The Avid Book Collector

Texas girl, mom, compulsive shopper, chocolate lover, book hoarder, avid reader, bird watcher and pet lover. I will read just about anything...except zombies - I hate zombies! I support indie authors:)

Book Review ~ Haunted Love by Jessica Frances

Haunted Love - Jessica Frances

Synopsis ~ 

My name is Thea Bell and I was murdered.

I always assumed that death was the end. So when my life was cruelly taken away from me, I never thought I would get a second chance to say what I needed to.

But then I was given a choice, a choice that allowed me to see the people I had left behind, and I knew I had to take it.

I wanted to say a proper goodbye. I needed justice for what happened to me.

But even in death, things rarely go to plan.

I never expected to meet him. I didn't anticipate falling in love. I hadn't considered the repercussions of coming back. I never realized I would put another person in danger.

I didn't know my actions were going to haunt us forever.


My name is Detective Aiden Mercer, and I think I have gone insane.

I am seeing the murder victim of my current case alive and in the flesh, and that is simply not possible.
I can see her, hear her, touch her. She’s real to me, however I know this cannot be real. Right?

But try telling my heart that, because as I grow closer to catching Thea’s killer, I also fall deeper into trouble.

Because love is rarely anything but trouble and I know this love will haunt me forever.


My Thoughts ~ 

Haunted Love is an incredible new book by one of my favorite authors, Jessica Frances. Ms. Frances’ books have always been amazing and I have yet to find one that did not keep me completely engrossed while reading.  This new stand-alone novel is no exception and I am beyond excited to share my thoughts with you!


Thea Bell wasn’t ready to die, but one day someone took her life.  With so much to do and so many things left unsaid, she is given a choice to go back and accomplish just that.  The only promise she is given is that she will be able to be seen by at least one person and with that one person, she will be ‘attached’ to them.  Truly hoping that it will be her brother Flynn, she jumps at the chance to make sure he is doing okay and say goodbye.  Unfortunately, it’s not Flynn who can see or feel her.


Being attached to the detective investigating your murder wasn’t exactly what Thea had in mind when given the choice to come back to say good bye to her brother, and for Aiden Mercer, well his life just got more interesting.  Aiden is good at his job, really good.  Unfortunately, due to staffing shortages and a true love for his job, he loses touch with his family, spending too much time solving cases instead of staying in touch with his loved ones.  This all changes though when Thea pops into his life.  Once he gets over the fact that he’s not crazy and he can indeed see and touch the ghost of Thea Bell, the two of them team together in order to get to the bottom of the case.


As Aiden and Thea work to find out who murdered her, Thea’s persistent ways convince Aiden that there is more to life than just his job and that family should be his most important concern.  In between everything that is going on, their friendship grows but they soon learn that true love knows no boundaries.  Yes, Haunted Love is a ghost story, but it is also so much more.  It is truly an epic love story that will stay in your heart long after the last sentence is read.


I love every book that Jessica Frances has written to date, but Haunted Love is quite possibly her best work yet!  Everything about it was perfect – from the mystery to the romance and everything in between.  Ms. Frances writing style really drawls you into the story and you can’t help but fall in love with the characters and become completely engrossed with everything that is going on.  With a gripping, emotional and captivating plot, this is one paranormal romance that you do not want to miss out on!


“Love doesn’t know limitations.  It doesn’t matter how you fall in love or the reasons you shouldn’t, only that you do.”


Book Review ~ House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

House of Echoes: A Novel - Brendan Duffy

Synopsis ~

Akin to Jennifer McMahon’s The Winter People and Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box, House of Echoes is a debut thriller populated by achingly sympathetic characters, charged with psychological suspense, and rich with a small town’s strange history.


A young New York City couple with a boy and a baby in tow, Ben and Caroline Tierney had it all…until Ben’s second novel missed the mark, Caroline lost her lucrative banking job, and something went wrong with 8-year-old Charlie. When Ben inherits land way upstate from his grandmother, the two of them began to believe in second chances. But upon arriving in Swannhaven, a town that seems to have been forgotten by time, they’re beset by strange sights and disconcerting developments…and they begin to realize they might have made their worst mistake yet. But what dark secret is buried in this odd place? And will Ben and Caroline figure it out soon enough to save their young family?

My Thoughts ~

This suspenseful thriller that takes place in a small, close-knit town that is full of history and secrets – some pretty sick and twisted secrets.


The plot is one that slowly builds, gaining in intensity – the suspense and mystery building as the story progressed.  Mr. Duffy’s writing style is very detailed and descriptive and because of this I could really visualize the events as the story unfolded. My only one complaint was the ending.  It was very different; so much that I felt as though the author really didn't know how to wrap this story up. After the slow build-up with the story, it just felt somewhat rushed.  Otherwise, this story was superbly well-written and flowed smoothly.


