30 September, 2016

The Hummingbird Wizard by Meredith Blevins #Review




Pages -  447
Publisher -  WordWorx Publishing
Originally Published -  2003
Publication Date -  May 21, 2012
Genre -   Supernatural, Psychics, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Series -   (The Annie Szabo Mystery Series 1)
Sexual Content -  2/5
Language -  Mild
Amazon Buy -  Link





SYNOPSIS


GYPSIES ARE FOREVER. AND SO HELPFUL IN A FAMILY MURDER!
Once you marry into a gypsy clan, just try to get out! Annie Szabo loved her husband, but after his death, she was only too happy to leave his outrageous clan behind, especially her pushy mother-in-law, Madame Mina. But Mina wasn't just any pushy relative. As the heart of the close-knit Szabo family, she was also powerful, stubborn, and devoutly to be avoided.
Well, too bad for Annie! When her oldest friend, Jerry, turns up dead, she’s plunged back into the family she tried to leave behind. She knows Jerry was murdered, but how is she supposed to prove it?
Easy, if you’ve got a gypsy family. Or anyway, easier. So before you know it, Annie’s knee-deep once again in ancient curses, petty theft, and, everyone’s favorite--love magic. All thanks to Madame Mina’s psychic skills and a certain wildly sexy gypsy and his shady P.I. father.
As Annie turns amateur detective, THE HUMMINGBIRD WIZARD turns sexy. Truth to tell, it’s probably one of the sexiest mysteries you're ever going to read, but not because it's explicit--there’s just something about that…wizard. Lawyers, criminals, kink, magic, and more murder mysteries, coupled with Blevins’ trademark humor, make for a delicious—and very funny-- supernatural cozy, with a healthy dose of romance. 

REVIEW


Well, if you take reviews and the above synopsis at face value, you're in for a huge let-down.

As was I after slogging my way through 50+ chapters of first-person narrative that wasn't nearly as funny as we're led to believe.

At least it wasn't diary-entry first-person, I'll give it that.

And, sexy? Hmm, let me think.

Yeah, the Hummingbird Wizard was dead sexy (no pun intended) and honestly didn't deserve Annie or this story to make his debut.

Annie is middle-aged and has a college-age daughter, is a widow, and on her way to spend a weekend fling with an old friend of hers, who happens to be divorced from her sister-in-law, when Jerry doesn't show up at the appointed hour at his place in San Francisco.

Jerry's ex, Annie's sister-in-law, is always drunk and the mother-in-law, Capri's mother, is at this rich, old house when Annie arrives.

After they argue, Annie drinks some wine and goes to bed in Jerry's room when she has this erotic dream and thinks it was Jerry but she was too drunk on wine and herbal tea to really know.

The next day she finds a bottle of juju on the dresser and Capri passed out on the kitchen floor.

Capri remains in a stupor throughout this story, Jerry is discovered dead behind his law office in the city, and Annie is somehow drawn into the discovery of it all.

She's bitchy, smart-ass, and resentful.

An example would include Annie's attitude toward her next door neighbor, The Shrink.

We've got a caravan parked on the property, her daughter's sculpture bodies lying about all over the yard, a gypsy camp on the edge of the property, and a stubborn Fed parked out front day and night, not to mention the campfires, the dancing, and the voodoo, along with a trained parrot and a guy who walks around wearing a real feathered cape.

So, does Annie really have the right to sneer at The Shrink, call him The Shrink, and assume he is just dying to know what's going on at the weirdo's house next door?

It takes all of the 50+ chapters of snark, rehash, and supposed humor to finish telling us what turns out to be not all that mysterious or shocking.

Without giving it away, let me just say that if Mina (the irascible mother-in-law) was all that psychic, she'd have picked up on the bad guy hella sooner than it took and wouldn't have needed an outsider (Annie) to get the job done.

The mysticism and Romanian gypsy ways were both interesting and insulting, but this was 2003 and I'm pretty sure the author was kind of old when she first wrote this, so . . .

And while there are some type-o's, questionable word choices, and really odd punctuation used throughout this lengthy whodunit, I have to admit that the story still managed to captivate because of the writing style.

But again, as with all first-person narratives, the rest of the cram-packed cast were one-dimensional because they had no voice.

Annie told us what everyone thought, felt, how they behaved, and why they behaved that way based on her opinion, which, to me, most of the time, was jaded, biased, prejudiced, and mean depending on who it was that entered a particular scene.

If I said that reading first-person novels is the equivalent of listening to the author play with paper dolls, would it make better sense?

