Review: Dante’s Fire by Jennifer Probst

Dante's Fire

Series: Standalone
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing
Released: 26 August 2014
Length: 130 pages, according to the pbk on goodreads
Format: I read an ARC ebook from LibraryThing

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my rating.

» Book Blurb
It’s Time To Meet A New Kind Of Hero…

Dante Stark has a dark secret–a legacy left to him by his father which is both a blessing and a curse. A traumatic experience as a small boy gave him special powers of healing, but it comes with a price. Destined to wander the world alone to heal others, he’s accepted his fate. Until Selina Rogers forces him to confront his deepest fears, erotic desires, and question his capacity to love.

Selina Rogers has made a name for herself at Inferno Enterprises. She’s tough, confident and prepared to succeed. She’s also built a world she believes is safe, until she’s attacked and then saved by a masked stranger. As he helps her heal physically and emotionally, she becomes fascinated by his overwhelming power and gentle touch. Determined to show Dante the love he’s been denying himself, Selina surrenders her heart, and dreams of a future with the mysterious man who completes her.

But will his dark legacy destroy them…or save them both…

» First Sentence
DANTE Stark lifted his hands and pressed palms flat against the windowpane.

» My Initial Reaction
This is not your every day super power! How intriguing. Some people are gonna call Dante a very, very lucky man.

» My Review
Dante has been given this unusual super power. He marks men that try to sexually abuse women. The mark stops them from repeating such a horrible thing. Dante gets “called” at any hour of the night and decided to personally never fall in love. I agree that it wouldn’t be fair to ask for a commitment from someone when he himself couldn’t offer the same.

In real life, Dante is the CEO of Inferno Enterprises, a fitting name for his heated gift. But instead of being in charge, he poses as their mailman Daniel. I like this about Dante. He’s a little mysterious, just like all good superheroes.

Life isn’t quite going the way he plans when Selina, a friend from the office becomes the target of sexual abuse. Dante is there to pick up the pieces and help her overcome the abuse. The story is quite fast paced and by no means boring! Jennifer Probst is an excellent writer. It doesn’t make light of how sexual abuse can affect a woman.

“I love you, Dante Stark. I want the chance to be with you. When you disappear to help another woman, I want to be waiting for you. I want to be the one to guide you back into the light. Don’t you think we both deserve to be happy?”

It’s quite open-ended. Dante happens to find someone who accepts his power and the intimacy that’s involved. Dante’s Fire is a standalone but there is definitely room for a sequel! I certainly couldn’t be as accepting as Selina is. Oh and hello to Sage. That could be a side-kick character right there.

» My Rating
Top marks for taking a super hero story that has been told time again and transforming a knight in shining armour into something contemporary.

5 Leaf

» Author Stalker Links

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at the age of 12. Bound in a folder, she read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She is married, became a mother, bought a house, continued her education with a master’s in English Literature, and rescued two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

I can’t wait to read her other new adult, romance novels! Jennifer has a number of titles under her belt. Check them out!

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

 

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Review: Frostbitten by Heather Beck

Frostbitten by Heather Beck

Series: First in the Frosbitten series
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult
Publisher: Enchanted Publishing
Release Date: 13 September 2014
Length: 247 pages (PDF)

Great beauty hides dark secrets…

Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Anastasia Lockhart has never led an easy life, but when she starts getting into serious trouble, she’s sent to live with her grandparents in Cedar Falls. The small, picturesque town hasn’t changed since she visited four years ago, with one exception – the presence of a handsome, mysterious boy named Frost. Despite warnings from her grandparents and friends to stay away from Frost, Anastasia can’t deny their attraction, and the more time they spend together, the deeper in love they fall. Unfortunately, Frost has a secret that is beyond Anastasia’s wildest imagination, and she soon finds herself in the midst of a supernatural legend that has haunted Cedar Falls for years. Can Anastasia and Frost’s love really overcome anything, or are their fates much darker? 

