Book Review: Resonance by J.A. Belfield

Love this author so when a chance to get an ARC copy of her book came along, with the promise I would give an honest review, I snatched it up. Yes, this is a book in exchange for a review. My first one ever. Consider my cherry popped.

First, I’m kind of a big fan of the author. I just love the whole Holloway pack she’s created. I also like that the language stays true to where it’s set, which is the country the author lives as well–England. It just wouldn’t do first person justice to ‘Americanize’ the lingo.

This novella is like a ‘bridge’ between Blue Moon and the next book Caged which deals with my favorite Holloway pack member Ethan. Yum. I know a little about Caged so I’m going to inner squee about the introduction of Shelley and Gabe in Resonance.

Okay, back from GiddyFest 2013….maybe.

I’ll admit that, while it’s on my Kindle, I haven’t read Blue Moon yet which is the precursor to this novella. However, as every author worth their salt should be able to do without a grand info dump, Ms Belfield gives me enough info that I get the gist of what happened and why the characters are in the situation for Resonance.

Jem does her usual scheming which seems to always get ratted out in the end. Nevertheless, she always plans it out for the most part. We start the story with her trying to break through to Josh, one of the pack who is in a coma-like state. She reads to him and just babbles. Anything to help him wake up from whatever the witches in Blue Moon did.

In the process, she discovers some more about her bond with Sean and unfurls another mystery surrounding it. Nice intrigue and possible set up for another book without making me roll my eyes. Yes, this technique can be over used. I personally find little books like this a wealth of information for fans who want to know more without feeling like they’re reading a dissertation or college thesis paper.

In any account, her sister Jess figures out what is wrong with Josh and the possible solution. The problem is that Jem is the only one that can do it which sends the pack into a bit of a mental state. Females are rare in the werewolf world and losing her would be a huge blow. Stubborn as she is, she says she’s doing it anyway and it’s really in character for Jem. Her heart is that big. So it’s go time for Jem to save the day…risking her very soul.

There is one naughty scene that’s done very tastefully and shows the deep connection, through the centuries, Sean and Jem have for each other.

Onward to the meat of my review!

What I like about this book: The ending was strong. Nice build up, especially the rescue of Josh. It really showed how a pack comes together to protect their own. Plus the *cough* Ethan factor. Again, as I stated before, the little bit of golden nuggets Ms Belfield puts in are perfect bread crumbs for a person just getting into the series to go…I really, REALLY want to read the others books. Plus, as a teaser, you get a few chapters of Darkness & Light.

What I wished for: That the rescue hadn’t happened so quickly. I realize, in the grand scheme of things, Sean wouldn’t have allowed her to be under for too long but I would have loved a bit more of a battle or stealth to stay away from the baddies. The tug of war, however, in the rescue was very well written. It hooked me with the emotion behind it. I’m just a big paranormal whore and could have seen the ‘soul searching’ journey a little more impactful.

What I didn’t care for: Nothing, really. I gave it four stars because I thought there were places where the bones could have used more meat to chew on. That’s it. Being an ARC copy, I ignore the weird punctuation parts and whatnot. The writing is fluid enough to get over the twitchy parts.

I still recommend it and all the other Holloway books. Just ‘mind the gap’ between American and British speak. 😉

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A Boon by Moonlight by Nicola Cameron

I’m still loving the Romance on the Go line from Evernight Publishing. It’s like a slice of rich chocolate cake to tempt you into buying the whole damn thing next time. Add in a little urban fantasy, and you got me. Please welcome Nicola Cameron!

 
BLURB:

 Ex-Marine Zach Mayhew is willing to do anything for his dying grandmother, even find a fairy ring and beg that she be allowed to spend her last days in Faerie. But when a gorgeous Sidhe noble demands a night in his bed in return, Zach learns that a boon asked by moonlight can have unexpected consequences for his heart.

 

 
 
 
 

 EXCERPT:

Growling under his breath, Zach went back upstairs and yanked his bedroom door open. “Oh.”

Jerrek was already in bed. His outfit had been neatly folded over the old straight back chair in the corner, and the sidhe himself was nude and stretched out over Zach’s faded blue bedcover. His long, shining brown hair filmed his body just as Zach imagined, revealing tantalizing glimpses of corded arms, a firm chest, and a set of abs that looked like cobblestones. Zach’s gaze continued down, falling on the long, slim cock that was already starting to harden, laying in a graceful curve over one muscled thigh.

