I can’t stay.”

She frowned.  “Where are you going?”

He brushed a strand of her hair away from her face and tucked it behind her ear.  Sorrow clenched his heart, but he didn’t let on.  “Away.”

Her eyes filled with tears as she took his hand.  “I love you, Tom.”  Her words were underscored with a yearning for him to stay, as if those words were strong enough to bring him back home for good, strong enough to heal the rift between him and his father, and make them all a real family again.  But nothing could do that now.  Their mother’s ashes were three months cold, and soon he would be with her.

“I love you too, more than you know.”  With all his heart he wished he could be there to see her grow up and fulfill her enormous potential.  Like Tom and the others of their mother’s family, Tania had inherited many of the usual Gifts.  But Tania was special.  His genetic studies had revealed that not only did she have her mother’s DNA for the extremely rare gift to heal, but she also had the DNA that would signal the pituitary to secrete the hormone that would activate the Gift.  Tania would become a great healer.

As yet, Tania was untrained and barely aware of her Gifts.  All their mother had been allowed to do was to teach her to how to hide her uniqueness, to blend in with the normal population.  For her own safety, Tania would have to remain that way until Aunt Sarah decided otherwise.  The research which he had conducted with DNA samples from those with the Gifts, including his startling discoveries which he had planned to share with Aunt Sarah, would have to remain hidden as well.  He was out of time.

Tom took Tania’s hand and turned it so that the ruby in the delicate gold ring glittered in the lamplight.  This ring was more than just a symbol of the powerful Valdez family; it would shield her mind from those who sought to probe her thoughts.  In a few years, when Tania would begin training in her Gifts, she would learn to actively protect herself.  Aunt Sarah and the others would keep her safe until then.  “Promise me that you’ll always wear this ring.”

Tania squeezed his hand.  Her eyes were sad.  “I promise.”

The clock struck the half hour.  Tom had to get out.

He picked up the book from beside her pillow, removed her bookmark, and opened it to the page he needed.  The Lord of the Rings had been one of their favorite stories as children.  They had spent so many hours playing together.  He smiled.  “Remember how we used to pretend to be Frodo and Sam on the way to Mount Doom?”

“Yeah.”  Tania grinned.

“We also used to make up riddles for Bilbo to use on Gollum.”

“Those were great times.”

He looked out the window and blinked back tears.  He would never see his sister again.  His hand rested on the page as he recited.  “‘All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.’  Remember that, Sis.  Listen with your heart to find the truth.”

Tania’s eyes were on his face, so she didn’t see how he pulled a bookmark from his pocket, inserted it into the book at the passage he had just quoted, and then slipped her bookmark into his pocket.  Keep it safe, he silently commanded.  He looked down at her, wishing there was more he could do.  Then he placed two fingertips at her temple and whispered, “Na dolen.”  The command would keep her from remembering this conversation until she needed it.

Her eyes blinked in blank, sleepy surprise.  “Tom?”

Carol Nicolas

About the Author:  

Carol Nicolas lives in northern Utah (USA) with her husband. A native of Canada, she attended BYU-Idaho (formerly Ricks College) and obtained a bachelor’s degree in education from Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah USA). A teacher, mother of five, world traveler, wearer of silly socks, and fan of sci-fi/fantasy books and films, she enjoys gardening, painting, and family history research. She likes rock, pop, Celtic and classical music.

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New Releases for this week!!!!

New Releases this week.

March 18th

Night Demon Deep within the Yucatan jungle, a demon has awakened…Gretchen Finch’s job would be much easier if she weren’t alone in the jungle with a brilliant recluse whose every glance sets her on fire. But the more she focuses on her work, the closer she gets to unlocking the mysteries of a terrible creature—the Night Demon—that threatens the world as she knows it. Though her scientific mind tells her it’s impossible, she’s beginning to believe the ancient Mayan tales as the sinister jungle comes alive around her. Lukas Smith has spent hundreds of years searching for answers to his immortal Night Walker nature. As a series of ancient glyphs become clear, he’s about to find out more than he’d ever hoped, but the more he learns, the more his fate intertwines with the Night Demon, and the harder it becomes to hide his immortal secret from the beautiful, intelligent Gretchen.Together, they must find a way to stop the inexplicable violence and mass destruction surging across the earth before the Night Demon destroys more than just mankind.

