Book Review: Amy Maurer Jones’ April Drools

aprildroolsTitle: April Drools
Author: Amy Maurer Jones
Genre: YA / Paranormal
Series: Yes / Short 2
Rating: 5 out of 5
My Copy: Review Copy via Author

Synopsis:
Hardy Hunter, here (your favorite werewolf). Welcome back to Mundane High. Sadly, not much has changed since Valentine’s Day. You’d think my vampire BFF dating the very human captain of the football team would have made life a little easier for a supernatural at Mundane High, but no such luck. Samantha and I are still lonely outcasts looking for love in all the wrong places, but that’s no surprise. The vamp always gets the girl (or guy, in this case) in Hollywood, but what about the werewolf? Yeah, not so much—unless there’s a new she-were in town.

Claire Crescent is beyond beautiful, and I haven’t failed to notice. Unfortunately, my human male counterparts haven’t either. Making everything more complicated, the mate Claire left behind at her old school still haunts her heart. For the time being, I’m playing it smart by offering Claire my friendship. I pray, after time, my friendship with her will develop into something deeper.

How did that 1950s love song go? Why Do Fools Fall in Love? Um, yeah, you can say it: My life still sucks!

I adored April Drools! Of course there goes my theory of Hardy secretly crushing on Rhapsody. April Drools picks up a few months after Vampire Valentine takes place and our favorite couple Rhapsody and Reese are still together. This time, we get Hardy’s story and oh what a story it is!

Our three favorite supernatural beings are still misfits, even though the school has become more aware of them now that Rhapsody has been dating Reese. When the new girl, Claire, enrolls, every male has eyes for her and Hardy isn’t the exception. Taking one look at her, our favorite werewolf just turns into putty and he’s a bit upset when Rhapsody and Samantha approach her. Only because he’s not sure of what to make of her. Claire isn’t too thrilled to learn she’s one of four supernatural beings now enrolled. At her old school, they pretty much dominated the scene. Claire and Hardy quickly become fast friends, but when a fellow student begins to ask her out, Hardy’s temper flares because he’s protective of her. The two quickly become an item, but when they run into Claire’s ex-boyfriend at a local theater, will Claire’s feelings change?

I’m keeping quiet about the ending, but I had so much reading April Drools. Hardy is such a great character and Jones does a great job with his voice. I love the interaction between Rhapsody and Samantha with Hardy. The three truly are friends and as you read, you can easily feel the comradeship the three have. Rhapsody calls Hardy Fido with Samantha laughing along calling him Fee-Fee too. I really liked how Rhapsody and Samantha welcomed Claire into her inner circle. Ask anyone who has moved, it’s not easy being the new kid and to have two people welcome you with open arms is heartwarming. I felt Claire’s uneasiness at first and here Jones showcases how well she’s familiar with students.

April Drools is a fun read! If you haven’t read Vampire Valentine, I recommend it so you’re familiar with the characters. It’s okay to pick this up and dive right in if you’re so inclined.

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Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway-Jessa Russo’s Ever

everTitle: Ever
Author: Jessa Russo
Genre: YA / Paranormal
Series: Yes / Book 1 of 3
Rating: 3 out of 5
My Copy: Review copy via Author

Seventeen-year old Ever Van Ruysdael has a secret: she’s been in love with her childhood best friend, Frankie, for years and never got the chance to tell him. Two years ago, Frankie and Ever were involved in a car accident and Frankie died. He helped Ever stay alive by guiding her to safety and Frankie became ghost following his death. He’s been living with Ever and her family since that night. Although she knows they can never be together she longs for a boyfriend or to experience the feelings of falling in love. When Frankie’s father sells his house, she quickly catches the eye of the new neighbor’s son, Toby. Soon her and Toby are spending time together and she has to grapple with her new feelings for him while keeping him a secret from Frankie. Things are not what they seem and when Ever finds out Toby’s true motivates, she has to deal with the death of a beloved family member and the reality that Frankie may be back.

Jessa Russo does a good job of engaging the reader immediately and Ever is well written. In terms of characterization, I really liked Ever’s best friend, Jessie. Your heart aches for what she goes through regarding her family life. Putting myself into Ever’s shoes and if my best friend had a life like her’s, I would do everything I can to be there for her. In that one scene with Jessie’s mother and her boyfriend, I’m glad Jessie had the support of Ever’s parents.

