Brides of Serenity: Book One

Just it time for holiday gifting or for the flu-ridden shut in, like me, or just because it sounds so good.

A Goode One

Every time I set up a pre-order for my newest book and have a firm deadline to complete my manuscript, the universe starts screwing with me. Something always goes wrong and I end up stressing myself out trying to hit a deadline while life spins out of control around me. So this time around, I didn’t set a firm release date. I set a date in my mind, but kept it to myself.

I figured I could outsmart the universe.

How’d that work out for me?

So glad you asked.

This happened:


Then this:


Followed by a lot of quality time spent with this:


And copious amounts of this:


And just when I finally started feeling like this again —


— I found out about this:


But somehow, despite all of that, guess what happened?



Letters to Caroline is now available on Amazon! It’s on sale for only .99…

View original post 68 more words

June and July Ebooks Read

Dumping a bunch of books off my phone and wanted to sort of rate them before they disappeared.
Screenshot (1783)Hope(less) 2.5 at best. Intriguing in parts but only in parts it seemingly stretched out like an endless drive on a flat road through =desert. Gabby and Clay’s relationship developes slowly but weirdly.










Screenshot (1785)

Vampires Never Cry Wolf-Fun and fluffy, Sadie fights her attraction to the werewolf prince Killian but Killian is dead set on having a relationship with vampire Sadie. I enjoyed this as the light, fun read it is- 3.5. I did not enjoy hearing the werewolf king be addressed as Your Highness, get a Debrett’s.











Screenshot (1784)Hollywood Homicide- 3.5 again. I liked Kate and her new partner, Ted. This is the first book in this series I’ve read. A good little murder mystery. Kate and her sister find a way to a closer familial relationship.













Screenshot (1786)Firefighter Dragon- Shifters reach a new level of absurdity when a dragon shifter is a firefighter. Also dragons duel by listing their most valuable pieces in their horde. 2.5











Screenshot (1788)Witch Is When It All Began- PI Jill is trying to investigate a possible serial killer and trying to come to grips with the fact she’s a witch. 2.5











Screenshot (1789)In Sickness and In Elf- 3.5 A human wedding planner finds out the family wedding planning business does a brisk business in paranormal wedding planning and someone is trying to sabotage it. I’ll probably read more in this series.










Screenshot (1791)Death with a Cherry on Top- A lackluster mystery too easily solved by two sisters and their large Italian family. 2 at most.











Screenshot (1790)Copper King- A werewolf and a werebear get together for an annual just-between-friends contest and the bear finds his mate. Even after I looked at a few pages I could not remember what this was about. 2










Screenshot (1792)Maggie For Hire- 4 Of all the books listed here this is the one where I will read more from this author.











Screenshot (1793)Hidden:Prequel- Turns out I read another book in this series and they aren’t bad. 3.5











Screenshot (1794)

Smoke and Mirrors:  Blackhollow Academy- 3.5 to 4.  Kimberly just wants to graduate and secure a good position in a coven so she can take care of her non-magical mother but Kimberly doesn’t have the necessary skills and now she needs a really powerful familiar to get her through graduation and into the job of her dreams. If only she can find an obliging dragon. Here is another series I will continue.









Screenshot (1796)

The Aura and Double Blind- Read the first book and got halfway through the second when I realized I didn’t like most of the characters. The plot got me through the first one but I just don’t find the characters, including the heroine, all that interesting. 3






Screenshot (1797)Undercover Gorgon- Episode 1- Patrice is a gorgon who borrows magical objects from her day job at Mt Olympus to help out people in trouble. Short reads, this one was 46 pages, I’v got the second one waiting to be read. 4










Screenshot (1798)Sleuthing for a Living- 2.5 A single mother inherits a building and a PI business from her late uncle and decides to try to continue the business. It sounded more interesting than it turned out- at least to me.











Screenshot (1800)Ondine- Did not connect with this book at all. 2











Screenshot (1801)Deadly Remains- A murder, a clairvoyant, a lot of police. I think in time I will like this series more than I do now. Interesting enough to make me pick up the next book. 3.5











Screenshot (1802)Trinkets, Treasures, and other Bloody Magic- I stopped at 97% I was that annoyed. I could see the “big bad plot” coming a mile away in the dark. 2


Death & Detention

Screenshot (634)I am really enjoying this book. David is offering D&D in five episodes, the first being free. After reading it I bought the book.

