As my editing jobs have become more numerous, I have updated my Editing Fees and Guidelines. My editing and proofreading includes checking for grammar, sentence structure, misspellings, and pointing out plot inconsistencies, etc. At this time, my base charge is $0.008/word, with a minimum of $50, payable via PayPal. Editing jobs I am currently working on, received before May 1, 2014, will continue to be edited at the old rate.
If your manuscript is less than 5,000 words please let me know and we can work out pricing. I prefer to set up appointments for your manuscript, but please, send your manuscripts to me as early as possible. I can often work them in sooner than they are scheduled, but advance notice is much easier.
I use Microsoft Word 2013. I use the Track Changes application while I edit and leave the decision as to whether or not to accept those changes to you. I also tend to leave extensive notes outlining the reason for specific changes, noting uneven or awkward sentence or paragraph flow, or even if I noticed something that just doesn’t feel right.
Full editing is completed in one of two ways. The first choice is that I completely edit the book and provide you with a corrected copy, highlighting changes and corrections and making when appropriate extensive notes. Your second choice is full editing. I take the book in hand, do all corrections and changes and provide you with print ready copy. The charge for print ready copy is $0.010/word.
Please note: Books from authors who speak English as a second language, hence requiring a great deal more correction for grammar, or books with extensive re-write may be significantly more. You may send me your book for pricing if you feel there may be extensive work needed on the book. Pricing available upon request.
After I have edited a manuscript, I will send it back to you. Once you have made changes, you can always send it back to me for a second pass at no charge. Please note: If second-pass changes are truly extensive, I will reserve the right to bill a second payment for the second pass. I want to be fair to you, but I also want to be fair to myself. Just as writing is difficult, though rewarding, editing a book in a manner that will make you proud of your final product is a lot of work.
For available books on which I have worked, please see my “i-edited” shelf on Goodreads. You may contact any of the authors with whom I’ve worked for a reference. I am also very willing to provide you a sample of my work to see if we are a comfortable fit. I can be easily contacted through Goodreads or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to working with you!
“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
“To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis,
Pull out your “Happy Dance” ladies and gents! Assault in the Wizard Degree is printed!! The Fantasy and Forensics series has expanded to book six, and six is definitely a magic number.
Poor Dayna. The more she busts her backside to save the world on Andeluvia, the more it twists itself into a bloody mess . . . and guess who gets the job of straightening everything out each and every time? Yep. You got it. What is a Forensic Scientist stuck in an epic fantasy land supposed to do? Well, if you are Dame Chrissie, you dust off your hiking boots, gather your tools, and do your best to save the day. Again.
“Salvation shall come to Dame Chrissie only when she stands in the shadow of all that she has achieved.”
Well, salvation is something, at least. A bit of hope, after the court Soothsayer invades the throne room of the King bearing tidings of doom and death.
“I dreamt a dream of utmost import . . . that if not heeded, shall mean the downfall of this kingdom and the ruin of all Andeluvia!”
And this time, he might just be right. Dayna’s life in Los Angeles is hard enough as the evil attempting to take over Andeluvia bleeds over into her birth world. Now, an evil long thought buried and gone is awakening. Death and despair, war and horror are looming on the horizon, and Dayna’s small group will be tested beyond anything they have ever faced before.
It begins, as do so many things, with a request for Dayna’s help. The centaurs, you see, have a problem.
“A centaur that has committed an act of sacrilege regarding the ‘Ceremony of Equilux’.”
It should be a simple case – use her forensic skills to discover who committed a crime. But what she finds is so much more. The Creatures of the Dark have made deeper inroads than anyone expects (well, anyone other than Dayna and her friends) and even the densest and most purposefully ignorant will no longer be able to deny the truth.
There are, of course, the light moments Michael’s writing is so well known for. Characters are well written and believable, the landscape of the world of Andeluvia is sharply drawn, and the storyline holds perfect continuity throughout the series. If you haven’t read the rest of the series, I would highly recommend you do so before reading this installment. I am not saying you couldn’t understand or enjoy this book as a standalone, but it is such a wonderful series it would be a shame to miss the run-up to this pivotal point in the series.
This is a Wonderful series, and I cannot recommend it highly enough!! Of course, full disclosure, I work with Michael on his books – but that doesn’t mean I don’t adore each and every one.
“It is, alas, chiefly the evil emotions that are able to leave their photographs on surrounding scenes and objects and whoever heard of a place haunted by a noble deed, or of beautiful and lovely ghosts revisiting the glimpses of the moon?” - Algernon H. Blackwood
“Many miles away there's a shadow on the door of a cottage on the Shore of a dark Scottish lake.” – Sir Walter Scott
“The Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” ― J.B.S. Haldane, Possible Worlds
The island is known as “New Hope.” Hard. Unyielding. A tiny speck of rock in the Outer Hebrides, off the western coast of Scotland, it was an odd place to begin a religious colony. Especially as a colony of crofters. And odder than that? Their religious leader simply walked away from his lucrative business as a slave ship captain known for his murderous treatment of the slaves in his hold, embracing a desperate sort of religious fervor incomprehensible to those who knew him.