One Moment’s Pleasure: Book 1 of the Wildfire Love series (Crimson Romance)

One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when Boston spinster, Alexis Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister. Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male, Alexis enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.

Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.

Cards & Caravans (The Gaslight Chronicles) Book five of The Gaslight Chronicles. Belinda Danvers isn’t a witch. But that won’t stop them burning her at the stake… Connor McKay can tell at a glance that Belinda’s magickal powers are minimal at best. She can’t be guilty of murdering village children. There’s something suspicious about her arrest and lightning-quick sentence. Unfortunately, telling anyone how he knows would mean revealing his own powers. He’s been sent by the Order of the Round Table to help and he can’t just let her die. Escaping from jail and running from vindictive villagers in her grandfather’s steam-powered caravan is more excitement than Belinda’s had in years. And despite the danger—or maybe because of it—she loves the time spent with her sexy rescuer. But there’s more to his magick than he’s letting on… There’s something going on that’s bigger than the two of them. It’s time for good to make a stand.

March 19th

You and I, Me and You  The final book in Davidson’s laugh-out-loud trilogy featuring an unconventional FBI agent who finds love in the most unexpected places. Candice (and her sisters) has moved in with Patrick and everything is more than she could have ever dreamed. Except why does the dreamy Dr. Gallo keep popping up unexpectedly in her fantasies? When her pleasantly steady love life suddenly starts looking pretty darn shaky, Candice and her sisters find themselves knee-deep in a new case that brings the escaped Threefer Killers back onto the scene. The stakes are higher, the danger more real, the hijinks more hilarious, and the love and passion are more delicious in this final book of an unforgettable trilogy.
With This Kiss: Part Two Lady Grace Ryburn has accepted another man’s proposal after the love of her life, Lieutenant Colin Barry, asked for her own sister’s hand in marriage. But when Colin returns home from the wars, injured in body and spirit, will she be able to turn her back and marry another? Or will she throw away every rule her mother taught her and try to seduce a man who has shown no interest in her kisses? Author’s Note: Be sure to read Part One first! You need to know the story of how Grace fell in love with Colin .

Storm Force (Kindle Serial) As leader of the elite counter-terrorism team Omega Force, former army ranger Jack “Kell” Kellison is always focused on getting the job done. So when a Houston high-rise is bombed and the governor killed or missing, Kell’s mission is clear: infiltrate the group suspected of the bombing and neutralize the threat by any means necessary. But once Kell meets beautiful chief suspect Mori Chastaine, he realizes there’s more to this case than meets the eye. And more to Mori than any man—any human man—could imagine. Mori Chastaine is running out of options. Suspected for a crime she didn’t commit, forced into a marriage she doesn’t want, she sees no escape—until Kell walks through her door. A lifetime hiding her true nature warns her Kell might not be who he seems. But he could be the only one able to help save more innocent humans from becoming pawns in an ancient paranormal power play. If Mori reveals her secret, will Kell join her fight? Or will she become his next target? This is a Kindle Serial.

Strange Fruit: A Novel (Zane Presents) Traci and Bill Bianco were living the all-American dream, until the world as they knew it came crashing down. Years after a black man is elected President of the United States and the Empire State building is toppled by an explosion, the nation is in a state of upheaval. But it’s Hurricane Molly in 2018 and The Stock Market Crash of 2020 that seals the country’s fate. Once the economy takes a nosedive, ordinary Americans must resort to the barter system to get by. Food and shelter are exchanged for labor and initially it seems as though it may work, until the unscrupulous begin to take power and laws are changed. Though Traci and Bill actually fare better than most, economically, they are confronted with a new risk—interracial marriage is once again deemed unlawful and anyone caught is subject to arrest. Soon Traci and their four-year-old daughter are on the run.

