Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Review: A Lifetime for Revenge by Natalie G Owens

A Lifetime for Revenge (The Valthreans: Book 2) by Natalie G Owens

Keeping it simple doesn't always work out so well…

After exacting his longed-for revenge, Massimiliano “Max” Damiani’s life is about to get more complicated when he is sent by the Valthrean Council to investigate the mysterious death of one of their Councilmen. Duty-bound to protect the victim's daughter and her young brother, the stakes are upped as Max and those around him become targets of a dangerous enemy. The Cult is closing in, threatening the future of their kind.

Fate is a cruel mistress…

Piper Ingram’s existence is thrust into turbulent waters. Her father has been murdered in cold blood and she is now sole guardian to her little brother, Charlie. After years of helping others come to terms with their problems and move on to better lives in a domestic violence shelter, she now needs help protecting herself and her kin.

Salvation comes when we face our deepest fears…

Max values his independence above anything. Meanwhile, this case brings him more trouble than he's bargained for, pushing his limits, and testing his fear of commitment. While striving to keep his personal demons at bay and holding on to his set ways, he fights his attraction to Piper, but he fast learns some things are not within his control. Will he save those entrusted in his care this time? And most importantly, will he finally find redemption ... and love? 



Max Damiani is a strong man with a checkered past and proud of it. He avenged his sister’s death the only way he knew how and although he is not proud of the methods he had to employ, he suffers no remorse for executing the deed. Used to being the problem solver everyone calls upon, he suddenly finds himself in the precarious position of having to protect a woman and her young brother. This is his worst nightmare come true as the boy reminds him too much of his sister and the woman pushes all the wrong—or is it the right?— buttons. 

Piper Ingram is used to protect other people at the shelter she runs. Now she has to submit to being protected by a man who made it clear that he would rather be anywhere else, doing anything else, rather than being charged with the responsibility to protect her and her brother. To top it off the only safe place seems to be Max’s house. 

So the stage is set for a tale of modern romance laced with enough suspense to keep your eyes glued to the pages. Several undercurrents of evil run simultaneously only to converge under the expert hands of the author. Unlike the first book in the series (An Eternity of Roses) this book takes place in the present time only. 

This story illustrates how love can overcome sadness and hatred and how it can provide courage when you thought you had none. Once again this is not a quick read and readers should expect to spend some time enjoying the characters Ms. Owens so expertly created. 

It is a book filled with razor-sharp imagery and on-the-button descriptions of inner conflict. Most of all it is a book that will leave the reader with sense of satisfaction when the last sentence is read. 

Definitely a book I would recommend for readers of paranormal romantic suspense.    

You can buy the book here:

or at any online retailer.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book Review: The Love Commission by Vicki Ballante

Gelsey is a savannah sprite—a fairy in Africa who works to preserve the earth. She’s a pro at eco-balance, but when the fairy queen gives her a commission to become a human to learn the meaning of love, she’s miserable. She has to give it her best as it’s the only way to get her dream job—to save the African Wild Cat. 

After a short time in her new life, Gelsey is swept into the world of Evan’s love. Now, she must make an impossible choice—give up her life with the man who owns her heart or lose her fairyhood forever.

MY REVIEW: 4 stars

People with good hearts have sex without procreating, far too many marriages end with bitter divorces and loads of couples refuse to marry, but elect to simply live together. These are all signs of humanity being ill and to top it all, the earth is suffering under pollution, deforestation and the people willing and able to do something about it, are getting fewer by the generation. Yes, humanity needs saving from itself and only magic will do the trick—according to the Fairy Queen.

So she send Gelsey, a savanna sprite, to the human world to find out why this is happening—why humans have sex without procreating. And thus a tale begins where the meaning of true love is placed under a microscope and stripped of its purported magic.  

Ms. Ballante takes us on a journey of self-discovery where good intentions causes the main characters to make bad decisions—something I’m sure everyone can relate to. Dealing with the consequences of these decisions is what makes these characters note-worthy. There were a few instances where I could happily throttle Gelsey for being so fickle, but the motivation for her decisions was good enough. Although this is a fantasy novel the characters appeared real, their emotions justified and the plot conceivable. 