But the colonists arrived, and for a while, they thrived through sheer hard work and determination. Until, that is, they simply vanished from the face of the earth. No bodies. No graves. Food still on plates with chairs pushed back, boots and shoes left at the door.
Fast forward to modern time. Alexander McIntyre is a media mogul, determined to prove that paper and print are not a lost art – that the internet will not destroy the business he loves. And Alexander McIntire has a secret. A secret, he hopes, that will help him to do so. Alexander’s pet private eye has found a snippet of film from the 1930’s. A snippet which may well help solve one of the foremost mysteries of a century ago. What really happened to the 150 settlers who landed on New Hope Island, only to disappear into the ether?
His sturdy band of specialists includes everything from virology and forensic archaeology to a lecturer on alien abductions. Throw in a well-respected medium and a Catholic exorcist, and surely the mystery will be solved after all these years. And, of course, McIntyre’s paper will be saved.
So, off the intrepid team sails, to a land not only cold and inhospitable, but very, very deadly.
“A God capable of creating the universe would not wish to be worshipped by man, says Captain Ballantyne. Vanity is a human failing. Why would an omnipotent being crave our fear or flattery or even be sincerely interested in our gratitude?”
I don’t often read horror, but the premise and setting of The Colony caught my attention. And of course, a good cover always helps. For some reason, this stark, black-and-white image kept drawing my eye until I had to see what it was about. And then I was hooked. And the story itself didn’t let me down. As bleak as the shores which it portrays, the story strips its characters bare, touching the worst, and yes, the best, in the human soul.
The second book is The Colony: Dark Resurrection.
Yes. Humans never learn.
This book is free with Kindle Unlimited. So, what are you waiting for? The books needs serious editing by a Scottish editor, but it is highly atmospheric.
“You’re my lawyer, or maybe not. I’m really beginning to rethink this whole idea.”
“Ah yes, because you’d rather take your chances with your public defenderre, who has advised you to what? Oh, that’s right, plead guilty.” – Eve Langlais – Legal Wolf’s Mate
Fabian Garoux absolutely, positively, without a doubt, is not a sucker for a sob story. No. Really. After all, he is an attorney . . . (Argh!!! Run Away! Run Away!!!!) But when the best friend who found you running around naked in the woods after you were changed against your will, (And ate a rabbit. Raw. Eww.) asks for your help, well, it is hard to say no. Especially when the guy who is apparently framing the ‘Damsel in Distress’ for murder is the very scumbag who turned you against your will!
After all, revenge really is best served up cold with a side of “Got’cha!” Set-ups, betrayal, revenge, and the most deliciously wicked ending, evah! made “Legal Wolf’s Mate” an actual thrill ride rather than the formulaic Paranormal Romances that are so common today. Oh, and don’t forget the Bounty!
Megan starts out seeming like a downtrodden simpleton, and I pretty much went “Huh? Who wrote this again?!” but as the story progressed, she became more and more interesting. Then more interesting.
Then . . . well, you are going to have to read it to figure things out!
I received this book from Eve Langlais in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own.
Can a half demon, half pixie/holy warrior/unicorn/Father Earth/werewolf (Yeah. Don't ask.) not get just a little bit of peace and quiet? Just a little? I mean, Come ON People! She already saved the world. Twice, as a matter of fact, in the last couple of years. Can a girl not just enjoy her adopted Brownie son and her half-fallen angel boyfriend for a few bloody minutes before you all go messing things up? Again?
But nooooooo . . . You have to go gettin' all rowdy, joining a whacko cult, walking around like zombies (when you aren't rutting like bunnies) and generally messing up Caith’s life.
It seems a couple of Caith’s old enemies are up to no good again. Even if Uncle Lucifer did throw them into the very bowels of the deepest circle of Hell. Of course, if Uncle Dearest didn’t have his mind on the little demon spawn he planted in the brainless twit he just dumped on Caith’s front door, maybe she could have gotten things under control a little more easily?
Nah. No such luck.
That’s all bad enough. But when Caith’s little Bryony, Sam, and Jezzie are endangered? Well, here’s a clue. Don’t. Piss off. The niece of the Morningstar. That will get you just all kinds of pain.
Caith Morningstar is one kick-ass beotch. You would expect her to be, taking into consideration who her mother is, but while she may have set Chicago on fire (Once! It was Just Once!) and maybe started a war (or two), the influence of all five fathers makes her loyal, protective, and determined to keep Mouse Town, her family, and her friends, safe.
Ms. Celia has written another winner Urban Fantasy in “Made in Hell” I have no doubt you will love! Humor, pathos, love, hate - it's all here, and all written in that unique Celia Kyle style.
I received “Made in Hell” from the author in exchange for a realistic review. How Lucky am I?!?!
“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Scarlett Bernard is one pragmatic lady. Of course, she has to be considering her job is supernatural crime scene cleanup. As in, get in, clean up the mess, steal the body, and book the hell out of Dodge before the cops arrive. She is truly good at her job, and her boss, the cold and distant Dashiell, Master Vampire of the city, may be scary, but he pretty much allows her to do her job without interference. But then, the worst happens.