House of Echoes is Brendan Duffy's first novel, and for a first I am highly impressed. The author has created unique and captivating story with an intricate and mesmerizing plot that kept me engrossed throughout.  House of Echoes is not your traditional horror, as you will not find any ghosts or supernatural beings.  What this story is though is something much worse – a true nightmare.  Overall, I found the book enjoyable and well worth the time invested.


*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review ~ Seduce (Succubus Kiss Book 1) by Jennifer Snyder

Seduce (A Succubus Kiss Novel, Book One) - Jennifer Snyder

Life isn’t so bad for succubus, Kenna Blake. True, she seems to be the only succubus with a conscience and a specific strategy for finding her male meals, but she has a cute new apartment, a budding graphic design business, and the most unique friends she’s ever had. 

Her personal love life, however, is non-existent.

Until the legendary vampire Randal Vincent sweeps into her life. Even though he isn’t someone she set out to date, at least she can kiss him without killing him. But when you’re dating someone who’s the inspiration for Dracula, there are bound to be a few hiccups along the way…
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Jennifer Snyder is one of my top favorite authors, so I was super excited to start her new Succubus Kiss Series.  I had previously read Kiss of Awakening, which at the time was part of the Midnight Kiss Box Set, and was really hoping that Ms. Snyder would expand on the story – and she did!!!  Although Seduce can be read without reading Kiss of Awakening, the reader will get some background information that will be helpful when reading Seduce.
Kenna is not your average Succubus.  She only takes what she needs to survive and leaves her victims much better people.  Unfortunately, she has no love life, at all.  It’s kind of hard to date, knowing that you could potentially kill your date with just one kiss, so she just abstains all together.  Her friend and coworker, Sage does try to fix her up with a werewolf, Dex, but in the end, they felt they would just be better off as friends.  I have to say, that I absolutely LOVED Dex!  He had me laughing throughout with his witty one liners and his all-around fun personality.  I need more Dex and really hope to see his character more in the next installment.
It was on Kenna and Dex’s first date that she saw Randal, who happens to be a vampire, at the restaurant and found him very attractive.  After bumping into him in in the most embarrassing way possible they went their separate ways, but Randal constantly invaded her thoughts and dreams.  By chance, the two meet up again, and this is where the story gets pretty dang interesting.  Kenna winds up in a bit of a predicament involving a wraith, and the clock is ticking.  Can Randal find a solution to this life or death problem so they can continue to see if their attraction can bloom into something else?  Stay tuned folks, because I have a feeling that this series is about to get intense!
Seduce, the first book of the Succubus Kiss Series, was such a fun book to read!  Jennifer Snyder once again proved she can write an amazing story that will keep the reader engaged and captivated throughout.  This book pulled me in immediately and I was not able to put this one down.  I loved the characters and found them not only intriguing but entertaining.  The story line was refreshing and is an amazing start to what appears will be an outstanding series.  Would I recommend this book?  Heck yes! With mystery, romance and supernatural characters, this one is a must read!!!

5 stars
Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina were she spends most of her time writing New Adult and Young Adult Fiction, reading, and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is a tea lover with an obsession for Post-it notes and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows.
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Book Review ~ The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris

The Last Orphans - N.W. Harris

Synopsis ~

One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world.

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance.

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead.

A spine-tingling adventure that will have you gasping for breath all the way until the last page, The Last Orphans is the first book in an all-new apocalyptic series.


My Thoughts ~

The day Shane's family buried his grandmother turned out to be a day that would change his life forever.  Not only his life, but the life of every child.  You see, that day all of the adults were either killed by bugs or animals or by each other.  Every.Single. Adult.  Since Shane is one of the oldest left in his town, he is looked to as the leader.  Not something he asked for, but he really does not have a choice.  Imagine a young child or even a toddler having no one to look to for help, care or even food.  It's indeed a grim time for Shane and the other children.  As Shane and his friends try to find out why all the adults were killed, they find out information that is truly horrific and mind-blowing and it is now up to them to stop the madness - because the clock is ticking once again.


If I had to sum up this book in just one word, it would be WOW!  The authors writing is so descriptive, I felt like I was right there in the story, witnessing the death and gruesome killings.  The Last Orphans was truly an intense, nail-biting story that had me furiously  turning each page needing to know how this tragic story was going to end.  But let's talk about the ending shall we?  What the heck?  This one ends in a WTH moment that made me want to scream!  This story took a turn in a direction I did not see coming and I need the next book now!!! 


This is definitely one book that I would highly recommend, but be warned - you will need to set aside some time just for this book because you will not want to put it down. 



Book Review ~ The Harvest (The Last Orphans #2) by N.W. Harris

The Harvest (The Last Orphans Book 2) - N.W. Harris

Synopsis ~ 

In the wake of the apocalypse, nobody is safe.

