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Issue: September, 2014

Reading Matters

- A Collection of Short Reviews

Welcome to a collection of short reviews of material we read in September, 2014

For a list of all the books reviewed in Spring, 2014 (Sept - Nov), go to the Bookroom. More detailed reviews are listed there. For more reviews, search for 'book reviews' in our gold site search box at the top of this page (the bottom field, please).

Short reviews in Reading Matters this month:
Accepting the Moon(Kristie Haigwood)
Adorned (Georgeann Swiger)
The Awakening: The Bloodlines Series (Apryl Baker)
Created Darkly (Gena D. Lutz)
Crying Wolf (Amanda Kay)
Dang Near Dead (Nancy G. West)
Dark Child Episode One (Adina West)
Destiny's Wings (D.S. Schmeckpeper)
Edge Episode 1 (Jamie Magee)
Edge 2 (Jamie Magee)
Ember's Curse (Prime Wolf #1)(Gena D. Lutz)
Fakers (Meg Collett)
Finding Salem (Amanda Kay)
The Hunter's Realm (Brianna Hughes)
Lunation (J. J. Gadd)
The Noru: Blue Rose (Lola StVil)
Plan A: Lycaon's Kiss (S. Briones Lim)
Shadowed Spirit(Paloma Beck)
The Soul of Discretion
A Strange and Savage Garden (Tim Waggoner)
Tempted By Fire (Hunters Among Us Book 1) (M.D. Bowden)


book cover, Lunation, JJ Gadd; 89x139

J. J. Gadd
HarperCollins Publishers, 156p

Branguin, who was 16 before he learned his name, grew up in the forest with his grandfather and servant, Anslet. The Boy, as he was called, never knew his name because shortly after his grandfather took the boy in, he went crazy with Moonmadness. He never questions why they are secluded in the woods until his grandfather dies tragically just before his 16th birthday. He decides to leave in search of his mother's parents, but someone or something is following him. He also learns that he is related to Marama, a goddess that was trapped in the moon by her uncle. He sets out on a quest to free her from the moon. Will the boy be brave enough to do what is necessary to free the moon maiden? Can he survive the dangers lurking about that are trying to stop him from completing his mission?

I really enjoyed Lunation. I was so hooked that I had trouble putting it down. I just wanted to follow Branguin's journey and find out if he could release the lady in the moon. It was a thrill. A really good book. But, be warned, it ends in a major cliff hanger!

Toni Michelle

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A Strange and Savage Garden

book cover, A Strange and Savage Garden, by Tim Waggoner; 93x140

Tim Waggoner
Samhain Publishing, 86p

Lauren ran away from home when she was 17. She can't remember why but she never wanted to return; until now, because her father passed away and she needs to attend the funeral. When Lauren returns to Trinity Falls, she starts to see things. Her grandmother tells her of her gift to create illusions and had attempted to create a God of her own.

A Strange and Savage Garden is a pretty good horror story. I could imagine it being a creepy movie that would give children nightmares. Although the book is quite short, as novellas are, it is quite detailed and graphic. I would certainly recommend this book to horror fans as well as some paranormal fans as the craft of creating illusions is a bit witchy. I certainly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more by this author.

Toni Michelle

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Tim Waggoner answers The Usual Questions

Created Darkly

book cover, Created Darkly, by Gena D. Lutz; 92x140

Gena D. Lutz
Crimson Moon, 352p

Being able to create vampires is not something Kris wants to do, regardless of her ability to do so. Instead, she hunts the vile creatures down and destroys them. Kris believes that all blood suckers are murderers and should be terminated, that is until her sister is taken and held hostage by Wolf, a phantom, who requires that she create one.

I have come to love Gena Lutz's books. Created Darkly is magnificent! There is so much detail packed into the book that you can almost see everything that is taking place. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying this story as it unfolds. I have found myself eager to read more and am hoping that the next book will be released soon. I would certainly recommend this book to all vampire and supernatural lovers. The power of creating vampires as told in this story is unique and isn't so far out there that you wouldn't find yourself wishing you could do the same.

Toni Michelle

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Dark Child Episode One

book covers, Dark Child by Adina West; 90x140

Adina West

Kat isn't sure what she is; part human but something else as well, and she is finding out just how dangerous it is to be whatever she is. She must drink blood in order to sustain her life and the cravings have gotten out of control. The Directorate wants her dead, most of them anyway. So, she fakes her death and disappears to Paris. Ben is infatuated with Yara but they are both hiding secrets. Yara is struggling with her situation so Ben spies on her to see if there is a way he can help her.