She gets caught. Caught by a newly minted detective, Jesse Cruz, just after she arrives at a scene more bloody and grotesque than any she has ever seen. What happens next is fast paced action with terrific world building and interesting characters. I first read the book back in 2012, and enjoyed it then. This time I listened to the Audible edition narrated by Amy McFadden (one of my favorite narrators) and, as sometimes happens, I liked it even more as I listened. Scarlett is a strong character with a well-developed, though brutal, background and is likeable. She isn’t perfect, but that is what makes her interesting. She has taken horrific hits in her life – but the one she walks into later on is absolutely devastating and Olson does a rather wonderful job of writing the horrors of betrayal. I would have liked her to be more mature in her interactions with others – her tendency to cope a nasty, self-serving attitude at times was a downer. I am hoping that the next books will show growth in her as a character (especially since I own them all). Her behavior isn’t as horrendous as other female characters in the genre, but I am hoping for more maturity in upcoming works.
There are some things that were irritating. The Dreaded Love Triangle. Irritating! Not only do love triangles make me retch, this one felt stilted and unnecessary, dragging down the storyline. Also, the POV switches between characters and from first to third person erratically and unnecessarily. Irritating, but not as irritating as the lurrve (titter titter, Groan) triangle. Olson’s take on werewolf psychology was more interesting than a lot of other books in the genre, and her friendship with the Alpha and Beta were more realistic than many others. The Alpha isn’t as ‘Alpha’ as in other books (thank the Goddess!) and the tortured Beta was very realistically portrayed in the vein of “I never wanted this in the first place.”
So, flawed, it isn’t perfect by any means, but I still enjoyed it as much as I remembered, and Amy’s narration was, as always, spot on.
“The noir hero is a knight in blood caked armor. He's dirty and he does his best to deny the fact that he's a hero the whole time.” -- Frank Miller
“When in doubt, follow the truth. The path is often well-illuminated and it usually leads me in the right direction.” -- David S. Brody, Cabal of The Westford Knight: Templars at the Newport Tower
“Let evil swiftly befall those who have wrongly condemned us - God will avenge us.” - Jacque (Jack) De Molay, last Grandmaster of the Knights Templar, Friday 13th, 1307
They started as protectors of Pilgrims on the Path. About 1119, Hugues de Payens, a French nobleman, began The Knights Templar, a group of knights charged with protecting the weak and innocent on their journey to visit the Holy Places.
But that changed.
From religious vows of obedience, chastity, poverty and piety, and under the orders of the Church, they became slaughterers of anyone who didn’t believe in Christianity. Thousands perished under their swords, men women and children. They became bankers to the world, an order without “clear purpose or support,” but with enormous financial resources and power.
Well, the church couldn’t have that. So, at dawn on Friday, October 13, 1307 their members were arrested, charged with heresy, blasphemy and various other crimes, tortured, and then executed.
Now, in Debra Dunbar’s marvelous imagination, the Templars still exist – but nothing as they were before. Focused on protecting their Temple filled with magical treasures and conducting research, they no longer Protect Pilgrims on the Path. Oh, they still train. With swords. Yeah, try riding a horse around town with a hand and a half bastard sword strapped to your back and see how far that gets you in this day and age. But mostly? They sit around the pool at their mansions, sipping martinis and playing golf. Well, all that treasure, invested properly, means that everyone inducted into the order pretty much lives a life of fairly obscene luxury. Well, except for Solaria Angelique (Aria) Ainsworth. Nope. Aria works in a coffee shop for minimum wage, lives in a hovel of an apartment, and lives on Ramen. At 26, she is far past the age she should have taken her oath to the order (no matter that her mother nags her constantly!). She knows the Templars should be more. They should still be protecting the Pilgrims, not counting their gold. The modern Templar belief is “only God should judge.” Of course, after their brutal and bloody history, it is easy to understand the reasoning – but to Aria it is a cop-out. There are still Pilgrims trying to find their way along the path, and they need protection.
Even if they are vampires
When Leonora, the local vampire Mistress, asks for her help in identifying a mysterious sigil, she thinks it will be no problem. After all, she is a well-trained researcher with a massive collection of mystical texts. Oops. Finding the meaning is hard enough (after all, she only has seven days) but then? Things get sordid. Mass murders, the forty year old slaughter of a happy family, and secrets and lies force Aria to make a decision. Who is right, who is worthy of her protection – and who deserves to die.
I loved the idea behind the story. Aria? Nope – not so much. Almost not at all. The woman is 26, she has intense training, and not a lick of self-preservation or emotional common sense. Tell me this. If you know for an absolute fact that if you are to screw the vampire you will last maybe a few weeks, at most a couple of months, and then you will die . . . would you Really be considering actually doing it?!?! Yep. That pretty much ruined the book for me. Everyone who knows me know I love a strong female character. And in a lot of ways, she is strong. She is trying to do the right thing, for the right reasons, but her emotional “I am a pre-teen with a vampire crush” whining throughout the book really turned me off. I mean, seriously turned me off. I kept reading because the book overall was quite good, but I doubt I will read another.
