The Island: Vampires of Merovingi #1 by Sarah M. Cradit #bookreview #vampires #fantasy

1789. Saint-Domingue. Hispaniola. West Indies. 

Etienne de Blanchefort has seen incredible success as a colonial planter in the Northern Province of Saint-Domingue. Though uprooting his family from France a decade past was a gamble, life in the tropical West Indies has been good to him, his wife, and four children. With France embroiled in their great revolution across the Atlantic, he harbors little doubt he made the right decision for his family’s future.

Until, that is, the arrival of his fiend.

Etienne’s practical nature cannot reconcile what he knows to be true of his world with what he cannot ignore about the abominable creature haunting his family and the island.

Nor can he ignore his wife’s terrifying dreams that slowly steal her vitality.

Or Victorine’s burgeoning free spirit and wariness of their way of life.

Or Nanette’s curious, furtive behavior as she hides in trees.

Or Marius’ secret new friendship with one he cannot name.

Or Flosine’s unsettling drawings of a man from a time long before theirs.

Etienne’s fiend will not stay elusive for long. He has a request. A very particular, very important request, one that will change the lives of Etienne, his family, and his descendants forever.

I’ve been a vampire fan since the original Fright Night movie with Chris Sarandon.  After the Twilight novels, vampire books flooded the market for a while, then receded, but I’m glad to see them making a comeback.  Maybe not quite as big of a splash this time, but that’s alright with me.  Since I’ve read all this author’s Crimson and Clover series, I was thrilled to learn she was starting a new series featuring vampires that fit within that same world.

Not having read a ton of historical fiction books, I appreciated the attention to detail and extensive research the author clearly performed for this book.  As always, her imagery is rich with description.  Although the first 25% of the book was a little slow for my taste, the pace moved along much quicker after that.

The Island looks to be the start of a riveting series and I look forward to meeting more of the vampires!

I received a digital ARC of this book from the author.

#IndieAuthor Friday Genevieve Jordayne #Romance #History @GenJordayne

Today’s indie author’s story most likely developed from her ‘daytime job’ and the life experiences of her grandfathers.  Welcome, Genevieve Jordayne!

Frontline Angel takes its readers from 1940s Wisconsin to the Philippine Islands just prior to World War 2 and through the Japanese occupation and liberation. It tells the tale of Eliza-a small-town Midwestern girl with dreams of travel and adventure who enlists with the United States Army Nurse Corps despite her parents’ protests. Eliza will find the fun and adventure she desired as well as an unexpected romance with a handsome soldier. Yet all changes overnight as war destroys her tropical paradise. Our heroine must quickly adapt in order to survive the harsh, unforgiving jungle climate, and become a skilled combat nurse on the frontline. The story will take you from the fall of the islands through the terrible conditions endured by those placed in internment camps and their struggle for liberation. Can Eliza find the strength and courage needed to survive such horror and still emerge with her spirit unbroken?

Frontline Angel was recently named the Winner in the FIRST NOVEL (60,000-90,000 words) Category of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards (NGIBA).

What do you wish you’d known before you were published?

I wish I would have had a list of great, reliable editors and would have understood that not all editors actually do the same type of editing. I didn’t realize there were content editors, line editors and probably more that I still don’t know about. Editing is so important but even when you cough up several hundred dollars it doesn’t mean the editor you chose is actually all that good.  There are so many of them when you do an online search!  So, from now on, I’m reaching out to other authors that I feel have well edited works and getting recommendations from them.

How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

With my first novel, I didn’t have much for structure or timeline in my writing. I was just so happy to finally get the story down on paper that had been running free in my mind for so many years.  Since then I’ve started to work on being more focused, creating outlines, and sticking more to a timeline for completing tasks.

What is something memorable you’ve heard from your readers/fans?

What has been most memorable for me is when I meet a reader who has personally been alive and affected by events in my work (I write historical fiction) and shares with me the emotions that my stories brought out, the memories they evoked, and the gratitude they express in having someone share these stories with the world. That’s what it’s all about for me.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie and why?

Salted caramel stuffed chocolate chip cookies. My entire life my favorite cookie has been good old dependable, delicious chocolate chip cookies.  But now I discovered they come stuffed with this amazing sea salt concoction and after all these years I’ve had to upgrade my cookie choice.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

I’m currently part way through the Breaking Bad series. It has a plot based around very illegal business happenings but it is so fascinating watching the character development throughout.

Book you’d want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

It would be so hard to only have one book with me so hopefully they rescue me soon. But if I had to have a book to read over and over for a while I think it would have to be The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It’s long enough to help pass some time and has such fascinating historical references as well as a fast paced, intriguing plot.

Author Bio

Genevieve Jordayne has proudly worked in the field of nursing for nearly a decade.  In addition to writing her novels, she is a practicing Family Nurse Practitioner and nursing history aficionado. Genevieve lives in rural Minnesota with her husband, three little boys, and two rambunctious boxers.

Genevieve became interested in war history from her beloved grandfathers–Don who was an avid reader and Richard who served in WW2 in Pearl Harbor. In nursing school she was challenged by a professor to learn about the roots of the nursing profession.  Through this exploration Jordayne was able to gain a larger appreciation for the struggles and triumphs of nurses throughout time.

Jordayne is currently working on her second novel.

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#IndieAuthor Friday Lex Ramsay #history #CivilWar

Today’s indie author shares her love of bad horror movies, strong opinions regarding a Batman vs. Spiderman throwdown, and presents a thought-provoking premise in her book Southern Republic – ‘What would our world look like if the South had won the Civil War?’