Shane Tucker and his friends thought they managed to save the world from the destructive machine that killed off most of its adult population. Unfortunately, a war nobody was prepared for has only just begun. Now they find themselves joining ranks with a secret organization that will train them to fight for the right to survive. Taking refuge alongside other teenage survivors in a hidden base set deep within the mountains, they will learn how to repel an imminent attack by an ancient race of aliens.

Determined to safeguard the children under their charge, Shane and his friends compete for the ultimate prize—a suicide mission against the flagship of the alien fleet. While Shane's feelings for Kelly deepen, along with his need to protect her, he finds emotions clouding his judgment. He’ll gladly die for her. But he refuses to die with her. No amount of training can prepare them for what is to come. Everything the brave teenagers have endured thus far will be eclipsed, with the freedom of humanity hanging in the balance.

The Harvest is the heart-pumping sequel to The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris.

My Thoughts ~

The Harvest starts right off where the Last Orphans ended which I loved because after reading the first book, I needed an answer to the major cliffhanger ending that had me in a book hangover for days.  You don’t know how excited I was when Mr. Harris contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing The Harvest.  So…..was The Harvest everything I expected?  Heck yes, plus more than I could have ever imagined.  The Harvest took a direction I did not see coming after reading The Last Orphans and I liked it.  A lot!


Two hundred thousand years ago, the Anunnaki  (an alien race) mixed their DNA with that of the Neanderthals.  The result?  The human race as we know it.  Six thousand years later they came back to earth and enslaved the humans.  Now they are coming back and intend to enslave the human race for good.  After terminating the adult population and leaving the younger, more impressionable inhabitants to live, the human crop is ripe and the Anunnaki are returning to Earth to collect their harvest.


With the help of rebel Anunnaki who have been on earth for quite some time helping our government advance in the technology field, it is now up to seven groups of seven kids each to make sure that the Anunnaki don’t get the soldiers and slaves they need in order for the human race to become the secret weapon they need to turn the age-old war in their favor.  Shane, Kelly and the rest of the kids who have been recruited for this suicide mission go through vigorous training that will prepare them to take out the alien spaceships and ensure that the remaining human race does not get in the grips of the Anunnaki.


For this mission, few will live and many will die, but with an epic ending to book two that sheds doubts on the whole situation, questions come up that could change the whole situation for Earth.  Who should be trusted and who is telling the truth?


This story is extremely well written and Mr. Harris does an awesome job with his descriptions.  You feel as though you are right there with the characters experiencing the blood, sweat and tears.  The characters have evolved so much during the course of this series and you can’t help but to care for them and pull for them as they face perhaps the biggest battle of their lives.  In between all the action, there is a small bit of romance blooming in the air for our two main characters, Shane and Kelly, and I think it adds depth to the story as Shane struggles with his feelings of wanting to protect Kelly, but not wanting to die along with her.


The Harvest did not disappoint me at all.  It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and kept me interested throughout.   Mr. Harris left us with another cliffhanger that I did not see coming, so I must wait (rather impatiently) for the next installment of this truly heart-pounding story, but you know what? I know it’s going to be worth the wait and be spectacular, because the first two books have hit it out of the park!


Quite frankly, this series is amazing and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys an intense action-packed science-fiction thriller.



Book Review - Empty Cup by Suzanne Costigan

Empty Cup - Suzanne Costigan

Synopsis ~ 

Mom’s new boyfriend is creepy.

On the night of her seventeenth birthday, Raven finds out he isn’t just creepy, he’s dangerous. He leaves Raven broken and bleeding, but Mom blames her for what happened. She kicks Raven out of the house with nothing but a blanket to protect her from a frigid winter night.




As Raven struggles with the aftermath of the ultimate betrayal, she seeks solace in her imagination and a teacher who seems to understand her situation. She ultimately discovers that her world won’t change if she relies upon someone else to do it. Real change begins within.

“…Sure to prompt reflection and provocative discussions on important issues.”
-Allan Stratton, author of Leslie’s Journal

“Not an easy story, but an important one. Compelling, powerful, and engaging.”
-Eric Walters, author of Power Play.


My Thoughts ~ 

This is one of those books where it is so hard to write a review because you don't want to give anything away. But what I will say is that this story will make you mad - really, really mad. You will want to wish horrific things on Raven's mother's boyfriend and you will be shaking your head at the total insensitivity of Raven's mother. I mean, the actions of the mother? Who does that to your own child? There are other aspects of this story that will have you shaking your head, but in the end, this is a story of one girl trying to survive a terrible act with really no support group and in the end knowing that if she wants to change things, it is up to her to make it happen.

Empty Cup is a story like no other. It's a story that will make you cry and a story that will infuriate you. At least that is what the story did for me. Rape is never a fun topic, but the author has taken a very tough subject and created a story that will draw you in from the very first sentence and you can't help but hold on for dear life as you travel this journey with Raven.

This story broke my heart right from the start, and continued right until the very end. Raven's story will definitely have a place in my heart for quite some time and is one that I would recommend to anyone.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Book Review ~ This Heart of Mine (Whiskey Creek #8) by Brenda Novak

This Heart of Mine - Brenda Novak

Synopsis ~

First love. Second chance? 


