Thursday, December 18, 2014

13 Hollywood Apes by Gil Reavill (4 stars)

About 13 Hollywood Apes

Pages: 310
Published by : Alibi

In a savvy, stylish thriller debut perfect for anyone who loves the crime novels of Michael Connelly or Nevada Barr, Gil Reavill unravels a chilling tale of murder and mayhem among humans and their closest evolutionary relatives—a primate family that may just be too close for comfort.

As a wildfire rages outside the Odalon Animal Sanctuary in the rugged Santa Monica foothills, the retired Hollywood movie chimpanzees housed there are shot and left for dead. When Malibu detective Layla Remington reaches the grisly scene the next morning, she’s deeply disturbed—and even more confused. The victims are not human, so the attack cannot be classified as homicide. Yet someone clearly wanted these animals dead, and executed them with ruthless efficiency. Miraculously, there is one survivor: a juvenile male named Angle.

But as Layla reaches the veterinarian’s office where Angle is recovering, a man with rock-star good looks and a laid-back Southern California attitude swoops in and removes him. And just like that, an unusual case turns truly bizarre. Soon reports surface of ferocious attacks against Odalon employees . . . with Angle as the prime suspect. As a wave of senseless violence reaches its apex, Layla chases a mystery man and his chimp—but everything comes back to that terrible night at the sanctuary.

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Who doesn't love a good mystery/thriller? 13 Hollywood Apes takes the classic format for this genre and rethinks it with chimpanzees as the victims and suspects. 

This isn't a cuddly animal story; it is gritty and heartbreaking. Animals all too often are abused or used by sadistic humans to carry out crimes, yet our society has very few protections in place for the true victim--the animal. If an animal kills someone, we euthanize it. It's procedure. 

Layla Remington must work through the evidence and help redefine how society views the treatment of animals. She quickly finds herself connecting with Angle, the lone ape survivor of a brutal scene where several chimpanzees are murdered.

Even Layla jumps to some conclusions at first. As she becomes closer to Angle and uncovers details about the crime, she fights an uphill battle. Most everyone around her seems determined to take the easy way out on this case; after all, in their minds, it's just a bunch of animals.

At first, Layla seems like one-dimensional, overly strong and brash. Through her involvement with Angle and her father, we begin to see depth. My biggest disappointment was the lack of romance for her--not because it's required in a gritty suspense thriller, but because it's hinted at and never really materializes. Sometimes, Layla seemed completely alone, and I wished for a partner (other than her father, although his character was awesome) who shed more light on her and connected with her struggles.

Overall, I recommend 13 Hollywood Apes to readers who love this genre and are looking for a new twist on it. Although there's plenty of intrigue and suspense, what makes this book memorable are the questions it raises and the emotions it taps.

Rating: 4 stars


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About Gil Reavill

Gil Reavill is a journalist, screenwriter, and playwright. Widely featured in magazines, Reavill is the author of Mafia Summit: J. Edgar Hoover, the Kennedy Brothers, and the Meeting That Unmasked the Mob, as well as Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home and the screenplay that became the 2006 film Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. He lives in New York with his wife, Jean Zimmerman, and their daughter.

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the 13 Hollywood Apes blog tour page.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kiss a Cowboy by Deanna Lynn Sletten (4.5 stars)

About Kiss a Cowboy
(from Goodreads)

Sometimes fate steps in and changes everything...

Andi Stevens drives away from her home town of Seattle and says goodbye to her sister to begin a new life with her fiancé in Buffalo, New York. When her car breaks down in the mountains of Montana, she reluctantly knocks on the door of a cabin for help. What she finds is Luke Brennan, the most handsome man she's ever met, who appears annoyed by her bothering him and is also downright rude. He takes her up to the main ranch house where his mother welcomes her warmly, opening their home to her for as long as she needs to stay. Andi quickly falls in love with the ranch and its occupants, and the beauty of Montana. And no matter how hard they fight it, she and the brooding cowboy form a bond that becomes stronger by the day. Andi soon finds herself struggling with her promise to marry one man and the attraction she feels for another. 

