Review: Heart of a Desert Warrior, by Lucy Monroe

heart of a desert warriorTitle: Heart of a Desert Warrior

Author: Lucy Monroe

Synopsis: Stepping off his private jet in his designer suit, Sheikh Asad returns to his kingdom ready to secure his legacy. For beneath the starched white shirt beats the heart of a desert warrior!Iris Carpenter barely recognizes the man standing before her. He’s more magnificent than he was six years ago and even more dangerous. Especially when the searing heat of his eyes burns hotter than the fierce desert sun.

Iris can resist all she likes, but Asad knows it’s just a matter of time before the flame-haired temptress is back in his bed—where she belongs!

Review: Sometimes it’s too hard to believe all I’ve already achieved with my blog—and what I continue to have. Since my teenage years that I’ve been reading Lucy’s books, but I never thought that I would have the honour of talking to her about her work. Of course some of you already know the feeling of getting more than what you ever imagined, the pure joy that something like this can bring to you, the strength that possess your body and soul and that carries an enormous confidence in your work, and now I can actually say that many of my dreams are becoming real because of this space I love and care for so much.

Lucy Monroe’s books were always in my favourite reading list. Her novels always have this special mixture of culture and of a love that can conquer everything, and this book in particular made me re-read some of her older works that I had once read.

Heart of a Desert Warrior is the 10th book in the Royal Brides series and because of that we can continue to see characters that we already know. I love this kind of books, it gives me an idea of continuity but the really good thing about it is that someone who hasn’t yet read the previous volumes can easily read this one. I think this is a very important feature, it show us how much the author cares for her readers—not only for the ones who religiously follow her work, but for the new ones too. Lucy’s writing is very simple and intense, at the same time, and in all of her books she demonstrates a lot of knowledge regarding the theme she’s writing about. This particular book tells a story of second chances, of a love that is strong enough to overcome all the differences and obstacles in life. And although I didn’t find any innovation in terms of plot, I still loved every single chapter of it. I hope to have the opportunity of reading more of Lucy Monroe books very soon!

It’s monday and I’m reading…


Title: Wither

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Synopsis: By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years–leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as


she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Searching for Indie #1

Who’s Gina Dickerson?
Gina Dickerson lives by the gorgeous Thanet coast, in Kent, in the UK with her family and pampered Siberian husky. Alongside hoarding shoes, another love is ending her writing day with a glass of sparkling wine and slice of vintage, vegetarian, cheddar.

Her writing journey so far:
Thank you, Ana, for inviting me to your blog I am very pleased to be here!
My love of writing stems from having been obsessed with reading from a young age. I always had my nose in a book, as soon as I awoke one would be opened and I’d even walk around the house preparing for school while still trying to devour as much of the story as possible!
I can’t remember when I started writing. I still have an old book (handmade) which I wrote and illustrated when I was very young. I decided to take the plunge into writing full time a few years ago and left my job working for a Local Authority to do so. It was scary and risky, I didn’t know if I could do it but I knew I wanted to. I am so pleased I did! It’s wonderful waking in the morning and knowing I am spending my day doing what I love.
My debut novel, Lies Love Tells, began life as a fiction blog which I wrote and uploaded several times a week. As it grew and gathered interest, I decided to write this as my first full length novel. Once it was finished I opted to self publish. It wasn’t easy; it was hard work and took many, many months to achieve the final version. I learnt how to produce an e-book and Kindle version, designed the layout and cover for the paperback. I really enjoyed the cover design work although this too is a lengthy process and I changed the cover a lot of times before I was finally happy with it!
Next followed Underleaf (a collection of short stories) and Unveiling Christmas (a novella), as well Love Lies at Viola’s (two short stories and previews of my debut novel). I am currently working on my first fantasy romance/adventure called Kaelia which I am aiming to release this year.
My advice to budding writers is to read, read widely and discover what you like and why, and on the other hand, what you don’t like and why. Most important of all is to keep writing as much and as often as possible. I write almost every day; sometimes it’s thousands of words, sometimes less. Every writer is different and there’s no wrong or right way to approach your writing, it should all be about what feels right for you. My writing day starts normally, preparing my teenage son for school, walking the dog, then I settle down and try to write as much as possible before the end of the school day and family life resumes! Of course, there are interruptions – like the dog wanting to play pull-toy but that’s what makes my writing day even more enjoyable – I couldn’t take my dog with me to an office!


