Updates

Work-in-Progress Teaser: BETWEEN THE DEMON AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA

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My inspiration for Khalid – my novel’s anti-hero

I am very proud of my current progress on writing Between the Demon and the Deep Blue Sea and I’m grateful for the support of my critique partners and friends, who have had a chance to read some of it. Although, I haven’t begun revising the novel – I’m currently still in the drafting phase (and even that is more of a skeleton draft) – I am excited to share a teaser from the opening chapter.

The winter chill bit into her skin, but Shay valiantly ignored the discomfort as she navigated her way through shadows and moonlight. The heels of her borrowed six-inch stilettos clicked on the pavement. There were no security cameras in the empty parking lot. The lighting dim. And the only other residents nearby were two rooms down, with the curtains drawn.

The Casablanca Motel, located in the part of Vancouver that would never make it into travel brochures, made the perfect hiding spot. Officially, it was a roadside retreat for the desperate, weary traveler. Unofficially, the motel offered its clients services of the check in, make out, and check out variety. The oh-so-romantic decor included an overflowing green garbage bin. Nearby, a rat enjoyed the seedy ambience as it nibbled delicately on a fuzzy, half-eaten slice of pepperoni pizza from Peppito’s Pizzeria…or so the cardboard container claimed. She was sure that Peppito — whoever he was — would love to know that his clientele had expanded to the four-legged variety.

Deciding that it was better to give the rodent and his dinner some privacy, Shay focused on room 409. Her target was in that room. According to the file that she had received from River Cameron, her best friend and boss, the werewolf she was tracking currently went by the name of Ambrose Bellwood. The very active Mr. Bellwood was accused of identity fraud, grand theft auto, money laundering, drug trafficking…and the list went on. Apparently, if one lived as long as werewolves did, you could really diversify your personal portfolio. But it wasn’t until recently, when Bellwood added murder to his repertoire during his escape from police custody, that someone in charge decided enough was enough and the city’s enforcers had been called to deal with the problem. It wasn’t unusual. The Enforcers Academy had more manpower and better resources to deal nonhuman threats, but working for the police meant that they were basically doing this for free. But as River claimed, occasional charity work was good publicity for the Academy.

As an enforcer, Shay had been tasked with the job of hauling Bellwood’s ass back to jail for a much needed time out — okay, so the official job description may have varied a bit in phrasing, but the sentiment was the same.

It was too bad the order hadn’t said dead or alive. A kill order would have saved Shay at least twenty-four hours of surveillance time, not to mention she could have avoided having to squish her feet into heels that were a size too small. The back of her ankles stung with every step. Shay was going to have an angry set of blisters by the time this job was over. Unfortunately, her orders were to bring in Bellwood alive because her contact in the RCMP wanted him to roll over and tattle on his accomplices. That, of course, meant finding a way to get close to him.

It had been River’s idea that the easiest way to get close to him was to play on his weakness for scantily dressed females….hence, the blink-and-it-might-disappear dress and medieval torture devices on her feet.

Shay bent one leg to massage her ankle before continuing the rest of the way to Bellwood’s room. When she was less than a foot away from the door, she paused. Like the rest of the motel, the door needed to be doused in bleach. It was marked with fingerprints and a rainbow of stains. Shay curled her nose at the thought of having to touch her knuckles to the incognito petri dish, but steeled herself to knock.

River needs to give me a raise.

She pulled her hand away from the door after knocking thrice. Absently, she rubbed the back of her dirtied appendage on the ridiculously expensive scrap of cloth she was wearing. The red silk rasped against her skin.

Shay barely managed to get the look of disgust off her face before the door swung open. Bellwood stood on the other side, wearing an unbuttoned white dress shirt and black pants. Both looked expensive.

Well, well, well, I guess crime pays after all.

Shay is such an easy character to write. Her voice comes naturally, but other characters – Khalid, and even River, who both make appearances later – are a bit harder to write. The story is written in third person, but I’m playing it safe and writing most of the novel from Shay’s focal point. I have drafted a chapter – just one – from Khalid’s perspective and it was a difficult transition because I still don’t know him very well as a character.

Which brings me to the question – how well do you actually need to know your characters before you start writing a story? 

