Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: 'Half Truths' by Lauren Dawes

Yesterday I came to you with a review for 'Half Blood,' by Lauren Dawes. As we count down to the release of the newest book in the Half Blood Series, I'd like to give you my review of 'Half Truths,' the second book in the Half Blood Series.

Picking up only days after the end of 'Half Blood,' 'Half Truths' brings us into deeper contact with another wolf from the Helheim wolf pack, Vaile. In 'Half Blood,' Vaile had the look and feel of a cold-hearted brute, but right from the beginning of this story, we're given a deep look at his softer side. We're given a chance to see him in a different light, a chance to understand why he's so gruff ... we're given a chance to like him. We watch him learn to open up again after the pain of his past, and we get to know a few new characters, too.

But this doesn't mean that Lauren has forgotten the first of our Helheim loves. Indi and Rhett are still very much a part of the story, and we're taken along as Indi learns more about what it mean to be the felvair, as she learns more about the ways her life will be changing. Rhett's life is changing too, as he learns to take on new responsibility, standing strong for his alpha as tragedy threatens the pack.

And in the midst of everything, a war among the wolf packs is looming ever closer in 'Half Truths' by Lauren Dawes. If you've read 'Half Blood,' believe me, you want to see the next installment. You want to follow the story. You want to know what's coming next. So get on over to Amazon, and get that one-click finger to clicking.

Lauren Dawes is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer and the author of the Half Blood Series and the Dark Series. You won't find any friendly vampires or werewolves in between the pages of her books; just blood, teeth and violence. When she's not writing, she's reading or teaching. She currently lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and cat.

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: 'Half Blood' By Lauren Dawes

I have to start by saying that Lauren isn't writing my typical genre. I read a little mix of everything, including fantasy and paranormal, but I'll admit that most of what I tend to read is in the contemporary romance area. It just seems to be the genre I relate more clearly to, since I tend to be a bit of a romantic most days.

Still, I do branch out here and there. I get into stories about ghosts, about witches, and about faeries. I get into vampires and werewolves from time to time. And that brings me to Lauren Dawes and the intricate story of 'Half Blood.' In the beginning, there are a number of characters to keep track of, but Lauren pulls you right in, giving you little pieces of back story and little bits of the plotline, hooking you, and coaching you through the story as your mind races to figure out just where she's taking you.

As we're brought into the war between the werewolves and the vampires, little twists and turns keep things lively. We're introduced to a cast of well-developed characters, each with their own back story, each with a purpose and a point. And then there's Indi. Indi, the felvair, the half blood. She's valuable, she's scary, she's tough, and she doesn't take any sh*t from anybody. Then again, she's got her sensitive side, her soft side. And she's got one weakness, other than her developing thirst for blood: Rhett.

Rhett has been appointed Guardian of the felvair, and it's his job to watch over her. He gains her trust, earns her friendship ... saves her life. He's strong and sweet, and incredibly protective, willing to give anything or do anything to see to Indi's safety. But he has his own weakness: a birth defect that sets him apart from the rest of his pack and leaves him emotionally scarred and insecure.

In the end, what will happen with the Helheim pack? Will Rhett be able to rise above something he's always seen as a fatal flaw within himself? Will Indi be able to accept the changes that are coming her way? And what will happen when an enemy does something unforgivable, asking a ransom that simply cannot be paid??

You can find the answers to all these questions in Half Blood, by Lauren Dawes, but if you need an extra nudge to get you branching out and trying something new, consider this me nudging. This is a book you want to read, with a cast of amazingly lovable characters, and plotlines that get you really thinking about the real world and what could be hiding in the shadows. If you're looking for a thrill in your next read, Get yourself on over to Lauren's Amazon page and one-click yourself into something new.

Lauren Dawes is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance writer and the author of the Half Blood Series and the Dark Series. You won't find any friendly vampires or werewolves in between the pages of her books; just blood, teeth and violence. When she's not writing, she's reading or teaching. She currently lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and cat.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Have You Read It?

