Book Review: Vampire Royals (Books 1-3) by Leigh Walker

About the Books:

Book 1: The Pageant

The Pageant (Vampire Royals #1)

Who’s the fairest of them all?
Young women from every settlement in the land are being handpicked to enter The Pageant, a beauty contest reminiscent of Miss Universe from the old days. Gwyneth West’s social-climbing mother wants her to compete, by Gwyn isn’t so sure…
The Pageant is government-sponsored. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen, participation is mandatory. Aggressive competition is allowed, even encouraged.

And then there’s the prize…
The winner of The Pageant gets a marriage proposal from Dallas Black, otherwise known as The Dark Prince. Dallas is the son of King Black, who won the last world war and now governs the new settlements. The Royal Family is mysterious. Rumor has it they don’t sleep. Rumor has it they eschew the sun.
Rumor has it they’re immortal.
When Gwyn is thrust into The Pageant, she fights to survive the competitive nature of the other contestants.
But even if wins…can she survive a vampire fiancé?

 

Book 2: The Gala

The Gala (Vampire Royals #2)

 

FOUR WEEKS. TWENTY CONTESTANTS. ONE PRINCE.

The Pageant is almost over, and Gwyneth West knows she can win—except the prince is a vampire, and some of the other contestants are turning out to be quite beastly.

What do you do when the person you love…might want to eat you alive?

Struggling to hold onto her position in the palace, Gwyn knows her vampire prince could slip through her fingers in an instant. And when human rebels threaten to storm the vampire royals once more, Gwyn finds herself caught between two worlds: her people, and the vampire she loves.

Leigh Walker writes action packed futuristic sci-fi, sweet romantic vampire novels, and stories that capture your heart and then make it race.

 

Book 3: The Finale

The Finale (Vampire Royals #3)

A ROYAL WEDDING IS COMING…BUT WHICH CONTESTANT WILL BE THE BRIDE?

Gwyneth West’s a finalist in The Pageant, the dating competition that’s gripping the settlements. Down to the final week, the dashing Prince Dallas Black will choose one young woman as his fiancé.
One small issue: Gwyneth’s a human and the prince is a vampire. What’s worse? Gwyneth’s family are sworn rebels, out to take back the settlements and overthrow the crown. What’s worse than that? Gwyn’s own rebel brother is a prisoner in the castle dungeons, but the king and queen don’t know his true identity.
Gwyneth and Dallas want to show the settlements that vampires and humans can live together in peace. But as their differences threaten to tear them apart, Gwyneth discovers her love puts the prince at risk.
How do you choose between love and duty?

 

My Thoughts:

This series is very similar to ‘The Selection’ series. However, there are some differences including the fact that the Prince and his family are Vampires. The author starts this off as rumors which are later shown as the truth. The concept of vampires and humans living side by side and co-existing is a strong idea that both the Prince and Gwyn, the heroine of the story, share. The story is indeed fun to read, following the very cliched concept of a competition to find the best suitor for the Prince. However, the idea behind this is to find a way to unite all the settlements and to bring peace while trying to keep the rebel groups at bay.

The synopsis of the story promises aggressive competition, but nothing about the story is aggressive. The story centers on the chemistry between the Prince and Gwyn, giving us only minor glimpses of the interactions with the other contestants. To keep in line with the contest, there are some sections of the story devoted to etiquette training and history of the kingdom and the settlements. However, there is not a lot of character development for the other girls in the story and this takes away from the main theme of the contest.

The story then continues into the two other books, focusing on the Prince’s interaction with the girls, bringing it down to the top four contestants and his relationship with his parents. Each girl is unique in her own way and it is wonderful to read about their rivalries but also about how they come together in the end. We are also provided some insight into Gwyn’s background and her family and her relationship with the King and Queen. The love and understanding that develops between her and the prince is beautiful to read about.

Overall, this series is fun and enjoyable especially for those who love the idea of vampires and human’s together, though there is not a lot of focus on the supernatural aspect of the characters. The books are short and easy to read. They can each be read in one sitting and are a good stress free read!

Book Review: Gracie’s Secret by Jill Childs

About the Book:

Gracie's Secret

My dearest daughter, I will never forget the day I nearly lost you. The day you learned the secrets that would tear our lives apart…

Time stops for Jen when her beloved daughter, Gracie, is involved in a terrible car crash. Pronounced dead at the scene, it’s a miracle when paramedics manage to then resuscitate the little girl. The relief Jen feels at Gracie’s recovery is matched only by her fury at the driver of the car – her ex-husband’s new girlfriend Ella. Jen has never trusted Ella, and now her worst fears have been confirmed.