“Suppose neutral angels were able to talk Yahweh and Lucifer – God and Satan, to use their popular titles – into settling out of court. What would be the terms of the compromise? Specifically, how would they divide the assets of their early kingdom?” – Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates (2000)
I really only picked up the book as it was advertised on one of my “Free Today” book emails. You know the ones, and if you don’t, why not? So anyway, there it was, and the cover caught my eye. It was the first in a series, free, written by an author I hadn’t heard of. Why not?
Now, here is the thing. One Way Fare had a fairly interesting blurb, though I was a bit leery of the whole “Angels and Demons” shtick. Honestly? The whole Hellhound/Poodle thing is what really caught my attention. And you know what? For all that the Angels/Demons/Time Travel thing is normally so not my thing, well, I was entranced. I mean, really, truly entranced. Taub’s writing is unique. She has shaken up a couple of genres, and written her characters, and her story, in ways that held me rapt from page one.
In the room made of light, they plan the end of Hell.
The thing is . . . I’m rooting for Hell in this one. No, really. I mean, Lucifer is The Morning Star – which the oldest Latin texts portray as either John the Baptist, or Jesus himself. After all, it isn’t until much later that texts were converted to the concept of The Morning Star as being “Satan,” an evil character. Let’s face it – the ideation of “God vs Lucifer” is based in the takeover of various Egyptian, Canaanite and Jewish tales of gods who fought fiercely amongst themselves for power. To the victor go the spoils – an the right to tell the tales in any way they see fit.
Taub’s Hell is a nightmare for anyone who considers intellectualism to be threatening (you know, Right Wing Republicans, that sort of thing). As Ray Williams, in Anti-Intellectualism and the “Dumbing Down” of America (Psychology Today, July 07, 2014), says, “There is a growing and disturbing trend of anti-intellectual elitism in American culture. It’s the dismissal of science, the arts, and humanities and their replacement by entertainment, self-righteousness, ignorance, and deliberate gullibility.”
Ha! Send me to Hell, because this place is Interesting! And a whole “Hell” of a lot more inclusive than “Heaven” could ever hope to be. Or even “Haven,” the place where the Fallen Angels who want to recreate the “Heaven” they were thrown from, exist. So, a bunch of pissy Angels want to destroy Hell – and they don’t care that, “Not only will that strategy lead to massive death and destruction for humans, but it could mean war between Fallen and Angels.” Wow, total narcissism really can be deadly! (I still wish I could remember the book I read, I think it was in the late 70’s or early 80’s, where ‘god’ is so busy staring into a mirror admiring himself – well, keep telling a guy he is handsome, you just know that spells spoiled rotten, self-centered ego maniac, right? – he allows the universe to go down in flames around him.)
Then, of course, there is the time travel aspect of the book. Honestly, I am not usually a time travel book lover. They never seem to get the continuity right. But Taub proved me wrong. Her writing makes sense. “I have a theory about time. Things can’t happen if they didn’t.” And what is even more crushing? Things still happen if they did. Taub holds all of the timelines tightly in her grasp, flowing backwards and forwards, building a gossamer web of linkages that never left me thinking “Huh? What just happened?”
This series is now at the top of my “Must Read New (to me) Series.” I already downloaded the second, DON’T TOUCH, Null City Book 2. There are some issues that weren’t tied up all the way in book 1, and I look forward with great eagerness to see how they carry forward through the series. One Way Fare is edgy, imaginative, and deeply unusual compared to my usual experience with this type of book. Highly recommended!
And remember this – “Why do they blame me for all their little failings? They use my name as if I spent my entire days sitting on their shoulders, forcing them to commits acts they would otherwise find repulsive. ‘The devil made me do it.’ I have never made one of them do anything. Never. They live their own tiny lives. I do not live their lives for them.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists
I make no bones about the fact that I adore T.S. Joyce. Her Damon’s Mountain series is one I go back to when I am feeling blue, tired, or just want a quick, happy read with a bit of an edge. There is drama and danger, prejudice and bigotry, but there is also love and courage, family and friends.
Now, the Harper’s Mountains stories begin, and the children of Damon’s Mountain take center stage. In “Bloodrunner Dragon” we got the setup, and began to learn what has happened with the children since “Boarlander Cursed Bear.”
Everyone we knew as a baby is all grown up. And while they were desperately loved as children, that doesn’t mean that all was flowers and sunshine. Take Aaron Keller. As a child he was, literally, the poster child for Shifter Rights. Bright blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a tinkling laugh that grabbed hearts. He was a poster child all right. But that doesn’t mean his life was all roses. His story began in “Bear My Soul.” Living with only his mother for the first six years of his life, Aaron’s life was, as much as his mother loved him, and as hard as she worked to make him happy, brutal. The bear inside him was a brawler, strong and headstrong, and drove Aaron’s life. Drove him into a cage in order to keep himself, and his mother, safe. Six years before it was a one night stand Cody ran from – from the man, and from the feelings he caused. Not knowing who, or what, he was, finding Aaron was a bear was hard. It worked out, but the time in the cage as a child damaged Aaron, and his bear. Damage that has carried forward into his present life. But in "Bloodrunner Bear" Harper’s Mountain is a soothing change to his life. And meeting Alana has promise – but the war between a coven of vampires with a grudge may cost Alana her life. Which could very well cost Aaron his mind.