Have you read Fighting For Freedom yet?

In Fighting For Freedom, Christine Matthews is a woman living in a domestic violence relationship. Things take an undeniable turn for the worse, and Christine is faced with the prospect of starting her life over,on her own. She's faced with the prospect of leaving the man she loves because staying with him has simply become too dangerous.

Spoken in a conversational style from Christine's perspective, this book will take you inside the mind of a strong woman struggling to find her way through the hardest crisis of her life.

With great new friends to support her, and the reappearance of a long lost love, Christine is finding herself all over again, all while she's

Fighting For Freedom.

Fighting For Freedom is available On Amazon, and you can now add it to your TBR on Goodreads!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cover Reveal, Anyone?

Tomorrow, my newsletter subscribers will be the first lucky readers to see the cover of Fighting For Freedom, along with the official book blurb!

Also, in continuance of my taking a STAND against Domestic Violence, the newsletter is full of information about the truth behind domestic violence and why victims often choose to stay with their attackers, how to know if you are in a relationship gone bad, and a number that you can call for help.

As a grown child of a domestic violence environment, this topic really sticks out to me in a personal way, and I can't wait to share more with you in the coming days about Fighting For Freedom, the story currently closest to my heart.

Have you subscribed
If not, please find and fill out the simple subscription form on the right sidebar.

Together, we can all

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Standing Strong II

Yesterday, I talked about taking a stand; I talked about using my public voice to say something about something that's close to my heart. Through Cass Keaton's character in Fat Chance, I was able to speak up about subjects like self-confidence and bullying, and that was really very personal to me. But it's only the tip of the iceberg.

When I was young, I was a fairly thin child, scrawny with awkward teeth and big blue eyes, a kid whose worst problem was poverty. I didn't start struggling with my weight and my body until my teen years and the onset of hormones. This was of course, in perfect timing with the onset of the hormones of the girls growing up around me, and so I have personally experienced the ugliness of bullying. I have taken quite a long and very personal journey of self-discovery, and my sense of personal confidence is hard won.

But that's not the deepest issue. After all, this body is only a body, and like the Carrie Underwood song, "this is my temporary home." I'm not going to live in this damaged body forever. But my mind and the injuries to my soul ... those will go with me into eternity, I think. They make me who I am. I am this person because of the things I have seen and the things that I have endured.

Sounds dramatic, doesn't it?
I know it does.
But I'm not being dramatic.
I was raised in the world of extreme domestic violence.
My soul is injured by the circumstances of my childhood because it was an extremely volatile, extremely violent situation, and I remember horrible things that no child should ever be witness to.

But there's another perspective on that, isn't there? There's the perspective of the woman, the direct victim, the target. That woman is often left alone, feeling trapped, like an animal with no way out. She's afraid that if she leaves, her abuser will come after her. She's afraid she can't get by on her own. And if there are children, she's afraid he'll hurt them or take them. She stays, often because she simply has no other viable option, and there really is no way out. Even the police and the legal system often fail to protect women in these situations ... or worse, the victim is blamed for any desperate or extreme acts resulting from her efforts to escape.

Lately, I've been closely watching the news for updates on the case of Marissa Alexander, one such woman who has come to my attention recently. In 2010, nine days after the premature birth of her new baby (who was still in the hospital), Marissa was attacked in her home by her husband, who had been in trouble on multiple occasions for violently attacking other women (he admits this string of abusive behavior on several different records). When Marissa had had enough, she retrieved a weapon from her truck in the garage (which was locked -- she could not get out through there and her husband knew it). This weapon was licensed and Marissa did possess a carry permit. Upon re-entering the house, Marissa's husband saw the gun in her hand, screamed that he was going to kill her, and then began to approach her. Having already been assaulted by him, Marissa was in fear for her life, and would have been within her rights to shoot her husband and kill him in self-defense, as well as under the "stand your ground" law that is currently under fire.

