Sunday, November 13, 2016

Thank You All!

It's been a long and rewarding journey, but after 4 years and over 2,300 reviews & interviews Pure Jonel:  Confessions of a Bibliophile is closing it's doors, figuratively speaking of course.

Take a moment or two to wander through the archives to see where I've been and what books I recommend.

Don't worry though.  This blog may be closing but you can still find  me around on Goodreads reading, reviewing, and chatting.  Feel free to look me up there.
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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Guest Post with author Linda Weaver Clarke

The Rebel Series–Stories of Love and Liberty by Linda Weaver Clarke
There was a time when swashbuckling men and brave women engaged in daring and romantic adventures, those who fought with bravery and valor. These courageous men and women were looked up to because they defended the people.

“This creative take on a Robin Hood-like story is charming and touching, and teaches some great morals about agency and choice. It reminded me of childhood fairytales of good versus evil, with a nice romance weaved into it.” –Author Charissa Stastny

In The Rebels of Cordovia, a group of men and women who called themselves Robin’s Rebels realize they must help the people survive this oppression. In this battle for freedom, a love story begins to blossom. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn’t realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin’s Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?

After reading this story, Susan Ortlieb from Suko’s Notebook Reviews wrote: “Linda Weaver Clarke writes with passion and grace, and the love story in this book is simply wonderful. In fact, this aspect of the story was the strongest draw for me. (Are love stories set in the past more romantic than those set in the present day?) I thought that Robin and Daniel sounded perfect for each other, and I enjoyed the steady development of their relationship. This charming book was a pleasure to read, and I relished it.”

The tales from The Rebel Series have adventure, sweet romance, and delectable kisses. These are stories of love and liberty that takes place between the 18th and 19th Century. In the sequel, The Highwayman of Cordovia, the people enjoy their new-found liberty but all is not well. One year after Cordovia gains its freedom, a group of powerful men plan to take over the small country and replace the leader with a king.

With the help of a bold highwayman and a pastor’s daughter, they try to save their country from being taken over by a power-hungry leader. As they strive to stop the Kingmen and thwart their plans, Christine finds herself falling in love with Austin Knight. The only problem with their relationship is that she thinks he is her knight in shining armor instead of a highwayman. If she finds out his trade, what will her reaction be? As a pastor’s daughter, will love override her values?

“Linda Weaver Clarke has a storyteller's talent for enchanting and mesmerizing the audience. There are also some exciting surprises and twists that will delight the heart. Definitely a must read!” --Cindi Clubbs, Mommasez Reviews

The Highwayman of Cordovia, the second book in The Rebel Series, will be available on Dec 3rd, 2016. Read sample chapters of both books at

About the Author
Linda Weaver Clarke has traveled throughout the United States, teaching people to write their family history. She is the author of historical romances, mystery/adventure series, a children’s book, and a cozy mystery series. All her books are family friendly. Visit

Watch a book Trailer below!

The Rebels of Cordovia from Linda Weaver Clarke on Vimeo.
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Texas Cowboy's Christmas & Q&A with author Cathy Gillen Thacker

1) How did you come up with the relationship between Molly and Chance? 
 I imagined two business rivals—a single mom/general contractor designer and a bull rancher/general contractor, both vying for the same job, who also have a history of really rubbing each other the wrong way. She thinks money buys happiness and he has grown up with wealth and knows that is not the case. Things really heat up when, a few days before Thanksgiving, her son decides he wants Santa to bring him a live baby bull for Christmas—just like the one Cowboy Chance has—and Chance does nothing to disabuse him of the notion.

2) What is your favorite part about writing holiday books? 
It makes me think about what each holiday means, and or should mean—and gets me in the spirit of the season, too!

3) Do you have a signature Thanksgiving dish? 
I make a great traditional dinner every year for the family--roast turkey and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, fresh cranberry sauce, corn and zucchini saute, rolls, and then pumpkin, chocolate, pecan and chocolate chip pecan pies. Then I take a nap….:-)

4) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
I was 11 when I began crafting stories on paper. I think I always made up stories in my head before that, though. I was 21 when I started writing in earnest and 26 when my first novel was published. I wrote 7 full length novels before finally selling my first, and have sold steadily ever since—although not every idea gets picked up by my publisher.

5) How long does it take you to write a book? 
3-4 months for a short contemporary, and 6 months for a long contemporary.