In the affluent town of Augustine, being picture-perfect means everything. Which is why the powers that be are so willing to write off a troubled teen’s suspicious death as an accident.

But when seventeen-year-old outsider Prudence Mallory finds an anonymous letter that makes her classmate’s death look like a homicide, she can’t turn away from the mystery. -Amazon

Two sentences that do not do justice to Prudence. She is simply, for me, the best 17 yr old heroine I have read in a long time. Mind you, I am only at 44% but Prudence has not disappointed.

Prudence is no stranger to what happens when doing the right thing makes you the pariah, she’s done that and is still there. She knows that her digging into the “accidental” death of a classmate isn’t going to make her popular but she believes that justice for Anna  is more important than being invited to the right parties- or any parties.

She can wield a mean can of coke, she has a bright pink scooter and a cell phone. She knows when a dumb idea is dumb but if that’s her only idea she’ll make it work out- somehow.

Oh, Prudence Mallory, I love you.


Death and Relaxation- Review

Screenshot (387)It seems lately that I have read nothing but pretty bad books and that’s not true. Devon Monk has given us the gift of Ordinary, Oregon and the mortals, gods, and paranormals who live and vacation there.

I’ve read Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series and the Terric and Shame duology and enjoyed both but Ordinary was so much more fun.

It’s time for the annual Rhubarb Rally and police chief Delaney Reed and her sisters (and sister officers) have their hands full with the influx of tourists. And Delaney is still trying to figure out what or if she should do about the return of Ryder Bailey who she has crushed on since grade school. Then her ex-boyfriend returns unannounced, Death decides to vacation in Ordinary, and a god is murdered.

A god can die in Ordinary but his power doesn’t. The power is held inside one mortal, Delaney, and she has seven days to find the person the power will accept. Failure means death- for her and the town of Ordinary.

This was a fast romp with exploding rhubarb, perambulating caped concrete penguins, and baked goods.

I liked the relationship between the sisters, the feeling that Delaney is still learning the position she inherited from her late father, the way she loses all rational thought when Ryder walks into view.

If I had one complaint it would be the finding-the-new-god part, even I had that figured out chapters before Delaney. It lacked  subtlety.

But the dialogue, it was wonderful.

“”Rhubarb exploded,” I said, answering his first question.

“You don’t often see that in the heritage strains,” he said.”


“The door to the office opened and Jean sauntered in with a gust of cool air. “Guess who got her box filled with free hot donuts this morning?”

“Please tell me that’s not a euphemism,” Myra drawled.”


“”And I am a man of my word.”

“Do those words include ‘breaking’ and ‘entering’?”

“”I know those words,” he admitted. “But only one of them might be on the agenda tonight.””


Book two is due out in July and I can’t wait to go back to Ordinary and see what happens next.


Review- Claimed

Screenshot (146)Tonight is the full moon mating ceremony, and the Lunar Creek Pack’s new alpha will be choosing his official mate. That mate will need to prove her devotion to her alpha by having sex with any number of partners of his choice. Only then can the two be officially mated, and she will receive his mating mark, proof to the whole pack that she is his…and he is hers. Amazon

Before I eviscerate this miserable excuse for a story I want to talk about this: *Claimed is the first book in a paranormal erotica series. Intended for mature readers. 6620 words.*  Length: 17 pages.

That’s right, Dear Readers, this ‘book” is 17 pages. And it doesn’t improve much lengthwise with the second “book”, Amazon lists it at 21 pages. In the author bio I found this: So far, she has written the “Lunar Creek Wolves” series, which is planned to be about ten books long. She may stop at six if the series feels complete as it is. Are. You. Kidding. Me. ?.

So I went and looked for a description of the length of a novel and found this and this  and this. Wikipedia said this:

How many words does a novel have?
Between 100,000 and 175,000
Novelist Jane Smiley suggests that length is an important quality of the novel. However, novels can vary tremendously in length; Smiley lists novels as typically being between 100,000 and 175,000 words, while National Novel Writing Month requires its novels to be at least 50,000 words.
Hmm, I guess there is a small difference of opinion on this subject. If Stephens doesn’t drop below the 6600 word count of this installment then she might squeak by with only 6 parts and all 6 parts would then make up one BOOK. Claimed is not a book, it is a serialized story at this point. I’m not an author so why do I know this but the author doesn’t?

