Friday, September 28, 2012

Ancient Blood by Brian McKinley Interview & Review

"Born into the generation people call X (as if to cross it out or deny it), I grew up in an age without direction, the age without heroes, the age of the beautiful vampire."

Avery Doyle loves vampires; he’s read every novel, seen all the movies, and researched the folklore.  When his first one-night-stand, Caroline, turns out to be a true vampire on the run, he jumps at the chance to leave his ordinary life and join her as a “child of the night.”  The honeymoon ends, however, when Caroline’s brutal Creator Sebastian enslaves them on his island estate and Avery must confront the dehumanizing reality behind his dreams.
In order to survive, Caroline and Avery take their place as servants in Sebastian’s household during a gathering of the most powerful vampires on Earth, the Hegemony, and soon find themselves involved in the myriad intrigues and deceptions that form the night-to-night existence of The Order.
A society of wealth, power, and inhuman decadence whose existence is protected by human complicity and disbelief, The Order is the immortal aristocracy hidden behind the giant corporations and political leaders of the world. Sebastian, however, has a plan that will change The Order forever and shatter human civilization.
To avoid this terrible fate, Avery and Caroline will not only have to defy the most powerful creatures on Earth, but also confront the darkest aspects of themselves. For in the world of the Hegemony, even victory may cost them their souls . . .
A fast-paced thriller that both re-imagines and pays tribute to the traditional vampire, Ancient Blood is a story of love, ambition, sacrifice, and betrayal that is frighteningly human.

Brian McKinley
Brian is a lifelong vampire fan from New Jersey and has written four screenplays, a stage play which won a state-wide contest and was produced by a NJ community theater, and numerous short stories, three of which will be appearing in Mystic Press’ upcoming anthology Misery Loves Company.


How long have you had this idea? 

This took me about a year to write and edit. Took six years to find a publisher for it. I started by looking for an agent, but couldn't find one, so I looked for a publisher instead. Found one and sold the book, got it edited and ready to go ... and the publisher went out of business just before I would have been published. So I started all over. Meanwhile, I was working on my current book that has taken me years. And one night I happened to be on Facebook trying to befriend other authors and network, when Tabetha Jones messaged me. She had gotten my friend request, looked at my book's blurb, and offered me a contract right out of the blue!

Who is your favorite character in Ancient Blood?

It should be Avery, but it's actually Geoffrey. He's just such a completely cold and unapologetic bastard that I find him endlessly amusing to write

How do you feel about your book coming out in the vamp era?

I have mixed feelings. In a way, it's nice to be able to have a book that is so distinctly different from all the Twilight wannabes, but I really dislike the pussification of vampires that's happening. They're all romance novel pretty boys nowadays. That's not vampires to me.

What is your favorite vampire movie?

 Interview with the Vampire. It's a tough call, but that one has the beauty, the violence, and the inner story that I love. In most movies, vampires are just the bad guys.

What type of music do you listen to?

A wide variety. I listen to music when I write, so I often pick something appropriate. I love classic rock, hard rock, heavy metal, but I can also get into classical, opera, jazz, swing, and even Native American music. I have a character and book playlist.

What song do you have for Avery?

For Avery, I listened to a lot of Weezer, Good Charlotte, Type O Negative, Concrete Blonde. I also listened to a lot vampire movie soundtracks when I was writing the Hegemony scenes.

Is there anything you would like your readers to know about you?

Not sure. I suppose the biggest point to make would be that I'm not my characters. Any of them. While they all live in my head and I have the imagination to allow them to do some truly horrific things, that doesn't mean that I condone those kind of actions in real life. Some people assume that because you write it, you're into it, and that's not always true.