This has all the potential of the Damon’s Mountain series, and in the first two books? It meets that potential!
“Superstition, bigotry and prejudice, ghosts though they are, cling tenaciously to life; they are shades armed with tooth and claw. They must be grappled with unceasingly, for it is a fateful part of human destiny that it is condemned to wage perpetual war against ghosts. A shade is not easily taken by the throat and destroyed.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862)
Humans. As Hugo says, superstition, bigotry and prejudice incarnate. When you are ‘different’ it is hard enough. When you are a Shifter? Well, as Shrek put it, “Grab your torch and pitchforks!” Or, in this case, your cops with riot guns. Cause as much as we would like to think that we should all be able to live together, well. It ain’t happening. The humans love watching Shifters fight, MMA style, in the ring, but they certainly don’t want them in their towns. Of course, the Shifters don’t really care. After all, they worked out some really good financial contracts for their shows – so, who cares, right?
When Freya Wright was eight, her father disappeared. Walked out the door to “run a quick errand” and never returned. It destroyed her mother, and left a darkness in her own heart. Her mother took her from Washington and moved them to San Diego, but rather than getting better, she lost herself in a bottle. Now, with her mother dead, Freya has a plan to try to cut the darkness in her heart. She wants to walk the Pacific Coast Trail, the 2,659 mi trail up the coast from Mexico to Canada. While she plans to go alone, a high school reunion adds her friends Eloise and Marin to her trip. It will be hard, harsh and brutal, months of hiking over rough terrain in all sorts of weather. There are ups and downs, literally, but also mentally and emotionally. Then, the worst happens, what all women on their own fear. They see what they shouldn’t. And their lives will never be the same. Now, they are terrified, kidnapped and held prisoner. Life and death hangs in the balance, and is beginning to slide to the right.
In a lot of ways, this is a standard PR, but at the same time the strength of the women was pleasing, and the ideas behind human/shifter relations was interesting as well. It kept me interested, and left me satisfied. If you like PR with a ‘shifters in the modern world’ bent, give it a try. Free on Kindle Unlimited, or .99 if you don’t have KU.
“The mind of man is capable of anything.” ― Joseph Conrad,
“And all we feared inside the night
shows true in morning’s biased light.” ― Garth von Buchholz
I give Abby Greenwood kudos for trying. The idea is solid for her book, “Dark Hearts,” and could easily be transformed to any situation where people fight and kill one another simply because they are “different.” Well, and to turn a profit, of course. Native Americans slaughtered by the whites who came to this land. Religious difference, skin color differences, the list goes on and on.
The thing is, there were too many issues with the book to allow me to completely enjoy it. First, I was expecting a tense, suspenseful crime thriller. What is here is a mild police procedural with a romantic bent, based around a serial killer, race tensions in LA, and two officers who are doing their best to track down who is murdering people and stirring up said race tensions, and why. The “bad guys” were easily spotted, however, and their reasoning was fairly blatant early on in the book. The story arc was also damaged by lack of continuity – first one, then the other, and it was irritating that there was no editing for continuity. It shows up very early in the book and threw me off. There is also a ‘dropped’ story line that disappointed me.
Then we come to the ‘police procedural’ backbone of the book, and the lack of procedural and logistical knowledge of the author had me crossing my eyes. If you are going to write about a profession, whether it be police work, firefighting, or computer hacking, you have to research – something that was lacking here.
Overall, if you are just looking for an easy read, this is quick, and as I said the idea is good. I wish I could have enjoyed it more than I did. Great cover though.
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” -Buddha
“The chaining of Fenrir cost the god Tyr his right hand” – Völuspá, translated to English in The Poetic Edda, Henry Adams Bellows, 1923
Sara Watson thought her life was bad enough as it was. Working as a stripper and part time Vegas showgirl, she tries to hold down four part time jobs, go to college, and still pay the rent and eat. They say Vegas is a hard place to live, and she knows all about that. But even the hell of her life is better than the hell she ran from in New York. A father that beat and controlled her, a life with no meaning. At least now, if she can get through school, she can start a real life on her own – fake ID or no fake ID.
Yes, life was hard. But nothing as hard as being kidnapped along with her best “friend” (though the idea of friend is Las Vegas equates to ‘what can I get out of you for doing you the favor of being your friend) and dragged out to the desert by her ex ‘I’m-a-cheating-POS’ boyfriend who has tracked her down to Las Vegas to bring her back. Or kill her. Whichever works.
Telling him to get stuffed, taking her beating and broken ribs, then crawling out into the desert to die on her own and free is gutsy enough. I gained a ton of respect for her at this point, though I already respected her for keeping her moral compass (unlike her crappy friend) and going against said ‘friend’ and not going full-on prostitute made me respect her. Yep. She is one tough cookie, with more internal fortitude than any man her age I have ever known. But after the ex and the girlfriend finish doing the nasty and track her down as she crawls across the desert, then turn into wolves and begin eating her alive (literally), even weirder things happen. And suddenly, Sara’s life is more hell than she could have ever imagined.