6) Where do you get your inspiration for Bullhaven Ranch? 
I read an article on bucking bulls and the people who invest in them, and my research took it from there. I was amazed that for many families their bucking bulls are like pets to them—not the feared, angry snorting animals you see in the movies. They’re great in the ring, because they are trained to buck a rider off, but docile and sweet and loving otherwise.

7) How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite? 
I’ve authored 120 published novels. My favorite book is usually the one I have just finished.

8) What book are you reading right now? 
SOMEWHERE SAFE WITH SOMEBODY GOOD by Jan Karon. I love the adventures of Timothy and Cynthia. I also picked up the new Maria Semple book, TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT.

9) What are your current projects? 
I am finishing up book #4 in the Texas Legacies: The Lockharts, a new Laramie, Texas series. It’s about Lucille Lockhart and her five adult offspring, who have all returned to her home county in rural Texas, to claim their inheritance, and find out what really matters most to them. (It’s not what they thought.)

10) What advice do you have for writers? 
Read as much as possible. Newspapers, magazines, blogs, novels in and out of the genre you are writing in, biographies, memoirs. Really, anything that interests you. Then write every day. Finish what you write. It’s easy to begin a story, not so easy to see it through to the end, and seeing it through to the end is what teaches you the craft of writing. Then start the next project, while you try and sell the finished one.

About the author:
CATHY GILLEN THACKER is a full-time wife, mother and author who began writing stories for her own amusement during "nap time" when her children were toddlers. Twenty years and more than 50 published novels later, Cathy is almost as well-known for her witty romantic comedies and warm, family stories as she is for her ability to get grass stains and red clay out of almost anything, her triple layer brownies, and her knack for knowing what her husband and children are up to almost before they do! Find out more by checking Cathy’s website.

A Texas Cowboy's Christmas
Series:  Texas Legacies:  The Lockharts
Author:  Cathy Gillen Thacker
Publication Date:   November 8th 2016 by Harlequin
Length:  224pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf: review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:


Molly Griffith is ambitious and only wants to give her little boy the opportunities she never had. Which means moving to Dallas, no matter what Chance Lockhart says! Though being with the handsome rancher does make the idea of small-town life more tempting…

Molly has always gotten under Chance's skin, and now that he's bonded with her little tyke, he can't imagine Bullhaven Ranch without them. But the single mom is so focused on her big-city fairy tale, she could miss Chance's offer of the most important gift of all—the love and support of a real family.

My Review:

Family drama meets romance in this intimate tale that I enjoyed during a rainy afternoon. Thacker’s vivid descriptions and solid narrative bring everything to life in a big way. The plot was interesting and unique, without ever becoming convoluted. This was a nice, quick, crisp read.

The characters that Thacker develops here were interesting individuals. My heart went out to them more than once. This character-centric novel was not only heartfelt, but also fun. This novel is a prime example as to why Thacker is a go-to author for western romance. I love how she develops the characters so individually while also fulfilling readers with this intimate plot.

All in all this was a good, solid novel that I had fun with. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, light, and at times swoon worthy novel.

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Amish Christmas Blessings & Q&A with authors Marta Perry & Jo Ann Brown

1) How did you come up with the relationship between Anna and Benjamin?
 When I started thinking about writing this story, I began with Anna as the young midwife who was dedicated to her calling but still struggling for acceptance. I liked the character, with all her vulnerability, but I needed to find a hero who would complement her. So I began considering a man who had left the Amish to explore the outside world. They are both daring, in a way, but while Anna finds strength and satisfaction in her faith, Benjamin has looked for satisfaction in the outside world, only to find that what he really wants is home. The idea that the two of them had a past relationship which no one else knew about jumped into being when I started putting them on the page—one of those delightful things that surprise the author!

2) What is your favorite part about writing holiday books? 
I’m a traditionalist, so I like to celebrate each holiday in the same way every year. Christmas brings back lovely memories of Christmases past—being a child on Christmas morning, seeing my own children with their eyes shining, and now enjoying my grandchildren’s awe and wonder. When I write a holiday book I get to experience it all over again through my characters.

3) Do you have a signature Thanksgiving dish? 
The dish I consider my specialty for Thanksgiving is my pecan-crusted sweet potato casserole. For some reason, sweet potato casseroles come in long after the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy in the Thanksgiving popularity pool, but I love the sweetness of the potatoes contrasted with the crunchy brown sugar pecan topping. If no one else wanted it, I’d eat it all myself!

4) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
When I was about eight, we moved to a community that had a wonderful library. My mother soon realized that she had a bookworm on her hands, and we spend many happy hours there enjoying stories together. But it was when I picked up my first Nancy Drew mystery that the longing struck. Most little girls read the books and want to be Nancy. I read that first one and wanted to be the person who created her. While I’ve never written a Nancy Drew mystery, I still owe her a great deal.

5) How long does it take you to write a book?
I think about the idea for a book for a long time before I’m actually ready to start writing, but I guess I can’t count that time! As for the actual writing, I allow myself three months for a shorter novel, like a Love Inspired, and four-five months for a longer book, like the romantic suspense novels I write for HQN Books.

6) Where do you get your inspiration for Lost Creek’s Amish community? 
When I write about the Amish, I always write about Pennsylvania Amish, because that’s what I know. In recent years, more Amish families have been moving into our area of north central Pennsylvania and even farther north. So it was an easy choice for me to set my fictional Lost Creek in a valley very like the one in which I live. If I want to know what the scenery looks like, I just glance out the window.

7) How many books have you written? 
I’ve had over sixty books published, as well as writing a few that never saw the light of day! Do you have a favorite? It’s very hard to pick a favorite, since that’s like choosing among my children. I think my favorite book is actually always the one I’m going to write next!

8) What book are you reading right now? 
Right now I’m reading “The Friendly Air,” a romance by Elizabeth Cadell that was written some years ago. I recently discovered that those older books are seeing new life as e-books, and it’s delightful to re-discover books I once loved.

9) What are your current projects? 
I’m writing a Lost Creek book for Love Inspired, tentatively called, “His Last Love,” as well as doing revisions on my forthcoming Amish romantic suspense, “Echo of Danger,” which will be out from HQN Books in May.

10) What advice do you have for writers? 
Read what you want to write, but also read much more widely, especially non-fiction. You never know when two seemingly unrelated topics will come together in your imagination to create a book, and it will be something that isn’t exactly like everything else the editor has seen.

About the author:
MARTA PERRY is a Pennsylvania-based author of more than 35 novels, many of them inspirational romances. She uses her rural Pennsylvania life and her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage in writing her books, especially in her Pleasant Valley Amish series for Berkley Books and her new Amish-set suspense series for HQN Books. Marta and her husband live in a centuries-old farmhouse in a quiet central Pennsylvania valley. They have three grown children and six beautiful grandchildren, and when she's not busy writing her next book, she's usually trying to keep up with her gardening, baking for church events, or visiting those beautiful grandkids.

1) How did you come up with the relationship between Amos and Linda?
JAB: Because the novella is part of my Amish Hearts series, I knew one of the Stoltzfus brothers would be the hero. It seemed like it was the turn for Amos, the brother who owns the general/grocery store at the Stoltzfus Family Shops in my imaginary Lancaster County town of Paradise Springs. Because readers wouldn't know a lot about him at the beginning because he's not been front and center in the previous titles, I decided to give him a heroine who knew nothing about herself. I hoped the readers would find it interesting to learn about the two of them together. As I'd suffered from a short-term memory loss (after an accident) thirty years ago, it seemed like a "natural" fit for Linda to go through some of what I went through.

2) What is your favorite part about writing holiday books?
JAB: It gives me a chance to celebrate the holiday twice in one year. While working on the novella, I had Christmas music on and simply enjoyed letting Christmas go from the "twelve days of" to an extra couple of months.

3) Do you have a signature Thanksgiving dish?
JAB: I do. I make what we call graham cracker pie. My grandmother made it every year for Thanksgiving, and I now do the same. It's simple -- graham cracker crust, vanilla pudding filling and meringue topping, but everyone in the family considers it an absolute necessity for the end of the meal.

4) When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
JAB: I always spun stories for my younger sisters, but I finally put pen to paper when I was around 12. I was supposed to be doing a history assignment about the trans-Atlantic emigration, and, all of the sudden, the story of a 12-year-old girl making that journey filled my head. I wrote my first novel in high school and have since buried it at the back of my file cabinet.

