Search Results for pippa jay

Keir’s Fall by Pippa Jay

2016-standout-award-badge-smallBook Two of the Redemption series is here, and boy was it fun – but if that isn’t enough for you, author Pippa Jay is giving away a FREE paperback copy on her Goodreads page!

Title: Keir’s Fall 
Author: Pippa Jay
Series: Redemption Book 02
Publish Date: December 29th, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Source: Provided by the Author

Publisher’s DescriptionA seductive tyrant.  A lost hero.  And a galaxy about to fall…

It’s been a year in paradise for Keir and Quin, but now the idyll is over.  After Quin falls sick, they return to the hidden sanctuary of Lyagnius, and what she learns there will not only change their lives, but set them on a journey that could separate them forever.  

When Keir falls victim to a ruthless Nercaandi Empress bent on conquering the galaxy with her cybernetic army, it will take all Quin’s diminishing powers and the help of her son to find him.  But what waits for her aboard the tyrant’s ship will test her strength and the limits of their love, and put everything she cares about at risk.  Including Keir.

With the galaxy itself about to fall, will she be able to save him?  

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Vagabond Vahn says…

For those familiar with my review of Book One of Redemption: Keir, you know I wrestled with fitting this into a specific category before finally admitting that I enjoyed a novel whose genre officially includes romance.  Well, I enjoyed book two as well; more so perhaps because Keir and Quinn are now like friends, returned from a time away and I want the best for them.

The Good: Author Pippa Jay takes advantage of her second entry to introduce characters that help ground Quinn to the world, and provide experiences to both Quinn and Keir that we as readers can relate to.  At the risk of a very minor spoiler to those who have not read the first novel, we know that Quinn is not as young as she looks, and that she has a son who she mentioned in the first novel.  We meet him, a grown man with his family, and it solidifies Quinn’s character in a way that only benefits her and her story from here on.  It was great fun to have another character who had a real connection to Quinn, knew about her, accepted her and the actions that she had spent the first novel guilt-tripping over.  That was satisfying.

The villain in this entry was introduced as though borrowed from The Borg in Star Trek lore.  Yet, they ended up much deeper than that, with a culture founded on women in an almost Amazonian hierarchy usually reserved for cultures ruled by men – that you are the ruler because you have bested all others, but that you can also be challenged at any time.  They were very interesting, and the leaders’ ability to influence people – particularly men – made for interesting encounters that pushed the characters to their emotional limits.  And yet…

The Bad:  My frustration with common romance themes persists, like that itch in your calf you can’t quite locate, despite scratching your entire leg raw – or does that only happen to me?  With everything Keir and Quinn went through in the first entry, and to finally have had a year of peace to themselves – in addition to the life-changing knowledge they discover, they are bound, intertwined, and trusting.  Or so I thought.  Imagine my surprise when “The Betrayal” scene found in most romance novels and movies I’ve consumed occurs, and Quinn just dives into it completely.  Gone is all of that trust and bond strengthening they spent so much time building.  This may well be because I’m a man, but dammit, Quinn!  Think!  You too Keir, you don’t get off that easily.

Like the first entry, this was a bit short for me.  It seemed everything resolved before I was ready to say goodbye to that scene, that event, or those characters found within.  It reads very fast, and while often I find that to the credit of a novel, I noticed it here as, if not unfortunate, not as satisfying as it could have been.

The Conclusion: You may recall that Keir won my 2015 STANDOUT AWARD.  This is a proper follow-up.

I am a fan.  Keir and Quinn are my friends.  I will miss them while waiting for the next badge5v4entry to spring forth from Pippa Jay’s brain-space and onto my Kindle for my eye-holes to absorb.  Despite any frustrations my beard and I have over romance story tropes, I was never bored – the pace saw to that, even if there was more room to breath than was utilized.  While sex scenes are more prevalent in this entry than the last, they have a specific purpose and are not dwelt upon for sex-scene’s-sake, but to further the motivations of all involved.  I know that sentence reads strangely, but just roll with me on this one – it works.  Don’t forget to enter The Giveaway On Pippa Jay’s Goodread’s Page if you’re on the fence about picking this up!