But then Gracie begins to tell strange stories about what she heard in the car that day, and what she saw in those moments near death. It’s clear that there’s something shocking hidden in Ella’s past… but exposing it could tear all their lives apart.

An emotional page-turner that will take your breath away. Perfect for fans of Jodi Picoult, Lisa Wingate, and Kerry Fisher.

My Thoughts:

Gracie’s Secret is indeed a compelling read and focuses upon a parent’s love for their child as well as the trauma of almost losing a child.

The story follows Jen as she gets the dreaded call that her three year old daughter is in the hospital in a coma. Jen blames Ella, her ex-husband’s girlfriend, who, she finds out was also in the car crash that put her daughter in a coma. The author focuses on the trauma and grief that the characters go through, each dealing with their own fears and demons. Luckily, Gracie comes out of her coma and goes home with her mother. After this, the main story begins, where Gracie starts to talk about Angels and heaven. It is here that some parts of the story are not easy to relate to or believe. I guess it is up to the reader and their way of looking at it. The story starts to follow both Jen and Ella as we find out more about them and the secrets being held. Nothing is ever as it seems!

The characters are fine, but could have been developed more. Jen gets a little annoying after a while as we see her obsession with her daughter grow and hatred towards Ella increase. Gracie seems more mature than her age and even talks like an older child. The other characters are okay but could have been further developed.

However, in-spite of all this, the plot is full of suspense with an ending that the reader will not even imagine. The book is well-written and is definitely worth a read!

Book Review: Alpha Kaden by Midika Crane

Alpha Kaden was first put up on Wattpad. The popularity of the book and it’s author led to Inkitt picking the book up for publication. It is slated to release on May17th 2017.

I was provided with a complimentary copy by Inkitt in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Alpha Kaden

“Lock your doors. Hold them tight. Close your windows. Every night. Don’t go out, in case he’s there. Always live in total fear.”

Everyone knows of Alpha Kaden, a man of twisted riddles and cryptic puzzles. His identity is one of them. His touch, another. He is feared throughout all 13 packs for his reputation of stealing young women out of their beds. And tonight he has come to steal Mara to make her a player in his wicked game.

But when Mara discovers the truth behind his sadistic mind games everything changes and she finds herself questioning what is real, and what is not. Mara always assumed her mate would be a man from her own pack. A good man. Not a sadistic, sinful Alpha named Kaden.

My Thoughts:

 I’ve picked  up a book in the supernatural genre after a very long time and it felt good to read this one. I particularly enjoy a lot of the books that are written on Wattpad and am very happy that this one is going to be published!

The story follows Mara, a werewolf from the Purity Pack, who gets kidnapped by Alpha Kaden. Alpha Kaden of the Vengeance Pack has a reputation that’s worse that just bad. With this idea in mind, Mara slowly comes to know who he really is and as the story unfolds, we come across a plot that is far deeper than a simple romance story. Many of the characters we encounter along the way, with Mara, are delightful and likable, while some we come to dislike.

The story is well written and has all elements of a romantic thriller. The focus is on so many things which makes it worth the read. The story behind Mara’s mate and how they find each other forms an integral part of the plot along with the many hidden truths that unravel. A story worth reading for all fans of the supernatural!

In Conversation with Dane Cobain

Here at redpillows, I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with author and poet, Dane Cobain.

Dane Cobain

His work is quite diverse and spans fiction, non-fiction and poetry. His first work No Rest for the Wicked was released in the summer of 2015.

Read on to know what Dane would like to share!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, I’m Dane! I’m a British writer who works across all sorts of genres, from horror and literary fiction to non-fiction and poetry. You can check out my work over here: www.danecobain.com/amazon

  1. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I suppose it all started when I was six or seven years old, singing parodies of popular songs with my own lyrics. When I was a teenager, I started to take it a lot more seriously, and the rest if history (and sweat, a lot of that too).

  1. You write such diverse things, novels and poetry, how do you manage that?

Honestly, I just don’t stop. I constantly work on finding ways to optimise my time and to cram as much productivity in as possible. I write a poem a day during the week, and I work on them while on cigarette breaks. Because my poems aren’t too long, I usually also get to spend a little time outlining stories, novels, marketing plans and other things that are stuck in my head. I write longer form things at the computer, while switching between other activities in a ridiculously specific routine I call ‘The Schedule’.

  1. Where do you find inspiration for your poetry?

Life, mainly. But my poetry is unique in that I only include maybe 5% of the poems that I write in the published collections. Sometimes, there isn’t much inspiration, but I still write poems – I just don’t share them.

