Haunted on Bourboun Street by Deanna Chase

hauntednewartThe Particulars: Paranormal Romance,  Selfpublished, available as e-book and in print

The Source: Freebie from Smashwords

The Grade: C+

The Blurb:

Jade loves her new apartment ̶ until a ghost joins her in the shower.

When empath Jade Calhoun moves into an apartment above a strip bar on Bourbon Street, she expects life to get interesting. What she doesn’t count on is making friends with an exotic dancer, attracting a powerful spirit, and having feelings for Kane, her sexy landlord.

Being an empath has never been easy on Jade’s relationships. It’s no wonder she keeps her gift a secret. But when the ghost moves from spooking Jade, to terrorizing Pyper, the dancer, it’s up to Jade to use her unique ability to save her. Except she’ll need Kane’s help—and he’s betrayed her with a secret of his own—to do it. Can she find a way to trust him and herself before Pyper is lost?



The Review:

This is the first Deanna Chase novel that I have read.  I am often a bit wary when it comes to selfpublished books, since they are often hit or miss for me.I was pleantly surprised by this one.

I liked Jade. It was interesting to follow her as she settled into her new apartment on Bourbon Street.  I liked her new neighbors and co-workers, they were an motley crew with secrets, but all of them felt genuine to me.  One thing I liked was how Ms Chase dealt with the prejudices regarding strip clubs.  Just because you work in a strip club, you don’t have to be criminal.

I liked Kane, he was kind, but he also had a strength that it felt like Jade needed, not that she was weak.  Their romance was a slow one, and I liked that both of them struggled with jealousy occassionally. The  search  for a way to exorcise the ghost made their relationship deepen.

But their relationship wasn’t the only thing affected by the ghost. As their search for ways to exorcise the ghost went on, more and more secrets was revealed. And as more secrets was revealed, the dangers increased.  But they stopped the ghost, finally, even if it cost them a lot.

The biggest problem I had with this book was very subjective. I liked it, but it lacked that something that turns a good book into a great book.  But I liked it enough to put the next book on my To Buy list.


Review: Under A Witch Moon by Maria E. Schneider

The Particulars: Urban Fantasy, Bear Mountain Books, available in print and as e-book
The Source: Smashwords
The Grade: B+
The Blurb:
Adriel should have known that with a werewolf, it never stopped with just one body. She would have gone to the police after witnessing Dolores’ death, but she wasn’t certain the killer she saw was responsible for the other murders. Besides, the police didn’t believe in werewolves, and they weren’t going to believe she was a witch either so what could she tell them?

She kept her eyes and ears open while she tried to help her latest client escape the clutches of a voodoo witch, but things went from bad to worse when more bodies turned up. She was greatly relieved when she met White Feather, an undercover cop. Unfortunately, he wasn’t convinced she was innocent of all wrong-doing.
It was going to take every spell she knew and a few she hadn’t tried to solve the murders and stay alive.

The Review:
This book have been on my wishlist for a long time. And after finally buying, I kicking myself for waiting so long. But the upside is that book 3 is out soon.
The version of Santa Fe that the author created felt believable to me. The supernatural elements felt seamlessly integrated into the non magic society. I liked how Adriel’s magic worked, and how she created potions that might or might not work like she thought they would.
I also liked how the other supernatural elements was explained, and how not everyones magic worked exactly the same way, but it depended on what gift you had.
I liked Adriel. She was down to earth, and happy laying low, not attracting attention to herself. I felt for her when her life suddenly turned upside down.  I also liked the other characters we met, from the streetwise Lynx to the vivacious Matilda. And Whitefeather. dreamy sigh
The plot was fast paced, and I enjoyed following Adriel as she struggled to defeat the villain, and save her client. I loved how the stakes slowly rose through the plot, as Adriel and her friends gradually discovered who was behind it. One aspect that I especially liked  was how several separate plot threads turned out to be connected in the end.  Which lead to some unexpected plot twists. 
The biggest problem I had with this book, was that one tiny detail in the beginning of the book pissed off the biologist in me, and it took awhile for me to calm down, and appreciate the story. But otherwise, it was a well written Urban Fantasy.

Review: Darkhouse by Karina Halle

The Particulars: Paranormal Suspense, Smashwords, available as e-book
The Source: Smashwords
The Grade: B+
The Blurb:
There’s always been something a bit off about Perry Palomino. Though she’s been dealing with a quarter-life crisis and post-college syndrome like any other twenty-something, she’s still not what you would call “ordinary.” For one thing, there’s her past which she likes to pretend never happened, and then there’s the fact that she sees ghosts.

Luckily for her, that all comes in handy when she stumbles across Dex Foray, an eccentric producer for an upcoming webcast on ghost hunters. Even though the show’s budget is non-existent and Dex himself is a maddening enigma, Perry is instantly drawn into a world that both threatens her life and seduces her with a sense of importance. Her uncle’s haunted lighthouse provides the perfect catalyst and backdrop for a mystery that unravels the threads of Perry’s fragile sanity and causes her to fall for a man, who, like the most dangerous of ghosts, may not be all that he seems

The Review:
Mandi at Smexybooks raved about Sins and Needles, which made me curious about Karina Halle. When I went to Smashwords, I discovered that this one was free so I downloaded it. I am glad I did.
I liked Perry a lot. She felt very normal with her complains about her boring job, her uncertainty what to do in the future and her family’s pressure. I also liked that she was scared to death while investigating the lighthouse.
This isn’t a romance, but I could sense something between Dex and Perry. I liked how she was torn between frustration that he didn’t call and hope that she might get a kick in her career.
The Oregon setting fit this story to the T, and I loved how the author used the history of the place to increase the suspense.
The plot hooked me from the start. The tension rose slowly, until I couldn’t keep on reading, since it was late and I feared I would get nightmares if I kept reading. Yes, it was that scary. Also, I’ll never look at flashbacks in the same way again. Normally, flashbacks makes me DNF a book, but not here. Here, the flashbacks were a vital part of story, and increased the sense of danger in the story.
That said, I felt that there was too many unanswered questions at the end of the story. But maybe I’ll find out more in the next book.

