~☆~~KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY~~☆~

~☆~~ Kindle Giveaway Promo ~~☆~

I just saw a great promotion idea based on giving back to the fans rather than investing in advertising.

I’d like to do a promo where if I sell 400 books – either ebook or print – by August 30th, 2017, I will give away ONE Amazon Kindle (an $89 value). If I sell 200 books by August 30th 2017, I will give away ONE $25 Amazon.com gift card.

In order to be entered in this giveaway, you will need to:

  1. Like The Crooked Halos Facebook page
  2. Like this post and comment “enter me”
  3. SHARE THIS POST – the more you share it, the more chances of reaching our goal!
  4. BUY Even Halos Can Be Crooked (*if you haven’t already done so) Click HERE to order a copy of Even Halos Can Be Crooked  .

Sharing this post and encouraging others to get a copy of Even Halos Can Be Crooked is crucial for this giveaway to succeed!

Truthfully, it’s more about gaining fans and getting people to read the story so they can enjoy the fun adventure!

*(Facebook is not associated with this promotion in any way. Commenting ‘enter me’ does not guarantee a win or winner. Winners are dependent on meeting book sales goals. Winners will be announced September 14th, 2017 only if sales goals of 200 ($25 gift card) or 400 (Kindle valued at $89) have been reached by August 30th, 2017. This contest is open internationally. No purchase is required to be entered but it does help meet the sales goals. Winners have 3 days to respond once selected and agree to provide a ship to address for the Kindle or email address for the gift card. If no one responds by the 3rd day, another winner will be selected. Please message The Crooked Halos Series with any questions regarding this giveaway. Void where prohibited.)

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Bullet, Anita Blake Series Book 19 – Laurell K. Hamilton book review

Book review of the lastest Anita Blake series novel number 19, Bullet, by Laurell K. Hamilton. An alternate historian take on the paranormal with a twist. Grab your penquins and enjoy!

Okay, I had high hopes for the next book, Bullet, in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K Hamilton. Well, to be honest, not that high but lets just say – hopeful. I was really hoping LKH would get back to the style of writing I fell in love with in the first Anita Blake books. The wonderful mystery, the sexual tension, plot not centric on sex and characters that didn’t constantly mope or fall into Emo fugues – the basics that really drew me into Anita’s world. Gone are her friends like Dolph, Zerbrowski and what happened to Larry Kirkland? We rarely hear anything anymore that has to do with these peripheral characters that supported Anitas’ world.

book cover for Bullet, the nintenth book in the Anita Blake series by LKH
Book cover for Bullet, the 19th book in the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton

I guess the answer to these missing characters is that Anita’s world has greatly changed and for the reader that means either you have to move with these changes or essentially mourn the loss of our Anita, as we knew her, because this is the direction Laurell K. Hamilton is going. She has fully embraced the sexual side of Anita, even if Anita still sometimes struggles with her growing harem of men.

This book could have had a 70’s porno theme track to go with it for the amount of sex we, the reader are treated to. And not just the straight Vanilla sex the average romance reader expects. Oh no, LKH and Anita are falling into a ‘try-anything’ catergory and she’s getting her freak-on like nobodies business, because, let’s face it, there’s always someones life depending on it.

I’m not a prude mind you. A tastefully done sex scene works in most romances, paranormal, historical or otherwise but I don’t normally sign on for what has gone far beyond Erotica to Porn. Maybe its shock value, maybe its Laurell sharing the world she lives in vicariously through Anita but I don’t want to know about Anita having sex with women or Anita have sex with 2 or 3 men having sex with each other in that kind of detail. I get the whole Succubi angle but I think the phrase ‘less is more’ actually would work better for this series because right now the plot is suffering terribly for Anita to get her jollies on to save a life. Even though we lose some semi-key characters in this novel of the series, I can barely remember the story line for this book because the main thing that stood out was sex, sex and more sex.

Not to mention the ridiculously docile and complacent switch we have with the oh-so-troubled Richard. It is like he had a lobotomy or else was body-snatched when we weren’t looking. He’s done a complete 180 and have miraculously come to terms with almost every one of his annoying hangups. I know, I said annoying, so I should be happy with this turn-about but the way it was done was so out there I kept waiting for it to be a weird dream sequence or some vampire power messing with him and it wasn’t. He really is a new man – just what Anita’s been asking for. Isn’t it nice how the ardeur keeps fulfilling all of Anita’s wishes and fixing her life so it works?