As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next.


Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming.


Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both! 


My Thoughts ~

This Heart of Mine is Phoenix and Riley's story, which starts out with Phoenix getting released from jail after spending 17 years behind bars for a crime she did not commit.  While incarcerated, she gave birth to Riley's son, Jacob, but was never able to hold her baby, so when she gets released, that is her top priority -  getting to know her son.  Riley is hesitant to let Phoenix into Jacobs life, but being the great father that he is, allows it to happen.  As Riley spends time with Phoenix, he realizes that the love he had for her in high school is still as strong as ever, but can he convince Phoenix of that?


Also, we get to see another side of Whiskey Creek and its citizens, and quite frankly, it made me angry and upset on how some of them treated Phoenix.  She has not always had an easy life, with her murder conviction and her mother's hoarding problem, but even after serving her time, Phoenix is still judged by the town folk.  Phoenix does not let this deter her though from getting her life back order and I really admired her for the actions she took.  She is a very strong woman that I instantly liked and cheered on as the story progressed.


Although there is not a ton of romance in This Heart of Mine, it is still a lovely story that kept me turning each page hoping for the best, not only with Phoenix and Riley's relationship, but that Whiskey Creek would give Phoenix the second chance she so deserved.


Brenda Novak has done it once again by giving us, the readers, an amazing story of love, sacrifice and second chances.  But most of all, she has given us a story that is relatable and realistic.  What I really like about the Whiskey Creek series, is that you don't have to read them in order or necessarily any of the previous stories to know what is going on during the current book. 


If you want to read a story of love, second chances and forgiveness, then I would recommend This Heart of Mine.


*I was provided a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.



Book Review ~ Breaking Creed (Ryder Creed #1) by Alex Kava

Breaking Creed - Alex Kava

Synopsis ~

New York Times– and internationally bestselling author Alex Kava’s thrilling new series introducing Ryder Creed, ex-marine turned K9 search-and-rescue dog trainer as he teams up with fan-favorite FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell.



Ryder Creed and his dogs have been making national headlines. They’ve intercepted several major drug stashes being smuggled through Atlanta’s airport. But their newfound celebrity has also garnered some unwanted attention.


When Creed and one of his dogs are called in to search a commercial fishing vessel, they discover a secret compartment. But the Colombian cartels’ latest shipment isn’t drugs. This time, its cargo is human. To make matters worse, Creed helps one of the cartel’s drug mules escape—a fourteen-year-old girl who reminds him of his younger sister who disappeared fifteen years ago.


Meanwhile, FBI agent Maggie O’Dell is investigating a series of murders—the victims tortured, killed, and dumped in the Potomac River. She suspects it’s the work of a cunning and brutal assassin, but her politically motivated boss has been putting up roadblocks.

By the time she uncovers a hit list with Creed’s name on it, it might be too late. The cartel has already sent someone to destroy Creed and everyone close to him.


But Creed and his dogs have a few surprises in store on their compound in Florida. Will it be enough to stop a ruthless cartel determined to remove the thorn in its side once and for all?


My Thoughts ~ 

Breaking Creed is the first in an all new series featuring Ryder Creed. Ryder and his dogs are famous for their search and rescue efforts and one dog in particular, Grace (an adorable Jack Russell Terrier), is featured prominently in this story – and was by far my most favorite character. 


Maggie O’Dell is very much front and center in this story and although her newest case and the one that Ryder is working on seem totally unrelated, the two meet up to join forces in an effort to stop the “Iceman” from killing anymore seemingly innocent people. 


This story had such an intense, nail-biting plot that had so much going on, I was wondering how the author was going to bring it all together – but she did and I loved it!  From a serial killer with an obsession for all things bugs, a Colombian drug cartel and the horrors of child trafficking, this book will keep you guessing ‘what next?’ throughout.  I loved Creed’s dogs and really look forward to ‘seeing’ them in future works by the author.


Although I am a big fan of Alex Kava, it’s been a few years since I have read anything written by her, but Breaking Creed reminded me of just how good her books are and what a talented author she is.



Book Review ~ A Father for Christmas (A Holiday Romance) by Rachelle Ayala

A Father for Christmas (A Holiday Romance) - Rachelle Ayala
A Father for Christmas
(A Holiday Romance)

by Rachelle Ayala


Single mother Kelly Kennedy can't afford lavish gifts for her four-year-old daughter, Bree. Homeless veteran Tyler Manning doesn't believe he deserves a Merry Christmas.
When Bree asks Santa for a father and picks Tyler, both Tyler and Kelly vow to keep Bree from being hurt while fighting their feelings for each other.
Tyler struggles with frightening flashbacks that scare Kelly. Meanwhile, Kelly's criminal past threatens her chance for happiness. Tyler and Kelly must believe in the power of love to give Bree her best Christmas ever.

