Tag: Books

Book Review – The Winter Sisters: A Novel, by Tim Westover

Right before Halloween, I picked a book up from Netgalley which I had hoped to have reviewed BY Halloween. Needless to say, that didn't happen. But I did finally finish The Winter Sisters: A Novel, by Tim Westover, and get it reviewed.

I was so excited about this novel, because as a weird southerner AND appreciator of superstition, folklore, herbalism, the supernatural, and history, it makes my heart happy to find books which appeal to many of my whims all at once.

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Book Review – Compelled By Fate, by Christa Paige

Edit: This post was originally published at The ReInVintaged Life, along with a sweet comment from author Christa: “I am so thrilled you enjoyed Vastian and Thalia’s love story. Thank you for reading it and sharing your thoughts!”

***I received an ARC (advance reader copy) of this book in exchange for my honest review***

Back in January, I reviewed Enduring Bond by Christa Paige, and it was the best vampire story I’ve read since reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series years ago. I loved Enduring Bond, and couldn’t wait till I got another opportunity to read about another Kan Asma couple. And now I have!

I enjoyed Compelled by Fate even more than Enduring Bond, and I gave this five out of five stars on GoodReads as well:

Compelled by FateCompelled by Fate by Christa Paige
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, my! Christa Paige continues to raise the bar with Compelled by Fate. I believe this is the second book in the Kan Asma Vampires series, and she’s got your alpha males right here! (Okay, only one alpha male is the true focus of this novel, but you’ll meet and/or get re-acquainted with several others!)

This is the story of Vastian, the fearless warrior prince, and his mate Nathalia. Bound by duty, they come together under the most tragic of circumstances and must overcome heartbreak, scandal, opposition, and a new and lethal danger from The Faction, a fringe society of disgruntled Kan Asma determined to put a stop to the ancient laws regarding Kan Asma traditions, no matter the cost.

Christa has once again crafted a world so fantastic, yet so believable. One of the things I particularly loved about this novel was the attention devoted to the rich traditions of the Kan Asma. You’ll feel like you’re one of them as they go through preparations for their ancient, time-honored rituals. And you’ll be pulled even further into the lives of this strong, proud vampire race.

As someone who has not read the first in the series, Mated In Treason, I feel that this novel stands strong as a stand-alone. So if you’re a reader who might be put off by the fact that it’s the second in a series, either read Mated In Treason NOW, or read this one first, like me. You won’t just be thrown into a story with no idea of what’s going on, because the author immerses you in the Kan Asma culture right away.

You won’t want to put this one down! I am ready for the next book already.

View all my reviews

If you love vampires and alpha males, I can’t recommend this book – or Christa Paige – enough!

Buy it: Amazon | Kobo | Nook

Connect with Christa: Website | Facebook | Pinterest

Book Review – Enduring Bond, by Christa Paige

(This post was originally published at The ReInVintaged Life.)

***Christa Paige is a new-to-me author, and I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review of this book.***

Love Vampires? Love Vampire Romance? Then this is the book for you! Enduring Bond is the first in the Allies of the Kan Asma Vampires series, and tells the story of Ashe and Mariyah.

Ashe is a proud alpha male vampire who was imprisoned by the nefarious Lifespan Institute for over thirty years and tortured in the name of science. Mariyah is a brilliant young scientist who took a lucrative job with the Lifespan Institute believing she would be working to eradicate terminal illnesses. Instead, she becomes trapped in her job in a horrific place run by a sadistic scientist who will stop at nothing to discover the secrets of the Kan Asma vampires’ longevity and exploit it.

From Christa Paige’s website:

“Mariyah’s life takes a deadly turn when her blood becomes the key to the Lifespan Institute’s fountain of youth. When she is left to bleed out in the cell of a vampire prisoner, the last thing she expects is to survive. A-Fourteen shows her mercy by not killing her…and Mariyah ends up giving him her heart. If she fails him, he will die, and his blood will be on her hands, staining her soul.

Now she needs to protect herself while trying to rescue the love of her life. When she forms an alliance with the Kan Asma refugees, she plays a dangerous game of double agent. She knows the risks, and she also knows time is running out.

Mariyah will do anything to save A-Fourteen and set him free…even if it means sacrificing herself to give him a chance to live.”

Right away, Ms. Paige pulls you in with her gifts of description, story-telling, and scene-setting. You’ll get the important backstories necessary to the development of these characters and this particular story. (This was very important to me, as I was unfamiliar with the Kan Asma vampires before this book.) You’ll walk the dank halls of the Lifespan Institute’s basement, hear the mournful wails of the tortured vampires, and feel the oppression of the lecherous mad scientist. And you’ll fall for hot, swoon-worthy Ashe, and beautiful, sensitive Mariyah, and root for them from the start.