The best part of this story was the journey the naive Gelsey had to make from innocent in love to the realizing the meaning of true love. The fact that she had to loose so much to gain this insight is what lent this story the depth it needed. 

This is a well-written book where the author kept the bedroom-door open with love scenes hot enough to make you squirm, but with enough emotional twists and turns to keep your eyes glued to the pages until you read the last word.  Definitely an erotic paranormal romance I would recommend. 

Buy The Love Commission at Amazon, Smashwords and any other good online retailers. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review: An Eternity of Roses by Natalie G Owens

Two lovers separated by an evil curse...

It is 1807. Adrian Segrave, Viscount Bournemouthe, and Lady Emmaline Deramore are about to wed and British Society teems with excitement at this imminent love match. But Madeleine de Brandeville, a mysterious Frenchwoman, has her lustful and ambitious sights on the groom. When she sets her cruel plan in motion, she leaves devastation in her path.

A quest through time...

Heartbroken, Emmaline embarks on an adventure she'd never imagined having. As the world changes and chaos brews, her fate becomes linked with the Valthreans, a group of immortals who must learn to face a deadly enemy that threatens their place in the human world. But all the while, there is one thing she wants more than any other -- to get back her man.

When she finally finds her prize, her worst nightmares are far from over and the toughest battle is yet to begin.

Is this love meant to be, after all?

Please bear in mind that is my opinion of the book. Every person experience a book differently and what might be a great book to me, might be absolutely horrible to you. 
So without further ado here is my thoughts on the book:
4 out of 5 Stars
“This particular day, God had painted a lackluster sky and overpopulated it with moisture-filled gray clouds.” By Natalie Owens from An Eternity of Roses (The Valthreans Book 1)
Filled with gems like this one, Natalie Owens provides the reader with a journey into the wonder- world of painting with words in her paranormal romance An Eternity of Roses. Spanning several centuries, the story is about love—the power thereof and the perseverance of those lucky souls who’d found true love and wanted to reclaim it. It shows that love is indestructible, neither time nor evil could obliterate it. This is a powerful story written with excellent word usage to draw the reader right into the world of Emmaline and Adrian.
Every story has to have a villain and An Eternity of Roses is no different. Without providing a spoiler, I have to mention that Madeleine de Brandeville was portrayed as a well-balanced antagonist with enough character traits for the reader to understand her motivations. At times I pitied the woman for her brazen refusal to accept that love can never be forced.
This is not a quick read and readers should prepare themselves to spend some time with the characters Ms. Owens so skillfully created. The language is prosaic and the imagery is superb. The plot was well planned and executed and the ending left the reader with a sigh of satisfaction which in my opinion is a sign of a good book. 
Overall this is a book I would recommend to all lovers of paranormal romance.     
You can buy the book here:
and at other reliable online retailers

Monday, March 23, 2015

Great Article on Harlequin Romances

I seldom just repeat other people's posts or refer my readers to them, but today I found an article that is well worth mentioning. Kelly Faircloth wrote an article on ​How Harlequin Became the Most Famous Name in Romance that every reader of romance should read. (Please read it and take the time to let me know if you also found it highly informative.) 

This article is well-researched and offers loads of information—and inspiration—to readers and writers of romance alike. What I like most about Kelly's approach is that the article is balanced with informed opinions.

She starts the article with: "For the average person, romance novels bring to mind one word: Harlequin." This is true whether you read romance or not. For most romance writers their biggest aspiration is to be able to one day state: "I write for Harlequin." So to read where it all began was a wonderful experience for me.

This really is one article you should make time to read.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Author Interview: Inge Saunders

Today we welcome another South African author, Inge Saunders to our blog to answer some of the author questions. Inge's debut novel was released on 23 December 2014 and I trust there are many more being released soon. 

What genre do you write in? Any specific reason why you chose this genre?

I love writing romance, specifically in the sub-categories contemporary and what some would call chicklit since some of my stories aren’t quite your straightforward Harlequin types. They are fresh, humorous, elements of ‘the real’ (my phrase for issues characters haveJ) but always has froth and a lightness to it that doesn`t make the story feel stifled. My first ‘grown up’ novel, Falling for Mr. Unexpected, has a nice blend of these elements and helped me to explore what I`d like to ‘see’ in my future contemporary romance novels.   

