Monday, December 30, 2013

The White Aura by Felicia Tatum

  I just started and finished this book in less than twelve hours. As I was coming close to the end, I told Ms Tatum, "I just...can't stop. I began it, I got into the story, I have 60 pages left, and there is absolutely NO way that I'm stopping now...even though it's 2:30 am."
  I originally found Felicia and her books through a fellow blogger (who is now a close friend of mine). I won a White Aura necklace and was so absolutely stunned by the book cover that I just had to buy the ebook. I spoke with Ms Tatum, bought her paperback books as well, and the rest is history.
  Well, not quite.
  I just finished The White Aura and oh my goodness, was this a fun read! The story progressed incredibly quickly (theoretically "throwing" you into the story/plot), but not quickly enough to lose your interest, or turn you off, and the ending will have you salivating for more. In fact, not five minutes after I had finished The White Aura, I was already delving into the beginning of The Vessel, book two in The White Aura Series.
  Felicia Tatum's writing is fun, fast-paced, exciting, and it creates the perfect story to read by the pool, or sitting in a comfy chair with a nice cup of whatever you fancy. Actually, strike that. Felicia Tatum's books are suitable for any and every season! They're just so much fun to get into, I already find myself missing her work even though I'm not even close to being done.
  I absolutely cannot wait to read on! But you know what...I can't wait. I've already started The Vessel, and I'm not stopping there. I'm going to finish The Vessel, start Devlin's Descendant, and then have my friends read them so we can discuss with each other.

Book                                ebook

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crashing Back Down by Kristen Hope Mazzola

  Crashing Back Down is the sad and emotional story of Margaret "Mags" McManus and her grief and growth upon recently becoming a widow. It's been beyond difficult for Mags, but thanks to her best friend, a few (or ten) glasses of wine, some therapy, and cuddling with her late husband's best friend, Walker, Mags is starting to cope, and she's getting up and out more than before. Perhaps...Mags' loneliness may be short lived after all.
  Crashing Back Down is a quick read, but believe me, you will not want to rush it. When you read this book make sure to take your time and savor what Kristen is writing because now that I've finished it, I wish I could go back and read it for the first time again.
  Now, all of my reviews are spoiler free. I try my best to not flat-out reveal every single spoiler that's been nagging at me for the past twelve hours, but somehow I manage to do it and wait until my friends pick up a copy of the book and are able to freak out with me. So, without spoiling anything...
  If you somehow read this book and don't care for it throughout, be sure to stick with it until the very end...which brings me to my next topic:
  Oh my GOSH, this ending. About 80% of the way through, I was gripping the edges of my Kindle because I was so overwhelmed. Completely and entirely baffled, shocked beyond belief, mouth open in awe, questioning the world around me, etc.
  I could see Crashing Back Down getting the same response that Gone Girl got...not quite as exaggerated, or angry, but I could easily see fans (all around the world) finishing the book and saying, "WHAT?"
  So...with that out of my system, and my semi-fangirling (somewhat) over, Crashing Back Down is an emotional, sweet, and fun read to get into. This is a book you need to read- not because it's the best book in the world (I believe there's no such thing), but because this is an ending you will not want to miss.

Book                                ebook

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-Up Christmas Relationship by Brittainy C. Cherry

  I'm always disappointed when the day after Christmas comes, and the Holly-Jolly cheer is technically gone... But this year, I had a wonderful little novella to keep the spirit alive, at least for one more day, if not for longer. I got to read Brittainy C. Cherry's Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-Up Christmas Relationship.
  Kayden is tired of being demeaned and belittled by his family for not having a steady career and for becoming an amateur actor. Jules is just about to quit dating, period, when her boyfriend breaks up with her and she has to go spend Christmas with her family...and her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her and fathered a child with her own sister. Jules needs a fake boyfriend for the holidays, and Kayden needs an acting job with good pay... Here starts their Totally Ridiculous, Made-Up Christmas Relationship.
  As soon as I started this novella, I knew that I was going to rate it five stars, and that it would quickly become a favorite story of mine. Brittainy C. Cherry's characters deliver phenomenal humor and comedic timing, they're incredibly normal and in absolutely no way pretentious (even the characters that were unlikable, were likable in my opinion!), and their relationship is beyond heartwarming.
  Reason 4,923 why I love this book is because of the side-clutching, knee slapping, close to wetting my pants humor. Some of the scenes in this novella had me laughing so hard, I had to read them out loud so that my friends and family would understand why I was in hysterics.
  Brittainy C. Cherry's work is positively magnificent. I consider myself incredibly lucky that I was able to get my hands on an ARC (Advance Reader's Copy), and meet the author this holiday season.
  I will suggest this book to friends, family, Christmastime lovers, perfect strangers, book lovers...I will recommend, suggest and send this book to anyone and everyone! I, The Literary Connoisseur, LOVED Our Totally, Ridiculous, Made-Up Christmas Relationship.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Home for Christmas Review and Interview with Ann Vaughn

