Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Hidden ARC

Hidden (Firelight, #3) Hidden By Sophie Jordan
From Goodreads:  Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride. But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse, a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.
The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself, though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control. As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be only the beginning....
Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan's Firelight trilogy.

My Review:
I was soo excited to get this ARC!!  It's been on my TBR list for forever!  We start where the last book left off, Miram is a prisoner of the enkros.. Jacinda, Will, Cassian and Tamra embark on a mission, Jacinda's plan to find and save Miram.  Unfortunately, the only plan she could come up with was to have herself captured and find her, then the others were to infiltrate the compound and break them free.  Once a prisoner, Jacinda starts to live the terrors that she can only imagine her father went through.  After a very dramatic and almost impossible escape, they all start to make it back home, to the pride.  They soon realize there are many obstacles to hurdle before they can finally be free. 
Hidden was written very well, tying up any loose ends for the ending.  There is some heart-wrenching loss, but overall a truly happy ending.  This was, yet again, one of those series that, when it's over, made me a bit sad to see the conclusion.  There were too many good characters that were hard to say goodbye to.  I guess we can always hope for a revisit, to maybe check in on them a bit in the future, to see how they turned out, who had children, what those children were like, etc.  If not, it did still end very well and I am very happy to have gotten to read it!
I give this book 4 stars

Hidden comes out September 11, 2012.  You can pre-order it here.
I want to thank Once Upon a Twilight blog for giving me the opportunity to view this wonderful ARC, and hope to work with them again.. 


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: Dreamwalker

Welcome to the Dreamwalker book review day, hosted by Innovative Online Book Tours.

Author Bio
Andrea Pic.jpg

I am a biology nerd who loves reading just about anything paranormal and some chick lit. I enjoy sunshine and my two Italian greyhounds with my husband. I always write to music, it helps the creative process. Dissolve is my first novel. I have been writing ever since I was in grade school and have finally decided to make a career out of it. More books to come summer 2012 and 2013.

Contact info
Dreamwalker (Persephone's League of Immortals)  Dreamwalker (Persephone's League of Immortals) by Andrea Heltsley
From Goodreads:  Noel Kennedy lost her boyfriend, her job and he dignity all in one week. Then something happened and she began to dream of this stranger she had never met. She couldn’t resist the man of her dreams named Jared especially when she met him in real life. Entranced, she slowly unraveled a world she was meant to stay out of. Her life was not what she thought it was once a sexy Boone stepped into the mix and shook things up. Can she escape a life of servitude or immortality for a chance at love?

My Review
This book was a different version of any immortals I've read about.  
It starts by introducing Noel as she gets dumped by her boyfriend of 3 years, then slips into a depression and loses her job.  She begins to dream of an amazing, sexy man that she soon realizes is real.
We follow Noel as her entire world is turned upside down.  She is not who she believes herself to be, and neither is her best friend.  Noel is suddenly thrust into the dark, magical world that she previously thought of as nonsense.
Dreamwalker was a very refreshing story full of action, romance, and steamy, but tastefully written scenes.  I can't wait to read the next in the series, I'm just dying to find out who ends up on Noel's side, and who ends up her foes.. and which side, for sure, is the "right" side to be on!
I give this book 3.5 stars

Buy the book here
Get other titles from Andrea Heltsley here

Check out the other sites hosting this review day..
Readers Confession
Journey With WordsPersephone's Winged Reviews
My World
Reading, Writing and More
A Great Book Is The Cheapest Vacation
Wonderland Reviews
My Cozie Corner
Always a Booklover
The Lucky Ladybug
Cabin Goddess Soliloquy
Book Lovin' Mamas
All Things Writing
Romancing the darkside
Books, Books, and More Books

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

W...W...W... Wednesday

WWW Wednesdays hosted by

Ok, to play along, answer the three following questions...
1)  What are you currently reading?
2)  What did you recently finish reading?
3)  What are you think you'll read next?

My Answers:

I'm soo excited and blessed to have this book in my possession!
It's release date is September 11, 2012.. I will be posting a review very soon!         

This was a great book and the review can be will be up tomorrow!

These both seem like very good books and I can't wait to get into them!  The review for My Fearful Symmetry will be up as soon as I finish it, the Servant of the Goddess review will be up on July 2nd.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dark Light Blog Tour & Giveaway


Today we have a very special post for you.  Dark Light is an anthology put together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  There's also a chance to win a Kindle!

Dark Light
 Dark Light is the light that shines through when some of the finest writers in horror use the power of their words for something good. That’s the case with this anthology—42 writers coming together to help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities and all the good the organization does for families every day of the year.
Make no mistake, though. These are horror writers and the stories they’ve written are not pretty. Traditional and non-traditional horror, dark humor, ghosts, serial killers, alternate universes, magic, zombies, and other creatures of the night hide between these pages. Shadows move and dead fingers stroke unsuspecting flesh, razor sharp knives shimmer in the moonlight, and unknown things hide in closets and under the bed. The stories here are as varied as the writers themselves. If you’re a fan of horror, you will not be let down.
Despite the horrific nature of these tales, however, their very existence in Dark Light stands as proof there will always be a light at the end of every tunnel.
Turn the lights down low and enjoy the show.

Here's the story of  the editor, Carl Hose, and his family, and why he wanted to support this great charity!

My daughter Ireland Joy Hose was due to come into the world on March 3rd, 2012. Since my wife Marcee was going to have a C-section, her doctor scheduled her to deliver Ireland February 13th. It’s typical to schedule C-sections about two weeks before the actual due date, but in my wife’s case, the C-section was scheduled a little earlier because she had complete placenta previa, meaning her placenta was blocking the birth canal. This is normally not a problem unless the previa turns into accreta, which means the placenta attaches to body organs and actually begins to grow into them (pretty alien-like). This can result in severe hemorrhaging and may require a partial or even a complete hysterectomy.

