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Monday, 28 March 2016

Born of Magic, by Jo-Ann Carson #BlogMondays #Review #romsus




Born of Magic 
The Sorceress wanted a child of her own. The arms-dealer wanted power at any cost. Together they conceive a son destined to change the world. 




A short story linking the first and second books in The Mata Hari, Sexy, Suspense Series. 
By Jo-Ann Carson 


My Review

Born of Magic is a short, fun romp in the world of espionage Jo-Ann Carson has created with her Mata Hari Series. In the first installment of the series, Covert Danger, I found myself wanting to know more about the mysterious, yet handsome arms dealer, Bakari al-Sharif and his sorceress, Djeserit, and boy, does Carson deliver! As an interlude from the series' main characters, Seb and Sadie, Born of Magic is full of delicious information, rich with history, and saturated with details of international destinations. Carson weaves magical scenes full of sensory details that ensure the readers gets transported to the fictional time and place. We learn more about the history between Bakari and Djeserit, and I have a feeling the events in this installment will lead to some of the conflict in the next book of the series, Ancient Danger. I fully recommend this read.

**I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review**




About the Author:

Jo-Ann Carson has lived most of her life on islands off the west coast of Canada, surrounded by snow covered mountains, lush rain forests and pristine beaches. 

Growing up, she dreamed of traveling the world like James Bond, finding archaeological treasures like Indiana Jones, and finding true love. In her Mata Hari Series she combines elements of adventure, danger and steamy romance.

Her smart, sexy suspense stories have done well in contests and Mata Hari Series launched April 1st 2015.

Her home on the Internet is my webpage: www.jo-anncarson.com.



Monday, 21 March 2016

Facebook Adverts #BlogMondays #frustrated #RANT

For the release of my latest novel (Shift Work), I placed the following advert on FB. It ran with great success, and to my knowledge, was never reported.


The stock image is a fairly popular one (purchased from Shutterstock), and I've seen it on a few other sponsored ads on FB.

Then, to my dismay, I tried to run another ad with the same photo (text slightly changed to take out an annoying comma).



It got denied.

Twice.

According to Facebook:
[My] ad wasn't approved because it violates Facebook's Ad Guidelines by featuring an image containing excessive amounts of skin or suggestive content. Facebook does not allow images that depict people in explicit or suggestive positions, or images that show nudity or cleavage--even if portrayed for artistic or educational reasons. If you've reviewed the Help Center and think your ad should have been approved, please get in touch

Huh.

So, being the diligent person I am, I clicked on the "Help Center" link and reviewed FB's guidelines for photos.

This is what it had:


I'm shocked to learn I can have a woman in a sheer bra gently caressing her shoulder or face, but not a couple ~almost~ kissing. So, being the diligent person, I am, I provided the following feedback:

"Images may not be overly sexual, imply nudity, show excessive amounts of skin or cleavage, or focus unnecessarily on body parts." requires more detail, because I had a FB Ad denied (twice) because it featured a couple almost kissing. Not actually kissing, not nude or implying nudity, and not in an explicit or sexual position. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "Sexual" is defined as "of, relating to, or involving sex." Kissing doesn't equate to sex. If a picture of a heterosexual couple almost kissing constitutes as "overly sexual", "excessive suggestive content", "suggestive positioning", or simply "sexual", your examples need to be more elaborate and thoroughly defined to provide more guidance. Paying customers such as myself need to have a more solid framework from FB where FB defines what exactly it means by "sexual," because everyone has a different interpretation of this word.

I also clicked "Get in Touch" and requested they re-review my ad because I didn't feel it violated any of their guidelines. At the time of writing this post, I haven't heard a response to my feedback or to my request for them to re-review my ad; however, my ad was approved again...and then denied within the same minute. Thanks for clarifying Facebook!

Obviously, I'm totally biased, and think my ad is perfectly fine. And I'm not writing this post looking for validation. What I would like to know is:

In a highly over-sexualized society that is our world today, what's your interpretation of "sexual"?

Monday, 14 March 2016

Covert Danger, by Jo-Ann Carson #BlogMondays #Review #romsus


Covert Danger The Mata Hari Suspense Series, Book #1 A single woman — A double life High fashion model, Sadie Stewart, is a dedicated undercover CIA agent used to getting her man. But this time she’s chasing a power-hungry international arms dealer stealing ancient Egyptian amulets. Brilliant, ruthless and slightly wacko, he’s a hard catch. She’s willing to risk everything to stop him, but the handsome Sebastian Wilde, who looks like a modern Viking, keeps getting in her way. Her independence is shaken as he stirs feelings in her that she thought only existed in fairy tales. Can she put their attraction aside and get the job done? 

When Sebastian sees Sadie in a high speed motor-boat flying down the Grand Canal in Venice, with the Italian military police hot on her tail, her beauty and courage intrigue him. He has a personal vendetta to stop the trading of looted art, and when it looks as though she’s involved in that shady world, he decides to stop her. Could the femme fatale really be that evil? Their adventure spans the globe with scenes in Venice, Florence, Amsterdam, Cairo and New York. Can they work together and stop the heist planned for the Met Museum of Art? 

Protecting the relics becomes their shared goal, but it’s not all about ancient magic and power. Love hangs in the balance. 