  It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Yes, for Christmas...but best of all, for snuggling up and getting warm with a hot cup of cocoa or tea, sitting down with a fuzzy blanket and...well, reading a wonderful Christmas book, of course! I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with author Ann Vaughn and asking her what she loves most about Christmas, and talking to her about her Christmas novel, A Home for Christmas. So snuggle up with a warm blanket and a hot cup of whatever you fancy, and join us for a little holiday discussion! (And while you're at it...pick up a copy of A Home for Christmas- a perfect Christmas read!)

  A Home for Christmas begins when a couple of punks try to steal Jenna Blackwell's purse on Black Friday. Jenna hasn't had the best luck in her life... Falling for Wade Blackwell was not the best decision she's ever made, though she wouldn't trade her son, Cameron, for anything in the world. 
  But something magical happens this holiday season when Jenna's stolen purse is retrieved by ex Navy SEAL and SWAT team volunteer, Riley Stanton. 
  It all starts with a Black Friday crime, a hunky hero, and an invitation to breakfast. Here begins the Texas-themed Christmas story of Jenna and Riley. 
  This book was just too sweet! A Home for Christmas has enough of a lovely balance of humor, romance, and depth to make a reader beyond content. One of my pet peeves with reading is the writing of child characters, especially overly cutesy ones. But in Ann Vaughn's story, Cameron, Jenna's ten year-old son, is an absolute joy, Jenna is a darling, Riley is...well, hunky beyond words, and Wade (Jenna's not-so nice ex-husband...) even becomes likable and sympathetic towards the end. I thoroughly enjoyed Ms Vaughn's story, and I look forward to reading more of her work. 
  What I really like about this book is how there is a romantic relationship between two of the characters that doesn't go overboard. There are no drawn out romance scenes, no childish games being played between the couple, and the story is topped off with a lovely ending and no ill feelings.
  A Home for Christmas is a perfect little holiday read! If you're looking for a Christmas story with depth, Holly-Jolly cheer, a sweet romance, and is just short and sweet enough to give you the perfect amount of time to decorate the Christmas tree, this is your book!


And now and interview with Ann Vaughn, author of Long Way Home, Finding Home, and A Home for Christmas... 

The Literary Connoisseur: Hello, Ann! Thank you so much for agreeing to do an interview about your Christmas story, A Home for Christmas. Jenna and Riley's story was just too cute! I'll begin with a few questions about you first, and then we'll go into Jenna, Riley, and perhaps even Cameron too!  Let's begin.Having other people read your work and fall in love with your words must be positively magical. What made you want to become a writer? 

Ann Vaughn: First, thank you for having me today!  I really appreciate you taking time to feature me and help get the word out for me and my work.  Indie authors like me couldn't make it without the help of all you bloggers out there telling people about our work. I began writing stories when I was in junior high.  I am a child of the 80s and the big books back then for junior high kids were the Sweet Valley High books.  My friends and I would pass them around between us during school.  In the summer, though, access to books wasn't as easily accessible as it is now with eReaders, etc.  So, out of boredom, I began writing my own, Texas-themed versions of Sweet Valley High (all centered around football, of course...I mean, come on, I grew up in Texas; Friday Night Lights, etc. :) )  Anyway, when school started back up, I would pass my spiral notebooks of my stories around between my friends and so I had my own built-in audience. I always knew I wanted to publish my work someday, but never got up the nerve to try the traditional route.  It wasn't until a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick books that I began to consider self-publishing.  I looked into it and was talking to my husband about it, and then he dared me to try that myself.  Now, my husband and I grew up together; known each other since Kindergarten and we are HIGHLY competitive with each other.  So, when he dared me it was Game ON!!  I recruited one of my long-time friends (who was part of my first audience back in junior high) to help me polish up one of my stories, had another friend read it to tell me if she thought it was any good (since she's an avid reader herself) and then on August 7th of this year, I took the plunge and hit Save & Publish for my first book, Long Way Home.  It was a scary, exciting moment and it has been a blast ever since.

