Thursday, May 30, 2013

Haedyn's Choice - Virtual Book Tour - Jennifer Oliver

Date Published: 5/15/13

There's always a choice.

Haedyn is the last Unnamed and the demon Azazel's personal assassin - his most prized servant. It's not
a title she wants, but it keeps her alive and that's all that matters. But when she is tricked into protecting
Lex, the same human her master is hunting, she learns of Azazel's terrifying plan to create an army of
evil souls - and that Lex isn't the only one slated for sacrifice.

Can Haedyn accept the truth of her past and face the demon who molded her in his image, or will she
risk the losing the souls of those she loves?


The concrete cell reeked with a mixture of rotten trash, burning flesh, and the sweet tanginess of blood. Haedyn twitched her nose. No matter how often she had to deal with it, she'd never get used to that smell. It was horrible.
            Dirt crunched and rolled under the soles of her boots as she circled the silver chair in the middle of the room. Its occupant was furious, snapping and snarling at her. Not that she blamed him. Being captured by a demon's minion wouldn't rate high on her list of fun, either.
            The prisoner struggled against his restraints. “Bitch. My Alpha’s gonna kill you. Just wait," he growled, pupils wide with the animosity of a trapped animal. "He’ll come here and rip through that white skin of yours like it's a sheet of paper, then hang your head on the wall like a trophy.”
            She rolled her eyes and ignored his aggression. Werewolves had the worst tempers, especially when they were wounded or trapped. This one was both. Plus, he’d been drugged and was unable to change to his more powerful wolf form. Yeah, he was beyond pissed.
            She sighed and continued circling. He'd wear himself out eventually. The anger and vile comments were all part of the process. Then the next phase would begin, full of tears and begging. That's when she'd break him; make him tell her where to find the human. But for now, she'd play the game until he was ready.
“Where's the human?”
"I ain't telling you shit." He spat on the floor at her feet.
"Tell me where the human is and I'll set you free."
The werewolf narrowed his yellow eyes. "You won't set me free. You think I don't know who you are? You're that demon Azazel's little bitch. You don't set no one free. You kill 'em."
            Haedyn clenched her jaw. The werewolf was right; he wasn't going to leave here alive. She needed that information and there was only one way he was going to tell her. Poor sap. He just forced her hand.
            She circled the chair again. This was the part of the job she hated. Inflicting pain. Killing. Every time she heard them scream, made them bleed, she swore a piece of her insides turned to dust.
It was the price she paid for serving a demon. But she didn't have a choice. Either she did what was expected of her or she faced punishment from her master.
Demons didn’t give second chances, and Azazel was no different. Disobeying his orders meant death. And even if she was stupid enough to go up against him, she had no one to turn to for help.
She was the last Unnamed. A mistake created by the demons and angels, which is why they killed off the rest of her kind. Humans mistakenly called her “albino” and kept their distance once they saw her deep red eyes. The supernatural world thought she was an abomination. If they weren't scared shitless of her, then they wanted to kill her.
She didn't fit in and she was all alone. Which is why she made the decision fourteen years ago to do whatever she had to in order to survive. Serving Azazel was the only choice she had.
Besides, what else would she do? She was evil, part demon. And like Azazel said the night he found her at the orphanage, she had a gift for death. One which he had honed. Now, she was his best interrogator, his best assassin. 
            Haedyn looked again at the werewolf. He shifted and squirmed, pulling at his shackles. Drops of blood beaded along his forehead. She smelled the panic and the fear mixed in with his sweat. Then she met his eyes. For a brief moment, a part of her screamed to let him go. She quickly pushed the impulse away.