There are a lot of unanswered questions. The first one is regarding Frankie and how easily he just adjusted to being a ghost and living with Ever’s family. I wish Russo would have explained a little more of her family’s reaction to having him around. Also, why did he focus on Ever and not his own family? I believe a lot of the heartache his parents experienced could have been avoided, but alas in order to have this plot, he needed to be with Ever. There’s also a line that had me scratching my head. When Ever’s mother is standing next to Ariadne, Ever makes note that both of them look alike. That unsettled me a bit because it’s never explored and there’s mention of Ever having a sister dying before she was born. Furthermore, there’s an incident involving Ever’s father and Toby says it was an accident and it wasn’t supposed to happen. Why the change in plans?

I debated heavily with the rating and often bordered on a three / four rating. Ultimately, I went with the three because of some unanswered questions and for the first quarter of the novel. Ever started strong, but it just fell flat with the constant feelings Ever had regarding Toby. It picked up once Ariadne made an appearance and even though she felt like a caricature at times, she was the second intriguing character. Frankie for me stole the show and I wish we had more of his perspective. He’s the first to warn Ever about Toby and says he’s not a good guy. Why is that Frankie? Did Frankie have an idea of Toby’s employment? What was his reaction towards Ariadne when was he given the choice of what ultimately becomes Ariadne’s gift to Ever?

Ever ends on a cliffhanger, which I won’t reveal, but I’m looking forward to reading book 2, Evade, because I’d love to know what happens to Ever and Frankie. The premise is interesting and if you’re a fan of the paranormal genre, then I recommend this book.

EVER Review Tour Banner Click on the banner for the full review tour schedule


giveaway
Jessa is giving away 1 signed copy of Ever and Evade (when it’s available) to one lucky winner. Click here to enter.

Book Review: Melissa R Smith’s Touch of Silver

touchofsilverTitle: Touch of Silver
Author: Melissa R Smith
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Yes / Book 3
Rating: 5 out of 5
My Copy: Review Copy via Author

Melissa R. Smith’s Touch of Silver is the eagerly anticipated sequel to Legacy. It can be read as a standalone if you don’t mind not knowing the back story; however, Smith does an excellent job keeping readers up to date without bogging down the reader in history. A new reader can easily read this book without too many spoilers.

Touch of Silver picks up where Legacy left off; months have passed since Roman and Devani last saw each other. She’s a prisoner at work with her all actions being reported to London and the Militia. Devai is surprised when Echo gets in touch and requests for her to change her work shift. Unaware of the reason, she reluctantly agrees and later that evening, she comes face to face with Roman. He explains he hasn’t stopped loving her and wants them to be together, but Devani resists because she knows London is watching and she wants to protect Roman. When an attempt is made on Devani’s life, she goes to Roman seeking his protection. Touch of Silver shows us the lengths a son will go through to keep his father’s legacy pristine and to hide a horrific secret.

I’ve been lucky enough to read Smith’s previous work. Touch of Silver has surprised me because it shows how much she’s grown as a writer and I do believe readers will enjoy her latest piece. The writing is engaging and witty. I loved the moment Roman meets with Devani and when their reunion is interrupted by Bethany knowing Bethany can make her life hell he says, “Say the word and I’ll drain her.” Touch of Silver is also heartbreaking. When Devani and Roman see the evidence Jake Daniels went to protect, you’re filled with heartache. The way Smith sets up the scene, as you read, you can feel it as the scene progresses. Echo’s disbelief at what she sees to Roman’s reaction will leave you emotionally drained. Then there’s London and what he orders the members of the Militia to do. You can feel his desperation at the lengths he’ll go to get what he wants. I don’t know what his fate is with regards to his appearance in a future book, but I hope the Sects get a hold of him.

Most of the characters from Legacy are featured and Smith goes into a more detailed background with regards to characterization. We get to know a little more about Tracy and I was surprised to find she was related to someone Devani knows. I really liked how Smith set up the prejudices people have against Sanguines. She also shows us the differences between the territories and we’re introduced to Phillip Trahan, the Elder in New Orleans. Oh Phillip! What an interesting character and I’m sure most readers will be left wanting more. The writing is engaging and detailed. One of my favorite scenes involves Echo playing Angry Birds:

“I can never get the silly boomerang bird to work right.” Echo was sitting on the count next to me. A magazine was in her lap, but she was playing Angry Birds on iPad instead. “I want to trade him in for that big red bird, now that sucker can break through anything.”