All of this is beside the point. Ireland decided she wanted to show up on January 27th at 10:35 P.M. She was six weeks premature, 18 inches long, and weighed just 4 lbs. 13 oz. 


Marcee had gone to the gynecologist that day. He told her she was having contractions. We went to the hospital, where they tried to stop her contractions. It didn’t happen. Marcee started bleeding, and while I write about blood all the time, seeing it pour from my wife’s body was pretty damn scary.

I was in the operating room when Ireland was delivered. She came out fine, although she would have her own struggles ahead of her in the coming weeks. Shortly after the nurses began cleaning Ireland up, one of the doctors said to another doctor that Marcee had accreta and would need a hysterectomy. I was caught between the joy of my daughter’s birth and my wife’s fragile situation. 

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The doctors began pumping my wife full of anesthesia and she was fading fast. All she wanted was to hear our baby girl cry, to know Ireland was all right. “Cry, baby girl,” she said, and when Ireland began to wail, Marcee drifted off.

I was ushered from the OR with Ireland in my arms. What followed was a two-and-a-half-hour wait while the doctors performed surgery on Marcee. There was a lot of blood loss, but in the end she came through the surgery alive and eager to see Ireland. Barely able to sit up, she insisted I wheel her to the nursery, where she held Ireland for the first time, a full four hours after Ireland was born. 

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Because Ireland was premature, she was going to be spending time in the NICU. She was moved to a different hospital—one that was further away from where we lived—the next night. Marcee and I agreed I should go with Ireland. There was really no discussion necessary. This, however, left Marcee alone to deal with the trauma of her experience without me or her newborn daughter to comfort her.

One of the memories that haunts me still is seeing an ambulance with the words Neonatal Transport Unit on the side and thinking, that’s a baby ambulance and it’s here for my baby.

I arrived at the hospital where my daughter was taken late that night. The blur begins here, so I don’t have the exact time. The NICU staff suggested I get a room at the Ronald McDonald House. I insisted I didn’t need one, that I would be staying at my daughter’s side day and night. They worked hard to convince me a room at the Ronald McDonald House made more sense—that it would be more comfortable than a chair in the NICU. If it had just been me, they probably wouldn’t have changed my mind, but since I knew Marcee was planning to join me as soon as she could strong arm the doctor’s into discharging her (which she did in record time), I relented and allowed one of the nurses to contact the Ronald McDonald House nearby to reserve us a spot.

It turns out no reservation was needed that night. Hospital security drove me to the Ronald McDonald House where we would be staying. It so happened I was the only guest at the time. The house was a quaint looking affair that reminded me of a bed and breakfast in the country—from the outside. Inside was a maze of stairways and narrow hallways that housed about thirty rooms. The security guard said I wouldn’t be able to get a key until morning, so once he left, I wouldn’t be able to get in and out. The doors lock automatically.

After the security guard left, I wandered around the house. It was beautiful. Hardwood floors, stocked library, fully-stocked kitchen (help yourself to anything you want), fireplace, and a playground outside for kids. It was amazing.

And a little creepy.

The house sat in a beautiful residential area with red brick streets and lots of gorgeous trees, but at night, alone as I was, still a little in shock over the premature birth of my daughter and the bloody mess that was Marcee’s surgery, my mind began working overtime. I imagined all sorts of creaking floors and shadows moving through the house—hell, maybe it wasn’t my imagination. In any case, sleep did not come easy that night. I’d seen far too many horror movies, written far too many horror stories myself, not to know what usually becomes of lone visitors in quaint country homes in the middle of the night. I called Marcee to let her know I was settled in and that I thought I had the company of ghosts, or maybe something much worse.

With no key, I used my overnight bag to prop the door open so I could step outside and have a cigarette.

It was a foggy night—isn’t it always?

One cigarette became two, two became three. I stood outside in the fog, looking through the chilly darkness, grateful to have a new daughter, but afraid for how fragile she seemed to be; happy Marcee came through the surgery alive, but sad she was alone at another hospital; missing our boys, who would end up seeing us very little over the next three weeks (although they were well taken care of, thanks to Marcee’s mom and dad).

It was 3:00 A.M when I finally went back inside and stretched out on the bed, fully clothed, lying on top of the covers.

Marcee arrived the next day. She shouldn’t have been walking at all, but she wouldn’t be denied her daughter. We spent the next three weeks living at the Ronald McDonald House (they moved us from the bed-and-breakfast model to one that resembled a fairly expensive hotel). Our days were filled with walking from the Ronald McDonald House to the hospital and back again. We would feed and change our daughter, hold her, and watch as she began to overcome the challenges of prematurity. She did those things like the little champ she is. I believe having us with her day and night helped contribute to her impressive adjustment to being thrust into the world so early. She is just over two months old at the time of this writing and healthy as can be. Marcee is doing great too. 


The Ronald McDonald House played a big part in making this happen. They provided food, shelter, homemade gifts from volunteers, and even cards for Valentine’s Day. We didn’t need to do anything except be there for Ireland. If not for the Ronald McDonald House, Marcee and I would have had to travel every day to see Ireland, or we would have had to sleep in the NICU to be with her. We would have gladly done either, but the Ronald McDonald House made it so we didn’t need to.

The Ronald McDonald House does this for thousands of families every hour of every day of every year.

I came up with the idea for this anthology one night while Marcee and I were in our room at RMH. We wanted to give back to the organization not only for what it was doing for us, but what it has done for families since the first Ronald McDonald House opened its doors in 1974. The organization operates strictly on donations, and the best way I could think to give back was to use my talent with words.

I knew I couldn’t do it alone, however, so I called upon some of the best names in horror fiction to help out. The response was overwhelming. With very few exceptions, every author I contacted was willing to participate. I also received stories from writers who saw the call for submissions on Dark Markets. It wasn’t long before I had more stories than I could possibly use—enough to fill two volumes of Dark Light.