Discipline. She had to maintain discipline. Compassion was a weakness. How many times had Azazel pounded that into her during their sessions? Fourteen years of intense training and still she had to remind herself.
            She closed her eyes, burying the whispers of empathy deep inside. A stillness settled within her. Then she re-emerged as the cold-hearted, unemotional assassin Azazel had molded her into.
This is what she was trained to be. This is what she was trained to do. Save them. Deliver them. It's what kept her alive, and that’s all that mattered.
            She walked behind the prisoner. He bucked harder against his chains and handcuffs. She leaned in close to his ear and whispered, “The silver chair and all those silver chains, they're burning you. I can smell your skin roasting. And just as it heals, the silver sears it off again. Must be painful.”
Haedyn paused, watching his shoulders and chest heave. Sweat dripped down his neck and back, mixing with the blood on the floor. He panted. It wouldn’t be long now.
“I can see it, you know, the wolf within you," she continued. "Your beast wants to heal and protect you. It's raging to be released. It rolls under your skin like ripples on a pond and just before it breaks the surface, it crawls away like a scared, little puppy. You know the drug I gave you is still swirling in your system, keeping you from turning. Yet you keep trying to shift. Why do you torture your beast so?"
            The prisoner’s growl grew louder and he yanked again at his restraints.
            "Tell me where to find the human. Tell me, and I’ll end your suffering.”
            The werewolf stopped and leaned back in the chair. He took a ragged breath, “I’m dead whether I tell you or not. ”
            Haedyn straightened and looked down at the back of her prisoner’s head. So fierce and honorable. His pack leader, the Alpha Wolf, would be proud.
She ran her gloved hands through his short, brown hair. Then grabbed a handful and yanked his head back. Through her darkened glasses, she could see the anger and disgust in his eyes. He hated her, but soon she would be his savior. Like she was to all those who came before him. She delivered them, away from evil, just like they were meant to be.
She flipped a silver dagger out from its sheath around her waist and let the yellow glow from the dingy, fluorescent lights glare upon the blade. She pressed the tip along her prisoner’s right cheek, puncturing the skin just enough to draw blood, and slowly drew it down the length of his face.
It wasn’t the actual cut that caused pain, not for a werewolf. They have a relatively high tolerance. It was the slicing with silver that caused the burn of agony.
Haedyn moved the blade down his body splitting the skin in different areas as she went. With each mark she made, the victim flinched and clenched his jaw. Then she stabbed the dagger straight through the bones in his wrist, pinning his arm to the chair and bringing a loud growl from his throat. She plunged more daggers into him, one in his other wrist and one in each foot. The silver seared the skin where it punctured and began eating away at his bones like acid. Ignoring the werewolf’s tormented howls, she took a silver rod and slammed it through his kneecap. His screams reverberated off the walls of the small chamber.
She stood before him and stared. His veins darkened with the poison of silver seeping through his body. He cried and begged for death. It was almost over.
“Tell me,” she said.
He sobbed and hung his head.
“Tell me,” she demanded. “I’ll take them out and put them all back in again, unless you tell me.”
“No! No, please.”
“Tell me. And I’ll end your suffering.”
            The werewolf took in a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Medford. The last place we tracked him to was Medford, Mass. It's... It's right outside Boston.”
Haedyn looked at the surveillance camera in the upper corner of the cell and nodded. Her job was almost done. Save them. Deliver them.
The prisoner raised his head and look at her. “Kill me," he said. "Please."
It was time, he was ready. She had broken him and now she’d free him.
A tear dripped slowly from the corner of his yellow eyes. Her own eyes burned. She pulled out her .44 magnum, and shot him in the head.