The Literary Connoisseur: Do you find it difficult to switch from female to male perspectives? Or does it come easily once you understand the characters? 

Ann Vaughn: I've actually found it pretty easy to switch from female to male.  I've always enjoyed other books that do that.  I'm one of those who have to know what everyone important to the story is thinking.  I enjoy books that are first person and only in 1 character's POV as well, but not as much.  I want to know everything!! LOL...and weirdly enough, sometimes it's easier for me to jump into the male POV than the female.  

The Literary Connoisseur: Do you enjoy reading as well as writing? Who would you say are some of your favorite authors? 

Ann Vaughn: I do.  My first love is reading, and my favorite genre has always been romance, although I do love biographies, too.  There have been many, many authors who I love but two who have influenced me the most: Jude Deveraux and Nora Roberts. Back in the early 90s, I would devour everything of Jude Deveraux's I could get my hands on.  I loved her historicals but my all-time favorite book is Sweet Liar by her.  I believe it came out in 1993.  I went thru 3 paperback copies before getting my Kindle.  I've read it so many times I can pretty much quote it.  The hero in the book's name is Mike Taggert.  I have named two of my characters after him: Mike Casiano (who is Riley's best friend and makes an appearance in A Home for Christmas) and Taggert "Tag" Bainbridge (who made an appearance in my second book, Finding Home).  

My second influence is Nora Roberts.  I absolutely LOVE everything she writes.  She handles the male POV really well and she often has children in her books, which helped me with Cam's character in A Home for Christmas.  

The Literary Connoisseur: If you could say something encouraging to aspiring writers and authors out there, what would it be? 

Ann Vaughn: To absolutely never give up.  As writers, we always second-guess ourselves and we worry that no one will like what we've done.  If you are looking to self-publish, like I did, be sure you have someone other than yourself go through and proofread your work for mistakes (typos, punctuation, etc).  I have 3 people who help me with this.  My longtime friend who I mentioned above (she is also a teacher so that helps!), an extremely detail-oriented reader who responded to a desperate plea from me one day on my page and has been AWESOME at finding continuity issues.  I call her my Queen of Continuity & Detail!  And another reader who runs her own proofreading service (my next book will be the first one she will do for me from the start).  Anyway, if your work has very few errors in it and looks clean and professional, that will help a lot.  Also, what we write is never going to appeal to everyone.  Even Nora Roberts gets bad reviews.  Don't let the bad ones hurt you.  Yes, they sting.  Our work is our baby; we want everyone to love it, but in reality that rarely happens.  Just take the bad ones in stride and concentrate on the good ones.  Write from your heart, not what you think everyone will like and that will come through on the page.  If you love your characters and you love your story, that will show.

The Literary Connoisseur: Was writing a holiday themed story any different from writing a regular romance? Did you enjoy writing about Christmastime more than you would writing about a non-holiday season? 

Ann Vaughn: It wasn't that much different, except that I was having to get into the Christmas Spirit in early October!  But I love Christmas so it wasn't that bad.  My family got a little miffed at having to listen to Christmas music before Halloween had even hit but they took it in stride ;)  The only challenge for me in writing a book based during Christmas was remembering that it was Christmas and I needed to include Christmas-y things.

The Literary Connoisseur: What (or who) inspired you to write Riley, ex Navy SEAL/current SWAT team volunteer? Is there anyone you picture as Riley, famous or not?

