Review: Ill Wind, by Karen Perkins

In Ill Wind, one of two prequel novellas to the novel Dead Reckoning and an entry in the Valkyrie series, we meet Gabriella, a young woman whose miserable life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony leads her to dream of sailing away into a new life. But when she finally gets that chance, she discovers that her new life is just as miserable as her old one.

Yet, through her developing friendship with the slave Klara, she is able to maintain just enough hope to keep her going.

What I liked best about this novella was the attention to detail. Having spent a little time studying the Caribbean slave trade while I was working on my Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature, I appreciated the fact that Karen Perkins created a believable world with strong historical detail.

I also loved the character development—Gabriella is a nicely drawn character whose experiences left me gasping in sympathy.

I would have liked to have seen a more definitive ending for those readers just coming to the series, but having read Dead Reckoning, I know that this novella’s conclusion is just the start to the rest of a strong series.

ill wind

Gabriella Berryngton is an unhappy and oppressed fourteen-year-old girl living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1683. She dreams of escaping her bitter, ambitious stepfather and sailing off into the unknown.

Her dreams come true when her stepfather sells her into marriage.

Aboard the Freyja, she is hopeful that her new life in the Dutch West Indies will be an improvement – a hope that dies when she is given a slave, Klara, and a whip. She discovers that her soon-to-be father-in-law is a ruthless slave trader in league with pirates, and her fiancé is cold, unfriendly and disinterested in Gabriella. She is little more than a vessel to provide the next generation of van Eckens.

Largely ignored and desperately unhappy, she and Klara develop a friendship which makes life bearable – at first. Once married, Gabriella’s life takes a turn for the worse and she descends into a world of horror and abuse until tensions finally explode. Life will never be the same and she has no choice but to take fate into her own hands.


About the Author

Karen Perkins lives in Yorkshire, where she spends her time writing and publishing as proprietor of LionheART Publishing House. She has been a keen sailor since childhood, competing nationally and internationally until the day she had both National and European Ladies Champion titles. Although she no longer takes to the water, she continues to enjoy sailing in her imagination and fiction – capsizing far less often!

She has written the novella (Ill Wind) and the full-length novel (Dead Reckoning – long-listed in the Mslexia Novel Competition 2011) both of which are number one bestsellers in Sea Adventures on in the Valkyrie Series. Look Sharpe! Valkyrie 3, has just been released and will shortly be followed by the short story, Where Away and the novel Ready About!.

Karen Perkins has also written the novel, Thores-Cross and the associated short story Cursed in the Yorkshire Ghost Story Series. Dark, haunting tales set in the North Yorkshire Moors about isolation, superstition and persecution, Thores-Cross follows the stories of Emma, a present day writer, and Jennet, an eighteenth century witch. Thores-Cross is a number one bestseller in British Horror on, and will soon be followed by the next book in the series, Knight of Betrayal. Set in both 1170 and modern day, Knight of Betrayal focuses on the four knights – Hugh de Morville, Reginald fitz Urse, William de Tracey and Richard le Bret – who broke the sanctuary of Canterbury Cathedral to murder the Archbishop, Thomas Becket. Hiding out in Knaresborough Castle, the extreme level of their medieval sense of guilt and dishonour has horrific repercussions nearly a millennium later.

Review: Blood Reaction by D. L. Atha

D.L. Atha’s novel Blood Reaction offers a new spin on vampires. Protagonist Annalice is home alone while her daughter is away visiting family—and she lives on an isolated farm. And while Annalice might be looking forward to a quiet week at home, what she gets is something much worse. She is taken prisoner in her own home by Asa, a vampire who forces her to participate in feeding him, teaching him about modern humanity, and worse, all by threatening the life of her child.

Some of the things I liked best about this novel—other, of course, than the vampire twist (always a favorite!)—were the ways that Annalice drew upon her experience as a doctor.  I also loved the fact that the vampire wasn’t a hero. He was brutal and murderous. And despite Annalice’s own “blood reaction” drawing her to her tormentor, she recognized the physiological and psychological elements of that attraction, using her medical training to work to save herself and her daughter.

