Finished Demon Crown, the 13th book in the Sigma Force series by James Rollins, and all I can say is WOW. Simply bone-chilling. Possibly one of the best in the series. What I love about this series is that James always finds a way to keep the story fresh and entertaining, even after more than 10 books. The science and history that he weaves into each book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Fascinating. Add the element of suspense and adventure and what you have is an epic thriller that takes you on the roller coaster ride of your life. Beware: If you’ve got some type of insect phobia, this book might give you nightmares. My skin is still prickly with goosebumps.
Outstanding! Pierce Brown has done it again! Five Stars for Iron Gold— the much anticipated first book of a new trilogy which continues the story of his Red Rising series. Iron Gold picks up ten years after the events of Morning Star, with Darrow “The Reaper” of Lykos and Virginia “Mustang” au Augustus leading the new Solar Republic.
I was one of the lucky fans who received an ARC of his latest novel and I couldn’t be more thrilled at the opportunity to be one of the first readers to set eyes on these pages.
For those us who are still reeling from the high octane, action packed rollercoaster ride of Morning Star, the start of Iron Gold will feel like a much needed relief from all the adrenaline. While for fans it has only been a couple of years since the conclusion of Morning Star, for our heroes it has been ten years since their victory over the Society. A lot has happened, and the author is patient in reintroducing us to this world and the events that transpired.
In addition to reacquainting us with some of our favorite Howlers, Peirce presents us with a whole new slew of characters to love … and others you will love to hate. We are also now seeing this world through three more set of eyes—those of Lyria, Ephraim, and Lysander. It’s a fresh perspective to this universe that until now we’ve only experienced through the eyes of Darrow.
The added point of views allow us to appreciate the Red Rising world in a way that expands our view of both the Society and the Republic. They say history is written by the victors, so what if you could see the world through the eyes of those who lost? Even more, what if you could see the world through those who were part of the collateral damage? I found myself conflicted at times, wondering if I had been too caught up in the Reaper’s glory to see the flaws and potential repercussions of his actions. Too enamored by my favorite character (Yes…Sevro) and too high on my personal vendetta against the villains in the story to think back on all the other lives that were also lost but never mentioned.
Then I wondered, aren’t the best heroes those who are flawed, those who have to battle their demons and make the sacrifices that many of us wouldn’t be ready to make? And, shouldn’t that be enough for redemption? Or should the heroes be held accountable for their mistakes, regardless of the price they’ve already paid? Regardless of our love for them?
Walking in Lyria’s, Ephraim’s, and Lysander’s shoes made me contemplate the reality of war. It is not just about destroying a villain and tearing down a corrupt institution, it’s about healing and rebuilding. It’s about leaving a place better than we found it. But what if that’s not enough for someone who lost everything in the name of the greater good? What if your ghosts literally come back to haunt you?
*Potential spoiler-esque comments below.
Well, don’t get too comfortable in your chair because before you are done philosophizing about this incredible universe, in the words of Sevro au Barca, “S*it escalates” and very quickly. Core to Rim, you’ll fall in an Iron Rain, experience genocide, get captured, take part in an Ocean’s Eleven type heist, participate in a nerve wracking prison break, and go on a potential suicide mission that will leave you breathless. Darrow’s motley crew of Howlers will have you jumping into a StarShell, diving into oceans, and traveling to different planets, and pretty much partaking in their usual death defying antics before you can finish your burner.
Everything you’ve loved about Pierce Brown and his masterful storytelling comes together in a novel that will have you sitting at the edge of your seat, reading until the late hours of the night and into the dawn. Your gut will wrench, your heart will break, and your mind will be blown.
Get your razors ready, Howlers! This ride is just beginning.
For quite some time I’ve been ranting and raving about my love for the Red Rising trilogy by Pierce Brown. I think everyone who knows me is probably tired of me trying to shove the series down their throat. Can you blame me? It’s only the bloodydamn awesomest sci-fi book series out there. I know. That’s a pretty broad statement, but my fellow Howlers would agree. Pierce Brown has weaved an epic space opera which many (me) would compare to the love child of a Star Wars and Game of Thrones marriage.
Don’t love Star Wars or Game of Thrones? Then we need to talk. Later.