In the mist of Anita’s sexual revolution, we’ve got the return of Mommie Dearest and she’s not playing around now. She’s out for a new body and she’s looking for Anita to be her chassis. Marme Noir is using other master vampires of her line to feed and amass enough power to take over Anita. Some masters are scared. Some masters are willing to run free under Marme’s rule. And this is where our miniscule mystery comes in, such as it is, since we know the whole who-what-when-where-and-why of it almost from the first mention of the murders. See, that’s about all I can mention of it because that’s almost all that LKH devoted to the mystery. Oh, and some assassins were hired to take out Anita, Jean-Claude and Richard.

On top of all this, Anita is supposed to be meeting the other tigers that her little queen called. Obviously this means, yea, more men for Anita and more working through the issues the new men could come with, no pun intended. The masters who are running scared offer themselves up to Jean-Claudes triumvirate. Apparently, there are rumors going around that Anita may be the new Master of Beasts. That all she needs is the last tiger color of gold to move up to that power level. This meeting cumulates into so many things that if you do read this next installment of the series, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Would I recommend this book for die-hard Anita fans?

For something to read, sure. For entertainment value, not so much, unless reading hardcore porn scenes is what you are looking for.

Will I read the next Anita Blake book?

The jury is still out on that…

Flirt – by Laurell K Hamilton, Book 18 in the Anita Blake series – book review

Flirt by Laurell K. Hamiltion is the 18th book in her Anita Blake Series. This is a short, fast paced novella that gives a glimpse into Anita’s life with her men and work as well as her moral standards for raising the dead. Complications arise more often than in relations to Anita’s work and the more often unusual requests Anita receives for raising lost loved ones.

Flirt by LKH Anita Blake book 18
We're all flirts at heart.

Okay, so I read the most recent Anita Blake novella, Flirt , by Laurell K.  Hamilton, a while ago. I have to say, it failed to ‘wow’ me. It’s definitely a filler book and,  if you plan to follow the Anita Blake series, not one you can really skip because we wind up with a new member to Anita’s ever-growing harem of men.  The novel focuses more on Anita’s moral standards with reasons why she’ll raise a zombie and what reasons she won’t raise a zombie for and its centered around a little luncheon flirtation after Anita is asked in two different client meetings by two very different people to raise two zombies for reasons that Anita can’t, won’t and isn’t willing to do for no amount of money.  One of those clients doesn’t take Anitas’  no for the answer it is and, having throughly researched her, hires some not so friendly werelions to persuade Anita to change her mind. The lions, Jacob and Nick, corner Anita back at the cafe she had her friendly flirtatious lunch at and Anita picks up on their ‘bad news’ mojo right away. Her lion also perks up and through a series of conversational foibles, Anita finds out her Regina is in heat and sending up the red flags for ‘Come and get me’. While fighting for control over her Regina, Anita finds out her client went to some very big extremes in order to ensure her cooperation with the raising of the zombie and now her lovers are in danger.  Skip a few pages of big font and Anita finds herself cut off from her men and in need of a feeding and normal food won’t cut it. Anita has to choose between the two lions that first accosted her and settles on Nick since he seems the most drawn to her and the most willing of the two to share her with other men. Lions are extremely territorial wereanimals and sharing is just not in their natural makeup. The other lions feel Anita and Nick hopping on the aurder feeding wagon and try to stop them but wind up losing one of their own badies. The power of a wereanimal death gives Anita what she needs to free herself, break the spell the werelion witch had cast that blocked her from her men and, oh yea, raise an cementary to take care of her pesky client.

This story was brief, filler fodder and seemed only to answer the Cookie/Haven dilema Anita has been struggling with. The cartoon at the back was almost not necessary but Laurell seemed to want to share the background for her idea as much as tell a story. Would I recommend this? For something to read while waiting for better, yes. And I guess, I’d almost have to recommend it for anyone following the series otherwise we’d be missing some important pieces when Bullet comes out. Do I wish it had more of the first Anita novels? Hell yea. I don’t mind Anita becoming more comfortable with the life she has and the gift she has but I miss the mystery. I miss  the suspense and the tension of sexual possibility. Now its just an inevitable occurance and a rather graphic one at that. I am happy though that Hamilton has toned down a smidgeon the sex machine that Anita has become over the last couple of novels. Here’s hoping Bullet brings back some of what I fell in love with in the first novels.

