A read off the beaten path: UNFOXING DESTINY ~ arcane occult teaching about the energy force which propels life

Title: Outfoxing Destiny
Author: Valiant Thor
Pages: 128
Genre: Non-Fiction, Ancient and Controversial Knowledge
Published by:  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published Date: December 5, 2018
ISBN-10: 1729746500
ISBN-13: 978-1729746509

Narrated by: Valerie Gilbert
Length: 2 hours, 53 minutes
Release Date: January 10, 2019
Published by: New Saucerian Press

Publisher’s Summary:

“Vril” is another name for the life energy of the human body, known in other cultures as “mana,” “prana,” “chi,” “kwa,” and “animal magnetism.” Most ancient cultures were aware of this important force, and worked to make use of it. Vril is not just a physical force, however; it is also a mental and psychic “power.”

Today, many of us in the modern world go through life completely oblivious to this hidden energy. Although it cannot be seen, this energy allows us to grow, metabolize, and flourish. Many important functions of the body, such as digestion, nourishment, and elimination are governed by Vril, and it can be stored and used constructively by those who know its secrets.


My Review:

I didn’t know what to expect in this listen.  It is fascinating how life energy is used in the universe.  The author suggests listening to the audio three times to absorb the information to later ponder.  The narrator, Valerie Gilbert, does a terrific job in helping the reader understand from the first read.  The second read had me honing in on instances how Vril is used in the body’s inner workings. By the third listen I enjoyed practicing implementing some of the uses of Vril, such as proper breathing, bringing Vril into the body through the air and directing it to parts of the body to rejuvenate, hence the title of the book becomes apparent.

I am a person who is aware of how important eating live food is to the body to keep it healthy, drinking clean, pure water, and breathing unpolluted air.  Now I understand why.    However, I didn’t realize that all around us this life energy flows, and we can, through our minds, direct its mighty force.

If you are a person who loves to learn (sections are divided into lessons rather than chapters), seeking out new, or in this case, recognizing ancient wisdom, give this author a read.  This is off the beaten path, but a subject which should interest many curious souls.

Posted in Audiobook, Audiobook Reviews, New Book Release, Self-Help, Valerie gilbert | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Audiobook Blog Tour ~ A series full of suspense — the perfect thriller! Meet Book 7 of the Detective Kay Hunter Series. Truly heart-gripping stuff!

Author: Rachel Amphlett

Narrator: Alison Campbell

Length: 6 hours 39 minutes

Series: Detective Kay Hunter, Book 7

Publisher: Saxon Publishing

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Released: Feb. 8, 2019

When a mummified body is found in a renovated building, the gruesome discovery leads Detective Kay Hunter and her team into a complex murder investigation.

The subsequent police inquiry exposes corruption, lies and organised crime within the tight-knit community – and Kay’s determination to seek justice for the young murder victim could ruin the reputations of men who will do anything to protect their business interests.

But as Kay closes in on the killer, tragedy strikes closer to home in an event that will send a shockwave through her personal life and make her question everything she values.

Can Kay keep her private and professional life under control while she tries to unravel one of the strangest murder cases of her career?

Buy Links

Buy on RachelAmphlett.com

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.


 The tour is being sponsored by Rachel Amphlett. 


3 Winners: Free copy of Bridge to Burn Audiobook from Authors Direct

Bridge To Burn Giveaway: Three Winners!

Feb. 19th:


Booktalk with Eileen

The Book Junkie Reads . . .

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Dab of Darkness Book Reviews

T’s Stuff

Jorie Loves A Story

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What Emma Read Next

The Bookworm Lodge

What Is That Book About

Hall Ways Blog

Feb. 22nd:

Bound 4 Escape

2 Girls and A Book

Nerdy Dirty and Flirty

Feb. 23rd:

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Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews

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Jazzy Book Reviews

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Posted in Audiobook, Audiobook Reviews, Book Giveaway, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Internationally Best-Selling Author Diana Cosby Discusses the Craft of Dialogue Providing Examples From Her Own Writing

Many of you know I am on my own journey of learning how to write a good novel.  Through the years, I’ve read some wonderful stories and then some not.  When a story just can’t be put down, I want to understand why.  What makes a great read?  Deciding to begin my study with dialogue, I have found learning about it fascinating.  Now when I read dialogue I understand just what it can add to the arsenal of tools a writer uses.

One component of writing a fictional book is dialogue.  Dialogue can make or break a reader’s interest.  It must add something to moving the story forward and without dialogue a story can be flat.  But what is really exciting about dialogue is there is so much a writer can put into dialogue. I’ve asked Diana Cosby to drop by today to talk about a few ways she uses dialogue. I appreciate her time and crafting skill.  Take it away, Diana!


Diana Cosby picCrafting a story is a fun challenge, one I think of like cooking.  You flavor the story with dialogue, internal, description and more.  Too much of one could ‘ruin’ the stew.  Like becoming a chef, an author must learn the effects of their writing tools and use each for the most impact.

Q:  How are character and dialogue intertwined?

A:  When writing, dialogue arises from how the character is feeling at that story moment and how they are affected by story events.


Q:  Do your characters swear?