In the end, I loved Touch of Silver. Be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster. Please note: do not begin this book in the evening; otherwise you’ll experience a sleepless night because you won’t be able to put it down.

Book Review: Melissa R Smith’s Legacy

legacyTitle: Legacy
Author: Melissa R. Smith
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Yes / Book 2
Rating: 4 out of 5
My Copy: Review Copy via Author

Melissa R Smith’s Legacy is the second book in the Sanguine series and it is part one of a two part series. It is very much a standalone book and if you haven’t read Six Hours to Sunrise, you won’t be left trying to backtrack since Legacy introduces a new set of characters and takes places in a different location.

Six Hours to Sunrise addresses the issue of Sanguines living among us and what it’s like to grow up unaware of them. Legacy touches on the relationships between the Militia and Sanguine. The Militia are a self governed group of humans who make it their business to make sure Sanguines honor the Lossbridge Treaty. The treaty outlines what Sanguines can and cannot do, which some Sanguines oppose, but only because they feel a treaty wasn’t necessary. What happens when a top ranking militia official befriends a Sanguine? What if said Sanguine finds his mate amongst a descendant of a militia member? That’s what Legacy attempts to answer.

Devani Daniels is just fourteen years old when she begins to form a bond with Tristan, a Sanguine. Tristan quickly recognizes the signs and makes arrangements to leave her life because such a connection cannot happen at such a young age. Her father realizes there is no denying his daughter’s fate and proceeds to sever his family’s ties regarding participation in the Legacy Act. The act itself just means, children of high ranking Militia members automatically are held to the regulations even if they don’t become Militia officials. Unfortunately, Devani and her sister are unaware of this and when Devani is invited to an unknown club, she has no idea her life is about to be turned upside down. When she’s informed of her reason for being invited to the Weeping Orchid, Devani immediately gets ready to leave. She’s aware of what Sanguines are and doesn’t want anything to do with them; however, the club owner and his companion, Simeon and Echo, quickly explain the purpose of the club and she changes her mind. Later she meets Tracy and her boyfriend Greg and spends the evening dancing the night way, but when she learns she’s been reserved for someone named Roman, Devani begins to question if she really wants to be involved with them. Little does she know, two men from her past will renter her life and she has to make the difficult decision of protecting her family or take a chance on love.

Character development is strong and readers will associate with Devani. We have a heroine who is strong and isn’t afraid to fight for what she believes. Readers will enjoy the relationship she has with her sister, Jasmine. Echo is a force to be reckoned with as well as Simeon. Of course we must have a villain and London is a toad of the first order. I can’t wait to see what fate awaits him in part two, Touch of Silver.

The writing is engaging and polished. One note regarding the narrative, Smith uses first person point of view, but it does interchange at times with Roman’s narrative. It’s not bothersome, but might distract readers since you aren’t told when the narrative changes. We do need Roman’s narrative and Smith does a good job placing it where we needed it and it becomes clear as you read. I personally enjoyed Roman’s past and how he and Jake Daniels came to understand one another.

Legacy ends on a cliffhanger and readers will be left dying to know what happens next. Lucky for you the wait isn’t far since Touch of Silver is scheduled for an early March release. In the meantime, you can read Legacy for free at Smashwords using coupon code: WC87W.

Spotlight: Sanguine Series

sixhoursnewSix Hours to Sunrise
After being told by her unconventional preacher father that she has to marry a man she’s never met, Madeline Stevens checks herself into a hotel room, determined to end her suffering. Little did she know, a glance at an ad in the hotel’s phone book would lead her to a mysterious man named Reece and the beginning of six hours she would never forget.

There is one problem.

Reece Summerall is no ordinary man. A Sanguine who’s existed for over a hundred years, he never thought it was possible to find a companion until he became completely blindsided. When Reece is forced to take a drastic step in order to save Madeline’s life, he unwillingly binds the two of them together forever. When she learns the truth about him, will they be able to go their separate ways or will their strong bond bring them back together? Or will her father’s teachings ultimately drive a wedge between them?

legacyLegacy
Things aren’t always what they seem.