Luke Brennan isn't interested in having his heart broken again. He's loved and lost once, and he's hardened his heart against ever falling in love again. But when a beautiful woman with the most tantalizing green eyes shows up at his door one night, he is taken by surprise. As hard as he tries to stay away from Andi, he finds himself drawn to her time and time again. But she's a city girl, and engaged to another man. She's off limits. Yet, he finds his heart slowly giving itself away to this woman. Should he bet against all odds and tell her how he feels before it's too late?

Does fate hold all the cards for the cowboy and the city girl, or will they choose their own destinies?

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Andi Stevens is driving cross-country to start a new life. She's looking forward to some adventure along the way--having turned down her fiance's offer to simply fly her--but gets much more than she's expecting when her car breaks down. 

Luke Brennan opens his door to her, and life will never be the same. Unfortunately, he's hardened toward love. Will they find their way to each other or simply accept the easier choices?

I loved these characters! Andi has a reserved spunk; she's strong, but still honing this part of her personality. Her sister, a great character who I believe is getting her own book, is more outgoing and in-your-face. This leaves Andi as the stronger, older sibling who usually chooses responsibility over going with her gut. Still, Andi begins to find her way, and it's all thanks to Luke. At first, he seems like nothing but broody, but Andi chips away at this hardened exterior.

This is a fun, highly romantic story. Thanks to great characters, witty dialog, and well-built relationships (I especially loved Luke's mom and how she takes in Andi), Kiss a Cowboy has a real depth to it. Sure, it's fun, but it's not cheesy. 

If you are looking for a holiday read to warm your heart, look no further.

Rating: 4.5 stars

@@@ Deanna Lynn Sletten has yet to disappoint. This is the fourth book I've read by her, and I've loved them all. She's a master at memorable characters. Please see the following reviews: Destination Wedding, Summer of the Loon, and Maggie's Turn. @@@

About the Author

I'm Deanna Lynn Sletten and I am an author of several women's fiction and romance novels as well as one middle-grade adventure novel. My novel, Widow, Virgin, Whore, became a bestselling novel in March 2014 on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Maggie's Turn became a top 100 bestselling novel on Amazon and a top 10 bestselling novel on Barnes & Noble in September 2014. I have also won several awards for my novels including one for Memories, two awards for Sara's Promise, and a book cover award for Maggie's Turn.  

I have two grown children and live with my husband in northern Minnesota. For fun, I love walking the trails in the summer with my beautiful Australian Shepherd and laying around in the boat on the lake. Our winters are cold, so I stay inside and write!  

Visit Deanna at her website at Or, you can connect viaTwitter and Facebook.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

With Love (Stories About Melissa, Book 5) by Bethany Lopez Release Day Blitz and Giveaway

It's Finally Here!
With Love, book 5 in the Stories about Melissa Series by Bethany Lopez, is LIVE!

About With Love

Melissa is turning sixteen and beginning her junior year. With a new job, and a new boyfriend, things are pretty hectic, but when things start becoming more difficult at home, Melissa soon becomes overwhelmed with responsibilities. Can she juggle her friends, family, a budding romance, as well as school and work? Getting older sure doesn't make things any easier!
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If you haven't read books 1 - 4 in the series, you can get them all in the Stories about Melissa Omnibus!

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To thank everyone for giving this Young Adult Series a shot, here's a Giveaway!

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Time for Books 2015 Review Team

I'm so excited to participate in Jo Michael's Time for Books 2015 Review Team. 

I do many reviews a year--a mixture of traditionally published and indie books. For this team, I will plan to read 21-40 INDIE books to share (HUNGRY level). Hopefully, I'll read even more.

If you'd like to join, check out these instructions from Jo Michaels blog:

Go to this page and follow the instructions to sign up. Every time you post a book review on your blog, enter it here and tweet about it with one of the hashtags on that page (#2015ReviewTeam or #Time4Books).