Author's Bio

Jennifer L. Oliver was born and raised in North Carolina and now lives on Florida's gulf coast with her husband, two cats, a Royal Bahamian Potcake dog, and multiple fish. She is the author of dark urban fantasy and paranormal thrillers. When she's not writing, you can find her giggling with her granddaughter and enjoying time with her family and friends. For more about Jennifer, visit her website at or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Haedyn's Choice was just the right amount of fantasy and intrigue and romance with a bit of drama and fight to it. I loved the story line and I loved that it wasn't like a lot of the other books I've read. What I love the most is that to me, it was not predictable. I did not want to read the ending to see if I was right about what was going to happen. I am happy I didn't because it was definitely a twist I was not prepared for. Just to make sure I read what I read correctly, I read the last page three times. 

For a while I got to the point where I lost interest in reading every fantasy book out there, whether adult or young adult. My friends had been suggesting some but I could not bring myself to buy or even borrow them to read. After reading Haedyn's Choice, I am finding or as some say "FEENING" for more. 

I can't wait for the next installation. Ms. Jennifer L Oliver has done a wonderful job telling this story.

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising**Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising* 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trilogy - A Collection by Prudence Macgregor

Product Details

  • Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/27/2012
  • Pages: 110

My Thoughts
Trilogy is a collection of three paranormal-like short stories. The story lines start out pretty normal but after reading a few pages, you realize you may be entering into reading something a little "different". The stories remind me of a few Twilight Zone shows I've seen. There were times I began to wonder if there are characters on the outside banging on a plastic bubble trying to tell the main character to get out of there and get out fast.


DISCLAIMER: I was in no way compensated to review this book. These are my opinions of a book in which I was asked to review by Cadence Group


Bathing, Beauties, Booze, and Bullets

By Ellen Collier

NEW ADULT Jazz Age Mystery
Date Published:May 5, 2013


It’s 1927 in Galveston, Texas—the “Sin City of the Southwest.” Jasmine (“Jazz”) Cross is an ambitious 21-year-old society reporter for the Galveston Gazette who tries to be taken seriously by the good-old-boy staff, but the editors only assign her fluffy puff pieces, like writing profiles of bathing beauties. The last thing Jazz wants to do is compare make-up tips with ditzy dames competing in the Miss Universe contest, known as the “International Pageant of Pulchritude and Bathing Girl Revue.” 

She’d rather help solve the murders of young prostitutes who turn up all over town, but city officials insist on burying the stories during Splash Day festivities. After Jazz gets to know the bathing beauties, she realizes there’s a lot more to them than just pretty faces and figures. Jazz becomes suspicious when she finds out the contest is also sponsored by the Maceos, aspiring Beach Gang leaders and co-owners of the Hollywood Dinner Club, where the girls will perform before the parade and pageant. 

Worse, her half-brother Sammy Cook, owner of the Oasis, a speakeasy on a rival gang’s turf, asks her to call in a favor from handsome Prohibition Agent James Burton—an impossible request that could compromise both of their jobs and budding romance. While Agent Burton gives her the cold shoulder, she fends off advances from Colin Ferris, an attractive but dangerous gangster who threatens Sammy as well as Burton. In the end, she must risk it all to save her friends from a violent killer hell-bent on revenge. Inspired by actual events.


Author Bio

Ellen Mansoor Collier is a Houston-based freelance magazine writer/editor whose articles and essays have been published in several national magazines, including: FAMILY CIRCLE, MODERN BRIDE, GLAMOUR, BIOGRAPHY, COSMO, PLAYGIRL, etc. Several of her short stories have appeared in WOMAN'S WORLD. She’s profiled a variety of people, from CEOs and celebrities (including Suze Orman), to charity founders (Nancy Brinker et al) and do-gooders (for BFI).  A flapper at heart, she’s the owner of DECODAME, specializing in Deco to retro vintage items
Formerly she's worked as a magazine editor, and in advertising and public relations (plus endured a hectic semester as a substitute teacher). She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Magazine Journalism, where she enjoyed frou-frou cocktails and lots of lattes.

"When you grow up in Houston, Galveston becomes like a second home. I had no idea this sleepy beach town had such a wild and colorful past until I began doing research, and became fascinated by the legends and stories of the 1920s. Finally I had to stop researching and start writing, trying to imagine a flapper's life in Galveston during Prohibition." 



