Thursday, August 22, 2013

First 5 star review for Identity X

So exciting to see another review on Goodreads for Identity X!  Thank you to all my readers so far!  For now, this is what Donna has to say about it on Goodreads.

I just finished my ARC copy of “Identity X” and all I can say is, Michelle has done it again. With so much action going on in this story, it’s amazing how she manages to make these characters so real. She seamlessly brings their background history and current situations together so that you feel you know these people intimately. And her world building, done so subtly that you almost feel as if it’s the world we’re living in now, conveys such a sense of underlying menace and hopelessness, that you are transported into that world without even realizing it.

Although there was a point at which I thought something very like what the end turned out to be might happen, it was still a twist that I didn’t see coming. There could definitely be a sequel and if it’s like this book, I can only hope it will happen. I’d definitely enjoy entering this world again, as well as any world Michelle creates. She definitely has the gift of storytelling. 
5 stars

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy birthday to me!

Sending out your ARCs is always a difficult and worrying time.  I always wonder if I have done enough, and if there was more work to be done before the provisional release.  Well, as expected, since I sent out the ARCs I found (I mean my eagle eyes readers) a few typos, and these are already rectified for the final edition. 

However, today is my birthday, and I got the best present.  Not a new handbag, or a voucher for shopping.  My first review for Identity X, the forthcoming thriller this September.  So exciting!!

I'll leave it for you to decide if I am happy or not!!!!

This is the review in full from Goodreads.  Thank you Pam!!

I was given the book as an ARC.

In four words, A BLOODY GOOD BOOK. From the intriguing beginning, where Ben Stone has made a discovery of epic scientific proportions, to a middle of deceit and thievery, to an end that tears a hole in your heart, Identity X is a thriller that will hold you on the edge of your seat and not allow you to lean back, take a breath and collect your thoughts before launching you into the next chapter.

The characters (ah, the characters - I loved them all) are well thought out and rich with depth. She has good guys, bad guys and some who sit on the fence tapping their fingers on their lips thinking hmmm, what should I do and that makes for an engaging read. Oh, and there are not so many characters that you lose track of them. There is an intimacy with each one that allows you to become invested in their futures. The writer has done a wonderful job of creating a connection with each of the main characters in the book and for me that is the biggest deal breaker to my enjoyment of a story. You will love, hate, cry, feel and empathize with them, and wish for long painfully excruciating deaths (oh, sorry, that was my outside fingers typing) of some.

The setting captures your senses and draws you into Ben’s world, the world of London and the world of the not so distant future. The author does a fabulous job writing with all the senses; sight, touch, smell, taste and sound. You are there when she writes the scene.

The action and thrill keep the plot moving at a steady pace, which, like I said above truly holds your attention.

I can’t go too much into the plot without giving away the story because the twists and turns are paramount to the enjoyment of the read and if I tell one twist then I would have to tell all the turns and then … well, that’s not why I’m here (to regurgitate the story to you). You’ll have to buy the book and see for yourself and I have to say that, if you enjoy thrillers with a scientific twist, than you will enjoy Identity X.

The only negative? It was not the ending that I would have hoped for or expected, but I realize that world does not revolve around me so I can’t get everything I want. Although, to bring it back to a positive, great ending anyway and perhaps that is what makes it so good; it’s not what was expected and makes you want to see what happens next (sequel anyone?).

So, I recommend this book, I believe it comes out in September (the author will correct me if I’m wrong) but I’m not sure when in September. If you follow
Michelle Muckley, you will be kept up to date on the launch. Thank you to the author for letting me into her world of Ben Stone. 4-Stars

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Remembering Love by Nadine Christian

I have a very distinct memory of my childhood. Video nights with my father. We would sit at home together on a Friday night with a rented video from the corner shop. The subject of one of these film nights was The Bounty, an adaptation of the true story of Fletcher Christian who leads a group of mutineers to take the ship from Captain Bligh before setting up a new population on Pitcairn Island. It was a film that captivated me as a child, from the ship, the ocean, and to the vision of Tahiti and the different culture of the islands.

So when I was offered an ARC for review that had been written by Nadine Christian, a descendant of the famous mutineer and a writer who still lives on the tiny volcanic island amongst a population that has never exceed 240 people, I jumped at the chance for an insight into this life with my adult eyes. In short, I wasn't disappointed.

The copy of Remembering Love that I read and for which this review is written is an advanced release e-book.

