Saturday, January 31, 2015

DARK SHADOWS: The Mercy Carver Series by Jana Petken

DARK SHADOWS: The Mercy Carver Series by Jana Petken

This historical tale starts with a very dark and dramatic flair as Mercy Carver is brought forth into life.  The anguish of her father, Thomas Carver, over the loss of his beloved wife, Joan, is so heartfelt.  Overwhelmed with his loss, he performers the ultimate selfish act, suicide, but in such a fashion to make you squeamish.  Yuck!  What a way to bring a child into the world.

Now it’s 18 years later and Mercy Carver is celebrating her birthday, but she’s unhappy as unknown to her, she was promised to an old wealth merchant when she was a child.  Chaffing at the bit, wanting to explore the world and see more than the neighborhood she was brought up in, she devices a scheme to escape her bonds, if only for a few hours.  But her best laid plans run afoul and now her life will never be the same.

I love Mercy Carver with her well developed character, and such a contrast to the evil, vile Madame du Pont.   Ms. Petken did an awesome job building up this despicable person.  I wanted to stick a knife in her a couple of times.  There’s a lot of adventure in this story, as Mercy travels from England to America and finds herself at the beginning of the Civil War.  She endures trials and tribulations and comes out stronger because of them. 

This is a wonderful romantic story and I recommend it for anyone who loves these types of books.  I give it my 5 feathers.

Become a goddess wearing sexy and erotic lingerie from EdenFantasys

Friday, January 30, 2015



If you’ve read any of Ms Gill’s books before, be prepared to be shocked.  This tale is one of the darkest, twisted, sick reads I’ve read in a very long time.  Her voice in this book is totally different from anything she’s written.  It took me awhile to get into the story and characters, but once I did, it just sucked me in further and further.  I really don’t want to go into the plot or characters too much, as the enjoyment of this story is the discovery that the reader makes as Gill unfolds the evil lurking everywhere. 

Fred Dodger is totally clueless to everything going on around him, he just knows something is off and not right.  But he and his father have terrible secrets, some he’s forgotten. At the end of almost every chapter, Gill slips in little clues about what Fred isn’t seeing or acknowledging.  Quite ingenious.  All of the supporting characters from the clowns, to the midgets and Baby Alice have their own terrible, dark secrets.  You can’t help but feel sorry for them.  Then along comes Joe and everything changes.

I wasn’t too happy with the cadence of the writing at the beginning, but the characters and plot were so strong, I just had to keep reading.  I was thoroughly entertained in the most horrific way and I give this book 5 feathers.  If you love true horror, this has to be on your TBR list.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

ROBIN MURPHY's WIP - Secret of Coffin Island

ROBIN MURPHY's WIP - Secret of Coffin Island


Secret of Coffin Island (Marie Bartek and the SIPS Team) (Volume 4)

The 3rd book in Robin Murphy's bestselling series,

1)   Tell us about your work-in-progress, or WIP, as it’s known as in the industry or New         Release…

                What is the story about?

                   ·       My current work-in-progress is the fourth book in my paranormal mystery series titled, Secret of Coffin Island. I won’t share the intro to the story; it would spoil the ending to the third book in the series, Federal City’s Secret. However, it has Marie Bartek, a psychic medium, and the Sullivan’s Island Paranormal Society, SIPS, getting involved in a case that has beheaded victims being found on the beaches of Folly and Sullivan’s Island. Marie enlists the help of a local teenager, Isabella Swanson, who has recently discovered she is psychic. Are the murders about pirates, buried treasure, or a legend that took place in the nineteenth century?

                Who is the main character? 
                   ·       Marie Bartek

2)   What inspired this tale?

                     ·         Two things inspired this story.

                    ·       First, I learned that in 1987 there were fourteen bodies found on the beach of Folly Island with their shoulders pointing west. Twelve of the bodies had no skulls. There were also Civil War artifacts found with the bodies. Some of the theories as to why there were no skulls were that bounty hunters were given rewards for retrieval of bodies. Another was that the skulls were being used in voodoo rituals.

                   ·       The second was the story of Edgar Allan Poe and his written mystery, The Gold Bug. Edgar Allan Poe spent time on Sullivan’s Island and The Gold Bug is about buried treasure on the island.

      ➢    How did the story come to you?

                 ·       As with any writer, my mind continues to wander when I read about the history of places.  There are stories all over the place, after having spent a few visits on Sullivan’s Island and learning the history of the areas surrounding the island, I was able to pull these elements together into my story.

      ➢    Did you have to research for this novel and if so, why?

