Review: Hot Blooded by Kendall Grey

Thriller/suspense  w/ erotic & supernatural elements

Rating: HOLY CRAP YAY.

 

I might be a little bit of a Kendall Grey fangirl. I’m not going to lie about it. Ever since we reviewed Inhale a couple years ago, I’ve been on the bandwagon, and it’s been a crazy ride. Just when I thought she’d reached the pinnacle with her Hard Rock Harlots series, she goes and gives me Hot Blooded.

This is not a love story. Not even close. The main characters, Blake and Keahilani are good people who do very bad things for the people they love. Their family. ‘Ohana.

The importance of family is central to the story. The risks that both Blake and Keahilani take are solely to benefit the people they consider family, and though they start falling for each other—and have lots of dangerous, kinky, crazy, violent sex along the way—they both know that family comes first. When Kea’s fledgling drug empire is threatened by Blake’s boss, she manages to push her attraction to the paohe aside to deal with the bigger issues at hand. But Kea’s problems are bigger than someone encroaching on her territory, and they’re coming from a place she least expects.

Kendall adds an extra layer through journal entries written by Kea’s mother as a teenager, then later as an adult mother of three children. They’re about when she met the future father of her children, and the ups and serious, serious downs, and the layer of crazy they add to the entire mix is both vital and sometimes overwhelming. Though Kea and Blake take the spotlight most of the time, Kendall rounds out the entire family from both deceased parents to Kea’s brothers.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is how heavily Hawaiian culture permeates every single page. Between the Alana family’s love of surfing to the explosive (no pun intended) imagery of Pele and quite a bit of mythology, Kendall’s love of the culture is incredibly evident, and it makes the entire book that much richer.

And let me tell you, the twists and turns this book takes are pretty shocking. I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know what would happen next and how many more times I’d be wrong about what I expected to happen. Hot Blooded is a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat and sometimes dangles you off the edge of a cliff, but it’s an exhilaration you won’t want to end, even after you read the last page. I’m more than ready for book two of this series.

This Week’s Read: Hot Blooded by Kendall Grey

hot bloodedWhen an accident claims her mother’s life, Keahilani Alana must take charge of her family or risk losing what little they have. With an underage brother to care for and no education, she has few options. The door to a heavenly hellish opportunity opens when she stumbles upon a valuable secret her mother left behind on the slopes of an extinct volcano—a legacy that tempts the family with riches beyond their wildest dreams. But the secret is much bigger and more sinister than they realize. As reality unravels and exposes eerie truths about the siblings that should have remained deep under the mountain, Keahilani must either resist the call of her blood or risk being consumed by its darkness.

Blake Murphy is an assassin working to infiltrate a new Hawaiian cartel. His investigation reveals that Keahilani, the sexy surfing instructor he pegged as an informant, is much closer to the drug ring than he thought. Passion ignites between them in the bedroom, but their ironclad ties to opposing interests pit them against each other everywhere else.

When tensions reach the breaking point and her family is threatened, the only cure for Keahilani’s hot-blooded fury is a loaded clip with a body bag chaser.

* HOT-BLOODED is a suspense/thriller that contains drug use and graphic sex, language, and violence. The story is intended to entertain, not to condone or glorify illegal or immoral activities. This book is unsuitable for sensitive readers and those under the age of 18.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Kendall Grey is the self-appointed past, present, and future president of the Authors Behaving Badly Club. A whale warrior and indie freedom fighter, she spends summers in the corner (usually with a dunce cap on her head) and winters hunched at the peak of Mt. Trouble, fiery pens of fury (complete with invisible ink) flying across the pages. She has a big set of cajones, and she’s not afraid to use them. In her spare time, Kendall speaks your mind so you don’t have to.

Kendall lives off a dirt road near Atlanta, Georgia, but don’t hold that against her.

Experience her questionable antics at kendallgrey.com.

Review: The Girl

Apologies for being so late on this review. The week has been much less than kind, but that’s no excuse. Onward to the review.

Genre: Urban Fantasy with romance elements
Rating: Yay

When we got the email request to review this book, I jumped on the chance. Not because I loved the writing itself, but because I loved the dialogue that was in the sample. And the story sounded interesting. And thankfully, I was not wrong.

Blaylock’s dialogue is realistic and used in a good way to show and strengthen (or crush) relationships. The story revolves around a cast of characters, all of whom are influenced by the Sanctum in one way or another. Wyatt and Ryker, best friends and Sanctum elite are believable as best friends who have that bond of brotherhood. I think theirs is my favorite relationship, though admittedly my favorite character might be the southern vampire Darby, who is just full of win. She’s snarky and sarcastic and Blanche Devereaux as a vampire and I love her.

