January 2014 Summary of Books Reviewed

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Winter trees longs

The new years has started with an explosion of wonderful books and new authors for me.  SE Jakes and two of her marvelous series dropped into my hands and heart so I will be passing those recommendations on to you.  SA McAuley released a new contemporary fiction novel, Treadmarks and Trademarks, the start of a new series.  Ditto Susan Laine with her Sparks & Drops.  LA Witt inspired with her gender shifter novel Static, a must read for all.  Shira Anthony’s Symphony In Blue brought her Blue Notes characters together for a series holiday story, perfect reading for all lovers of romance and music.  Horror, fantasy and comedy are all represented here as well as a great non fiction tale by Joel Derfner, Lawfully Wedded Husband:How My Gay Marriage Will Save The American Family, a must read.

So many great books, see what stories you have missed, and make a list.  And don’t forget to check out the best book covers of the month at the end.
*Key:Winter_2
S series
C contemporary
F-fantasy
SF-science fiction
PN-paranormal
SP-supernatural
H-historical
HR-horror
N-Nonfiction
YA-young adult

Rating Scale: 1 to 5, 5 stars is outstanding
5 Star Rating:

Catch A Ghost by SE Jakes C, S
Long Time Gone by SE Jakes C, S
Static by LA Witt, SF
Symphony In Blue by Shira Anthony, C, S
The Engineered Throne by Megan Derr, F
The Fall by Kate Sherwood C. S

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

A Small Miracle Happened by Mari Donne, (4.5 stars) C, holiday
Dirty Deeds by SE Jakes (4.75 stars) C, S
Home for the Hollandaise by BA Tortuga,Julia Talbot *4.5 stars) C
Horsing Around by Torquere Authors, (4.5 stars) A, C
In Discretion by Reesa Herberth (4.5 stars), SF
Lawfully Wedded Husband by Joel Derfner (4.75 stars) N
Refined Instincts by SJ Frost, (4 stars) SP, S
Serenading Stanley by John Inman (4.5 stars), C
Sparks & Drops by Susan Laine (4.5 stars), P, S
Texas Christmas by R.J. Scott (4.75 stars), C, S
The Dreamer by M. King (4 stars), HR
The Lightning Moon by Sylvia A. Winters (4.75 stars) SP
Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley (4.5 stars) C, S

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Ashland by Lynn Lorenz (3.5 stars) SP, S
The Actor and the Thief by Edward Kendrick (3.75 stars) C, S
Tor by Lynn Lorenz (3.5 stars), SP, S

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

Dime Novel by Dale Chase (2.75 stars) H

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:  None

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Best Book Covers of January 2014

This month includes just an overall gold star to LC Chase whose great covers include the Hell or High Water series and Dirty Deeds.

InDiscretion_500x750Mindscape_500x750Sparks & Drops cover

Tread Marks and Trademarks cover

Static coverCatch a Ghost cover

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In Discretion by Reesa Herberth, Artist Simone’
Mindscape by Tal Valante, Artist LC Chase, who is having an incredible year
Sparks & Drops by Susan Laine, Artist Brooke Albrecht
Static by LA Witt, Artist LC Chase.  A Stunner with it’s Shifting Gender Person
Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley, Wilde City Press, no artist credited

Review: The Lightning Moon by Sylvia A. Winters

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

The Lightning Moon coverIt’s been five years since Quinn’s husband was shot and killed in the woods behind their house. Quinn’s love was a were and his killer was never caught.  And for all that time Quinn and mourned, unable to move forward with his life.  Quinn spends his days as a shop clerk at The Crystal Moon Emporium, a shop catering exclusively for witches.  Quinn’s brother Michael has just reappeared in his life, bringing along with him his new fiance Jade, a were herself.  Their happiness just reminds Quinn of all he has lost and how lonely his life is now.  But Michael and Jade are keeping secrets, the biggest of which brings danger to them all.

Arrow is good at his job, hunting and tracking for a fee.  And for some time Arrow has been hunting a couple on the run.  But in the last place they fled from, Arrow finds a letter, one that pours out the writer’s loss and pain.  It’s a letter that haunts Arrow and reminds him of a life he can never have.

Quinn and Arrow are on a collision course, one that will change both their lives forever and only fate know how it will play out.

The Lightning Moon is a quietly magical story, and not just literally. Sylvia A. Winters has created a narrative and characters  for her story that are so beautifully defined, so restrained in their emotionality and yet so appealing in their vulnerability that the reader is fully absorbed by these people and their futures from the very beginning.

I love this trope.  A character finds himself falling in love with a person by means of a portrait or letter before they have met the individual. It is a hauntingly emotional technique when used effectively and in The Lightning Moon, Winters uses it perfectly.  Quinn is the first character we are introduced to, still mourning the loss of his husband yet he is also starting to recover enough that he realizes just how lonely his life has become.  And on the anniversary of his love’s death, he writes a letter.  The reader is not privy to the letter’s content until later but already Quinn has engaged our sympathy with his quiet pain and acceptance.  Still he is not an object of pity, due to Winters textured characterization which gives Quinn a vulnerability as well as a sense of humor and loyalty.

Arrow, the other main character, is just as vulnerable although he will not realize it until later.  Arrow is a witch who fell into his profession by accident and by way of a dysfunctional past.  His constant need for travel, his lack of support and home is starting to wear on him as is the type of jobs he takes and the employers he works for.  Winters takes that cynical, world weary “bad man” character, twists it to her own  use and gives us Arrow, a man open to redemption and love.  Arrow becomes accessible emotionally to new possibilities for himself and, through her descriptions and dialog, Winters brings the reader along for his journey.

And what a journey it is.  Fraught with emotion, packed with suspense, the reader is still filled with pain for the characters at the inevitable clash although we have been anticipating it from the beginning.  The author tells her tale with a concise touch, moving the narrative along at pace that never feels rushed or bogged down.  It flows, gathering the necessary speed that excites our expectations as all the characters and events head into the dramatic climax.

I loved this story and only the author’s world building kept it from a perfect 5 rating.  I wanted Arrow and Quinn’s universe a little more fleshed out.  It holds humans, witches and weres, although not all are held equal.  I wanted to know more about their society and its attitude about the beings that lived in it.  Her world intrigued me, and a little more knowledge would have rounded out the story to perfection.

I highly recommended The Lightning Moon.  It’s an enthralling, enchanting story of love and redemption.  Don’t miss out, grab it up and start reading.  As for me, I am off to search out more stories by this marvelous author.  I can’t wait to see what new worlds and characters she brings to us next.

Book Details:

ebook, word count 31,000
Published January 8th 2014 by Less Than Three Press LLC
original title The Lightning Moon
ISBN13 9781620042991, buy it here at Less Than Press, LLC
edition language English