Cover Shot! Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

What a cool cover!  Seven Kinds of Hell by Dana Cameron even has a cool name!  I love the thought of an archeologist heroine, too.  This will be in stores next week.

Hits stores March 12th.


Archaeologist Zoe Miller has been running from a haunting secret her whole life. But when her cousin is abducted by a vicious Russian kidnapper, Zoe is left with only one option: to reveal herself. Unknown to even her closest friends, Zoe is not entirely human. She’s a werewolf and a daughter of the Fangborn, a secretive race of werewolves, vampires, and oracles embroiled in an ancient war against evil. To rescue her cousin, Zoe will be forced to renew family ties and pit her own supernatural abilities against the dark and nefarious foe. The hunt brings Zoe to the edge of her limits, and with the fate of humanity and the Fangborn in the balance, life will be decided by an artifact of world-ending power.

Review: Betting on Texas by Amanda Renee


Title: Betting on Texas

Author:  Amanda Renee

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

More Than The Ranch At Stake  When Miranda Archer bought Double Trouble Ranch, sight unseen, she was eager to leave city life behind and start fresh in the Texas Hill Country. But the property came with some unexpected extras: a few cattle, a couple of horses…and one surly cowboy.

From the minute Jesse Langtry first laid eyes on Miranda, she captured his heart. Beautiful and determined, Miranda is everything Jesse wants in a woman. There’s just one little hitch. Jesse’s dream girl just stole his ranch!

Sure that rural life will be too much for Miranda, Jesse bets her that she won’t last a month at Double Trouble. If he wins, she’ll sell him the land—if she wins, he’ll leave for good. Pushing each other away seems to bring them closer—and that’s where the real trouble begins!


Once again, I am drawn to a cowboy book.  Betting on Texas by Amanda Renee even has horses.  Bonus!  Surly Jesse is a horse trainer, and they are actually featured predominately in the story.  Yeah!  Unfortunately, Jesse knowingly puts Miranda in some hazardous situations, which did make me think less of him.  A horse trainer of all people should know better to put a horse and a human at risk like that. 

Miranda Archer is embarking on a new life.  Having won the state lottery, she purchases a ranch in Texas, loads up her meager belongings in her brand new pickup truck, and heads for greener pastures.  What she finds isn’t exactly the solitary haven she’s expecting.  Instead, she discovers that she also owns several horses, a small herd of cattle, and some chickens in addition to the farm house and acreage.  Oh, yeah, and there’s that angry, angry cowboy, Jesse Langtry, in residence, too.  Jesse has sacrificed the better part of the last 15 years  working on the ranch, training sought after cutting horses and managing the property for the former owners.  They had a hand shake agreement that Jesse would buy the ranch when they were ready to retire.  Unfortunately, the older couple is tragically killed in an accident, and the ranch is placed on the auction block by.  Jesse is outbid by Miranda, and he is pissed!  How could this rich, city-slicker from DC just stroll into town and take away his  dream?

I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did, but the story didn’t gel for me.  The adversarial relationship between Jesse and Miranda turned me off.  Jesse completely and unfairly misjudges Miranda, which makes him hard to like.  They are constantly bickering about the ranch, which is legally Miranda’s, and Jesse blames her for buying it from under him.  He is so bitter that I just couldn’t buy into their relationship.  He puts her at risk several times with the horses, and I couldn’t get over that.  Horses are large animals, and when handled by inexperienced people, they can be dangerous.  Heck, they can be dangerous when you know what you’re doing!  To leave her to load a horse onto a trailer after getting mad at her; I just can’t imagine a professional horseman doing something risky like that.  After getting dumped off of my mare the same day I read a majority of the book, for no other reason than she was feeling frisky, I know how quickly things can go wrong with horses.  This probably won’t be a major sticking point for most, but it was for me.

I did like Miranda.  She put up with Jesse’s sullen behavior and tried not to let it bother her.  She met his dismissive treatment of her head on.  She didn’t let him alter her plans to have the home she had always dreamed of.  When life bit her in the behind, she quickly made adjustments to ensure that the animals and the people who were now depending on her were taken care of.  Her initial poor reception in town was entirely due to Jesse spreading false rumors about her and her plans for the ranch, and she acted forcefully to try to counteract the gossip he had spread about her.  Even though he did this before he met her, it’s hard to forgive a guy who would try to sabotage a complete stranger like that.

To settle things between them, Miranda and Jesse make a bet, and the winner ends up with the ranch.  Because of Jesse’s determination to win the bet and get his dreams back on track, it was hard to buy into his sincerity when his feelings for Miranda started to change.  I wasn’t sure if he really did like her, or if gaining control of the ranch was playing into his change of heart.  In fact, it wasn’t until the last two chapters that I even started to like him. 

Betting on Texas was a mixed bag for me, and I blame the confrontational relationship established early in the story for my tepid respond to Jesse.  It was hard to look beyond Jesse’s desire to own the ranch, and his less than chivalrous behavior rankled at times.  Even though Betting on Texas didn’t work for me,  I am looking forward to getting to know Jesse’s brothers better in Home To The Cowboy, the next book in the series. 

Grade: B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton, Author of Blaze

Laurie Boyle Crompton is visiting the virtual offices today to chat about her new release BLAZE.  Please give her a warm welcome!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Blaze?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] Blaze is a seventeen-year-old comic geek who is sort of stuck in her life driving her younger brother and his friends around in her turd-brown minivan (AKA: The Subatomic Sweatmobile of Doom). She loves drawing comics and is determined to snag her crush but when she does things don’t really go as planned.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] My step-dad has an amazing collection of vintage comics that I had the privilege of reading through as a teen. I became an instant comic geek girl and this was before a lot of the superhero movies came out so there was zero cool factor to my obsession. Besides loving comics in general, I loved the way reading them made me believe in a greater truth. When people weren’t exactly being kind to me it was nice to read about a world where the good guys always come out on top.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Blaze?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] Talented Kickass Geek

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Blaze’s locker?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] A notebook that’s not covered in doodles.

A boy band poster.

A vanity mirror.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] Vintage superhero comics were a huge influence in writing this book. It was really a fantastic experience to be reading through all these old issues and seeing the ways that Blaze was inspired by the various characters. It was like I was experiencing the comics through her eyes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] Time, time, time! I would do it every second of every day if I could, but of course there are basic day-to-day things that need to be taken care of. Thankfully, some of the things I DON’T need in order to write include; clean laundry, home-cooked meals, scrubbed bathrooms and clean floors. When I’m on deadline none of that stuff happens.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] I recently read THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER because I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. I know that if I see a movie the odds go down that I will go back and pick up the book (exceptions abound, including WHIP IT by Shauna Cross which was awesome). I’m so glad I did read PERKS first, although I suspect I would’ve picked up the book afterwards anyway.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] I love to be outdoors. Hiking, biking, cross-country skiing – anything that gets me moving through nature. I’m a movie fanatic and also enjoy going for long rides in our Jeep with the top down. The perfect combination of these two is when we take the Jeep to the drive-in during the summer. *sigh* *thinks longingly of summer*

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Laurie Boyle Crompton] Twitter




[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Blaze from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:

About the book:

Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She’s desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark’s feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her "sext" photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now…