Ali: Raylene I love your blog and the gallery element is fantastic. Tell me a little about Booknook Reviews. Raylene: Thank you, Ali. That means a lot! Booknook Reviews features reviews on some of the sexiest books found in the romance genre. My aim is to unite bookworms while supporting new a d established authors.
Ali: Bloggers have such a difficult job managing and gathering content. What do you most love to post on your blog? Raylene: I love posting trigger warnings so I can give other readers a heads up.
Ali: My guy suggested earlier that I am in book blogging because I’m a shameless hussy for free books. What inspired you to have a review blog? Raylene: 1) It was the draw of free books for me too. Hands down. Netgalley’s support articles suggested having a blog as a means to receive free books. 2) I needed something that was just mine. Not my husband’s or my son’s or my employer’s. Just mine.
I’ve always loved a good gothic mystery, and countless novels have inspired me. Everything from Jane Eyre to The Hound of the Baskervilles to Rebecca. Then there are the more horror-heavy gothic masterpieces including The Woman in Black, The Haunting of Hill House, The Turn of the Screw, and the sinister short stories of MR James (such as The Ash Tree). More recently I’ve been inspired by novels such as The Corset and The Silent Companions.
If you like any of these, then my novel Phantom Audition will be right up your street. It concerns widowed actress Mia Yardley, who investigates the mysterious suicide of her famous actor husband, Steven. Before his death, Steven took a film role playing famous abstract painter Edward Bingley, who also committed suicide in mysterious circumstances. When Mia discovers her husband only took roles based on consultations with a medium, she comes to suspect her husband may have buried himself in the role a little too much – to the point where supernatural forces could be involved.
Title: Steel Princess (Royal Elite Book #2) Author: Rina Kent Genre: Dark Bully High School Romance Release Date:December 12, 2019
I hate everything and everyone now.
Rina broke me again, and I want nothing more now than my cat, Xanax, and a panic room.
Deviant King is a mind screw of grand proportion full of little hints and easter eggs enough to make one bedlamite. The story is chockablock of broken characters who are far beyond repair; every damn one of them has more baggage than the Louis Vuitton outlet store. All the females are needy for love and affection but trade any hope for good things so they can live off the interest of the lies they tell themselves about the great future the could have if only they spring there trap. —Note to Elsa, Kim, Silvers, and Blair: You ARE your cage.
The only character that isn’t an A-hole of monstrous proportions is Uncle Jaxon. But don’t worry because in Steel Princess Rina breaks him too.
Both books have Elsa and Aiden considering the concepts of intuition and inevitability as their opening chapter. We return to philosophy, and Sartre: Elsa and Aiden both struggles with the ultimate existential crisis: are they the player or the game? In Steel Princess, there are references throughout Aiden’s POVs of his worldview; he’s the player; manipulation won’t work on him anymore. He mastered himself in the darkness of his childhood, nursing himself upon the suffering and pain forced upon him to create a self-possessed demon without weakness — a villain entirely in control of his victim.
But regardless of all Aiden’s encouragement, he hasn’t been able to get Elsa to stop being the game and to embrace her power. Elsa spent all of Deviant King saying bullies shouldn’t be understood. Rina has created her character with enough subconscious awareness to know that her amnesia, her scar, and her submissiveness are the seal on her Pandora’s box, and the key to it is to look into the abyss.
So in book two, our Steel Princess is born upon the sacrificial stone of Deviant King’s poolside cliffhanger; the revelation has finally come to Elsa that she needs to remover herself from the Kings’ gameboard. But it hasn’t occurred to her that all her research on strategy and attack is absurd in the light that she refuses to recognize what she controls. She is focused on the smallest most inconsequential parts of the larger picture and settles for crumbs when she owns the bakery.
This book is a rabbit hole of epiphany and discovery; admissions, confessions, and betrayals unloaded automatic assault weapon style and land like bombs. But the more you learn, the more you realize that you know nothing at all. For all of Rina Kent’s unbundling of backstory explaining what ingredients went into creating present-day Elsa and Aiden, we can’t begin to guess how two monsters will build their twisted kingdom. The last few pages only murky the waters further. I hate it. I hate how badly I want more. I want a nap.
Ali: You are ‘label-less’ in the fact that you write in several genres. Readers never know what to expect next. If someone asks, how do you label yourself?
Colleen: When I self-published my first novel I had no idea what genre to put it in. I thought I had written a drama but it turns to that I had written a romance. I’ve learned a lot since then, but I still don’t put a lot of weight in genre when I write. When your best friend is begging you to read a book, it’s not going to matter what genre it is when someone you trust is passionate about the story.
Ali: Tell me a secret about the last person you had sex with or, Tell me a lie you’ve told your best friend. Elsa: I told my best friend that I’m fine. Cole: I told my best friend that it doesn’t matter.
Ali: Rina, I’m so excited that you were agreeable to a short interview. I know you have a lot going on with pre-release. Rina: My pleasure! Happy to be here.