*Ahem*

The worldbuilding in this is really solid, too. She does well planting this Sanctum world inside our own while adding her own spin to everything, which plants New York, just for example, in a new light. Creatures like vampires and trolls are walking around freely, shielded by glamours.

One of the few drawbacks to this book is in the writing itself. Mostly, there are overused descriptors (such as Darby’s cold hands), and everyone is unspeakably beautiful. And we’re told that frequently. Sometimes it’s not that noticeable. Sometimes it was just irritating enough to almost throw me out of the narrative. Still, the story was interesting and kept my attention despite the shortcomings in the writing department.

All in all, The Girl is a pretty entertaining story that is worth a read.

The Girl is available at:

Amazon

This Week’s Read: The Girl – Madhuri Blaylock

unnamedThe Sanctum, an all-powerful governing body founded by ten families, entrusted to maintain the peace amongst Magicals and ensure the ignorance of humans, has been corrupted by greed and savagery for generations, but is all Wyatt Clayworth has ever known.
A descendant of one of the Founding Families and Class A Warrior, Wyatt has always believed in the ways of The Sanctum, having grown up in the system and thrived under their leadership. A golden boy, renowned for his prowess and skill in battle, Wyatt has never questioned a mission or kill order until the night he crosses paths with a brutally injured and mysterious girl.

Scouring Central Park with his best friend and fellow Class A Warrior, Ryker Morrison, for the hybrid demon prophesied to bring an end to The Sanctum and destroy the world for Magicals and humans alike, Wyatt instead finds Dev and his whole life turns upside down. Told he was hunting a killing machine, hellbent on wreaking havoc and destruction upon all it encounters, Wyatt instead sees nothing more than a broken girl with haunted eyes and a bit of a death wish.

All Dev wants is for Wyatt to either kill her or leave her alone. When he refuses to do either, she finds herself being pulled into his life while being hunted by warriors everywhere she turns. Drawn to one another for reasons they cannot begin to explain to themselves, much less anyone else, Wyatt is determined to protect Dev and help her realize her mission to avenge the deaths of her family at the hands of The Sanctum.

Set against the backdrop of New York City, THE GIRL is “outstanding, original, complex, deep and intoxicating”, a “well written, unique…fast-paced read” that  begins as one girl’s simple quest for revenge and evolves into a complicated tale of trust, friendship, honor and love.

Buy links:

http://www.amazon.com/Book-One-The-Girl-Sanctum-ebook/dp/B00GLGOP2G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1400819024&sr=8-1&keywords=madhuri+blaylock

About the Author:

IMG_1576Madhuri is a Jersey City Heights girl via Snellville, Georgia, who writes paranormal fiction and is slightly infatuated with tattoos, four-inch heels, ice cream, Matt Damon, scotch, Doc Martens, Laini Taylor, photo booths and dancing like a fool.

She’s currently working on The Sanctum trilogy and hopes one day soon, everyone is walking around with a copy of The Girl in their pocket or on their Kindle.

She wants to get a goat and a burro, but since she lives in the city, will settle for some chickens.

To learn more about her, you can follow her blog at madhuriblaylock.wordpress.com, follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MadhuriBlaylock or like her on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/thesanctumtrilogy

She’s totally chatty so drop her a line any time.

Tell Me the Secret – Donna Cummings

IDoD_med When I first started writing, many years ago, I tried to discover THE SECRET to writing. I was sure there was one thing I didn’t know that everyone else knew, and once I found that out, I could write the way I wanted to. Naturally, I was convinced this one secret thing was contained in a book.

So I spent most of my time finding/buying/devouring books about writing. They were both liberating and frustrating. I would get inspired by all the ideas, but perturbed that it wasn’t getting me to sit down and write. (Yes, I know — that last phrase contains the actual secret. But it took me a while to embrace the obvious.)

Nowadays when I’m looking for inspiration, I can usually find it in blogs, or tweets, or what-have-you in the vast repository of ideas known as the internet. But recently I stumbled across something that made me say, “Huh, I didn’t know I had that.”

It’s called The Pocket Muse: Endless Inspiration, by Monica Wood, and it contains a variety of writing prompts, and intriguing pictures designed to inspire the muse, as well as some advice and personal writing experiences from the author.