*** I received an ebook in exchange for an honest review***

In Short: A quick book, full of feels.

This review is long overdue. At first I didn’t know how to react. There is definitely room for a second book but we, the readers, aren’t left hanging on by a thread! That’s what is good about the end. Now, let me go back to the beginning.

Poor Anastasia. She gets shipped off to live with her grandparents because her mother doesn’t want to look after her rebellious daughter anymore. It felt like she was just wanting a little attention. Anastasia definitely gets it from her grandmother though who takes on that motherly role. Anastasia is lucky enough to have her childhood friend to help her through school.

Grandpa would be my favourite character though. He sticks to his guns. He knows everyone, attends the town meetings and goes shooting with his friends but when push comes to shove he is there for his grand-daughter. You know what to expect from his character.

The author gives a lot of detail about the dangers of the forest, whether through sounds, dreams or people giving Anastasia warnings. There was even the incident when the girls go peeping at Frost through his window and plenty goes awry in that scene.

There is that underlying theme of “friendship and first love”, knowing who your true friends are and fighting for what you believe in. Parents aren’t always right, but they will do almost anything for their children whether or not. It’s heartwarming, and this book is perfect as a winter read.

My rating:

4 Leaf

Book Buy Links: Barnes and Noble | Amazon

Author Stalker: Goodreads | Website | Youtube

Heather Beck is not new to the Writing scene with about 50 titles under her belt. Heather, a Canadian Author and Screenwriter, began writing professionally at 16 years of age. Since then, Heather has written eleven well-reviewed books, including the best-selling series, The Horror Diaries, which has sold in six continents!

Heather received an Honors Bachelor of Arts from university where she specialized in English and studied an array of disciplines. Currently, she is working on the Frostbitten series and has a middle grade anthology slated for publication. As a screenwriter, Heather has multiple television shows and movies in development. Her short films include: Young Eyes, The Rarity, Too Sensible For Love, Circular, and the forthcoming Witch’s Brew.

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Review: Harrow by Amanda Troyer

Harrow by Amanda Troyer

Series: Currently Standalone… but I’m sure it will be a series.
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Horror
Publisher: Ivory Deer Books
Release Date: 27 August 2014
Length: 247 pages (ebook)

» Book Blurb
Can you see your fears?

Sixteen-year-old Brenna doesn’t believe her vivid imagination can hurt her, until she wakes up in a church, covered in blood. Blood that isn’t hers. She thinks her life can’t get much worse, but when she finally finds a way to escape her abusive home, her imagination turns to nightmarish hallucinations. 

Niven likes staying inside the abandoned church, hiding from his violent father. The two bond through art and misery, but Brenna knows good things in her life don’t last long. Her delusions take a horrific turn when she thinks she sees two men gruesomely murdered by a monster in the church basement, but in the end, she’s the one with blood on her hands.

» First Sentence
Dust swirls around in cursive when I kick tiny pebbles across the parking lot.

» My Review

Brenna has a story to tell. She suffers from hallucinations and they are becoming more frequent & violent. Brenna’s father is an alcoholic & sometimes abusive, her mother bailed on their family years ago and her older sister, Mabel, who hangs with the wrong crowd & gets into more trouble than she can handle. Not the most stable family. Brenna has one friend from school, Wyatt, who helps get her a job at the library and we meet Niven, who hides out in an abandoned church to escape from his own family troubles.

I was hesitant to read this book. The cover & blurb were intriguing enough for me though. Especially the bloody hands holding a rosary with crucifix. My husband is an Anglican Priest, so reading a YA book which is something that interests me, that is based in a church, which is something that interests him… well… I just had to give it a go!

Harrow is a contemporary YA, with a little paranormal & romance. I would also consider it to be Horror. I have a low tolerance for the scary stuff. Here’s a comment I made as I was reading: “Gosh I’m glad that reading is easier than watching a movie, because the spooky feelings & chilling noises freak me out but dead stinky corpses… That’s where I’d draw the line & stop a movie.” The story follows Brenna and Wyatt trying to uncover the truth about the disappearance of Wyatt’s brother.