I can remember where I was and at what time of the day it was when I received word from each of these fine writers that he or she would be happy to contribute. It isn’t that difficult, though. I was either at the hospital or at the Ronald McDonald House. The days and nights ran together, but each one of these authors responding that he or she would be willing to participate in Dark Light was an uplifting moment.

I am grateful to the 42 authors included here, as well as to those who wanted to participate but couldn’t be included. I would also like to thank ahead of time all of you who will be helping promote the book after its release (there are several commitments already). Without each of you, this project could not have been realized. Your generosity warms my heart.

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Please help support the Ronald McDonald House Charities by buying your copy of Dark Light here.

Be sure to check out the other stops on this great tour!

6/25 Beauty & Books /Spot Light
6/26 My World /Spot Light
6/27 Sweet Southern Home /Spot Light
6/27 Indie Writers Review /Spot Light
6/28 Crist’s Reviews /Review
6/29 Mission to read /Review
6/29 All The Days of /Spot Light
6/30 T B R /Review
7/2 Window on the World /Spot Light
7/3Disincentive Reviews /Guest Post
7/7 Wickedly Bookish /Spot Light
7/9 Journey With Words /Review
7/10 The Book Hoard /Spot Light
7/13 Dahl's Doll /Review
7/16 Reader Girls /Excerpt
7/17SJ Clarke /Spot Light
7/18 Jeanz Book Read N Review /Guest Blog
7/18 Reading Between the Wines /Spot LIght
7/18 That Artsy Reader Girl /Spot LIght
7/19 My Cozie Corner /Review
7/21 ¡Miraculous! /Spot Light
7/22Reviews By Molly /Review
7/26 Bunnys Review /Review

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

W...W...W... Wednesday

To Play Along:
Answer the following questions:
1)  What are you currently reading?
2)  What did you recently finish reading?
3)  What do you think you'll read next?

My Answers:

1)  Currently, I'm reading Dreamwalker, by Andrea Heltsley

Dreamwalker (Persephone's League of Immortals)From Goodreads: Noel Kennedy lost her boyfriend, her job and he dignity all in one week. Then something happened and she began to dream of this stranger she had never met. She couldn’t resist the man of her dreams named Jared especially when she met him in real life. Entranced, she slowly unraveled a world she was meant to stay out of. Her life was not what she thought it was once a sexy Boone stepped into the mix and shook things up. Can she escape a life of servitude or immortality for a chance at love?

2)  I actually have recently finished two books..  Saving Mary by Deidre Havrelock
Saving Mary
 From Goodreads: If you’re a fan of supernatural fiction then you will be captivated by this true story about a spiritually sensitive girl and the path that led to her possession. Part one of a two-part series, Saving Mary is the story of a modern-day Mary Magdalene—the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons.
Deidre Daily is drawn to anything seemingly spiritual, desperately seeking a spiritual existence. But inside this vibrant girl hides a terrified child who sincerely believes she has married the devil. Through a series of spiritual encounters her fear turns into reality, and she ends up possessed.
Deidre’s fascinating memoir relays her story from childhood to adolescence: invisible eyes leering at her from the corner of her bedroom, horrible nightmares tormenting her, and her desperate attempt to find God—only to end up possessed. It is a candid account of possession from a first-person perspective. This dark memoir brings to light an intricate world of deceitful spirits hell-bent on manipulating and damaging an innocent girl’s life, not only through her dreams, but also through seemingly every-day encounters.
Travel with Deidre into the mysterious world of spirits, ghosts and demons. Awaken yourself to a world that isn't supposed to exist; a world that’s as intriguing as it is sinister. And then emerge as a new person—invigorated, aware and intent on living in the light. Saving Mary; Not just another story about a girl and her exorcist.
And, Pack of Lies by Staci Weber and Sara Dailey
Pack of Lies (Red Ridge Pack Series # 1)
From Goodreads: The last thing Allison Wright ever expected when she moved to Red Ridge, New Mexico was to come muzzle to muzzle with the wolf of her dreams.
Seventeen-year-old Allison Wright is convinced she’s losing her mind. Uncontrollable mood swings, hot flashes, and the urge to punch anyone who gets in her way are suddenly becoming everyday occurrences. Before her erratic behavior gets out of hand, Allison’s mother finally comes clean about her dark secret. Mom is a werewolf, and soon Allison and her brother Aiden will suffer the same fate. When Allison reaches her breaking point, the family leaves their life in Texas to move to Red Ridge, New Mexico where they rejoin the pack that Allison’s mother left behind almost 20 years ago.
Unfortunately, not everyone in Red Ridge is thrilled about Allison’s arrival, especially when she attracts the attention of the very handsome, very taken, soon-to-be alpha, Cade Walker. Little does Allison know, her mere presence is causing a rift in a once unified pack. Not only has Cade been forbidden from being with Allison by his father, the pack’s alpha, Cade’s girlfriend, Kendall Stuart, will stop at nothing to get Allison out of the picture. Well on her way to becoming the next alpha’s mate, Kendall expects to rule the pack by Cade’s side even if it means teaming up with a rogue werewolf with an agenda of his own. Determined to get rid of Allison permanently, when Kendall and the rogue join forces, all hell breaks loose and no one in the pack is safe, especially not Cade and his true mate.

3)  There are several books on my next to read list!  
Hidden by Sophie Jordan (squee!!)
Hidden: A Firelight NovelFrom Amazon:  Readers will be clamoring to find out who Jacinda chooses in Hidden, the final installment of the steamy Firelight novels. Is it Will, the hunter she's risked everything to save, or Cassian, the prince of her kind with whom she has an undeniable connection? Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in this epic tale that will appeal to fans of Maggie Stiefvater, Lauren Kate, Aprilynne Pike, and Colleen Houck. When Jacinda and Will's forbidden romance leads to the capture of Cassian's sister, Jacinda knows she must set things right. With her friends by her side, Jacinda hatches a daring plan to rescue Cassian's sister. But the only way to reach her is for Jacinda to become a prisoner herself…and there's no guarantee she'll make it out alive.