Title: Lies Love Tells
Author: Gina Dickerson

Synopsis Saze is looking for love, she never imagined mayhem and murder would find her too…
Fingers of suspicion scratch at Saze Monnivan, taunting that her partner, Mr Him, is not being honest. She unleashes her emotions into her blog diary and her real life takes a sharp turn, providing her with the courage to finally stand up to Mr Him.
Unfortunately Mr Him’s not the only person Saze needs to fear. Something terrible is happening to young women in the towns and their lives are being extinguished frighteningly early.
As Saze’s life peaks and falls spectacularly and her blog attracts interest and internet trolls, she can’t help wondering if her followers exist only in the virtual of whether she should be looking over her shoulder.
Is Saze foolish to trust new faces, will she ever survive the terror she is engulfed by, and will she find the love she craves?

Book Blitz & Giveaway: "Sworn to Raise" by Terah Edun


Title: Sworn to Raise
Author: Terah Edun
Publication date: April 10th 2013
by Amazon Digital
Genre: YA Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Ciardis has grown up in poverty, a cleaner in a small vale on the outskirts of the kingdom. But beneath her kingdom’s seemingly idyllic surface lies a hidden secret. Whispers of an inept crown Prince are growing ever louder—intensified by the five year anniversary of the soulbond initiations.


Amidst scandalous whispers, Ciardis finds herself chosen to train for the Companion’s Guild. She leaves her home and sets off on a personal journey to become a Court Companion. A position she’d never thought possible for a lowly servant to obtain, she must prove that she has the skills to attract a Patron.
But she must master those skills quickly. If the legends are true, only Ciardis can harness the power to raise a Prince in an Imperial Court sworn to bring him down.
This sensational series debut melds intricate storylines with remarkable characters and unforgettable magic. Sworn To Raise is ideal for fans of Kristin Cashore, Michelle Sagara, and Maria Snyder.

Book Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Website


Excerpt I: Chapter 1

Ciardis Vane watched the townspeople jeering as the local Gardis strapped the highwayman into the stocks. Frowning Ciardis wormed her way closer to the front of the crowd, straining to get a peek at the criminal. She felt no pity for the condemned man; he would die tonight, regardless of her feelings. The nightwolves were already pacing, their shadowed forms just visible in the dense tree line, waiting for darkness to fall.
Without the protection of the house wards, the highwayman would be defenseless locked in the stocks. I wish I could say it will be a quick death, she thought with clinical detachment, but they’ll probably go for his guts first. The man deserved no less than death in any case; he had done nothing but steal from—and sometimes kill—those who traveled the Imperial coach roads. “Stand and deliver,” indeed!
Ciardis pushed back her heavy brown curls with a sun-bronzed hand. Turning slightly to the side she whispered about his crime with the other washer maids who’d come to see the spectacle. Suddenly, she felt a sharp pinch on her wrist. Turning to see who had interrupted her entertainment, she looked over and frowned down at the younger woman who now stood by her side.
Wringing her hands anxiously, Margaret looked up at Ciardis and gave a quick jerk of her head to the side to indicate they should speak outside the crowd. “You’ll want to hear this firsthand, Ciardis,” Margaret said with urgency.
“All right, all right,” Ciardis muttered as they made their way out of the crowd and down to the washer station with a few other girls trailing behind. The slight blonde woman who scurried next to her was a great source of village gossip, and Ciardis knew that whatever she had to say would be worth leaving the spectacle in the midst of the judge’s punishment. To Ciardis, a good piece of gossip was as welcome as spun gold…usually.
When they’d walked far enough from the crowds Margaret was quick to tell Ciardis the news which she’d heard from weaver’s daughter who’d heard it in the apothecary the day before.
Practically bursting with the pent up the news Mags bounced on the balls of her feet as she said, “Fervis and the caravan girl…they’re together Ciardis.”
“They’re together?” Ciardis said with disgust, “No, he’s with me.”
Mags shook her whole head, curls bouncing every which way, in denial.
“They were seen, getting in a big fight and then…” said Mags.
“So?” interrupted Ciardis in disdain, “That means nothing.
Patiently the girl continued ignoring the interruption, “And then the girl’s father came and threatened to kill Fervis. One thing led to another and now they’re bound.”
This bit of news hit Ciardis with all the weight of a lead brick.
“Bound?” questioned Ciardis unsteadily. Bound was very different from together. Bound meant married, bound meant forever. Now she felt like throwing up.

