Cover Shot! Deadshifted by Cassie Alexander

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?

I haven’t started Cassie Alexander’s Edie Spence series, but that doesn’t stop me from liking the covers.  I love the creatures lurking in the background.  While the dress looks like an unskilled attempt at Photoshop, the tentacles writhing in the waves behind her are pretty cool.

In stores December 2013

 

Edie Spence just wanted a vacation. A nice, relaxing, stress free, non-adventure away from the craziness that’s dominated her life since becoming a nurse for paranormal creatures. But from the start, her trip on the Maraschino, a cruise ship bound for Hawaii, has been anything but stress free, especially when Edie’s boyfriend Asher recognizes someone he used to know. Someone from his not-so-nice past. With their lives in the balance, will Edie and Asher be able to save their growing family or will this adventure be their end?

Review: Dweller on the Threshold by Rinda Elliot

 

Title:  Dweller on the Threshold

Author:  Rinda Elliott

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

On a hunt to save her sister, the last thing Beri O’Dell needs is love. Aren’t demons bad enough?

Beri O’Dell is investigating paranormal creatures because she wants to know what she is. Taller and stronger than most men, she astral projects and can peel through dimensional layers to see the creatures and spirits beyond.he once helped her foster sister, Detective Elsa Remington, track down killers in Jacksonville, Florida, but stopped when a nasty fire elemental turned her strength against her. Now, she finds herself pulled back when something steals Elsa’s soul and puts her into a coma.

With little time to spare, Beri searches for the reason behind her sister’s coma. She has help in her spirit guides Fred and Phro, but others come along for the ride, including a pyro-nervous witch, and an androgynous necromancer.

The last thing Beri needs is to fall in love with a mysterious stranger. But the handsome Minoan warrior Nikolos knows what creature she’s after because he’s battled it before.
It’s bad.

Really, really bad.

He calls it the Dweller on the Threshold.

Warning:
Contains a worried heroine with no time, a witch with fire problems, a pissed-off necromancer, a trapped goddess, and a damned sexy, but scary, warrior. Throw in bloody battles, mass-murderer history lessons and a bit of sexy time and you get the start of Beri’s new life.


Review:

After my success with Erica Hayes Redemption, I decided to dive into another Paranormal/UF book.  Dweller on the Threshold looked like an interesting blend of creepy and magical, and it was.  The romance is kept on the back burner, and instead the focus is on finding and taking down the dreaded Dweller on the Threshold.  There are people dropping like flies as their souls are sucked out of their bodies, demon battles galore, and an ancient Minoan warrior who possesses both brawn and good-looks.  I liked the Greek mythology that was incorporated into the story, as well as the concept of guardians, ghostly protectors who watch over their charges, usually invisible and undetected for normal people.  Beri, the protagonist, isn’t normal.

I found Beri an interesting protagonist.  She knows that she’s different, but she doesn’t know why.  She can see her guardians – the serious Fred, who was killed in a fire when he was on the cusp of manhood, and Phro, who claims to be the Goddess of Love.  Yes, that Goddess of Love.  Beri wonders what motivates both of them to stay with her, especially the beautiful Phro.  Surely she has better things to do than follow a towering, streaky haired freak of a woman around year after year.  I am still wondering what Fred’s deal is, because it’s obvious there is more to him being with Beri than meets the eye.  Maybe we’ll find out what’s going on with him in the next book of the series?  Where does he keep disappearing to, and can he be completely trusted?  With so many dangers popping up to threaten her life, I believe these are questions that Beri needs to have answered  stat.

Beri has been searching for other answers for her entire life.  Who is she?  What is she?  After being bounced around from foster home to foster home, she’s developed a thick skin, and she prefers to keep others at a safe distance.  The only person she is close to is Elsa, whose parents took Beri in before weird things started happening and they became too terrified of her to keep her round.  Now, the two women consider themselves sisters, and when Elsa interrupts a paranormal hunting trip in the swamp, Beri is obligated to help her sister, a police detective, with the case she’s working on.  Even though things ended disastrously the last time she tried to help, and Beri ended up bathed in blood and detached body parts.  Ugh.

Back in the city, Beri learns that Elsa is in a coma, and things don’t look good.  When she can’t see Elsa’s soul, Beri knows that she has to figure out what she was working on.  As danger mounts, and more mysteries are revealed, Beri has no choice but to trust Blyth, a flaky witch, and Nikolas, an old, old being who is surrounded with the darkness of hundreds and hundreds of trapped souls.  And, oh, yeah, even though he’s older than dirt, he’s a handsome, hulking warrior, and Beri can’t help but be attracted to him and all of his secrets.

I loved Nicolas’ tragic past, and all of the references to Greek mythology.  While some of the world-building was confusing or non-existent, there was enough demon slaying and demon attacking action to distract me from most of my hang-ups about the world Beri resides in.  Just throw some magic, some ugly monsters, and a kick-ass heroine into the mix, and I’m a pretty happy camper.  The action and the quest to find  and defeat the Dweller drive this story, more so than the romance or any other element, and I didn’t mind one bit.  What did kind of bug me?  The non-ending! 

Grade: B

Review copy provided by author

Interview with Marcie Kremer, Author of Torch in the Forest

 

Please welcome Marcie Kremer to the virtual offices today!  Marcie is here to chat about her new historical romance Torch in the Forest. Check out what she has to say.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Marcie Kremer] Writer, reader, wife, lover of medieval history and quirky puns

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Torch in the Forest?