I am soo very excited about this book!!  It's in the mail to me as we speak, hopefully it will be in my mailbox today!!  Yay!!

After this, I will be reading My Fearful Symmetry and Servant of the Goddess, by Denise Verrico..
My Fearful Symmetry (Immortyl Revolution, #3)  Servant of the Goddess (Immortyl Revolution #4)  These are books 3 and 4 of the Immoryl Revolution series..
The descriptions can be found on Goodreads, here and here.

Happy reading everyone!  I hope you all enjoy the books you're reading this week!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Saving Mary: Review and Author Guest Post

Thanks for stopping in for my day of the Saving Mary blog tour, hosted by Virtual Book Tour Cafe!  I am reviewing the book today and will have a guest post from the author, Deidre Havrelock.


Welcome Deidre Havrelock!

Deidre believes theology is for everyone! It’s for working moms and soccer parents and for introverted engineers who don’t know what to say at dinner parties. It’s for energetic athletic-types who traverse mountains on cool bikes and for lethargic teenagers who write dark poetry. It’s for Trekkies and Twihards and Gleeks, nurses and teachers and those who Twitter and Ping. It’s for older people with Labs and round-faced happy people with too many cats. In other words, theology is not just for theologians. Did you get that? You do not have to be an intellectual to comprehend theology. You do not have to be a preacher. And yes, there is so much more to the Bible than what churches, on average, are currently teaching. Understanding the spiritual teachings of your Christian faith is fun … and more than that, it’s important.

From Goodreads:  If you’re a fan of supernatural fiction then you will be captivated by this true story about a spiritually sensitive girl and the path that led to her possession. Part one of a two-part series, Saving Mary is the story of a modern-day Mary Magdalene—the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons.

My Review:
I don't even know for sure where to start... 
The whole time I was reading this book, I thought, wow.. I used to do a lot of these things!  I played with the Ouija, until it got really bad, now I won't touch them!  I'm just glad I got out of it before things got really bad!  
I didn't realize until talking with Deidre that this was an actual memoir, a recounting of her own life..  I thought it was just a fictional story.  That made this book even more enthralling!  
We follow Deidre throughout her very bad childhood, learning of the abuse and neglect she endured when she was supposed to feel safest.  Then, we watch (and I say watch, because it almost feels that way) her in her most impressionable years, the teens, as she finds her way into the mystical realm of Transcendental Meditation and other like things.  All of this leads to an understanding that she must make a choice, between God and Satan, and as she's always believed herself to be married to Satan (unwillingly), she finds it very difficult to make that decision.
This book has a lot of excitement and mystery.  The writing and language of the story seems so real, as if you can almost see and hear each scene.  She actually uses words she used at the different age levels, making the reality even more clear.  I don't like to give spoilers, so I'll just say that there's a huge cliff-hanger at the end, making me attempt, to no avail, to continue to flip the pages of my e-reader, just hoping that I'll somehow magically manifest the next book.. I simply must read it to see how things turn out!
I give this book 4 stars..

Guest Post:
What is your favorite scene(s) in the book and why do you love it?
My favorite scene is at the beginning of the book when I’m in my room playing barbies and suddenly my dad screams out bloody murder, making my mom sprint down the stairs to save him. I like this part because my dad remembers the event so well. While lying on the couch, a tall and extremely thin man appeared to him; the spirit pointed one of its long bony fingers at my dad as if to say, “You’re coming with me.” My dad says he had never been so terrified in his life. The spirit he describes, by the way, sounds exactly like the spirit I call Fred (in the book)…who appeared to me in my dreams. Even though this isn’t a great memory for us, my dad and I feel connected through the event. The fact that we both saw the same spirit helps us to feel not so odd…or crazy. Actually, my dad saw two spirits in his life.
Once, when sleeping over at my mom’s aunt’s house, he saw a little boy, plain as day, walk into his bedroom. He said he talked to the boy saying, “Hi there, who are you?” The boy said nothing and left. Later, he asked my mom’s aunt who the kid was and she said, “There’s no kids here!”

My other favorite scene is when I go and toss all my teddy bears and dolls out in the trash bin. I think I like this scene so much because it really captures the intense fears I had as a kid. I mean, seriously…I snuck all my toy dolls and teddies out of the house and threw them into the trash bin so they wouldn’t stare at me or (heaven forbid) kill me! I remember hoping that they wouldn’t come sneaking back into my room at night. I was always terribly afraid that they could come to life.
Am I afraid now? No. Things are drastically different now.

Please visit the other stops on this tour..

May 21 - Introduction at VBT Cafe' Blog
May 23 - Guest Blogging at Mass Musings
May 25 - Interviewed & Reviewed at Black Diamond's Book Reviews
May 30 - Interview & Review at A Book Lover's Library
June 4 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews
June 6 - Interviewed & Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
June 8 - Book Featured at Louise James' Blog
June 12 - Guest Blogging at Wise Words
June 14 - Interviewed at Books Are Magic
June 19 - Guest Blogging & Review at My World
June 21 - Interviewed by Margaret West
June 21 - Book featured at The Book Hoard
June 25- Reviewed & Interviewed at The Writing World
June 27 - Reviewed at The Lucky Ladybug
June 29 - Guest Blogging & Review at Indie Writer's Review
June 30 - Reviewed at Self Taught Cook 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Angelique: Illustrators interview

Welcome to my stop on the Angelique ipad app tour hosted by Innovative Online Book Tours.  Please enjoy an interview with the illustrators and check out other stops on the tour!

Blurb: Are you back, Angelique?”
He waits in his library, alone, drawing back curtains on memories of love so many years
lost. Reports of dead men, bloodless, all eerily similar, tell Vincent the tale. Stalking in
shadows, she seeks him.
Will she have him still?
Told first in Helen A Rosburg’s poem “Angelique,” the story of Angelique and Vincent’s undying love now comes to resplendent life in this novelette illustrated by Cherif Fortin and Lynn Sanders and offered in animated-book format. With its beautiful prose and breathtaking images, this instant classic vampire story will haunt and delight readers for  eternity.