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All four-year old Bree wants for Christmas is a Papa.  Conceived by artificial insemination, she has never questioned the lack of not having a father until she starts noticing other children having dads.  Of course for a four-year old, asking Santa for a father under the Christmas tree shouldn't be a problem, right? 
Bree's mom, Kelly use to have it all.  A high paying, lucrative job on Wall Street and the ability to live a life of not wanting for anything.  Then one day and one bad insider trade later, she ended up losing it all.  Kelly is a great mom and does what she can to provide for her daughter.  When she and Bree are at the mall getting Bree's picture taken with Santa, her heart breaks when she hears Bree's request of the ultimate Christmas present - a father.  That one thing that has never been part of  Kelly's plan.
But the funny thing about fate is that it will come knocking on the door whether you think you are ready or not.  That day at the mall, Bree gets separated from Kelly.  Entering the scene is one Tyler Manning.  Tyler finds Bree wandering around the mall and looks after her until Mall Security locates them.  Kelly is livid thinking Tyler was trying to lure Bree to go somewhere with him.  Tyler is a little rough looking that day because you see, Tyler is homeless.  But being homeless is his choice.  He is a war vet and donates all of his benefit money to an organization that helps out Afghanistan children.  Tyler has a huge heart, but PTSD makes his life difficult at times because  images from the war overtake him without warning.  Anyway, running into Tyler by the mall Christmas Tree has Bree convince that Tyler is her new papa.  This kid is so cute!
But this story is not about Bree - no, she is just icing on the cake.  This is Kelly and Tyler's story and boy what a story it is.  Despite the bumpy start to their relationship and many setbacks, the love between Kelly and Tyler grows and it is beautiful.
A Father for Christmas is truly a wonderful, heart-warming story that will fill your heart with joy as you journey with Tyler and Kelly down their road to true love.
This story deals with real life issues and the characters are relatable.  The author really does draw you into the story with her eloquent and descriptive writing.  You just can't help but imagine yourself right smack in the story as it unfolds.

Although this is the perfect story to get you in the holiday spirit, it can be enjoyed anytime throughout the year and just reading it will lift your spirits.  I highly recommend this sweet romantic story!
5 stars
Rachelle Ayala is the author of dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.



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Book Review ~ Warrant by S.L. Schiefer

S.L. Schiefer
Release Date: January 17, 2014
Genre: New Adult
I'm Devon Harper and there are only two certainties in my life:

1. I live to dance.
2. I'm a prostitute.

Do you know when your life is suddenly turned upside down? Setting in action a sequence of events, you never saw coming.

That's what happened to me. My story is not a pretty one, nor is it your typical love story. 

My world was rocked at 18 and again three years later.

My life is a series of let downs. The only constant in my life is dance. 

When unlikely ally, Enzo, enters my messed up life I start to believe that just maybe there's hope for me yet. Trying to get a degree in dance and get out of prostitution might leave me with more to lose than before.


This book starts off with a note from the author warning the reader that Warrant is not your typical love story.  Many lines are crossed and the main character goes through some pretty tough stuff.  The author also states that the reader should proceed at their own risk - that this book is a dark erotica/taboo romance. 
Well in my opinion, this should have been stated in the synopsis - maybe a warning of some sort. That way a potential reader knows what they are getting into BEFORE they plop down the money to purchase the book.  Nowhere in the synopsis does it state that there will be multiple violent and brutal rape scenes.  I have read A LOT of dark romances and most of what was in this story did not shock me, but for the unknowing, this book will be disturbing to say the least. 
Also, I really don't think this book should be considered a dark erotica/taboo romance.  Not one scene in my opinion was erotic, and the last time I checked, rape was not considered taboo romance.  Rape is rape.  Let's not make it sound pretty or exotic. Yes, it was dark - very dark, but the erotic romance factor just wasn't there, just a shock factor.
The main characters in this book are Devon and Enzo.  I really liked Devon.  Despite her crappy life, she never backed down and was always looking for a way out.  My heart broke for her and the way she was treated.  Really the only reason I continued reading this story was to see how her situation would play out.  I really think that Enzo's character fell flat.  I liked him a lot, but I don't feel as though he was in the spotlight much.  Yes, his characters is very important to the story, I just wish there was more of him.
This story will make you angry, sad and downright frustrated because you know that the harsh and brutal acts in this book are happening to someone every day.  It makes me sick just thinking about it. This was one book that I purchased purely based on the cover and the synopsis and really had high hopes that it would be a really awesome read, but sadly I think the overall storyline failed due to the over abundance of rape scenes and the lack of true erotic romance I really wanted to see between Devon and Enzo.
S.L. Schiefer
I was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. I am the biggest Ohio State fan EVER! I have a husband, two boys, and a pit bull. I’m a country girl at heart, and have no problem sitting outside by a fire or grabbing guns and target shooting. I’m a hairstylist and assistant manager at SportClips. In my down time you’ll generally find me relaxing with my Kindle, or trying to entertain my minions. I’m a lover of Harry Potter and Transformers. 