Ann Vaughn: Riley actually started as a minor character in another book and as that book evolved, he evolved.  When I first created his and Jenna's story, it was for a creative writing class I was taking in college and it was a short story.  I plucked him out of the minor role he'd had in the other book and used him for the assignment story.  He was originally a homicide detective.  Jenna was always a housekeeper; her character hasn't changed much, but Riley's changed a lot, mainly because the original story he was a minor character in changed so much.  SO, he went from being a homicide detective to exSpecial Forces.  So, there really wasn't a person who inspired him, per se, but a necessary change to him so that he fit with the other story.  

When I first created Riley, I didn't have anyone in mind.  I knew that he would be blonde and have green eyes.  That was about it.  I never really thought of anyone to portray him until I was asked to put together a dream cast for the book and I began scouring the web for pictures of people who would fit the image in my head.  It took a while, and then one day I stumbled across this picture of a shirtless blonde guy in black gym shorts and I remember thinking "Holy cow!!  That's Riley!!"...only problem was, I had no clue who the guy was.  So, I sent the picture to Christine Davison at Sinful Thoughts Book Blog.  She posted it to a group board she was on and got the answer in less than five minutes: he was Jessie Pavelka and he was my Riley!  (AND Bonus for me...Jessie is from Texas, like me, so that made me happy!! LOL)

(The Literary Connoisseur here! Just in case you want to know what Jessie Pavelka looks like...)

(Yeah, he's my Riley too!)

The Literary Connoisseur: What do you love most about Christmastime? 

Ann Vaughn: I love the magic of Christmas.  Seeing the excitement on little kids' faces.  I love that it represents the promise that God made, sending His son to us.  I love the songs and the decorations, the warmth of sitting by the fire and staring at the Christmas tree.

The Literary Connoisseur: Are any of Jenna and Cameron's traditions some of your own as well? (For example: Jenna's homemade hot cocoa?) 

Ann Vaughn: LOL, yes, I do make my own hot chocolate!  AND we buy a few new Christmas ornaments every year to represent something that happened during the past year.  

The Literary Connoisseur: Cameron was such a sweet, emotional, and sentimental character to was he to write? I just wanted to jump into the book and hug the sweet boy!

Ann Vaughn: I loved writing about Cam.  I've had a few comment that he seems really mature to only be 10-years old, but I tell them that they have to stop and consider that it's just been Cam and Jenna since he was five years old.  I have a couple of nephews who grew up with single mom's and they were also pretty mature for their age.  I think, when it's a boy with a single mom, he sort of feels the need to step into the Man of the House role and that makes him mature faster than most boys.  I also based him a bit off my own son.  There is an 8-year gap between my kids so my son was essentially an only child for 8 years and he was rarely around kids his own age until he started school; therefore, his vocabulary and maturity were on a more adult level than a lot of kids his age.  Plus, the times Cam was with his father, he was exposed to things that weren't necessarily all that great for a kid.  I love Cam so much...he may get a book or at the least a novella at some point in the future.  We shall see... :)

The Literary Connoisseur: What would you say is your favorite thing about being an author? 

Ann Vaughn: I love being able to lose myself in my books and in my characters.  I'm sure that's the same for any writer.  After publishing and releasing my work to the world at large, it thrills me that people have actually read my stuff and liked it.  I love hearing from readers and seeing the things they liked about each of the books.  I also have a blast on my Facebook page, chatting with readers.  Sometimes, my characters make appearances and I let them cut up with readers.  That's a blast, too.

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you planning on writing more Christmas themed romances? You know I'll read them! 

Ann Vaughn: I'm sure I will.  Writing about Christmas is fun!  However, I think any future Christmas titles will either be novellas about existing characters, or true 100% stand-alone's.  A Home for Christmas is a Christmas-themed book, but it is also part of a series.

The Literary Connoisseur: And lastly, are you working on any new projects? Perhaps...a story about a certain cousin in A Home for Christmas? 

Ann Vaughn: I am!  I am currently writing the last book in the Home Series, titled Finally Home.  It is due out at the end of February and it is about Riley's best friend, Mike Casiano, and Riley's cousin, Lainey Riley.  Mike has been a recurring character in all 3 of the Home series books.  He is mentioned in Long Way Home, makes his first appearance in Finding Home, has a bigger role in A Home for Christmas and finally has his story told in Finally Home.  I have been writing about Mike and Lainey since 1993.  It was his book that Riley made his debut in, many, many moons ago and because of him that Riley evolved from cop to Navy SEAL.  In Finally Home, you will see all the couples from the previous three books.  Mike was the team leader when they were all in the military.  He put his life on the line several times over the years for his team and now they are all here for him in his time of need.  Finally Home is a true labor of love for me.  I know these characters better than any of my other characters and I'm hoping that my love for them translates well to the readers.  