A:  Yes, my characters swear.  The curse words are derived from medieval times:  Gods teeth, A swords wrath, Mary’s will, etc…

Q:  How difficult is it to write dialogue from ages past?

A:  For me, writing historical dialogue feels natural, no doubt due to my years of reading historical romance along with research.

Q:  How do you keep your dialogue from feeling stilted or contrived?

A:  To keep dialogue feeling natural, in addition to allowing it to arise from how the character is affected by story events, I read it out loud, which reveals where dialogue might need tightening to sound realistic to the reader.

Q:  What do you think about speech tags?

A:  Dialogue tags are necessary for clarity of who is speaking.  If it’s clear to the reader who is talking, or if you can use a character action to identify who is speaking, dialogue tags are unnecessary.

Example of dialogue with tag:  “This is important,” James said.

Example with action without tag:  James shoved the chair away.  “This is important.”

*In the example without a tag, in addition to the action identifying who is speaking, it establishes James is upset, which is further supported by the dialogue.


Forbidden Legacy (The Forbidden Series Book 1) by [Cosby, Diana]To show how I use dialogue, I’m sharing a scene from Forbidden Legacy, book #1 in The Forbidden Series.  At this point in the story, earlier in the day Katherine, our heroine, has agreed to the king’s condition and has wed a man she’s never met, Stephan, our hero, to reclaim her home.

 “You are trembling.  Why?”

I use a line of dialogue without a dialogue tag and due to the prior discussion, it’s clear to the reader who is speaking.  The dialogue is only three words as my hero is a man of war.  He doesn’t offer flowery words, but confronts issues head-on.

Furious he’d witnessed her weakness, she forced the images away, turned.  Unnerved by the intensity of her husband’s gaze, his sheer physical size, she stepped back.


Here, I place the reader in the heroine’s internal mode to allow them to see her upset along with building tension.

“You have naught to fear from me.”

Pulse racing, she took in the muscles carving his every inch.  Arms trained to wield a blade with deadly efficiency, or hold her until she bent to his will regardless of her pleas.  “Why should I believe you?” she asked, damning the inevitability of the next few hours, but determined to hold her own.  If he believed her weak, he would soon learn otherwise.  Though forced to wed, she was a noble in her own right.


Here, I again add internal dialogue to ratchet up tension, but this time I insert her dialogue.  I kept it short as she is a strong woman, and as like the hero, confronts issues head-on, which will provide wonderful sparks between them during the story.

“Because,” he said softly, “I give you my word as a knight that I will never harm you.”

“And that is supposed to reassure me?” she asked, her voice unsteady.

Hazel eyes narrowed.  “I dinna lie.”

Katherine angled her chin, refusing to show fear.  “And, I dinna wish this union.”

Short dialogue is like intense bullets in writing.  It quickens the pace, and ups the tension.  As well, there’s something authors use called white space.  You’ll note that the more white space on a page in a novel, the faster the read.  The more words that fill a page, the slower the pace.


A wry smile flickered across his mouth.  “A point we both share.”  The smile fell away.  “Regardless of your or my opposition to our marriage, ’tis done.”

Confused, she paused.  “If you didna request this match, why would Robert Bruce mandate such?”

I placed the order of this sentence above in the natural progression in how we react, which is by feeling, action, then speech.



A chill swept her.  She rubbed her arms, each moment looming with the unspoken threat of their impending intimacy.  A personal relationship Katherine doubted she would ever welcome.

If she’d met Stephan in a less threatening venue, she would have been intrigued by his eyes that held secrets, the hard cut of his jaw framed with the shadow of a beard, and a stance of a man confident in his abilities.  Mayhap over time they could have become friends.  Except, naught was comforting about this moment, one where as her husband, he held the right to do as he wished.

Including take her to his bed.

A marriage where she was stripped of all of her rights, including her father’s promise she could marry the man of her choice.  “You willna tell me the reason our sovereign bade we marry?”

Above, to give the greatest impact to the next dialogue, I added more internal dialogue to allow the reader to learn more about the heroine, to become empathetic to her struggles, and to understand the stakes, and her fear.  I also put the line, “Including take her to his bed.” on its own for impact.


A muscle worked in his jaw.  “The reason for this match is our kings to share.”

I used the action before the dialogue to cue the reader that the hero is irritated vs. telling the reader with a dialogue tag.  Example: “The reason for this match is our kings to share,” he said, irritation thick in his voice.


Below, to finish out this portion of the scene, I continue to add touches of internal and action, but keep my dialogue confrontational to keep up the pace and tension:

“Is it?” she said, furious at this turn of events.  “Being granted a formidable stronghold along with the title of earl seems an unusual boon for a knight supporting his king.”

His nostrils flared as he towered over her, his reaction that of a man unused to being questioned.  “I dinna expect you to understand the workings of a monarch, nor the challenges ahead to reunite Scotland.”

Anger tore through her.  “How dare you accuse me of ignorance when you know naught of me!”

“Then we are even, are we nae?”

The pompous ass!  She glared at him.  “I have managed Avalon Castle for the last several years.  I am skilled with a sword, in the arts of healing, and have a thorough understanding of strategies in battle.”

“Mayhap,” he said, “but weapon’s practice or discussions of tactics with nay threat of personal harm are poor teachers to the reality of war.”