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Book Review ~ Mark of the Beast by Adolphus A. Anekwe

Mark of the Beast - Adolphus A. Anekwe

Synopsis ~

Mark of the Beast: A searing medical thriller by Adolphus A. Anekwe, a renowned doctor, about the ramifications of isolating a gene that causes violent behavior

Dr. Regina Dickerson is a Catholic physician in San Diego who has discovered that there is a certain genetic marker that indicates the carrier is prone to psychotic violence. Working on blood from prison inmates, her theory begins to prove itself time and again with violent offenders. The variety of crimes is diverse: one couple murders their children for organ money, another man kidnaps young girls to seduce and kill them, yet another has a penchant for cyanide.

As Dickerson's work begins to show results and catches the attention of the media, people begin to fear that witch hunts and Spanish Inquisition–style mayhem will result if forcible testing is carried out. Meanwhile, a race begins to find a cure. With science and religion at odds, Dickerson must find her own answers while trying to escape those who want to put an end to her inflammatory research.



My Thoughts ~

Mark of the Beast was an intriguing read to say the least.  The author has given a unique twist to the Biblical Revelations Mark of the Beast by using science and biology as a way to determine whether or not genetic markers determine whether someone is pre-ordained to become evil and in turn become a follower of the Devil.  Although this is a work of fiction, the author apparently performed some serious research in creating this story, and for that I applaud him.  This was a fast paced and fairly easy read that will definitely make the reader think outside the box.  In my opinion, this story would be somewhat like a prequel to the ever popular Minority Report in which 'Big Brother' knows that a person is going to do something wrong way before that person even thinks about doing something wrong.  This story also poses a serious question of "What if?". What if you were a law abiding citizen and just because you had the genetic marker that marked you as a bad were always being watched and always judged for the rest of your life?


I kind of wished this book had less science and more details about what the government would do with the marked individuals, but regardless, this was an interesting read that will appeal to anyone who loves a good medical thriller.



Book Review ~ Enslavement (One Bright Future, #1) by Melinda Friesen

Enslavement (One Bright Future, #1) - Melinda Friesen

Synopsis ~


"One world. One currency. One bright future."


That's the promise made by OneEarth Bank after a global economic collapse--but only for those who accept the insertion of a commerce chip.


When Rielle's parents refuse to comply, government officials tear her family apart. As punishment for her parent's crimes, Rielle is forced into a Community Service Contract--a legalized form of slavery--and sold to a wealthy, abusive banker.


The Banker's secrets hold the key to Rielle's freedom, but will she risk prison or even death to escape and search for her family?


My thoughts ~


"One world. One currency. One bright future."


Sounds just peachy, uh? Simplicity at its best. I mean who wouldn't want a simpler world?  No need to carry around cash, checks or credit cards.  Nope, just a small chip inserted into your body and you are good to go.  Want that new iPod or big screen TV?  No problem.  Just pick out your item and walk out the door.  That little chip inside your body takes care of all the little details.  Oh yeah, that little chip?  It also tracks your every single movement.  Big Brother at its best.


But say you don't want that chip?  Say you don't want to conform to the "One world. One currency. One bright future."  frame of thinking?  Well, you get marked as a 'Resistor'.  Life for you as a Resistor is not an easy life.  You can't get a job, so you don't have any money.  And you are not trusted.  And the most horrible thing of all, you are in constant fear that Bank Security officers will come in and take you away.  Take your children.  Take your belongings.  And this is where this story begins.


Reille James' world is not an easy one.  Her parents resist conforming to the One World system.  So while her friends have everything they desire, Reille does not.  She just doesn't get why her parents don't want an easier life.  She just wants them to get the commerce chip inserted.  If they would just do that one little thing, they would  start living a normal life again. One day though, everything changes.  Bank Security Officers swarm their house looking for evidence that the family is part of the Resistors Group.  Because of the parents rebellion against the system, Rielle, along with her sister and brother are taken from their home and separated.  Her brother Silas is taken to a reform camp and her sister is taken into the equivalent of Child Protective Services.  Rielle is forced into being a "Contract" which is basically enslavement for crimes Bank Security has condemned her for.  "The Banker" buys her at a bargain price because of her lack of skills.  The only thing she is really good at is playing the piano, but that is not a skill set that is desired.  Her job now is housekeeping for "The Banker", who is a mean, violent man.  If not for Rielle's fellow "Contracts", life would be a lot worse.  As it is, she has a roof over her head and small tasteless meals provided as long as she stays on the good side of "The Banker".  But "The Banker " is up to something and this something is huge and Rielle holds the key that could unravel everything.  As secrets are exposed, allies are made and life hangs on the balance, this story gets wickedly good and will keep you enthralled until the very end.


