April 14, 2014

So Long, Farewell

Well, this is the official end of this blog.

Oh, don't give me that look! I think we all knew that I was . . . Less attentive lately thanks to my teaching job, writing, and my new found love of gardening.

I want to just thank everybody for their support during this time. I really enjoyed this blog but it's time to move on to greener pastures.

Oh yes, people, I have a website!!

Here it is: http://www.larissahinton.com/

Much easier to remember the website name, huh?


The only thing has changed (and this is the biggest part): I will no longer focus on my blogging/book review.

It's a focus on my writing career.

I need to put things into drive and give my full attention to my novels. They have suffered in the darkness long enough.

It's time to become a full-fledged writer and unfortunately, that means that blogging has got to go.

So no more book reviews.

It's time for a change.

Thanks for understanding my devoted followers! I will miss you and I hope you find a great blog that you will follow with as much devotion as you have mine!

(This blog will be up for about a month, to let y'all transition smoothly, but after that I will officially delete this blog. Adjust accordingly.)

November 4, 2013

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  • August 9, 2013

    Dangerous Job: Book Reviewer/Author

    When I first started this blog, I thought being the book reviewer would be fun. I always wanted to share my opinion about books and have that lovely conversation about my favorite books.

    However, from year to year, it seems like it's getting more and more dangerous to be a book reviewer.

    What do I mean by that?

    Anytime I critique a book, I look at the reviews. Of course, I read the book, form my own opinion, then write the review. Then I glance at what other people have to say.

    Then when I see nothing but 4 to 5 stars for a book that didn't seem to earn it, it leaves me in a quite an odd spot.

    It's always easy to agree with other reviewers but it takes a bit of . . . something to be able to stick with your review.

    It can be so tempting to just say, "Maybe I was wrong about the book. Maybe I didn't read it right. Maybe I missed something they didn't."

    That's what makes writing reviews challenging at times.

    Another part of this dangerous jobs are the folks that just love the author so much they are willing to defend the book to the ends of the earth.

    Granted, I totally understand the fan club dedicated to Twilight series or the Divergent series. I, myself, was an avid Harry Potter, Twilight, and Chronicles of the Unicorn (by Bruce Coville) fan.

    And it can be so easy to criticize other people who do not value your book. Especially Harry Potter.

    Slight side track: Quick story, I was walking down the school hallways with my friends and I mentioned that I fell asleep reading the fifth Harry Potter book. For some reason, I seriously could NOT stay awake. In fact, I tried to re-read for the second time, and fell asleep again.

    Well, once those words poured out of my mouth. It was on like donkey kong.

    "How can you fall asleep during Harry Potter!?"

    "How can you call yourself a fan and fall asleep! Shame!"

    I mean, really? These were my best friends and they didn't even try to be supportive or even lenient with their tone. They thrashed me a good one. Just for an honest comment.

    Nobody mentioned the fact that the fifth book compared to the fourth epic book of the Harry Potter series was just suck-tastic. Nope. I was clearly in the wrong since I fell asleep.

    This is the perfect example of what can happen to a reviewer.

    There have been plenty of times where a reviewer or even an average joe reader will write a review of a book and then get thrashed.

    Maybe even cyber bullied about their opinion.

    It amazes me what a simple opinion can cause.

    There have been countless battles between book blog reviewer and authors and fans. It's probably as old as time. The book reviewer with their nose so high in the air versus the honest author who has slaved over a book for months to only be ridiculed about their book.

    And sometimes it can be vice versa.

    Sometimes the author can be in the right. Some bloggers intentionally read a book they KNOW they will hate with every fiber of their being and review it anyway.

    And they trash it from beginning to end. Just because they can. Just because they want to get a rise out of the author.

    And sometimes they get what they want. And sometimes they don't.

    However, this is all besides the point.

    My point in writing all of this is to caution young book bloggers and authors alike. Sure, reviewing a book you received for free can be the best thing eva since sliced bread.

    I will fully admit, receiving the free books is the best part of this job.

    But, like Rumplestilskin says in Once Upon a Time, there's always a price.

    Just like Claudia says in Warehouse 13, there's always a downside.

    Even though those are fantasy shows, there is always a grain of truth.

    There's always a consequence for our actions and choices.

    Nobody forced me to be a blogger. Nobody forced me to be a teacher. Nobody forced me to be an author.

    For one of them, I was chosen to be one. And I fought it fighting and screaming the whole way.