I also write YA, stories that range from high fantasy to paranormal/supernatural romances and even science fiction. It`s funny how I always have this image in my head of being a movie director, having to understand the motivation and challenges for every character, even the minor ones.

The earliest advice I was given (at age fourteen) when I started writing, was to write stories I`d be interested in. And that`s the reason I write in these genres.

Where do you get the ideas for your books? How do you get from idea to outline?

Like I mentioned above, I write what interests me. I think the moment you start to try to emulate what`s out there and what people say sells, than it`s going to be hard to stay true to your voice. Of course it does help when current fads in books inspires you, but I`d say first write what interests you. They`re unique to you, which already will make your story stand out from the rest.

I get my ideas from books, TV, life, people, art, and music…basically everything.  Falling for Mr. Unexpected was largely influenced by Pop Culture and Celebrity Culture. I was watching ENews (yeah I know *laughs*) and another sex scandal was being reported on. The ‘news’ report became one of the external conflicts in the book.

My process for outlining ideas vary, when I entered sytycw2012 it wasn`t preplanned, in fact it was the first time I`d heard of the competition. So I was basically writing by the seat of my pants *lol* However in 2011, I had started writing a YA series with very detailed mind-maps. I used them as a means to keep track of characters and sub-plots since I was writing across categories: supernatural and science fiction.

I`m more prone to ‘pen’ down an outline/brief synopsis of where I want to go. I would go so far as to note down little writing cues or quirks the character would have. Some might not make it into the story, but it makes my characters more three dimensional. I`m not big on outlining the story from start to finish, the mystery would be lost for me. I`d become bored. So you wouldn`t find me with a storyboard outlining each tiny aspect but more broad concepts especially focused on character development/conflict/the stakes.  Usually when a story get`s to this stage it also means I`ve written 1-3 chapters on it, which is another crazy thing I do.

I love to jot down ideas then scenes to see how much I like the story or characters. I would usually move on from there. A recent YA story idea I got from a quote I saw on Twitter. I typed out the quote and left it to spook me for more than a week, then I sat down and wrote 2 Chapters. I have a big picture of where I want to go but will only outline it when the idea has marinated some more.

A current contemporary romance I`m working on however didn`t get the same treatment, I`ve written a brief synopsis, and pondered some questions in regards to the characters: what`s their overall story goal besides romance? What must they learn about love? What are the stakes besides heart break? How to make their major conflict internal? And then one of my favorite things to do, write down ‘20 things your reader will never know about your character’. The last tip has a way of seeping into your story without you even realizing, which makes it much richer.  

If you have to choose only one element (setting/character development/ structure/ conflict/ etc.) that is absolutely essential to every novel you've written, what would it be? Why?

Conflict. Without this element I have no interest in writing a story. I wrote my fist story at age fourteen, and proceeded to, on and off, write stories through high school. Then for a couple of years at varsity I was more focused on academia and hanging out with friends, that writing consisted mostly of poetry. At age twenty-two I started writing again, both times when the novel writing bug bit it wasn`t only about the love interest of the characters (interesting as that were) but the personal obstacles they had to overcome that kept me going. Every story I`ve abandoned since can be attributed to conflict. There either weren’t enough or the right kind. So at this point in my writing journey, I focus a lot of conflict, I`ve even gone back to ‘study’ the classics like Jane Eyre just to get a feel for it. 

How much time do you spend on getting to know your characters before you start the first draft? Why?

This wasn`t something I did when I first started out. I would just delve head first into a story and drown myself in it, discover my characters as they discovered themselves *laughs* What this translated into afterward was a lot of editing and polishing and asking ‘what the hell?’