[Marcie Kremer] Eighteen-year-old widow Eleanor of Strathcombe is stunned to realize she has a powerful attraction to Hugh of Wykeham, the arrogant, neighboring lord returned from the Crusade, who not only asks for the hand of her younger sister in marriage – but feuds with her over the control of their forest boundaries, because poachers are running rampant. As she struggles to keep control of her forests and find the poachers, unsettling feelings confront her when she deals with Hugh, feelings she never felt in her brief, loveless marriage — feelings she tries to fight, because she knows Hugh to be a cold, harsh man who may have murdered his faithless wife in revenge — and who trusts no woman. When she finds herself in the midst of a net of intrigue and lies, how can she find the conspirators, save herself and her sister, and battle her feelings for Hugh?

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

[Marcie Kremer] TORCH IN THE FOREST is completely the fault of my DH! He knows how I love medieval history and romance, so he suggested I write one of my own! I had to learn how to write a romance novel, which is an art itself. Because I majored in medieval history, I already knew in what era I wanted the story to take place. I had been reading about the Law of the Forest for a long time and I was fascinated by the intrigue, power struggles, and danger that went along with it, so I decided that would be a great jumping-off place for a plot. Character-wise, I’ve always admired Eleanor of Acquitaine, a strong, intelligent woman far ahead of her time, so that’s whom I patterned Eleanor after, but, of course, she becomes her own person in TORCH. Lord Hugh is my favorite kind of male character, strong, ruthless, but with a hidden soft side that he refuses to let others see, but, somehow, Eleanor finds out…. For suspense and drama, there are a lot of plot twists involving marriage proposals, the intrigue and bribery surrounding the poaching, and the passionate yearnings Eleanor and Hugh have for each other. For the research, I pulled a lot of books off my shelf and went to the internet to read transcripts of assizes, and it was so entertaining to read what people got incensed about and arrested for in 1272!

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

[Marcie Kremer] Strong, intelligent, and loyal.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Hugh had a theme song, what would it be?

[Marcie Kremer] Rascal Flatts’s "God Bless the Broken Road That Led Me Straight to You." Really!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Eleanor is never without.

[Marcie Kremer] Eleanor is never without her family motto of ‘Honor et Fides,’ because it was bred into her and means everything to her: honor and loyalty. All she has to do is convince Hugh she is for real. He, of course, doesn’t believe any woman is capable of being honest and loyal, so Eleanor has her work cut out for her!

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

[Marcie Kremer] First, there are no pockets in 1272  but, he would never carry money, since he’s a lord and has no need of it; his steward and marshall handle all of that. Also, you’d never find him with a letter of apology, because he knows he’s never wrong (ah, but just you wait, Lord Hugh!), and you’d never find Hugh with a rose for Eleanor, because he thinks of her as a trusting ninny, whose younger sister he asks to marry so he can get an heir. Little does he know what is going to take place in the forest—or in the buttery!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Eleanor’s greatest regret?

[Marcie Kremer] Eleanor’s greatest regret is probably not kissing Hugh sooner than she does, because it’s driving her crazy with intense, passionate dreams at night and haunting visions in the daytime.

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

[Marcie Kremer] I love listening to music before (not during!) I write, and Purcell’s trumpet voluntaries (think Princess Diana’s wedding) and opera are great for setting the ambiance I need to put myself back in 1272. Just having a notebook near me is a creative influence, because those lined, blank pages are just begging for words to be written on them.

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

[Marcie Kremer] In order to write, I need a sharpened pencil (goodness, yes, for first drafts and revision notes – always!), my laptop, and quiet! Then I can watch the characters take on lives of their own, and, as William Faulkner wrote, "All I have to do run along behind them as fast as I can and write down everything they say and do."

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

[Marcie Kremer] I absolutely loved WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel. How I wish I’d written it! I have the second in her trilogy, BRING UP THE BODIES on my TBR list.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Marcie Kremer] When I was very young and living in Europe, my parents gave me a copy of OUR ISLAND STORY by H.E. Marshall, a history of England in the form of a collection of stories about the English kings and queens. I was fascinated by the intrigue and passion, and, because I saw castles on a daily basis, it all seemed so real to me, and I wanted to read more about them! I know, such a geek!

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

[Marcie Kremer] I love reading, of course, (I’m never without a book or two!), and traveling with my DH and visiting friends all over the world. Just put me in front of a castle and I’m happy!

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

[Marcie Kremer] They can visit my blog at www.marciekremerromance.wordpress.com and follow me on Twitter at @MarcieKremer1 and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/MarcieKremer. They can email me at marciekremer (at) gmail.com I’m also on Goodreads and LibraryThing, of course! I love hearing from readers! Please stop by!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase Torch in the Forest from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below

About the book:

Eighteen-year-old widow Eleanor of Strathcombe is stunned to realize she has a powerful attraction to Hugh of Wykeham, the arrogant, neighboring lord returned from the Crusade. But he wants to marry her sister, and when he learns that poachers are running rampant he blames her and feuds with her over the control of their forest boundaries.

As she struggles to keep control of her forests and find the poachers, unsettling feelings confront her when she deals with Hugh, feelings she never felt in her brief, loveless marriage — feelings she tries to fight, because she knows Hugh to be a cold, harsh man who may have murdered his faithless wife in revenge — and who trusts no woman.

When she finds herself in the midst of a net of intrigue and lies, how will she find the courage to capture the conspirators, save herself and her sister, and overcome her feelings for Hugh?