The story focuses on the life of Holly, a woman who grew up in a loving foster family far away from Pitcairn Island. After her foster parents die she discovers more about her past, and the fact that she herself is originally from Pitcairn Island.  But the more she digs, the more secrets are revealed, and she decides that she must travel to Pitcairn Island to trace her history and understand the tragic murder/suicide of her parents.

There was a lot that I liked about this book. The story is rich and interesting, and the plot develops in unexpected ways with satisfying resolutions to the twists that occur. The characters were also well developed and believable. I enjoyed the descriptive style of writing, and the sense of a small and at times claustrophobic community was well portrayed. It is also a nice gentle romance story, with only a bit of steam when it came to the sex scenes.

There were a few elements which I didn't fully connect with. Without any spoilers, there was a twist in the overall love story which I wasn't expecting, and I was glad to find that this particular element to the story was dealt with fairly quickly, as otherwise I wouldn't have enjoyed the rest of the book. There were one or two typos, which did nothing to prevent my enjoyment of the book, but may put off a fussy reader.  The dialect spoken on Pitcairn Island appears to be quite distinct, and at times I found the dialouge in the book difficult to follow, but on the plus side it did add a level of authenticity.

This was an enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to a lover of the romance genre, or anybody that wanted to get a glimpse into the life on Pitcairn Island.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Guest Post - Cree Walker

Chapter One

 As of about four and a half minutes ago, I officially quit college. I’ve decided that after attending not one but two separate colleges during my nine…okay ten years of switching majors and still not knowing what I want to be when I grow up, that I was never meant to be a serious intellectual. I was not designed to run a corporate enterprise or wow the art world with genius sculpture and paintings. I was studying to become a teacher until I realized I don’t like children. I would have made an excellent veterinarian, except I’m allergic to cats. Or, more accurately they are allergic to me. I wanted to be an engineer, but it turns out I’m also allergic to math, which also eliminated engineering and accounting. I even tried psychology, caseworker, and business major. So after trying everything that ever caught my attention, I switched to a technical college, where I discovered I had no talent for mechanics, carpentry, plumbing, heating, or cooking anything in an oven. And I literally flunked out as a dental assistant when I vomited on a patient while I was cleaning his teeth during final exams. So because of this, or rather despite all of this, I’m going into the family business.

My decision for this very sudden and life-altering change might have been prompted by the three-page, single-spaced letter I am now holding. It’s written in legal speak and since I did a very brief stint in law – after watching a marathon of Law and Order while recovering from a vicious and unprompted cat attack – I will summarize; “Your grandmother is dead, and she’s left you the house and its current occupants.”

This is the letter telling me that my Granny Nan has passed away. It was unexpected, and I’m not saying unexpected as in she was always so healthy and she never said she was sick. No, I’m saying unexpected because she was a vampire. Granny Nan was the first in our family, full born. She came with all the perks of the undead. She could turn into a bat and she never aged. She drank the blood of the living, but she never took more than necessary. She could hypnotize people with a wink of her long black lashes, and any whispered suggestions she made became the victim’s lifelong mission to fulfill. She stayed inside on sunny days and avoided anything resembling a wooden stake. On top of all of this, she was very fast and very smart and very full of life.

She raised me from six months old, as my mother had met her untimely demise in an unfortunate car accident involving a truck transporting picket fence posts. As far as anyone knew in the small town where I grew up, Granny Nan wasn’t my very young-looking, nearly two hundred year-old grandmother. She was just my mom.

I’m a second-generation vampire. Vampires aren’t made, or even bred. As far as we can tell, they just happen once in a while, and the only way they can have children is if they choose to do so with a human. Long story short, that makes me a quarter vampire. Meaning I don’t get to live forever, I can’t turn into any cool animals, and I will never be able to hypnotize people with a look or a whisper. The only thing I got from that side of the family is that I have to wear sunscreen year round and I’m mildly anemic. I don’t drink blood, but I like my steak extra rare. I have a pretty good metabolism, but unlike Granny Nan I do have to burn a few calories on the treadmill a few times a week if I want to eat cupcakes.

Having been raised in a retirement home, I am probably more aware of my own mortality than most. What I learned from my somewhat different childhood experience was that I didn’t want to die without living a full and happy life. The only problem was I seemed to be having trouble getting that life of excitement started. I was so scared to make the wrong move that I ended up not moving at all. So at twenty-seven – okay twenty-eight, I was now the newest caretaker of Maple Lane Manor, Home for Retired Supernaturals.