Devani Daniels learned that lesson the second a mysterious envelope was placed in her hands at a local blood drive. Little did she know that this seemingly innocent gesture would not only lead her into a whole new world, but to a reunion with Roman, a special friend from her past. However, the discovery that Roman is Sanguine tests Devani’s long standing fears and faith in her own beliefs. For the daughter of a former leader of the extremist group that opposes Sanguines, being with Roman violates the Legacy Act and threatens to separate the two of them forever.

Is love strong enough for Devani to risk the only life she’s ever known, for an uncertain and potentially dangerous future?

n1145721593_312755_246975About Melissa
I’ve been writing for about twelve years now, beginning with fanfiction. I published my first book in 2001, with a revised version in 2004.

My hope is to find a good following of readers who enjoy my work. I try to write stories that feature strong female characters, usually over the age of 25. I also keep my sexual content to a minimum, for those who prefer less erotic and more romantic.

Paranormal is my genre of choice, but I also have written historical romance, which I hope to publish very soon.

Connect with Melissa
Website
Facebook Page
Twitter: missyisawriter
Goodreads: Author Page

Guest Post: Valentine’s Day – Myth, Mystery or Money Making Machine

I’m really excited about today’s very special guest post! It’s written by one of my favorite vampires, Derick Upton. Upton can be found in Melissa R. Smith’s Sanguine series and currently she’s offering Legacy for free at Smashwords using coupon code: WC87W.


Valentine’s Day – Myth, Mystery or Money Making Machine

Greetings, my friends.
Well, it seems I have been called upon to give insight into a topic which has confused and delighted humans for centuries, Valentine’s Day. The one day a year in which the idea of love is celebrated throughout the world. For humans, it can be a day of joy, to express to the one you love your unending devotion. Wedding vows are exchanged or renewed, proposals are made, cards sent, chocolates and roses delivered by the millions. For others, however, it is a day of morose bitterness, full of resentment, anger and loneliness. Bad memories of divorce, widowhood and unrequited love are revisited. Unwillingly, I might add. I dare one to name another holiday that is met with such a contrast of emotion.

The question was posed to me. Do Sanguines celebrate Valentine’s Day? I believe the answer lies solely with the individual. Some Sanguines are young enough to be familiar with many of the more modern traditions, while older Sanguines never participated while still human, therefore feel no need to start the practice as a Sanguine. In talking with many in my own territory in Scotland, the celebration of the day stands at around half, which does go well with the age grouping now registered in the territory.

How would a Sanguine go about celebrating the day (or evening, as it would be more comfortable at night)? American and some European Sanguines are much more traditional in the giving of flowers, candy (if their companion is still fully human) and cards of love. More than a few proposals of companionship and claiming are made during this time.

In other nations, this is not always the case. Scandinavian Sanguines for example, must fast for three weeks prior to the day. Believing that the celebration must be spiritual, not physical, it is forbidden to spill one drop of blood from their companion. Nor must they hunt at any time. (Scandinavian Sanguines do not import bagged blood and have no Sanguine clubs, feeding is 90% live donor/companion, 10% capture-consume)

Despite my interest in the whole concept of commercialism, I personally detest the thought of Valentine’s Day and if I could, I would stay inside, locked up for the full 24 hours of it. I, as many of my fellow Sanguines, have been one who has loved and lost, friends, and I certainly do not wish, nor appreciate a holiday that reminds me of that fact. However, it is not a good decision, business-wise, not to have my club open, as it generates a great amount of revenue. No matter what day of the week Valentine’s Day falls, the club is always open for feeding and claiming. Why, you may ask, would I be so opposed to a day in which love is celebrated?

Make no mistake; I am a fan of love. My dear friends, love is the greatest gift one creature – human or Sanguine – can give to another. For those who have felt true love, in its most basic and wonderful form, know the joy it brings. Should love be celebrated only on one day of the year? Certainly not. Love, in my opinion, isn’t just a one-day-a-year money pit, but something that must be given great reverence and respect. Yes, I take advantage, business-wise and if you wish to subscribe me a hypocrite, so be it. However one might feel, I see no end to the tradition. So, I advise, do what you wish with the holiday, humans and Sanguines alike. Be married, claimed, romanced, wined and dined. I celebrate for you and with you, as long as you spend money in my establishment.