You want to see how a good serialized story is written? Right now Ilona Andrews is writing the third Innkeeper book, One Fell Sweep, and posting the chapters free on their website. When the story is finished they will remove it, edit it, and publish it.

Now let’s proceed. I had to check that this first installment wasn’t listed under YA or NA because it read very young. I guess you can’t get much character development in 17 pages if you need to have a group sex scene and since this story is listed in erotica, paranormal erotica, and romantic erotica I’m pretty sure the sex scene is required. Just think about it, the longest installment (so far) is 32 pages and there will (probably) be sex in every installment. This presents a problem because how does an author advance her plot or flesh out (no pun intended) her characters if she has to keep them rumpy-pumpying all the time?  I’m not sure but after reading this installment I can’t see Stephens managing to do it.

First two sentences:

“She met his eyes as she slid her mouth down around his cock, taking as much of him as she could. He shuddered and she heard a hitch in his breathing as she locked her lips around him and began to swirl her tongue around his tip.”- Claimed.

Why is this? What is this? They are italicized and then with no break flow into the first paragraph which is Vanessa, our heroine, looking in the mirror. They are repeated in the obligatory sex scene where they do belong but at the front of the book, placed as they are, they make absolutely no sense.

So Vanessa is a blue-eyed, long blond-haired, shimmery pink glossed lipped werewolf in a tight blue dress who is just panting to be chosen as the mate of the new alpha. I guess she never saw an episode of What Not To Wear because if she had she would have known to use brown eyeshadow to make her eyes pop and chosen a dress that made her look hot but not  hot-to-trot.

Anyhoozle, Vanessa and her BFF, Anita, head off to the annual mating ceremony, whatever that might mean because it is never really explained. Is this the only time during the year the werewolves seek a mate? Is it just a night to pick out a hot body and take it for a test drive? What? What? But this mating ceremony is THE ONE, the one where the new alpha will pick his mate. Now Vanessa has been longing for this guy to scratch her where she itches since she met him in high school. All she wants to do is get down and dirty werewolf style and pop out some puppies.

And once again we are left in the dark about how well Cody, the new alpha, and Vanessa know each other. They met in high school but she doesn’t mention dating or hooking up with him at the annual mating ritual so I’m left with the impression that except for Vanessa’s years long desire to be his puppy mama they really haven’t spent any time together, not even over a bowl of water or the warm body of a plump bunny. How can she want someone who has never left a bunny or part of a deer on her doorstep?

I guess it will be no surprise to you that of course Cody chooses Vanessa, “The truth is, I have known for years who I would choose on this night. The one I have chosen to rule by my side is a brave woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to let others know as well. She is caring and compassionate, and just a little headstrong, but never reckless. She has a strong desire to be a mother and raise a family, and I have had my eye on this woman since I was in high school.” Shades of creepiness. He sounds a little Edward Cullen-ish. Is having Cody describe what Stephens wants you to believe Vanessa is like what is going to pass for character development? I’ve got to say that Cody’s description doesn’t match up with mine. At all.

“His lips looked soft and full, and she couldn’t wait to find out how he kissed, …” They never even kissed before this? What the? How does this work? He’s had his eye on her since high school and she’s been panting harder than a Husky running the Iditarod and they’ve never locked lips? Grrr.

I refer you back to my first paragraph now because now that Cody has chosen Vanessa before they can kennel up and breed she has to sex up a few other packmates, why is never explained. So Cody chooses 3 men and Anita and Anita’s cousin and tells everybody else to do the wild thing. The three men strip her and two of them fondle her and then proceed to a little oral sex. The other guy takes on Anita and Tffany until Cody tells the other two to join them. It is the weirdest menage/group sex scene I’ve ever read and not at all sexy. And what turned Vanessa on? It wasn’t receiving oral sex or giving oral sex it was, “Marcus had done an okay job, but it was Troy’s steady hand at the back of her head that had gotten her really worked up, and she could still feel her pulse racing at the excitement of it all.”