The Illustrators

Cherif Fortin is a freelance photographer, illustrator, and writer living in Chicago, Illinois. At one time he has worked as a professional stuntman, as a full-time firefighter, and as one of the country’s leading romance cover models. Cherif’s artwork has been featured on the covers of hundreds of books in dozens of countries, and on calendars and collectibles. He runs the successful Fortin & Sanders Studio along with partner, Lynn Sanders, producing commercial art and photography for leading clients internationally.
He lives with his wife, Dawn, and their three children: Kira, Kai, and Lara.

Lynn Sanders is an artist, photographer, and writer of romance fiction and children’s books. She is co-owner of Fortin & Sanders Studio, which produces cover art for some of the top publishers in the world. Her paintings have been exhibited at Epcot Center and are owned by private collectors such as Hugh Hefner and Fabio. She has three adult children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She lives in northern Illinois with Ce Ce, her faithful Cirneco dell Etna.

The Interview:

1) Tell us a bit about yourselves.
I am a great grandmother. I have 3 children. I’ve lived most of my life in Illinois. I have always loved art and romance. I lean toward depicting the fantasy side of life rather than the stark, bare-my-soul type of art. I love pretty things.

Cherif: I'm married and a father of three. I live in a northwest suburb of Chicago and work as a full time firefighter for the city of Elgin, Illinois. My other full time career is as an illustrator/photographer, which I started doing professionally in 1993. I'm big into sci-fi/fantasy literature.  I love art, video games and going to the movies with my wife. I'm also an avid kick-boxer.
We recently welcomed an addition to our family: our brand new, Doberman puppy, Shogun.
Artistically speaking, I am strongly influenced by the great illustrators of the 20th century as well as many photographers and representational artists. I sometimes work in oils, but mostly I work digitally, so I am interested in technology. I love the work of contemporary concept artists.

2) When did you start working together and what brought you together.  
Lynn: In 1993 I met Cherif at Medieval Times at one of his performances (he worked there as a stunt performer for 12 years). I offered him a trade shoot at my photography studio: comp pics for his modeling portfolio and contest pictures for me. He came to the studio a couple times and that's when I found out he was also artistic. I had a fledging commercial background painting business at the time and I needed artists, so I gave him a job. Within a year we became partners in that business and started working together on a variety of other illustration projects.
A couple years into our partnership, I started piecing some of the shots I had taken of Cherif into a personal project. It eventually evolved into Passion’s Blood, the first-ever illustrated romance novel. Passion's Blood was initially published by Genesis Press in 1998, then republished ten years later by Medallion Press as the flagship title launching their Masterpiece line. It was published again in 2010 by Medallion for the iPad as an animated romance.

Cherif: About the time Lynn and I started putting Passion's Blood together in the middle 90's, we also broke into the publishing field as book cover illustrators. We had the good fortune of working for most of the big publishing companies, and many great independents over the years.
Our work has been published on thousands of book covers and seen by millions of people all over the world. A lot of our work has been for the romance genre, where fans know us as Fortin & Sanders. We still work together painting, illustrating and photographing all kinds of projects, though I think our favorite jobs will always be illustrating books.

3) What are some of you favorite pieces from Angelique?  
Lynn: I like the painting of the mist scene where Angelique walks toward the viewer. That's one that Cherif painted and I thought he did a brilliant job capturing the scene. It has a really creepy feel to it.
Cherif: I dont know if I have one absolute favorite, though one of the paintings I like best has to be the one of Angelique at the window. Sometimes when I'm working, paintings can take on a life of their own, but this one came out exactly as I saw it in my mind's eye when I read the storythe first time.4) Was working on an iPad app completely different from other work you’ve done? Was it more or less challenging?
Cherif: Yes, this was different because of the animations which required us to do  several versions of the paintings (or parts of the paintings). Angelique was the first project we worked on where we intentionally crafted our paintings to be able to move and interact with the reader.  It meant we had to do a lot of extra work, but I think the added value of having sound and motion in the finished product is definitely worth it.

5) What’s coming up for Fortin & Sanders?
We are always working on stories and illustrations. We have all the illustrations ready for another story that is similar in tone to Passion’s Blood, and we'd love to see that released as an app in the future. We also do fine art portraiture for private clients, painting everything from pets, to children, brides and corporate execs. We are still illustrating book covers for a variety of clients and we hope to keep doing that for many more years to come.
On a personal level, I just finished a series of paintings for a group of silk-flyer acrobats. I'm also working on illustrating some kids books which I'd like to see published one day, and I'm doing a lot of portraits of Elvis, which I sometimes put up for sale on ebay.

Cherif: We're spending a lot of time promoting Passion's Blood and Angelique these days, doing signings and appearances (our next appearance will be at the Printer's Row show in Chicago, June 9th). We're also finishing production on some artwork for the Gordie Brown Live! Show at the Golden Nugget Casino, which you can see on 8 billboards throughout Las Vegas.
My personal projects lately include doing a lot portraits of my family (puppies and kids, they're just so darn cute), as well as some paintings exploring fantastic and mythological themes (uh oh, sounds like a new section for the website). I'm putting the finishing touches on a new book which features art techniques for professional photographers; I'm hoping to have that ready by the end of the year.

Thanks to Cherif Fortin and Lynn Sanders for their time today!  If you would like to purchase the app, you can get it here on itunes.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review: The Bull Years

Welcome to today's stop on the Phil Stern review tour, hosted by VBTCafe.

The Bull Years  The Bull Years by Phil Stern
A Novel Of America's Most Disillusioned Generation
For Steve, Sophia, Dave, and Brooke, life hasn't turned out as planned. Rather than easy fame and fortune, these happy-go-lucky teenagers of the 1980's found young adulthood a mystifying series of dead-end jobs, failed relationships, family scandal, and surging frustration.
Now approaching middle age, all they want is to reverse their gradual alienation from life and one another, reconnecting with their earlier, innocent selves.
But there's a catch. Before any of them can move forward, they must collectively confront that one outrageous night back in college that first drove them apart, revealing secrets potentially shattering everything they ever were.