Random Facts about Brian McKinley

I love old Universal horror movies and intelligent thrillers, but am actually kind of a wuss when it comes to modern, gory horror movies. I can't watch them. I can write it all day long, but images stick with me too long.
I have written stage plays, screen plays, novels, short stories, and poetry.
I don't watch much TV. What I do watch is Food Network, HGTV, and History channel. I will watch specific shows off cable like Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, and Game of Thrones.
Favorite color is black
Favorite book is Red Dragon By Thomas Harris
Favorite Holiday is Halloween
Oh and guess what ladies, he's single so feel free to pounce!

When i heard that Ancient Blood was about vampires i was wondering what kind of story line Brian McKinley brought to the table. Every author has their own version of a vampire and over the years the myth has changed. They sparkle, they walk in the light with a ring, they are vegetarians(meaning only animal blood), and so on. This book was all together different from what vampires are considered to be. Ancient Blood is more of a political vampire story. Politics just don't mesh well with me. I was also thrown off with the language used, i felt like i had to translate most of it and it slowed me down a bit. This only happened when we meet other characters though. Avery, the main character, was the one that kept me balanced. I liked the fact that there are some twists and scheming characters. If you want a new perspective of vampires then this is a book you should read. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Desire and Fate Review

Stranded on another world, Hanna encounters some of its occupants. Fear consumes her as she is taken from her human ways of life.

Ozonar is one of the most powerful leaders of his race. He has been watching and secretly desiring Hanna from afar, until the day he decided to enter the Human's camp.

What does fate have in store for them, and will desire keep them together or tear them apart?

Cannot get over the surprises I encountered in this rather unique story. I cringed, I cried, and at some point I just had to stop reading to take in what I had just read.  I am still mind blown with some of the scenes which will be haunting me for the rest of my life. I have got to say that this is a book I will never forget. Along the way I felt my motherly instincts come out and I would cry or want to cuddle with a teddy bear. I now wish there was someone like Ozonar.  I wonder what Beth Wright will come up with next. Definitely curious. @_@


Loteria Review

The Mexican board game of Lotería is a game of chance. It is similar to our American bingo. However, in Lotería instead of matching up numbers on a game board, players match up images. There are 54 cards in the Lotería game, and for this short story collection you will find one unique story per card based on a Latin American myth, folklore, superstition, or belief – with a slant towards the paranormal and horrific. In this deck of cards you will find murderers, ghosts, goblins and ghouls. This collection features creatures and monsters, vampires and werewolves and many of these legends existed in the Americas long before their European counterparts. Many of these stories have been passed over time throughout the Americas, and many have been passed via word of mouth, just like the tales the Brothers Grimm collected. These are indeed fairy tales, but with a much more terrible little slant.

When I first read the title of the book I couldn’t help but smile because it brought back child hood memories. Then I remembered that I had the game in my closet but ever since I read a few stories, I don’t think I will ever look at it the same.  There were some sections that were horrifying and some that grew in suspense but didn’t deliver. I was disappointed with how the tale of Chupacabra was told because it is a truly terrifying story, some of my family members still cringe at the thought of it. Loteria should not be read in one sitting. Let the horror sink in and then continue or else you won’t be scared anymore.  It is similar to oral tales, if someone keeps trying to spook you then you’ll eventually get bored. I am a big fan of myths and I found some of the stories very interesting because they are told in different ways in other countries. It makes me wonder if at some point the myths were a reality. This is a wonderful collection. Now I can’t wait to round up a group and play Loteria. 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blood Destiny Review

The Draven Dynasty Novella Series

Before Renee Draven, there was another, the one who began it all. Before demons and mortals separated into their own dimensions, there was a girl sought out to begin the Draven Dynasty. She alone would stand with her Druid King and fight the forces of darkness to ensure the prophecy was fulfilled. 
Elena Draven, torn from her home, taken to a foreign land of Magick and creatures that she had only seen in her dreams walking around right before her eyes. With the gift of a magical ferrum, her power comes alive and her destiny lies before her.
Kilian, her savior, the Druid King who wishes to make Elena his bride and continue the Draven lineage which will destroy the Winged One, and ensure the Chosen One’s path. Will she learn to trust him and accept his love? Or will their time run out before fate takes their lives?
Every story starts somewhere….take the journey into a part of the Draven witches that has never been told and how their Blood Destiny began…..