  1. What are your favourite genres and your favourite books?

I like to read modern classics and ‘alternative’ books, as well as plenty of indie books and new releases thanks to my book blog (SocialBookshelves.com). Some of my favourite writers include Graham Greene, Charles Bukowski, Phillip Pullman, Terry Pratchett and, lately, Stephen King.

  1. Which kind of writing (genre) do you prefer?

They all have their pros and cons and, to be honest, when I’m writing, I don’t usually have a genre in mind. That comes when I get to the marketing stage. I don’t think I can answer this – sorry!

  1. Tell us a little about your research process while working on a novel.

It totally depends upon the novel, but I’m trying to carry out quite a lot for a current project. Unfortunately, the project itself is a bit of a secret, but it involves interviewing subject matter specialists from charities, reading books and documentaries and spending a hell of a lot of time looking at photos and videos that I’d much rather not look at.

  1. Who is your favourite character among those you have created and why?

Hmmm. It’s a tough one to call, but it’s probably Maile O’Hara from my upcoming series of detective novels. She’s basically me, if I was a woman and had specialised in computer stuff instead of writing.

  1. Describe a perfect writing day for you.

I wake up whenever I wake up and stay at home, working until I go to sleep while watching Netflix and chillin’ with my girlfriend. She’s only able to put up with me because she’ll quite happily play Skyrim while I’m working and we both have good taste in documentaries.

  1. What do you find most difficult while writing a novel?

Getting started during the planning stage. The more you plan, the more it all starts to come together, but the early days can be overwhelming. Once you’ve got a plan in place, it just becomes a case of endurance. You just need to stick with it.

  1. What do you find most difficult about writing poetry?

There are no rules. It’s just you and a blank piece of paper. It’s liberating, but it’s also terrifying – especially if you’re like me and you hate rhyming poetry

  1. Do you have any advice to share about writing a novel/poetry?

You just need to be prepared for heartbreak, do your best and stick at it. And you’d better make sure that you work with a decent editor if you want your book to be at its best.

Connect with the author:

Goodreads, Twitter

Author Website

Book Review: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

CHAMELEON

By

Zoe Kalo

4019c-chameleon

Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural

Word count: 55,000

Release date: February 2017

Premise:

Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer.

Blurb:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

My Thoughts:

A dark psychological thriller, this story has just the right amount of paranormal and psychosis to spook the reader a little. The story emphasizes on the bonds people form in life and how each one affects the person. Keeping secrets, guarding them at the expense of others’ lives also plays a major role in the plot line. The story is well written and will send chills down your spine at some places. It is easy to relate to some of the characters, their feelings and thoughts.

The author has a unique style of expression which is evident across all her works and is quite pronounced in this story. She has ensured that this book is as different from the others and that the reader will be hooked until the end. There is no stopping once you take the first step into the story.

As Paloma tries to deal with the death of her father, she encounters a group of girls who share strange bonds with each other at an isolated convent. She is sent there by her mother and step-father, with the intent of reform. Little does she know that she will stumble upon some well kept secrets that threaten to come out once she is there. Who knows to what extent a person will go to protect the ones they love and their secrets? The author also highlights the power of suggestion and how trust plays a major role in a persons life. As dark and tragic as this book may be, it has a lot of lessons that are relevant. Though a little slow on the uptake, give the story a chance and pursue it.

A wonderful read, with well developed characters, the right amount of darkness associated with them and the plot, this is worth a read!

Book Review: Esper Files by Egan Brass

I received a free copy of this book from the team at Inkitt in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

When an experiment goes wrong In Victorian London, Espers, people with supernatural abilities are created. In order to counter this new potential threat, the Institute is set up to teach Espers how to use their abilities for good and how to hunt down those who want to use their powers for evil.

Gifted with a formidable but self-destructive ability, Nathan is one of the Institute’s top agents. When the evil Baron executes his plan of controlling the minds of London’s political leaders, peace is dependent on Nathan and his team.

Will he learn to control his powers in time to save the world? Or will he succumb to their self-destructive nature?

My Thoughts:

Wow! This is a gripping tale of people with special powers/abilities living in a world of normal humans and the problems they face. Think X-men, with an institute, a professor and a whole lot of children being trained to accept their powers and learn how to use them. But, even with this comparison, the story holds its own, with enough differentiation to not make it cliched or the same as any thing the reader may have encountered.