My Review:
I had this whole preconceived notion about what this book would be about.  The blurb implied it to be just a story about 4 college friends who had some falling out and now, some 20 years later, are reunited and begin to reconcile their pasts with each other.. or that's what it said to me.  In a way, it was all of that, but so much more.  In actuality, it was basically a collage of journal entries from each character, discussing the past and their own views of how things transpired between them.  They weren't actually together discussing these things, but merely writing them all down, for a "life project" Steve had all asked them to be a part of; with the exception of Brooke, who couldn't be contacted by Steve, so instead he asked a much younger woman in his building to write in her stead. 
Looking back at the way I've explained the book, I realize that it doesn't really sound very good.  That is definitely not my intention! I honestly really enjoyed the book!  
Being basically the same age as the 3 main characters as they were writing, I could relate to each of them on many different levels.  With exception of the sexual topics (of which there were quite a few) and the explosive night that separated them for good, I felt that I could see a lot of myself in each of them.  There were quite a few passages that, for some reason, seemed to really touch me and are definitely words I care to remember.  
I don't believe that the POV and journal entry type of writing this book has would work very well for many stories, but for this one, it was great!  A very engrossing book that I didn't want to put down!
I give the book 4 stars!

Please check out the other stops on this tour..
April 27 - Witches Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
May 4 - Rogue Powers Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
May 6 - Witches Reviewed at The Writing World
May 11 - The Reclaimed Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
May 18 - A Time for Ryda Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
May 19 - Rogue Powers Reviewed at My World
May 25 - The Bull Years Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
May 26 - Witches Reviewed at My World
May 31 - The Reclaimed Reviewed at Book Reviews, Fiction Reflection, & More
June 8 - Witches Reviewed at Immortality & Beyond
June 8 - Rogue Powers Reviewed at Book'em Eric
June 12 - Rogue Powers Reviewed at Words I Write Crazy
June 12 - Witches Reviewed at Book'em Eric
June 16 - The Bull Years Reviewed at My World
July 16 - Rogue Powers Reviewed at A Book Lover's Library
July 19 - Witches Reviewed at A Book Lover's Library
June 19 - A Time for Ryda Reviewed at Words I Write Crazy
June 22 - Witches Reviewed at Book Spark
June 23 - A Time for Ryda Reviewed at Book Spark
June 26 - The Reclaimed Reviewed at Words I Write Crazy
July 1 - Rogue Powers Reviewed at Soliloquy
July 2 - A Time For Ryda Reviewed at Soliloquy
July 3 - The Reclaimed Reviewed at Soliloquy
July 3 - Witches Reviewed at Words I Write Crazy
July 4 - Witches Reviewed at Soliloquy
July 5 - The Bull Years Reviewed at Soliloquy
July 6 - Rogue Powers Reviewed at B00K R3Vi3Ws
July 10 - Witches Reviewed at B00k R3Vi3wS
July 11 - Witches Reviewed at MK McClintock's Blog
July 13 - Rogue Powers Reviewed at Bren's Book Reviews
July 29 - The Reclaimed Reviewed at Self Taught Cook

Monday, June 11, 2012

Interview with Justin Bog

Welcome to my stop on the Sandcastle and Other Stories book tour, hosted by Virtual Book Tour Cafe.  Please enjoy the interview and check out some of the other sites on the tour..
The ten literary, psychological, and suspense tales collected in Sandcastle and Other Stories are nothing short of an escape into a roiling sea of emotion. You will meet an old man twisted by fate and a lost love . . . a young girl playing on the ocean shore who becomes entangled in the nets of a mercurial god . . . a divorced man mired in his troubles who is pressured into taking a singles cruise . . . a Hollywood actor in a night time television drama who is always typecast as the bad boy . . . a family on the edge trying to live with a troubled daughter who they believed they'd never have to coexist with again . . . a young adult bruised and torn by a secret past who watches the world around her teetering on the brink of chaos . . . a new mother of twins who finds it difficult to say no to the pushy, energetic President of the local Mothers of Twins Club . . . a child kept awake by night terrors, and a woman who hides her secretive personality from everyone on the beach one sunny day. Upon reading, you will meet several more people who view life as a constant struggle, and others who resist this mindset, some with grace, some with humor, and others with acts of hubris. The genuine voices of the characters, mixed with a clear-eyed tonal simplicity, make this a series with mesmerizing psychological interplay. All of the stories span a broad depth of human understanding and build a bridge between the deepest chasms of pain and the highest portals of joy. Read Sandcastles and Other Stories and you will stand witness to unspeakable hate sitting with cozy wile right beside unconditional love -- a true fictional study of the human condition.
Publisher - Convenient Integration
Release Date - May 8, 2012
Website -
Purchase Link - Amazon

The Interview:

1) Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, I am a writer living in the San Juan Islands north of Seattle. The weather is gothic most days of the year, which I love, and the atmosphere helps me prepare to write or edit. I live with my partner on a farm and take care of two long coat German shepherds, Zippy and Kipling, and two barn cats, Ajax The Gray & Eartha Kitt’n. I read a lot of books, see many films, and recommend the best, and hidden gems from the past, in pop culture for the e-Magazine In Classic Style. I swim three times a week and play tennis.

2) What inspired you to write Sandcastle and Other Stories?
All of these ten tales that make up the collection were written at separate moments. They were for fun, just for me to share finally with friends who love to read short fiction. I published them on my blog all last year along with a short holiday story (that is still there called Seducing Santa). In the blog world it’s all about the present, something I love, but this also means posts from the past pretty much stay there. With encouragement from a few writing friends, I decided to collect the stories and turn them into my first ebook. The subject matter throughout is similar. Characters search for answers. Some find epiphany, while others miss opportunities. I like to read suspense and tales of psychological drama, conflict between characters. I also tend to think of dark places. There is a lot of darkness in the book, but there is also hope.