5) How long does it take you to write a book?
JAB: It depends on the book and how the characters and story cooperate with me. Usually I can write the first draft in around 4 weeks. Then it needs to sit while I get disconnected with the story and start something else so I can come back for the final draft with fresh eyes.

6) Where do you get your inspiration for the Stoltzfus Family Shops?
JAB: The Amish are close-knit, and they drive buggies and make other decisions in the hopes of being able to spend more time together. So I thought: If all these brothers needed to make a living off the family farm, how would they keep that family closeness and still have learned skills to provide for themselves and family? Having them all working nearby allows the brothers to pop in and out of each other's stories.

7) How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
JAB: Over 110 books. My favorite is always the one I'm going to write next because I'm excited about spending time with the characters and to see how the story unfolds.

8) What book are you reading right now?
JAB: I'm reading science fiction at the moment -- just started Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's Power Play. I never can read what I'm currently writing.

9) What are your current projects?
JAB: I'm currently writing the 6th book in the Amish Hearts series. It's the story of Micah (the next to last brother in the family) and the girl who broke his heart, but now needs his help.

10) What advice do you have for writers?
JAB: Read, read, read and write, write, write. Repeat. Also don't think that every word you've written is golden. Any project can be made better through hard work and good editing.

About the author:
JO ANN BROWN is a lifelong storyteller and the award-winning author of numerous romantic novels. She also writes as Marianne Ellis. A former U.S. Army officer, she has taught creative writing at Brown University and is thrilled whenever one of her students publishes. She is active in adoptive family support. She currently lives in Nevada with her family, which includes one very spoiled cat.
Title:  Amish Christmas Blessings: The Midwife's Christmas Surprise\A Christmas to Remember
Marta Perry & Jo Ann Brown
Publication Date:  October 18th 2016 by Love Inspired
Length:  224pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play 

Back Cover Blurb:
Holiday Greetings From Amish Country

The Midwife's Christmas Surprise by Marta Perry

Three years ago, the man Anna Zook hoped to marry left her and their Amish community for the English world. Now devoted to proving her abilities as a midwife, Anna has given up on marriage and children for herself. But when Benjamin Miller returns, now a changed man, can delivering a Christmas baby reunite these two hurting hearts?

A Christmas to Remember by Jo Ann Brown

When a little girl leads shop owner Amos Stoltzfus to an Amish woman in distress, he rushes them to his family's farm. "Linda" has no memory and doesn't know if the sweet child is her daughter or even her kin. As Christmas arrives and Linda's identity is revealed, will Amos be able to claim his holiday guests as his own?

My Review:

These stories were simultaneously lighthearted and heartbreaking. Love and loss are forever linked in ways that readers can’t escape. The story was emotionally turbulent, highlighting aspects of the characters and their lives. Both authors also had me in stitches with this one. The balance of hope and loss was phenomenal.

I loved the mix of characters in this novel. Love Inspire tales by these two never fail to draw you to the characters, warm your heart while giving you a peak at that perfect, fantasy romance, that’s never ‘too perfect.’

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A Child Under His Tree & Q&A with author Allison Leigh

How did you come up with the relationship between Kelly and Dr. Caleb?
Kelly and Caleb’s high-school relationship was introduced several years ago in The Rancher’s Dance. At the time, I can’t say that I intended to reunite them in their own story, but the more I thought about it, the stronger appeal it had.

What is your favorite part about writing holiday books?
It’s fun to wrap holiday trappings around romances. The “feel good” sense that people have that time of year is a sharp contrast for those in turmoil.

Do you have a signature Thanksgiving dish?
Oh, goodness. My signature anything out of the kitchen tends to be a dessert. So I would have to say it would be an early sampling of my Christmas Storybook Cookies, which are decorated sugar-cookie cut-outs. I can’t take credit for the name of the cookies—that comes from a really ancient magazine (I’ve been making them since I was a teenager), but I like to think it’s fitting for me as a writer. Ha! I also almost always make my Fudge Drop cookies, too, which are a lot less work and equally loved by my family year-round.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Second grade. Hands down. But as I got older, I didn’t really think I could be a “real” writer until I actually sold my first book, Stay…. (This is NOT the advice I give aspiring writers, by the way.)