Painted Truth by Lise McClendon

The Particulars: Mystery, Smashwords, e-book
The Source: Purchased at Smashwords.
The Grade: B-
The Blurb:
Alix Thorssen’s partnership with sexy Paolo Segundo is at a crossroads. When another gallery on the town square burns, revealing the body of a famous artist, she is drawn into the investigation as an appraiser of the lost paintings. Ray Tantro was a has-been at 30 but was on the verge of a comeback. Why would he commit suicide? Why are the police so quick to dismiss foul play? The investigation makes her confront her own contradictions as an art lover, turning everything she knows upside down. She must examine her ethics and even her way of life to find the truth, and justice.
But not without a very high price.

The Review:
This is another book that have remained unread for awhile, before I got around to read it. ( Ok, I forgot add it to Calibre.) It was also a book that didn’t hook me immediately.  The setting was quaint, and I liked the characters, but it took me awhile anyway.  

I think it has to do with the fact that Lise McClendon took her time building the stakes.   As they increased, the illusion that small towns are nice faded.  Fast.  In fact, I think I’ll never view small towns as quaint and cozy again.

But what made the book for me was Alix.  Alix is stubborn, curious. Some times too curious for her own good. Does she doubt the wisdom of continuing the investigation? Hell yes.  Who wouldn’t when  the bodycount stacks?    

I felt for Alix when everything started to collapsing around her. Her friends abandoning her, the police hounding her. 

So what I didn’t like about this book.   First, I had trouble caring about the characters, that and the stakes problem were probably the cause of the problem I had with first half of the book.  Second, there were typos. Not a lot, and easy to fix but it was a bit annoying.

In the end, I liked the book and I intend to read more books by Lise McClendon in the future.

Smashwords deals

Smashwords July sale ends tomorrow at midnight, so I thought I would recommend some deals I have found at Smashwords.  Some of them are part of the sale, some of them aren’t. All the books is priced at 0.99, or free.

If you like fantasy and Science Fiction, check out Lazette Gifford‘s books. They are part of the sale, and only 0.99 right now.
Karen Chance has three short stories up for free,  all of them features characters from her Cassie Palmers series.

 Scott Nicholson offers Burial to Follow for 0.99. This is a  novella, a bit quirky,  but a really good read. Since it isn’t as dark as some of his other books, it  is a good place to start.

Jana Deleon offers Trouble in Mudbug, the first book in her Mudbug series for 0.99. This a funny book, with quirky characters. This is a great price, since the other books in the series cost 3.99. Alison Kent offers  both Playing Love’s odds and Love in Bloom for 0.99.
Gemma Halliday beats them. She offers the deliciously snarky Hollywood Scandals for free. I read this on the plane home, and I recommend it.  ( A review is coming… as soon as I decide the themes for the rest of the year.)

Jill Myles offers her contemporary romance novel, Wicked Games, for free.

Review: Silky by Lazette Gifford

SilkySilky by Lazette Gifford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Buy at: Smashwords

The particulars: Silky by Lazette Gifford, Fantasy, Smashwords, available as e-book and print.

The review:

The blurb:
Captured as a child and sold into heartless slavery, life has robbed Silky of his magical abilities and left him with no expectations of a better life — until his own act of bravery delivers him into the hands of a powerful Lord of the Land.

His troubles are far from over since Lord Reed is out of favor with the King and danger threatens at any mischance. Working with Lord Reed starts him along a path that will lead to power, danger and heartbreak — and a future the young slave boy could never have imagined.
My impression:
I bought this when the author ran a Memorial weekend sale, dropping the price to 0.99. A bargain, honestly, considering that the book is 500 pages. The plot felt a bit slow at the beginning, but that could be because this is an YAish fantasy. The world felt solid, with a couple of interesting twists. One of the things I liked most, was the fact that there was a parliament, remiscent of how it was in the 20th century Europe. In fact, a couple of times it felt like I was reading a Regency novel- with magic, and no romance.

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Beg Me by Shiloh Walker

Beg MeBeg Me by Shiloh Walker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Particulars: Erotic Contemporary Romance , Smashwords, available as e-book,

Why was it in my TBR? I read about it at Shiloh Walker’s blog, and the blurb snagged me.

The Review:

The blurb:

Two years after a brutal tragedy, Tania is taking her life and her fantasies back. All of them. Drake Bennett has wanted Tania for years. Wanted her, watched her, knowing he’d never have her. Now he has a chance, but that chance comes with some strings attached. There’s also a good possibility he’ll get his heart broken.

Warning: This book involves light bondage play, rape fantasy & role-playing. The acts between the hero & heroine are consensual, but they may not be ideal for all readers.

My impressions:
I have started this review twice. Why? Because I am having trouble finding words describing the book, yet I feel I cannot skip this review.

This is a dark book, filled with twisted memories. Yet at the same time, it feels hopeful. If there is a theme in this book to trust the world again.

Shiloh Walker is a talented author, that manage to make each word, every sentence count. That combined with the tension between Drake and Tania created a read that I couldn’t put down.

The plot isn’t the important part. No, the important part are the relationship between the characters. Both of them struggle, Tania with her past. Drake struggles with his feelings for her, the anger he feels against the thought of her getting hurt.

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