Let’s get serious here. First, I really, REALLY wanted to give this book five stars with a bullet. Sara is tough and strong, yes. But she isn’t unbelievable, and she has a heart of gold and a strong sense of right and wrong – and did I mention the heart of gold? Then she meets four other women who are an absolute joy. Tough, take no prisoners women with a fetish for guns, not taking any crap off of anyone, and their husbands (pretty much in that order). There is romance, but no sex scenes, which was completely refreshing (if you are an erotica-only lover, skip this one). The story is fast, suspenseful, sometimes terrifying, and kept me totally immersed in the story. The characters are wonderful, the world building is unusual (living in the world as we know it, but with their own governance, etc.) Some of the scenes literally brought me to tears. That’s the good.
The bad came after I had a chance to come down off my ‘reader-high’ and start thinking about what I would write in my review, and realized I couldn’t give it a five at all. The story is complex, and kept my attention throughout, but there were some issues that a really good content editor could have solved. Ms. Blain has a brilliant mind for writing paranormal suspense, but she isn’t organized. She has a few different threads moving through the book, which is fine, I really enjoy books that are more than one-note songs, but she literally dropped the ball about midway through, dropping one of the more interesting story lines and never going back to it. No wrap, just dropped. Poor form. The book is quite long, 564 pages, and I was never bored or wanting to skip pages as I do with some longer books, and her descriptive narrative and conversational style was enjoyable, but dropping the story line, which I was invested in, shows a lack of organization. Editing for word usage, spelling, and dropped words was OK, but not good. Someone put effort into beta reading for that sort of thing, but the continuity is what killed it.
Overall, I will still recommend the book. The story and pace kept me up all night long (literally, yawn) and then the minute I rose I went right back to it and stayed with it to the end. Give this woman a good content editor, or just a whiteboard to write down all of her threads to make sure she ties them all up at the end and a couple of really good beta readers and she will be a force to be reckoned with in the world of Paranormal Suspense. Recommended, but could be better.
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there.” ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
“Child, child, do you not see? For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are.” ― Lloyd Alexander, The Black Cauldron
Recruit Ryan Blackwell’s father was determined that he not follow in his grandfather’s footsteps, and used his power and lawyerly clout to make sure it didn’t happen. No West Point. No Valley Forge or Citadel. Ryan would, come hell or high water, bend to his father’s will. But there wasn’t much he could do about it when Ryan was recruited to Northshield University – the same military college his grandfather attended – with a full scholarship. No, Ryan simply packed a small bag and boarded a bus.
At first, Northshield was everything he expected. Reveille at oh’ dark thirty each morning. Grueling PT, strict regulations, and screaming Drill Sergeant Upper Classmen with quick tempers and a tendency to make life on campus utterly miserable if they wished. Just what he expected, just what he wanted from his experience as an ROTC college student.
But then? Things got bad. It started simply at first. Magical motes, like tiny bits of fairy dust, dive bombing him as he ran through a creek, attempting to stay ahead off the pack of his fellow freshmen out for a grueling PT run. But then the motes attacked, and one of his fellow classmen went down. And as much as Recruit Blackwell wanted to hide who he was, and what he could do, he couldn’t let his fellow freshman drown. So, he stepped in.
His secret laid bare to two of the upperclassmen, the story begins to grow and evolve into something horrific. For something is trapped on the grounds of Northshield University. And when a twisted recruit pulls part of the darkness out of its prison below ground, people begin to die in horrific ways. And though Ryan is just a freshman with a bit of magic and no training, it seems he is the only one with any sort of knowledge that might trap the darkness back into its prison – and ascertain that the true monstrosity trapped so very long ago isn’t released upon the world.
In a lot of ways, this could have been just some YA story of a young man gaining amazing magical powers and riding in to save the day. Luckily, it turned out to be a much better book than that. Ryan knows he isn’t strong, he isn’t trained or knowledgeable. But he is ready to go all out, to give his own life if necessary, to stop what is happening. He has a good heart, a good soul, and a strong link to the strength his grandfather displayed in the Second World War. He isn’t cocky, he doesn’t suddenly gain super powers. He is just a college freshman with a bit of talent, a will to learn, and some quirky abilities he has had to learn to control in order to keep himself sane – and make sure others think he is as well. Of course, on a campus where weird things happen, and two or three students a year die under ‘unusual’ circumstances, there are those who watch out for anyone who appears who seems a bit odd, a bit like they are there for less than your bog standard military school reasons. So Ryan finds a friend or two. But when push comes to shove? Yeah. It’s all pretty much on him.
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from By Darkness Revealed. I just felt like something a bit magic, a bit horror, and this is the first thing that popped up on my reader that fit the bill. I dove in, and from the first page I was hooked. I added it to my collection from a ‘Freebie’ email (it is Free on Amazon) – probably because I liked the cover, to tell the truth – I certainly wouldn’t have picked it up from reading that it was a “coming of age” book – that isn’t my thing normally. But it kept me riveted from page one, so I am very glad I did.
OK, remember my review of Milly Taiden’s Federal Paranormal Unit series? I talked about how her books usually had good storylines to go along with the “bow chicka bow bow” and how much I enjoyed having a good story to read along with my dose of “down and dirty.”