How long does it take you to write a book?
When I’m in the midst of one? It seems to take forever. Ha! I don’t have the luxury of writing every single day, so that means I have to be diligent when planning my writing time. I’m a terrible procrastinator and know that I work better under pressure. (Don’t know what that says about me psychologically, but there you have it.) All that being said, it takes me anywhere from 15-20 very long writing days to finish a manuscript. This is assuming that I have a fully fleshed-out synopsis first.

Where do you get your inspiration for Weaver, Wyoming?
As a girl, I lived for a few years in a small town in Wyoming. It made an impression, to say the least. I love small towns and I love open spaces. Weaver is my mind’s perfect fantasy location.

How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?
Fortune’s June Bride in 2015 was my 50th. So that makes A Child Under His Tree my 52nd. Hard to believe. I can’t say that I have a true favorite, but obviously Stay… was pretty important as it was not only my first book, but my first book set in Weaver, Wyoming. A lot of books have come as a result.

What book are you reading right now?
Right now, I’m actually reading two: a non-fiction book called None Braver by Michael Hirsh and a romantic suspense by Karen Robards called The Last Time I Saw Her. Enjoying them both.

What are your current projects?
Currently, I’m finishing Wild West Fortune, which is one of the terrific Fortunes of Texas series of which I’ve been so fortunate to be a part. Hard on the heels of that will be my next Double C title. Both to be released in 2017.

What advice do you have for writers?
First off—if you write, you are a writer. (Don’t take my path of not taking yourself seriously as a writer unless you’ve sold a book.) But if you want to be a PUBLISHED writer…then write what you love. And finish what you write. You won’t ever get there if you don’t sit your rear in the chair and actually do the work. I love writing. I really do. But doing the work? That’s not always champagne and roses. It’s hard. It takes time. It takes effort. But when you write those last words of the manuscript and know you’ve given it your all? It’s one of the best feelings in the world.

About the author:

ALLISON LEIGH'S high point as a writer is hearing from readers that they laughed, cried or lost sleep while reading her books. She makes her home in Arizona where she’s blessed with an immensely patient family who doesn’t mind (much) her time spent at her computer and who gives her the kind of love she wants her readers to share in every page. Stay in touch at and @allisonleighbks.

Title:  A Child Under His Tree
Series:  Return to the Double C Ranch #15
Author:  Allison Leigh
Publication Date: November 1st 2016 by Harlequin Special Edition
Length:  224pgs
Genre: contemporary romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google Play

Back Cover Blurb:

'Tis the season for second chances…and secrets!

Forget the mistletoe maneuvers. Kelly Rasmussen isn't planning on having that reunion kiss with Dr. Caleb Buchanan any time soon. Things had long ago gone south for these former high school sweethearts. Except for that one night six years ago—which resulted in an explosive secret Kelly's kept till this very day.

Now career and family have brought them both back to Weaver, Wyoming. Their unavoidable clashes—and instant chemistry—make them realize this town isn't big enough for the two of them. Or three of them—counting Kelly's son. Because there's something about that little boy… For one thing, he has Caleb's eyes…

My Review:

The in-depth scene development of this story really drew me in. I could picture so many different aspects of the story. I felt as if I were part of the community, rather than just a bystander.

Leigh's intricate character development leaves you with a sense of what really makes everyone tick, without bogging you down with irrelevant details. The complex relationships between the characters, really made me consider all aspects of the situations at hand. The relationship between the main characters is a rollercoaster that in turn made me laugh, cringe, & want to sit them in a room alone together so they have to talk. That said, the story really could have used a bit more background on the relationship between them. We only get the basics, and none of the why's and how's.

As a whole, this was a fantastic read that has me hooked on this new to me author. I can’t wait to return to this intricate world that she's created.

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Guest Post with author Ellen Chauvet

When Does a Writer Become a Writer by Ellen Chauvet
The Inimitable Anne Rice

There are hundreds of articles out there on “How to Become a Writer”, but as I did my research for this blog, nowhere could I find an unequivocal answer on when that happens. Is it when we first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)? We’ve written our first draft, am I a writer now? Or when after months (sometimes years) of rewrites we have a product ready to go to Beta readers? Perhaps it’s when we’ve done all the editing, polishing, agonizing over and finally we’re sure our baby is ready to go to a publisher? Can you start to see this could be a never ending process?

So, when IS that magic moment when we can finally declare “I am a writer”? The secret may be in that definitive word “declare or declaration”.