It is interesting to watch the determination to make sure that Renee Draven is born: all the work that had to happen to insure the prophecy came true. Another cool factor was being able to see what was going on since the beginning. So many questions were asked in Blood Magic about the past and how the prophets were told. In Blood Destiny we are in the past looking forward to the future and wondering if all will be well. Also, in Blood Magic we are told about other Dravens Story and how it played out. It was awesome being able to actually be at the event and collect some information that was missing. Still piecing the story together but I am having a great time doing it. I still cannot tell what all these pieces will make but I can tell it is going to be BIG.


Blood Vengeance Review


There is an evil rising that wishes to seek havoc….Renee Draven believed her battle was over but her nightmare is just beginning. There is a darkness lurking seeking vengeance; with vengeance comes loss and family secrets will be revealed. Renee will question her lineage and her power; while other Evils play on her doubts she must determine truth from lies. Or will the lies be enough to rip the light from our heroine’s soul? With the past revealed the future holds a shock conclusion. New heroes will be found and new allies will be made…lives will be lost and hearts will be broken…are you ready for the ride to hell and back?


 Another beautifully told storyline that did not fail me. After reading Blood Magic I thought to myself how can she top that or add more. I cannot believe how well she has been able to keep up with my expectations. I am definitely keeping my out for the others to come!!
 I was able to see Renee Draven mature and grow confidence but she wasn’t the only one growing in power. Her arch enemy Damaskeos who she was destined to kill was instead banished which was a grave mistake. His banishment became a vacation. New obstacles have unfolded and Damaskeos is an ant compared to the other beings she must face. She also has to prepare for a great battle that has been spoken of for centuries. I was astonished at how much Renee has grown and how her relationship with William has blossomed.



Monday, September 24, 2012

Blood Magic By Zoey Sweete Review

A witch/vampire hybrid, Renee Draven was sent to fulfill her destiny. Hell-bent on destroying the Evil One that has tormented and defiled her lineage for centuries, she must take back the power that was stolen long ago. Racing against time to destroy the darkness that threatens her life and those she loves. She must confront her demons. Losing faith in herself, and her power, she stumbles across William Angelo, the one she was said to bring home and save. While on her dark journey she must find Dante Angelo, his blood is the key to awakening her vampire side and defeating Damaskeos. Struggling to stay alive, she is torn between wanting a normal life and her duties, Renee must learn to believe in herself and the magic that flows through her blood, if she is to save the lives of those she loves. Will she find the strength to defeat Damaskeos and end his reign once and for all? Or will she fall as all the other Draven Witches before her? Blood Magic will take you on a mystical ride into alternate dimensions, the magical world of the Draven witches, and the supernatural creatures that would give their life to protect them.


I got to say that this book just made it on my top list of books. I was entranced within the first couple of pages. I literally did not want to finish the book without knowing I can continue it. I was torn between going to sleep and figuring out what was going to happen next. I finally decided to sleep and leave a few pages a mystery so I had something to wake up to. Romance always makes a book much more interesting especially a love triangle, well what about a square, possibly a pentagon!! Men are like magnets when it comes to Renee Draven but only one will win her heart.  That is the least of her worries since she has to conquer creatures that people would usually stay away from. Top that with the pressure of having to destroy the one man that has been haunting her dreams and killing her family, we have a mind blowing story line. I cannot wait for the rest of the story to unfold. 

This amazing book can be found here

Defy the Stars By Stephanie Parent Interview & Review

Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.

Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense.  Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again.  After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them.  Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence.  Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well.  The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber.  With a plot, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.


Stephanie Parent is a YA author repped by Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major.


Author Interview

How did the thought of writing this book come about?