For whatever reason, Marissa did not kill her husband. She did not give him "eye for eye" or "tooth for tooth." Instead, she took action to preserve the life of a violent man who had threatened and beaten her repeatedly. Instead, she turned away from him and fired a warning shot into the wall of her home, causing her husband to flee outside the home, at which point he phoned the police and reported that his wife had shot at him. Marissa was then arrested, jailed, and eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison despite the domestic record of abuse on file, despite the fact that no one was injured.

Women like Marissa -- cases like Marissa's -- are why women are too afraid to leave domestic violence situations. Cases like this, where a woman did everything in her power to diffuse a dangerous situation in the safest way possible, and still received a tragically inappropriate sentence, are why women all over the world would rather take the risk of staying instead of the risks involved with leaving.

Every day, the law fails women like Marissa, women who have done everything they could do and still slip through the cracks of the system. Every day, women like Marissa are punished for following their human instinct to survive. Every day, people like Prosecutor Angela Corey stand strong in a long line of injustice against women. And every day that we turn our backs on victims of domestic violence, at least 3 women (and one man) are murdered by their domestic partners.

Why? Because people like Angela Corey refuse to allow these victims the right to defend themselves.

Stand with me against domestic violence. Help stand up for the victims who cannot stand up for themselves. Give them your support, give them unconditional love, and lift them up. Give them strength. Help them find a way out. Give donations to local women's shelters, and give your time and your understanding to their cause.

It's so easy to convince yourself that you can't help, but chances are, you are in a position to make a difference for someone. Approximately 74% of Americans know someone who is (or has been) a victim of domestic violence. You can help, and you can make a difference.

Stand with me.
Stand with Christine.
Stand with women like her who have a
story to tell but cannot find the voice to tell it,
women like Christine who don't slip through the cracks.
Help her to speak for the women who are lost, who are victimized,
who are abandoned and ignored.

Today and every day forward,
stop turning a blind eye and make
yourself aware of the truth. Lend your support.

Fighting For Freedom, coming soon.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Standing Strong I

I got an email a while back that said (among other things):
"You don't just have fans, you have hurting and growing women who really need to hear the message you're telling. They're eager for some grace. They need someone to tell their story for them, with all the brutality and all the courage both, so they can see who they really are - valued, strong, unique, loved and loveable - through the framework of the story. And you do that very well, and with so much heart. You don't shy away from the worst,
which makes the best all that much more meaningful."

I love knowing that someone out there is touched by something that I wrote, but it's also been incredibly fun to realize, ever so slowly, that I'm growing as a writer, really growing. Not just within myself, either; I'm growing a somewhat small but still very real public existence and with the success of Cass Keaton (Fat Chance, Kingsley Series, #1), I'm realizing that it puts me in a place to make a difference.

I can now stand out against bullying, or I can lobby for autism awareness. I can make a big issue over my personal views, the debate on gun laws, child abuse, childhood cancer or whatever. And if I take a stand, people will listen. Maybe not a lot, not yet, but some will. It's been something on my heart for months now, the idea that I can get involved with something, that I can lend myself and my talent and my voice to something.

With that in mind, I've been thinking of what I might like to make a fuss over,
what I might like to take a stand on.

I'd like it to be something I can relate to in a big way, something that's real and gritty and personal.

So I've been writing, working a plot line into a story, working some of my personal history into something that I can share with you in hopes of helping other women around the world. This story, when it's finished, will be my way of TAKING A STAND. It'll be me, using what I've got to help make a difference, no matter how small. I don't know exactly how I'm going to do it because I've never been in a position to do something like this before, but as the idea becomes more of a story, more real in my heart,
you can bet that I'll be giving more details until I've got it all worked out,
all ready to show to you, all ready for you to show to others.

One day soon, I'll ask you to help.
I'll ask you to share things and spread the word.
I'll ask you to stand with me.
I'll ask you to help me make a difference.
Will you STAND with me?

~~~ Fighting For Freedom ~~~
coming late August 2013