The premise of this book really piqued my interest and I knew that I just had to read this book.  If you have any knowledge of the book of Revelations, then you know what the future holds for this planet.  Maybe not our immediate future, but the future no doubt.  In my opinion, Enslavement incorporates this theory in such a brilliant way, but not so much that it seems preachy.  So if you are anti-religion, don't worry, this book will not offend you nor try to sway you one way or the other. What this unique and enjoyable read will do though is capture your imagination to explore this all too possible situation with secrets, lies, deception and the desire for freedom and life without rigid government controls.  I loved all the characters, especially the ones you are suppose to hate.  Each one is uniquely different and makes this an outstanding story.  The writing is solid and the plot believable.  Enslavement is a must read and is appropriate for just about any age group.  I can not wait to see where the author takes this outstanding story and the second installment simply can't get here quick enough for me.....I want it now!


5 stars for this must read story from a talented new author!



Book Review ~ Christmas Stray (Sweet Holiday Romance) by Rachelle Ayala

Christmas Stray - Rachelle Ayala

Synopsis ~

Juliette Martin does not ever want to celebrate Christmas again, not when it means reliving the last one after her six-year-old son, Jeremiah, passed away on Christmas Eve.

She and husband, Gabe, find themselves snowed in at a mountain cabin with a pair of strays. Juliette desperately needs a miracle to save her marriage and restore her faith in God.

Can a stray dog and an orphan boy help her believe in the magic of Christmas and the power of love? 


My thoughts ~

Gabe and Juliette's marriage is rocky after the untimely death of their young son, Jeremiah. Trying to save their marriage, they go to a remote cabin to spend Christmas and hope to rekindle their love for one another. Juliette, however does not want to celebrate Christmas or have anything to do with the holiday as Jeremiah had passed away the day before Christmas the prior year. Losing all hope in her marriage and missing Jeremiah terribly, two unlikely characters show up on a cold snowy day and show Juliette that there is hope in her life without Jeremiah, and even though he is gone from her life, he will always be in her heart.


So, I admit it. I totally judge a book by its cover, so when I came across the book Christmas Stray, I could not resist. I had to read this story. I mean look at that cover. How can anyone resist those cute puppy eyes? I know I couldn't! But what about the story inside that cover? Did it stack up and meet my high expectations? Yep. Indeed it did. Matter of fact, this story exceeded my expectations. This is a heart-warming story that will tug the strings of even the coldest heart and bring a smile upon your face throughout. The whole story flowed so smoothly and was extremely well-written. I fell in love with Patrick and Puppy and the outcome was wonderful. This was a really fast read but was one that I wanted to go on forever just because it was so inspiring. Even though it is a holiday romance, it is one that can be appreciated and enjoyed anytime throughout the year.


Book Review ~ Faithless (A Tainted Love Serial Part 1) by K.B. Nelson

Faithless #1: A Tainted Love Serial - K.B. Nelson

Synopsis ~ 

She's a stripper. He's a preacher. Her name's Faith, and he's been faithless since the day she went away.


Faith Richards knows she'll never be able to outrun her demons, but she's not looking for absolution. She's looking for release. When she's forced to return home by circumstances she'd rather not discuss, she runs straight to Noah. The only boy that could ever make her feel alive. The only boy who ever truly broke her heart. The only boy who could possibly save her from herself.


But Noah isn't a boy anymore...


Noah Parker is a man torn, fighting to understand his place in this world after his latest run-in with tragedy. Everyone he's ever loved has left him, either on a greyhound bus or in a casket. He no longer believes the words he preaches and his life hangs in the balance of honesty. Reuniting with Faith might be the only thing that can save him, but based on their tumultuous history, it's more than likely it'll destroy him.



Faithless is the story of two broken people searching for the impossible: a love strong enough to put the pieces of their broken hearts back together. Their romance is forbidden. Their love is undeniable. Their lives hang in the balance. And when their world begins to burn to the ground, they'll be faced with one impossible decision: can they live with who they've become?



My Thoughts ~ 

Part One of Faithless is a fantastic start to what I think is an intense, sexy series.  I was glued to every word in this intriguing, heart-pounding, nail-biting story.  In the first part, we are introduced to Faith and Noah.  The scenes go back and forth between the past and present so that the reader gets a clearer understanding of why the characters are the way they are.  These two are truly ‘broken’ in every since of the word and they both have their demons.  After reading, I have LOTS of questions that I hope will be answered soon.  One thing I do know though is that if all preachers were like Noah, I believe church attendance would be at an all-time high! 


K.B. Nelson knows how to bring the reader into the story with a gripping plot and characters that not only have depth, but are sexy as hell!  Yes, there is a huge cliffhanger, but guess what?  It is a three part series, so it’s to be expected.  What I did not expect though was the “Holy What the Fuck Just Happened?!?!?!” teaser at the end of the book.  Oh my Lord… jaw dropped and I literally yelled at my tablet, because leaving me hanging this way is just unfair.  But thankfully the wait for the next installment will be a short one, which of course I will read, because K.B. Nelson is an incredible writer and awesome story-teller.  This one is a definite MUST READ!