I stepped off the little twin engine plane, feeling the first flutter of nervousness. Though I loved my Granny Nan dearly, I hadn’t actually been home once since I started my lengthy college experience nearly ten years ago. Part of the reason I’d chosen to attend school nearly two thousand miles away was because I was living in the now, not sitting in a retirement home waiting to die and talking about the good old days. I told myself the night I left that I would not go to one more funeral. I would not attend one more wake and I would not read one more obituary. For those of you who don’t know, these make up some very intoxicating pastimes for the elderly, and though the current crew of the Manor was pretty healthy, I wasn’t going to risk sticking around to find out if I was wrong. Up ’til now I believed they’d had their lives, so it was my turn and, unlike my Granny Nan and a long line of her predecessors, I wasn’t wasting mine on them. A decade of wasted reality had altered that perspective and I found out the hard way where my fate truly lay.

I snorted as I grabbed my pink leopard-print suitcase. It was vintage Louie and a gift from Vie on the night of my high school graduation. It was the only old thing I owned and I only kept it out of respect for Vie and her history of traveling around the world with it. Otherwise, old things had an expiration date just like people, and since I had yet to make my own history I refused to own anything that the factory had more than one of.

Walter was waiting for me in the house car. The car was a vintage nineteen twenty-three Mercedes-Benz. It was a very cool car but not very practical in eastern Massachusetts during the winter months. Fortunately, tonight was a humid eighty-seven degree June evening.

I tried not to react to how shockingly old Walter had grown in the ten years I’d been away. He grumbled something about moving my ass because The Wheel was about to start. The Wheel – better known to the rest of the world as Wheel of Fortune – made that small half hour slot a religious gathering for its residents. I wasn’t sure if it was all the lights and glitter or if it was Vanna White, an eighth vampire by the way, strutting her stuff and pressing buttons, but the residents of Maple Lane didn’t miss it. Ever. Events were scheduled around that sacred half hour, even seeing me off when I’d left the Manor for the last time ten years ago. I remember walking out the door with Granny Nan and waving over my shoulder as they all sat hypnotized by the glowing television screen. Nobody even moved.

“Nice to see you too, Walter,” I said sweetly. Walter’s appearance might have aged, but his unwavering grumpy scowl was steadfast as ever.

He grumbled again and peered out at the road through impressive Coke bottle glasses.

Walter had always been a man of few words, but since I’d left, even those words had become non-existent. Werewolves are nothing if not a loyal bunch, and to Walter I’d abandoned them because I didn’t respect or love them anymore. At least that’s what Granny Nan told me when he refused to talk to me on the phone.

I would have continued to push for conversation, but I was too busy gripping the door handle for the duration of the ride. His vision had been pretty bad ten years ago, and I was pretty sure he was now legally blind. I would have offered to drive, but that would have entailed him pulling to the side of the road and I wasn’t sure if I should risk that proximity to the ditch or the telephone poles.

We screeched to a halt in the Manor’s driveway safe and sound, if you didn’t count my elevated blood pressure, and Walter got out and went inside without so much as a hello. With shaky hands I fumbled the door open and angled out of the low-riding antique automobile. I lugged my bag out of the tiny backseat and looked up at the not-so-splendid wonder of Maple Lane. I blinked up several times at the ramshackle mansion and sighed. Even in the twilight I could see it needed paint and a new roof. The lawn needed serious help, and the overall appearance of the house was that it looked haunted. Ironically, the one thing Maple Lane lacked was a ghost.

The door slammed behind me, and I cringed at the noise. But everyone was seated in the parlor staring slack-jawed and wide-eyed at the colorful screen as the ratcheting sound of the sacred wheel was spun. I couldn’t help but smile at the sight before me. Vie sat in the faded orange, overstuffed wingback chair she’d dubbed “the throne.” Walter had plunked himself down in a beat-up brown La-Z-Boy less than four feet from the screen so he could see, and Willow and Alex shared the couch. Both had their legs crossed in lotus position.

I waited patiently for a commercial before announcing a friendly hello to everyone.

Walter ignored me, Willow nodded, Alex flashed me a peace sign, and Vie sighed and rose to her feet to give me a welcoming hug. She patted my hair and whispered how sorry she was that my Nan had passed so unexpectedly.