Overall, this book is a noteworthy entry in the vampire genre, mixing the mundane and the terrifying in some interesting ways, and Annalice’s unexpected solution to her problem makes for a fascinating conclusion.





Annalice, a single mother and physician, is ready to immerse herself in the mundane chores of her farm as a diversion from her hectic professional life. But she becomes the victim of a home invasion, the supernatural kind. Vindictive and cruel, Asa, a century old vampire, takes brutal control of her life and home. Forcing her to strike a bargain in exchange for her daughter’s life, Annalice must not only accept his presence but also bow to his depravity. Facing threats to her only child, she relies on her skills as a physician to unravel the clues to the vampire’s existence, attempting to beat him at his own game. Caught in a race against a genetic timeline, Annalice struggles to survive the Blood Reaction.


About DL Atha:

DL Atha, having the good fortune to have been raised in rural western Arkansas, resides there still with her husband and three children where together they enjoy the farm life.

She earned her MD in 1999, and currently enjoys the practice of hospital medicine and wound care which she performs full time in a nearby town.

She is currently working on the sequel to Blood Reaction.

For the Sake of Revenge was her first venture into non-medical fiction.

A few of her favorite things are chocolate, anything old but especially old houses, gardening, and horses.

Her least favorite things are getting up early, anything that happens before nine a.m. and constricting clothing.


Get in touch with DL ATHA:


Purchase DL ATHA’s books:





In the Pages of a Good Book Friendship Blog Hop and Giveaway

Welcome to the Friendship Blog Hop and Giveaway, hosted by In the Pages of a Good Book in honor of their one-year anniversary!

Happy Blogoversary!

This hop is all about friendship, so I’m featuring the books of just a few of the friends I’ve made as an author–some of the people who have inspired me, supported me, and helped me along the way. I only hope that I can do as much for them (and others!) at some point.

So join the party! Check out the books below, then enter to win all four giveaways: one on my blog, and three hop-wide giveaways–one for a Kindle, one for prizes for authors, and one full of goodies for readers! Once you’ve done that, be sure to HOP to the rest of the participating blogs. And finally, check out the Facebook Page Takeover on August 29.


The Harvesting, by Melanie Karsak

“The world, it seemed, had gone silent. It was something we knew but did not talk about. We were alone.”

While Layla Petrovich returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she never could have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla’s cool head, fast blade and itchy trigger finger to survive the undead apocalypse that’s upon them. But even that may not be enough. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

It’s all fun and games until someone ends up undead!


The Harvesting is free for a limited time! Get your copy now!

Finally free! The Harvesting is FREE on Amazon from 8/28-9/1!



Untethered, by Katie Hayoz

Sixteen-year-old Sylvie isn’t comfortable in her own skin. In fact, there are times she can’t even manage to stay inside it. But if there is one thing she’s sure of, it’s her love for Kevin Phillips. She’s willing to stake everything on it — her family, her friends, and possibly her soul.

Junior year is off to a less than stellar start for Sylvie: Her parents are splitting up, her little brother is sitting at her lunch table, and she’s the target of the school bully. Plus, she accidentally astral projects, slipping out of her body again and again at all the worst times. Sylvie is cast as the class freak and a medical misfit. She wishes she were somewhere else. Someone else. But it’s only when her best friend catches the attention of the boy Sylvie’s loved in secret since the fifth grade that Sylvie makes up her mind to do something drastic.

Sylvie intends to get Kevin by any means possible — even if it involves treachery, deceit, and the insidious side of the paranormal. After years of trying to ignore her ability to astral project, Sylvie finally decides to embrace it. But she also decides to embrace the shadows that accompany her on her out-of-body experiences. Opening herself up to the shadows and their evil, Sylvie comes up with a dark plan. She is positive her scheme will give her what she wants, but she doesn’t count on it all spiraling out of control.

Untethered by Katie Hayoz explores the intoxicating and dangerous world of jealousy and obsession when coupled with paranormal ability. It is a touching, sometimes funny, sometimes heart-breaking novel that speaks to the self-doubt lurking in us all.

Death of the Body, by Rick Chiantaretto

death of the body

I grew up in a world of magic. By the time I was ten I understood nature, talked to the trees, and listened to the wind. When the kingdom of men conquered my town, I was murdered by one of my own—the betrayer of my kind. But I didn’t stay dead.