DEFINITIVE: Conclusive, Final, Decisive, Ultimate, Absolute, Complete

DECLARE/DECLARATION: State, Announce, Assert, Affirm, Pronounce, Proclaim AND, my favorite of all STATE PUBLICLY.


Tell your friends, tell your family, share it on social media, share it with writing groups. Get it out of your head and into the public.

And then there must be ACTION.

Action that is consistent with our declaration of being a writer. For example:

1. Make time to write every day – even if it’s only 10 minutes. It’s the practice that makes a difference.

2. Ignore your inner critic – this voice can sometimes be so loud it’s overwhelming, but if you can learn to tell it to sit down and shut up, you’ve taken a huge step in the right direction.

3. Write first – edit later. Remember, you are not an editor, so don’t waste your time editing as you write. Just keep writing, leave the editing to a professional.

4. Keep learning – join a writing group/groups (there are tons out there on the internet who want to support you), take a writing class, hire a writing coach. This was probably one of the most important things I did when I first started writing. I hired a coach and I took her coaching (the other key element).

5. Attend a conference. There are some wonderful conferences out there. Do your research and decide which one is best for you.

6. Be YOU – there is no one else quite like you.

7. Get published. Send out submissions or decide to self-publish.

8. BUILD AN AUTHOR PLATFORM AND SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE. Choose 1 or 2 social media opportunities (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) and work them every day. If you don’t know what an author platform is, google it, or ask a writer you admire and follow. I can’t stress enough how important an author platform is and this can often be the most difficult part of being a writer.

1. Have fun!!! Enjoy being a writer.

2. Set goals. Some writers find doing a 1,000 word challenge a day inspiring and productive. But whatever challenge you create it has to work for you.

“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”

Harvey McKay

And remember, perhaps the biggest hurdle for writers is getting past the internal dialogue of “I can’t”, “Nobody will want to read my work”, “It has to be perfect (or) it isn’t perfect”, “What I have to say isn’t interesting enough”, and so on. We are our own worst enemy.

What you have to say matters, so happy writing everyone.

About the author:

Ellen lives in Vancouver, British Columbia and finds the months of rain and gloom particularly conducive to creating in this genre. Ellen’s love for reading and writing developed at an early age and she wrote several short stories and plays which were lost over the years and many moves. In 2003 a friend introduced her to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Ellen was fascinated by the idea of good and evil vampires. At that point she started reading every vampire novel she could find, particularly loving Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton. “When Darkness Falls” is the first in a series of books called The Vampire Redemption Series and is adult fiction.

Connect with Ellen:Blog:

Available on Amazon and Goodreads: Kindle:
Create Space: (Amazon’s print version)

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Monday, November 7, 2016

Tainted by Christina Phillips

Title:  Tainted
Series:  The Druid Chronicles #4
Author:  Christina Phillips
Publication Date: November 7th 2016 by Phoenix 18 Publishing (first published August 28th 2013)
Length:  360pgs
Genre:  historical romance
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - Kobo - Indigo

Back Cover Blurb:

A dangerous love that Rome will never allow…

Driven by the knowledge he failed to protect his king, Druid warrior Gawain abandons his gods and vows to destroy the Roman invaders by any means possible.

Nothing and no one is more important than protecting his fellow Druids from the enemy until he meets the beautiful Roman patrician, Antonia. She is everything he’s never wanted in a woman, yet she fascinates him like no other. Despite the danger of discovery he embarks on an illicit liaison with her, determined to uncover the reason for the infinite sorrow that haunts her eyes.

Newly arrived in Britannia from Rome, Antonia is inexplicably drawn to the cold, tough Celt. His touch stirs a passion she long thought died at the hands of her brutal former husband and his unexpected tenderness thaws her frozen heart. But she hides a deadly secret that could be her undoing, and knows her growing feelings for him can lead nowhere. Yet when a shadow from her past threatens her future Antonia is torn between the Empire of her birth and betraying Gawain, the man she’s grown to love.

My Review:

Phillips has put together yet another breathtaking portrayal of forbidden love during the Roman expansion into Britannia. Her fluid writing draws you in and paints a very vivid picture for you. As a reader you can walk along with the characters through their very unique tale. Illusion runs rampant as Phillips builds scenes that you can walk through and trials you feel like you’ve experienced yourself. Everything combines in a racy, provocative, emotionally charged novel you’ll love.