I had written a previous novel in verse and received feedback from editors that it wasn’t “edgy” or dramatic enough for today’s YA market, so I knew I needed to go further in my next novel.  Someone in the publishing industry actually suggested the idea of a modern Romeo and Juliet story involving drug addiction.  At first I wasn’t sure about it, but then I reread the play and was struck by how well the “poison” in the original play correlated with modern drug use.  I was also frustrated with several recent YA books that I think portray Romeo and Juliet in an overly simple, one-sided way, and I wanted to explore Shakespeare’s work in a deeper way.

Who is your favorite character? Why?

I can’t choose between Julia and Reed!  Both of them contain little bits of me, and as such I grew very attached to them while writing the novel.  Like Julia, I can be a bit of a perfectionist and control freak, and like her, I was very involved in piano in high school—I actually attended a performing arts high school as a piano major, and I also studied at the Peabody Institute, the pre-college branch of the Peabody music conservatory Julia applies to in the book.  However, while I’ve always loved music, I never had quite the dedication to piano that Julia does, and I never intended to study it in college or pursue it as a career.  As for Reed, I relate to him in that I’ve struggled with depression and self-destructive tendencies, but I’m not nearly as much of a risk taker as Reed is, and I come from a much more stable home life!

I also have to mention that, even though he’s a much smaller character, I actually really like Marc, Reed’s friend.  I think I know a lot about Marc that didn’t fit into the story and thus didn’t make it onto the page.  He was definitely one of the lighter characters in the novel, so it was always a relief to write his lines/actions in the midst of all the drama

What is your favorite scene?

That’s a hard one!  I think I’m going to go with Reed and Julia’s first kiss in the alley—it’s a somewhat idealized, darkly romantic moment that’s very innocent in a way.  It’s kind of the one perfect, hopeful moment before everything gets more and more complicated…and I would have loved to get a kiss like that in high school!

Do you think the outcome would have been the same if the role of a music lover and druggie were to be switched in the characters?

That’s a very, very interesting question!  It’s hard to get too specific without spoiling the ending, but yes, I think the outcome would very likely have been the same.  And I would love to write that book someday!

Why did you decide to write in verse?

I’ve always really loved free verse novels, and since I had written a previous novel in verse and also took a number of poetry classes in grad school, I felt fairly comfortable with the form.  I hoped the verse would help me stand out in the crowded YA market, and I also thought it was the best way to tell this story.   It was particularly helpful in allowing me to convey Julia’s stream-of-consciousness thoughts and to portray the link between her dreams and waking life, and it was also a fun way to describe music.  And the verse seemed especially appropriate for a retelling of Shakespeare, since he writes in blank verse and is so poetic himself.  Obviously I can only aspire to and not match Shakespeare’s transcendent language!

Are there any fictional characters you are in love with right now?

I just finished The Devil’s Metal by Karina Halle, which is an amaaazing book (but, warning, it’s definitely NOT YA).  The male lead in that book, Sage Knightly, is the ultimate sexy, tortured, bad boy rock star—yes, he’s really a rock star!  And I can’t stop thinking about him!

How long did it take you to write this book?

About eight months from first to last sentence, and then a few more months of revising.


In Defy the Stars By Stephanie Parent, two teenagers from different worlds collide. Julie, a pianist ever since she was little and has been trying her hardest to be accepted to the top fine arts schools.  Reed is someone who has been struggling to keep a roof over his head and uses drugs as an escape. They have both been going to the same high school but finally interact in their senior year. Two love struck teenagers trying to find a bridge where they can be happy without their families judging them. With each attempt their worlds seem to drift further apart but it only makes them try harder.  Absolutely loved this book because of the hardships the characters overcame, their determination to be together.  Stephanie Parent did an amazing job incorporating teenage life now a days, I caught myself smiling from the memories it brought up. I couldn’t help but think how much more Julia was sacrificing than Reed and wanting to punch him in the face. I actually want to punch everybody in the face for making everything difficult for the couple to be together. Then again, being in love is never a smooth journey.