Will Kat find out what she is becoming? Can she stay hidden from the Directorate? Will Ben get the girl? Can he help her with what is troubling her?

I am still trying to figure out this book. I want to say it's really interesting, because I was able to stay stuck in the book but I feel like it was because of a need to know what Kat is. There is no explanation of a Taberin, which is what everyone is called in the book, but it's like a mystery, you just gotta know.

The story jumps from one set of people to another, nearly every chapter and it's quite confusing. While I want to read the next episode to find out what is actually going on, I sort of feel like it's going to make the situation worse since there were no answers in the first.

Toni Michelle

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book cover, Fakers, by Meg Collett; 104x139

Meg Collett

Kyra was a depressed young woman and had become a self-mutilator. Always had been as far as she could remember, but she put on a fake smile for everyone and pretended like everything was good. She purchased her mother's childhood home in an attempt to feel closer to the woman she never knew. That's where she met Stevie, her alcoholic best friend, as well as Hale, an angry, uptight loner with a criminal history. Kyra and Hale are falling in love, but Kyra won't open up to Hale, and Hale is always hot then cold. It's one of those loves that will never make it.

First I want to say, I am absolutely floored! Meg is a new author and I fell in love with her stories before she even had the first one published. The End of Days series is a paranormal series with Angels and Demons. So when she said she would be writing a romance, I knew I would give it a shot even though I just can never get into them. I didn't have high hopes for enjoying Fakers. Boy did Meg blow me away! I fell in love with all of the characters in this story, where usually I only have a few beloved characters.

Meg is able to make you feel every human emotion as you read her work. You will laugh and cry. Your heart will soar and it will shatter. This is definitely a story I would recommend to anyone. It is one of those stories that no matter your preferred genre, you are going to fall in love with it.

Toni Michelle

Edge (Serial Book, Episode 1)

book cover, Edge episode 1, by Jamie Magee; 93x140

Jamie Magee
78 pages

Reveca has a special "gift". She can bring souls back, so long as they do not give up and cross into the veil. She considers this life of immortality a prison because she is missing her soul mate, which she lost many years ago. Required to barter with evil lord Crass for the soul of the one they call King Reveca becomes certain that King is her long lost lover.

This short story is quite interesting. I really enjoyed reading it. Reveca pulls on the emotions as she seems to be heartbroken and rightly so. There are several characters that I have become attached to and can't wait to learn more about them. I would definitely recommend this well written story to paranormal and fantasy lovers alike.

Toni Michelle

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Edge 2

Jamie Magee
Kindle, 80p, USD0.99

Reveca brought King back from the Veil. But she remembers him as Kenson, the man she fell in love with before she became immortal all those years ago. She still feels the pull of his magic. But she is with Talon now and she doesn't know what to expect from King or why her sister insisted he be brought back. She doesn't have time to worry about it either because right now she is trying to save the life she brought back from the Edge for GranDee.

I have to tell you, for an extremely short book, this Edge story is really killer! I am loving every second of it and cannot wait to read the next one. While reading this episode as well as episode 1 I was filled with excitement. It was impossible to put the book down for any purpose. I definitely would recommend this book to bad ass biker fans as well as paranormal/fantasy lovers.

Toni Michelle

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Destiny's Wings

book cover, Destiny's Wings, by D. S. Schmeckpeper; 99x140

D.S. Schmeckpeper
(Due Sep 19)

Celeste is part elf part herald and lives alone in the forest hidden from everyone by a cloaking spell. She left her home because her love, the prince, was promised to someone else. The only person (rather dragon) that could find her is the one that taught her the spell. Celeste recruits Theri (a kedistam) Arcus (a human raised as a druid) Tarnel (the Elf Prince Celeste has loved since she was a child) and Siobahn (a Paladin warrior) to assist her in saving the world. It won't be easy and lives will be lost.

I absolutely love this story. It is the author's debut novel and I have had to add her to my list of "must follow this author" because this book is so good! There are so many emotions brought to life by Celeste's journey that you will laugh, cry, be angry and be happy. Any emotion you can imagine having, you are going to have with this book. Grab your snacks and drink, pull up a seat and prepared to get lost in this spectacular book. You do not want to miss out on this one.