So then Cody and Vanessa do it in the missionary position, he bites her, he comes, she doesn’t, and voila, Vanessa is someone of importance. “She would be able to give her honest opinion without fear of being dismissed. She mattered, and it was all thanks to that little mark on her neck.” I can’t even. I want to hork a hairball. This just feels so fifties with the little woman being validated by serving meatloaf on Mondays and ironing his shirts on Tuesday. Vanessa thinks the night has been so perfect and she can’t wait to do some freakier, dirtier stuff with him.

Screenshot (150)

Then comes the declarations of eternal love and freakier, dirtier stuff.
“You and I are going to have a wonderful life together,” she said softly.
He nodded. “I hope you’re right.” 

“Whatever in love means.”- Prince of Wales


Review- Error Code

Screenshot (113)You know what’s wrong with ebooks? You can’t throw them across the room or out the window, you can’t drop them into the litter box, you can’t drop kick them to the middle of the driveway and incinerate them with your handy-dandy flamethrower. No, you can’t and this can lead to a great deal of frustrated hostility.

Like now.

“From opening paragraph all the way to the very end, Error Code is a non-stop romp of page-turning fun.” No it isn’t. Our heroine, Autumn Winter, is a shallow, frivolous, petty character in love with herself and of the opinion that she is just ever so much smarter than most of the human race. Ostensibly she is an interior decorator and happily married housewife but Autumn has another career, one that she throws out cutesy little hints about until she and The Gladiator clash in the kitchen.

“As we go along, you’ll no doubt figure out that I am
what some may view as sassy, what others may interpret as a fun version of
arrogant, and what a chosen few will come to know as dangerous. At my core and
within this beautiful shell is a woman who’s still vulnerable like any other—only
I possess special skills that allow me to assert my intellect and thus even the
playing field. And the playing field—along with the players thereon—sometimes
need kinetic adjustments to make things right in this world. In fact, Jack and
I believe that there are many things in life that need these so-called adjustments,
and we see it as our purpose—our calling even—to do our part in helping said
adjustments along. I suppose that you could say we’re sorta chiropractors of
fate.” Error Code

Ye-ah. If you read this, and I strongly recommend you don’t, then you will realize that Autumn is a very unreliable narrator. On top of being shallow, frivolous, petty, not too bright, and morally challenged Autumn also says “anyfanny” instead of anyway. Isn’t that just so cute? NO. It gets old by chapter two. Her only redeeming quality is that she seems to love her dog, but I’m not sure that what she defines as love for her husband is anything more than Autumn finding someone she can dominate and feel superior to.

“Having heard myself just say that, it makes me realize that those kinds of contrasts are what make Jack and I such a great team- that and the fact that he bends to my will … as all men should.” Autumn, Error Code. Her husband calls her Aut-six as in thirty-aught-six. Her father called her Instant Pudding. I have a few choice names for her myself. “I’m not a dumb person. At least from what you know of me so far, I’d hope you’d agree that I possess– along with beauty and wit– at least an average level of intellect.” Uh, no.

So here’s the plot- sort of. Autumn and Jack, her husband, move into a lovely house and Autumn proceeds to decorate it. The only flaw is the dishwasher which seems to project weird error messages and beep or chirp or something. Now any sane person would look at this still under warranty appliance and call her landlady and apprise her of the problem. Not Autumn though, oh no, she waits and pouts and resists and finally lets her husband call the landlady because that means she didn’t lose the battle of wills with the dishwasher. She drops her phone into dishwater but doesn’t think about replacing it immediately, like when she takes her hubs to the airport.

There is always the internet but when trouble comes calling our Autumn acts like one of those 70s gothic heroines trapped in a moldering mansion on a lonely moor. Alone without any means to summon help. She doesn’t even  check trouble for a cell phone when she gets the chance, just spends a paragraph or several bemoaning the fate that has left her alone.

And my biggest problem with Autumn- she has no idea where her gun is. It’s still somewhere in the boxes left to unpack. The Chiropractor of Fate has misplaced her gun. I’ve moved several times and I know exactly where my weapons are.

Yes, this is fiction but come on, try.  This book is listed on Amazon in both humor & satire and mystery, suspense, thriller and it misses in both categories. The plot revolving around the dishwasher is weak, absurd, and secondary to a group of shallow, almost one dimensional characters that are neither humorous or lethal. The author also needs an editor and a dictionary.

Screenshot (4482)