I never know my characters until I start putting words to paper, but they begin to flesh out as the plot develops. Of course, this may or may not be the best method for writing.

Hope you enjoyed the teaser,

Rika Ashton (aka The Tentative Writer)


Blurb Reveal: TILL DEATH DO US PART by Amanda Quick

When I read book news, there are few things that get me as excited as reading about an upcoming Amanda Quick release! I recently came across a blurb for the third book in the Ladies of Lantern Street series, Till Death Do Us Part, on Goodreads and I just had to share the news with you all!

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.

Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.

But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…

The novel is slated for release on April 19th, 2016 – yes, 2016 – so we have quite a wait ahead of us…

On a side note, who else is psyched for the upcoming release of Siren’s Call under Ms. Quick’s pen name Jayne Castle on July 28th?

Rika Ashton

(aka Lantern Street Resident)


One Lovely Blog Award!

one-lovely-blog-awardFellow writer and critique partner, June Hur, nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award and I graciously accept the invitation to participate in the blog tour and share seven interesting facts about my life.

Official Rules:

  1. Share 7 Lovely Facts about yourself.
  2. Link to 15 blogs (or as many as possible) that you enjoy reading…I just picked my top five favourite blogs to visit that haven’t already been nominated…I hope.
  3. Nominate the authors of those 15 (or however many you chose) blogs to participate and do the same, linking back to the blog that nominated you – which would be this blog.

My nominees will be further down in the post – but first, for my seven hour long acceptance speech:

A-hem…I feel quite blessed to receive this great badge of honour and I would like to thanks the universe for finally recognizing my genius, my family and friends – including my mom and dad, my several aunts and uncles, my grandparents on both sides, my cousins, my neighbour’s cat…here’s to you Patrick…the lady who works at the Dynamite store in the mall who always brings me my size –

CHAOS: Stop! This is all wrong.

APOLLO: *making a rare appearance off the pages of my manuscript* I agree, you’ll bore them to tears. Have you never heard of keeping it short and sweet?

DELPHYNE: *also jumping off my manuscript and smirking* Yeah, like Apollo’s c–

APOLLO: *glaring at Delphyne* Don’t say it!

DELPHYNE: *shrugging with a grin* I was going to say cat.

CHAOS: I’m a cat!

APOLLO and DELPHYNE: We know.

CHAOS: Oh…well, I just wanted to say that the speech was all wrong.

ME: How do you mean?

CHAOS: I should have been the first person you mentioned…not, not PATRICK!

APOLLO and DELPHYNE: *eyeroll*

ME: Jealous.

CHAOS: Am not!

APOLLO, DELPHYNE and ME: Are too!

CHAOS: *saunters off*

Well, thanks to that untimely interruption I’ve lost my train of thought – anyone who was not mentioned in the acceptance speech will just have to blame Chaos.

But now for seven curious facts about my life: 

1. I am a chronic binge-watcher of anime series. I’ve watched everything from Skip Beat (with English subtitles) to Dragonball Z (a childhood favourite) and Death Note.

Ahhh, Ren!

2. I’ve had three near death experiences…two by nearly drowning.

Sad fact is that I still don’t know how to swim, and I probably never will. The whole “your natural survival instincts will kick in to save you thing” never really happened…I just got tall enough to stand up in the pool.

3. My childhood (and current) dream is to fly.

You can probably blame this on that fact that I read way too many paranormal romance novels with angels, etc. Plus then I could be a crime fighting superhero who wears heels…because I’d never have to walk again!

4. My favourite Greek myth is the one about Narcissus…I could really relate to how he fell in love with himself, lol.

5.  If I could go back in time, I would…and then I’d kill the guy who invented Math.

And it wouldn’t be a pansy-ass assassination either, but real hard core and one that would require elaborate planning, costumes, and theme music.

6. I have a LOVE for gaudy nail paint colours.

Bright blue, neon pink, highlighter yellow…BRING IT ON!

7. I once appeared on a TV new cast, but I missed it.

I’ve been trying to recapture my 15 seconds of fame ever since.