The Literary Connoisseur: Ann, thank you so much for stopping by! I, and your readers, appreciate your work and your time to answer interview questions! Have a wonderful Christmas! 

Ann Vaughn: Thanks for having me!!!  Merry Christmas, everyone, and have a wonderful, safe and blessed Happy New Year!!!!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Cleansing by Sam Kates

  The Cleansing by Sam Kates was so absolutely magnificent that when I finished it, I had to go back and reread the last few paragraphs over and over again until I was satisfied with all of the details. I couldn't get enough of The Cleansing and Sam's characters. Even after I was finished, I was still craving more of the story.
  The Cleansing starts with an email. One email that has been sent out to 5,000 living beings all around the Earth who have been given a signal, and that signal is, "It's time." Soon after receiving the emails- almost immediately after for some recipients- these beings start to distribute a sort of shimmery powder all around public places. Public door handles, park benches, playgrounds, restaurant tables, and everything else humans touch every day on a regular basis are now coated just enough for the powder to get onto their hands...and into their system.
  Soon humans all over the world are contracting a deadly flu, and there are no survivors aside from the original 5,000...that we know of.
  This book caught my interest right away. The beginning had enough mystery to keep you interested, the middle (the "meatier" part of the story) gets you attached and...tragically and unfortunately unattached to some of the characters, and the ending has you positively begging for more!
  Shortly after finishing The Cleansing, I talked to a friend of mine and she said that I should, in fact, "fangirl" a bit, so here goes.
  Oh. My. Gosh. The Cleansing is absolutely one of the BEST books I've ever read. Not in a, "Oh, I really, really liked it and became attached to the story" sense, but in a, "I cannot continue living until I either get a sequel or reread this book." (And I rarely, and I mean rarely ever reread books.) The Cleansing (and Sam Kates specifically) is amazing. Absolutely, incredibly, positively, and all things magnificently amazing.
  Please...for the love of all that is good and pure in the literary world, READ THIS BOOK. I have to talk about this book with someone soon or I swear I will spontaneously combust.
  I even had to go out to dinner last night with my parents for my mother's birthday, and all I could comprehend when told I had to leave was, "Oh, please no, let me just finish this book!"
  You will not want to put The Cleansing down.
  I don't know what else to say except, "Please, please, PLEASE read this book, and join in on my fangirling excitement."

Book                                ebook

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Girl of Lies by Charles Sheehan-Miles Book Release and Giveaway!

Girl of Lies is here!!!!

Yes, the book we've all been waiting for, Girl of Lies, is finally here!

Andrea Thompson is smart, assertive and beautiful. She’s also desperately lonely. Raised in Europe by her grandmother, she struggles knowing neither of her parents wanted her, and she has no idea why.

When Andrea receives an urgent call from her older sister Carrie, she agrees to fly to the United States to help. Carrie’s newborn daughter Rachel needs a bone marrow transplant. 

What Andrea doesn’t know is that her return to the United States will launch a chain of events that will uncover secrets hidden for decades. Secrets which will rock the Thompson family and ignite a political firestorm.

Secrets that some will kill to protect.

Here's what I thought: 