All the characters are well developed. The writing is good. Its hard to describe this story as slow paced because the hallucinations really keep this interesting. I was never sure if it was her imagination or if it was really happening. It’s hard to trust what Brenna sees.

I enjoyed this haunting story. I was sucked in by the little romance and the tension in Brenna’s family relationships. I thought for sure she was abused by her father and her mother did a runner and left the girls behind.

The only dislike: Cliffhanger! I’m not too sure if its intentional, but there is definitely room for a second novel if the author wants to develop the story. But I just don’t think I can read a second story. It’s just too Harrow-ing for me and it’s likely to get scarier!

» My Rating

4 Leaf

Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author for an honest review.

» Book Buy Links
Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iTunes

» Author Stalker Links

Amanda Troyer was born in the United States & as per her Twitter, lives in Ohio. According to her website, Amanda hated reading until she was introduced to Young Adult books in 2008. So we can thank her sister for her love of books and eventually, penning her very first novel, Harrow. For more contacts, see her website.
Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr | Instagram | Pinterest | Google+

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Review & ARC Excerpt: Breakfall (Fall Trilogy, #1) by Kate Pavelle

Breakfall Cover

Breakfall by Kate Pavelle

Series: The Fallen trilogy
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, LGBT, Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 27 June 2014
Length: 270 pages (paperback)

» Book blurb
Sexual assault doesn’t discriminate. Aikido instructor Sean Gallaway learns that when he falls prey to a violent stalker. Asbjorn Lund, a karate sensei on campus and a Navy vet, yearns to teach Sean how to survive. How to overcome. How to recover. Sean feels hunted and alone as the stalker escalates, testing his boundaries. With the entire dojo at his back, Sean resolves to play bait. He will catch the predator stalking him and reclaim his sense of self if it’s the last thing he does. Yet Sean’s hunger for justice clashes with Asbjorn’s protective streak, and their budding romance might not survive their war of wills.   

» My Review
Breakfall is narrated in third person and follows two men, Sean & Asbjorn. I’ve been so used to reading individual chapters for each character that this was a welcome change. I found myself stumbling over the name Asbjorn. I still don’t know how to pronounce it. I just went with a silent Y and read it as As-born. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

I don’t recall reading a specific city or town that this book was set in. However, the local martial arts club is located near or on an MIT University campus. To be honest, location isn’t important. The karate, aikido and other martial arts plays a vital role in the book and in their lives. Sean & Asbjorn have learned from masters of their chosen art. They live by it and are passing that knowledge on to others. Martial art language is used in phrases like “extend ki” and ‘kiai shouts”. Some phrases aren’t explained as well as others but you get the gist.

Because of their passion for martial arts, we learn about different styles of falling or breaking a fall. The ‘Breakfall’ isn’t gracious at all. No roly-poly or walk in the park! It’s hard, it hurts and can leave you battered and bruised. But your still alive and you have to learn from it. Both characters experience breakfall in different ways: Asbjorn through the death of a loved one and Sean suffering the sexual abuse. I didn’t really understand the book title until after I had read it.

Breakfall is a Contemporary Romance. I don’t think it’s labelled New Adult fiction, but they are both still in University and Sean fits that age range. This was my first LGBT romance, and it doesn’t disappoint. The sexual aspect of the relationship is new to these characters, It starts in the eyes, longing gazes, then increases to heavy petting and moves towards a life-long romance.

In terms of theme, Sean is dealt a difficult hand with a sexual predator stalking his every move and taunting him with phone calls. The abuse isn’t glossed over, it reads as very realistic. Alongside the martial arts connection, dealing with the PTSD following the abuse really bonds these two men together.