                 ·       Absolutely yes, and even though I write fiction, the story needs to be believable. I continue to learn more and more about psychic mediums, children with psychic abilities, and dissect how a murder case is solved through books, real accounts, and yes, television and movies. Everything becomes research for me.

      ➢    If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn and why?

                ·       About this story, I would have to say the bodies that were found on Folly Island. I mean come on, what a classic reason to write a fiction story which ties in with my protagonist who is psychic.

3)   Do you relate to your character?

                  ·         Yes

      ➢    Is your protagonist anything like you personally?

                 ·       Yes, absolutely.

      ➢    If yes, then how?

                 ·       Interesting question, I’ll share a story. When I did an interview for the local newspaper for the first book, Sullivan’s Secret, the journalist asked upon meeting me for the first time, “So, tell me, are you Marie Bartek or Gale Winters?” Gale is Marie’s best friend, and both of these characters are different sides of me.

      ➢    What made you write this character; what made them important to you or made you want to tell their story?

                 ·       I don’t have any definitive answer for this, other than I’ve had an interest in psychics, and that interest, along with ghost investigating, helped me to create Marie and the SIPS team.

4)   Is there anything specific you want readers to know about this piece of work?

                ·         This is the fourth book in the series, which has Marie continuing to learn more about her psychic abilities. It shares her growth as an individual, as well as the growth of the characters of the SIPS team. I’ve enjoyed meshing the “other side of the veil” with the real world. People do have the ability to see and speak with spirits and this series shares how Marie accepts her ability now as a gift.

5)   When will the novel be available for purchase?

    ➢    Has the book already been published?

              ·       Not yet.

    ➢    If not, when is the approximate release date?

             ·       Hopefully the spring of 2015.

If you are interested in purchasing Robin Murphy's Books,

Please click on the photo to be redirected to her Amazon Author Page

My good friend and fellow Creativia author, J. M. Northup also posted this interview on her website.  Please take a look.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

BODY INK AND SOUL by Jude Ouvrard

BODY INK AND SOUL by Jude Ouvrard

I’ve never been into tattoos, can’t understand why people want to mark their bodies.  I do know it’s an art form that’s been around since primitive man.  And there’s still such a stigma about tattoos, the bad boys and slutty girls.  So it was refreshing to read a book from a different outlook on the world of tattoos.  I never knew getting a tattoo could be so erotic.
The story starts out pretty dramatic when Phoenix’s mother finds out she’s pregnant and her tattooed, biker boyfriend dumps her, never looking back.  Hence her hatred for the “bad boys” and her selfish attempt to keep Phoenix away from those type of mem. 
The story actually starts when Phoenix moves in with her two best friends, Bekka and Val.  Now that she’s out from underneath her controlling mother, Nix starts seeing herself and her mother in a different light.  While working at a bar as a bartender, she meets Levi, a man totally opposite from the man she has a crush on, Tristan.  Tristan’s studying to be an attorney and comes from good family while Levi is a walking tattoo billboard and owns his own tattoo shop.  But which one is really the bad boy?
There is a lot of chemistry and heat between Nix, Tristan and Levi as she tries to come to terms with her true feelings.  The story is told in first person by Nix.  I felt it could’ve been a better story in third person.  There were other characters I would’ve liked to have gotten better acquainted with, such as Bekka.  I did become immersed in the story and the characters.  Unfortunately, I thought the end was anti-climactic as I knew what was bound to happen.  It’s a pretty simplistic and common plot, but I did enjoy it.
I’m only giving this a 3 feather rating for these reasons: 1) too repetitive with her same feelings stated over and over, too saccharine for me.  2) This is the big one.  Terrible editing!!  So many mistakes and I almost deleted this book from my kindle when I got to the part where Nix ran to Boston to be with Val, and suddenly it’s Bekka that’s in Boston.  Just a lot of plain, stupid mistakes.  But the story kept me involved enough to continue.  I felt the beginning of the book was better than the end.

This is book 1 so I’m sure book 2 will get into Nix’s pursuit of her musical talent, but I don’t think I’ll be reading it.  I give it 3 feathers.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Release CIRCUS OF HORRORS by Carole Gill

I’ve decided to do something new with my blog this year.  When my good friend and fellow Creative author J.M. Northup approached me for an interview to post on her blog, I thought why don’t we do a blog share?  Of course, I would never have known what this was a few years ago.  My how my world has changed since I decided to publish my late husband’s stories.

Anyway, Creativa has so many talented writers and I really wanted to highlight their talents.  So our first author is Carole Gill.  I’ve read most of her books, which I’ve previously posted on my blog.  She is truly a gifted gothic, horror writer.  