Also, if you want to find some great reads for the challenge, follow Jo's 12 Days of Review Requests event (running through 12/20/14) for some ideas. Her Day 7 post can be found here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Duke City Hit by Max Austin (4.5 stars) & Giveaway

About Duke City Hit

On Sale: December 16, 2014
Pages: 150
Published by : Alibi

Max Austin takes readers back to Albuquerque for another action-packed thrill ride in Duke City Hit, as an elite assassin takes aim at—well, everyone.

According to Vic Walters, the secret to happiness is low overhead and few demands. Living rent-free in a modest bachelor pad behind his boss’s house, he has no debts, no entanglements, and no expensive relationships. He works just a few days a month, but his bank accounts keep growing.

Vic is a high-priced hitman with a legendary record of success. That is, until someone starts eliminating his marks before he can get to them . . . until his manager puts him in the middle of a vicious drug-cartel feud . . . and until a young man walks into his life with a big .45 and a startling revelation.

For Vic Walters, it’s time to step out of the shadows. Which means it’s killing time in Duke City.
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Vic Walters lives life as he wants to and doesn't feel the need to apologize for it. After all, he only answers to himself. As a hit man, it's easier that way. Then, a couple of his hits get weird--someone else seems to be interested in his marks. Suddenly, a young man comes into Vic's life and changes everything.

I love a good thriller as much as the next person, but what really connects me with a read are memorable characters. This book scores on both accounts. Vic Walters appealed to me on many levels. He's tough, sexy, and confident. But then we get to see a whole new side of him, a depth not usually afforded a hit man character, when he gains something in his life he never thought he wanted.

Plus, there's action and suspense. For a few pages, I was worried we'd go from a thriller to a book about relationships, but the author strikes a great balance. So, if you love twists and turns with action, it's there. However, if you like character-driven pieces, you'll also be satisfied.

I highly recommend Duke City Hit. It's a quick read with surprising depth. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 4.5 stars

If you'd like to see my review of Duke City Split, the first book in this series, you can find it here.


About Max Austin
Steve Brewer

Max Austin is the pseudonym of writer Steve Brewer. He lives in Duke City (Albuquerque), New Mexico.

Thanks to TLC for my review copy. 

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Please visit other stops on the Duke City Hit blog tour page.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Vampire Addiction by Eva Pohler Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Vampire Addiction: The Vampires of Athens, Book One Cover Revealed with $50 Rafflecopter Giveaway! 

When seventeen-year-old Gertrude Morgan from New York City is sent to study abroad in Athens, she unearths unfathomable secrets and unwittingly becomes a catalyst to a vampire uprising led by Dionysus, against the gods of Mount Olympus.

Vampire Addiction Ebook Final

Vampire Addiction is the first book of The Vampires of Athens series, now available for pre-order! 


 If you subscribe to The Pohler Express: The Official Newsletter for Eva Pohler Books, you will receive a coupon code for a FREE copy. The newsletter will go out on Christmas Eve, so be sure to get your coupon code and order your free book between then and New Year's Day, the day the book releases. 

The link to subscribe is in the rafflecopter giveaway below and is worth five entries into the $50 Amazon gift card giveaway! The winner of the $50 Amazon gift card will be announced at the Facebook Cover Reveal Party on Thursday, December 11th. Join the party here! 

 Please show some love to the other blogs participating in this reveal: 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

After Tomorrow Release Day Blast


Dive into worlds that have survived the worst mankind has ever seen and join us on our journey into the unknown. Nothing is what it seems and survival is the ultimate goal in these tales about the world After Tomorrow. Zombies, time-travelers, cyborgs, aliens, and cannibals are all finally in one amazing post-apocalyptic anthology! 16 stories, four poems, and 5 pieces of original artwork all combine to form this one-of-a-kind anthology. Read stories from some of your favorite authors and find new authors to love!

Meet The Authors 

Samantha Ketteman - Samantha Ketteman has resided in southern Illinois for 7 years, (though still claims to be an Alabama girl), with her husband and three crazy demon children. She started reading novels at a very young age and decided to write for herself. She is a caffeine addict, insomniac, and generally scatterbrained most of the time. When she's not writing, she's getting lost in her imagination. Novels are an escape from the harsh reality of a cantankerous teenage boy and two drama queen girls.