    I'll let you decide which one. :)

    All of this to say, be careful for what you sign up for. Make sure to get tough leather skin for this business.
    It can literally eat you alive with anger and guilt. The blame game can go rampant. Depression and rejection can share company at times and the life can get lonely. Ever so lonely.

    However, remind yourself everyday as to why you signed up to do this. Why you chose to write, teach or blog. You chose this for a reason. You are here on this earth for a reason.

    Fulfill your purpose and let fate determine the rest.

    What do YOU think is the most dangerous job out of all three: teacher, writer or blogger?

    August 7, 2013

    Fire by T.G. Ayer

    Normal people sneak out to a party and have fun. Maya Rao ends the evening by incinerating the guy who attacks her. 

    Nik Lucas, sexy, new in town and totally forbidden, happens to walk in on her. Normal guys would run for the hills. Nik knows a whole lot more than he's telling.

    Maya doesn't believe the gods are real, doesn't waste her time with mere mythology. But when gods, demons and hellhounds become the new normal and wielding fire becomes her new skill, she must decide what it is she really believes. 

    Can Maya accept that normal is something she will never be because it isn't normal to be ...
    The Hand of Kali.

    My Thoughts

    Before I begin, I would like to thank Innovative Online Book Tours for this fabulous book. I received this book for free for a review. 

    Well, I have to say that the character and the plot development is excellent. I love Maya's spunk and the mysterious Nik.

    Although this book was good, it just wasn't for me. There was just nothing that was particularly wrong with it, but it just wasn't my taste.

    All of the great elements were there, great characters and great plot development, but I just didn't dig it. Maybe if I break this down a little better, I'll be able to see what it was.

    Characters: Like I said earlier, love the teen angst and the spunk of Maya. And she's not a typical white female kickbutt character. I love how her culture as an Indian-American comes into play into the paranormal plot.

    Love Nik and his mysterious nature. I kinda figured out what was going on between Nik and Maya, but it was still interesting to learn more and more about this character as it continued on.

    Dialogue: This is where I had an issue with the book. Especially with the parents. They talked as stiff as a cardboard. 

    Think about all of the stereotypical responses parents give typical spit fire teens, and you will know what I'm talking about. I couldn't stand the fact that they were so stiff with the language they were using.

    And the crucial part of this is: All parents are different. All children are different. To tell me that these parents are the same type of parents down the street is doing them an injustice. To give Maya and Nik such depth but skimp out on the parents makes me feel like the author was lazy or just plain ol' tired of all of the effort she gave to all of the other characters and just said, "Screw it" to the parents.

    I feel slightly cheated that she did that. 

    Plot: Like I said, plot development was excellent. No complaints here. The character led the plot forward and that's how it should be. Well paced, well structured and well executed. Nothing I could ask for more in this arena.

    Setting: Love how the setting and the culture came into play with the plot. It's like the author took all of the literary elements and strung them together to the Indian culture which is just so what I've been waiting for from other others in the paranormal genre.

    If you've been a follower since the beginning, you will know that I've been begging for an author to tie in minority roots to the paranormal genre for years. And I'm so thankful that somebody did. 

    Anyway . . . :)

    Historical Context: I know, I had to throw it in there for a loop! :) 

    Anyway, I got a bit lost in the Indian culture and the religion. I think the author made it accessible, but I still got a little lost since there are so many different gods and different powers associated with each. I had no idea they had an underworld and a god to boot. 

    But I really think that if I tried a bit harder and flipped back from time to time, I think I would get it. I wasn't lost enough not to get back my footing, but I thought I would mention it just in case. If you're going to buy it, then you need to make sure you know what you're going in to. Just my honest opinion.

    Ending: Ended with a bow on top. Couldn't be happier.

    Overall: I would definitely recommend this book to people, like me, who are just waiting for a minority character to explore the Indian paranormal mindset.

    It's your choice.

    Just because it didn't suit me just right, doesn't mean it won't for you! I love practically everything about this book, it just didn't fit my personal taste. 

    Anyway, I highly recommend this book for paranormal romance lovers. Check it out. Read it and thank me later. :)

    Book Excerpt: Dying to Dream

    When Jack Robesaux is found lying dead on a Louisiana beach, psychic Marin Seurat must use her gift to prove it is murder and not suicide. Though Marin knows her dreams with their messages from the dead could help, she struggles with the idea of returning home and facing a troubled past—but a phone call informing her of Jack's murder and the return of the family curse gives Marin that final push. In a surprising turn of events, Marin discovers a mystery from long ago that somehow connects to recent deaths. With the help of cryptic messages delivered by spirits, Marin races to solve the mystery of Saint Toulere.