Some friends have opted for the blue pill (Damn Pixies!), but those who took the red pill have been forever changed. Once you go helldiving deep into the tunnel colonies of Mars, you come back carved into a different breed of human—a Howler.
What’s a Howler you say? Well, I guess you’re gonna have to read the gorydamn books!
All joking aside, Pierce Brown is a brilliant author who has captured the heart of thousands upon thousands of fans who have self-proclaimed themselves Howlers, Pierce’s own band of wolf-cloaked crazed followers who are deeply in love with the rich story and unforgettable characters—from villains to heroes, there’s’ no shortage of action packed scenes and gut wrenching emotion. This series will leave you twisted and in need of serious therapy. Talk about book hangover. You’re gonna need rehab after Morning Star, the third book in the trilogy. I still experience tremors when I think about “that” scene.
Prepare to roar into battle only to ugly cry by the next chapter. This series is the mother of all rollers coasters. Red Rising is a story about love, friendship, loyalty, honor, hate, greed. What it means to be human. It’s a philosophical and psychological mind twist, a story that stays with you long after you’ve finished the last book. Once it has claw-drilled itself into our flesh, it never lets go.
Thankfully, we have a special group for that. Once you are done reading all three books, join us over at the Fecebook group Hic Sunt Leones where we will nurse your wounds, and where, short of handing you the next installment of the series, satiate your hunger for all things Red Rising.
I discovered Amy Cecil via the Facebook readers group Wicked Dirty Girls 2.o https://www.facebook.com/groups/1717824691570104/ Let’s start by saying that WDG is your source for sexy romance by fresh new writers. Check them out and also check out their blog https://www.facebook.com/maureenkathiread/
Via WDG, I participated in one of their author read-alongs where interested readers get to join a weekend private chat with the author to discuss the book as they read. It was a new experience for me. Very interesting. I loved it.
Ice by Amy Cecil was a fun and entertaining read. There was drama, suspense, humor, and steamy sex! This story takes you for a spin with all its twists and turns. The last few chapters will keep you at the edge of your seat and the mini cliffhanger will leave you coming back for more. Thank goodness book 2 is out! For fans of MC romance, this is the book for you.
A few months back, I was doing some research on a literary contest I was looking to enter. It was my first writing contest and I was a bit hesitant, but I was curious to see how the first 5000 words of my urban fantasy WIP would be received by a group of judges. It is scary to send your baby out there, especially before it is complete. Heck, it’s scary even once it’s complete and ready to be sold.
The point is, I wondered who the winners were for the previous year and whether or not they’d published those stories. I looked up the three finalists in the Paranormal/UF/SFR/FR category. Out of all three, only one really caught my attention: E J Frost. As I read through her blog and learned about her books, I felt compelled to pick up one of her novels. What drew me to Snowburn was the fact that it was a sci-fi romance. I’d never actually read that subgenre of romance, but I knew I liked sci-fi in general. Plus, I’d recently finished reading Morning Star by Pierce Brown, the 3rd book in his sci-fi Red Rising series and was on a serious book hangover. (I need a whole new post dedicated just to the Red Rising saga. We’ll go back to that at some point.)
Anyway, I was thrilled to have found a mashup between two of my favorite genres, so I set out on my quest to discover this new author and purchased the book.
Snowburn begins a far-future, sci-fi/romance series set on the Deep Frontier.
I’m the biggest monster on the planet.
Hale Hauser is a Company killer. Perfectly engineered, highly trained, superbly effective. But when ordered to assassinate his own kind, Hale rebels, and the Company buries him in a hole so deep that no one has ever escaped.
After escaping, Hale hides on Kuseros, a backwater Colony on the Deep Frontier. He begins a new life as Sandringham Snow, pilot and smuggler. Hired by Kez, a local runner, to retrieve a box of black-market glands, Hale follows her through the maze of strange loyalties and twisted customs of Kuseros’ underground gangs. In payment, he takes the one thing only a woman can give him, and discovers the one thing his new life is missing.
But Kez has a secret, which will threaten them both. To protect her, Hale must unleash the monster. Can he control the killer inside long enough to discover the truth before it destroys them? Or will he lose everything just as he’s found it?