A fact she couldna debate.

Fatigue flickered in his gaze.  “Lady Katherine, neither of us wishes this marriage, but ‘tis done.  For Scotland’s freedom, ‘tis imperative to retake Avalon Castle, a feat I will achieve.”



Note:  The last word and its impact:  You help create calm, suspense, drama, intrigue and so on by the last word you choose in each sentence.  The last read word is the most remembered, so as you choose your last word ask yourself, what emotion am I trying to create, then choose a word that supports that emotion.Forbidden Legacy (The Forbidden Series Book 1) by [Cosby, Diana]

Before:  She wanted nay part of this marriage, the promise of their cold, empty life ahead, or Sir Stephan.

After:  She wanted nay part of this marriage, Sir Stephan, or the promise of their cold, empty life ahead. (End with the harder ‘d for a more intense feeling.)


His Captive (MacGruder Brothers Book 1) by [Cosby, Diana]


Any remnants of warmth faded in his expression.


Any remnants of warmth in his expression faded.




I hope you’ve found my comments about dialogue helpful and if you should have any questions for me please comment below and I will gladly answer.


The Oath Trilogy The Oath Trilogy (3 Book Series)




MacGruder Brother SeriesMacGruder Brothers (6 Book Series)

The Forbidden Series (4 Book Series)

Forbidden Series
Forbidden Legacy
Forbidden Knight
Forbidden Vow
Forbidden Alliance‒Aug. 6th 2019 available pre-order
Forbidden Realm TBA


Diana Cosby picA retired Navy Chief, Diana Cosby is an international bestselling author of Scottish medieval romantic suspense. Books in her award-winning MacGruder Brothers series have been translated in five languages. Diana has spoken at the Library of Congress, Lady Jane’s Salon in NYC, and appeared in Woman’s Day, on USA Today’s romance blog, “Happy Ever After,” MSN.com, Atlantic County Women Magazine, and Texoma Living Magazine.
After her career in the Navy, Diana dove into her passion – writing romance novels. With 34 moves behind her, she was anxious to create characters who reflected the amazing cultures and people she’s met throughout the world. After the release of the bestselling MacGruder Brothers series, The Oath Trilogy, and the first three books of The Forbidden Series, she’s now working on book #4, Forbidden Alliance, of the five-book series, which will be released August 6th, 2019.
Diana looks forward to the years of writing ahead and meeting the amazing people who will share this journey.   http://www.dianacosby.com

Posted in Diana Cosby, Interviewing authors, Novel Development, On Becoming a Writer | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Review: Just out ~ BY THE UNHOLY HAND! Book one of a new series from Kathryn Le Veque. This is not the usual read from Le Veque. It’s darker. More ruthless…


Title: By the Unholy Hand    Execution Knights, Book 1
Author: Kathryn Le Veque
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval
Pages: 334
Published by: Kathryn Le Veque Novels, Inc., 2 edition
Published Date: January 24, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

 Publisher’s Summary:

Spies. Killers. Gentleman knights. Medieval England is about to face the Unholy Trinity.

You read about them in ‘Lord of Winter’. Now discover Book One in 2019’s exciting new Medieval series!

1200 A.D. – In the time following the death of Richard the Lionheart and the ascension of his brother, John, to the throne of England, a plot against the new king is hatched from an unexpected place – deep within the bowels of The Lateran Palace in Rome. It is rumored that the Pope himself is behind it. It is a plot so dark, and so dastardly, that William Marshal needs men who specialize in dark and dirty games in order to save a king they all hate, yet a king that England desperately needs.

The Marshal needs the men known as The Unholy Trinity -the Executioner Knights.

Sir Maxton of Loxbeare is the leader of this unholy band of cutthroats. A big man with dark hair and dark eyes, Maxton fostered in the finest houses, but there is something unsettling about him. He is a man who easily kills without remorse, and he never questions an order, no matter how unsavory it is. William Marshall tasks Maxton and his comrades with seeking out the papal assassins, and the duty soon becomes a high-stakes game of chess, with checkmate being the life of the King of England.

Enter Lady Andressa du Bose. A great heiress who was cheated out of her inheritance by a conniving aunt, Andressa has spent unhappy and bitter years serving in the convent she was essentially sold to. A chance meeting with Maxton introduces Andressa to a world she wants to be part of, and a man she is greatly attracted to, but in that meeting, she has unknowingly given Maxton a lead on something he very much wants – a clue to who the assassins really are. All signs point to papal operatives. Maxton has a job to do and he’ll use anyone he can to complete it, including the lovely pledge who is increasingly on his mind… and in his heart.

Join Maxton and Andressa in a deadly game of cat and mouse, where all is not what it seems, and even those most devout can sometimes hold a terrible secret. It soon becomes clear that Maxton must make a choice… give in to his feelings for Andressa, or save a king, and with that, England’s sovereignty.

It’s a showdown of good against evil, and the power of love against a knight’s sense of duty, in this larger-than-life Medieval Romance.

Note: Read Lord of Winter by Kathryn Le Veque as a prequel to this series!


Review:  The story is set in dark tones, much like the evil that is perpetrated against King John by the Pope of Rome.  What makes it unfathomable, is not the Pope with his hatred against the King who seeks to change the political scape, but the means by which it will be done.  That my good reader, is what will eat at your craw, will repulse you, sicken you and fascinate you.