Toni Michelle

Accepting the Moon

book cover, Accepting the Moon, K. S. Haigwood; 95x140

K. S. Haigwood
Kindle, 81p, US1.99

Mena had no clue that the things that go bump in the night (like vampires and werewolves) were real, until the unthinkable happened. She is no longer human and she is having a hard time dealing with her status as pack leader now that her husband is dead. Does Mena have what it takes to be the Alpha? You will certainly want to find out!

K.S. Haigwood is one of my absolute favorite authors and if you have read any of her books, even just one, you will know why. She is a great writer. Her books rock. As for Accepting the Moon, oh it's so good; actually it's killer! You have got to check this book out. I absolutely love Phoenix. He is the head vampire and in love with Mena. The detective handling her husband's murder is also in love with her. Can't wait for the next one in this series.

Toni Michelle

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book cover, Adorned, by Georgeann Swiger; 95x139

Georgeann Swiger

Anya lives with her Aunt Celeste, just the two of them. She attends high school and volunteers at the local hospital. Her happy little world is turned up-side-down when Celeste informs her that they will have a house guest for a while. Anya of course dreads the foster child situation because of a previous one that tried to burn their house down. When Micah moves in, Anya wants to hate him, but she just can't.

What Anya didn't know was that Micah was there as her guardian angel and she is to become a guardian angel as well. Micah is very demanding and controlling and Anya is very free-spirited and independent. The arrangement is tough on them both, but still a love begins to blossom, which is not allowed in the Kingdom. Will Micah fail as Anya's guardian? No one gets out of this world alive, not even an angel sent to earth to live as a human, such as Anya.

Adorned was great. I haven't read anything similar to this story, which makes it all the better. I would recommend this book to all angel and demon book lovers. I could not put the book down. This is the first book I have read by this author, but I know that I will be keeping my eyes out for any more she has written or will write in the future. This was one of those 'fall in love with the author and characters' books.

Toni Michelle

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The Soul of Discretion

book cover, The Soul of Discretion, by Susan Hill; 92x140

Susan Hill
(Oct 2 2014), Random House UK, Vintage Publishing, hc, GBP18.99

DCS Simon Serailler is back, although this story of abusive behaviours and those who seek to stop them stands alone.

In an interweaved tale of victims and victimisers, Hill tells the story of an undercover cop who sets out to break a nasty child abuse ring, and the highly-positioned, privileged men who abuse women and children with apparent immunity.

Hill's style is unpretentious and she gets over the muddy ground of describing the abuses as lightly as possible.

Hill handles the multiple strands of the story well, and she draws the pieces together inexorably for the final pages where we hope that justice will prevail.

Ali Kayn

The Noru: Blue Rose

book cover, The Noru: Blue Rose, by Lola StVil; 93x140

Lola StVil
Kindle, 397p, US$4.99

The Noru is a new series by Lola StVil and is a follow up to The Guardians (7 books in this series). The Noru are the children of The Guardians and are set up as a team to do as their parents did, protect Heaven from demons while keeping the humans clueless as to their existence. But the team is not a team.

I was so excited to find out that this author was doing an extension to The Guardians. The Noru: Blue Rose is book 1 of this new series and it is so exciting. There are so many things to look forward to in the next book that I am on pins and needles with anticipation. The book is great. I am still crushed over Pryor's baby brother being killed but gosh was this book awesome. I want Pryor to be my fave character because her mom was in The Guardians, but honestly, Silver is my favorite. I am ready for book 2!

You should read this book, especially if you are into angels and demons.

Toni Michelle

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The Awakening: The Bloodlines Series

book cover, The Awakening by Apryl Baker; 96x140

Apryl Baker
kindle, 203p, US$2.99

Alex spent the last ten years thinking she was a nut job. She was even institutionalized for five of those years. Her uncle holds the information she so desperately needs but with it a devastating blow comes. Had her mom, who ran off all those years ago, not been murdered, her uncle would not be in her house trying to protect her and her brother from the same fate. They're werewolves and they're very powerful. This alone signed their death certificate. Or did it? The other were-creatures are looking for them, hunting them down for the slaughter.

Ok, so I want you to know I absolutely freaking loved this book. Everything about it was perfect. But, I am also extremely disappointed. Not because of the book, but rather because it was published in 2012 and I cannot find anything to show that the author has plans to continue the series.

So, while I would love to recommend this book, I cannot on that basis alone. I am going to go crazy needing the rest of the story and it appears there will not be more even though it says series in the title.