Excerpt II: Chapter 4

Ciardis sat and dropped her hands into her lap, ready for anything, as long as she found out what her talent was, if any. Sarah took off her spectacles and tucked back behind her ears the wisps of hair that were fluttering in her face. Then she straightened up and put her hands on either side of Ciardis’s face.
“Hmm,” she said after five long minutes. Ciardis frowned. There’d been no magic spark or rustling winds or anything.
Where was the magical flash of power? Wasn’t that how you could tell a mage from a mundane? Ciardis hoped the lack of magical excitement didn’t mean anything. Perhaps Sarah’s empathic touch wasn’t meant to be a visual demonstration?
Ciardis peered anxiously at Sarah’s face, hoping for a clue.
“I don’t believe it,” Sarah whispered finally. In a slightly louder voice, she asked, “What did you say your full name was?”
“Ciardis Rafaela Vane.”
Sarah said quickly, “And it is your true name, registered by the hands of your mother and father?”
Ciardis nodded anxiously. “They went to the birth archives in the town and everything. Named me after the town, in a way. At least, that’s what I’ve been told.”
“Then someone misled you. Or deliberately lied.” Sarah stared at her intently and abruptly stood, “Come with me now!”
They rushed out of Ciardis’s room and into the dorm hallway, Sarah clasping Ciardis’s hand as they ran. They passed through three different corridors along the way. Ciardis barely saw a glimpse of the intricate artwork and beautiful statues in the halls as she rushed around corners – trying to keep up with Sarah’s fast pace. Soon they came to an abrupt stop in front of a large door. At the top of the door in scrolled letters was inscribed, “The Companions Library”. As they entered, Sarah asked in a hoarse whisper, “Do you recall what the first part of my mage gift is?”
Ciardis nodded and said, “A photographic memory.” She tried to ignore the trembling in Sarah’s hands as the archivist led her through the bookcases. For her part Sarah would stop in the middle of the library aisles and turn in a circle while pulling Ciardis with her.
Occasionally Sarah’s hand would tighten on Ciardis’s as she cast her gaze around her like a bloodhound on the hunt. Sarah was searching with her magic for something…what exactly that was Ciardis couldn’t say. Seeing the girl’s confusion Sarah explained, “I’m sending out feelers from my mage core in different directions hoping to sense the manuscript that most feels like your mage core.”
“My mage core?” questioned Ciardis, “I have one?”
“Oh, most definitely,” said Sarah in a grim tone, “I would question how you didn’t know about it before this.”
After a few minutes of this, Sarah instructed Ciardis in a whisper, “The imprints that I’m sending feelers out for are like markers. If it’s in a book, I can trace the marker back to its source. With my memory and the imprint trail, I never forget where I’ve placed a book.”
After a moment of silence she continued, “Your imprint reminds me strongly of a book I read long ago, as a child. If I’m right, there hasn’t been a Companion trainee of your type in more than thirty years.”

Terah Edun is an international development professional and author/lover of all things Young Adult Fantasy fiction. She is a native Georgian, adoptive Washingtonian, unrepentant expat currently living in South Sudan, brilliant dreamer, lover of dogs and not-so-closet geek. Her first novel, Red Madrassa, was released on November 8th and her second novel, Sworn to Raise, comes out in April 2013.

Author Links:

Review: A Shade of Vampire, by Bella Forrest

A shade of vampireTitle: A Shade of Vampire

Author: Bella Forrest

Synopsis: On the evening of Sofia Claremont’s seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.

An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? …or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

Review: I’m still astonished! I’d never heard of this author before, actually I found her, by chance, on Goodreads and got captivated by her debut novel. The art cover looks so gorgeous, and the synopsis left me suffering for the moment that I would finally read the book.

A Shade of Vampire isn’t just a first book in a series but also the first published work by Bella Forrest; a small story incredibly well written and without any kind of slippery information that could, somehow, spoil the entire plot to readers. I was very pleased to see that this was not just another paranormal romance or another YA book, this story was—for me—very special. The author built a terrific world by combining in one single narrative two different genres that, in my personal opinion, are not only harmonized perfectly but also allows to both teens and adults to better appreciate what they’re reading. It was so easy to make a mistake and simply ruin everything, but Bella Forrest made her homework quite well and didn’t turn her book into an adult story nor a childish one. Again, the balance was way to perfect for that to happen.