The Oasis was more than half full, and in the dim lights, I spotted Sammy at a corner table, talking in earnest with a young, good-looking guy with chestnut hair.  I held back, but Amanda charged forward, plopping down on the chair closest to Sammy.
“Hey, Sammy, how are you?” She said it with a smile that only I knew was forced.
“Been busy.  The joint is jumping with all the tourists in town.”  He looked over at me for help, mild panic in his eyes. “Are any of your friends with you? Got a lot of guys asking about the bathing beauties.”
“Aren’t you two dolls in the pageant?” The cute guy stood up and held out a chair for me, motioning for me to sit down. “Sammy, why don’t you introduce me to these dishy dames?”
“No, but thanks for the compliment. I’m Jasmine,” I told the handsome stranger, “but I go by Jazz. This is my friend Amanda.”  I looked across the table, but Sammy and Amanda seemed to be quarreling—no doubt she was upset because she was feeling ignored. What else was new?
“Jazz,” he repeated. “I like jazz. I’m Colin, by the way.” He stuck out a hand, and shook mine with a firm grip, lingering until I pulled my hand away. 
“Nice to meet you.” He looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place him.
“How about a whirl across the dance floor, Jazz?” He flashed a smile of teeth that seemed to light up the room. Very tempting, but I needed to talk to Sammy.
“Maybe later.” He was attractive, but I hadn’t danced with anyone since my rendezvous with Burton at the Surf Club, and I wasn’t in the mood.
“Well, how about a drink then, Jazz?” He leaned forward, his arm thrown over my chair.
“Sure, why not? Make it a Manhattan.”   Normally, I didn’t drink with strangers but he seemed to be a friend of Sammy’s and besides, I didn’t expect to hear from Burton anytime soon.... Colin returned with two drinks, and scooted his chair over so our knees touched under the table. The cocktail felt cool and refreshing and I began to relax. “So what do you do?” I asked him, wondering why he looked so familiar.
“I’m in sales,” he said. No wonder he seemed so confident, so outgoing with strangers.
“What do you sell?” I wanted to know.
“Whatever people need. Some import and export, some local.” Rather a vague answer, but then again, this wasn’t an interview for the newspaper.  “How about you? What’s a lovely lass like you  doing here all alone? I take it you’re not married?”
I grinned at him, feeling flirtatious.  “Do I look like I’m married?”
“Just checking.”  Maybe it was the drink, but I felt comfortable around him and soon we were chatting, almost like friends. 
“How do you know Sammy?” I asked.
“We have mutual friends,” he said. Another cryptic answer, but who cared? 
Bernie began playing “Ain’t She Sweet?” on the piano, and Colin held out his hand.  “What are we waiting for? Let’s dance.”
Naturally I was rusty but I loved to dance and for once, I didn’t worry about anything or anyone, least of all Agent Burton.  Colin kept up with my Charleston and even did an improvisational Irish jig when the song ended. Then the tempo slowed down and Colin pulled me to him, his big arms almost crushing my chest.  I tried to push him away, but his grip only tightened around my waist, one hand wandering down my backside.
“Stop, you’re hurting me!” As I struggled to get free, he forced his mouth on mine, his lips rough, the whiskey strong on his breath.  Finally I jerked back and slapped him hard across the face. Even in the shadows, I saw his cheeks turn bright pink. “I said to leave me alone. Who do you think you are?”
A small semi-circle gathered around and Bernie stopped playing, his fingers hovering above the keys. Sammy stormed across the small dance floor, grabbing Colin by the shoulder and knocking him to the floor.  The crowd fanned out, gaping as if it was a boxing match. A few onlookers shouted and cheered: “Fight back, you dumb Palooka!” “Get up, you sorry Mick!” 
Embarrassed, I fled to a corner, wishing I could hide,  disappear in the dark.  The last thing I wanted was to make a scene, or cause trouble for Sammy. 
Colin stood up shakily, his eyes blazing, while Sammy circled him, fists up. Then he took a swing at Sammy and almost fell over.  Frank and Bernie yanked on Colin’s arms, marching him toward the stairs. Buzz cowered behind the bar, watching, wide-eyed with fear.
“Stay out of my joint!” Sammy yelled after him. “Or else!”
Colin managed to break free of Frank’s grasp and whirled around, pointing at Sammy, his hand like a gun going off. “You’re a dead man, hear me? A dead man!”  
A dead man? Now what had I done?
Amanda rushed to my side. “Jazz, what happened? Are you OK?”
Still shaking, I leaned against the wall, waiting for the commotion to subside, trying to catch my breath. “He was getting fresh, that’s all. But I can defend myself. I didn’t expect Sammy to knock him out like that, in the middle of the bar.” I tried to brush it off, but the truth was, I felt vulnerable, violated.
Sammy came over, waving his hands in the air. “Jazz, what were you doing, dancing with an asshole like him? What were you thinking?”
 “I thought he was your friend.” I stared at him, confused. Sure, some of Sammy’s friends were on the unsavory side, but with his cropped hair, striped shirt and khaki pants, Colin looked as clean-cut as any College Joe. “Did you have to slug him? So he got a little too friendly, but I didn’t want to cause a big ruckus.”
“Friend? Far from it,” Sammy snorted.  “Don’t you know who he is?  He’s a member of the Beach Gang, one of Sam Maceo’s goons.”