I loved Snowburn from beginning to end. It was fascinating on many different levels. First, most romances I’ve read have been from the female point of view. This was told strictly from Hale’s point of view, and what was most interesting was that while some authors might struggle writing first person from the opposite sex, Ms. Frost expertly teased out Hale’s personality and flawlessly brought forth his voice.
The writing was edgy and dark. This is not your typical roses and champagne type of romance. Nope. This was gritty and dirty, extremely sexy and scorching hot. While romance was at the core, there was so much story, you could easily forget you were reading a romance novel. The book is replete with expansive world building, tons of awesome geeky talk, and loads of interesting characters.
Unfortunately, the sequel to Snowburn is not out yet, but thankfully E J Frost had another book out to hold me over. Neon Blue is the first book in her fantasy series.
My name is Tsara Elizabeth Faa, and I have a demon problem. A very serious demon problem. My ex-best friend has summoned an incubus, and left me to deal with him. Now he’s after my soul.
Thing is, the more time I spend with him, the more I want to give it to him.
I love a well-crafted supernatural romance and this one had me reading until the wee hours of the night. It is a serious page-turner. I’ve read the typical vampire, werewolf, and fae romance books, but this was something completely different. Reading about a sexy demon had me feeling a bit naughty, all while still having fun laughs. Tsara and Jou are crazy entertaining, endearing at times (yes, even demons have a sweet side it seems) and oh boy, the sex is wicked hot. I’m dying for the second book Blood Yellow, but that one is not yet released—which is a real bummer 🙁 I need answers!
I’ve enjoyed getting to know E J Frost, her books, and her writing style. I can’t rave enough about it. I am so happy I stumbled upon her work and am anxiously waiting for the sequels to her books.
If you’re interested in learning more about this author and her work, visit her website and follow her on social media.
My career as a writer didn’t begin like most authors. I wish I could say I wanted to become a writer since I was five years old. Or that I wrote my first book at the age of ten. Or that I have several books under my belt. The reality is, I am embarrassed to say I didn’t even like to read recreationally until I was out of college (I know, all that time I could have spent lost in a book…). I picked up my first novel by accident as I scanned the small bookrack at a convenience store while I waited in line to pay for my bag of potato chips. Map of Bones by James Rollins sparked my love of reading. Something about the cover caught my eye. Once I flipped open the first page, I was in love. The rest is history. I’ve been an avid reader ever since.
Anyway, even though reading was not a part of my early life, storytelling still coursed through my veins. I grew up watching and adoring films. Steven Spielberg became my hero when I was but twelve years old and finally saw E.T. for the first time. That movie made something in me burn. It made the impossible seem possible and seeded in me a desire that up to that point was foreign to me.
My childhood was a relatively good one. There are plenty of happy memories I cherish, enough of them that I don’t need to dwell on the dark moments of my pre-adolescent years—at least not here. Some might think it strange that I actually thank those shadowy moments in my youth. They helped shape who I am today. They made me stronger and fueled my longing to find beauty in the world. And I did. My extreme optimism has been known to drive some people mad. But I refuse to be bogged down by negativity. I will always find the light even in the blackest corners.
As a young child, movies were that window into the light. They showed me another universe, where anything you dreamed of could be made real, even if just for a moment. I was able to forget whatever plagued me at the time and simply escape. Movies not only transport you anywhere, they can make you feel everything. Joy. Excitement. Love. Loss. Sadness. Terror.
I wanted to tap into that. So, I pursued a career in film making and went off to school to study the art. Sadly, it didn’t pan out as I’d hoped. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say I learned a great deal about the industry, enough to make me rethink my career choices. While I eventually re-majored in psychology and criminal justice—and later took a position in social work, I held on to much of the knowledge I gained while studying film. Unbeknownst to me back then, seeing the world through a camera lens gave me the perspective I would need later on when I eventually decided to venture into the world of writing.
Prior to me ever picking up a fiction novel, screenplays and poetry were the only things I knew. I dabbled in poetry for a while (I still have many of those poems. Nothing I care to share now—or ever for that matter. They weren’t particularly good.) I also worked on a couple of screenplays while at university. I even have several journals that chronicle my life as I left my teen years and became an adult. I might go back to those one day, there are some hilarious stories in there.