Toni Michelle

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Plan A: Lycaon's Kiss

book cover, Plan A Lycaon's Kiss, by S Briones Lim; 95x140

S. Briones Lim
kindle, 305p, US$2.99

Morgan has been left as collateral while her boyfriend goes to get the money he owes for a gambling debt. But he never returns for her, thus leaving her as payment. Morgan expected him to return, after all they were in love. But she was thrown to the wolves in more ways than one. In fact, she was left with a werewolf and along the way she is turned into one herself. Braedon, the leader of the pack, becomes her keeper and they start to have feelings for each other. But Braedon also has a need beyond that. He needs her help to complete "Plan A". Is Morgan up to the challenge? Can she handle her feelings for the Alpha? And will the mission work out?

I want to start by saying I am a huge fan of S. Briones Lim. She is spectacular! Her Life Force Novels were absolutely amazing. As was Plan A. I couldn't get enough and I want so much more! The author gives us some mythology lessons in Plan A regarding the origins of werewolves and keeps ya hooked through the entire book. I would recommend this story to everyone that enjoys a good book. Paranormal, fantasy and get it all in this book.

Toni Michelle

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Tempted By Fire (Hunters Among Us Book 1)

book cover, Tempted by Fire, by M D Bowden; 92x140

M.D. Bowden
Kindle, 232p, US$0.99

Erin is naïve about the fact that vampires and werewolves and other creatures truly exist. But how can that be, when she too possesses her own sort of magic? It's not until her first week at Greenwich University that she finds out they truly exist and that she is in immediate danger due to the guy she seems enthralled with. Her flat mate, and new friend, Victoria, is a hunter and is there to help as well as convince Erin that things really do go bump in the night. But can Erin break away from the spell she is under by her vampire guy, Aaron?

This book was pretty awesome once it got going. The beginning was way too slow for me and there is tons of normal life, which is not appealing to me. But once it got going and Victoria and Dr. Flynne clued Erin in, then I started loving the story. I look forward to book 2 Fighting the Flame. If you like Buffy style books, you will probably really enjoy this one.

Toni Michelle

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Shadowed Spirit

book covers, Shadowed Spirit, by Paloma Beck; 94x140

Paloma Beck
Kindle, 93p, USD3.99

Sadie is a member of the Circle of Magdalena as well as prophesied to be one of the seven sisters that will change the fate of her race. Sadie wanted to dance and she was accepted into a Vegas showcase dance that she was very excited about. However, she is kidnapped and held prisoner and is afraid she may have lost her big shot. Will Sadie escape this prison she is trapped in and make it to her debut night in Vegas? Will she be mated in time to fulfill the prophecy? Will she even be able to handle being tied down to a man and miss out on her free-spirited life she has lived for so long?

Talk about one heck of a ride! This book may be short but it is packed full of action. I absolutely loved Shadow Spirit. The bonds between families as well as mates, the magic, it's all so fascinating. I was hooked into this book right away. I have to recommend this one to fantasy lovers everywhere. It's too much fun not to read!

Toni Michelle

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Crying Wolf

book cover, Crying Wolf, by Amanda Kay; 93x140

Amanda Kay

Hunter Jackson is a werewolf in charge of his own unit per his father, the commander's orders. And his unit is charged with taking down all the shifters. But there is a problem for Hunter. And that problem has a name, Amelia. She is the daughter of the leader of the shape shifters. But its war time and his love for her must not be known. He will do anything to keep Amelia safe during this war, even break her heart. Will Hunter take down the shape shifters and destroy the heart of the one he loves?

I had been in a slump unable to get into anything I was reading but Crying Wolf pulled me so deep into the story that there was no way out! I absolutely loved everything about it. this is definitely a book that I know you will absolutely love. The part you will hate, is the ending...because you will have to wait for Amanda to publish the next book to find out what happens next. But even the ending was perfect. Cliffhangers kinda bite but this one has me craving more

Toni Michelle

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Finding Salem

book cover, Finding Salem, by Amanda Kay; 101x140

Amanda Kay
290p, USD2.99

Lucy wasn't ready to give up ghost hunting. But her friend and fellow ghost hunters was paralyzed on their last hunt and Lucy feels like she would be betraying her friend by continuing the hunt. It isn't until she receives a call from a couple from her home town in dire need of her assistance that she goes for "one more hunt". Everything gets crazy and nerve racking as Lucy attempts to help this couple. Chaos has struck and its possible she may not get out alive.