And here are my nominees:

1. Priscilla Shay

She is fascinated with all things historical and the only way she can explain it is by claiming she was – clearly – born in the wrong century. (Although, she has been dabbling in the Paranormal and Young Adult.) She currently lives in NY and holds a B.A. in English: Creative Writing, Honors and a M.A. in History. She is also a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America). When not writing she can be found in a corner crafting, drawing, or baking.

2. Ki Pha

I’m a reader! Plus an artist. I also write and am a habitual daydreamer, with out of the world crazy imaginings that I can never write down quick enough onto paper. I’m a hoarder of print books and need a new bookshelf. Plus having a Kindle is not helping in my book binge.

3. Wicked Scribes

(A very mysterious book blogger with an interest in paranormal romance and fantasy novels, but no official bio.)

4. Rakes and Rascals

I’m a young-at-heart 67 year old retiree living in the small town of Penarth, South Wales, UK…I love Historical Romances but I do occasionally read Contemporary and Erotic Romances. Although I don’t read Paranormal Romances, I make an exception for J. R Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

5. Noelle Pierce

My world is convoluted, random, and sometimes confusing, but it only matches all my roles in life: mother, student, teacher, artist, wife, daughter, writer. I love to laugh, believe in destiny, and try to see the silver lining around every cloud. Watching thunderstorms is a favored pastime of mine and I love living in a big city with lots to do. I don’t ever get to do any of it, but I like knowing it’s there.

Have fun! And don’t forget to visit Ms. Hur’s blog and check out her answers!

Rika Ashton

(aka “I should start writing down my acceptance speech for when Oprah contacts me to appear on her show.”)


All Those Books…Just Enough Time

It’s time for another quick update. I’m almost done with my back list of ARCs, but I’ve got a few more reviews to go. The next batch of amazing books – some of which I had to BEG for – include some of my favourite authors.

First off, I was given a copy of Hunt the Darkness by Alexandra Ivy with a request to complete the review sometime after the release date, so I’ll likely be posting a review for that this weekend.

The vampire Roke is raw, sensual, always in control. Yet somehow he’s allowed the unthinkable to happen: a nymph-like witch named Sally has used her magic to trick Roke into mating with her. The pair will remain bound for eternity unless Sally breaks the spell. The trouble is, she has no idea how…

Mating with Roke was an accident; at least that’s what Sally keeps telling herself. She’s on the hunt for her demon father, whose identity holds the key to releasing the spell. The search won’t be easy with Roke shadowing Sally’s every move. As they mate with a ferocity that leaves them both aching for more, Sally isn’t sure if her world is more dangerous without Roke – or with him…

The next novel with a review to be released after that will likely be Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard. The publication date for this novel is July 22, 2014, so I’ll be aiming to post a review a little after that. This is a final installment and I don’t want to spoil anything.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Then we’ll be getting a review of Kresley Cole‘s Dark Skye, which will hit stores on August 5th, 2014. I guaranteed a copy of my ARC for this novel after much hassling, bargaining, bribing, begging – and quite possibly blackmailing, but I should be able to get you a review of this a few days before the publication date. 😉

Eternal Obsession

As a boy, Thronos, Lord of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body – and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Endless Yearning

Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

Can the heat of desire burn brighter than vengeance?

With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

Finally, I’ll be writing a review for How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries (release date August 19th, 2014, which means the review will be released at least a day before.)

Lady Zoe Keane’s father is pressing her to marry a cousin she’s never met. As Lord and Lady Olivier’s only child, spirited Zoe will one day inherit the title of countess and their Yorkshire estate, the land she adores—but she wants to marry for love. Then an unsolved family mystery shatters her world: is it possible Zoe’s birth mother was actually a Romany named Drina? Desperate to know her true lineage, Zoe hires the Duke’s Men to search for the woman who will determine her destiny.

Tristan Bonnaud is the man for the job, and not because the roguish investigator cares about a spoiled aristocrat and her inheritance “problem.” To protect himself from his villainous half-brother, Tristan needs to track down his Romany horse trader friend who has information about a decade-old scandal—and this young beauty’s far-fetched case is just the excuse he needs.

But if untangling the past isn’t risky enough, the sizzling attraction drawing the scoundrel to the lady is the most dangerously seductive surprise of all. . . .