In 147 pages, we have a great story, with a well-built plot and amazingly developed characters that are rooted to their story. I’m so in love with Derek, he’s such a cutie!

I’m also very excited with the idea of reading the second book, I believe that there are a lot more adventures and romance to happen. I hope Bella Forrest keeps her quality in the following book and that doesn’t get shaken by spotlight or by bad reviews (haters).

If, in the beginning, it was the cover and the synopsis that made me want to read the book, now, at the end, I see myself completely surrendered to this story. Congratulations, Bella Forrest, for your wonderful book!

Book Blitz & Giveaway: "Timespell" by Diana Paz

Author: Diana Paz
Genre: YA Fantasy/Time Travel
Release Date: April 1, 2013
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing

Synopsis: In TIMESPELL, the brash and impulsive Julia must team up with her sweet and straight-laced best friend, Angie, and the malicious and power-hungry Kaitlyn in order to keep the witch-like powers of her inheritance. But these powers come at a cost. The girls are bound to serve the Fates, and their first mission sends them back in time to Marie Antoinette’s Paris and eventually, into the chaos and war of the French Revolution.

Timespell Excerpt I: Angie

With a flick of her wrist, Angie lit the candelabras lining the wall. She shouldn’t have gone this far into the backstage labyrinth of the opera house without Kaitlyn and Julia. Listening to them fight, hearing the loathing in Kaitlyn’s words, made up her mind. She had decided to slip away on her own. And now she couldn’t go back. Not when she sensed the magic drawing her forward. Its pull was irresistible.
She turned a corner, lifting her hand to release a shimmer of light. It trailed to where the hall opened up to reveal a stage. She had circled the entire opera house. Despite the layers of her gown, Angie shivered. The magic grew stronger with each step she took. Her eyes slid closed as her entire body pulsed with warm energy that swelled inside her, filling her like a breath that wouldn’t end.
The music from the masked ball became louder as she neared the stage. She took another step then froze at the sight of a door. Beneath it, light shone against the gloom. Light. And the shadow of footsteps.
Her heart buzzed behind her ribcage as she raised her hand again, opening the door with a gentle nudge of magic.

Timespell Excerpt II: Julia

The teacher went on. Julia tried to stay awak, but it was like the woman spoke in a hypnotic voice on purpose. She could practically hear her saying, “You’re getting sleepy … very, very sleepy.”
“Julia Corona,” Mrs. Ramirez snapped. Julia straightened again, forcing her eyes wide open. “Name a victim of the Reign of Terror. Now.”
“Right.” Crap. Mrs. Ramirez really had it in for her today. She flipped back a page in her textbook. “A victim,” she repeated. “There were so very, very many. Sad times …,” she trailed off.
Mrs. Ramirez crossed her arms.
Julia chewed on her lip, scanning a paragraph about the September Massacres. The mark on her arm grew warm and she frowned. The page in her history book went blank. She blinked. An involuntary sound escaped her throat as the blank page began filling in. Word after word, image after image, shifting and changing until the page looked nothing like it had before. A moment ago it had talked about survivors—Pauline de Tourzel and her mother—and the next moment it talked about their untimely deaths.
“We’re waiting.”
She flipped the page, wondering if being sleepy had made her hallucinate. There was no mistaking the warmth flowing from the mark on her arm. Her heart pounded as she watched another page rearrange itself, entire paragraphs disappearing. She slammed the book shut. Mrs. Ramirez narrowed her eyes.
Julia swallowed. “I—want to remember without looking.” What was going on? History was changing, and shutting her book wouldn’t stop whatever was happening in the past.

Author Bio
Diana Paz writes books about magic, adventure, and romance. She was born in Costa Rica, grew up on Miami Beach, moved to Los Angeles in high school, and went to college in San Diego. Basically, she’s a beach bum. Diana graduated from California State University, San Marcos with a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts. She loves old movies, epic fantasy, all kinds of music, and heading to the beach with a good book. Preferably sipping a highly sweetened iced coffee.