It was very nice to be able to immerse myself in the perspective of both the male and female leads of this story. It gives a very well rounded feel to their relationship and the story as a whole. Not only do we get the views of the opposing sexes, but we also get the views of two different cultures at war. And from the ruling class of each to boot! This gives the readers a unique look at the time period and it’s challenges while keeping you thoroughly entertained.

I also absolutely love the characters in this novel. They’re so well developed that you can’t help but get to know them as you would your friends and neighbours. The naivety combined with worldly experience that Phillips presents through her characters is a heady combination in this story.

Overall, political turmoil mixes with romance and personal dilemmas to create a hot story you won’t soon forget.

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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Brea's Tale by Anthea Sharp

Title:  Brea's Tale
Series:  A Feyland Novella (Feyguard)
Author:  Anthea Sharp
Publication Date:  October 28th 2016 by Fiddlehead Press
Length:  59pgs
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Shelf:  review
My Rating: ★★★★★
Book Links: GoodreadsAmazon(US)Amazon(CA) - B&N - Kobo - Indigo - Google PlaySmashwords

Back Cover Blurb:

~A novella set in the USA Today bestselling world of Feyland, where faerie magic collides with a high-tech human world~
Once a mortal girl, Brea Cairgead discovers her magical heritage and escapes the human world to dwell in the Realm of Faerie. But fate has more in store for Brea than a simple existence as one of the fey folk, and when she runs afoul of the Dark Queen, she must embark on an adventure that will change her future... forever. 
Approximately 65 pages. Portions of this story previously appeared in the Shapeshifter Chronicles, the Nightshade Anthology, and Chronicle Worlds: Feyland.

My Review:

I cannot say just how much I enjoyed this novella.  This quick trip back into Feyland was one that I couldn't put down and was sad to see end.  I loved how Sharp continued to develop the different types of magic that those from Faerie are able to use and how differently they manifest in each individual.  We also get to see parts of Faerie that aren't quite so apparent in the main novels in the series, but that explain a whole lot about the why's and how's of things.

And Brea was a fantastic main character for this novella.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and what it means to be part human and part Faerie.  Her personality was so unique that she really drew me in.  Her actions and reactions were genuine yet not predictable.

As a whole this was a fantastic read both as part of the Feyguard series and for those new to this world.  It's a must read for any and all who enjoy the genre and if you're anything like me it will leave you dying for the next tale.

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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Interview with author Barbara Underwood - Giveaway

Q ~ Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
A: OK, I’ll try not to make this boring! I’m from Sydney, Australia, and have been writing just for the fun of it since 4th grade. When I began writing about my travels during my 20s, friends who read them kept saying “You should write a book!” so one day I took it seriously and did a correspondence course in professional writing. Besides writing, my other passions in life are art (I sketch, paint in oils and other mediums) and music: I listen to all kinds of music, and I used to play several stringed instruments, including the 5-string banjo when I went through my Bluegrass phase! Nowadays I’m doing mostly just writing and art, crosswords and Sudoku to unwind, and a bit of family genealogy research just because it’s interesting and fun.

Q ~ What’s something that you never leave home without?
A: I suppose you expect me to say that I always carry pen and paper with me in case I get a brilliant idea for my books. Actually, I do, along with my purse/handbag which I always take, but I’ve only used that pen & paper once so far. What I really can’t leave home without is...well, it’s a bit embarrassing... tissues. I hate the thought of not having anything to wipe or blow my nose, especially in hayfever season!!

Q ~ List two books you’ve read more than three times.
A: Uhm...I don’t think I’ve ever read any book more than twice! I think it’s because I’m always reading new stuff, both fiction and non-fiction.

Q~ Who is your favorite literary villain and why?
A: Can I include the villain of my own series?! In my series, the Dark Master is my favourite type of villain because he has believable motives for what he does, even if they cause misery or even death for others. That makes a villain intriguing because you can almost sort of understand him or relate to him a bit.

Q ~ What was the first romance novel that you ever read?
A: Oops – I don’t think I’ve ever read a straight-out Romance novel. I’ve always been more interested in ghost stories, mysteries and adventure, just like I always preferred cars and trains to dolls when growing up!

Q ~ What’s the best interaction you’ve ever had with a fan?
A: Just recently, actually, a reader contacted me on Facebook just to say that she thought my first book, which she had just finished reading, was “a Masterpiece” so that was definitely the best feedback/interaction so far!