Well, as much as I like stories about shifters working together for law and order and justice for all, and as much as I wanted this series to have a good story to go with aforementioned down and dirty . . . this didn’t do it for me. Of course, others think all the bedroom (and floor, and kitchen counter, and couch, etc.) calisthenics is just fine without a good story, and more power to them. But for me, without a good story it is simply a rather big disappointment.
All the stories in this two volume set are more along the lines of ‘erotica’ than ‘paranormal romance’ and none have a real story line at all. The business itself (the PPA) is simply a set piece, a flat painted background that never really does anything.
The only story I really could get a bite of was “Seduced by Santa” a story I had read before. Candice Kane adores Christmas, and has moved away from her rich, self-centered family to work and live in the poorest part of town to help disadvantaged children. When her community center is trashed she is afraid her Christmas for the children is destroyed. And when she is attacked in an alleyway she is sure her life is over with as well. Enter an unrelenting Christmas-hating Santa Elf, and things get interesting. Can they work together to save Christmas for the children?
Overall, if you are a fan of erotica without all the whips and chains, check this out, but don’t expect much story with the stories.
I have enjoyed the works of Milly Taiden for quite a while. As a Paranormal Romance reader, I have been often discouraged that authors are more focused on the sex scenes than having anything more than a wisp of story line as a vehicle for stringing together instances of raunchy rollicking. Hey, I love me some hot and nasty, but I want a story to go with it. And, mostly, Milly doesn’t let me down in the boxed Federal Paranormal Unit set. I had read the first in the box, Wolf Protector, some time ago, then wandered away (as usual) before checking out the next two, Dangerous Protector and Unwanted Protector. Having the whole series as a boxed set on Kindle Unlimited was a real treat, as my budget right now is so tight it squeaks! So what to do but write a review in thanks?
The first, Wolf, is the story I had read previously and enjoyed. Erica Villa is a Profiler for the Federal Paranormal Unit, and one strong cookie. Her particular skills are hidden from the others on her team, other than their boss, Brock. He is the one who has always stayed with her, allowing her to exercise her skills in private, without the others knowing just what makes her different, and so exceptional at her job. But now, Brock has to leave her in the hands of her team members. Buchanan and Ramirez are shifters, and ‘man whores par excellance’ swooping in on every woman who crosses their path. Jane is their computer maven, brilliant, sensitive, and very private. Of course, Buchanan has been sniffing up Erica’s tail for the ten years they have worked together as a team, though Erica will be damned before she allows a Casanova like him to make her just another conquest. Yes, some women really ‘don’t’ fall all over themselves like idiots over the “Bad Boy” which made her refreshing. But when she is thrown into his care, and he see exactly what she suffers while doing her job, his constant longing for the woman he has always wanted, but who went out of her way to stay away from him, leaves him determined to protect her at all costs. Of course the HEA is there, but the story keeps it interesting.
Dangerous, the second in the FPU series, introduces us to two new characters to the team. Martin Galvez, the uptight FBI department head who is determined to take over the FPU at all costs, even though, as Cynthia Vega, the new head of the FPU, puts it, he never will head the group, “Because you’re not special.” And Cynthia herself, who was put in place by Galvez to be his eyes and ears, pushing out Brock for top spot in the team. The only thing is, Cynthia has no intentions of telling Galvez anything. Take that, overblown politician ego!
When Cynthia finds herself in the position of being the boss of her ex-lover things are hard enough. Especially with his feelings over her walking out on their engagement ten years ago without a word. But when she gets a call from back home, a place she hoped never to return to again, Brock is determined to go with her to find what has happened to her niece who disappeared. What they find there opens up old wounds, and could very well lead to Cynthia’s death. Another good entry to the series.
Then? Then we get to Unwanted . . . and the whole freakin’ thing blows up, falls apart, and well, just Eww. I would swear that someone else other than Milly wrote Unwanted and she simply added it to her series without even reading it first. The dialog is stilted, the story line unbelievable, there was no logic to the story, and the tone was over-the-top preachy and unbearably ridiculous. Hey, I totally agree with the basic ‘save the environment’ sentiment, but this was just, just, Ugh. The whole thing reeked. I made myself flip through it, but I couldn’t like the book at all. While the other two are a solid 4 as paranormal romance, I can’t give this one more than a one, and a grudging one at that. There were a lot of signs that Milly didn’t write this (or she did it on drugs), from the lack of contraction use to the awful dialog and stilted writing style.
Overall, read the first two, but give the third a hard skip. It left a bad taste in my mouth after enjoying the first two.
“It is the mark of the mind untrained to take its own processes as valid for all men, and its own judgments for absolute truth.” ― Aleister Crowley, Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on The Book of the Law
Ah, the hubris of the male of the species. No, it doesn’t really matter what species. Human. Shifter. Full animal. But make that a multiple centuries old Wereverine, and all bets are off. I mean, come on, Dude. You know the Hunters are out to get you. You know they will kill anyone and everyone they have to to get their hands on your lovely little Phoenix mate. And what do you do? You still want to run around out in the woods, advertising the poor, lonely werewolf in the woods who only needs a goodhearted little human female to love and protect. Snort. Like the Hunters aren’t going to figure it out?!?! Sigh.