  Charles Sheehan-Miles' Thompson Sisters books are going to be the death of me, I swear to it. Girl of Lies, Charles' latest book, is the fourth installment in the Thompson Sisters series, but book one in the Rachel's Peril trilogy. (First in the sisters' series is Just Remember to Breathe about Dylan and Alex, next is A Song for Julia about Crank and...well, obviously Julia, The Last Hour about Ray and Carrie, and finally, Girl of Lies about Andrea, the mysterious Thompson Sister who is...barely even there...)
  I was beyond ecstatic to finally be back with the Thompson sisters! I was even more ecstatic to finally find out why Andrea's story was so mysterious and vague...Andrea is the Thompson sister that is barely even mentioned in the three previous books, but even when little is said about her, she is very well known and wondered about. She was a mystery that every Charles Sheehan-Miles fan wanted to solve.
  When I finished Girl of Lies, I had a, "WHAT? No!" moment, followed shortly by a, "Please tell me I received a warped copy." After reading The Last Hour, I thought that nothing could top how amazing and breathtaking that book was...but I was wrong. Charles took the bar, and raised it another notch. 
  I honestly wish I had all the free time in the world, because if I did, I would fill my free time with Charles' books. I would reread Just Remember to Breathe, I would reread A Song for Julia, and yes, I would reread The Last Hour, even though that book is probably one of the most heartbreaking books I've ever read. (And that includes the seventh Harry Potter book. I know..that bad.)
  Charles Sheehan-Miles' books are full of romance, intrigue, suspense, emotion, and excitement, especially Girl of Lies. His books are positively captivating, you will not want to put a single one down.
  ...But saying that, I also have to include that this one, Girl of Lies, is one of my favorites. It is positively exceptional. 

Buy Girl of Lies:

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JOIN Charles for the release day party on December 20th! Prizes, games and more, only at:

Charles' Bio:

Charles Sheehan-Miles has been a soldier, computer programmer, short-order cook and non-profit executive, and is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books, including the indie bestsellers Just Remember to Breathe and Republic: A Novel of America's Future. 

To follow Charles Sheehan-Miles...





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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ride by J.C. Emery

  Ride by J.C. Emery is the first book in the Bayonet Scars series, and it may have possibly one of the coolest teasers in the world of literature: "Death comes in Armani. Salvation comes in leather." This here sums up the very plot and anticipation of J.C. Emery's Ride. 
  Alex Mancuso is the Principessa of the family. She is the princess. The baby girl surrounded by her protective Italian family who dabbles in some pretty risky business. The Mancuso family (more specifically Alex's dad) are not the kind of people you turn your back on if you've done them wrong. 
  After a deadly shootout occurs involving Alex's brother Michael, and her entire family is arrested for dabbling in drugs, Alex is taken away from her home and into the possession of a long lost aunt...and a man who infuriates her, and entrances her. 
  I was actually lucky enough to receive an autographed copy of Ride! I talked a bit with Ms Emery and put Ride on my immediate To Be Read list. This book was absolutely engrossing. I really enjoyed it, but if you decide to pick it up and you dislike it, I bet even then you still won't be able to put it down. J.C. Emery's Ride just has that effect on you. You pick it up and you cannot put it down.
  I've read my share of frustrating relationships...but dang, does Ride take the cake! Ryan, the enigmatic bad boy frustrates and angers me beyond belief. So much so that he is probably the only male character I've read about and hated, though I didn't absolutely hate the book. (Unlike another I won't mention.) Because I do love this book. But UGH! Ryan! He's just so infuriating, I wanted to scream at him and Alex. 
  But Alex, on the other hand, was awesome. She was snarky, strong (even at her worst of times), and smart, even though she did some not-so-good things as well. 
  ...Then there will be that spark of recognition in my mind where I see past the horribleness of the character, and discover what the author sees. I get to look past his tough, macho, Alpha Male personality and see him as J.C. Emery sees him...a lost boy. 
  So, long review short, I'll say this...J.C. Emery, I NEED the next book!!! I am addicted to this guilty pleasure. 

Book                                ebook

Sunday, December 15, 2013

An Interview With Author Eric Rappe

I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with author Eric Rappe and discussing his book Redemption, his latest projects, and what inspired him to be an author. Please be my guest and sit down with a nice cup of tea, relax, and join us in our conversation. Enjoy!

The Literary Connoisseur: Hello, Eric! Thank you for joining us and answering questions for your fans. Let's begin. Some authors say that they grew up with reading and writing. Their parents read to them, they read to their kids, etc. Have you always been so passionate about reading and writing?

Eric Rappe: That is a great question. In short the answer is "no." As a young child my mom would read to me and I am sure I loved it, but as a kid that could do it on my own, I hated reading. I was very active in sports and being outdoors so reading felt like a bit of a chore. I wanted to be playing football or wrestling, so I was not able to focus enough on a story to really get into it. There were a couple of books that I read and enjoyed (Watership Down is still one of my favorites) but for the most part it was not until I joined the army and had to play "hurry up and wait" all the time, that I started to read for fun. That is also when I realized what I had been missing!