Relentless An Ancient Legacy: Lately, the gods are not smiling on Isis Magee. How else can she explain the bizarre events that have led her on a relentless high-stakes chase from Seattle to London to Cairo in search of the elusive tomb of history’s beautiful and enigmatic queen Cleopatra? A Hidden Treasure: Isis has only two leads: a fragmented trail of clues offered in rare moments of lucidity by her father, a once-respected archaeologist whose last dig ended in disaster, and the unique sixth sense of sexy Lodestone agent Connor Thorne. The Passion of a Lifetime: Connor also encountered tragedy in the Egyptian desert not long ago, and as Isis pulls him deeper into her mission to restore her father’s reputation, he is secretly plotting a revenge of his own. Propelled across wild, untamed sands by vicious unknown forces, the duo is seduced into a labyrinth of secret chambers. When they fear they can go no further, they surrender to their incendiary desires and discover that the prize each separately seeks may be waiting at the end of the same dangerous road.

The Rule-Breaker (Harlequin Blaze) Ranger Eli Weston always does the right thing—even when it means defying orders. Now he’s back in town to help with a memorial in honor of his fallen military buddy. This time it’s not just about what’s right. It’s about ensuring that a secret never comes to light. A secret that only he and his friend’s ex-girlfriend know… Clothing designer Shelby Monroe has always felt an illicit something for Eli. But when the two find themselves working together to ensure the media never discover the truth about the town’s fallen hero, temptation unfurls…hot, wicked and irresistible. How far can they bend the rules before they break?

A Monster and a Gentleman (Monsters in Hollywood) <- I’ve been waiting for this one, loved the others in the series. Book 5 Cali knows exactly what will happen if her latest movie fails. It won’t just destroy her directing career and company, Calypso Productions. It might mean global war, and the extinction of an entire race of beings—the monsters. The last thing she can afford is distraction in the form of a midnight-haired, caramel-skinned monster who can—literally—bring on the heat. Seling enjoys humans, and not, as some have suggested, as a snack. As one of the stars of a movie that will allow his people to come out of hiding, he especially enjoys watching the movie’s intensely focused, human director. After one particularly frustrating day on the set, Cali and Seling give in to a blistering night of pleasure. Seling wants more; Cali isn’t ready to risk her heart. But it all may become moot when someone leaks raw footage that could incite the very panic they’re trying to avoid. And the only way to find the culprit is to unleash a monster so dangerous that it’s like bringing a nuclear bomb to a knife fight.
The Mighty Quinns: Jack (Harlequin Blaze) Jack Quinn has always been his widowed mother’s fiercest protector. So, when his mom decides to reunite with her childhood sweetheart all the way out in California, there’s no question—Jack’s going with her, and to hell with the consequences…. Mia McMahon isn’t exactly thrilled about her wealthy father dating a woman from his past. She smells a gold digger. But once she meets Jack, she forgets all about getting his mother out of the picture—and focuses on getting him into bed! The attraction between Mia and Jack is intense, irresistible…and breaks every rule in the book. Then again, everyone knows that the most delicious affairs are the forbidden ones….