Without further ado, here is her interview.  BTW, I just love her book cover: 

11)      Tell us about your work-in-progress, or WIP, as it’s known as in the industry or New Release…

   My new release is CIRCUS OF HORRORS

Ø    What is the story about?
Ø    Who is the main character?

It’s about a lunatic circus troupe during the Depression. They have really been side show performers. There are two murderous midgets, three clowns and Baby Alice who is the fat lady. The clowns and Baby Alice have a penchant for human flesh—but no one’s perfect, right? Seriously, these are all emotionally damaged people.

Their Manager takes care of them. Old Pa, his father, is senile and will not be separated from his much-loved box of souvenirs. Old Pa has one hell of a secret by the way.
After being down on their luck, they happen to meet an old carny who leads them to a big circus he has worked for. It all looks good but nothing is as it seems.

The main character is Fred Dodger, the owner/manager of the special people.

Ø    What inspired this tale?

This novel was thoroughly inspired by a short story I wrote which appears in Carole Gill’s House of Horrors  

The story that inspired Circus of Horrors can be read for free online:

Ø    How did the story come to you?

I always liked writing about demonic clowns and special people, like Al and Hank, the murderous midgets; they first appeared in some stories on my blog.

Ø    Did you have to research for this novel and if so, why?

I did, I looked up travelling circuses, sideshows and anything relevant in order to write a believable novel.

Ø    If you did research, what do you think surprised you most to learn and why?

I suppose the fact that many of the people that make up side shows are very well-adjusted people that have a tremendous outlook on life.

I read up a great deal on those actors that appeared in Todd Browning’s film, Freaks who were remarkable individuals and much to be admired. 

22)      Do you relate to your character?

Yes, very much so. I can relate a bit to each one, but particularly to Fred Dodger, who cares for his senile father Old Pa (Charlie).

Caring for an aged parent isn’t easy at best. In Fred’s case, he has protected a mind-boggling secret of his father’s all his life. It is at the core of the novel. I felt what Fred felt. I hope readers will, too.

 Ø  Is your protagonist anything like you personally?

Not really because Fred, although a great son and a loyal and fair employer, has secrets of his own!

`     Ø  What made you write this character; what made them important to you or made you want to tell their story?

`           I enjoy writing about flawed characters whether they are good or bad. People are complex. Real people are multi-faceted and everyone’s got secrets. If every subterfuge was peeled away, what would we find?! That’s what I like to think and write about!

33)      Is there anything specific you want readers to know about in this piece of work?

Although it’s a pretty dark piece, there is dark humor in it. When they recover from the scares and shocks, I want readers to know they’ve read about good and evil and understand that even monstrous types of people very often have reasons for being what they are.

44)      When will the novel be available for purchase?

AVAILABLE NOW! Only 99 cents!

You can LEARN MORE about CAROLE GILL at 

her BLOG

Monday, January 19, 2015

99 cent Promotion for THE SECRET OF EXCALIBUR

I’m so excited; this is my first 99 cent promo for my new book, The Secret of Excalibur, which Creativa Publishing honored me by publishing it.  They did an awesome job with the book cover. :)

Out of all the stories my late husband, Bob, wrote, this is my favorite.  Bob wrote so much of him and I into the two main characters, Arthur Merlin and Dr. Ruth Burns, that it was hard to work with his outline and make the changes necessary to publish it.  I really wanted to keep his essence in the feel of the characters and the plot.  I hope you enjoy it.  And please, whether you liked the story or not, leave a review on Amazon.  Thank you. 

Book Description:

Hi, I’m Arthur Merlin. I used to be an ordinary guy, until a freak accident changed my life. Now my friends are afraid of me, and so am I. See, I developed superpowers: telepathy, pyrokinesis and telekinesis, to name a few. 

The US government wanted to control me. But how do you control someone who can teleport anywhere he wants to in a blink of an eye? Fed up with their shenanigans, I headed for the Institute of Psychic Research in London. 

But something is pulling me; calling me, and I don’t know what. I ended up at Lake George, where sightings of The Lady of the Lake and Excalibur have been reported. With the help of Dr. Burns and Commander Dobie, we uncovered the secrets of the lake, but they’re more than anyone imagined. 