Jess Watkins - Jess is an avid reader, writer and chocolate devourer. She runs a book blog called A Book Addict's Bookshelves and co-runs Worlds of Words. She has lived in three different countries and owns an unreasonable number of t-shirts. A Whovian, Browncoat and Sherlockian, Jess loves anything to do with superheroes, Game of Thrones and Joss Whedon. 

HJ Daly - HJ has always loved stories and writing became a natural progression to reading. Reading with her own children and then at schools in a hope of capturing the hearts and minds of the young. It wasn’t always about writing though, during her late teens, HJ stepped up her Latin American dancing and travelled Europe. 

C.L. McCollum - C. L. McCollum spends her time delving into the wonder of the world. She’s always been drawn to the “How” and the “Why” and the “Is this even possible?” That addiction to wonder has led her to the realm of Science Fiction and Fantasy. C. L. is on the Great Agent Hunt for her first novel, but two of her stories are featured in the charity anthology Clichés for a Cause: It Was a Dark and Stormy Night (October 2014). Currently, C. L. is keeping it weird in Austin, TX with the love of her life and their various furry roommates. You can find her on Facebook at and on Twitter @C_L_McCollum.

Kelly Matsuura - Kelly Matsuura grew up in Victoria, Australia, but has lived most of her adult life in the northern hemisphere. After a year teaching English in China, she moved to Japan where she lived for ten years in Nagoya. Due to her husband’s work, she’s enjoying a few years back in a western country, living in Michigan, USA. 

Emma Michaels - Emma Michaels is a cover artist, blogger, and author of the 'Society of Feathers' series. Growing up her library card was her best friend and books were her home. Her love of blogging started when she created a book blog in 2009 which gave her the courage to submit her own novels to publishers and the rest, as they say, is history. To find out more feel free to stop by 

Michael Cross - Author Michael Cross lives in Seattle, WA. When Cross isn’t working on his next novel, he spends his time reading, modding steampunk inventions or working on his airship with his copilot Chihuahua. Cross dreamed of becoming a storyteller back when he was read stories like “The Odyssey” and legends of Roman soldiers and Arthur. He writes mostly paranormal, fantasy, New Adult and steampunk. Follow his adventures at 

Toni Lesatz - Toni Lesatz is a wife, mother, author, blogger, gamer, caffeine addict, and lover of the culinary arts. Her short stories, Ashes to Ashes and Dead World, were published in fall 2014. She is currently writing her debut novel, which she hopes to have in reader's hands by spring 2015. Toni lives in Michigan with her husband and three children. If she's not writing or curled up with a book, you'll most likely find her playing with her kids, baking cupcakes, or killing zombies. You can follow her at My Book Addiction or on Facebook

H.L. Houghton - H.L. Houghton remembers sitting on the floor with a little red typewriter, tapping keys and asking her mother for spellings. She was three years old and from that day to this, she has dreamed of writing wonderful things for others to read. H.L. has recently published a collection of short, vampire themed stories entitled Almost Dead. When she is not writing, she can be found with a camera glued to her face or a book in her hand. She loves music, singing badly and watching people run from the rain. 

K. C. Finn - K. C. Finn was born and raised in Cardiff, South Wales, where her love for storytelling grew at a precociously young age. After developing the medical condition M.E. / C.F.S., Kim turned to writing to escape the pressures of disabled living, only to become hooked on the incredible world of publishing. As an author for Clean Teen Publishing and Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Press, Kim spends most of her time locked in the writing cave with an obscenely large mug of tea. When not writing, she can be found studying for her MA in Linguistics, watching classic British comedy, or concocting evil schemes in the secret laboratory in her attic.  