There was one essay titled “Memo From the Department of Just Showing Up”, which is really a variation of THE SECRET (sit down and write). However, it included a phrase that really resonated with me:  “If you keep your hat in the ring, sooner or later somebody’s going to need a hat.”

And I realized that’s the essence of what I love about the indie publishing life. Not only is somebody going to need a hat. It’s very likely they’re going to need the kind of hat that *I* produce.

In the past, writers expended a lot of time and energy trying to discover which hat styles were all the rage, in the hopes they could fill the needs of a powerful consortium of buyers who had rather vague manufacturing specs.

But what we ended up doing was trying to convince people who love fedoras to fall in love with a frilly fascinator. When they didn’t, it was too easy to assume there was something wrong with the hats we’d made. So we’d remove the netting and feathers and squoosh it into a more practical form of headgear, all in an attempt to woo the fedora-loving crowd.

Talk about completely wrong-headed thinking.

The beauty of the indie publishing world is that there is room — as well as avid consumers — for all kinds of hats. Ball caps, knit hats, berets. Even crocheted beer can ones. Heck, we can go mad-hatter-crazy and fashion a never-seen-before chapeau if we want.

All because of another wonderful secret:

People out there will believe you made that particular hat just for them.

And they’re going to love you for it.

 

 

Author Bio:

I have worked as an attorney, winery tasting room manager, and retail business owner, but nothing beats the thrill of writing humorously-ever-after romances.

I reside in New England, although I fantasize about spending the rest of my days in a tropical locale, wearing flip flops year-round, or in Regency London, scandalizing the ton.

I can usually be found on Twitter, talking about writing and coffee, and on Facebook, talking about coffee and writing.
Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.AllAboutTheWriting.com

Blog: http://www.allaboutthewriting.com/donna_j_cummings/blog_index.html

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Donna.Cummings.Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookEmDonna

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5349107.Donna_Cummings

 

Buy links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Amazon AU | Amazon CA

 

 

 

Review: Sorrows by Donna Fernstrom

Genre: Urban fiction

Rating: Yay

When Jayson Wallace is turned against his will, he’s taken in by a group of people, humans and vampires, known as a Law Enforcement Circle, where he somewhat learns the ins and outs of vampirism. Jay needs to testify in a trial against his sire, Malachi, who’s basically committed every crime known to man.

Throughout the novel, which covers probably a few weeks of time at the most, Jay is incredibly unsure of himself. Prone to depressive fits and often questions himself. Admittedly, it’s sometimes difficult to like Jay, but for his faults, the characters around him tend to make up for it.

My favorite was the rael-shaa character, Ryan. Rael-shaas are a kind of shape-shifter that can shift from human to wolf, and they often work with the Law Enforcement Circles. Ryan is adorable. He’s bouncy and kind and becomes Jay’s best friend, so we get to see him often.

The story itself is a good story. There’s great worldbuilding elements, including quantum realities (think alternate realities), and travel through those realities. At one point, one of the characters, Nick, takes Jay to a different quantum reality where no humans ever existed. The ideas are pretty neat.

Jay’s self-pity and depressive episodes do tend to drag down the pacing a bit, but overall the story is good, cohesive, and peppered with fun characters.

 

Sorrows is available at the following:

Buy on Lulu (hardcover): http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-fernstrom/sorrows/hardcover/product-21150229.html

Buy on Lulu (pdf): http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-fernstrom/sorrows-pdf/ebook/product-21156643.html

 

 

This Week’s Read – Sorrows by Donna Fernstrom

fixedfrontcoverSorrowsKindleWrenched from his ordinary life by a violent madman and turned into a vampire against his will, Jayson Wallace must learn to adapt to a world he never knew existed; a world full of magic and wonder, where vampires, donors, and shapeshifting rael-shaa travel between quantum realities. It’s a dream come true… but not his dream. His sleep is haunted by blood and fear, and a terrifying voice that he cannot shake from his memory. The Circle who rescued him do their best to help, but a terrible betrayal sets off a cascade of events that give them problems of their own to deal with.

Despite a growing relationship with a beautiful young donor, and a strong friendship with a lupine shapeshifter, Jay finds it difficult to accept the contrast between the idyllic reality before him, and the brutal torture he endured. To make matters worse, somewhere, out there, the monster who changed him still runs free…

 

Buy on Lulu (hardcover): http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-fernstrom/sorrows/hardcover/product-21150229.html

Buy on Lulu (pdf): http://www.lulu.com/shop/donna-fernstrom/sorrows-pdf/ebook/product-21156643.html

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