Our reviews in this series…

Other reviews…

If you like this book…

…consider trying Dragons of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell or Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. They don’t fall into the same genre, but they also feature protagonists who are from entirely different walks of life, with entirely different perspectives on reality, thrust together in an epic adventure.

Keir by Pippa Jay

Title: Keir
AuthorPippa Jay
Series: Redemption, Book 1
Publish Date: May 7, 2015
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Source: NetGalley

Publisher’s Description: A demon waiting to die…
An outcast reviled for his discolored skin and rumors of black magic, Keirlan de Corizi sees no hope for redemption. Imprisoned beneath the palace that was once his home, the legendary ‘Blue Demon of Adalucien’ waits for death to finally free him of his curse. But salvation comes in an unexpected guise.

A woman determined to save him.
Able to cross space and time with a wave of her hand, Tarquin Secker has spent eternity on a hopeless quest. Drawn by a compulsion she can’t explain, she risks her apparent immortality to save Keir, and offers him sanctuary on her home-world, Lyagnius. But Quin has secrets of her own.

When Keir mistakenly unleashes the dormant alien powers within him and earns exile from Lyagnius, Quin chooses to stand by him. Can he master his newfound abilities in time to save Quin from the darkness that seeks to possess her?

Book One of the Redemption series and part of the Travellers Universe.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Vagabond Vahn says

Keir is interesting to describe.  It’s billed as Sci-Fi Romance, though it has elements of Fantasy. Romantic Sci-Fantasy… It begins as expected of a Traditional Fantasy novel, though hints are dropped that all is not as it seems. Then it is solidly Science Fiction before blending the two and introducing Romance. That’s right, I read a romance novel – and I liked it.  Moving on…

The Good: The two main characters, Keir and Quin, have strong personalities and motivations. This stems from well thought out and executed backgrounds that are revealed bit by bit as the story progresses. The chemistry between the two of them throughout the variety of locales and adventures they have is believable. Side characters have their own idiosyncrasies as well, making for a diverse cast.

I was immediately drawn into each location and world the characters found themselves in as they were presented. The worlds were very well described – enough description to bring the necessary imagery to set the stage and differentiate it from the other worlds to mind, yet not so much that it becomes a burden to the flow of the story. The cultures of each of the three worlds are incredibly diverse, yet strong and seemingly built on their own histories. This made it easy to accept them.

The Bad: I’m always frustrated by a common theme in love stories, particularly those in Urban Fantasy novels: both characters loving one another yet not only oblivious to the other’s feelings, but misinterpreting everything they do, every time, as the opposite. This happens in real life – it can happen in books, that’s fine. Yet the characters in these scenarios rarely work it out in a timely manner; it simply drags on, and on. Unfortunately, this happens in Keir. Thankfully, it did not last as long as I had expected it to, and did eventually resolve itself satisfactorily.

The ending wrapped up things succinctly, but felt a little rushed; it seemed to end too fast. Thankfully, this will likely be remedied by the release of the second book later this year.

badge4v4The Conclusion: A fast paced world-jumping romantic science-fantasy romp spanning entire eras of time and space, Keir is a fantastic, wild ride.  I was never bored. The subtitle is Redemption, and more than one character experiences this in some way, whether blatant or implied. Being a Romance novel, there is sex present, but it is not a focus at all. The reader knows it’s happening, and some emotions are provided, and then the story moves on; it was an appropriate amount present tastefully. I recommend giving Keir your attention.

Our reviews in this series…

Stand Out Award Badge2Other reviews…

If you like this book…

I’m not going to lie.  I’ve never read a Science Fiction Romance novel before Keir.  I don’t know what to relate this to. If you like Doctor Who and also romance, give this a go?