I woke to find myself in a strange new world called Los Angeles. The only keys to the life I remembered were my father’s ring, my unique abilities, and the onslaught of demons that seemed hell-bent on finding me. Now I must learn who I really am, protect my friends, get the girl, and find my way back to my beloved hometown of Orenda.


Never Upon a Time, by Meredith Jade

Never Upon A Time (6x9)2

You’ve always hated her. But you might not know the whole story.

Edith may not be brazen and enchanted like her twin sister, Ember, but in a world of dying magic, perhaps her simple desires are enough. After a Selection Banquet gone awry, Edith is left without a suitor or a plan. Befriending a little white fox and occupying herself with a philanthropic project outside castle walls, Edith soon rebuilds morale and musters enough courage to reach out to her estranged twin sister. But Ember’s been harboring an evil secret — and thwarted love and jealousy can turn acts of merit into classic tales of wickedness in this new twist on an old tale.



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Welcome to the Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge!

Hi, everyone!

I am participating in the Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge, hosted by Paranormal Cravings.

Dangerous Hero(ine) Challenge


1. Dangerous Hero Challenge runs from August 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014.

2. Sign up at Paranormal Cravings to start your challenge.

3. The challenge is to read 10 books (of the paranormal romance or Urban Fantasy genre) that have a Dangerous Hero as a main, or supporting character.

4. Books can be in any format and should be at least 150 pages. You may also post about your rereads.

5. Post about the Dangerous Hero Challenge on your blog or website stating that you are participating or create a new shelf on your Goodreads profile.

6. Include that link to that post or shelf on Paranormal Cravings.

7. Please be courteous and include a link back to the Paranormal Cravings blog post.


I’ll be posting about these as I complete them. I’ll also include links to my Goodreads shelf.

My First Dangerous Hero Read

I’m starting my list with Jus Accardo’s Darker Days.

darker days

Jessie Darker goes to high school during the day, but at night she helps with the family investigation business. Cheating husbands and stolen inheritances? They’re your girls–but their specialty is a bit darker. Zombie in your garage? Pesky Poltergeist living in your pool? They’ll have the problem solved in a magical minute. For a nominal fee, of course…

When gorgeous new client, Lukas Scott, saunters into the office requesting their help to find a stolen box, it sounds like a simple case–until the truth comes out. The box is full of Sin.

Seven deadly ones, in fact.

They’ve got five days to recapture the Sins before they’re recalled by the box, taking seven hijacked human bodies with them. Easy peasy–except for one thing…

There’s a spell that will allow the Sins to remain free, causing chaos forever. When the key ingredient threatens the life of someone she knows, Jessie must make the ultimate choice between love and family–or lose everything.


I LOVED this book! Jessie Darker is a fabulous teen iteration of the kick-ass heroine, and Lukas Scott–currently embodying the sin Wrath (of the Seven Sins)–couldn’t be more dangerous, or more heroic. I can’t wait for Accardo’s next book!


Waking Up Dead ~ $.99 Ebook Sale ~ Book Hooks ~ #MFRWhooks


Welcome to the August 27 Book Hooks Blog Hop / Meme, where authors who are part of MFRW share snippets of their work! Today, I’m featuring Waking Up Dead, currently on sale for $.99 in e-book. Take a moment to check it out, then HOP over to see what other authors are featuring!

waking up dead cover

Waking Up Dead

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to heaven, or maybe hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?



That’s not the way it’s supposed to work, right? Ghosts are supposed to be the tortured spirits of those who cannot let go of their earthly existence. If they could be convinced to follow the light, they’d leave behind said earthly existence and quit scaring the bejesus out of the poor folks who run across them. That’s what all those “ghost hunter” shows on television tell us.

Let me tell you something. The living don’t know jack about the dead.

Not this dead chick, anyway.


About the Author

Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters.