Author Links:

Author Interview

Why don’t we start with getting to know you. Tell us a little about yourself.
Let’s see… I’m technically an adult, but I’m most definitely not a grown-up. I grew up both on Miami Beach and in Los Angeles, and was both a bookworm and a cheerleader. I have a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies, I taught third grade, and my very first job was at a movie theater. I love thunderstorms, warm cookies, anime, snowy cabins, sunny beaches, and video games.

Timepsell is your first published novel. Is it the first book you’ve written?
No. Timespell is my fourth completed novel. My first novel is a historical romance set in Medieval France with a knight and a damsel and—oh, the damsel was kidnapped by nefarious villains at least four times. She had amazing fainting spells and she could cure almost anything with herbs and flowers. When I realized that my first novel had a lot of problems, I decided to view it as a learning experience, and started my next idea: a young adult paranormal romance that was rather meandering and filled with altogether too many villains, side characters, plot holes, and dropped plot threads. This was another learning experience novel, and I have no regrets about either of these stories. Then there is my other young adult novel, this time a fantasy romance set in a magical world. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for that story. I consider it an old flame that won’t die out, and someday I may rewrite it. Even if I don’t, and even if I never complete any of the half dozen unfinished stories slumbering on my hard drive, I value the time I’ve spent writing all of my stories.

How did you come up with the idea for Timespell?
The idea came when I thought up a scene about a pair of time-crossed lovers, and the scene wouldn’t leave my thoughts. I wrote it down, and from there everything started falling into place. The idea of two best friends, completely excited about having magic so they could travel through time to fulfill their destiny, only to realize they can only keep their power if they join with the most evil girl in school? That was too much fun not to write.

The main characters in Timespell have the ability to time travel. If you could time travel, would you go into the past or into the future?
Oh, that’s so tough… as much as I adore history, I’m too curious for my own good, and I would choose the future.

Is Timespell a stand-alone novel or is it planned as part of a series?
Timespell can definitely be read on its own, but I wrote it with the idea of a series in mind. I’m currently working on the next book, in which the girls will be sent on a mission back in time to the Caribbean during the golden age of piracy. I’m thrilled to be joining Julia, Angie, and Kaitlyn in another adventure, especially one involving sword fights and treasure.

Let’s start with your writing routine. Do you have a particular place you like to settle in to write?
I usually start with a snack and music, sometimes I spend a few minutes daydreaming about my characters and what I have planned for them… then I dive into my manuscript! My favorite place to write is on my sofa, tucked into the corner with my laptop, and I’m big on having a steady supply of tea and cookies within reach. I tend to snack a LOT while writing, but it balances out because I end up forgetting to eat during revisions.

In the novel, the three main characters seem very different. How would you describe them? Was writing in three points of view a challenge?
I enjoyed the challenge of viewing the world through each of my character’s eyes. Julia is sarcastic, outspoken, protective, and impulsive. Angie is steady, polite, thoughtful, and reserved. Kaitlyn is contemptuous, cynical, guarded, and fearless. They each have flaws and strengths that play into their relationship. I wanted to see if three girls who were so dissimilar could overcome their differences and, if so, would their experiences change them? What would their motivations be? Would they cooperate for the good of the world? For their own agendas? For personal gain? What about loyalty to one another? It was fascinating to me to think about how the girls would react to an existence that forced them to unite, and I loved seeing each of them grow.

Do any of the characters personalities resemble your own, or people you know?
Even though I created the main characters as their own people, I can’t help but infuse pieces of myself, and the experiences I’ve had, in every character I write. Because of this, I would say that I can relate to each of them.

Timespell delves into the time period of the French Revolution. What drew you to this historical period? What made you choose certain locations in the book?
I loved the idea of Marie Antoinette being the same age as my main characters when she made her Parisian debut. I think that’s probably what first had me poking into researching this particular era. The more I read, the more fascinated I became, and before I knew it, I had several scenes in mind for the story based around key events surrounding Marie Antoinette’s life. I liked choosing locations that made sense in the story and the timeline, so I decided to use Tuileries Palace as an anchor throughout a lot of the time travel that occurred in Timespell. Between Marie Antoinette’s Parisian debut and the terrifying march on the palace many years later, it was a great place to have the girls battle demons and experience key events of the Marie Antoinette era.