A cross between Indiana Jones and Covert Affairs 


My Review:

I loved this story. Sassy and smart, Sadie Stewart uses her beauty to model, and her intelligence and bravery to be a CIA agent at night. At first I was a little worried Sadie would be a Mary Sue—too perfect to be believable—but that definitely was not the case! She comes with a whole bag of faults and baggage and it makes her character not only complex, but intriguing. Sebastian is the love interest, and exceptionally drool-worthy. I mean, “his sensuous lips held a sexy, bad boy grin,” his broad shoulders fill up doorways, and he’s got a hero-needs-to-save-woman complex—even though the woman is a CIA agent and adeptly trained. *Swoon* Even the bad guys are dynamic. The glimpses into Bakari’s life and backstory made him believable and I actually felt for the guy. The story contains beautiful depicted scenes from international locations, so rich with detail I feel like I’m actually there. Having travelled a bit, I have been in some of the locations described, and the author absolutely nailed it. 5 Stars. Definitely recommend.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*


Amazon: http://www.amzn.com/097389024X



About the Author:

Jo-Ann Carson has lived most of her life on islands off the west coast of Canada, surrounded by snow covered mountains, lush rain forests and pristine beaches. 

Growing up, she dreamed of traveling the world like James Bond, finding archaeological treasures like Indiana Jones, and finding true love. In her Mata Hari Series she combines elements of adventure, danger and steamy romance.

Her smart, sexy suspense stories have done well in contests and Mata Hari Series launched April 1st 2015.

Her home on the Internet is my webpage: www.jo-anncarson.com.


Monday, 7 March 2016

Review of Demon Kissed, by Karilyn Bentley #UrbanFantasy #MondayBlogs

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a total fangirl of fellow TWRP author Karilyn Bentley. I was fortunate enough to beta read her newest release, DEMON KISSED, and although I love the version I read first, the finished product is even better!

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Blurb:
Gin Crawford, the world’s latest demon huntress, has no time to mourn her dead lover as she’s called in to determine why a demon attack occurred at the local medical school. And not just any demon, but the one demon that gives her demon-killing bracelet the shivers. A dead professor, a lab full of missing anthrax, and a demon who turns good people into minions complicate her life. Can Gin and her mentor Aidan Smythe solve the mystery of the missing anthrax and the identity of the demon before someone else dies?

My Thoughts:
Full Disclosure: I'm not very good at writing reviews for books I inhale in one-sitting, and I hate revealing spoilers, so collecting my thoughts regarding this novel is difficult to say the least. To put it simply, I loved it! The writing is smooth, the pace is steady with exciting bursts of speed, the overall theme is well-integrated and the characters are complex instead of being predictable and one-dimensional.

SPOILER
If you haven't read Demon Lore, book 1 of the series, then this part contains a spoiler (although the blurb gives this away, too). The book starts out with Gin attending the funeral of her dead lover. This scene was very poignant and the emotions were real and raw. I love the added complexity to Gin's already authentic, imperfect character, and even after finishing the book, this scene stuck with me.

I also enjoyed the scene with coffee. When you read the book, you'll know what I'm referring to. I laughed out loud and totally related to Gin in that moment.
END OF SPOILER

The tension between Gin and Aidan is amped up another notch in this book, and I'm now affectionately calling them Gindan. We learn more about both characters and their complicated pasts. We also get a few more answers regarding Gin's demon huntress skills and the bracelet that claimed her. Some of my favorite parts of this book involved a particular Demon and I can't wait to learn more about him,

If you haven't read the first book -- Demon Lore (A Demon Huntress Novel Book 1) -- I highly suggest you start there. Although Demon Kissed can stand on its own, I think the books should be read in order to gain a full understanding of events. Besides, Demon Lore was an awesome book, too, so what are you waiting for?

DEMON KISSED is filled with complex characters who interact with snappy, witty dialogue while they race to find answers. Karilyn Bentley's writing provides a suspenseful plot with a dynamic pace and laugh-out-loud moments. The surprises revealed leave the reader wanting more (in a good way). Bring on book 3!

~*I was provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review*~




Excerpt:
The scent of sulfur hangs in the air like a demonic stink bomb. I want to slap a hand over my nose, but no one else seems affected by the stench. Must be a demon huntress thing.
Justitian,” Smythe mutters. “Not demon huntress.”
“If you don’t like my new title, then stay out of my mind.”
He glares. I swallow. Cross my arms. Refuse to take a step back. I’m learning not to be intimidated by his anger. Go me.
My justitia vibrates, throwing me out of my internal battle, pulling me back to the land of death and minions. The blob of colors pulsates, a glowing reminder of a moment of terror. The moment the demon appeared to the grad student.
Granted, I’m still taking Demons 101, but I thought demons formed minions in private. Usually after the human committed a crime, not before. A tryout, so to speak. And maybe that happened, but it sure seems to me like the black blob of demon force appeared to the grad student smack in the middle of the hallway.
Or maybe that always happens, and I just now noticed it.
The justitia’s vibration grows stronger, trembling my arm, my veins. Not its normal excited tremor upon seeing a minion or demon. A rush of images spikes through my mind, scenes of terror coupled with blood and death, memories of the justitia’s former wearers captured in time by the entity in the bracelet.
I’m not the only one freaked out by the colored blob. How bad was this demon to scare ajustitia?
Interested in more? You can purchase DEMON KISSED at the following online retailers:

More on Karilyn:
Karilyn Bentley’s love of reading stories and preference of sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.
Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.
Karilyn lives in North Texas with her own hunky hero, a crazy dog nicknamed The Kraken, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.
KarilynBentley