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Connect with Margo

Amazon Author Page:



Twitter: @MargoBondCollin


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Manic Readers:

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Interview with Ashley Lynn Willis, Author of Summer’s Temptation


1. Tell us a little about yourself and your latest/upcoming release.
I was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I love that town. I’d go back in a heartbeat, but now I’m living in the Midwest with my husband and three kids. I love summer—the ocean, the lake, the warm breeze, the tickle of grass between my toes, and especially catching fireflies at dusk. Hence why my new release, Summer’s Temptation, is set during my favorite season.

The book is about a college girl, gaining her confidence back and finding love after a heartbreak. Before I wrote the book, I read a study that forty-two percent of women between the ages of twenty and thirty have had a “friends with benefits.” Instantly, a light bulb went off, and I thought it’d be fun to write about a sweet southern girl finding love in an unexpected relationship. That’s how Cassie and Tyler were born.

2. What was your inspiration for the book?
I had an amazing college experience. Think frat parties, sorority socials, all-night study groups, midnight runs to Walmart to buy underwear because my roomie and I were too lazy to wash our clothes. When writing Summer’s Temptation, I was basically reliving one of the best times of my life, when my sole responsibilities were getting good grades and dancing without spilling the beer in my hand.

To be honest, I’m happier now with a wonderful husband and three beautiful kids, but there’s always an underlying tension revolving around my many duties—cook, chauffeur, tutor, counselor, housekeeper. (The list goes on and on.) I read to escape the responsibilities of my everyday life, and I write for the same reason.

3. What do you normally like to read when not writing?
I love New Adult, but my first love is Urban Fantasy. My favorite UF of all time is The Fever Series by Karen Moning.

4. Describe your main character in six words.
Snarky, careful, a bit of a pushover, but also loyal, kind and beautiful inside and out.

5. What is your favorite book of all time that you can reread a hundred times, and it still feels like the first time?
The Restorer (Graveyard Queen, #1) I’m a sucker for gothic books set in the south, and this one is a perfect mix of romance, mystery, and Spanish moss.

6. What are you working on now?
Autumn’s Fall (Vandeveer University, #2)

7. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not writing?
Go to the zoo or the pool with my three children.

Young Adult or New Adult? New Adult
Vampires or Werewolves? Vampires
Ghost or Zombies? Zombies
Action movies or Chick flicks? Action Movies
Mountain views or Ocean views? Ocean Views

Thanks for letting me visit!

Title: Summer’s Temptation
Author: Ashley Lynn Willis
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Vandeveer University #1

If there are only three truths in life, they are these. Women will always try to change a man. Men will always say anything to get a girl in bed. Tyler Mason will always have a long line of girls trying to domesticate him, and none will succeed. If one of these ceases to be true, the world will cease to exist.

These are the rules as college student Cassie Faye knows them, so when she gives up on dating in favor of a man who can satisfy her without tempting her heart, her next-door neighbor Tyler tops the list. Tyler isn’t the type of boy Cassie would fall for, but he’s the perfect guy to teach her how to claim her sexual independence without losing her heart in the process. Too late, Cassie finds out that under his womanizing exterior is an attentive, considerate lover who brings out passions in her that she’d barely glimpsed before.

What if she’s wrong about the third truth? What if the world as she knows it is about to cease to exist?

Amazon | B&N | Apple

Ashley lives in the Midwest with her husband of twelve years. For eight years, she worked as an engineer in general aviation but quit her job to be a stay at home mom to three precious children. She began writing in September of 2009 and has been penning her imagination ever since.


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Meet My Character Blog Hop: Callie Taylor, Ghost Detective

Welcome to the Meet My Character Blog Hop!

I was invited to join in this hop by the lovely Carol Malone. I met Carol (albeit only virtually) through the From the Heart Romance Writers group–an online chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Carol Malone has found a magical key for successfully combining her three passions – romance, sports, and writing in her highly rated book, “Fight Card Romance: Ladies Night.” With “Ladies Night,” she became the first woman to punch her way into the suspenseful, male-dominated genre of pulp boxing with a tender love story. Since then she has written numerous stories to entice readers to scramble into a front row seat for a power-packed thrill-ride of romance and sports action.

Look for her novella “Hot Corner Magic” to be published in a pulp sports anthology in the next month or two and a Christmas visit to “Ladies Night” at Christmas time.