Willow and Alex scooted to the ends of the couch so I could sit between them and suddenly I was a little girl again, watching The Wheel with my strange extended family. I enjoyed those few moments of remembered bliss until Jeopardy came on and Alexander clicked off the television.

“So are you going to sell this old heap?” Walter snapped suddenly. This was rude even for Walter.

“Why would I sell this place? It’s our home.”

“Walter!” Vie said sharply.

“We’ve got a right to know what she’s going to do, don’t we?” Walter countered.

When nobody else spoke and every eye in the house focused on me expectantly, I cleared my throat. “I love this old house.”

“How do you plan to maintain it?” Walter asked. “Your grandmother sank most of her savings into your college experience. I supported her at first, thinking maybe one day you’d wise up and get your head out of the clouds, but you’ve managed to be the only person on Earth to attend college for a decade without getting a single degree in anything. How does one do that, exactly?”

One drops out of classes before completing them, I thought to myself.

“Walter!” Vie hissed again.

“No, woman. She needs to hear the truth of it. If she’s ever going to grow up she needs to be treated like an adult.”

Vie hissed at him and it sounded like a protective mother cat standing over her kitten.

The elderly werewolf snarled back at her, but broke into a cough and wheezed from the effort.

I sighed as I waited patiently for Walter’s temper and coughing fit to dissipate. “No, he’s right.” I nodded to the group. “I hadn’t realized that Granny had sacrificed so much for my schooling, but it’s time for me to grow up.”

“Too little, too late,” Walter barked. “This place is too far gone for some flighty little girl without a degree – or a job, I might add – to fix it. You’ll never get this old dump up and running again and the longer you wait, the lower its market value will go. Time is no longer on your side, young lady.”

I narrowed my eyes at his challenge. “We’ll see about that, you old dog,” I said, throwing a little of his venom back at him.

He glared his optically enlarged eyes right back at me. “You haven’t finished a thing in your life, little girl. I don’t expect the biggest challenge of it to be the first thing you manage to complete.”

I crossed my arms. “I’ll take your bet.”

There was an audible ugly gasp as everyone in the room sucked in a breath. My grandmother had very few rules in her house, and “no betting” was number one on that list. But Granny Nan wasn’t here.

“If I do get this place up and running again, what do I get in return?” I asked the group.

“How about the satisfaction of knowing you’ve finally accomplished something?” Walter sneered.

“How about that collection of baseball cards you keep under your bed?” I countered with a raised eyebrow.

Then I looked at Vie. “And I want Marilyn’s shoes.”

I looked to the wizard next. “Alex…you’ve got to shave your beard and cut your hair if I do this, and, – ” I turned to Willow, who reeked of peppermint schnapps, “ – I want you to stop drinking before noon. How’s that sound?”

“What do we get in return?” Walter argued.

“How about the satisfaction of knowing you have a place to live and a bed to sleep in at night?” I shot back.

Walter thought on it long and hard. “We need to come up with a time frame to decide if we’re just fighting a losing battle or if you’re here for the long haul.”

“A year,” I said.

Walter snorted. “The way the housing market is crashing I wouldn’t give you a month before you decide it’s too hard and quit.”

“Six months,” Vie interjected. “We have to give her a fighting chance to actually do something.”

“We’ll vote on it!” Willow announced suddenly in her soft little voice.

In the end I got six months, but I think it was only because half of them hoped to be dead and gone by the time my trial period was up. The deal was I had to improve the house and catch up on the bills.

Oh, and not quit.
Cree Walker lives in Northern Maine with her very patient debate partner and their furry love child, mini rat terrier, Titan. When Cree isn't plugging away at her computer she can most likely be found at the hospital where she works as an advanced psychiatric technician for both children and adults.
To date, Cree has four novel length publications with Naughty Nights Press. Paranormal werewolf romance, Whisper on a Scream, and its sequel, Urban Fantasy nominated book for 2012, Willing Sacrifice. She also has paranormal romantic comedy, A Winter's Grave; book one to the Reaper series and her most recent publication, Maple Lane Manor, Home for Retired Supernaturals. So far, Maple Lane Manor has been a finalist in the 2013 Up Authors Fiction Challenge and all have received the coveted 5 star review rating from the Paranormal Romance Guild.

Buy Links for Maple Lane Manor, Home for Retired Supernaturals