2016 Standout Awards

2016-standout-award-badge-smallHello and welcome to the Second Annual Standout Awards by One Book Two! What are these awards, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

One Book Two Standout Awards are given out by One Book Two reviewers to honor titles and artists that created a stand-out experience for us as readers. At the end of the year, reviewers select—from among the reviews they’ve published during the year—the books, series, authors, audiobooks, narrators, cover artists, etc. that left the biggest impression.

We’ll add the Standout Award badge to those reviews and list all the winners on a page on our website. Authors can also display the award badge on their websites should they so choose. This is a way to highlight those books that really amazed us during the year.

So, without further ado, we’re delighted to present our 2016 Standout Awards!


Invested Ivana

J. Caleb Design—I’ve loved all the art and artists we interviewed in 2016. However, the art of Jake Clark, of J. Caleb Design, stands out as unique and fun. It’s very different than a lot of other cover art that catches my eye, particularly his illustrated covers with the vintage, pulp-fiction feel.

Voodoo Killings by Kristi Charish—Charish won a Standout Award last year for her Adventures of Owl series, but I think she’s outdone herself. Voodoo Killings was easily one of the most exciting reads of the year. It is exactly what urban fantasy should be.  And that ending! I’m not kidding when I say I can hardly wait for the next book.

Gargoyle Guardian series by Rebecca Chastain—Maybe it’s just because I’m a sucker for magical creatures, but I really enjoyed the Gargoyle Guardian series. I like the magic system and the world Chastain has created. Since much of the magic system is based on minerals and crystals that have some sort of sentience, the author even attempts to convey how alien the perspective of such a creature might be. In a world where gargoyles are so prominent, and where they are often seen as tools instead of living creatures, I love the idea of someone whose magic is special enough to make her their guardian.

Alice by Christina Henry—This retelling of Alice in Wonderland, with a horror-fantasy twist, really captured my imagination. I am impressed with the way the author worked in traditional parts of the story in very untraditional ways. The narrator for this audiobook, Jenny Sterlin, is fantastic. Her British accent lends itself perfectly to this twisted tale.

Mudman by James A. Hunter—Hunter’s Yancy Lazarus series is one of my favorites and took the Standout Award last year. This year, Hunter published Mudman, which, while also being rocking and hilarious urban fantasy adventure, is a pretty amazing study of metaphor and theme. I am quite impressed by its ability to entertain and make you think at the same time.

Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal—Ghost Talkers hits all my hot buttons for a novel. Historical fantasy, a unique premise, amazingly vivid descriptions, a magic/supernatural system that’s just cool, and social commentary to boot. This book is an experience to savor.

Halfway Witchy series, in audio, by Terry Maggert—The combination of Terry Maggert’s writing and Erin Spencer’s voice makes the Halfway Witchy series a lyrical experience for the ear. I am truly amazed at how well Spencer’s voice compliments the personality of the protagonist and brings her fully to life.

Ayala Storme series by Emmie Mears—The Ayala Storme series stands out for two reasons: 1) The world, creatures, social, and magic systems Mears has created are very unique, in my experience. 2) Mears has a way of writing that really elicits the feels! The Storme series has some amazing emotional depth; it’s full of love and betrayal and family and sacrifice and triumph and despair. As a reader, I felt very connected to Ayala and could feel all these things right along with her. For me, anyway, this made for a very compelling read.

The Impending Possession of Scarlet Wakebridge-Rosé by S.L. Saboviec—Last year, Saboviec’s Guarding Angel, the first novel in the Fallen Redemption series, blew me away with its unique vision of spirituality, Heaven, angels, and demons. This year, the companion novel to that series did it again. The Impending Possession is both entertaining and thought-provoking, definitely worth a reread. I’m sure I’ll be revisiting this whole series several times during my life.


Nervous Nellie

Dark Sky series by Amy Braun—Steampunk AND post-apocalyptic monsters at their best. The good guys are not necessarily the best good guys, but they have survival on their minds. The world Amy Braun has created is incredibly described, and the twists and turns are equally unexpected.