         The sweltering Louisiana heat steamed up from the ground and carried through the air, along with the salt and acrid stench coming from the gulf. It burned the nostrils and caused an ache from head to toe. It didn't matter where, a body felt it. However, this particular morning it carried more. The odor of blood and urine, mixed in with other smells all too familiar to Trent Robesaux. It violated his senses while he struggled to hold back the bitter taste gagging his throat. Swallowing hard, he concentrated on the words spoken by Sam Tomaso.

         "Found him about three this morning. Somebody trolling the beach—searching with one of those metal detectors, I guess—come up on his body." The sheriff of LaForche parish wiped a handkerchief across the back of his neck.

         "When will you be releasing him? I need to call Rochere's sometime today and make the funeral arrangements." Trent kept his eyes on the swelling ocean water, anywhere but below with the scene of Jack Robesaux, his head marinating in a bloody pool, and the homicide team gathering around him. A collage of images scrolled through his mind; he filtered out the happy ones to remind him of the father who raised him.


    Kathryn Long 
    Kathryn Long is a native Ohioan, born and raised in Barberton, the "Magic City". She is the youngest of five children, although the closest sibling in age is a brother sixteen years her senior. Being raised like an only child, Kathryn found reading and writing as favorable forms of entertainment. In high school as a member of the Writers' Club, she continued to nurture her writing talent.

    After high school Kathryn attended and graduated from the University of Akron with a BA degree in French. Before marriage and children the author managed a Waldenbooks store and continue writing short stories and song lyrics as a hobby. In 1987 she returned to school for a Bachelor's in Education. She has been an employee of the Green Local School system since 1990 and currently teaches SLD students at the high school.

    Writing took a more serious turn a few years ago as Kathryn completed her first novel-length work and discovered that mystery was her nitch. Early on, determined to improve her craft, she developed a habit of spending most of her free time in the summer and on weekends during the school year, writing story after story. Mystery merged with the color of Native American culture to create Oklahoma's Gold and A Pleasant View. Venturing into cozy mysteries and romantic suspense writing, Kathryn has created three novels with the cozy, Whips, Cuffs, and Little Brown Boxes; a romantic suspense, A Deadly Deed Grows; and the recently completed, Dying to Dream, another romantic suspense.

    Kathryn has also written short stories, two of which are published in The Piker Press: "A Good Man" and "Betrayal in a Letter". She also has ventured into the young adult genre, writing the modern-day fairytale, Cinderella Geek, under the pen name, K. Sean Jennkrist.

    Keeping connected is an important element of writing. Staying in tune with what goes on in the writing world and being visible are reasons why Kathryn is a member of Sisters in Crime and maintains a blogsite - Writers & Teachers as well as a facebook page.

    GREAT NEWS! My latest mystery, DYING TO DREAM, has been acquired for publication by MAINLY MURDER PRESS. The target date for release is in June, 2013. So, please put this on your calendar, if you enjoy mysteries with a bit of the paranormal and spiced with romance. It's a Louisiana delight full of suspense and colorful characters.

    August 5, 2013

    Guest Post: Rejection Blues by Mattie Dunman

    Please welcome the author of the great book Instinct, Mattie Dunman to Feed My Need!

    How to Deal with Rejection Blues

    I remember about five years ago when I first decided I was going to write and publish a book, I knew that I would get the book written within a few months and that it would immediately get picked up by an agent, I would be offered a five-book contract with a major publishing house, and within a year I’d be watching my story play out on the big screen.

    Weird how none of that happened, huh?

    Instead, it took me closer to a year to finish my first book and edit it. Although I got a few nibbles on my manuscript, I pretty much ended up collecting rejection after rejection without even coming close to selling the book.

    I was fortunate enough to have gotten some stellar advice from a seasoned author at the beginning of my journey; she told me to join writers’ groups and to go to as many conferences as possible. I did as she suggested, and I’m still grateful for everything I learned that first year as a writer. I learned not to take rejection personally, that it didn’t mean my book wasn’t any good, or that I was a hack. I learned what it meant to “write for the market” and why that meant I might not really fit in with the major publishing houses. And I learned, most importantly, that a real writer doesn’t need an agency, or a big-name publisher, or even a bucket-load of cash (although that would be nice). All a writer really needs is a reader.

    So after another few years of incredibly frustrating rejections, close calls, and two more books that no one would give a chance, I decided to follow the footsteps of the new pioneers and went the self-publishing route.