I now slow cook characters in my head and on paper. I even employ Pinterest and think of celebrity lookalikes for them. I ponder their role in the family structure, e.g. what kind of child were they like? Especially if it`s important for my story. What are their insecurities? Pet Peeves? Favorite ice-cream? It sounds like work, but then again we all know writing isn`t as easy as people think *wink*

And yes, I am that weird author who has conversations with my characters in my head; it makes them human to me. They become people and sometimes take over the story without my knowledge as I type late into the night J I do all of this because I know I`ll end up with well developed characters as opposed to one dimensional ones. Even villains and bad boys have layers. Explore that thoroughly before committing them to paper, all of it might not end up in the story, but it does add something to your writing. 

What is your writing process like? Do you finish the first draft and then start editing or do you edit while you write? Is there any specific reason why you do it like that?

Since I`ve worked with a professional editor, I`m not as ‘free’ to just sit down and write and overused-words-be-damned- I`m going to let my muse run wild. Nope. But I`m also not religious about editing a first draft.

I think there`s a fine line. There`s a point you have to shut out your inner critic and just write the story. It`s called a first draft for a reason. And I also have to add, something wonderful happens when you shut out all the voices, close the mental door to rigid lines and just go for it.  A diamond in the rough is still a diamond, so don`t sweat the rough so much.

So I`m more conscious of how I write but not to the extent where it cripples creativity, I believe you should write first, edit second. Because either way, you`re still going to have to edit that first draft.

If you have to give one sentence advice to a novice writer, what would it be?

Develop thick skin early on and be teachable *laughs*

Could you please give us a list of your published books and a short blurb about each one? Please state the publisher and year published as well.

Falling for Mr. Unexpected

Can Emma fall for Mr. Unexpected when she doesn’t believe in Mr. Right or even Mr. Right Now…?

Primary school teacher Emma Cupido compares the notion of “The One,” with believing in the Tooth Fairy. When the school holidays starts, she heads for her brother-in-law`s beach house in Strand, South Africa and stumbles on more than she bargained for.

Hollywood heartthrob, Damian Davidson flees LA thinking his beach house in SA would be a safe hideout from his sex scandal. He’s had his fill of manipulative women and when he mistakes Emma for a crazy fan, all hell breaks loose.

Emma and Damian get off to a rocky start but first impressions can be deceiving. Is there more to Damian than the superficial taint of Hollywood? And what happens when she agrees to a trip to LA? Will Emma become a believer in “The One” or just another Hollywood scandal?

She didn’t put her clothes back on, only lumped them together, shoes and all, and hurried back into the house via the still-open patio. Emma released a loud, earsplitting scream.
Before her stood a half-naked man, dressed only in a white towel.
As this knowledge registered, so did the fact she wore little else but her underwear. Her eyes nearly popped out of their sockets, and she still hadn’t stopped screaming.
“Would you stop that!” the half-naked stranger yelled in a deep baritone, causing her to clip her mouth shut.
“Who are you? What are you doing here? I’m calling the police!”
He didn’t flinch; instead, he turned his back on her and walked to the small side table next to a big white-and-blue sofa.
Before his huge frame obscured her vision, she made out a black cordless phone. Her chest heaved while she mutely watched him pick up the phone.
This must be an aberration brought on by the effects of frolicking in the ocean; there was no way she was having a confrontation with a half-naked man, in her sister’s house, on the first day of her stress-free beach holiday.
Her brain hiccupped at her illogical conclusion. Nope, what’s happening is, in fact, real.
“I’m sick and tired of this,” he said into the phone and gave her a glare over his shoulder. “If it’s not underwear in the mail, naked photos on my windshield, it’s an intruder running around naked in my home.” His fiery eyes burned holes into her.
“What?” she blurted. She clutched her dry clothes in front of herself. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”

 *Falling for Mr. Unexpected published in 23 December 2014 and now available directly from
 Where can we find you on social media?

You can connect with me on my blog: Inge Saunders - Inside These Lines

About Inge Saunders

Inge Saunders form part of ROSA (Romance writers` Organization of South Africa), where she`s learned a lot from all the veterans there. She was ballsy enough to enter sytycw2012, write a 60k romance novel “Falling for Mr. Unexpected” in three weeks, that`s coming out with Decadent Publishing in 2014.
She writes romance/chick-lit for a mature audience, but has a passion for YA and the supernatural since Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Interview with a Vampire (books and movies). You can find her first YA series here: http://w.tt/1mJRb6X