Q ~ What does your family think of your writing?
A: Couldn’t be better! My husband is also a writer, so it’s an ideal situation because we understand each other’s ups and downs, problems and frustrations, but also the highs, and we can be happy for the other’s success and creative work.

Q ~ What is one thing that you absolutely need when writing?
A: My glasses! Apart from that, I need to be in a comfortable environment: comfortable chair, not too hot or cold...that sort of thing.

Q ~ How do you decide on the setting of your book?
A: As I started out basing my Urban Fantasy series on historical legend, myth and some fact, I’m continuing to use elements of real life and history for my settings. Rhuna lives in the time of Atlantis, when they were able to travel all over the world with their advanced technology, so I’m using places with ancient history as inspiration for the settings. Books 2 & 3 are set in Ancient Egypt, which readers will recognize. The next book, which I’m working on right now, is set in Ancient India, which might not be too obvious, but I’m also using bits of history and legend for this setting.

Q ~ Can you tell us a little bit about your latest release and what inspired you to write it?
A: My latest book, “Rhuna, The Star Child” is the sequel to “Rhuna: Crossroads” and both are set in Ancient Egypt. The latest book follows on from the previous one, but also opens some new doors for Rhuna to go through and explore, as well as meeting her father whom she believed was dead. The climax at the end is the situation that forces Rhuna to leave Ancient Egypt and go to mysterious India. (The places all have different names, so you don’t need to know history or geography to appreciate Rhuna’s adventures!)

Q ~ Is anything in your new release based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? A: Even though it’s Fantasy, there is a lot of real life in each of my books, and many things are from my own life experience, just altered a bit here and there. The latest book draws on situations I’ve either experienced first hand, or was involved with, such as Rhuna’s teenage daughter falling in love with a much older man whose reputation is not exactly perfect.

Q ~ Do you prefer to write in a small town or big city setting? Why?
A: Probably a big city because there’s more going on, more people and events for my characters to interact with, but in the book I’m currently writing, Rhuna lives in a beautiful country house on a lake for a while. This setting contrasts with other things happening in the book, and while I enjoy writing about country life (I lived in a big city all my life until 5 years ago, and now live in a pretty country town in the mountains) it still depends on the plot and story a lot.

Q ~ If you were stranded on a desert island with one of your characters (from any novel you’ve written) who would you choose and why?
A: I’d choose Goram because he’s enough of a bad guy to get any messy business done properly, but enough of a good guy to feel safe with.

Q ~ What are you working on next?
A: The fourth book in the Rhuna series, while at the same time planning the 5th! If I have the energy, I might also write a short story featuring Rhuna, which is exclusive to my newsletter subscribers. I’ve already written one, so I’m planning another one in the next 6 months or so.

Q ~ If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
A: Just keep writing and don’t give up your dream, if you really believe in it!

About the author:

Barbara Underwood was born and raised in Sydney, Australia; the only child of German migrants who provided a rich and diverse childhood environment. Already in third grade she wrote a short children's book for a class project and realized that she was deeply satisfied with creating stories. In sixth grade, for another class project, her teacher was so impressed by the lengthy story she submitted, that he commented at the end "I see we are going to have another author".

Over the years Barbara kept writing one thing or another, but only as a hobby while she pursued other interests and goals. In the 1990s, she completed a correspondence course in professional writing, doing it in her spare time after work. This led to having a few short stories published, but what she really wanted to do was write a proper novel.

At this time, Barbara had travelled extensively and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in subjects that held special appeal for her, namely ancient history, myths and legends (such as Atlantis, the builders of megaliths around the world), folklore (the belief that a god-like race gave mankind its technology), human psychology and the culture of other countries. What better subject for her novels than to combine all these elements into one big adventure!

Find out more about Barbara on her website.   You can also sign up for her monthly newsletters with exclusive materials, contests and the usual news and updates on the books and series.

And now, be sure to enter the fantastic giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card courtesy of author Barbara Underwood!
Contest is open internationally, where applicable by law. 
Entries close at 11:59pm Nov 5/16. 
Winners will be drawn Nov 6/16. 
Winners will be notified via email to the email provided to the giveaway and will have 72h to claim their prize or another winner will be drawn.

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