The sidhe propped his head up on one hand. “It took you long enough. I was starting to worry that you’d forgotten me,” he commented with a smirk.

“Just — just wanted to get Gram to bed,” Zach managed. “Make sure she was asleep.”

“And is she?”

“Yeah.”

Jerrek reached out to him. “Well, then. Come to me.”

Wondering if he was in a dream, Zach stepped forward and took the proffered hand. Suddenly he found himself pulled over the sidhe like a human-shaped blanket. “Since you prefer to top and all,” Jerrek purred.

Zach could feel the heat rising from the other man’s body, warming him through. Jerrek’s smirk shifted, turning into a smile. It was both challenge and invitation, and Zach lowered his head until he could just brush his lips across that curved mouth. A tingling jolt went through him, dancing across his nerve endings and grounding out in his groin.

He gasped and Jerrek took advantage of that, kissing him back and running the tip of his tongue around Zach’s lips. The kiss softened, deepened, until their tongues were dueling slickly against each other.

With a soft growl, Jerrek pulled back, sucking in a breath as he did. “You’re wearing entirely too many clothes,” he said, rubbing his naked groin against Zach’s still clothed one. “Take them off at once.”

Zach couldn’t help grinning at the order. “Are you always this bossy?”

“I prefer to think of it as authoritative. What part of ‘sidhe lord’ didn’t you grasp?”

“Well, now that you mention it—” Zach slid a hand between their bodies, curling his fingers around the other man’s shaft and squeezing gently. Jerrek’s mouth opened in a soft groan and he squirmed, bucking into Zach’s grip.

“I’ve never had anyone talk back to me the way you do,” he breathed. “It’s really very refreshing.”

Zach grunted at that, focusing on what was in his hand. Skin so soft it almost didn’t register against his fingertips, and beneath that hardness and a heat that pulsed against his palm. He stroked up, letting his thumb brush across the tip, and felt a bead of wetness there. “I think you like it,” he murmured. “You need someone who isn’t going to stand still for your shit.”

“I would hardly call it—” Jerrek’s complaint was cut off as Zach kissed him again, luring his tongue out and sucking on it. Jerrek moaned into his mouth, then again as he pulled away, laying a trail of open-mouthed kisses along the sidhe’s jaw and down his neck. “Oh, that’s nice. Don’t stop.”

BUY LINKS:

 Evernight Publishing | Amazon | All Romance eBooks | Bookstrand

BIO:

 Nicola Cameron is an expatriate Chicagoan who has lived in England, Canada, Holland, and Sweden, and keeps a confusing amalgamation of languages in her head as a result. Currently located in the clavicle of Texas, she has finally mastered the proper use of “y’all,” much to her Chicago family’s dismay.

Despite a healthy interest in sex since puberty, it wasn’t until 2012 that Nicola decided to try writing about it. As it turned out, the skills she picked up during her SF writing career transferred rather nicely to erotic romance. When not writing, she wrangles cats, smooches her husband, makes dolls of dubious and questionable identity, and thanks almighty Cthulhu that she doesn’t have to work for a major telecommunications company any more (because there’s BDSM, and then there’s just plain torture…).

Virginia Festival of the Book

OMG...OMG... OMG...I was totally saying this when getting a picture with David Morrell. Still my favorite author after 25 years. :)

OMG…OMG… OMG…I was totally saying this when getting a picture with David Morrell. Still my favorite author after 25 years. 🙂

So, under advisement and with someone else to drive so I could write, I decided to make a day trip to the Virginia Festival of the Book. Not only did the event have people there from the industry along with authors of all flavor, two of the authors that I ALWAYS pre-order books from were going to be there–Kim Harrison and David Morrell. Different ends of the spectrum. I know, right? I am eclectic after all. 😉

So, I had a choice of two things to go to when we first arrived: Digital Publishing For Your Book or Promoting the Smart Way. The first one dealt with how to edit, publish, and promote digital books. I went to that one, hoping to get some secrets I hadn’t heard of. Turns out, everything they had to offer I had either scooped out of the internet or through the various groups I belong to. Turns out skipping through sites filled with writers who live and breathe it is a good thing. It wasn’t a total loss, however, as  I got to introduce myself to Stacey O’Neale, the publicist for Entangled Press. They’re on my list, once I write something that fits what they sell (fantasy…duh!), I want to send it their way. She was very nice and cordial, giving my a card with her web address on it because she’d already run out of business cards.