The Lateran Palace in Rome housed three Knights in lavish style after they returned from the Crusades.  These men were renowned killers.  They didn’t question the means of execution—very Machiavellian in their views. 

When the Pope commanded them to kill their own king of England for his own political agenda, they refused. From lavish treatment to imprisonment, until someone as powerful as the Pope needed their services.

Sir Maxton, the leader of the trio, somewhere between the dungeon and his new job for William Marshal had changed. Those closest to him see it.  Can a man who has killed for years without remorse change?

A hapless, yet a beautiful and kind woman, Andressa, resides within the walls of St. Blitha.  She comes from wealthy titled parents, both have died leaving her to a guardian aunt who has little scruples in ridding her, simply by housing her in St. Blitha, the local convent.  The Mother Abbess has little scruples using the money received monthly for Andressa’s expense to further her own comfort. The nuns are forced to leave the nunnery and steal food.  Only those ‘special assistants’ of Mother Abbess have privileges.

But reader there is more, much more divulged as the story unfolds. 

Sir Maxton comes upon Andressa while she is out stealing for food.  There is some attraction, but he is above all curious as to why a nun is stealing food.  Most events in life aren’t a coincidence as serendipity surely abounds. You will be riveted to this compelling story, much like rubbernecking in traffic when there is a gruesome accident.  You won’t, no you can’t turn away.


Posted in Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, New Book Release | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Audiobook Review: TEMPEST by Cynthia Wright and narrated by Emily Beresford

Title: Tempest Rakes and Rebels, Book 7
Author: Cynthia Wright
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 420
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Published by: Boxwood Manor Books
Published Date: December 27, 2013

Narrated by: Emily Beresford
Length: 12 hours, 23 minutes
Release Date: February 24, 2014
Published by: Cynthia Wright

1781 – Silver Storm
1783 – Caroline
1789 – Touch the Sun
1793 – Spring Fires (A Beauvisage/Raveneau Novel)
1798 – Smuggler’s Moon (The Raveneaus in Cornwall, Book 1)
1814 – Surrender the Stars
1814 – Natalya
1818 – Silver Sea (A Raveneau/Beauvisage Novel)
1903 – Tempest


Publisher’s Summary:

An all new full-length Raveneau Novel.

“Cynthia Wright is a gem among writers!” (Literary Times)

A marriage of convenience in the Gilded Age….

Newport heiress Catherine Beasley Parrish has been groomed all her life to marry an English duke. However, when she meets Adam Raveneau, the latest in a long line of Raveneau rakes and a newly created viscount, Cathy awakens to a destiny worth fighting for.

Although Raveneau insists that he is not marriage material, he is in desperate need of funds to restore Tempest Hall, his crumbling family estate on Barbados. And when Cathy begs him to save her from the toad-like duke her mother intends her to marry, Adam realizes that they may be able help each other.

Following a passionate honeymoon voyage on the high seas, Cathy and Adam arrive at their island home to find legends of pirate treasure and face the realities of their complicated marriage of convenience.

Can two people who wed for all the wrong reasons discover that a lasting love is the greatest treasure of all?

©2012 Cynthia Challed (P)2014 Cynthia Challed


My Review:  The situation of this quite humorous story tickles my funny-bone.  The characters are of various personalities, most deeply flawed adding to the spirit of the story. Enjoy the falsity of the rich in Rhode Island, sail to Barbados, an island you will feel, taste and smell. The contrast is striking.

The Parrish’s live in Rhode Island, a very American family, and are tremendously rich, thanks to Mr. Parrish’s cleverness in trade.  So, what’s the problem?  Catherine’s mother, Hermoine, needs her daughter to marry a titled gentleman, priming her daughter for such a moment since birth.

I feel a bit sorry for Catherine Parrish.  I suppose more than just a bit.  She is such a good-natured young lady and has tried to keep her mother happy through the years.  She is a free spirit with kindness and a passion for living.

However, Hermoine is prickly, snippy– a character author Wright portrays superbly.  Along with narrator Emily Beresford’s pacing and tone in the dialogue, this woman jumps off the page as someone you would never like to cross!  We see how this affects her relationship with her daughter and her husband, let alone Adam Raveneau once he meets her.  She coerces, prods, etc. a duke who is basically penniless.

This duke, among other wealthy and titled guests, is invited to a huge ball thrown by the Parrish’s.  No expense is too great.  She will get her daughter betrothed. This is the moment Hermoine has been waiting for.

Bryon, Adam’s friend, happened to snag an invitation.  Bryon dragged him to the ball, a ball where all were in costume, 18th century.  Bryon was prettily and appropriately dressed, but Adam, being the renegade, he comes as a pirate.  Catherine is transfixed!

Byron works behind the scenes to get Adam to do something about his circumstances.  He has an old mansion on the island of Barbados which is falling apart and he also is without money. Adam is titled, however, but if you were to ask him, he’d belittle the title and even his character.  I LOVED HIM!

Adam comes to her rescue, but Cathy is no shrinking violet. She is forced to go against her mother’s wishes by a very bold plan! Adam really can’t say how he decided to be her knight in shining armor.