Finding Salem is a great book about ghost hunting. It will suck you in and not release you until you have finished it. Then you are going to sit there and wonder why on earth Amanda didn't keep writing because you were not ready to close the book.

That is true with all of Amanda Kay's books though. Thankfully she doesn't make you wait forever for the next book in the series! This, as well as all of her books, is worth reading. You will not be disappointed with any of her books.

Toni Michelle

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Ember's Curse (Prime Wolf #1)

book cover, Ember's Curse, by Gena Lutz; 92x140

Gena D. Lutz
225p, US$ 0.99

Ember's pack leader, Tommy, is a royal pain in the rump but never did she believe that he was a traitor. Just after finding her heartmate, which just so happened to be the Alpha of the Adelphi, Ember found out just how bad things could really get. Tommy made a pact with Tyson, a vampire planning to release the Darkin, to provide Ember as a bride. Collin wasn't going to have any of that, so he attended the engagement party with Ember. All hell breaks loose and Ember and her friends become prisoners of Tyson. They have all been captured for the Darkin and it appears there is no way to escape.

Will Ember escape this prison and save her friends as well as all of the other vampires and werewolves that have been locked up, some for many years? Will they destroy Tommy and Tyson and prevent the Darkin from being released?

Gena has done it again. I have absolutely loved reading her books and Ember's Curse has turned out to be my favorite so far. Dane, the little wolf prince that he is, melted my heart from the moment he was introduced. And the loss he has had to endure is heart breaking. I cannot believe it took me so long to get around to reading this book. I would recommend this book to werewolf, vampire and witch lovers alike. This story is truly not one to miss out on.

Toni Michelle

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The Hunter's Realm

book cover, Hunters Realm, Brianna Hughes; 90x140

Brianna Hughes
213p, kindle, US$3.99

She has been running from her past for four years now, from someone she is terrified of. Kellie's only need is to keep her son and daughter, twins, safe and hidden from their father, a violent man. Elliot is a hunter from another realm, living in the human world capturing the fairytale creatures that escape and sending them back. They just happen to be neighbors now that Kellie has purchased the home right next door to him. And the dragon has escaped the prison in Elliot's world and is heading to the human world to finish what he started. He plans to take his son and get revenge against Kellie for running off with him just as he was prepared to steal him away from her.

This book had me fixed to my chair immediately. Page one starts it all. The angst just drew me in and I was unable to pull out until it was over. I fell in love with Elliot and Kellie as well as her hellion twins. There were tons of laughs and you couldn't help but be worried for Kellie considering her past relationship. This book is sure to draw in any reader, especially the paranormal fans. Get yourself a copy, kick back, relax and enjoy!

Toni Michelle

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book cover, Bound by Alan Baxter; 91x140

Alan Baxter
harperCollins/Voyager, pb, ISBN 9780732299101, 24.99 (AUD)

Alex Caine is a martial arts fighter with something extra. He senses what his opponents are about to do. He is approached by Welby, and eccentric, wealthy Englishman who believes that Caine has Power. Welby wants Caine to read a book for him, a book that can only be read by someone with considerable power. As Welby takes Caine from Australia to England, Caine thinks that he is escaping a nasty situations. What he finds is a world of monsters and magic, and a book that won't go away, be left, or be destroyed.

This is one of those books that gets labelled 'science fiction' when it is unabashedly a fantasy quest novel. For those who don't mind their fantasy with a bit of violence, blood, gore and sex, this book is the ticket.

Ali Kayn

Dang Near Dead

book cover, Dang Near Dead, Nancy G. West; 91x139

Nancy G. West
Henery Press, pb, ISBN 9781940976402, 15.95 (USD)

Ya'll come in an meet the most shallow protagonist in mysteries. Amateur sleuth Aggie Mundeen has an advice column specialising in beauty and ageing, and examples of her advice are some of the most fatuous comments you'll ever encounter in fiction.

Aggie wants to solve mysteries and get with detective Sam, an old friend and new widower. She and friend Meredith drag Sam to a dude ranch where danger ensues. But to get to the storyline one is treated to Aggie's first person pap. She judges everyone by the dewiness of their skin and their weight. She, for example, believes one character must lose weight to win back a boyfriend. Aggie has the depth of an ink blot.

West drags the development of the story until she 'solves' the crimes in a rush at the end. There needs to be good reason to have an unlikeable protagonist, and Dang Near Dead doesn't offer it.

Ali Kayn

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