Kincaid Strange series by Kristi Charish—The action, adventure, and characters are put together so well that it felt like I’d known these people for several books instead of this being the first in the series. I would be hard pressed to find a favorite character, and the mystery? It’s totally engaging and out of the box.

Tim Reaper series by Sean Cummings—This series took me by surprise. I loved the cover and decided, on a whim, to give it a shot. I was blown away. The story was uncovered a little at a time, and if the protagonist knew then the reader knew. What we all didn’t know was the intricacies of heavenly/hellish politics. Whole new spin.

Black Magic Outlaw series by Domino Finn—The protagonist’s life story kept me enthralled. I tried to look away, but it was like a train wreck. He thought he knew it all, but in his arrogance, he was, sadly, horribly mistaken. The emotion that is translated through the pages is amazing. Even though Cisco, the protagonist, is a jerk at some points in the story, he has a lot of crap to deal with and very little information to go on.

Warden Global series by Ken Lange—It was the main protagonist and his daughter that made me love this story, and I am on pins and needles waiting for the next installment. The correlation between what humans see and accept in life and what the magic wielding-world knows is singular. I enjoyed the banter between characters and especially how relationships were revealed.

Harmony Black series by Craig Schaefer—Harmony Black’s series catapulted to the top of my “watch for” list as soon as I read the first chapter. Craig Schaefer does wonders in the world of demons, witches and other scary monsters. He also throws in a slight romance aspect to keep the people real.

Harbinger P.I. series by Adam J. Wright—This series world is positioned wholly out of the light of day. The Society of Shadows runs the world and even though Alec Harbinger has a father in the upper echelons does not mean he is any more clued in than the rest of the uninformed. Conspiracies and literal mind-bending abound.


Kat Mandu

Favorite Requests (4)

Hero Status by Kristen Brand—What happens when retired superhero White Knight’s super-villain wife, Black Valentine, is wrongly accused of murder? A lot of great plot and awesome fight scenes. I absolutely LOVED this comical read and it makes the list for favorite requests of 2016.

Transient Echoes by JN Chaney—In this action-packed dystopian sequel to The Amber Project, we reunite with Terry, Mei, and John as they embark on a mission of survival on unforgiving worlds. I’ve really enjoyed this series so far and can’t wait to read the third one next year. Five stars!

Meddlers of Moonshine by AE Decker—For the second year in a row, this series has won over my heart and an award for favorite request. Chocked full of humor, adorable characters, amazing writing, and never-ending fun, this is a series that always leaves me clamoring for more.

The Road To Hel by Eric Tanafon—Fans of Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase will love this Nordic-based middle-grade book as much as I did. Follow Sean and his friends as they take on Norse bad guys while trying to fulfill their destinies without getting killed in the process.

Favorite Cover (1)

M In The Demon Realm by author Mark William Hammond, cover by Amir Alicic via 99Designs—I received this as a request and what really drew me in before I even read the summary was the cover. Gorgeous coloring, a beautiful model, and perfect title cover. It’s dark and spooky with that necessary bit of beauty.

Favorite Reread (1)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling— Because it was the one I’d only read once, it was like reading it for the first time again, discovering new things and generally enjoying the funny parts of the series before it gets dark again. I got to reread this not only with members of the One Book Two crew, but with several other reader friends, too. It was so much fun!


Luna Lovebooks

Standout Series

Solis Invicti by Josie Jaffrey—This series presents vampires in a new and original way. The world building is good and the dynamic between the characters is amazing!

Standout Female Lead

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco—Audrey Rose is ahead of her time in this creepy mystery novel set in Victorian England. I love that Audrey knows what she wants and doesn’t let her male counterparts or society’s rules hold her back. The chill factor is great and the cover is deliciously creepy.


Vagabond Vahn

Keir’s Fall by Pippa Jay—This was a really satisfying second entry. I was never bored, and despite sharing some frustrations over the romance in my review (because I am a stubborn man), I found little else to distract me from the story. The new characters we’re introduced to and the pace of the story definitely entertain.