I came to love Cathy’s forthright, positive nature. She is an innocent and strictly schooled about men from her mother. Men are just a means to an end. Cathy shows us how much this affects her actions and reactions.

Just one more remark about Emily Beresford. I have listened to her work before. Her dialogue is easy to follow. In this story she has dialogue for a child, barks like a dog, is a harpy of a woman, dons the tone of the titled with their ennui, contrasting with Cathy’s family American dialect, and makes the Barbados island real with the dialect of its people at Tempest. She captures all the author wants and takes you sailing!

The book is wonderful. The whole series will capture your heart. If you love this historical time with stories set in new America and its colonialist mother, England, you have found yourself a new author!

Posted in Action/Adventure, Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Audiobook Reviews, Book Reviews, Historical Romance, Romance | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ever wonder just how a read is a great read? See what I’ve planned for next month.

I’m so excited to start another aspect of my blog—learning how to write a novel.  I’m doing it to help me and to help those who are interested in becoming good writers. It may also make reading more interesting because to understand how much effort is put into good writing, you’ll be able to hone in on those writers who just simply have it together.

This year I wanted to spend more time on my development as a good writer and fewer book reviews.  However, to be a good writer, you must be a very good reader.  I’ve nailed the part about reader!

Ever since 2012 when I returned to the United States after eight years of living in Lebanon, I wanted to write.  The word blog and what it did was new to me. I took up the challenge. I’ve loved the experience and hope you have enjoyed following me.

We all know how good dialogue sets off a story, in any genre.  It simply propels the story forward, making the reader eager to hear what the characters have to say. This is not the only purpose, and should not be.  If it is, the writer is missing a great opportunity in bringing narration of the story into dialogue. To actually know what the writer is trying to do with dialogue is fascinating. It is part of my journey to learn.

10569In reading a delightful book from author Stephen King titled A Memoir of the Craft, On Writing, he says there are three aspects of good writing essential to learn—one is narration.  I intend to reread his book and do a review.  He is in-your-face funny and spot-on!  Dialogue, he says, must sound real, authentic.  But it shouldn’t mirror the dialogue we engage in.  There is so much said, unimportant, and would only drag a story to a literal stop.  Readers don’t have time for nonsensical chatter in dialogue.  Be on the lookout for my review, including some of his gems of wisdom.

I’m presently reading Crafting Dynamic Dialogue: The 26384466Complete Guide to Speaking Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction.  It is packed with good information and examples of what they are talking about.  It’s part of the Writer’s Digest collection.  I’m sure to read it several times to absorb what is said.  I have started looking at dialogue with a keener eye, asking myself the characteristics of the dialogue being played out.

Dialogue is used to communicate.  But to communicate what?

I’ve invited a couple of my favorite authors to be guests to my blog to discuss dialogue.  Both write delightful—Diana Cosby and Elizabeth Rose.  Each will bring their own personality and what they wish to convey in dialogue.  I can’t wait to hear what they have to say!  Stay tuned! You may want to peruse their work on Goodreads.com.

Diana Cosby

Elizabeth Rose









Posted in Diana Cosby, Elizabeth Rose, Novel Development, On Becoming a Writer | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Blog Tour: Discover J.R. Ward’s The Black Dagger Brotherhood series with this new release (January 7) PRISONER OF NIGHT Book 16.5


The Black Dagger Brotherhood series
by J. R. Ward
On Sale: January 7, 2019
Gallery Books | E-book Original
E-ISBN: 9781501195174 | $5.99

(My review follows book excerpt)

Publisher’s Summary:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author J.R. Ward comes an unforgettable story of passion and vengeance in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world.                                                                           

When Ahmare’s brother is abducted, there is nothing she won’t do to get him back safely. She is unprepared, however, for the lengths she will have to go to save his life. Paired with a dangerous but enticing prisoner, she embarks on an odyssey into another world.
Duran, betrayed by his father, imprisoned in a dungeon for decades, has survived only because of his thirst for vengeance. He has been biding his time to escape and is shocked to find an unlikely and temporary freedom in the form of a determined young female.

Battling against deadly forces and facing unforeseen peril, the pair are in a race to save Ahmare’s brother. As time runs out, and the unthinkable looms, even true love may not be enough to carry them through.


About the Author:

J.R. WardJ.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

Purchase Link: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Prisoner-of-Night/J-R-Ward/The-Black-Dagger-Brotherhood-series/9781501195174



Twenty-One Years, Three Months, Six Days Ago . .

“Where is it! Goddamn you, where’s it at!”

Duran spit blood out of his mouth and spoke over the ringing in his ears. “I’ll never tell you—”

Chalen the Conqueror swung his open palm again, nailing Duran’s lacerated face like a bat hitting a fastball. But it didn’t hurt as much as the other shit they’d been doing to him in this castle’s great room. They’d already pulled out his fingernails, broken all of his toes, and whipped his back until strips of his own flesh flapped against his ribs. At the moment, he didn’t have the strength to keep himself on his feet, but no worries there—two guards, with grips locked under his pits, were holding him up off the floor.

As his head flopped back into its lolling hang, he shook it to get the sweat and blood out of his eyes. In the hissing, kicking light of the hearth, the male in front of him was stocky of build and ugly of feature, an oak stump with a bulldog’s muzzle and a hungry bear’s bad fucking attitude.