Rika Ashton

(aka Blogger With No Middle Name)


Site Updates: The Chaos Edition

Rika’s in the hermit cave, as of two hours ago, and she’s asked me to post a quick update about what’s happening on the blog. So, in order to keep this real short, here are the highlights:

1. As of a few days ago, we are no longer accepting review requests. (We had fifteen in the past week alone, which when added to the ARCs Rika already had means we have well over twenty books to read and review in the next few weeks alone. We’ll be posting the reviews for some books on this blog and other will go to Romance Reader at Heart: Novel Thoughts and Book Talk – and will later be reblogged here. So stay tuned for those!) We will be open for requests at a later date, but let Rika finish with these books first.

2. Also as of a few days ago, I am trying to talk Rika into recruiting some new reviewers for the blog, so we’ll see how that goes. (Control freak that she is, this is actually going to be a tough negotiation.)

3. Rika has assured me that she will have a few more short teasers and excerpts from Dagger of the Sun (DOTS) to post soon. So that’s more Kael, Delphyne and Apollo for y’all!

4. We will also be launching the new DOTS page sometime in May/June – more about that later.

5. Rika is also working on the final draft of the DOTS Underworld map, and we will share a picture of this on the new page.

6. Finally, Rika is once again working 3 jobs, so production on the blogging front will slow down a little, but she’s asked me to pick up the slack – and so I shall.

And that’s all for the site updates for now, more to come later when we’ve made some significant headway into our to-do list.

Chaos Ashton 🙂

(aka The Sometimes Blogger)

P.S: For more amazing cat art and an article exposing some shocking truths by Adam Ellis, go here.


Site Updates and Book Talk

We finally got the contact form up and running a few days ago, so if you have feedback/questions, etc you would like to submit, you are now more than welcome to do so. Mostly, I have thank Chaos for getting this fixed. This is why I pay you the not-so-big-bucks, dude! 😛

We’ve also got the review policy up – although, we might make some minor changes in the future to cover any unforseeable loopholes, etc.

And last but not least, we’ve decided to add a consolidated page for all Dagger of the Sun info. This pretty much includes all excerpts/teasers from the new version, maps, character interviews, and character profiles. We’ll continue posting them through the regular blog as well, but we’ll have a separate page as an online book bible so you can easily access all relevant posts. 😀

Basically, we decided to do this because DOTS is turning out to be a very lengthy book, so keeping track of details is a HUGE issue as the story moves forward. I’m hoping – with Chaos’ help – that the online book bible will help keep me sane.

But we’ll post link to the page as soon as we have it up and running.

Before I sign off, I want to thank the amazing Kaleigha over at Wicked Scribes for sending me a copy of J. R. Ward’s The King – as my little bro would say I “junkied” this book like no one’s business and finished all 500+ pages in a day and a half. It was amazing! Also, for some reason, this book made me want to reread Lover Avenged – Rehvenge and Ehlena’s story – and I’m halfway through that as well. Love, love, love this couple! But I wish Ehlena got more scenes in other novels – she’s one of my favourite characters but she forgotten in the succeeding novels. (On the other hand, Rehv never seems to stop showing up – not that I mind – but I really wish he’d bring his mated with him more often. *sigh*)

What books are you all reading (or rereading) and loving? 

Rika Ashton

(aka The Book Worm)


Site Updates

Hi!

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’m making a few changes to the blog. I just thought it was time to update the review policy and come up with some coherent rating system for future reviews, especially since I’ve recently begun to juggle ARCs in addition to the regular writing load.

Chaos and I are trying to get the contact and review forms up and running. They are not working yet, so if you try to send a message I’m afraid your AMAZING FAN MAIL will, unfortunately,  be lost in cyberspace. (If you’re sending hate mail – likely to Chaos – he can only be thankful for this.)

But as soon as the forms are up and running we will let you know. 🙂

Till later,
Rika Ashton

(aka Web Admin)


Connecting the DOTS

As most of you might already know DOTS (aka Dagger of the Sun) is undergoing some changes. The more time I spend in my fictionalized version of Ancient Greece, the more the world expands – in particular, the Underworld. The Underworld in DOTS is actually a world within a world, and in my version it existed long before Hades claimed it for the dead. And unlike the surface world of mortal Greece, which with the exception of supernatural elements, is mostly true to history – the Underworld is almost 99% a fictionalized landscape. I’m having loads of fun naming places and coming up with groups of people who inhabit the different landscapes of the Underworld.