Ali: This is the second novel in the Royal Elite School series; how happy are you with the reception of the first book in the trilogy Deviant King? Rina: To be honest, I was blown away by all the love Deviant King received. I was always a rebel who wrote what I connected with the most. I’m so happy that many readers love my words, the characters, and the worlds I create. I can’t find the words to describe how much that means to me and my creative process.
Ali: Cruel King and Deviant King reviewers have gone bonkers for Levi and the Horseman; what do you five think about becoming book boyfriends Ronan: Boyfriend? Me? Any time, chéri *winks* Xander: Any time, love *dimpled smile* Levi: I’m only Astrid’s boyfriend. Aiden: Who gave you permission to talk to me?
Ali: Which one of you thinks they are the best book boyfriend? And Rina, you’ve said that Ronan is your cinnamon roll — does he know this? Ronan: Bien sûre que moi! Girls love me. Okay, it might have to do with what will be written on my gravestone. I use it well. Xander: Me. Because dimples. Think on that, ladies.
Ali: Astrid and Elsa, how does it make you feel when the King men reduce you down to chess pieces? Have you ever mentally, or aloud, demoted either of them or the Horsemen to pawns when they get out of hand.
Anneke: Fighting the Storm campaign is about putting a light on those invisible illnesses no one else talks or even thinks about.
Ashley: We really wanted to bring awareness to those suffering with an illness that you can’t see. There’s a stigma out there that in order to be sick or disabled it has to show. Whether it’s a wheelchair, walker, oxygen tank, etc.
Zamma: That’s what happens when you cry your eyes out for days after reading a book written by JLA! I just wanted to do something to show Jen that we’re not all dicks (Can I say dick?) Jen gets a lot of weird looks when she asked people for help because she can’t always see or read signs. When I read that in Storm and Fury’s acknowledgements I got angry and then sad. So I got this super crazy idea to help raise awareness for RP. Like Peanut said – I messaged her and asked her what she thought and she was all for it. Then Anneke joined and Izzy demanded that I should make her admin so she can invite people on her own instead of bothering the rest of us (So happy that we became friends Ash!) Ursula joined us later when Stony started to bother me a lot and I could not do all the admin stuff I wanted. Ursula is my bestie for 8 years now and she saved my butt by joining the admin team! Thanx girls for all your help! The campaign would have been a fail without all of you helping me!
Ursula: Fighting the Storm, was put together, to help raise awareness for invisible illnesses, more importantly RP, which our favorite Author suffers from.
Kristen: The Fighting the Storm Campaign is a campaign we started after the release of Storm and Fury and so many of us were touched by the MC Trinity who suffered with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Excuse the pun but it really opened a lot of our eyes to the world people like Jennifer live in. It was one thing to know that she had this disease but another to see it so well described in a book. So it started out with Zamma messaging me about spreading awareness for this illness that not many people are aware of and then later on to invisible illnesses. So this is our movement to spread awareness of the invisible and to show the world there is more to what just the eye can see and that behind every person struggling with a chronic invisible illness is a fighter and a very strong determined soul trying to survive. This is all under the banner of Fighting the Storm. It isn’t just that it relates to the book title but the deeper meaning behind this name chosen. Everything we know about this illness and other invisible illnesses, they are 100% without a doubt like fighting a storm, and through this campaign and raising awareness it is our way of head-on fighting that storm that tries to control us. We fight the storm while it fights with fury. But the one thing it didn’t count on were love and friendship and that is truly what helps us to continue fighting.
Room to Breathe is a story of two southern women at very different stages in their lives who are experiencing the same sense of “starting over.” Daphne Witt is weeks from turning forty, in a career that she never expected, and ready to start dating after a divorce. Her daughter Ellery is essentially untested in the world. Young, beautiful, accustomed to everything going her way, Ellery finds herself with a less than dazzling job, a distracted fiancé and, for the first time ever, doubts about who she is and where she’s going. When the novel begins, we find Daphne dealing with an awakened libido she thought long dead, and Ellery struggling to accept working for her mother and living with a fiancé who has little time for her. Both women redirect their dissatisfaction toward secret desires – Daphne for a much younger contractor, and Ellery for a secret email pal who thinks she’s her mother. Like the vines of a vineyard, things get tangled quickly by decisions that not only threaten the fragile mother-daughter relationship, but each woman’s future.
One thing I really like about Daphne is her self-awareness. She’s been content to stand in the wings while everyone else in her life commandeered the spotlight, but now she’s ready to take her turn on the stage. She’s bumbled into a dream she never knew existed as a children’s author, and she’s really good at what she does and becomes an overnight success. But her family, even her ex-husband, can’t seem to let go of the woman she once was. They want the old Daphne, the one who put everyone else before herself. I intentionally gave Daphne a secret crush on a younger man and had her pay attention to her sexuality. Women of a certain age are often set aside, as if their “ sexiness” has a shelf life. I wanted Daphne awakened to the fact that as a woman entering her forties, she still needed intimacy and affection. I wanted her to struggle with the guilt, be tempted, and have a little fun with someone…young enough to date her daughter.