In a world where the South has won the Civil War…

It’s 1982. A hundred years have passed since the South emerged victorious in the War of Northern Aggression. From the ashes of the aftermath, the industrial North has evolved into the technical center of the modern world, while the agrarian South, now broken up into Protectorate territories overseen by Protectors, props up its culture with vicious oppression. But now the South is in dire economic straits. Their refusal to allow slaves to use technology in their work has made their system obsolete and unable to compete with the global economy. Something must be done.

Patrick Edgerton is the leader of the Railway Association, an underground network devoted to freeing slaves. When Patrick learns of the horrifying “final solution” to the South’s economic predicament, he teams up with Olivia Askew, a Southern Protector’s daughter. Now, it’s up to them to prevent the mass genocide the South is proposing.

Southern Republic brings to life vivid details about the dual nations created when the South succeeded in defending its way of life, and asks the question, ‘What would our world look like if the South had won the Civil War?’

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her to write, write and write some more.  Don’t wait until you think you have the time in your busy, overscheduled life to have the luxury of writing – just write.  Get in the habit of writing your thoughts, your fantasies and your aspirations to make them real.  Get used to turning inward and entering into the land of your own creation.  Write whether you feel like it, or even whether you think you have something profound to say.  Just write.  And keep writing.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Escape.  Becoming so entranced with the reality unspooling with my words that I hear my characters talking to me (or arguing with me when I get it wrong).  Writing on outline only to depart from it when the flow of the tale becomes flesh and creates its own journey.  Subconsciously weaving paths in the story that I later realize fold seamlessly into the larger narrative.  In other words, I love the process itself — far more than the finished product, in fact.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’ve learned to trust my instincts and write what I believe.  The more I write the less I fixate on being all things to all people.  I definitely enjoy when my readers follow along with me on the trek, but I’ve learned to walk the road my stories lay before me more concerned with the authenticity of the characters than with the opinions of skeptics.

Any unusual talents or hobbies?

More a curse than a talent.  Since childhood I’ve been called “Cassandra” by my family for the Greek myth about the woman whom the gods gifted with the sight of prophesy and cursed so that nobody would believe her.  Not that this minor talent has lead me to win the lottery or even avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve stumbled into in my own life, but invariably I’m able to predict the course fate will take with others if they take one action or another – only to be ignored and have the very outcome I predicted manifest.  I’d rather be a gifted musician.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

El Rey Network’s marathon of really bad horror movies.  It’s a guilty pleasure.  The worse the better.  Anything having to do with vampires (old school ones not the newer teen romance variety), ghouls, demons, specters or werewolves.  Love old Stephen King, love Ann Rice, love Dean Koontz, love Clive Barker and all that.

Who would win a fight between Spiderman and Batman?

Spiderman would kick the crap out of Batman.  First of all, Batman has no hint of the supernatural about him.  He just has really cool toys and with every iteration gets bigger and bigger muscles.   He can’t swing from buildings nor does he have the proportionate strength of a spider (which is pretty impressive when you consider all the larger insects they routinely carry around after snaring them in their webs).  Stripped of his costume and hi-tech contraptions, he’s just a spoiled rich vigilante with a depressing childhood.

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The Blood of Alexander by Tom Wilde

A modern Indiana Jones steals a relic of Alexander the Great in Blood of Alexander, the thrilling 17910089debut from Tom Wilde.

Jonathan Blake makes a living stealing antiquities—stealing them back, that is. A field agent for the Argo Foundation, a company that makes it their business to preserve humanity’s history by liberating stolen artifacts from thieves and looters, Blake is used to dangerous assignments. But when he is forced by the US government into a deadly mission involving a missing Napoleonic standard, he finds himself in over his head. Blake is pitted against Vanya, the head of a fanatical cult, who seeks a gilded bronze eagle that holds a vital clue to the lost tomb of Alexander the Great.

From ancient ruins in Afghanistan to the catacombs of Paris to a chateau high in the French Alps, Blake must unravel the secret truth of the final fate of Napoleon Bonaparte, the murder of Percy Bysshe Shelly, and the hidden remains of Alexander. And he must do it before Vanya’s apocalyptic plans for humanity come to their deadly fruition.

The description of this book grabbed me immediately – I loved the Indiana Jones movies (except the last one, I mean, really, aliens?) it also reminded me a little of The DaVinci Code.  Overall, this was an enjoyable debut novel.

Jonathan Blake was very likeable.  He came from a pretty rough place and was given an amazing opportunity to reinvent himself.  Some of his actions may not be exactly legal, but I guess you can justify that by saying it’s for a good cause, although I did question why his skill set and training seemed to exceed James Bond’s.  It seemed a little extreme for his line of work, but it was fun to read.

Caitlin was an interesting character, but I was a little disappointed that she turned into the ‘damsel in distress’ and she and Jonathan seemed to develop a relationship pretty suddenly.  It was also frustrating that all the female characters were described as beautiful and “blessed with subtle perfection” .  Just a tad unrealistic, but maybe male readers could better appreciate this.

The ending lead me to believe this may become a series and I would be interested in reading more of Jonathan Blake.  The pacing was great, the action sequences were the right length and frequency, and there were several twists along the way.  If you enjoy thrillers with action and some history thrown in, this is your book.  The Blood of Alexander is scheduled for publication April 29, 2014.

This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.