    I’m still trying to figure the whole thing out, and I’m absolutely miserable when it comes to maintaining a website and online presence thanks to my less than tech savvy nature, but I’ve never been happier. I hear from new readers all the time and I know that they’ve only heard about my books because someone else told them they were good. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, but it’s also incredibly satisfying for me as an author to know that my books are steadily gaining more readers not because I’m a brilliant social media diva, but because my characters resonate with readers and my stories are solid enough to draw people in.

    So when someone asks me how I deal with all the rejection I’ve gotten over the years, I look at some of my reviews and the letters I’ve gotten from readers, and I just shrug. Rejection is never a fun thing, but I know that I haven’t had to compromise my vision to match a bottom-line, and that I’m making it, slow as it may be, on my own merit. Do I still have dreams of getting a big contract? Of course! I’m only human, and it’s hard work being self-published. But every rejection made me a better writer, gave me more drive to get my work out there, and helped me realize that I don’t need to change my stories to match the market. All I really need is a reader, and they are everywhere, just waiting for a story.

    If you loved this guest post, check out her book Instinct!

    To tell the truth...it doesn’t really matter if you lie.

    It’s impossible to lie to Derry MacKenna. For as long as she can remember, Derry has been plagued by the extraordinary ability to hear, see, and feel the truth. But when Derry and her erratic, self-centered mother move to historic Harpers Ferry, she discovers she is not the only one with hidden talents. 

    As the newest reporter on the school newspaper, Derry learns of a high school student’s unexpected suicide and recognizes that the truth behind her death may still be hidden. When tragedy strikes, Derry is drawn into a deadly battle of wits with the only person whom her abilities don’t affect. 

    Driven by guilt and an obsession with bringing the killer to justice, Derry finds herself in danger from a vindictive murderer, a sadistic deviant who preys on the weak, and trapped in the middle of a treacherous triangle of attraction between two brothers whose abilities rival her own. Derry must trust her instincts to guide her to the truth and bring her enemies to justice even as she fights for her own survival.

    INSTINCT focuses on a gifted, intelligent, and loyal heroine who must contend not only with the inherent dangers of high school bullying and backstabbing, but with loss, grief, and guilt. Against issues of sexual abuse, teenage suicide, and destructive relationships, the heroine learns to cherish the strength of real friendship, understand accountability, and experiences the healing touch of first love.

    Author Bio

    Mattie Dunman is a lifelong resident of "Wild & Wonderful" West Virginia, and has dreamed of being a writer since she first held a pen in hand.

    Mattie has pursued several useless degrees to support this dream, and presently enjoys teaching (or tormenting, as the case may be) college students the dying art of public speaking. She spends most of her free time writing, but also indulges in reading and traveling.

    She is the proud owner of an adorably insane American Eskimo named Finn, and a tyrant cat named Bella, who take up more of her attention than they probably should.

    Please visit Mattie's website at www.mattiedunman.com

    August 2, 2013

    Cast the Cards Release Blitz

    Cast The Cards - Release Day Blitz
    By Shyla Colt
    Romantic Suspense
    Date to be Published: 8/2/2013

    Savannah escaped a kidnapping but her best friend Clark—the man she secretly loved—didn’t. Guilt-ridden and changed after the event, she gives up her dream of teaching and earns a position in the F.B.I as a profiler. When she’s targeted by the very same kidnappers wishing to finish the job, she is armed with her skills, backed by her first love’s twin brother, and forced to revisit her demons when Clark’s ghost appears.

    After his twin’s murder, Officer Carey Carr loses more than his brother. Savannah avoids him for a decade. Her return—and her steaming-hot body—stir brand new feelings in Carey. But Clark’s reappearance has Carey battling to control his primal desires around the woman his twin loved.

    As Savannah and Carey, with Clark’s help, embark on a cruel game of cat and mouse with the kidnappers, the twins come to an understanding that involves Savannah and more pleasure than the three of them have ever dreamed.