If not hammering out new tales, Carol is reading, watching sports or the Food Network on TV, or hanging with her sci-fi author husband on the Coast of California. Come visit her website and chat with her about sports and amour.






You can see Carol’s post in this hop here.


Meet Callie Taylor

I chose to introduce my character Callie Taylor because, like Carol’s character Marc DeLuca, she’s a detective. Unlike Marc, though, she’s not a professional detective. In fact, she’s not even alive. And I’m going to deviate a bit from the usual format of this blog hop, because I’m going to let Callie tell you about herself in her own words!


Tell us a little about yourself?

When I was alive, I was a technical writer in Dallas, Texas. But then I died—I was murdered, actually; I’ll spare you the gory details—and I ended up as a ghost haunting someplace I’d never even been. I’m now a ghost in Abramsville, Alabama. It’s the weirdest damn afterlife. . . and I’m apparently destined to spend it fighting crime.


What do you look like?

When I look at myself, I still see just me, wearing the clothes I wore the day I died. Black slacks, gray button-down shirt, black leather jacket, medium-heel black boots. Casual professional. When I manage to cast a reflection in the mirror, I still look like me. Medium-toned skin, green eyes, dark wavy hair to my shoulders. But some people see me as a shadowy figure.


Where do you live? What is it about that area that drew you?

I don’t live. I haunt. And I’m not sure what it is that drew me here. I just woke up dead in Alabama! But I do spend a lot of time with my friend Ashara and her grandmother, Maw-Maw. They’re two of the very few people who can see me!


What’s your favorite music?

Right now? My favorite kind of music is whatever makes Ashara crazy. I like to change her music over when she’s driving. It’s easier to manipulate electronic objects than anything else, so it’s something I can do.


Will we be seeing more of you or are you stepping out of the limelight?

Hardly anyone can see me. But my story isn’t done yet! I know I have things left to do; I just don’t know what, yet.


What do you do to relax?

I drift. It’s kind of like sleeping, but it’s apparently what ghosts do. And when I’m not drifting, I watch a lot of television. Crime shows, mostly. Luckily I found Ashara and Maw-Maw and can interact with them. Until I found them, my afterlife was boring. BORING.


What’s your personal goal?

Now? Watching out for the people I care about. I’m no guardian angel—just the thought of all that responsibility gives me the creeps—but I do what I can to care for the people in my life . . . Um. Afterlife. . . And I need to solve not only my own murder, but another murder that happened here in Alabama while I was watching. I need to make sure the right person goes to prison!


Where can we learn more about you?

In Waking Up Dead, by Margo Bond Collins. Check out the cover and blurb, below!

waking up dead cover

Callie Taylor expected heaven or hell. She got Alabama. . . . 

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?





Next week, you can meet more characters from the books of some of my favorite authors! In no particular order, here they are:

Claire C. Riley

claireClaire is a #1 Best Selling British horror writer. A reader and writer of dark paranormal romances and zombie horror, plus a ton of other things to give you chills!  She lives in the United Kingdom with her three young daughters, husband and one scruffy dog! Claire C Riley’s work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult-classics while still feeling fresh and cutting-edge. She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy. She is an avid reader of all genres, book collector, general procrastinator and has a great zombie apocalypse plan in place thanks to a questionnaire she asked her readers to fill in for her.


Claire has written several books including ‘Limerence,’ ‘Odium.The Dead Saga,’  ‘Odium Origins. A Dead Saga Novella Part one.’ and ‘Odium II The Dead Saga’.  She is also a proud contributor to several anthologies including ‘Fusion,’ ‘One Hellacious Halloween’ and ‘Let’s Scare Cancer to Death’ a charity anthology where all proceeds go directly to the V-Foundation.



Staci Hart


Staci is a graphic designer and the author of the Good God series, including Deer in the Headlights, Snake in the Grass, What the Heart Wants, and Doe Eyes.









Melanie Karsak

Melanie Karsak Author Pic by Orange Moon StudiosMelanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy) and the award-wining horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.







Amber Draeger


Amber is a writer from a small town in Texas. She will be publishing her first work, Daughters of Men, with Bathory Gate Press in 2015.