Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Palace of Deception by Helena Fairfax


A missing princess and her magnetic bodyguard - mystery and intrigue in a gripping love story.

When Princess Charlotte of Montverrier disappears on the eve of her Investiture, Lizzie Smith takes on the acting job of her life.

But in the run up to the ceremony, all is not what it seems in the palace. What danger lies outside the palace walls? And why does the sinister housekeeper insist Lizzie remain in her suite of rooms? As Lizzie learns her role, her only confidant is Léon, her quiet bodyguard. In the glamorous setting of the Mediterranean palace, Lizzie begins to fall for Léon…but what secrets is he keeping from her?

About the Author:

Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She's grown used to the cold now, and these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire, in the north of England. After many years working in factories and dark, satanic mills, Helena has turned to writing full-time. Her first novel, The Silk Romance, was a contender for the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers' Scheme Award and a runner-up in the Global Ebook Awards. Since then, Helena has written lots more stories, and she was recently a finalist in the Exeter Novel Prize.

In her spare time, Helena walks the Yorkshire moors every day with her rescue dog, finding this romantic landscape the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings.

Review by Rochelle:

I confess I’ve become a fan of Ms. Fairfax. Palace of Deception at least the third book of hers I’ve read, and it has not disappointed me. She also managed to surprise me. I expected a completely different ending and was quite shocked when the truth was revealed, although there was foreshadowing that I completely missed. I wonder if you’ll catch it. I don’t want to say too much. I suggest you buy Palace of Deception. It’s a page-burning novella you can probably blow through in one all-too-brief sitting.

Heat Rating:  PG-13
Length:  77 Pages
Digital Price:  $1.50
Author Web Site:

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hatchling’s Curse by Helen Henderson


Lord Branin Llewlyn is a dragshi, a human who can exchange bodies with a dragon. After millennia of waiting...and searching, Branin and his dragon counterpart, Llewlyn, have found their intended mates.

For the dragshi, the freedom of flight comes with a price. Now Branin has to find a cure for the childlessness of his kind. Cryptic references to mating flights add hope, but dark references about the deaths of suitors threatens not only his life, but the dreams of all dragon shifters.

To save his kind, Branin has to win the mating flight.

And the cost? All he treasures.

Throwing the competition is not an option.

About the Author:

Although I wrote fiction for myself as long as I can remember, and have been a professional writer for many years, pursuing publication for my fiction is a more recent endeavor. Published fiction includes two fantasy series: the Dragshi Chronicles and the Windmaster novels.

Among other topics, my published non-fiction covers antiques, history, and battlefield archeology. (Yes, I do know the subject and have participated in digs using both traditional screen and trowel methods and the new-fangled metal detectors.) I'm also proud of my two local histories, "Matawan and Aberdeen—Of Town and Field" and "Around Matawan & Aberdeen."

As a person, I have tried to find a balance between my typical Gemini characteristics. My heritage is also a reflection of contrasts—the descendent of a coal-miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer, I grew up living the simple life on a farm, yet my professional career was designing computers.

This dichotomy shows in my writing which crosses genres from historical adventures (written while listening to the Ashokan Farewell), westerns to western movie themes and science fiction/fantasy to the lilting tunes of Celtic harp and flute.

Join me as we journey among the stars, to the past both near and far, or to worlds of imagination.

Review by Rochelle:

I have to say shifter stories are not my favorites. I have difficulty suspending disbelief when it comes to shifters, especially something like a human/dragon shifter. The respective biologies and sizes are just too different. As for a human/dragon shifter reproducing, I can definitely see the difficulty. Human are mammals and give birth to live babies, while dragons are reptilian and lay eggs.

However, if one can suspend disbelief and accept the basic tenet of Hatchling’s Curse: Book Two of The Dragshi Chronicles, is very well-written with heroes and heroines with whom one can identify and root for, an enemy with clear motives, great world-building, steady pacing—in short, everything one needs to write a five-rose thriller/fantasy/romance. Ms. Henderson even did a great job of catching readers up on Dragon Destiny, the first book in the series without bogging down the action. If you’re able to suspend disbelief and you enjoy fantasy worlds and shifters, by all means, read Hatchling’s Curse: Book Two of The Dragshi Chronicles.

Heat Rating:  R
Length:  239 Pages
Print:  $13.99
Digital:  $3.99

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman


A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents' death in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace's harrowing past returns with a vengeance.

Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace's renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.

An evil she thought she'd outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she'd long ago fled.

About the Author:

Jonathan Kellerman is one of the world’s most popular authors. He has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to three dozen New York Times-bestselling crime novels, including the Alex Delaware series, The Butcher’s Theater, Billy Straight, The Conspiracy Club, Twisted, and True Detectives. With his wife, novelist Faye Kellerman, he also co-authored the bestsellers Double Homicide and Capital Crimes. He is the author of numerous essays, short stories, scientific articles, two children’s books, and three volumes of psychology, as well as the lavishly illustrated With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony Awards, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award. Jonathan and Faye Kellerman live in California, New Mexico, and New York City. Their four children include the novelists Jesse Kellerman and Aliza Kellerman.