The Literary Connoisseur: I hear young Eric, your son, is an author now too! Is he also a fan of reading? Did you read to him when he was younger?

Eric Rappe: Eric Jr loves to read as long as he is not TOLD to do so. Haha. We read together every night. My heart swells with pride when he reads me his own book. I am truly a proud daddy. I have even caught him working his way through the pages of my book, and it brings a smile to my face just thinking about it.

The Literary Connoisseur: Redemption dabbles in fantasy, wizardry, and mythology...what made you veer towards this genre? Have you worked/are you working in any other genres?

Eric Rappe: I have always been fascinated by the Arthurian tale. I just think it was an exciting time in history, and the stories that spawned from that time have all of the great things a good story needs. Jack Whyte is the one that really got me hooked. His series about Merlin and Arthur is, hands down, my favorite series ever.

The Literary Connoisseur: You're very active in cruise ship safety laws, and cases involving them...please tell us a bit about your involvement with this movement.

Eric Rappe: As I mentioned my brother vanished from a ship in November of 2012. We don't know exactly what happened, and probably never will. The reason for this is that the industry has become very adept at sweeping things under the rug. I have recently been to Washington and lobbied for stricter laws that would help consumers make informed decisions before heading out to sea. I also just returned from doing an interview with 20/20 about this matter. It was a great experience, and I hope it helps to force change. It should air in January. I hope some of your readers will watch!

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you currently working on anything new? I think I've heard a bit about a sequel to Redemption...

Eric Rappe: Well there is the thriller, but that is a labor of love and stress so it is a long way out. I am in fact working on book two of the Chronicles of Caldor series. It will be called "Chaos" and follows the turmoil that can sometimes arise when a new king takes control. 

The Literary Connoisseur: Have you thought about traveling on a book tour? If you could travel anywhere to promote Redemption, where would you go?

Eric Rappe: I would love to travel, but as an independent writer with young children it is tough. The cost is high, and the time hard to come by. As for where I would go, that is tough. There are a great many places that I think my book might do well, at least compared to other places, but I have a place in my heart for Florida. I am a die hard Miami Dolphins fan and even have a tattoo to prove it. I also love the warm ocean, and the sunshine. At least that way I could go see a Fins game and write the trip off as a business expense. Hahaha.

The Literary Connoisseur: Who are some of your favorite authors and what do you like to read?

Eric Rappe: Jack Whyte is far and away my favorite. He takes fantasy and puts it into a form of reality that I have never seen before. I also like Richard Adams. His tales of very human issues told through the eyes of animals is a creative and entertaining way to tell a story. 
I enjoy a great many books, but I find that if it is too real, I might lose interest. I like monsters and magic and war. There are a number of reality type books that I have enjoyed, Lord of the Flies, Where the Red Fern Grows, To Kill a Mockingbird, but Medieval Fantasy is probably what I enjoy the most.

The Literary Connoisseur: Would you like to see your books be made into a mini-series or movie? How do you feel about book to movie/show adaptations?

Eric Rappe: I am really interested in having it converted into a screenplay. I think that as long as you understand going in that they are going to take some artistic freedom with your work it is typically fine. Most books are better than the movies made about them, but they do help spread the word and sell more books. It is a tough battle. If someone wanted to make a movie from Chronicles, I would probably say yes as long as I can be involved in the artistic process.

The Literary Connoisseur: In what atmosphere do you find it most comfortable to write?

Eric Rappe: I prefer my desk in my Miami Dolphins themed "man cave." I keep it surrounded with things that inspire me. Pictures of my family and friends. Statues of knights, and even Darth Vader. I know it sounds odd to say Vader, but I find him to be one of the greatest characters ever written. He has a little of everything and he inspires me. I also have a laptop, and do a great deal of my writing on it while taking care of my kids or traveling, but the desk is my favorite and most productive place to work.

The Literary Connoisseur: Where would you like to see yourself ten years from now?