The author has created characters who will enthrall you and pull you along with them. The story is well written and descriptive enough to keep the images running in your mind as the scenes are happening. The fight scenes are wonderful and a lot of research and effort seems to have been dedicated to writing them as there is an obvious attention to detail. Nathan, with his copy cat abilities and James with his teleportation are the first we encounter of  the Esper’s followed by Freya and her brother. Their powers, unique in nature, drive a lot of the plot. Starting off with the creation of Espers and how they came to exist, details of when their powers are likely to manifest and how to identify an Esper, the author covers all possible angles.

The story moves quickly, almost single mindedly in a specific direction and comes to a climactic end, leaving enough room for the next book. A great adventure to take, this book will have the reader hooked until the very end and is a very enjoyable read! Having said this, I cannot wait to read the next book, which is slated to be released soon.

Cover Reveal: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

~ Cover Reveal ~
Chameleon by Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural
Word Count: 55,000
Release Date: February 2017

Premise:
Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer.

Blurb:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

About the Author:
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
A daughter of adventurous expats, she’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. Currently, she’s working on a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature, which she balances between writing, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.

 
Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web:

Book Review: Obstacles by Christopher Reardon

About the Book:

obstacles

A child will die. You’re afraid to live. Would you go to all lengths to save him? Darkness knows no bounds, as Alcott, an African American doctor sees all too well. The man is petrified by death. His fragile existence rests at the mercy of the universe. This fact is far too much for him to handle. From unyielding nightmares to elevator terrors, he’s lost in paranoia.

Assigned to look after an ill child, Alcott’s horrors only heighten. Gari is a nine-year-old boy with a fatal disease. He will surely pass on within the year. Alcott bonds with him more and more each day. Part of him knows this grim fate just isn’t right.

Alcott befriends a hospital patient. This lunatic forces him to lug home an ancient text on bringing back the dead. Despite the man’s obvious dementia, Alcott attempts the scheme. Charging up a cliff, he recites the chant over ocean gusts.

A god woman glides in from the horizon. She instructs Alcott on the trials to save Gari’s life. These fearsome Obstacles require true strength. From battling sharks to wielding a flail, he must prove fortitude against genuine danger. Alcott decides his fate at this moment.

Death’s claws shall not grasp Gari’s soul.

My Thoughts:

Obstacles is about a man who is ready to face a number of challenges to save a little boy who is dying. For every boon or miracle granted, there is always a price to be exacted and in this case that is the life of the man for the life of the boy. The protagonist is a doctor who is forced to face his own fears and conquer them as well as work with a team of people in some place not quite earth. the rules are quite simple. you play the game until you lose and when you do you are sent back to where you had started with no memory of the obstacles and life goes on. If however you end up winning, then you are completely erased from the face of the earth and all trace of you is removed. it will be as if you never existed. That is of course something very difficult to deal with or comprehend and the author had brilliantly brought out the feelings of the protagonist of this story. At various stages of these obstacles, loyalties are tested and we see that fear, greed and even love make people do things they would never have done outside this situation.

This is a well written book and there is an interesting message that we can get out of it. This story also show how much love can change a person and their sense of duty is a strong guiding force.

A Prayer Series by Samreen Ahsan

About the Books:

20831904    51sKj0OfzdL._AA160_

Adam Gibson is a young and powerful Toronto millionaire. Despite his many blessings, he is an atheist, though he has an altruistic soul. He denies there is a God—until he meets a beautiful stranger in a place that does not exist for anyone but him.

Rania Ahmed strongly believes in God, but has lost hope she will ever find her soul mate. Endowed with hypnotic beauty and cursed by a brutal past, Rania has no idea she has cast a spell on Adam, who has never received more from a woman than physical pleasure. As Adam slowly discovers the true meaning of love from Rania, he begins to face his demons and reconsider his beliefs. He learns to love, forgive and repent. But as Adam grows closer to Rania, a series of strange, unexplained events threatens to drive them apart. To keep her from being destroyed by her past, he must persuade her to trust him with her deepest secrets.

In this spiritual romance, an atheist embarks on a path of enlightenment with a tormented soul who may just have the power to change everything he has ever believed to be true.

 

My Thoughts:

This series is a most compelling read. Once started, it is difficult to put down even for a second. A story of love and religion and belief, this series is full of twists. Set against the backdrop of the modern day, the reader is drawn into a story with supernatural  occurrences and strong beliefs. The protagonist, Rania is a strong believer in God and assumes that everything that happens is for a reason. She believes that all you need to do is have faith and pray and that at some point God will answer those prayers. Adam on the other hand is the true definition of an atheist. His experiences since childhood have moulded him that way and rendered him heartless.