This is the first book I’ve read by Kate Pavelle. She has other romance publications. Steel City, released in 2013 is LGBT and also M/M so I might look into that series. I’m also the kind of person who needs to know the end of the story, and will definitely be picking up the rest of the Fall trilogy as its released.

Breakfall is a truly compelling story, that brings out your emotion. Sexual abuse must be hard topic to write authentically, but Kate Pavelle has written it well. I really liked this book. If you’re big on romance, and haven’t read LGBT before, I recommend reading Breakfall. Read the teaser excerpt below. If it leaves you wanting more, make sure you enter the giveaway below!

» My Rating

4 Leaf

IndieSagelogoDisclaimer: I received an ARC for an honest review.

» Book Buy Links
Book DepositoryAmazon | B&N | KOBODreamspinner Press

» An Excerpt
THE QUALITY of silence around him awakened him. Sean strained his ears in vain for familiar sounds. The car traffic of Cambridge was replaced by the gray, early morning stillness of nearby woods. There was no sound of a clock ticking, no popping of ancient radiators, no footsteps of fellow students overhead. The silence was like a blanket of cool, morning fog, comforting and private.

He turned toward the source of breathing to his right. This was Sean’s first-ever opportunity to observe Asbjorn at leisure. His eyes, deep like the ocean blue, were closed, their pale eyelashes stretching down in a graceful arc. It amused Sean to find faded, sun-kissed freckles on Asbjorn’s nose and cheekbones—a testament to his heritage as well as to his lifestyle. The scar splitting his right eyebrow was still angry and red, a reminder of his bout with Don, a fight without a victor. Sean let his gaze travel down the chiseled planes of Asbjorn’s exquisite, sharp cheekbones, his lovely and defined jaw blurred by morning stubble, his stubborn chin. Above his chin, his lips: lush and generous and tinged pink with promise.

Sean leaned forward, sharing his breath with Asbjorn, feeling the stirrings of air on his nose. He brushed his lips against the stubbly jaw with a soft caress.

Asbjorn opened his pale lids. “What time is it, Sean?”

“I dunno. Early.” Sean reached for his cell phone, only to realize it was still in police custody.

“What day is it?” The pressure-cooker of recent events had left him disoriented.

“Uh, Thursday. Thanksgiving.” Asbjorn’s voice was still clogged with sleep.

“Shit.” Sean hit his head back against the pillow. The lab. He never handed in his stupid physics lab report.

Asbjorn reached for him with his large hands. “Shh. Don’t worry about anything right now.” Asbjorn’s voice soothed him. The strength of Asbjorn’s arms filled him with strange awareness as he was pulled in closer. The warmth was comforting, and he did not resist. He felt a cool nose nuzzle his neck.

“Bjorn!”

“Hmmm?”

“You’re not helping.”

“Not helping what?”

Sean blushed. “My morning situation.”

Sharp teeth worried the tan skin of his shoulder. Soon, a warm, wet tongue laved the nibbled skin smooth again. He felt sensuous lips taste of his arm and neck, and Sean felt himself arch. His morning wood was now a fearsome force of nature.

He felt Asbjorn press into his lower back, feeling his heat and the smooth hardness trapped between their bodies.

“Good to know I’m not alone in my predicament.”

» About the Author & Stalker Links
Kate PavelleJust about everything Kate Pavelle writes is colored by her life experiences, whether the book in your hand is romance, mystery, or adventure. Kate grew up under a totalitarian regime behind the Iron Curtain. In her life, she has been a hungry refugee and a hopeful immigrant, a crime victim and a force of lawful vengeance, a humble employee and a business owner, an unemployed free-lancer and a corporate executive, a scientist and an artist, a storyteller volunteering for her local storytelling guild, a martial artist, and a triathlete. Kate’s frequent travels imbue her stories with local color from places both exotic and mundane.

Kate Pavelle is encouraged in her writing by her husband, children and pets, and tries not to kill her extensive garden in her free time. Out of the five and a half languages she speaks, English is her favorite comfort zone.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

» GIVEAWAY