Perhaps my favorite thing about this novel, and what sets it apart from so many others, is – without getting too spoiler-y, I hope – Mariah is not your typical damsel in distress. While in grave danger herself, it is she who orchestrates Ashe’s rescue.

I have been a fan of Paranormal Romance, especially featuring vampires, for far longer than they’ve been popping up on bestseller lists, and have read a LOT of vampire romance. With the mega-successes of the genre in the mid-aughts to early teens, the market became entirely too over-saturated. Since then it’s been really hard for me to find a well-written vampire romance that I really, truly enjoy. But not only did this novel deliver; I feel like Kan Asma vampires can be my new Black Dagger Brotherhood!

If you’ve missed the vampire romances that were around pre-Twilight/Vampire Diaries/Sookie Stackhouse, then you should definitely check Enduring Bond out.

I gave it 5 out of 5 stars at GoodReads

Buy it: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Connect with Christa: Website | Facebook | Pinterest

Teaser! Black Hearts by Karina Halle

(This post was originally published at The ReInVintaged Life.)

The last time I was on this blog, I did the cover reveal for Black Hearts by Karina Halle.

Well, now I’m back with a teaser to go with the cover. Black Hearts will be released February 19 (THIS COMING SUNDAY!), and you will NOT want to miss it! Here’s just a little taste of what’s to come….

The fog is continuing to roll in, bringing a briny mist that you can taste. Only the tops of the bridge remain visible, the orange red seeming to glow against grey skies, while shadows of the structure come and go as the fog moves in.

Violet stares in quiet fascination, her dark eyes taking it in. I can see the fog reflected in them, giving her an eerie quality. She appears to be listening but whether it’s the fog horns, the chatter of the fishermen, the lapping waves, or the dull roar of the bridge traffic, I don’t know. Could be something else entirely.

I don’t want to break her concentration or bring her back from whatever world she’s in. I just stand beside her and let her be. If anything, it says a lot about her comfort level with me if she lets herself drift away.

After a few minutes, she slowly turns to me and blinks. “How long did you say you were going to be in San Francisco for?”

“I don’t know,” I say carefully. “It depends if I find what I’m looking for.”

“And what are you looking for?”

“A reason to stay.” I hold her gaze with mine. The sea breeze picks up a few strands of her hair, moving them across her face like a black veil. Without thinking, I reach over and brush them away, tucking them behind her ear.

I could kiss her. I should kiss her. The feel of her skin against my fingers ignites a million torches inside.

Then she looks away, uncomfortable, the silence between us changing.

I steer the subject onto her. “You said your mother is a famous photographer. Does she have a studio?”

She lets out a soft sigh, her eyes back on the bridge. “Yeah. In the mission district.”

“And you don’t want the same for yourself?”

She rubs her lips together in thought before looking down at her hands that hang over the side of the railing. “As I said, I don’t know what I want. I’m not sure I feel comfortable with the idea of having a studio. My mom does portraits of people. That’s not what I like to shoot.”

“Not a people person?”

A wry smile cracks her lips. “No. Not really. It’s too…intimate. My mom is great at it because people feel comfortable with her. She can…I don’t know, manipulate their feelings.”

Interesting. Very interesting.

People like my father.

“So they end up exposing pieces of themselves that they don’t see. I guess I have the same intuition as her but the one on one is too much for me. I prefer to work with nature. With this.” She gestures to the fog. “No one else really understands how beautiful this is to me.”

I look back at the fog, moving faster now. I wouldn’t call it beautiful. Moody. Dark, maybe. If anything, her beauty stands out more because of the bleakness around her.

“My goal is to take photos that show how I see the world. All the beauty in it. The world is such an ugly and beautiful place, horrible and hopeful. I want to show the light in all the dark places.” She pauses and gives me a sheepish look. “Sorry. I know that must have sounded hella pretentious.”

I slowly shake my head because she sounds anything but that. She sounds real. She sounds like something I want to shake loose from her, to let free and run wild.

“You’re not pretentious,” I tell her, my voice low. “Not even close.”

“That’s not what I hear.”

“What do you hear?” I move in closer to her, the distance between us just a few inches. She doesn’t back up. “What does the world tell you you are?”

I watch her swallow, take a moment. “Oh, you know. I’m too self-absorbed. Narcissistic. Pretentious. I live too much in my head, I’m too anti-social, too distant. I feel too much, care too much. My mother has always chided me for being too sensitive and then I was diagnosed with having hyper-sensitivity, so it turns out she was right. I am too sensitive. About everything. And there’s not a single thing I can do about it except know that when I experience reality, it’s not what everyone else experiences. For better or for worse.” She sighs. “Mainly for worse.”