Best of all, I actually get to stretch my creative muscles a bit and create a map of the Underworld. I actually get to draw! (Or at least I like to call all the chicken scratch I’m throwing on paper “drawing.”)

Of course, not all of the terrain with be revealed in the first book, so I don’t get to draw a complete map…otherwise that would be some major spoilage for book two, but what I do get to include is very detailed.

But I have to say: PLEASE, DON’T EXPECT TOO MUCH from this map – I am NOT an artist and therefore, it’s going to be a very amateurish attempt at drawing a map.

However, despite the fact that it will be a very embarrassing attempt, I will still swallow my pride and share on the blog.

And for those of you still not deterred and unafraid of having your eyes bleed, I do have a very bad rough draft.

To make up for my bad mapping skills, I’ll share a teaser from DOTS. This is a scene that happens way later in the novel, and features Bae and Kael. The gentlemen are discussing Bae’s rigorous training schedule for Delphyne.

Ben Hill, my inspiration for Bae.

“Do you think I’m being too hard on her?” Bae asked.

Kael thought about the still-healing cut that he had seen running down the length of Delphyne’s right arm. The fabric of the bandage she’d hastily wrapped around the wound had been soaked through. He had been ready to drive his fist though Bae’s face last night, but had been halted by the words Delphyne had whispered to him in the flickering candlelight of their bedchamber.

“I’m still alive, aren’t I?” She had shrugged, not without flinching. “And as incredible as this may seem at the moment, I do plan to stay that way.”

“I think it’s good for her,” Bae continued, dunking his hands into a basin full of water. He splashed a handful of the water on his face, using the clear liquid to rub away the dirt and sweat of the day’s training session. “But I figured if you’re itching to slit my throat, you might as well get it over with so we can both move on.”

A river of fire. That’s how Delphyne’s wound had looked the night before. A vermilion streak over sun-kissed skin. This morning it had been the finest white line. It was healing. Fast.

So much faster than before.

“No,” said Kael. “I don’t want to slit your throat for hurting my wife.”

Bae looked at him in surprise. 

“I want you to keep training her…until she’s strong enough to slit your throat on her own.”

And there you have it! I had to cut out some parts from the scene – because some things that Kael says are spoilers – but I felt relatively safe uploading this.

Hopefully you enjoyed the little snippet, and now I have to get back to writing! 😀

Rika Ashton

(aka The Mapmaker)


From the Land of ARCs: Part 2

Remember when I mentioned by busy schedule and all the ARCs I still had to review…well, my “to-read” pile has just increased in height because three more books have been added to the list.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond delighted to receive the wonderful review copies and super-excited to begin reading, but I need to get way better at time management if I’m going to survive the next two weeks!

The latest ARCs I have received are vastly different in genre, but no less fun:

1. The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain. Yeah, so Greco-Roman mythology…how could I say no? This is a children’s/young adult novel releasing on March 11th in stores.

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.

Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.

Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

Doesn’t this book just sound crazy epic?!

2. The Witch of Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney. This is the second book of the Sinclair Clan series, of which I also have an ARC for book 3. It releases on April 29th.

Logan Harrison is looking for a wife. As the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, he needs a conventional and diplomatic woman who will stand by his side and help further his political ambitions. He most certainly does not need Mairi Sinclair, the fiery, passionate, fiercely beautiful woman who tries to thwart him at every turn. But if she’s so wrong for him, why can’t he stop kissing her? He is completely bewitched.

Mairi Sinclair has never met anyone like Logan Harrison, the perfect example of everything she finds wrong with the world. He’s also incredibly handsome, immensely popular, and impossible to resist. His kisses inflame her and awaken a passion she can barely control.

Can two people who are at such odds admit to a love that would bind them together for life?

3. The Batgirl Vol. 4: Wanted by Gail Simone. I got this ARC from DC Comics and, since Batgirl is one of my favourite characters, you can only imagine the goofy smile on my face when I got the email. This comic releases on May 27th.