The discussion went from how important cover art is, especially when it’s shrunk to thumbnail size, to formatting and good editing. Some people can pay through the nose for these services when self publishing. Oh and fuck Vanity Presses… authors get paid, they don’t pay. They also said something that had me nodding–don’t self-publish because you got a couple of rejections. There’s always a reason why you got rejected. Hell, I looked at the first piece I ever got rejected and, even though I brooded for days, the company who said ‘no’ in a form snail mail letter was in the right. ‘enuff said. While I didn’t learn anything new, I thought the whole panel did a great job in informing up and coming writers of what to expect, what to do, and what not to do. Like, for example, don’t troll the trolls giving you a bad review. Turn them into a lizard in your next book and kill them off. 🙂

Signed Ever After

Kim Harrison is beyond nice. I was very honored to meet her and will treasure this book. Isn’t her business card way cool?

Next I whisked away for Romance: Strange Brew. Paranormal Authors “Sell” Out Their Secrets. Oh yes, I got to meet Kim Harrison. SQUEE! Okay, before I get too much into that, I want to mention each author that was on the panel. In no particular order they were: Pamela Palmer, Jeaniene Frost, Kim Harrison, and Vicki Pettersson. What a delightful group of ladies. They talked about how they got into the paranormal business. I laughed, almost to tears, and they joked around. I agree with them on paranormal creatures–you can make shit up. Now, as with this genre, the question of sparkling vampires came up and whether or not ‘traditional’ lore should be the basis of these creatures created. Much as it pains me to say, they hit it on the head when they noted changing it up hasn’t hurt you-know-who’s bank account. They have a point.

They also said one thing–write what you love. Jeaniene Frost, in particular, noted she’d started her vampire books before the vampiric craze swept the nation. She got rejection after rejection before and a bit of “riding the bandwagon” after. It goes to prove that you shouldn’t write something because it’s popular or in demand unless it’s something you believe in. Great advice! I loved Kim Harrison explaining how Al’s full name is pronounced. The whole evolution of the characters they created was also nice. Some of them were pantsers too! YAY!

Unfortunately, dummy me left the camera in the car so I didn’t get a picture with Kim. Maybe next year. I did get a copy of her last Hollows book (Ever After) signed. So that’s staying on the bookshelf while I read the Kindle edition. Again, all of these ladies were engaging and nice. 🙂

Next was lunch before I passed out. The last thing I wanted was the local papers to announce “Crazed David Morrell fan passes out on best-selling author, cracking two vertebrae”. So we found this awesome burger joint called The Citizen Burger Bar. Great service, excellent food. I was even surprised to see Tröegs beer on their extensive beer selection. I mean, you cannot buy this beer outside of Pennsylvania. No, I didn’t have one. I prefer Yuengling Lager which they had none. Poh. The burger and fries made up for it. 🙂 I highly recommend this place if you’re in the Charlottesville, VA area. Just make sure you have a shit ton of money for parking. Geez.

Signed Naked EdgeMy last event made my geek level go to eleven. Scenes of the Crime. Hank Phillippi Ryan, Ed Falco, David Morrell, and Martin Walker. Again, what a great panel to listen to and honestly, I could have listened to them all for another two hours and not get bored. While it’s not a genre I’m interested in writing, I love reading it. Crime and espionage books, when written well, suck me in. That was one of the topics that they mentioned as well and these scholars of writing on the panel couldn’t stress it more. Do your research!

Finally I got to meet David Morrell (Proof in the first photo!). Actually I thought saw him earlier but I turned into some tween-aged dope and didn’t have the nerve to approach him. What do you say to the man that helped inspire you to pursue your dream of writing and was the first author to take your hard-earned burger flipping money when I visited the book store without parental supervision? Yep, Brotherhood of the Rose was my first purchase. Until then, I’d read whatever my dad gave me or bought me. Not to say I didn’t enjoy those books. I’m a reading fiend at heart.

Again, every one of these authors was so engaging and very approachable. I love hearing how someone wove their stories. About the adventure in their research. Some of it actually lives outside of the internet. One thing this panel mentioned was though social media is a great way to connect with fans, it’s also a time sink. So like anything else, chose what  you do wisely. I’m looking forward to going next year and donating some of my hard earned royalties to the cause. Yep, it’s free because of donations so consider tossing money their way.

The piece of advise was to keeping writing and not let that unfinished manuscript mock you. Speaking of which, I’ve got a few snickering at me. Time to whip them into shape.

So what’s your favorite geek author moment?