Scott Venus - Scott Anthony Venus is an Australian poet from Brookfield, Victoria on the western outskirts of Melbourne. Scott has been writing poetry for over 20 years, resulting in the release of 3 collections of his poetry “Finding Wisdom In Shadows” (2008), “Whisper Something Fragile” (2013) and “Breathing Moments” (2014). Outside of writing, Scott is qualified as a Travel Agent; however, is currently a live-in carer for 2 people with various degrees of disability - a responsibility that demands much of his time. 

Nicole L Daffurn - Nicole’s love for the written word has seen her write many short stories and poems and then eventually moving on to tackle the bigger task of novel writing late in 2011. She has also completed her course in editing and is currently studying Journalism and looks forward to exploring the world of news media. 

Andrea Staum - Andrea L. Staum is author of the Dragonchild Lore series and The Attic's Secret Novella. She is also a contributor to a wide variety of anthologies in numerous genres. She is a trained motorcycle mechanic, an amateur house renovator, and a record keeper for the characters in her mind. She resides in South Central Wisconsin with her husband and three cats. 

Yasmin Fazli - Yasmin Fazli is an undergraduate college student studying biology to one day fulfil her dream of being a doctor. Little did she know, the small stories she used to write in middle school and high school developed into another dream she couldn't live without. In the beginning of her senior year of high school, the idea of Will of Hope, her first novel, was born. It took on a life of its own, and it turned into something she couldn't put aside. When she finished, she was so in love with the story and how the characters grew that she felt the need to share the happiness it brought with everyone and anyone. Still living the life of a college student, Yasmin works in a research lab, is a part of the Delta Gamma sorority, and fills her life with snowboarding and bouldering.  

Sherwin Matthews - Sherwin has been living in fantasy worlds within the confines of his head for most of his life. How it is that he has been able to exist this way is of greater mystery than he can conceive, leaving him thankful that he is at least politely indulged by those around him, whom most likely find some amusement in his extravagances. One day he fears that he’ll have to give up and join the real world. 

Catherine Stovall- Catherine is a fearless creature who surrounds herself with the joys of life both in and out of her fictional worlds. She lives in Southeast Missouri with her husband, three children, and pets. When not writing, she spends her time riding motorcycles, wearing elaborate hats, and genuinely enjoying the oddities in life. 

Jeff Motsinger - Jeff Motsinger is a loving husband to Demetria Motsinger with two children ( Nikoli and Dani Jo).Born and raised in lovely Southern Illinois, he spends his extra time playing rpgs online. Jeff has a passion for drawing, but loves to write fantasy style stories. 

Eada Janes- Born and raised in the wonderful St. Louis, Mo area. Eada Janes is a hometown girl at heart. You can find her walking by the banks of the mighty Mississippi river, dancing the night away at the local clubs, or snuggled up in front of her fire with a good book and a cup of warm cocoa. After graduating with a degree in fine arts and working in the corporate world of retail for many years, she has decided to return to her creative roots and brave a brand new start as an independent author. You can find her work in Cogs in Time, Cogs in Time 2, and Les Vaproistes. 

Nicky Louise - Sunshine, surf and family are the corner stone of Nicky’s world. Being born and raised on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia gave her the opportunity to chase her dream of photography and later novel writing. She fell in love with fantasy and dystopian and crafted stories with strong men and powerful women. Her debut novel Destinata was released on October 15, 2014 with several short stories following. Her second novel was released November 6 and is published through Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly. When she is not busy being an author, you will find her walking along the water with her husband or chasing after her two children.  

Demetria Motsinger (aka Madison Stewart) - Demi started out writing poetry, which evolved into short stories. Waiting for her goal to become a full-length author is soon to come. She currently is involved in Anthologies for Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing. She loves to read, write, and take pictures. Demi is from a small town in southern Illinois. She is a homemaker to, two beautiful children Nikolai 4 and Dani Jo 8, a wonderful husband and supporter Jeff, and 3 dogs. 

Cathy Ricketts - Cathy is the author of numerous poems published in greeting cards and short stories, as well as a talented artist. She is a proud firefighter and first responder in her home state of Alabama.

Note: My apologies... this post came with pictures for every author, but it was a formatting nightmare for my blog and the three-column style, so I omitted them.