Arctic Dawn by Karissa Laurel—Book two in the Norse Chronicles continued to enchant as ancient Norse gods try to bring about Ragnarok. A strong second entry, broadening the world and giving us more backstory to the main players. There is a lot of character building brought over and expanded upon from Midnight Burning, and I’m confident Arctic Dawn will prove a sturdy bridge to a third entry.

Survival Quest by Vasily Mahanenko—This first entry in the Way of the Shaman series, one of four to have been translated into English thus far, was great fun. I’ve consumed each entry within a day of it releasing for U.S. purchase. I’ve read many novels in the LitRPG genre, and quite a few have earned a permanent place on my shelf – but this one sticks out for creating an adventure around a profession in games that is often in the minority, an interesting premise of serving a prison sentence in virtual reality earning currency for the government, and distinct characters.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel—This is the book I’ve read twice already this year and feel I could read again. It has so much to say about the human condition and the intricate nature of relationships. I particularly like that it is set in a post-apocalyptic world, but isn’t really a sci-fi novel, so it appeals to a broad audience.


Percy Procrastinator

Magic Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines—The first book took a bit to get into for me, but after that happened, I really enjoyed the whole series. The author created a very fun world in how magic works and interacts with others. I loved his characters and their interactions. I really enjoyed all of the geek and cult references as well! These are just a good, fun read!


Fickle Fiona

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe—Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to read and/or review too many books this year due to some medical and personal issues, along with starting a new job. That being said, I did read one book that really did stick with me this year, and that would be A Mortal Song. Again, Crewe just does an amazing job with the imagery in this book, and that does it for me. 🙂 Not to mention that I love the spin of making the main character find out she does not actually possess the powers she thinks she does. Human conscience and emotions are powers all their own!



Cover Artist Series: Danielle Fine, By Definition

Welcome to this month’s Cover Artist Feature! Today we’re talking with cover designer and editor, Danielle Fine.


Invested_Ivana 50Welcome, Danielle!

HeadshotThanks so much for having me, Ivana! I’m really glad to be here. ☺

Invested_Ivana 50We’ve featured your art on our site before in reviews for both Pippa Jay and Lincoln Farish. I particularly want to talk to you about animated book covers and promo images. They are so cool!! What can you tell us about them?

HeadshotThank you! I’m always keeping an eye on what other people are doing, and I saw a couple of animated covers on JA Konrath’s blog and thought, how cool! I love to challenge myself, so I decided to try my hand at it, and ended up making the animated cover for Lincoln Farish’s Soulless Monk, which he really liked. I’ve made a couple of others since, but most of the animation I do at the moment is for animated quote art for marketing purposes.

Soulless-Monk-Animated Keir's-Fall-Animated-smaller

Invested_Ivana 50So, how do you make them? Are you using a special software?  Are they animated .gifs?

HeadshotNo special software. 🙂 I make them using Photoshop. They’re frame-by-frame animations saved as gifs.

Invested_Ivana 50Do you think animated book covers are the new trend?

HeadshotThe last I heard, most ereaders don’t support animated covers—my authors use them for promotion on social media, mostly—but I imagine they will soon, and then yes, I think there’s a good chance covers will go this way. Anything that can grab a reader’s attention is a plus, and there’s a lot of room for beautiful, interesting art to be made.

Alchemy-Quote-animation Facebook-ad-3-final_no-date

Invested_Ivana 50How did you get started designing book covers, Danielle?

HeadshotI’m self-taught, actually, and it’s all grown quite organically. ☺ I started off editing, and then an author I was working with needed a book trailer, so I decided to see if I could help her out. That went well, and I really enjoyed doing something more visually creative, so I pushed myself to learn about designing book covers.

Invested_Ivana 50What can you tell us about your artistic style?