I feel like this is something she doesn’t unload on many people. My instincts about her were right. She’s fragile but not weak, too much a part of the world and too much removed from it. A contradiction.

“I’m sorry,” she says, shooting me a glance. “I didn’t mean to blab away like that. I know you probably think I’m crazy now. Hell, I think I’m crazy half the time. I really wish I could just be like everyone else. To just…shut it all off.”

“You’re not crazy,” I tell her. “I’m just understanding you better.”

Her mouth quirks up into a dry smile. “I’m surprised you understand me at all. We’ve only just met.”

“True,” I tell her as I reach out and run my fingers along her jaw, tipping her chin up. “But I’m sure you of all people would know that sometimes you can connect with someone in ways you didn’t think you could. Or should.”

She barely nods, her eyes focused on mine, anticipation on her brow. I’m met with the overwhelming desire to protect and shield her which is extremely inconvenient, if not unwelcome, given the circumstances. One minute I need to fuck her, the next I need to protect her, and in the end, what I really need is to do the job I set out to do.

EXCERPT: BLACK HEARTS, SINS DUET #1 Copyright Karina Halle 2017

If you like your romance a little (or a lot) dark and dangerous, then this is definitely for you!

Download it Sunday, and in the meantime, follow Karina on GoodReads, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, or her website.

Cover Reveal: Black Hearts by Karina Halle

(This post was originally published at The ReInVintaged Life.)

I am so excited to be back with another cover reveal from Karina Halle! Did you love either The Artists Trilogy and/or the Dirty Angels Trilogy? Well, I sure did! And I can’t wait for Black Hearts because…wait for it…

Black Hearts by Karina Halle
Cover Design: by Hang Le
Release Date: February 19, 2017

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into an obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

But it’s a love with tragic consequences.

Both the truth – and the lies – not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers.

And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

Black Hearts is book one of the Sins Duet, with the sequel, Dirty Souls, releasing in March 2017.

These books can be read as a standalone – though they are a spinoff of the Sins & Needles and Dirty Angels trilogies, Black Hearts & Dirty Souls are set 20 years in the future and follow new characters. You do NOT need to read TAT or DA to enjoy or understand this duet.


Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Smut, The Artists Trilogy, Heat Wave and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her rescue pup and her husband Scott Mackenzie.

Hit her up on Instagram at @authorHalle, on Twitter at @MetalBlonde and on Facebook. You can also sign up for the newsletter for news, excerpts, previews, private book signing sales and more.

COVER REVEAL! Rocked Up by Karina Halle & Scott Mackenzie

(This post was originally published at The ReInVintaged Life.)

But first….can I just say how excited I am to be a part of this cover reveal? I’ve been a fan of Karina Halle for years now. Her romance novels span a HUGE array of sub-genres, and I would recommend each and every one of them to any reader. Yes, they are that good.

And now?

Now she has teamed up with her husband to write Rocked Up. It will have a sexy rock star, laughs, and will no doubt have the super-hot love scenes Karina is known for – so my heart is already racing in anticipation!

Rocked Up by Karina Halle & Scott Mackenzie
Cover Designer: By Hang Le
Release Date: April 12th, 2017

I have been watching him since I was a child.

He didn’t notice me back then and it didn’t matter. Brad Snyder, guitarist and singer for one of the world’s greatest bands, was my entire life.

My father, the CEO of Ramsey Records, takes credit for all of Brad’s success, trying to control him in the same way he’s controlled me.

But I finally get an opportunity to prove myself.

To be wild.

To be free.

Today I’m auditioning to be the replacement bass player for Brad’s band. If I get the job, I’ll go on tour and work with Brad every day, in very close proximity.

There’s only one rule: he’s not allowed to touch the boss’s daughter.

Remember when I said that Brad never used to notice little ol’ me?

Well, Brad’s noticing me now.

In a way that’s going to get us both in trouble.

My name is Lael Ramsey and we all know how this will turn out.


Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Smut, The Artists Trilogy, Heat Wave and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her rescue pup and her husband Scott Mackenzie, who co-wrote Rocked Up with her. That’s right. It’s like the book SMUT come to life! This is their first venture as a writing team. A lot of music was played. A lot of laughs were had. A lot of sex was…put in the book!

Be sure to preorder Rocked Up for nearly HALF OFF the release date price at the following retailers:
iTunes: Coming Soon!
Paperback: Coming Soon!