Pick up a copy of Flirt and the first  six Anita Blake novels by clicking on the images below and ordering one from Amazon.com:

   

Dead Witch Walking, A Rachel Morgan, novel by Kim Harrison – book 1 review

Kim Harrisons first Rachel Morgan book, Dead Witch Walking

I must share my other Alternate History Paranormal mystery romance author with you – Kim Harrison. If LKH’s steamy sex is a little to0 graphic for your reading leisure, then check out Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series. Below is my abstract/review I posted on ShvOOng a while back. I’ve re-read this series almost as much as I have the Anita Blake series and this series came out 10 years later. Truly, a good read.

The world is a different place since the Turn. Who would have thought that a genetically engineered tomato could forever change the world when it took on a deadly passenger in the form of the T4 Angel virus? A virus that wiped out most of humanity – enough that those formally thought of as Fairy tale creatures took advantage and came forth for the world to see. Rachel Morgan is a witch – not a Warlock that can’t stir her own spells but an earth witch. A spunky, sexy, tall, athletic, frizzy red-haired witch who has reached her maximum tolerance of crappy assignments from the I.S., Inderland Security, a task force set up to police those the humans can not and are not capable of handling.

Kim Harrisons' "Dead Witch Walking" novel
Married Pixy.

The novel, Dead Witch Walking, by Kim Harrison, starts off with Rachel’s impetuous decision to quit the I.S – something that most never do and those few who do – don’t survive. Her last tag for the I.S. is a Leprechaun that failed to properly report a pot of gold. While scouting out her tag, Rachel runs into an old work associate – Ivy Tamwood, of the living vampire Tamwoods. A vampire born and not created, living caught between two worlds, Ivy struggles everyday with her innate urges that come from being formed with the vampire virus percolating since birth.

Rachel hitches a ride with Ivy, their tags and Jenks, Rachel’s pixy back up. Rachel shares her desire to leave the I.S. which leads to the startling revelation that her old co-worker, Ivy,  and her current pixy backup, Jenks,  want to leave the I.S with Rachel. So begins the new life for Rachel, Ivy and Jenks – Ivy manages to buy out her contract with her entire living and undead savings, Jenks being a pixy means no one will miss him and Rachel…well Rachel was lucky enough to incur the wrath of the I.S. since they couldn’t go after a Tamwood for breaking their contract, Rachel was the I.S.’s next target and now no one will deal with a Dead Witch Walking.

A spelled paycheck, the lost of her apartment in the Hollows and small spells that detonate when no ones around to see it are just a few of the things that Rachel faces shortly after her bid for freedom. Miraculously she lands on her feet, moving into her new office – a church. Now she is living on Hollow ground that will protect her from the undead vampires, weres and she will be living with Ivy so she has the added protection of the Tamwoods family name. The kitchen and garden are more than a witch with a price on her head could hope for plus the garden lends a home to Jenks and his family of 54 children. Don’t underestimate the power of a pixy and the humor of the muttered commentary Jenks shares. The phrases are so unique that laughter is inevitable.

Only, the attacks on her life won’t stop until Rachel finds a way to pay off her contract and she focuses all her efforts on bringing down the untouchable Trent Kalamack, species unknown. Ivy, Rache and Jenks set up office and home in their church and Rachel uses the old spell books to find a way to bring down Trent. The adventure is only beginning as Rachel discovers so much more about herself, her powers, the true bonds of friendship, surviving against all odds and what true evil Trent Kalamack is hiding. With stellar dialogue, imagery and the ability to alter history so smoothly you fall under the spell of the Hollows, Kim Harrison takes you on a journey of action, sorcery, mystery and adventure. Grab your guide to dating a Vampire, make sure you’re on hollow ground and curl up with some good old pizza if you dare….Rachel Morgan’s fight to survive awaits you in Kim Harrison’s, Dead Witch Walking.

The first book in the Rachel Morgan series can be purchased by clicking on the Amazon.com image below:

 

Quicksand by Iris Johansen, Eve Duncan series – book review

Quicksand by Iris Johansen, Eve Duncan series book review

Here is another review on ShvOOng.  Enjoy!