The second in Sara King’s Guardians of the First Realm series, after Alaskan Fire is Alaskan Fury, and it is a fast thrill ride from the first. The wereverine being careless and self-centered is what got them into trouble last time, but they survived. But this time it may cost all of the residents of Blaze the Phoenix’s lodge their freedom – or their lives. But then, for people who turn into animals, or spirits who pop out of different realms, what is the difference?
Kaashifah the Fury, Chosen warrior of the Lord of War, has spent centuries tied to the djinn ‘Aqrab of the Fourth lands, each waiting for the other’s death blow. A blow that will place one or the other at the eternal mercy of the one who deals the blow. Deadly enemies, they are forced to live side-by-side through the ages, waiting for a wish that never comes. But now, to save their friends and neighbors, as well as save themselves from the Inquisition, they must put aside everything and work together for the good of all.
Again, King has written a fast paced, thoughtful novel of not only paranormals, but of those who hunt them. The tale twists and turns, giving both sides of the story, from the paranormals who only want to be left alone in the vastness of Alaska to the Hunters who are trained from birth to hunt, use, and kill them. The characters are diverse and well written, though again there needed to be an editor, so keep that in mind. There are unusual characters here, from Wereverine (were wolverine) to Phoenix, Fury, Djinn and more. Overall, a strong read for those who like strong women characters, fast paced action, and a good story line.
“People speak sometimes about the "bestial" cruelty of man, but that is terribly unjust and offensive to beasts, no animal could ever be so cruel as a man, so artfully, so artistically cruel.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“She had to learn that the day granted hope and happiness, but I stole it. She had to face that the night hid evil and darkness, but my soul was blacker.” ― Pepper Winters, Debt Inheritance
Eva Thorne was born to be a monster, in a country of monsters. The Solhans are a “whole different category of human. One that most other races tended to hate.” Well, you can’t really blame them. Solhans glory in cruelty, dark magic, and buckets and buckets of blood – as long as it isn’t their own. Then, well, the Solhans opened a bit of dark magic that brought back their Dead God. And as a group that worships cruelty and death, their Dead God shouldn’t have been a surprise when he started slaughtering the very Solhans who worshiped him – along with half the rest of the world.
So, they became refugees, fleeing to other countries to escape the very God they were so gleeful to have brought back. Eva’s own family, the rich and massively powerful Thornes, found themselves in the Avian/Elf/Gnome controlled city of Highcrowne, the most ‘civilized’ place in the known world. Well, except for the fact that humans, like Eva, are pushed into the Outskirts, the dark garbage heap at the foot of the fabled city on the hill. Oh, and don’t forget that humans are also the slave labor that keeps Highcrowne’s very SteamPunk society running. Magic and machines, machines and magic. I loved it.
Eva’s family brought its power and dark magic with them when they came. They now rule over the Outskirts, wallowing in power, their hands in every evil, and yes, profitable, industry ripe for the picking. But Eva is determined, from a very young age, not to become what her family is – what her identical twin so easily became. So, she walks away, working in a café and living in a tiny apartment. She may not be rich, she may not be powerful, but above all? Eva is determined to keep her soul as her own.
Then her brother, the one ‘good’ person in her life, is murdered, his heart ripped out and taken away. Soul magic. And unless Eva can find his killer, and hopefully find his heart, Viktor’s soul will forever be captured and used for unknown, but certainly purely evil, purposes. Surrounded by family, who want to turn her to their Solhan ways (well, except for her twin, who just wants her to suffer greatly before slaughtering her), and a variety of human, gnomish, and ‘other’ people hanging around her and offering to ‘help’ for reasons of their own, Eva’s story is harsh, brutal, and obsessively readable. Finding her brother's killer is going to be hard enough. But keeping her soul intact? That may be impossible.
I picked Tangle of Thornes up for free on May first and sat down this afternoon after wearing myself out with gardening (it was warm today, Yea!!). It is midnight now and I just finished the book. I hadn’t read the description (see what a good cover can do? It caught my eye and I opened it on my eReader) but I also wanted something by an author I hadn’t read before that had a female lead, and I picked it up. The first paragraph caught my attention, then I was all in.
“I’ve read a few of those hard-boiled detective novels. You know, The Maltese Griffin, Murder on the Troll Road … the classics. But none of them ever mentioned the smell. Mr. Hylar, my last hope, smelled like old sweat mixed with fermented stomach contents, some of which stained his shirt collar. City elves were like their country cousins: filthy.”
OK, THIS I can get behind! No tall, willowy Elves with long, shiny locks blowing in a magical breeze? Something Different! Whoot!
The second book in the series is A Thorne for a Crown. I won’t read the description of this one either, I will just wade right in. I don’t watch the “what’s happening next” at the end of a show I am watching either – I would rather watch it than have it described to me, so I will do the same here. I had to slap my own hand to keep myself from punching the “Read For Free” button when it popped up at the end, but I will wait or I will be up the rest of the night and into the morning!