HeadshotPersonally, I veer toward the dark and twisty side of art. I love striking, powerful imagery and enjoy creating more fantastical covers, which is why I’ve recently gone into doing premade covers as well. When I work with an author, I try to make their vision come to life and collaborate very closely with them to get the image they’re looking for (sometimes going up to around 30 versions of a cover :P), so when I do premades, I really get to play and push my skills and create whatever image comes to me.

raven Sad Angel

Invested_Ivana 50You also do editing for authors. What is your background in both art and language?

HeadshotI don’t have formal training in either area. What I do have is a passion for the written language, a lifetime of voracious reading (I still read around 4 books a week), and a dedication to making a work the best it can be (not to mention my anal, grammar-Nazi tendencies :P). I’ve been freelancing for about 5 years now, and I try to keep learning, and growing, and getting better.

Invested_Ivana 50What is your favorite part about working with indy authors, either in cover design or editing?

HeadshotI adore working with indy authors, both in design and editing. When doing a cover, it’s very fulfilling to make an author’s vision come to life, and to give them something they really love. In terms of editing, I generally have very close relationships with my authors, who know that I might push them to the brink to get their work shining, but that I’m in their corner, one hundred percent. My favorite thing is to be able to take an author through the whole process, from editing, to cover design, to formatting, to marketing. It’s a great experience. And authors, for the most part, are the most wonderful people to work with. ☺

Quickshot_final Queen Mab

Invested_Ivana 50How would an author contact you about your services?

HeadshotThe best way to contact me is probably through my website, which has a contact form, or via Twitter @DanielleFine1. I love hearing from new clients, and I’m always happy to do a free sample edit or answer questions.

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Daniel does editing and proofreading in addition to creating book trailer videos and both regular and animated book covers and promotional images. Our thanks to Danielle for talking with One Book Two about her work.

2015 Standout Awards by One Book Two

Stand Out Award Badge2Hello and welcome to the First Annual Standout Awards by One Book Two!  What are these awards, you ask?  Well, let me tell you. 🙂

One Book Two Standout Awards are given out by One Book Two reviewers to honor truly exceptional reading experiences. At the end of the year, reviewers can select–from among the reviews they’ve published during the year–books, series, authors, audiobooks, narrators, cover artists, etc. that really blew them away.  We’ll add the Standout Award badge to those reviews and list all the winners on a page on our website.  Authors can also display the award badge on their websites should they so choose.  This is a way to highlight those books that really amazed us during the year.

So, without further ado, we’re delighted to present our 2015 Standout Awards!

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana

Since One Book Two is still less than a year old, I’m giving the 2015 Standout Award to new authors, books, and series I discovered this year that I might NOT have found or tried if I weren’t involved in this blog. These authors, books, and series go on my “watch” list so I don’t miss a book!

Cursed series by Amy Braun. The Cursed series is a solid example of urban fantasy—angels, demons, damaged people trying to recover their lives and do good, epic fights, good vs. evil. Being an older sister myself, I can relate to the protagonist’s overprotective tendencies. I care about these characters and want to see them win.

The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr. I am so impressed by the relationship between this novel and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Though the tale is updated and fresh, it still explores the contradictions of human nature in the very same way as, if not in a more extended way than, its predecessor. The references to both the original story and other stories of the era are like in-jokes for the English geek. It’s awesome.

The Adventures of Owl by Kristi Charish. The Adventures of Owl is going to be a long and successful series. Archeology, ancient magics, a variety of magical races, politics, and an exploration of the mythology of many cultures is going to make this series a big hit.

Madison Fox, Illuminant Enforcer series by Rebecca Chastain. I enjoyed this light “clueless gal makes good” series from Book 01 and knew I wanted to read more. But it was Book 02, A Fistful of Fire, which really clinched it for me. Fire’s layered mystery and fast action makes it so much fun to read. So far, the series has only covered the first two weeks of Madison Fox’s tenure at her new job; I can’t wait to find out what happens in Week Three!

Redneck Apocalypse series by eden Hudson. This series really blew me away. Its portrayal of dysfunctional people trying so hard to do the right thing touched me emotionally. This series gets the “biggest feels” award for the year; I am completely entranced.