Anyone who has lost a child or had one never come home can instantly feel Eve Duncan’s burning desire to find her Bonnie. As the seventh book of the Eve Duncan series by Iris Johansen, Quicksand, draws the reader into Eve’s search. Ever since Bonnie had gone missing and the truth was revealed that the killer who original claimed Bonnie’s life had lied, Eve has been following every clue, lead and hint to find her Bonnie and bring her home.
 

Eve Duncan Series
Bring them home. Bring the children home.

As part of this search, Eve became a Forensic Sculptor and tries to bring other lost children and people home to their families. After a recent facial recreation, Eve was given 3 names of possible kidnappers for Bonnie. Long time companion, Joe Logan, has been working to hunt down these possible suspects and that is where this adventure begins. Follow Eve, Joe, Miguel and Montolovo as they trail a deadly predator in the hopes of finding Bonnie. Powerfully written, the reader moves along with Eve as she tries to hold onto her relationship with Joe without letting go of her search for Bonnie.

 Pursuing old avenues that left Eve jaded and filled with mistrust, Megan Blair is brought in to assist in the search for the latest victim, a small boy. For all those out there who doubt and are filled with disbelief, it is easy to share the feelings of shattered hopes, constant disappointments and utter disdain for the money and publicity driven charlatan psychics that preyed upon Eve during her weakest moments. Eve soon discovers that maybe, just maybe there might be more out there than either she or Joe can comprehend. That maybe she isn’t coping with her lost by hallucinating nightly conversations with her Bonnie. Eve might just have to accept that she is open to outside possibilities and sensitive enough that her Bonnie can visit her and that ghosts really do exist.
 Emotionally charged, page turning excitement pulls the reader alongside the characters on this fast pace chase, leaving the reader rooting for good to prevail, evil to get what’s coming to it and most of all, for Bonnie to come home. Curl up, leave the night-lite on, dive in and prepare to hunt down a vile predator in Iris Johansen’s, Quicksand.

Quicksand can be purchased by clicking on the Amazon.com image below:

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton – book review

Book review of Laurell K. Hamiltons first Anita Blake novel: Guilty Pleasures

I have been a long time fan of Laurell K. Hamilton. I discovered her first Anita Blake book , Guilty Pleasures, in 1994 and was hooked from page one. I posted an abstract on SvhOOng back in Janurary 2008 and want to share it with all of you. It sums up the novel better than I could do today.  Enjoy~

 Welcome to the new law – Vampires have been granted equal rights under the law in the United States of America. Most of the world thinks they are people too.Vampires just have pointy teeth, don’t need a steady supply of oxygen and  function with a permanent iron deficiency and therefore should have the same rights as everyone else. What those people don’t know, is that they are the monsters that walk among us.

As the regional vampire executioner, Anita Blake, bears the scars they inflicted on her and has seen their victims. She is an Animator which gives her a leg up on the big bad uglies so she helps out with the special police unit –  R.P.I.T – Regional Preternatural Investigative Team. R.P.I.T was created to take on the crimes that are determined to involve non-humans – whether they are the victims or the killers. Anita is called in when even the experts have no clue. They’ve learned that more people die when she is not brought in sooner. If she can keep the death toll down, then one more crime scene, one more nightmare is a price she is willing to pay.

book cover for Guilty Pleasures by LKH
Vampires have rights now. How's that working for us?

 Laurell K. Hamiltons, “Guilty Pleasures,” takes you into a dark world of lust, violence and the mystical with a wit that carries through the pages and leaves you wanting more. Anita’s complexity and spunky can-do attitude mixed in with a huge chunk of stubbornness gets her into more trouble than she can take on as she is unwillingly drawn into investigating a series of Vampire murders.

Someone is hunting down the most powerful Vampires in the city of St. Louis in a bid to take over the city and now the vampires have come to the one person they fear the most – the Executioner, Anita Blake, for help. Laurell K. Hamilton shares the world view through Anita’s eyes which is peppered with beauty and spoiled by the beasties that walk the night. If you are looking for the ultimate Science Fiction Paranormal novel that rises from a great recipe for fantastic reading – beauty, death, lust, blood, guts and gore topped off with mystery and hard hitting humor – snuggle up for the night, grab your favorite stuffed penguin and prepare to meet Anita.