3) When did you decide to be a writer?
I decided to become a writer a very long time ago . . . once upon a time fits, but it’s the toiling away at the craft, learning it, that takes up the most amount of time. I never sent my work out after awhile. Just did my thing, kept my head down, and for the longest time after graduating with an MFA, I didn’t even tell people I was a writer. Now, after I’ve built up a large body of work, I want to share it. Life’s too short, and a mentor told me why not? Risk it.

4) What are some of your favorite reads?
The first author that springs to mind is Shirley Jackson. The story? The Lottery. Also, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. The Auctioneer by Joan Samson. Binstead’s Safari by Rachel Ingalls (and every story she’s written), Most of the novels of Margaret Atwood and John Irving. I also loved The Firm, the early works of Stephen King, and a little book called Pork by Cris Freddi. I enjoy reading the suspense novels of Harlen Coben and Linwood Barclay; usually, they take a normal suburban family and put them through outrageous situations. The one classic that I continue to bow down to is The Count of Monte Cristo.

5) Do you have a particular writing style (any quirks you must have/do while writing)?
I like to get lost in the writing. Play music in the background, all different kinds, rock, pop, classical, jazz, folk, so that it becomes white noise. I don’t outline. I usually begin with a character, a thought about what someone is doing, what this character thinks about someone else, or some situation, and let the character lead me on a journey. I don’t write a lot each day, but the writing gets done.

6) What other projects of yours are out there or coming soon?
A new suspense story called The Conversationalist will be collected in an upcoming eBook anthology tentatively titled Encounters. This anthology’s theme is “stalkers” and should be out by July or August. I have finished my first novel, a family drama, Wake Me Up, and it’s going through a few copyediting rounds before publication at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. I finished a suspense/contagion/horror novel, The Shut-Ins, and I am in the middle of an early draft content edit; I am writing a new psychological suspense story, The Volunteer, and only a hundred pages in. So, more books on the horizon, and I just got word that a small publishing house may be interested in publishing the print edition of Sandcastle and Other Stories so this makes me very happy.

7) Do you have any tips for the aspiring writers out there?
If you need to write, write. If you need to share what you write, share it. Learn the craft and tell your stories.

8) Let us know where all we can find you.
I can be found by email at
I have a blog called A Writer’s Life:
I am on Twitter @JustinBog. Link:!/JustinBog
I have an Author Page at Facebook. Link:
My eBook, Sandcastle and Other Stories is available at Amazon. Link:
To check out my work at the e-Magazine In Classic Style please go

Here's the other stops along this tour..
June 7 - Introduction at VBT Cafe' Blog
June 11 - Interviewed at My World
June 13 - Guest Blogging at The Book Hoard
June 15 - Guest Blogging at Reading, Writing, and More
June 19 - Interviewed at MK McClintock's Blog
June 21 - Guest Blogging at On Emily's Bookshelf
June 26 - Guest Blogging at BK Walker Books Etc.
June 28 - Reviewed at The Story of a Girl...
July 2 - Guest Blogging at AZ Publishing Services
July 6 - Interviewed at Mass Musings
July 9 - Guest Blogging at From The TBR Pile
July 11 - Reviewed at Books, Books, and More Books
July 13 - Reviewed at B00k R3vi3ws
July 16 - Interviewed at Reviews & Interviews
July 18 - Reviewed & Interviewed at A Book Lover's Library
July 18 - Interviewed at Brenda & Steve's Blog
July 20 - Interviewed at Unnecessary Musings

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ray Gorham: Review and Interview

Thank you for joining us for my stop of the virtual book tour of Ray Gorham and his book, 77 Days In September!  This tour is hosted by VBTCafe.  Please enjoy a review of the book, followed by an interview of the author!  
Happy Reading!

77 Days in September 77 Days In September by Ray Gorham
On a Friday afternoon before Labor Day, Americans are getting ready for the holiday weekend, completely unaware of a long-planned terrorist plot about to be launched against the country. Kyle Tait is settling in for his return flight home when a single nuclear bomb is detonated 300 miles above the heart of America. The blast, an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), destroys every electrical device in the country, and results in the crippling of the power grid, the shutting down of modern communications, and bringing to a halt most forms of transportation.
Kyle narrowly escapes when his airplane crashes on take-off, only to find himself stranded 2,000 miles from home in a country that has been forced, from a technological standpoint, back to the 19th Century. Confused, hurt, scared, and alone, Kyle must make his way across a hostile continent to a family he’s not even sure has survived the effects of the attack. As Kyle forges his way home, his frightened family faces their own struggles for survival in a community trying to halt its own slow spiral into chaos and anarchy.
Based on scientist’s predictions of what would happen if a single nuclear bomb is detonated over Kansas, 77 Days in September follows Kyle and his wife, Jennifer, as they are stretched past their breaking point, but find in their devotion to each other the strength to persevere.

My Review
When I first read this blurb, I thought I'd really enjoy the book.  I had no idea how much!  This book is easily one of my favorite of all time, which is a bit odd considering my favorite genre is the paranormal romance type.  
77 Days is about a very realistic, in my opinion, scenario of a terrorist attack on the United States.  We follow Kyle on his journey, walking from Texas to Montana, in order to get back to his wife and 3 kids.  He encounters quite a few people that are violent and out for only their own survival, which I'm sure is how things would actually be, but he also meets some helpful people along the way as well.  The POV switches between Kyle and his wife, Jennifer.  This way we get to live the struggle she and their children, as well as the small town in which they live, are going through while Kyle is trying to make it home to them.  This book gave me hope that there would actually be those out there willing to help others in a huge crisis such as this!  It was very refreshing, as well, to see the instances of real faith that were displayed by some of the characters.  I also loved reading a story about true love and faithfulness, without it being sappy and unrealistic.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone!
I give this book 5 stars!