Anyhow, after I discovered my first book, I realized that reading reminded me of my years spent studying film. Except, reading was a million times better. It showed me the limitless possibilities that film can’t reach. I’d found my true home. And even though I reminisced about the time I wanted to tell stories through the silver screen, the desire to write my own story didn’t actually stir until many years later.
It was May of 2012, when my twins were seven months old and my eldest was three. I barely had the time or energy to eat, let alone write a novel. Sleep was a foreign concept, yet it was during one of those half-asleep midnight baby feedings that an idea began to brew. I knew nothing about writing a novel, except that I loved reading them. Yet, something in me spoke. A voice. Not mine, but that of a young woman who’d lost everything she ever loved. She had a story and she wanted to tell it.
It is not easy to see the light when you’re surrounded by pure darkness. Sorrow can consume you and drown you in its watery abyss. I know. My husband and I experienced sorrow when we learned of our first child’s disabilities. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such pain. I’ll admit, even this perpetual optimist saw herself losing her biggest battle yet.
Still, even though it felt like I’d hit the lowest level of hell, a part of me refused to be beaten down by this new challenge. I overcame that initial period of mourning. When you’re expecting a child—before that child is even born—you’ve already seen them grow from infancy, through grammar school, college, marriage, and you’ve envisioned your grandchildren. So when your child is born with severe special needs, and you know those visions will probably never come to pass, all those castles that you built all of a sudden come tumbling down. It’s easy to get lost in the aftermath of the rubble, until you realize those castles were made of sand. They were never real.
And that’s when it clicked. Once I let go of that burden—of the broken dreams that never were—I was able to embrace my reality head on and with full force. And that reality is the most beautiful thing in my world. My son is the biggest blessing to our family. He has made me, my husband, and our other two boys better people.
Point is, I understood sorrow and why “Sara” wanted to tell her story. While I can enjoy a good weepy book and I’m not afraid to ugly cry during a movie, I wasn’t interested in telling that kind of story. A writer has to dig deep into a character’s soul and pretty much wrap themselves in that character’s skin in order to bring forth their voice. I knew the pain Sara had experienced, but I didn’t want to be trapped in it. Not after just having come out of dark places myself.
So I chose a different route.
I’m a sap for romance and I decided I was going to write a romance with characters who were broken, but whose storyline was not going to be about that pain, but how their love for each other helped them overcome the obstacles put in place by that pain. And so…Wicked Dance was born!
It took five years to complete. I spent a great deal of time learning about the writing process. I crashed and burned many times. I joined online writing communities and made several amazing friends who have since become my critique partners. I had my share of rejections before I was offered a contract by the Wild Rose Press. Rejections can kill your morale if you’re not ready to hear the truth, but they are part of the process. I took mine and learned from them, but not before crying my eyes out with a glass of cabernet cradled in my hand. In the end, the hard work paid off.
Wicked Dance is my first completed novel. The sequel is a work in progress, and the other stories I intend to write are still ideas I hope to bring to fruition real soon. So I am not your conventional novelist, but I’m working on it. I’ve promised myself not to take another five years to complete my second book. I intend to keep that promise.
I wanted to share with you a bit of my writing journey because I think it’s important for other aspiring authors to know that we’ve all been there…some of us are still there, trudging through the mud, trying to get our voice heard. I sure as hell have miles to go. So don’t give up. We are in this together!
Coffee Table is where I will be sharing a bit of my personal self—my little indulgence, even though I really shouldn’t have the time for it, but I profusely refuse to give it up. If writing is my passion, reading is its mate. You will always find me with a book no matter what is going on in my life, and if you ever meet me, I’ll probably want to tell you all about it. It wasn’t always this way, but more on that later.
What I hope to do here is share with you some of that fire I have for reading. Periodically, I’ll be posting comments about the current book on my “coffee table”. Why a coffee table? Well, because when you work full time and run a household full of men, coffee is fuel. Plus, I like my coffee how I like my men—strong. So I am usually up until the wee hours of the night still high on caffeine.
While my first published novel is a steamy contemporary romance, I read across genres, so you’ll be getting a variety of flavors when you stop by.
Grab a cup of your favorite java and join me in my love of books.