    Savannah pressed the cold glass of iced tea to her neck. It was a sweltering summer, and her parents’ air conditioner was on the fritz. Which chased her over to Carey’s while they worked on their case after hours.  I wonder if Clark has something to do with that. The case had become an all-consuming driving force for both of them.
    Frustrated by their inability to move forward they’d opted to take a break.
    “When are your parents going to get the air fixed… not that I mind.” His gaze raked over her. “I like the view.”
    “Flirt. I just spent the drive over here sweating like a pig. I doubt I’m much to look at.”
    “Don’t underestimate your appeal.” The gravelly quality of his voice touched her in places long unattended. Clearing her throat, she attempted to refocus her attention on anything other than the sexy man who sat across from her in a white tank top and a pair of sweats. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t keep her gaze from his tats.
    “Okay, I have to ask. What do the tattoos mean?”
    “Aaah. The million dollar question.”
    “Is it a secret?” Intrigued, she sat up straight.
    “No, just personal.” Red appeared in his cheeks. “It’s a memorial.”
    “That makes perfect sense. Why are you embarrassed?”  She arched an eyebrow.
    “It’s for the three of us… I sort of felt like we died with Clark.”   He placed his hand on his arm. “The rose in the Rosary represents you.”
    “I’m on your arm?” she whispered. Touched, she covered her mouth.
    “I couldn’t do the piece without you. It didn’t feel right. When I first started work on this I knew I wanted us all on a rosary, connected despite everything that went down.”
    “Carey.” Unable to find the right words, she shook her head.
    “See, this is why I didn’t want to talk about it.” He rubbed the back of his neck.
    “What have you been telling people all this time?”
    “That it’s a memorial tat for my twin brother. They don’t ask for more detail after that.”
    “Am I the only one who knows?”
    “Yeah.” His jaw was tensed. He refused to meet her gaze.  Setting her drink on the table, she walked over to him and sank onto the arm of his chair. She traced the rosary that faded into the background of the brightly-colored, old school sailor designs that surrounded it. There were red stars, a red and blue swallow, and a set of dice.
    “Thank you,” she whispered. 
    He tilted his head up. Their gazes locked.
    “Want to hear something funny?”
    “Sure.” He nodded, his voice equally soft.
    Stepping back, she pulled up the hem of her tank top and lowered the top of her cutoff shorts.  A delicate brown branch with three blossoms, black, red, and pink, graced the curve of her hip.
    “For us?”
    She nodded. A slow smile erased the pinched, austere expression he’d held moments earlier.  He extended a finger and traced over the pattern. She sucked in a breath.  A searing heat spread through her body. Her pulse kicked into overdrive and her muscles tensed. His finger crept lower, brushing the top of her shorts. Holding her breath in anticipation of more, she watched him through half closed lids.
    “Savannah?” Raspy and uncertain, his question asked for permission.
    “Y-yes.” The words were out before she could over think them. His head dipped and his tongue shot out and caressed the path his digit had traced.
    “Oh.”  Her nipples hardened and her pussy grew moist. Years of neglect combined together to overthrow her objections. Desire exploded inside her like a bomb, superseding her common sense. Latching her fingers onto his shoulder she allowed her head to fall back, enjoying the feel of his mouth. He nipped her skin, moving across her waist. The stubble on his chin tickled where it grazed her delicate skin. He paused at her belly button and dipped his tongue inside. Her stomach muscles quivered, and her toes curled in her flip-flops.  He pulled back, blowing on her wet skin.
    “Carey.”The wobbly words made him look up.
    “Do you want me to stop, Vannah?”
    Holding her stare, he brought his hand up and cupped her pussy. She gasped.
    “Still okay?”
    Unable to speak, she nodded. He began a massage.
    “Oooh.” In need of relief from the pounding rhythm of need emitting from her core she spread her legs to allow him more room to play.
    “That’s it, baby, open up for me.”  Her legs trembled. The rough material pressed into her cleft. She rocked her hips against him. Needy mewls slipped from her mouth.
    “It feels so good,” she moaned.
    “Are you going to come for me, Vannah?”
    “Mmm. I can feel the heat from your pussy through your shorts. Are you going to let me taste you after I make you come?”
    The erotic image of his head between her legs sent her hurtling up the precipice she’d climbed to at the speed of light.
    The sound of a zipper being pulled down brought her back to the present. He parted the miniscule piece of fabric and worked it down her hip, stopping to kiss the new patch of skin revealed to his hungry gaze.

    Shyla Colt
    Author Bio

    Told once 'You have to be an author, then you're craziness becomes eccentrics', Shyla Colt has always been in love with the written word and possessed a desire to write. Named after Super Girl in the comics, she often mistakes her mortality for super hero status. So, she holds many hats, Mother, Marine Wife, and writer are her top three. Writing allows her to explore new venues, face her demons, and touch others. A huge practitioner of paying it forward, and putting in what you want to get out, she hopes to inspire, enlighten, move, and entertain you with her work. Mixing humor, drama, and strong women, often with a paranormal element, she continues to soldier ahead in the writing field. One of her favorite things is talking to fans. If you'd like to learn more or just drop a line, please check her out at www.shylacolt.com.

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