Book Review ~ Rite of Rejection by Sarah Negovetich

Rite of Rejection - Sarah Negovetich

Synopsis ~ 

Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca can’t wait for her Acceptance. A fancy ball, eligible bachelors, and her debut as an official member of society. Instead, the Machine rejects Rebecca. Labeled as a future criminal, she’s shipped off to a life sentence in a lawless penal colony.
A life behind barbed wire fences with the world’s most dangerous people terrifies Rebecca. She reluctantly joins a band of misfit teens in a risky escape plan, complete with an accidental fiancé she’s almost certain she can learn to love.


But freedom comes with a price. To escape a doomed future and prove her innocence Rebecca must embrace the criminal within. 



My Thoughts ~

I will be the first to admit that I was beyond pleasantly surprise about how good this book was. I take that back – it was FANTASTIC! Rite of Rejection is a perfect example of how young adult dystopian fiction should be done.


Rite of Rejection pulled me in with the first chapter and held my attention until the very end. I devoured this story, unable to put it down; believe me I tried, but this one kept creeping into my thoughts, begging for me to finish. This is a story of desperation, hope, love and the desire to change a corrupt system. Ms. Negovetich’s attention to detail and solid writing really drew me into this story and I could picture the entire thing unfolding in my mind. From the filth and stench of the PIT to the desperation of the colony, I could not help but want something better for the characters.


Rite of Rejection has its own unique personality, and I believe fans of dystopian fiction will love it. The ending did leave me with some questions, but overall I finished with a feeling of great satisfaction. If there is a sequel to this awesome story, I will definitely be reading it.


*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Book Review ~ The Damned by Jennifer Snyder

The Damned - Jennifer Snyder



Cole Porter knows his home life isn’t ideal, but when a situation arises and he’s forced to pack up and move on, he realizes it’s better to be in a position where you understand the ins and outs rather than to be tossed into the unknown.


Emory Montgomery is as close to perfect as she can possibly be—good grades, beautiful, poised, popular—but having it all isn’t always enough. Perfect has its drawbacks, and even the most flawless people crack under its pressure.


There are people who come into our lives for a reason, when everything else is shattered, burned, and bruised. Sometimes their purpose is clear, but often the smoke and the brokenness conceal the light.


(Young Adult, but some might deem it to be MATURE Young Adult due to themes within the novel.)




My Thoughts~ 

“We’re the damned. We’re damned if we do talk about the things we’ve been through, the things we’ve done to ourselves, and damned if we don’t. There is no in between, no right or wrong. It just is."

“At least we can be damned together.”


To the average person it would appear that Emory's life is perfect and that is how her mother intends for it to be.  No matter what - everything must appear perfect.  But inside the four walls of their home - life is far from perfect.  In her quest to please everyone, especially her mother, Emory finds herself spiraling downward in the grips of an eating disorder, thinking that at least in this aspect of her life, she can control at least one thing.  The thing about an eating disorder though is that soon it will control her.


"I realized I had failed. In my struggle to be the best, the prettiest, the thinnest, the smartest, and to cause everyone in my family the least amount of worry, I had slipped up along the way and failed."


Things are quit the opposite with Cole's life though.  His mother frankly does not give a crap about her family or appearances.  All she cares about is men, drugs and liquor.  Cole's way of escaping is by harming himself, either by cutting or burning his skin.  This is his way to dull all of the emotional garbage he doesn't want to feel.


"As I watched the droplets bead across the cut, the sensation of being alive hit me. Truly alive. I was no longer drowning, suffocating, in a sea of turmoil and uncontrollable emotions. I was in control, happy, confident, and proud that I held such power over myself. I was free."


When Cole is forced to move in with his sister, that is when he meets the girl next door who just happens to be Emory.  The two of them hit if off perfectly, but one thing stands in their way - Emory's mother.  For you see, Cole does not fit into the perfect plan she has for her daughter and forbids Emory from talking to him.  But Emory being a young teenage girl does what you might expect - she defies her mother's wishes and continues to see Cole. 


"He was everything I wasn’t— rebellious and wild, indifferent about everything, and completely unique."


Two broken kids drawn together - although from two different sides of the social spectrum - helping each other through their pain and in the process find love and acceptance within each other.


"We had drifted toward each other as if pulled by an invisible magnetic strength I couldn’t figure out, but I was utterly thankful for it because she was the only positive constant in my life."


I absolutely loved this story!  So many feels within the pages of this deep, emotional and gripping story that was both heartbreaking and sweet.  These are real life issues that Jennifer Snyder brings into focus and she does it in the form of an eloquent and well written story that will stay with me for quite some time.  Cole and Emory's story is a must read that I would highly recommend to just about everyone.


"Silence is the most powerful cry."