“You are going to tell me the location.” Chalen took Duran by the throat with one of his meat hands. “And you’re going to do it now.”

“Sorry, not . . . a big talker—”

The conqueror grabbed onto the lower half of Duran’s face, squeezing so hard his jaw split and the inside of his mouth was forced between the hard-and-sharp of his molars. More blood welled, spilled, fell on his bare chest.

“Why are you protecting the male who put you here?” Chalen’s opaque eyes searched Duran’s expression as if he were trying to extrapolate a map of Maryland in the features. “All you need to do is tell me where that facility is.”

Duran waited for that grip to release. When it did, he spit more blood out. “I’m not . . . protecting him.”

“Then what are you doing?”

“Making sure you don’t cheat me of what’s mine.” Duran smiled, aware he must look deranged. “You kill him . . . I don’t get to.”

Chalen crossed his strong-man arms over his barrel chest. He was dressed in weapons, whatever clothes he had on underneath the holsters of guns and knives largely hidden by metal. No daggers, though. He’d never been Black Dagger Brotherhood material and not just because he was a mutt according to his lineage: Even among black market thieves, there was a code of conduct.

Not for Chalen. He had no code. Not in the Old Country, and not during his last century here in the New World.

There was only one male who was worse.

“I will break you,” Chalen said in a low voice. “And I will enjoy it.”

Duran laughed in a wheeze. “You have no idea what I’ve already been through—”

Chalen swung that palm wide again, the crack so heavy Duran lost his vision, everything going checkerboard. And then there was a drop in blood pressure, his brain emptying of oxygen, floaty disassociation riding in, a foggy savior buffering the suffering.

The sound of chains moving and gears shifting brought him back to reality. A section of the sweaty stone wall rose by inches, the great weight ascending like a gate, revealing a corridor . . .

Revealing a male who was naked but for a black hood that covered his head.

“I will make you pray for death,” Chalen said. “And when you give me what I need, you will think back to this moment. When you could have saved yourself from so much.”

Duran exhaled in a gurgle. His body was on fire, the pain burning through his veins, turning him into a semi-living, kind-of-breathing, sort-of-conscious incubator for agony.

But fuck Chalen.

“Do what you will,” he mumbled. “I’m not going to give you a goddamn thing.”

“I will make you wish you were never born.”

As the hooded male came forward, Duran was dragged over and slammed face-first down onto a table, his torso bent parallel to the floor. Turning his face to the side, he smelled the spoiled meat and rancid fat embedded in the fibers of the planks.

“Already there, asshole.”


My Review:

A read that kept me riveted to my sofa, gripping my iPad in angst while swiping those pages!

I haven’t had the pleasure of reading this author.  She basically shook me with a story so realistic, a world of vampires (who knew they have similar problems as us poor humans), it was hard to find a stopping place to continue my own life outside of her deliciously well-built chaotic one.  What did I take away of the reading?

  1. Life is full of wrong decisions with terrible consequences;
  2. Life dishes out bad, not necessarily from our own actions;
  3. To survive it takes a bundle of courage, trust, bravery, forgiveness, and love.

Slam! Bam!  This author doesn’t pussy-foot around telling this story.  She goes directly to the grit, anguish, torture with pure evil having the upper-hand, coiling the reader’s stomach with her choice of words in her unique style of writing.  The dialog was superb–crude and in the reader’s face, setting the tone of all its gore.

Ahmare was pretty much a normal vampire until her parents were killed.  From that moment she learned to defend herself and to kill if need be.  Her younger brother got mixed up in drugs and things really started spiraling out of control until he was nabbed by Chalen, an old vampire who got-off torturing other vampires. Ahmare, with the love for her brother, the only family she has left, negotiates for his release, doing what Chalen asks of her.

As with most evil, one deed is never enough.  Chalen demanded more.  For her brother, she would do it with the weapon Chalen supplies.  A vampire, in captivity for 20 years, who knows where Chalen’s beloved is, but wouldn’t tell Chalen even under massive torture.  Can she trust this vampire?  Will he kill or hurt her?  Life gets worse before it gets better — love prevails. And what a journey!

I was thrilled to discover another author which pushes my buttons, gets my heart racing and has an underlying theme of wisdom in her story.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Fantasy Romance, New Book Release, New Book Release Tour, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Review: THE WINTER OF THE WITCH by Katherine Arden ~ seep yourself in the winter forests of medieval Russia in this fantasy triology ~ releases January 8, 2019



Title:  The Winter of the Witch  Winternight Trilogy Book 3
Author: Kathleen Arden
Genre: Literary Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 384
Published by: Del Rey
Published Date: January 8, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
ASIN: B077LT812J

 Winternight Trilogy:
The Bear and the Nightingale
The Girl in the Tower
The Winter of the Witch

The first two books are also reviewed on Booktalk with Eileen. Use the search box to locate them.


Publisher’s Summary:

Following their adventures in The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower, Vasya and Morozko return in this stunning conclusion to the bestselling Winternight Trilogy, battling enemies mortal and magical to save both Russias, the seen and the unseen.