What would I sacrifice to save the world from Excalibur?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

GRAN-SDUR: The Games by Jan Raymond

GRAN-SDUR: The Games by Jan Raymond

This is book 2 of the Pha-yul triology.  If you haven’t read the first one, Circle of Five, you’d most likely be lost.  This isn’t a series you can just waltz into the middle of. 
Now that the kids have spent over a year with Mr. Harris honing their special abilities, he takes them to Pha-yul for the summer to continue their training for the upcoming Gran-sdur.  Here, the children learn they’re descended from a race called Padimites.  Through their eyes and lessons, the author fills in the background of whom the Padimites are and why they came to Earth.  Their teachers paint a rosy picture of their race, and most of them look down at the mere humans they inhabit Earth with.  The kids take pretty much everything told to them at face-value, except Sam, the doubting Thomas.  If the Padimites are so peaceful and superior to humans, why did Pha-yul splinter into different communities and factions?
The kids become friends with some of the other children training for the Gran-sdur.  And once the games begin, it’s every team for itself.  Faced with betrayal and possible death, Sam, Cassie, Maya, Seb & Ryan bond together as never before just to survive the games.
There’s a lot of world-building in this book, so it’s slow going for over half the book.  But once the games started, I couldn’t put the book down.  There were a few questions I didn’t think were addressed, like the recessive Padimite genes.  What are the odds of the gene showing up decades later in siblings?  This story takes place in our modern world, so why haven’t the different communities of Padimites been discovered?  I realize they find the most remote areas to hide at, but our technology would find them.  If they’re using some type of cloaking technology, that’s something we as the readers have to assume. 
In my review of The Circle of Five, I criticized the author’s lack of editing.  It has improved somewhat in this book and I know she’s working at correcting her mistakes. 

All in all, I loved this book and can’t wait for the final installment.  Where are Seb and The Book?  I highly recommend this story for all ages.  I give it 4 feathers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CIRCLE OF FIVE by Jan Raymond

CIRCLE OF FIVE by Jan Raymond 

This is a fun, fast-paced, delightful story of 5 children who suddenly discover they are not like everyone else.  They have superpowers, each with a different ability.  True, this is a reoccurring theme in a lot of Young Adult books, but it’s the characters and settings that set them apart.  And that’s what Jan Raymond did with her book.  Each child has his or her own voice and character tracts, all the way down to each family dynamic. 
Out of the 5 children, Maya and Ryan are the protectors of the group, and Sam, even though the youngest, is their leader. And you can’t help feeling sorry for Cassie as she takes last place, with her Mother, to her younger brother Sam.  The way her Mother treats her corresponds to how Cassie relates to her brother, Sam.  Then there’s Seb, the spoiled, rich kid, neglected and looking for acceptance.  The Circle of Five doesn’t always get along, as they learn to adjust to their powers and each other, but they back each other up, without question, when danger rears its ugly head.  I figured out the villain almost as soon as the character was introduced.  No surprise there, at least for me.  But then, this book was written for a younger reading level.
Sam’s character keeps the reader wondering, are they following the right path with Mr. Harris?  What is his motive for helping and training them?  These questions don’t get answered in this book.
Even though I immensely enjoyed the story, I was taken aback by the poor quality of the writing.  It’s written in a simplistic style, which was fine for me, but it’s all the needless empty filler words and redundancies which will lead to my lower rating.  The words “that”, “had” and “gotten” are used over and over.  An editor or a good editing program would’ve eliminated most of these.
I do recommend this book and I give it 4 feathers.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

CHEATING TO SURVIVE by Christine Ardigo

CHEATING TO SURVIVE by Christine Ardigo

To start with, this book wasn’t written to condone cheating in a marriage.  The three women actually try to talk each other out of, to them, their necessary evil.
We have three women with three different dynamic families, husbands and illicit affairs.  Heather’s ill-fated marriage was doomed from the beginning as she married out of pressure from her peers, her family and her own insecurities.  Lance is a totally self-centered man with no concerns about his wife or his children.  He only wanted a trophy wife and someone that treated him like his mother.  Please.  Grow up. 
Catherine and Victoria on the other hand, actually married out of love.  But as happens in young marriages, people grow up and change.  Usually apart.  If you don’t share any hobbies or interests while you’re dating, you surely won’t share any once you’re married.
Out of the three illicit affairs, Catherine’s was the most dangerous and evil.  But, ironically, her wrong type of affair brought about the biggest change in her self-awareness and the greatest happiness.  Victoria is my age and the type of man she meets is right up my alley.  I can only wish. 
Oh, and let’s not forget Jean, their boss.  Ardigo does such an awesome job in her portrayal of this hateful, spiteful woman.  We all know someone in the workforce that always takes credit for someone else’s ideas and work.  I did get a tad confused though, when Heather went to pick up something at her house and met Jean’s husband.  I thought that was going to go somewhere, but it didn’t.  I believe that part of the story could’ve been erased without affecting the story.
I would also like to applaud the author for using creative simile’s that related to their work as Nutritionists.  I don’t know how many readers caught those.