Review by Rochelle:

I have been a long-time fan of Jonathan Kellerman. His books always keep me guessing and burning through the pages whether I’m reading a true whodunit or a Columbo-style mystery where we know who but not how or why. The Murderer’s daughter is a little of both. There’s some deep psychopathy going on in The Murderer’s Daughter—characters who have suffered major trauma in childhood and have dealt with it in very different ways. Sometimes, I wish I lived in a house instead of an apartment, as I like to read late at night and my outbursts must surely disturb my neighbors. I yelled a lot while I read The Murderer’s Daughter.  My neighbors heard a lot of “Oh my God!” “Oh no!” and “I can’t believe it!” I also missed a deadline or two reading all night when I should have put the book down and gone to sleep.

The reason I’m only giving The Murderer’s Daughter four roses is that it was full of comma splices. I realize the copy I read was an advanced review copy from Balantine that I received through Net Galley, but it seems many of today’s editors don’t know what a comma splice is. You’d think people working in New York for a major publisher would be able to afford to keep current with their subscription to The Chicago Manual of Style and look up such basic grammar issues. And one would think that someone Mr. Kellerman’s age would have learned about comma splices in elementary school back when they still taught grammar in all eight grades. Sorry for the rant, but the plethora of comma splices in modern fiction is one of my pet peeves.

Heat Rating:  R
Length: 385 Pages
Hardcover: $19.01
Paperback: $20.21
Digital: $13.99
Audible: $26.95
Author Amazon Page:

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Rebel’s Redemption by Jacquie Biggar


Annie Campbell's predictable and cozy life gets turned on its side when her son's prodigal father returns to town. Then an old enemy shows up, and the outcome will not only place her in danger, but their son as well.

Jared Martin left Tidal Falls a hotheaded youth, and has seen his share of violence in the eight years he's served Uncle Sam. Floundering, bitter, and disillusioned he returns to his hometown to regain his bearings.

Then he finds out he's a father.

When an old enemy follows and causes mayhem in the small town, can Jared overcome the odds to protect the woman he's always loved and the child he never knew, or will it be too late?

About the Author:

Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her husband, daughter, and grandson. She loves reading, writing, flower gardening and spoiling her German shepherd, Annie and calico cat, Harley.

Jacquie swears she can't function without strong, black coffee.

Review by Rochelle:

As a Navy veteran, I especially appreciate books about my fellow vets, especially those who served in combat. There’s a special camaraderie among people who have served together in harm’s way that carries over into civilian life. I see it every Tuesday and Thursday when I volunteer at the VA. So, I have a soft spot in my heart for these heroes and their stories.

That said, Ms. Biggar and her editor need to spend some time listening to these guys speak. She marred good story with stilted dialog. Here’s a scene from The Rebel’s Redemption in which Jared meets his best friend in a bar. The friend is already quite drunk.

“Hey, I thought you were going to stand me up.” [sic] Ty said as Jared pulled up a chair and swiped some of the bottles on the table off to one side.

There are two major problems with this sentence. First, a man as drunk as Ty would probably slur his words. At the very least he’d say something like “gonna” instead of “going to.” Second, when using a dialog tag, one should end the preceding sentence with a comma, not a period. Overuse of dialog tags is another thing authors need to watch out for. Anytime you can replace a dialog tag with an action, it’s best to do so. With an action, you would use a period at the end of the sentence inside the quotation mark. Had I edited this, I’d have slurred Ty’s speech, got rid of the dialog tag, and replaced it with an action. “Hey,I thought you were gonn’ stan’ me up.” Ty hiccupped as Jared…”

And that’s why my daughter sent me a Facebook photo that said, “I’m mentally editing everything you say to me.”

The Rebel’s Redemption really was a great page-burning story with a strong heroine, compassionate hero, and well-drawn supporting characters. It just needed looser language and a better editor. That’s why I’m giving it four roses.

Heat Rating:  PG-13
Length:  235 Pages
Print:  $9.99
Digital:  $3.49
Author Web Site:

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40-50% of the net proceeds from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40-$2.99. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $1.70-$2.10.

Download the file from the publisher onto your computer as you would any other file. I’ve created a folder for books on my computer, with subfolders by source (Marketing for Romance Writers, Net Galley, Authors who find me on Kindle lists, etc.). That way, if there’s a glitch with your Kindle, the books are on your computer. Some publishers send books in all digital formats. If my Kindle breaks and my kids buy me a Nook, I won’t have to replace all of my books. If you have a Kindle and your hubby has a Nook, you won’t have to buy separate copies, so buying directly from the publisher can save you money.

Moving the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. Plug the larger USB end of your e-reader charging chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder into which you’ve downloaded the book to Documents/Books directory on your e-reader. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Donna, Julie, & Rochelle