Eric Rappe: In ten years I would like to be finished with the Chronicles series. I think it will be three books, but it could be as little as two or as many as four. I have another story that I want to write, but for some reason I am putting it off until this series is done. Hopefully in ten years I will have accomplished my goals with the cruise industry as well, and that will free up even more time to write. I can't lie. I have grown out of the active life I had as a child and now want to nothing more than to tell the stories that are swimming around in my head, so I guess I hope to be right where I am. A lucky and loved father, who gets to spend his days doing what he loves. Telling stories, and getting reviews from the number one book reviewer in the world. The Literary Connoisseur!

The Literary Connoisseur: Thank you so much for joining us, Eric! I wish you the best on your success.

Eric Rappe: It is my pleasure. Thank you for supporting us writers and I wish you all the best in years to come. 

Eric's book Redemption...

Caldor: A country ravaged for decades by fear and uncertainty. In an attempt to undo the wrongs of the tyrannical king, Arken murdered his own father, and took the crown for himself. It was not long before King Arken fell into the same trappings of power that had consumed his father. Now; many years later the burden of freedom must fall on someone else. Torn between loyalty to his king, and love for his country, Sir Robert Betram must make a choice. Obey his sworn fealty, or take back the country he so loves. His journey will take many unexpected turns. Not only does Robert need to free Caldor from these chains of fear, he must also deal with a new and deeply personal situation. Love.

This, I'm proud to say, is my copy

Eric and his son, Eric Jr., proudly displaying their books

My name is Eric and I am 38 years old. I went to school in Silverton Oregon, And have lived there most of my life. I have 4 children. Fernanda, Nicolas, Eric Jr., and Evan.On January 14 2013 I was voted onto the board for the International Cruise Victims Association. Having lost a brother at sea due to the negligent safety practices of Holland America Cruise lines, I am now dedicating a large portion of my life fighting for laws that make cruise ships accountable for what happens on board their vessels. This blog is both an outlet, and a way to entertain. I will try to post something new often, but with the new book, writing the second and working with ICV, there could be some times when they are fewer than others.. I want my readers to both think, and to laugh. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.

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Thank you all for joining us! I hope you enjoyed Eric's and my ramblings, we're glad you stopped by! Please leave comments, share with your friends, etc.! Thank you so much and Happy Reading!!!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Hunted One by Meg Collett

  I received Ms Collett's book The Hunted One (book one in the End of Days series) as an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) for review purposes about a month ago, and was incredibly excited to start it. I read the synopsis, checked out her author page and noticed that The Hunted One was talked about, well before it was even released! (And still is, since it officially hasn't come out yet.) Now I know why...
  As I type this, it has been about 20 minutes since I've finished the book Just, absolutely and positively wow. Based on how easily I fell in love with the story, I knew I was going to rate it around four to five stars, but now that I've finished it and am one step away from begging Meg for the next book, I HAVE to rate it five stars. The author initiates you into this adventure that Michaela, our main character, is thrown into and once you're in, you won't want to be let go. 
  Michaela has just been betrayed by her Archangel brothers and sisters, and was tricked into letting the Fallen into Heaven. Michaela's life long-partner and confidant Gabriel was tossed into Hell, Michaela has just committed a horrific crime, and Lucifer has just ripped off her wings, banishing her from Heaven. Michaela is done for...or so we think. She is saved by Clark, an angel protector, and must fix and stop what has started. Here starts the beginning of the End of Days series. 
  This book will hook you and addict you from the very first page. I would know, because I am a recent addict of Meg Collett's books. 
  There are many incredible and absolutely mind-blowing things about this book and Meg Collett's writing. Among them are Michaela's strong will and backbone, making her a beyond amazing heroine, a character that provides comic relief when you feel as if there's no hope left in the world, and most of all, and my favorite; how easy it is picture what the author is describing. As Ms Collett (and Michaela) was describing the angels and their array of transformations, I could easily picture what was happening as it was happening, without even closing my eyes. When someone was in trouble, I could feel it. When a beautiful or horrible scene was playing, I could see it and I could feel the emotions emanating from it. 
  These are the signs of a soon-to-be New York Times best selling saga writer. 
  Meg Collett has greatness awaiting her, I just know it.
  I am ecstatic, nervous and immensely excited to read on in the End of Days series, and I can only hope and pray that she has mercy on my favorite characters.

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