This is a wonderful read, and I couldn’t wait to get to the end.  I highly recommend the book and give it my 5 feathers.  

Saturday, January 10, 2015

SHAMAN: The Awakening by VR McCoy

SHAMAN: The Awakening by VR McCoy

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for awhile, mainly because of the cover design and the theme of the storyline as I love Native American lore. 
The beginning of the book drew me in as I became introduced to Chris, a Freedom Cherokee, and his ability to dreamscape.  Because of his special abilities, he works for a special branch of the FBI that deals with unsolved cases.  His teammates are also gifted in their own unique ways for profiling these types of cases.  The team’s called to New Mexico to help solve the case of a serial killer that’s abducting, holding then killing his victims in a gruesome, ritualistic manner.  Chris ends up with two romantic interests during the investigation of the case.  One ends up turning her back on him. 
I found the plot intriguing and the background of the Indian Nation and their beliefs seemed very well documented.  By the end of the case, Chris has met his spirit guide and is learning to use more of his abilities.  I feel there could be another story for this character.
This book could’ve received at least a 4 star rating, but for these two reasons.  First, the stilted, and one dimensional dialogue: he said, she replied, she smiled, he smiled, etc.  The characters all sounded alike.  When the story is being told from the first person POV, it’s very engaging.  It’s the dialogue that really set me off.  The second reason I couldn’t’ give 4 stars are all the glaring, proofreading / editing errors.  There are actually two places in the book where I found footnotes included in the manualscript.
I also felt there were several scenes in the book that if they had been developed more would’ve added more action and drama to the story, IE their escape from the church and the warehouse.  These were glossed over and done in a few paragraphs.

This was an enjoyable read and I did come to like Chris’ character.  I give it 3 feathers.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015


I'm going to deviate from my normal book reviews and updates on my writing to do a public service notice.  

Back in early December I went to my online bank account at US Bank.  A survey window popped up so I decided to complete it.  I like doing surveys.  At the end, there was a list of items I was offered for FREE other than S&H.  There was an offer for a FREE bottle of Garcinia Cambogia.  Since I'm into herbs, I selected that product and proceeded to the check out.  I filled out my order and I went to check out, it added another bottle, for FREE but S&H, of a Colon Cleanse.  It was never my intention to buy this bottle, but I couldn't find anyway to remove it. So I figured, what the hell.  Everyone needs a good colon cleansing.  

I went to check my bank balance today, which I do once a month before I pay my rent, and lo and behold there are 3 charges posted for some type of E-health provider.  They amounted to several hundred dollars.  I called the toll free number and received the worst customer service ever.  At least she was from the Midwest.  She wouldn't let me speak, kept talking over me and told me, I was the one that checked the box for a recurring charge.  What!??  I never saw such a box and I never would've set myself up on recurring payments for these amount as I'm living paycheck to paycheck.  She kept talking down to me, calling me Pam E La.  She told me I was being rude to her, which I was, then hung up on me.

Well, I've been in customer service for years, whether as a claims examiner, policyholder service and now agent support and you NEVER treat your customers that way.  I tried to point that out to her, but she refused to listen.  

So, as I fuming away, getting ready to call my bank, my phone rings.  It's the same person, but now she's a manger.  Really!!  And she wants to offer me a refund.  She's still calling me the same name: Pam E La.  They offer me a 50% refund, which I decline.  I tell her I'm going to my bank to dispute the charges and she says the banks will always side on the merchant.  Not true.  Then she offers me 75%.  I tell her I have the unopened packet and I will send it back for a full refund.  She says I never told the other customer service representative that, so a return of the product was no longer an option.  I told her, You were the person I just spoke too.  She kept talking right over me.  Anyway, I accepted the 75% refund then called my bank and filed a fraud report. 

I never even opened the package until today.  I was looking for some type of receipt or invoice.  Nothing.  And the web address on the bottle: says Coming Shortly.  WTH?  Part of why I'm upset is it was my bank that offered me this product.  I did express my concerns to the kind man at US Bank.  

I did some research on the web and couldn't find any websites or a facebook or twitter account.  But I did find a Better Business complaint.  Here is the address:

Now I'm shy of my rent money, which will cost me late fees.  What a fiasco.  So, please beware of pop windows asking you to do a survey for a website.  Even if it's one you trust.  Okay, my rant is over.  Thanks for listening.