Yancy Lazarus series by James A. Hunter. Urban fantasy with a snarky, sarcastic wizard. With three novels and one novella published this year, James Hunter has hit the scene big, and the writing gets more polished with each successive effort. I’m glad Nell found the series and we both stuck with it. I think we’ll see even better things from Hunter this year.

Guarding Angel by S.L. Saboviec. Guarding Angel is so amazingly unique in my experience. Its treatment of long-lived characters, its depiction of Heaven, and its interpretation of the purpose of human life resonated strongly with me. Guarding Angel stuck with me for weeks as I pondered all it had to offer.

Immortal Vegas series by Jenn Stark. This is a fun, fun series. It straddles the line between light and serious and I LOVE that kind of writing. There is a special joy in braving a new series from an unknown author, only to realize that you’ve been smiling the whole time you’ve been reading.

I’m giving one additional Standout Award this year to Graphic Audio. Listening to dramatized audiobooks this year has been a real treat; I’m so glad I stumbled onto the site and took a chance with a new kind of audiobook. The multiple character voices, music, and environmental sound really adds richness and depth to the story. You guys totally rock!

Nervous_Nellie_100Nervous Nellie

This is a hard decision.  I would have most likely not tried any of these books without the blog.  I, as my name suggests, am a nervous reader and it’s tough to step out of my box.  I am very glad that I found these books – and the authors.  The list below is not in any preferential order, mainly because I can’t put one in front of another – they are all equally good in my mind.  I will list what I liked most about them, though.

Yancy Lazarus series by James A. Hunter.  The cover art is fantastic.  The stories are engaging with one of the best protagonists I have ever read.  He is older than the normal hero, he is snarky with some totally awesome quotes and also not indestructible.  He is also wrong on occasion.  I love him.  Seriously.

The Inquisitor Series by Lincoln Farish.  Again, the cover art is above par.  The author is seriously talented with telling a story and the protagonist isn’t aware of his own talent.  It’s a difficult to explain how wrapped up in this character’s life I became.  I didn’t fall in love with Sebastian like I did Yancy, but I rooted for him.  He is one tough hombre that gets kicked when he’s down more often than not.

The Whisper King series by Wil Radcliffe.  This series took me by surprise.  It’s seriously gritty and horrific.  It’s like a bad traffic accident – I couldn’t look away – I had to keep reading no matter how bad the situation was with the protagonist.  This story appealed to the monster in my closet because it scared the crap out of me more than once.  Wil is an awesome story teller too – incredible.

The Soren Chase series by Rob Blackwell.  This series is amazing.  The protagonist’s life is revealed a little at a time and the twists and turns that were thrown at me left me seriously unbalanced.  The story stuck with me and long after the book was finished, I was still thinking about the repercussions to Soren’s life.  I still think of his pain – that’s testament to the author’s fabulous writing.

The Fearless series and Halfway Witchy series by Terry Maggert.  Neither series is similar to the other.  What drew me to The Fearless was, at first, the characters and then it was the history in the character’s backgrounds.  Yes, I had to look up events on the Internet, but I very much enjoyed doing so.  What drew me to Halfway Witchy was the sense of humor.  The Fearless had humor, but a different kind.  I was taken for a ride in both series – they were that good.

The following series & authors struck a cord with me because of the main female characters:  Immortal Vegas Series by Jenn Stark, Adventures of Owl Series by Kristi Charish, Cursed series by Amy Braun, Boundary Magic series by Melissa F. Olson.  They are serious women that mean business and while the stories are basically in the same genre, I could read them again and again.  It’s hard to choose one story over the other because of the differences that make each character shine.

I only have two more series to mention and I promise I’ll be done.

Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter series by John G. Hartness.  The stand out for this series is the history of the characters.  Dracula, The Harkers – I mean, come on.  The only issue I have is there are not enough stories yet written.  They are like potato chips, you can’t read just one.