Another Romeo and Juliet, but one you will never forget.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


The room is so cold that I can see my breath in the air. The entire city has a coldness about it, but this room is the worst. The shadows crawl across the floor, an infestation of evil fiends. Our lanterns struggle to penetrate the otherworldly darkness. The walls are caked with blood, and the rancid smell of rotting flesh burns my nose. Suddenly my body feels heavy, my chest feels like it's being crushed. I can hardly breathe, time slows to a standstill. He's looking at me now. I couldn't describe him if I tried. Horrible, awful, unnatural. The darkest of Evils.

“I've been waiting for you.” His voice grates inside my skull. He speaks to me from the inside, and the pain is more than I can take. “Do you see now, why your father killed himself? Do you still think him a coward, for wanting to avoid an eternity of torture?”

A strange sensation rises from the pit of my stomach. Rage. That worthless pig. Even standing here, knowing full well what horrors await my failure, I would still choose to fight. My father was a coward, darkness like this cannot be allowed to exist. The great one gave everything, even his soul, to stop this monster. Still, what chance do I have against him when his stare alone is enough to break me? My hands are shaking as I reach for my daggers. I have to try.

Before I can even attempt to raise my blades he crosses the room and punches me squarely in the throat. I stumble backwards and another blow impales my lower back. He's everywhere at once, juggling me like a rag doll. The darkness is closing in. Blow after blow, I can't even tell where he's hitting me from. The magic shield I'd summoned offers little protection from the endless assault. I desperately swing my blade, but he catches my arm at the wrist and effortlessly folds my bones in half. My snapping bones echo through the darkness, followed by his cold laugh inside my head.

“You're such a weak disappointment, Nikolai. How I wish I could torture the great one like I'm going to torture you. My thirst for revenge will never be sated... but if I can't have him, his grandson is the next best thing I suppose.” He trails off into a sinister cackle as he raises my body into the air. The point of a cold blade touches my back, right over my heart. He drives it through slowly.

“NOOO!” I wake up screaming and gagging. I can taste the blood in my mouth. It was only a dream, but even now the pain is so real. It takes a few moments for the darkness to fade. By the time I can see my surroundings the feeling of the blade retreats from my insides and I can breathe again.

“Niko! Wake up!” Her voice is coming at me from the end of a long tunnel, slowly bringing me back to reality.

“Aja..? How did we get out here?” I'm face down on the roof with my arms behind my back. Her knee is pressed into my back.

“You were sleep walking again.. if you can call it that. Sleep ass kicking is more like it.” She keeps a firm grip on my arm as she dismounts my back and pulls me to my feet. Once I've gotten my balance back she releases my arm and perches herself a few steps away on the peak of the roof. Her long black hair is a fuzzy mess, and the front of her silky blue pajamas are spattered with blood. When she turns to sit I realize her left eye is swollen shut, and her nose is bleeding.

“Oh no.. Aja.. I'm so sorry!” In my hurry to apologize I lose my balance and stumble a little. How did I manage to get out onto the roof in my sleep?

“I'll be alright. You were screaming bloody murder out here Niko. I've never seen someone in so much pain. I tried to wake you up, but you were consumed in the struggle.”

Her voice seems more timid than usual. She knows how disturbing my dreams have been lately. They've slowly been getting worse over the past few months.

“I think he's getting stronger.”

I wish I could tell her more, but that's all I can manage to say.

“We'll get through this, Niko. I'm sure she can help you.” She nods and looks up at the moon.

I can't help but think pessimistically. Maybe this healer can stop the dreams, but it doesn't change the fact that somebody has to stand up to him. If somebody doesn't stop him soon, it'll be too late for any of us.

S.P.I.R.I.T Fire Storm review

S.P.I.R.I.T Firestorm by Dawn Gray was a huge surprise to me after rereading the first page over and over again. I was like wow, I’ll never move on but once I met the characters, I was swooped into the story. I definitely want to me marry me some Zander!  In the book Samantha Ricketts finds herself in a place that she does not recognize as well as bumping into Zander Smith. They are both attracted to each other right away and notice that they also have powers when they are near one another . Their world has just been turned upside down.  Along the way to figuring out what is happening to them they find out that it isn’t the first time they have met. Secrets start to come out. Danger is lurking in every corner. They are both consumed by love.  