None of these people were really described in a way that worked to help me fully envision them in my head, so I had to make up my own ideas and while some people might prefer that, I don't and want the characters fleshed out by the author so that I'm not left to wonder.

If you like lengthy mysteries that aren't of the cozy variety, I know you're going to enjoy reading The Hummingbird Wizard, and there are two more novels in this series:


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Lead Heart (The Seraph Black Series, #3) by Jane Washington #ReleaseBlitz


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Book Title: Lead Heart (The Seraph Black Series, #3) 
Author: Jane Washington 
Genre: Young Adult/Suspense 
Release Date: September 16, 2016 
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb

“The paint dripped off me like a liquid coat and I inhaled the toxic fumes, sucking the undiluted scent into my lungs. My pupils dilated as I sank into the vision of a pain so absolute, it went beyond pain. It should have rendered me unconscious, it should have affected my ability, it felt like it should have killed me. As it was, the pain distracted me so badly that I was unable to focus on any other details. I painted turquoise wounds that wept turquoise blood onto the paper floor, and when I was finished, I painted more. I painted the walls, the floor, the back of the door and the boarded-up windows. I covered the room in wounds and fumes, and then I curled up in the middle of the mess, weeping my heart into my paint-covered hands.”

The past few months have reduced Seraph Black to a permanent state of fight, and now it is all that she knows. She is fighting her friends and family to go off on a suicide mission to rescue Silas, she is fighting the fragmented memories that clamour for recognition inside her mind, and she is fighting a guilt so magnificent… it might just force her to betray the very people that have sacrificed so much to keep her safe.

She had asked for space, and it had been given to her in the most heart-rending of ways, leaving only one of the four brothers remaining by her side.

Miro Quillan is her last hope.

Without him, she may never get her pairs back.
Warning: While this book is intended for a young adult audience, it is not recommended for persons younger than 15 years, due to some themes.

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meet the author
Jane Washington is 24 years old, lives in Brisbane, Australia and has MDD, or Multiple Dependency Disorder. It's not a real disorder, but it should be.

She's dependent on the moon to write, and she's dependent on coffee so that she can spend as much time with the moon as possible.

She's dependent on both writing and anti-social behaviour to each act as an excuse for the other, and she's dependent on the awkwardness of both to save her from questions. I.e.:

'Why do you never come to parties?'

'It's a writer's thing. We hate parties.'

She has a dependency on the internet to prevent too much work from getting done on any given day, and an even bigger dependency on Disney movies, to keep the dream alive.




29 September, 2016

Why I Write Romance #RomanceWriter




Because I Want To

It is true that I read a variety of fiction and non-fiction books, but the only genre that interests me enough to want to write my own versions is Romance.

www.zazzle.com

Because I Love to Read 

I've enjoyed reading Romance novels since I fell in love with them at age fourteen, which was around the time I began to notice boys and my head became filled with silly, zany things like appearance, body contours, eyes, mannerisms, and sex.



Because I Want to Experience True Love

While romance itself has managed to elude me all these years, I still find the topic fascinating and want to pursue the fantasy versions via my imagination and the ability to write.



Because I Need This Outlet

I still beat myself up for not pursuing this dream much earlier in life, but that I let too many outside sources dictate my life is neither here nor there anymore.

One day I decided to stop the unhappy merry-go-round and take back what I'd let slip through my fingers for far too long.



The first thing I did was to search the internet for the people and places that would guide me in the right direction, and then I updated Word on my laptop and sat down to write.

And I've been writing fairly consistently ever since.

And, yes, I'm happy.

Because Love is More Important than Life

Which might not make sense to some but it holds true for me and I hope a few others out there.

I've experienced enough of life to know that nothing really matters outside of having loved or been loved -- and aside from my two children, I can't honestly say I've ever experienced either, so I'm a bit desperate to create the fantasy at least once before I sign off on said life.



Because I Adore Men

Not ashamed to admit it any more than I'm ashamed to admit I write Romance.



Because the stories involve hot men seeking an available woman to share the rest of his life with (at least it is the hope), and part of the writing process is to create characters who fit that bill while still possessing a fair and humanly amount of flaws.

Pouring over Pinterest and Tumblr pages filled with half-naked men with ripped bodies is the type of inspirational (research) I can deal with and prefer it to most other forms -- like types of fish or stages of body decomposition, for example.



Because The Escape Factor is There

I get confused when I hear someone say they read to stay informed, or they prefer to read Fiction that adheres to the Facts (of life).

Not me!



Yes, I read to learn, and yes, I read to escape, but I don't prefer to have the two intersect at any point in either genre.

A Romance novel will never teach me anything about life OR love and I'm really, truly happy with that.