Batgirl struggles to continue fighting crime after being emotionally drained by the death of her brother, James, Jr.  With her relationships with Batman and her father strained, Batgirl face one of Batman’s most ruthless villains, The Ventriloquist, alone. Collects Batgirl issues #19-25, Ventriliquist #1.

I’m interested to see how this Barbara Gordon will be written…the story sounds like it’s going to be heavy from the start.

Rika Ashton

(aka, “I’m drowning in my TBR ocean!”)


From the Land of ARCs

Hi all,

This has been the busiest week of my life…and I still have three more to go! (I started working three jobs again – teaching Kindergarten, which is fun but you never really get a chance to rest, tutoring and working at a learning centre…again no rest in the last two jobs either.)

And I course I’m still in the middle of edits, but thankfully my critique partners are awesome and totally tolerate my erratic writing schedule. But I’ve promised to get more chapters done over the weekends!

But recently, I also received three Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) from Avon and I am very, very excited to read them! 🙂

And in the order of the release dates, here they are:

1. The Masterful Mr. Montague by Stephanie Laurens (releasing April 29th, 2014) and the second “Casebook of Barnaby Adair” novel. I’ve already read a bit of this and I love the characterization!

Montague has devoted his life to managing the wealth of London’s elite, but at a huge cost: a family of his own. Then the enticing Miss Violet Matcham seeks his help, and in the puzzle she presents him, he finds an intriguing new challenge professionally … and personally.

Violet, devoted lady-companion to the aging Lady Halstead, turns to Montague to reassure her ladyship that her affairs are in order. But the famous Montague is not at all what she’d expected – this man is compelling, decisive, supportive, and strong – everything Violet needs in a champion, a position to which Montague rapidly lays claim.

But then Lady Halstead is murdered and Violet and Montague, aided by Barnaby Adair, Inspector Stokes, Penelope, and Griselda, race to expose a cunning and cold-blooded killer.who stalks closer and closer. Will Montague and Violet learn the shocking truth too late to seize their chance at enduring love?

2. The Kiss of Wrath by Sandra Hill (releasing May 27th, 2014), the fourth in the”Deadly Angels” series  and the title of this one is so badass!

No wicked wenches or wild rampages…it’s been centuries since Mordr the Berserker was turned into a Vangel-a Viking Vampire Angel-as punishment for his sin of wrath, and he’s been frustrated ever since. It’s not so bad being stuck in modern-day Las Vegas. What better place to slay Lucipires, or demon vampires, than the original Sin City. But then Mordr Sigurdsson’s mission is expanded to a new assignment: protect lust-worthy Miranda Hart.

Miranda’s well-ordered life turned into chaos when she unexpectedly inherited her late cousin’s five children. Now, her cousin’s dangerous husband is about to be paroled, and she needs a miracle to keep them all safe.That miracle arrives on her doorstep in the form of a very buff, handsome man with a very strange name. Mordr wants nothing to do with a red-haired wench or children. Miranda wants nothing to do with gorgeous hunk who claims to be a Viking.

As Miranda and Mordr give in to temptation, they must decide if they fit in each other’s worlds-before their enemies close in on them.

3. The Virgin of Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney (releasing May 27th, 2014 as well) and this is the third in the “Sinclair” series and since it was the first ARC I received I’ve pretty much finished this one and will have a review soon. (Although, I don’t want to post it too much before the release date.)

Ellice Traylor has a secret. Beneath her innocent exterior beats an incredibly passionate and imaginative heart. She has been pouring all of her frustrated virginal fantasies into a scandalous manuscript. But when her plans for her future are about to be derailed by her mother’s matrimonial designs, she takes matters into her own hands.

Ross Forster, the Earl of Gladsden, has spent his life creating order out of chaos. He expects discipline and calm from those around him. What he does not expect is a beautiful, thoroughly maddening stowaway in his carriage.

But when Ross discovers Ellice’s secret book, he finds he can’t stop thinking about what other fantasies the disarming virgin can dream up. He has the chance to learn when a compromising position forces them to wed. But can the uptight Earl survive a life with his surprising new wife? And how will the hero of Ellice’s fantasies compare to the husband of her reality?

I’ll have reviews of all of these books posted closer to the release dates!

Rika Ashton

(aka The Official Book Reviewer)