This book is available in Amazon and Barnes and Noble 

Wish i can say more about the book but i do not want to spoil it! There are so many things that i was not expecting. It is a unique story and i have not read a story line such as this one before. 

You can also check out her facebook page to meet other fans.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tiger's Destiny Review

Tiger’s Destiny By Colleen Houck is the Fourth book of the Tiger’s Curse series. It is a about a curse, obviously, set on two princes Ren and Kishan. They were turned into tigers and only one person can help them. Kelsey lived a normal life until she came upon a white tiger in a circus and changed her life forever. She is the favored one by the Goddess Durga and must help the tigers break the curse. A long journey awaits them and Tiger’s Destiny is one of the segments. This series is filled with romance and adventure. Along Kelsey’s journey, she finds herself torn between the two brothers. I cried, laughed, and sometimes my skin tingled in horror. There is another book yet to come and it saddens me to know that this series is coming to an end. Keep tuned for the Tiger’s Dream which is said to be the last book.
To series website
There is yet to be made a book trailer of Tiger’s Destiny which Colleen Houck is holding a contest for. On her website she tells you about the rules and prizes which are amazing.  On the link below you can find many of her fans. Have to warn you though, they might spoil the book for you if you have not read the series.

This is a must read series!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012


“it’s the President who got shot.” She looked at me expectantly.
 Right, I should know this but I don’t. So I just put my thinking mask on.
“He was shot in a parade. He was cute, everybody loved him!” Shouldn’t everybody love their presidents? Wait no, he got shot. I couldn’t help but giggle to myself.
 “Come on woman! Think!” She kept shaking her leg as if it’s about to run off if I don’t answer.
“I really don’t know my presidents unless its Abraham Lincoln or Obama. Oh, and Bush” I can hear everybody laughing in the background when I said this. Cindy’s face became red with anger or maybe laughter. I can’t tell but we had no time to dispute, clock was ticking.
“THINK THINK THINK” Cindy became exasperated. In my mind I kept thinking Kennedy but I remembered there were so many Kennedys because of some Kennedy curse. Three letters popped into my mind.
“ I don’t know! JKF?” I should probably go for comedian since the whole room bursted into laughter including my partner in Cranium. 
“Couldn’t you have said the half a second ago” She began to laugh and my heart started to beat again, glad she didn’t rip my head off.  I looked at the board and noticed that our game piece was still at the starting line while our opponents was more than half way through the game. I am a sore loser but we are so far behind that I couldn’t even be angry.
“Can we play scrabble now?” I asked. No point on playing if I don’t have a chance at winning. Blah, I got up and looked at the fish longing to be able to swim. I miss swimming, I miss the ocean, the scent, the sand, and my friends. The fish is beautiful, a beta fish that is a dark blue color. After a few seconds I noticed that there were bubbles on top of the water. I smiled as I remembered my friend back home talking to me about Betas.
“It means he’s ready to mate, basically S-E-X”  I began to imagine fish having sex but didn’t know how exactly that would work. I watched her as she began to fill up the tank with water. Water…
“Earth to Kat, Meoooow. Meoooow” Grrr…I hate that!
“You know Michael, I think some cats are in heat outside, maybe you should show them your meowing skills and you might finally get lucky” I stuck my tongue out at him and he began to wiggle his nose.
“ The only cat I’ll go after is you” I walked back and sat on the floor next to his legs nuzzling my head against his lap. Pretty Ironic considering I am allergic to animals, especially cats. I glanced up at him and noticed him staring, his blue-gray eyes looking at my boring brown eyes. I keep wondering how I got so lucky or maybe not so lucky. I am still confused on what it should be.