Jilted (Promise Harbor) Devon can do this. She can show up at her ex-boyfriend Josh’s wedding, even though he’s marrying her ex-best-friend. She can show everyone she’s happy with her fabulous life in Boston, her great career, her amazing shoes — and she can show everyone she’s over him. Truth is, her life isn’t so fabulous. She’s just been downsized out of her job, her Jimmy Choos won’t pay her mortgage, and…she’s still heartbroken that Josh chose family over her. The real reason she’s enduring this wedding is that her next stop is nearby Greenbush Island, her last hope of finding a new job. Josh knows marrying long-time friend Allie will make everyone happy after the rough time their families have been through, and since the woman he really wanted to marry chose her career and big city life over him—why not? But the perfect wedding turns into a perfect disaster when Allie leaves him at the altar for another man. He never saw that coming! But hey, Devon’s there, offering to help him look for Allie on Greenbush Island, where he’d planned their honeymoon. Only, all they find there are their old feelings for each other and a temptation to risk their hearts one more time…

Highlander Most Wanted: The Montgomerys and Armstrongs Genevieve McInnis is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any other man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead or to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her that longs to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting. Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and her quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever.
Dark Destiny (Principatus) Death exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to sever the life-threads of the living. She does her job with pride and an unwavering commitment. Nothing ruffles her. Until she encounters Patrick Watkins. The Australian lifeguard pushes all her buttons—and makes her tailbone itch like crazy. And when her tailbone itches, it means trouble is brewing. Big trouble. As far as Patrick’s concerned, everything Death tells him is a load of bull. But what if she’s right? How is he expected to save mankind from the worst fate of all—the Apocalypse? Especially when all he can think about is how quickly he’s falling in love with the most feared Horseman of them all…This book was previously published under the title Death, the Vamp and his Brother.

Hotter than Texas (Pecan Creek) With more than one skeleton rattling in her closet, Sugar Cassevechia hopes “The Most Honest Town in Texas” will be the perfect place to start an online business. As soon as her mother remembers the family recipe that’ll get hotterthanhellnuts.com off the ground. In the meantime, no way is Sugar letting their new landlord get away with renting them a run-down house that’s decorated like a rich widow’s orgasm. Even if he’s the biggest hunk of hot she’s ever laid eyes on. Jake Bentley would love to do nothing but sit back and be amused as the Cassevechia women unwittingly stir up trouble in his uptight town. But something about them thaws out his frozen rescue complex. Especially Sugar’s long, chestnut hair and sassy mouth. Right about the time Sugar figures one steamy night in Jake’s bed won’t hurt, another skeleton joins the party in the form of a dead body in the “Belle Watling” room. And Sugar must decide if her family’s reputation—and her own heart—are safe with Jake.
At the Highlander’s Mercy (Harlequin Historical) To regain control of his fractured clan Robert Matheson must take Lilidh MacLerie hostage as a bargaining tool. But Lilidh is no ordinary captive. She’s the woman he once loved—and rejected! Rob’s touch is etched permanently into her memory and, unaware that he was forced to repudiate their love, Lilidh has never forgotten the man who broke her heart all those years ago. Now, looking into the eyes of her captor, she no longer recognizes this fearsome leader. She should be afraid—there’s no telling what he will do. But something about him excites and unnerves her in equal measure….

March 25th

Save My Soul (Crimson Romance) Psychotherapist Maggie Collins has always been a little off the proverbial wall, but now she’s also knee deep in a delayed quarter-life crisis. With her meager paychecks devoured by student loan debt, a car payment, and rent for office space, living at home with a flighty, folk-singing mother seemed like a good idea . . . at first. Now Maggie’s not so sure. She wants space to sort things out and launch a life of her own, but she needs a cushion of cash to get there. When an unexpected phone call brings an offer Maggie can’t refuse, she’s one deal with the devil away from moving out of her mother’s house. The devil of contract negotiations, baseball agent Jordon Kemmons, has a problem the usual experts can’t fix . . . his star pitcher is too depressed to throw strikes. Even worse, Jordon’s post-divorce grudge against women is turning him into a raging mess. If desperate times call for desperate measures, then cynical Jordon has made the most desperate move of all. He’s hoping sexy psychotherapist Maggie Collins is the answer to all his rusty prayers. Soon Maggie and Jordon are fighting an attraction that threatens everything they’ve ever believed. If it’s not just physical attraction . . . if it’s something more, maybe two wrongs can make a right.