Last but NEVER the least is Dark Alchemy series by Laura Bickle.  I loved Laura’s writing way back in the era of Sparky.  I’ve never ever forgotten that little fire lizard.  I love him.  Laura is an incredible word artist.  Her series are different, but the quality is above bar.  I probably would have found this series if I was not doing this blog simply because I am a hard core Bickle fan.  I am mentioning the series in my list because it’s that good.

Ruby_Lee_100Ruby Lee

In my bio, I explain that I am a tough book critic and give very few 5 stars ratings to what I read.  So I feel that a 2015 Standout Award should go to both of the books that earned all 5 stars this year:

If I Could Turn Back Time by Beth Harbison.  This isn’t a story about the mistakes of the past. This story is about accepting your past and your present and then moving forward into the one thing we can halfway control – the future. It’s about intentionally writing the life story you want written and not letting chance and circumstance decide who you will become.

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins.  Someone told me the other day that all books are made up of the same 26 letters that are just put in different orders. It just seems that some people are able to take each letter and craft together a masterpiece that a reader can get lost in. Kristan Higgins has that amazing ability to take each of these individual letters and turn them into three dimensional people that I am able to love, hope for, and cry over.

Percy_Procrastinator_100Percy Procrastinator

Into a Million Pieces by Angela V Cook.  Angela Cook impressed me with her book. As a first time author, she caught my attention and held it for half a book, when all that was happening was two teenage girls on summer vacation. By the end of the book, she had a compelling story that made me want to know more about the mythology of her world.

Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. It has been a long time since I have found an author that has caught me enough to lose sleep. Kevin Hearne is such an author. I devoured all the books I could in his Iron Druid series. I was immediately pulled into the world of Atticus and Oberon, and soon Granuaile as well. I’m looking forward to the next release!

Vagabond_Vahn_100Vagabon Vahn

I have decided to present the 2015 Standout Award to two novelists I came across specifically due to my involvement in OneBookTwo. I’ve read some great books this year that may have otherwise never come to my attention.

Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel. I was taken in by the slow build of the supernatural aspects of the story. I knew they were there, it was Urban Fantasy after all, but the story progresses as a traditional Mystery for long enough to make you comfortable before bridging the gap, and I thought it worked very well. A great way to start off what I hope becomes a successful series!

Keir by Pippa Jay. The conclusion to my review of Keir began “A fast paced world-jumping romantic science-fantasy romp spanning entire eras of time and space, Keir is a fantastic, wild ride”. Having restated that I feel it appropriate to simply add: ‘Nuff said.

Fickle_Fiona_100Fickle Fiona

Mama Cried by Talia Haven. I still get goosebumps when I think of this book. I just can’t believe how much there was to such a short story. Take 10 minutes to read this story. Read it with someone. Talk about it. The time investment is so small, but the concepts in this story are so big.

Into A Million Pieces by Angela V. Cook. This book stands out to me because of the topic. I really love the way the author approached the teenage succubus, and all the issues that go along with it, especially in today’s society. But what Cook did, where she took the story…it’s worth a read!

Guarding Angel by S.L. Saboviec. This book was just…..intriguing. From the start, I was a little concerned that it was going to be more of a romance story than I usually lean towards, but I was pleasantly surprised at where the story goes. To me, it was a newer perspective on an age-old topic. And it develops into such a vivid world! The struggles seemed so genuine, I found myself devoted to these characters and their futures.

Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu

Best Cover: WebMage – Christian McGrath. Just like the cover reveals, Ravirn is sexy, fast, and a techno-wiz. I’ve loved this cover since I first laid eyes on it. Since I recently read and reviewed this, it seemed fitting that it would earn the award. Christian McGrath does a wonderful job as usual.

Favorite New Request: Falling of the Moon by A.E. Decker.  Though I haven’t had gotten around to many requests this year, one book I read really stuck with me. I’d love to give A.E. Decker the award for favorite new request. Her book Falling of the Moon was funny, delightful, and fun! I’m eager for its sequel.

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