Ages ago, while watching an episode of Charlie's Angels, Farrah Fawcett's character was in a locker room wearing nothing but a towel when some guy entered the picture. One thing led to another and . . . cut to commercial break.

My older sister groaned and said, "Well, we all know what they did!"

And I made that face of confusion before saying, "Walked off the set and rehearsed their lines?"

Which might make me sound more the bad guy and less the imaginative creature I presume to be as a struggling Romance author, but the point is I never have and probably never will let fiction or make-believe dictate my own life.

It is fiction and therefore fantasy and therefore unrealistic.



And though it does delve deep into a human nature scenario, there is zero to gain from reading fictional Romance other than the pure pleasure derived from having let ones self escape reality for all of the time it takes to read a complete Romance novel.

To get lost in another place, perhaps another time, and with people we've never met and never will in reality.

Writing about Romance is the equivalent of reading Romance -- to get lost in the fantasy while maybe devising an it-could-happen plot for two fictional characters existing in a make-believe world.

Fun stuff!

I want to enjoy the rest of my life, so I write and read Romance novels.

Because I Stubbornly Like to Buck Trends

May sound counterproductive to some and implausible to others considering the Romance genre is still the highest grossing genre of them all.

Sure, the money is and would be a good thing were I to become well-received and yes, it is my hope that that becomes a reality and is a reason why I write Romance.

But because it is a popular genre, it stands to reason that certain rules, guidelines, and trends will and are enforced -- all of which I cannot help but to ignore, avoid, and bend to my own will.

Things like: X number of sex scenes, and the H must pursue h and not the other way around, or the h must be strong-willed and purposeful, thus showing she doesn't NEED H just wants to jump his bones and move on but then L enters the picture and we have our HEA.



Personally, I call these types of novels H******** Style Mass Produced Ready-to-Wear.

And if you've read one, you've read them all.

So, we can reword this one to say my Goal is to write Romance novels that are Different, that don't follow Trends, but that still manage to Create a following.

LOL

Because I Must Write Something so it Should be What I Like

I have to write.

Even if I'm no good at it and no one will ever believe I stand a chance at becoming a Romance author, that can't stop me from wanting to write my stories and make them all Romance novels.

At least I display a majority of the You're Definitely a Writer symptoms, which gives me hope.

Currently, fear of rejection due to my inability to recognize Tell vs Show in my writing prevents me from pursuing this dream career because I'm so confused and terrified of making a mistake I can't recognize that it's taken all of the Fun out of writing for me.

Back to the good ol days when I'd pull all-nighters filling up lined notebooks with one fantasy love story after another.

When I'd read those stories to friends who sat bug-eyed while munching on Doritos and sipping Dr. Pepper with me in someone's backyard -- making me feel as close to Goddess as I'll ever get.

I can't not write, and I can't not write Romance-themed stories because I love to write and read them and truly enjoy their purpose -- which, for me, is their escape-ability aspect.

As always, I thank you kindly for stopping by to read this post.


Credo (Scars of the Wraiths Book 3) by Nashoda Rose #CoverReveal #Preorder Blitz

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Preorder Blitz
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Book Title: Credo (Scars of the Wraiths, #3) 
Author: Nashoda Rose 
Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Release Date: October 24, 2016 
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions

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book blurb


New York Times & USA Today Best Selling Author Nashoda Rose brings a fresh twist to the paranormal romance world with 'the Scars'.

An unrequited love.

A tortured past.

An unbreakable bond.

Their love was well-known throughout the immortal world.

The powerful Taldeburu Waleron and his Delara.

But tragedy struck and tore them apart for years. One believing the other was dead.

When fate finally brings them back together again it isn’t kind.

It’s cruel and testing. Sacrificial.

Because love has no remorse for its victims.

It doesn’t give you options.

And it won’t be stopped.

This is Waleron and Delara’s story.

It’s not pretty and it’s not kind.

But it's theirs.

A band of fierce warriors walk in the shadows of the human world with capabilities derived from the senses: Trackers, Sounders, Healers, Tasters, Visionaries and the rare Reflectors. They are known as the ‘Scars.

Scars of the Wraiths Series (Must be read in order)

Stygian (Scars of the Wraiths, Book 1)

Tyrant (Scars of the Wraiths, Book 2)

Credo (Scars of the Wraiths, Book 3) Oct/2016

Take (Scars of the Wraiths, Book 4) Standalone

meet the author

Nashoda Rose is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She writes romance with a splash of darkness. When she isn't writing, she can be found sitting in a field reading or writing with her dog at her side, while her horses graze nearby. She loves interacting with her readers and chatting about her addiction--books.

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