Anita’s Tag line:  I don’t date vampires. I kill them.

I hope this review sends people to my Amazon.com link below and that you pick up this novel. It is a really good read. It knocks Twilight out of the park – sorry Twilight fans but its true –  Anita came first and kicks Bella’s butt on the morbid mopey self reflections but she does it with style and humor that very few can touch. And the love triangle – its amazing! How Anita resisted the oh so sexy Jean-Claude kept the pages turning as I waited for her to give in and allow some fang sinking to get it on.  The alternate historian take on the United States just makes any true sci-fi-fantasy-paranormal fan take notice with the major “what if?” proposed in such a way that draws you in.

So if you’re up for a great read  and don’t have a copy of the book, click on the image below to purchase Guilty Pleasures from Amazon.com

Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister – book review

Book Review – Steamed: A Steampunk Romance by Katie MacAlister

Good Morning!

book cover for Katie MacAlister's new novel: Steamed - A Steampunk RomanceSo, nothing like getting started on my new blogs. I recently read a new book by Katie MacAlister, Steamed: a Steampunk Romance. This is a new adventure for Katie. I’ve read her Dragon and Vampire series and a couple of her avant garde standalones and find her humor worth the read. Not only that, she takes our everyday world and puts a unique spin on it. She is a true Paranormal Romance author.

I have to admit – I am very new to steampunk. I know its popularity  is picking up and kudos to Katie for jumping into that genre. So when I picked up this book I was slightly skeptical on whether or not it would hold my interest. The novel starts out with a quirky male character, Jack Fletcher, who through a couple of events that got blown out of proportion is a local hunky hero – despite Jack’s many efforts to explain how things really went down. Shortly after meeting Jack, we’re introduced to his sister and that’s where the adventure begins.

*pause* I have many friends who would cut off their ears or more likely my tongue should I divulge spoilers to something they haven’t read or seen yet and they most definitely plan to. So when I do these reviews, I’m going to blog on the content, enjoyability and style of writing but do my best not to ruin the story for you. Heck, its like reading the last page of a book beforehand. At that point, I usually don’t want to read the book. I won’t do that to you . *Okay, back to the book review*

Now the adventure has begun and we get to meet Octavia Pye, the Aerocorps captain on her maiden voyage. Octavia has more secrets than a Rubics cube puzzle. This sexy woman with fiery red hair has the unique position of power and she knows it. She’s in charge of a ragtag small crew that has their own quirks. The crew provides moments of mayhem and humor that move the story along.

When Jack and his sister are discovered as stowaway’s on Octavia’s ship, Octavia  finds herself challenged with many detours and keeping her secrets becomes almost an impossibility. Top that off with a rather rampant attraction to her male stowaway who happens to have a rather odd fascination with goggles and anything steampunk, her best laid plans are falling apart.

I hope you noted the romance part of the Paranormal Romance because this author has some very not ‘G’ rated scenes. Heck, they don’t even make the ‘R’ ratings at some points but  if your eyes and mind can handle the images don’t let these racy sex scenes hold you back from picking up this novel. One of the things I like about Katie MacAlister is that she has a unique sense of humor when it comes to her sex scenes that leave you with dueling emotions of blushing and wanting to laugh at the same time. Octavia and Jack do not leave us wanting for the raunchy humor.

The imagery Katie uses to describe this new world for us puts the reader right there on the ship. The boyish wonder that Jack exudes helps to make the unbelievable just a slightly bit believable. I enjoyed the way Katie weaved the romance in with the adventure and the sparks between these characters really do fly – all pun intended ;-).

I hope I’ve done Steamed justice and that a few of you out there will pick up this book and give it a try. I know I plan to come back and read more if Katie turns this new novel into a series. It’s not my normal cup of tea but  with the possibilities and adventure as well as the humor, its enough to bring me back for more.

Here is a link to the authors website: http://www.katiemacalister.com/bookssteam.php#steamed

Please check out her Aisling series, her Dark One series as well as her Silver Dragon series.  The demon talking dog , Jim , in the Aisling series provides laugh out loud reading moments. Happy reading all!

Purchase Steamed right now on Amazon.com by clicking on the image below:

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