“A tale both intimate and epic, featuring a heroine whose harrowing and wondrous journey culminates in an emotionally resonant finale.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Reviewers called Katherine Arden’s novels The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower “lyrical,” “emotionally stirring,” and “utterly bewitching.” The Winternight Trilogy introduced an unforgettable heroine, Vasilisa Petrovna, a girl determined to forge her own path in a world that would rather lock her away. Her gifts and her courage have drawn the attention of Morozko, the winter-king, but it is too soon to know if this connection will prove a blessing or a curse.

Now Moscow has been struck by disaster. Its people are searching for answers—and for someone to blame. Vasya finds herself alone, beset on all sides. The Grand Prince is in a rage, choosing allies that will lead him on a path to war and ruin. A wicked demon returns, stronger than ever and determined to spread chaos. Caught at the center of the conflict is Vasya, who finds the fate of two worlds resting on her shoulders. Her destiny uncertain, Vasya will uncover surprising truths about herself and her history as she desperately tries to save Russia, Morozko, and the magical world she treasures. But she may not be able to save them all.


My Review:  Having read and reviewed the first two book of this trilogy, I was well-primed to enjoy the events unfolding in this story set deep in the myths of Russia.  It was a time where old beliefs fade from people’s minds while new one are taking root.

Vasya Petrona is caught between the two beliefs.  She has special powers of perception; able to see and hear the demons who guard each dwelling, protect the ovens of their homes, dwell in the forest, the waterways, and even demons who take the dead.  This world is in an uproar.  The smaller demons are becoming weaker, also losing their powers.  They want to fight back.  People have turned their backs on them.  They were the ones to protect homes and dwellings.  While they were believed in, people were able to see them and provided for them as well.  They grew strong.  But no more.

The Winter King, the demon of death, has grown an attachment to Vasya. He protects her when those would call her witch. His twin, the Bear, works against him, using hate and lust of a ‘man of God’ to destroy Vasya.  The Bear wants to destroy Morozko and take over the world.  He insights hatred and war among men, gaining more power as he does.

Vasya is in the middle of this battle.  Will she be overtaken by Morozko or the Bear?  Is she clever enough and powerful enough to stop the down-spiraling demise of the mythical world? She knows that to have Russia a country of peace the worlds must work together.

The dialog among the demons and Vasya is very well done.  It shows clearly the stress of the events and the power behind each demon. It sets the tone of the story, along with author Arden’s description of the setting.  I find myself in Russia, in the Midnight Forest where there is never day.  All the events create a perfect fantasy of battles, evil, and love – the kind that endures.  You will be surprised by the events and completely happy with the ending. This tale is memorable.

Uniquely written with a style suited to the time, author Arden shows us the underbelly of the demon. I took away a theme, intentioned or not.  In every good person, there is evil, and in every bad person, there is good.

I recommend this series to dreamers of the unknown.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Dark Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, New Book Release | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: THE HIGHLAND RENEGADE by Amy Jarecki set to release January 8, 2019



Title:  The Highland Renegade  Lords of the Highlands Book 5
Author: Amy Jarecki
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 368
Published by: Forever
Published Date: January 8, 2019
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

 Lords of the Highlands series:
The Highland Duke
The Highland Commander
The Highland Guardian
The Highland Chieftain

Publisher’s Summary:

Fans of Hannah Howell and Diana Gabaldon will love this “flirtatious, sensuous…mesmerizing” (Publishers Weekly) Scottish historical romance from the bestselling author of The Highland Chieftain.

She is the daughter of his sworn enemy.

Famed for his fierceness, Laird Robert Grant is above all a loyal Highland clan chief. But when redcoats capture his rival’s daughter, he sets aside their feud and races to her rescue. Aye, Janet Cameron is beautiful, cunning, and so very tempting, but a Cameron lass is the last woman he should ever desire.

He is her one hope of happiness.

Janet refuses to meekly surrender, not even when surrounded by foes. She takes every chance to escape, first from the English soldiers and then from the wickedly handsome Robert. Yet with each day they spend together, his unexpected gallantry chips away at her reserve little by little. As danger and treachery loom, can she trust him enough to choose love over vengeance?


My Review:

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Laird Grant is in an untenable predicament. His clan has been fighting with the Cameron’s for so long it is hard to remember just how the debauchery of whose wife happened.  Equally, it is easy for Grant to accuse the Cameron’s of thieving his yearlings.  They’ve been thieving back and forth each other’s stock like an itch of a mosquito bite, where it is second nature to ‘scratch’.  This time it is extreme – 66 yearlings just gone.  Who could have done it if not the Cameron’s for it would take a large group to organize this?

When Grant is forced to protect the lovely Janet Cameron from the queen’s dragoon he does it because it’s the right thing to do—not for any other reason…maybe.

 Janet’s brother Kennan follows much as his father has in the feud.  It is what he learned as a child and as grown up he doesn’t believe they are trust worthy.  He shows his dislike to Grant, yet Grant again, shows he’s made of better stuff.  As a reader, I took Grant’s side, hands down. 

Bad goes further south when Lieutenant Cummins takes notice, one too many times, to Janet. This finds Janet and Grant both running to stay away from the English prison.  The pursuit is on, the journey is terrifying and edifying.