Rania brings faith into his life as he learns to love and face his demons. The reader is given insights into the Islamic culture but the overall message is the same, have faith and believe. Rania on the other hand learns to trust Adam and allows him to slowly break through her defenses. Every situation in this story is a result of some circumstance or someone’s reactions. A lot of insight is given into each of the characters in this story and they are built up well.

Rania and Adam develop a relationship and as it progresses, she learns to trust him enough to share her secrets and he learns to be patient. Being a very wealthy man, Adam tries to shower Rania with gifts but all she wants is his heart and soul. This story focuses on how each character is ultimately forced to face their demons and come to terms with their relationships, be it Adam with his mother or Rania with her father. Some amount of supernatural existence is brought into the story with demons and angels and jinn as explained by Rania. The author shows us that there is more to religion than just blind faith. There is a lot of understanding and patience as well as some amount of trust. Everything happens for a reason and that is reinforced in so many ways throughtout the series.

The stories are split into chapters which tell the story from different points of view. It is sometimes from Rania’s and at other times from Adam’s point of view giving us an insight into the thoughts and feelings of each of the principal characters.

The readers are also reminded that relationships built on trust and faith last longer. I would not say that atheists are wrong, it is just how they think, but reading this story will ensure the reader will stop and re-evaluate their ideas and beliefs. All this has been rendered without the author sounding preachy. A wonderfully written series, this is a brilliant set of books to read which will keep the reader hooked till the end. I am afraid that if I continue raving I will end up letting out most of the story. To avoid that I strongly suggest that everyone should grab copies of the books and bury themselves in the story.

Book Review: Scents and Senses by Loren Secretts

Scents and Senses: Supernatural Friends. What the fairy tales didn’t tell you

scents

Playing the role of a knight in shining armor is more complicated than it seems in the storybooks, as sixteen-year-old Joy discovers when she repeatedly comes to the rescue of a fifteen-year-old human. But when she meddles in the girl’s social life, Starra sends her packing.

Starra is determined to completely dissociate herself from the subterranean creature that has manipulated her life and cast her into the limelight. However, her resolve is soon tested when she becomes involved in a critical situation where supernatural assistance can enable her to carry out a daring plot.

Eventually, Starra’s involvement with her new other-wordly friends extracts a heavy price when she is beset by challenges that range from the down- to-earth struggles of a typical teenage student, to the realm of the fantastic. Nothing prepares her, however, for the ultimate challenge.

Amazon * Smashwords * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

Author Loren Secretts

Loren Secretts was raised in a book-filled home, in a sleepy east coast suburb of the US. These factors are undoubtedly responsible for her early design of a number of exciting imaginary worlds that she could escape to from time to time during her childhood.
In her teen years, between schoolwork and lending an ear to her friends, Loren had less opportunity to go AWOL. Instead, her experience as a confidant to others inspired her to major in psychology in college and earn her M.A. in the field on the west coast.
As an adult, Loren has found fulfillment in her work with children and families for more than a decade. Her passion for writing was revived when she discovered that she enjoyed delving into the human psyche to write psychological reports.
But clients’ reports are safe with Loren, who guards secrets fastidiously. Indeed, one of her aspirations is to work as a psychotherapist for the CIA, but since she now lives with her family in Canada, that dream will have to await its turn…

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest

 My Thoughts:

This is very different from most of the books I have come across. The story is told from two perspectives, one of the main protagonist Joy and the other from Starra’s point of view. The first part of the story deals with how Joy sets Starra up as a friend for her sister Radiance.. We are introduced to a lot of supernatural occurrences and Joy herself is a subterranean creature called Deems who cannot be seen by Humans. Radiance is a cross between a human and a subterranean creature and hence can be seen bu humans and can interact with them easily. Initially the reader is given the impression that Joy is meddling in Starra’s life and later her sister’s, but as the story progresses, we come to appreciate her good nature and can out aside her meddlesome ways.

Though the story revolves around Starra’s life, her family and friends, Joy, Radiance and their brother do play a big role in saving the day. There is an element of fun added in when we read of Starra being made to fly on a Condor. The second part of the story follows Radiance’s interaction with her Deem mother and Starra’s escape to a place near France in an attempt to protect her life. Here she meets a cousin who she takes to and becomes close to only to realise his true nature. The bond of friendship and trust that forms is wonderful. All characters in this story are well thought out and bring to life a well written story.

I really enjoyed reading this as it is very different from other fantasy fiction and is written in a very different way as to keep the reader interested and turning the pages.

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