But inside, alone, I will do what so many others do – drown myself in the indulgences of the flesh. And feast on fresh, virgin blood.

Ah yes, that’s much better.

Until we meet again,
Derick Upton
Reigning Elder – Southern Scottish Territory and
Human/Sanguine Relations Specialist for the Worldwide Coalition of Elders

Book Review: Amy Maurer Jones’ Vampire Valentine

vampire valentine copyTitle: Vampire Valentine
Author: Amy Maurer Jones
Genre: YA / Paranormal
Series: Yes / Short 1
Rating: 4 out of 5
My Copy: Review Copy via Author

A vampire, werewolf, and a witch walk into a high school…no this isn’t the start of a joke, but the characters in Amy Maurer Jones’ paranormal comedy short. Vampire Valentine is about three misfit supernatural beings who happen to be best friends. Our vampire is Rhapsody Ripper who has crooked fangs and wears braces. Hardy Hunter is a werewolf and is on the football team. He’s protective of Rhapsody and there might be little more to their friendship, but Jones doesn’t expand on this (I believe Hardy is secretly in love with her). Finally, we have Samantha Spell, Rhapsody’s best friend, who happens to be a witch, but she’s still learning to cast spells. So what happens when Rhapsody gets asked to the Valentine’s Day dance by the star footballer? What chaos will ensue? I’m keeping quiet, but I’ll say this, Jones reminds us that high school really does suck.

Synopsis:
How is it that vampires, werewolves and witches always manage to become glamorized in Hollywood? They are forever portrayed as the overwhelmingly gorgeous, record-breaking athletic types with off-the-chart SAT scores! This is such a load of crap. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. It’s never easy being different, even under normal circumstances. Now factor in the reality that your DNA is something far from human and imagine yourself wandering the halls of an ordinary mortal high school. You still think this would be cool, right? Well, you would be dead wrong (no pun intended). Take it from someone who can claim this miserable fate, it totally sucks!

The name’s Rhapsody Ripper and I am a freshman at Mundane High. Everyone in my school hates me and my two best friends, Hardy Hunter and Samantha Spell. Why? The answer is very simple. We’re freaks of nature, complete outcasts. We’re para-ab-normal misfits and we don’t fit in. Our peers go out of their way to avoid us on a regular basis, but today something happened that has never ever happened before.

One of them was nice to me. Actually, he was much more than nice. With only five days remaining until Valentine’s Day, Reese Good, the deliciously warm-blooded star quarterback, invited me to the Sweetheart Dance. Maybe this year I won’t have to spend the holiday invented by a greeting card company alone.

What I really liked about Vampire Valentine is that it reminds us what it feels like to be in high school all over again. Do you remember your high school crush? I do, his name was Gunther and he wasn’t the star football player, but he did play on the team. I’d get all tongue tied when he’d try to talk to me, so imagine my surprise when he called me one day and I hung up on him! When Reese Good asks Rhapsody to the dance, I was cheering her on, but then immediately my mind went to Drew Barrymore’s character in Never Been Kissed, where she’s asked to the prom and at the end, her date throws eggs at her from the limo with his real date. Lucky for us that doesn’t happen to Rhapsody, but we do have jealous girls and you can imagine what they’ll try to do to sabotage Rhapsody’s big day. Never fear Rhapsody has her best friend to back her up.

In paranormal books, we are often given characters with perfect powers. I loved how Samantha was learning how to be a witch and there’s a hilarious scene involving a spell gone wrong. Jones reminds what it’s like to be the outsider. My 15 year old self really could associate with Rhapsody and Samantha. Jones also shows us how students don’t quite understand people from different backgrounds. She does a superb job in Wildflower with this and here she touches upon it with her three misfits. For example, Rhapsody is asked to play the witch in the school play so her fellow students can burn her at the stake and she has to explain that she’s a vampire. Jones is a teacher and it’s very clear from reading this and Wildflower, that she truly knows how to get into a teenager’s mindset.

Vampire Valentine is a delightful read! If you’re a parent, this is definitely a book you and your teenager can both read and enjoy.