You can buy this great book here.

Now, Please enjoy the interview with the author, Ray Gorham.

1)   Tell us about 77 Days In September.
77 Days is really a book about people. It is a story about a man separated from his family due to an extreme terrorist event, and his efforts to re-unite with them, while they struggle to survive. It’s
classified as a thriller, but it really is a story about love, dedication, and survival.
2) What inspired this particular story?
I was frustrated will all the stories about people who aren’t faithful, who find excuses to not be their best selves. I realize it is more exciting to have the affairs and the conflicts, but I wanted to create
characters who do the right thing, even when the circumstances get extremely difficult.
3) When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
There was never an event where that happened. I’d wanted to write a book for some time, but didn't have a story that I thought would be interesting. Once I decided what kind of characters I wanted to
write about, the story kind of came together.
4) Did you contact many publishing houses before deciding to publish the book yourself?
I queried dozens of agents and a few publishers, but only got one agent who read the manuscript. She was quite positive about it, but wanted some changes done to it that I didn’t want to make. As a first time author with no writing background it was probably unreasonable to expect anyone to take interest in me.
5) Any tips for us aspiring writers about getting published?
Don’t get hung up on the publishers and agents and such. Digital publishing is an amazing opportunity, and authors make significantly more than they do with a publisher. The tradeoff is the loss of the marketing offered by publishers. One of the other things I’ve noticed is that editing is something that is really important. My wife is good with that and really polished my work for me. Had that not been the case, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had any success to speak of.
6) So, what’s next for Ray Gorham?
I have more ideas for stories I’d like tell, but no time to sit down and write them. I’m self-employed with a large family, and business is very busy, so little time for writing. I’m hoping to have another book out by the end of the year, but that is not a sure thing at this point. I’ll have to see how things go in the next few months.
7) Tell us where to find you.
I’m on facebook, or, if a person really wants to, they can email me at

Thanks to Mr. Ray Gorham for taking time to tell us a bit about himself and his work!
*I have to say a few things to this interview.. first, to question #2, I completely agree!  I think you made an excellent choice with your characters, and while you showed the ugly side of humanity, you also gave me hope that there will be those few who will help others.
To question #4, those publishers should be kicking themselves right now, I know if I were a publisher, I would've snatched it right up, esp after reading it!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Interview with author D.N. Simmons

Welcome to my stop on the Desires Unleashed Book Tour hosted by Innovative Online Tours.  Please enjoy a brief synopsis of the book, followed by an interview with the author, D.N. Simmons.

Cover.jpg Desires Unleashed by D.N. Simmons
From Goodreads:Desires Unleashed is the first novel in the riveting, highly-addictive and sexually-charged Knights of the Darkness Chronicles. Experience the heart-pounding thrill of the chase in this electrifying page-turner as you uncover the mystery behind the series of gruesome killings that have been terrorizing the citizens of Chicago.


1)  Tell us about The Knights of the Darkness Chronicles. 
The Knight of the Darkness Chronicles is a multicultural urban fantasy series in which vampires and shape-shifters live openly with humans. To say the two species share a lack of trust between them would be a huge understatement. Their very fragile peace is threatened by factions from both sides and the humans and supernaturals soon realize that if they are going to survive in this new era, they’re going to have to trust each other.  The main story focuses on a set of characters whose lives intertwine with each book as they face one threat after another that jeopardizes their territory, friends and lovers.

2)  Each author seems to have a different “version” of vampire; can you tell us what some main qualities of your characters are? 
This is a fun question; I can’t say that I’ve ever been asked this before. I’m a huge vampire fan, and I’d like to think I created some pretty cool vamps. :D  In my series, the vampires are extremely powerful. They have super strength, speed, telepathic abilities, hypnosis, and a preternatural aura that adds an ethereal glow to their physical appearance. Those are some of the aspects that make the vampire so interesting and cool. I wanted to keep those traits.  The older a vampire is, of course, the stronger he/she becomes. For example, they become more resilient to the harmful rays of the sun. Each vampire belongs to a particular line that leads to what I called the “Fount”. The first vampire of that line and they have their own special abilities.

3)  What inspired you to start writing? 
Reading a good book. There’s nothing more fun than getting lost in a great tale. To be swept up and away on an adventure set in a world that lets your imagination run wild. I love that, and I wanted to create my own world in which another person can delve into and just fantasize and explore.

4)  Do you have any other stories bouncing around in your head? 
Oh I do! I’m currently working on the final installment of the Knights of the Darkness Chronicles, “Unholy Alliance”. But I’m also working on a new book that may very well turn into a trilogy. *wink*.

5)  What’s your writing style? (Pen/paper, computer, complete quiet or background noise, etc.)
For me, I see the story in my mind, playing out like a movie, if you will. So, I start the writing process from the first chapter and work the story until the end. I connect significant scenarios almost like links in a chain until the tale is complete. Oh, and I simply must have music. Often times, I’ll play one song repeatedly, because the melody keeps me in the mental zone for the type of book that I’m writing.  

6)  Do you have any tips for us aspiring authors? 
Be as original as you can be. You have to remember that there’s been a book written in just about every genre you can think of. So when you decide to make a name for yourself, you have to bring something unique into the genre.  Something readers haven’t read before, something that is unpredictable, exciting and ultimately entertaining.

7)  Please let us know where to find you. 
I have my own little corner of the cyberspace world at I can also be found on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.  

D.N. Simmons

Please check out these other great stops on this tour!

June 4th      Live To Read ~Krystal
June 4th      Wickedly Bookish
June 5th      My Secret Romance
June 5th      Words I Write Crazy
June 6th      Red Headed Bookworm
June 7th      ¡Miraculous!
June 7th      My Secret Romance
June 8th      Ramblings From This Chick
June 8th      The Readers Roundtable Infinity & Beyond
June 8th      Ramblings of an Amateur Writer