Janet’s mindset is shifting. She is starting to see Grant is more than the feuding enemy of her father. She sees a kind brother, fair laird who is loved by his people. Passion ends up sizzling underneath the surface.  Each know what they feel can’t go further, because feuding clans have no tolerance for each other.

Grant’s life is on the line and so is Janet’s.  Can there be a coming together of the clans to protect their own from the English? Will their own personal relationship win the day?  Can each clan support is new paradigm?

A note about Janet:  I loved this character.  She is everything I would like to be if I were in her place.  She’s strong-willed, even-tempered with a just and fair spirit, all wrapped in feisty temperament!

Author Jarecki has again created another tale in Lords of the Highlands which will entertain you with dangerous suspenseful scenes in one moment, emotional passionate scenes or tender moments in another.  Her character development and ARC is spot-on.  She is an author I can safely say you will enjoy.

Posted in Action/Adventure, Book Reviews, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, New Book Release | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Audiobook Review: UNENDING LOVE by Kathryn Le Veque ~ part of the de Lohr Dynasty

Totally worth listening to more than twice.  Great story in production!


Title: Unending Love de Lohr Dynasty
Author: Kathryn Le Veque
Genre: Historical Romance, Medieval
Pages: 293
Published by: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc., 3 edition
Published Date: May 7, 2014

Narrated by: Sean Patrick Hopkins
Length: 10 hours, 39 minutes
Release Date: April 14, 2014
Published by: Kathryn Le Veque Novels

Publisher’s Summary:

1234 A.D. – For as long as she can remember, the Lady Adalind de Aston has loved Sir Maddoc du Bois. Being sent away to foster did nothing to cure her of her unending love for Maddoc, a sentiment he did not return. Years later, Adalind returns from fostering as a cultured and beautiful woman. So beautiful, in fact, that tales of her beauty are legendary and a string of hopeful suitors follow her home. Maddoc, now faced with this exquisite and refined creature, is tasked, as the captain of the army, with chasing the suitors away.

One suitor after another is turned away by Maddoc’s blade. Some go easily; some do not. Meanwhile, Maddoc has come to know Adalind on an adult level and is coming to think he has been very stupid about rejecting this sweet and beautiful woman. In fact, the more suitors that come around, the more Maddoc finds himself succumbing to Adalind’s charms and soon joins the parade of suitors. Adalind is thrilled when the man comes to his senses and offers for her hand. Finally, what she has always dreamed of will soon be hers.

But a new suitor pledges for Adalind’s hand, a cunning and powerful knight who will not be deterred by Maddoc. Maddoc and the knight face off in several fights, each one more brutal than the next, until the knight finally challenges Maddoc to the ultimate battle to the death for Adalind’s hand. A brutal battle ensues and Adalind, in her attempt to help Maddoc, ends up nearly costing the man his life. As Maddoc lays wounded, presumably dying, the challenger knight abducts Adalind and flees.

Adalind’s grandfather is the great David de Lohr, Earl of Canterbury. With Maddoc lingering near death, David gathers some of his oldest and dearest friends to help rescue his granddaughter.

©2012 Kathryn Le Veque (P)2014 Kathryn Le Veque


My Review:

Adalind, the heroine, has loved a knight who works for her grandfather, David de Lodhr, since she was five.  She was so sure of it, she asked Maddoc to marry her then. Time changes much except this love she has for Maddoc.  Between fostering and away at court, she hadn’t seen Maddoc for six or seven years.  Her heart tells her the same as when young.  “The heart wants what the heart wants”.  She loves the man more than when he was a boy.  But a female just can’t throw herself on a man when it is obvious, he avoids any entanglement.  His job is to protect the keep and the family within. That’s it.

How many women would wish to have the beauty that Adalind had? Adalind was chased by every man at court, the women were jealous of her beauty and were mean and sometimes cruel to her. Hence, after three years she returns home.

She is with her family when Maddoc who now is captain of the guard for the keep sees her again. She no longer is the girl with the buck teeth, but an exquisite creature, so lovely, he had never seen a woman of such beauty. Worst part – he doesn’t even know how to flirt. With her flirtation, his heart is utterly caught.  She is his to protect—she is his, period.

Adalind has not only beauty from the outside, but she is also sweet, vivacious and unpretentious.  Her woes at court follow her home. Men come knocking at her door, insisting she accepts their suit.  Men battle for her.  It seems rather crazy to see how men grovel at her feet, at first, I was amused by the situation.  But it later became irritating and then just dangerous.  By that time, I had stepped into Adalind’s shoes and found myself escaping across the highlands for safety.

I love the way narrator Sean Patrick Hopkins portrays each of Adalind’s suitors, some are rather simple-minded and obtuse (I found myself feeling sorry for them), others were cunning using position and power in the clans to get what they want, still another will appall you what he would do to get her hand.  Hopkins makes the characters pop from the page.

Le Veque’s writing and Hopkin’s narration make for an exciting read with action-packed, emotional scenes, where men will kill and go to battle over the hand of a woman. Surprises await you. I listened to the book twice and it is absolutely superb. 


Posted in Action/Adventure, Audiobook, Audiobook Review, Highland Romance, Highland Stories, Historical Romance, Medieval Romance, Romance, Suspense | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments