Today I have Christie Rich here talking about Little Known books...of which I bet we all have at one point or another, so I give you Christie Rich! Welcome Christie!
Little Known Books
I don’t know about you but sometimes I want to read something original. I love a good vampire romance, but sometimes I’d like something with a new edge. I’m listing some of the books I’ve read lately that snared me and made me want more. This isn’t an all inclusive list by any means because I’ve read some great books lately, but these are the ones that came to mind when I tried to remember the best I’ve read lately.
Blood Debt by Nancy Straight—This one is completely original. I don’t recall another book about centaurs. The mythology is intriguing and I enjoyed the writing style. I got so involved in this story that I had to take my kindle shopping with me to finish the book. I’m sure a few people thought the men in white coats had lost me. I got to a critical point in the story and gasped in the ice cream isle, crying “No” to whoever might have been listening. Suffice it to say, the story problem resolved, but I literally had a panic attack because of this scene. It was so good. And for those of you who hate love triangles, this is your book. The main love interest, Drake, is swoon worthy without being a jerk, which I found refreshing.
Crux by Julie Reece—Again, the use of mythology in this book was amazing. It’s been a while since I’ve had such a visceral reaction to a book. For whatever reason I totally connected with Birdie, the protagonist, even though I hated her name, lol. When I met Birdie, she was homeless and in a bad way. A bunch of seemingly random events end up happening that turn out to be not random at all and Birdie is sucked into an adventure of a lifetime. I loved Julie Reece’s writing style and captivating characters. I totally hated it when this book ended, especially because it wasn’t part of a series. The ending was complete and satisfying, but I loved the characters enough to want to follow them around a bit more.
The Forever Girl by Rebecca Hamilton—This one was a surprise to me. I happened to see a tweet from Ms. Hamilton one day saying if I could unscramble a word, I could win her book. I did just that and she gifted me a copy of The Forever Girl from Amazon. I ended up contacting her to tell her how much I was enjoying her book and she and I became online buddies. The Forever Girl happens to be one of the best vampire reads I’ve read. It’s completely original and uses elemental power, which I love. I was completely captivated by the writing and the great storyline. This one is definitely worth the read.
What Kills Me by Wynne Channing—To be honest, when I found out about this book I thought, “not another vampire book”, but What Kills Me is anything but a carbon copy of what’s out there. It’s full of action and bright characters that were easy to connect with. I ate up the book in no time flat just to see what happened. Although this had some romance, it was more of an adventure mixed with a bit of horror. Some of the fight scenes were pretty intense.
Lichgates by S.M. Boyce—I don’t usually go for epic fantasy. I’m more of a paranormal gal, but I picked up a copy of Lichgates because the storyline intrigued me. It’s about a girl that goes hiking and ends up literally falling into another world. She is chosen by a book to be its guardian and has to learn magic and try to fend off all of these crazy otherworldly creatures. The imagination behind the story is great and I loved the world of Ourea and all the races S.M. Boyce created. Epic’s usually feel really long to me, but not this one. It totally sucked me in.
A White So Red by Krystle Jones—I love Snow White and this retelling was amazing. The depth of the world kept me glued to the pages, and the characters had an original twist. Curse Girl by Kate Avery Ellison—Growing up on Disney films set a love in my heart for fairytales.
Curse Girl is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that has such a great cast of characters and wonderful storyline. Even though the story followed the main structure of Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast, the story felt totally original. I came away wishing it had been longer and wanting to know what happened after the resolution happened. The alternate world created by Ellison was compelling, and I’m kind of hoping she dips into that world for another story at some point.
A Demon Made Me Do It by Penelope King—I love books that make me question my beliefs. In this book the demons aren’t necessarily the bad guys. They’re not traditional, by any means, either, which was surprising. I totally hate labels, so every time I found myself thinking, “but this is a demon, they should be bad,” I went, oh, wondering how many times.
Obsidian (Lux Book I) by Jennifer L. Armentrout—I’m kind of glad I didn’t know much about this book going in. If I’d known it was about aliens I might have been less enthusiastic. An online friend of mine went ga-ga over it, so I gave it a go. Two things: Armentrout can write. I love her characters, her descriptions, everything about the way she tells a story. The only thing is, some of her books have gotten a little close to being too adult to be YA. That being said, this book rocked my socks and I fell in love.
A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter—Like my first book, Five (Elemental Enmity Book I), A Hidden Fire is free on Amazon. I picked it up on a whim and started reading. I couldn’t stop. It’s brilliant. The characters are real, and made me care about them. I loved the action as well as the romance in the book, and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. Once again I found myself reading another vampire book, but I have to say that the genre seems to have sprouted new wings. The books I’ve read lately have been anything but a carbon copy of Twilight.
So there you have it, my list of fantastic reads you might not have heard about. What about you? What books have snagged you this year? I’d love to know.
Thanks Christie.... Surprisingly I have several of those books in my Kindle and I've read a few of those you have listed as well.... I couldn't agree more with your thoughts on What Kills Me. It was a page turner for sure with fight scenes that were almost out of anything you'd see in the Matrix...LOL
Rayla Tate’s life is about to turn vertical…again. As if it wasn’t bad enough her mother disappeared under questionable circumstances leaving Rayla to be raised by her aunt in a horrendously small town. Her overprotective guardian is determined to ruin Rayla’s life. She refuses to let Rayla out of her sight or out of the state. Provincial living might be what her aunt demands of her purposely sheltered niece; but, Rayla has other ideas. In a desperate attempt to follow her dreams she flees the safety of her home and runs away to college with her best friend toward a bright future in the art world.
However, excitement over her newfound freedom turns into terror when she is chased by a mysterious stranger on her way to school. When his motorcycle suddenly morphs into a fire-breathing pegasus, Rayla questions her sanity. Worse, the man riding next to her stirs a burning desire in her soul she has never known or could have ever imagined. Using all the will she owns, she manages to resist the compulsion she feels; yet, as he disappears into the night, she is certain he hasn't gone far.
Rayla quickly dismisses the encounter to her overactive imagination. She is determined to settle into her new life, yet the images and feelings of that night still haunt her. To make matters worse, her aunt seems to be in on the act, insisting that Rayla will soon be hunted by a pack of fae lords for a power over the elements she never knew she possessed—a power that could change the world. Quicker than she ever thought possible, she finds herself surrounded by stunning men that all seem determined to win her heart. Why does she feel drawn to each one of them? More importantly, what dark power do they hold over her? Rayla must quickly learn to fend off these beautiful and seductive pursuers using whatever means necessary or find herself lost to the fae world forever.
The view of the sunset reminded me of my favorite bluff back home. Nothing but sky was visible in the horizon. I might as well have been standing on the edge of the world gazing at the gilded gates of heaven.
“I will never tire of seeing that,” a melodic voice erupted behind me.
If I had gotten a bit more air, I would have landed on Mars. “Zach.” I put a hand against my pounding heart. “You scared me.” I hadn’t even heard him come up to me.
“I noticed.” He smirked. “I was trying my best not to disturb you. You looked so peaceful, but I am a selfish man.” He chuckled, moving closer.
My attraction to him was hard enough to handle when he had all his clothes on. My pulse raced with his approach for an entirely different reason. He had the sort of flawless body that belonged on the airbrushed pages of a magazine. His skin glowed golden in the blazing sunset that brought out rusty hues in his dark hair. My fingers itched to trace every angle of his sculpted abdomen and chest.
“Leave it to you to make this thing look good,” he said, running a finger under the strap on my shoulder. “By rights, it should be burned. Are you going to tell me why you insisted on wearing it?”
He traced my collarbone. “Really?” In one fluid motion, I was in his arms, and he was carrying me deeper into the water.
I hoped he couldn’t feel the thud of my heart beating against his chest. “What do you think you’re doing?” I asked more calmly than I felt.
“Changing your mind,” he said just as evenly.
I could see where he was going with this, and over the edge of a cliff wasn’t my idea of fun. “Don’t.”
He grinned. “Tell me.”
I stiffened in his arms. “If you do this, I will leave—without you.” His exaggerated exhale tickled my neck, sending goose-bumps down my body.
“Don’t you ever relax?”
I gritted my teeth, hating what I had become in the past few weeks. If he had tried this back home, I would have protested, giggled, and screamed but loved every minute of his antics. Things were different now. I was on edge constantly. “I’m so not okay with heights. Let me down.”
The set of his jaw didn’t give me any comfort. He walked up a ramp between the two converging rivers that made the waterfall. On sure feet, he stepped to the edge. I honestly didn’t know how he was still standing with the water blasting against his knees. He leaned into my ear. “Tell me.”
I clung to his neck like grime to a barn cat. “I don’t want to.”
He looked over the edge and back at me. The humor in his gaze died. He sighed, stepping back a few paces. My heart found its way back into my chest. He carried me to a lounge chair, setting me down gently.
“You can’t possibly think that thing is pretty,” he commented after a while.
“Pretty isn’t everything,” I said.
He raised his brows, tucking his strong chin inward in mockery then looked at me sidelong. “It helps.” He smiled teasingly.
I shot him a dirty look before giving him my back. He placed a timid hand on my shoulder. “Come, now. It can’t possibly be as bad as all that.”
Why couldn’t he just let it go? I wasn’t all up in his business, why did he feel the need to be in mine. “Drop it already.”
Zach sat beside me, coaxing my chin upward. His voice was soft. “Aren’t you having fun, lass?”
I wouldn’t look him in the eye. If I did he would see every insecurity I had. “I was before you decided to go all Tarzan on me.”
He thumped his chest, doing a great imitation of the call. I tried to smile, but I didn’t think it helped.
“You weren’t like this the other day.” He turned away as if in thought, glancing at me hastily. “Don’t you like swimming?”
The other day I didn’t have four terrifying men after me. I would have liked to give him an easy out, but I didn’t want to lie. “I usually love it.”
Cassie had an indoor pool back home. On the rare occasion I actually got to stay the night at her house, we would spend hours in the water. She taught me how to float first. I had progressively gotten better. I was an adequate swimmer now. The one thing I didn’t like was the high-dive.
He frowned. “Is it me?” His brows furrowed as though he was really worried. “Have I done something to offend you?”
I closed my eyes, inhaling sharply. “I’m sorry. I’ve had fun today, really. I just have other things on my mind right now.”
He grinned, tucking my hair behind my ear. “I’m a great listener.”
I didn’t like being such a disappointment, but I couldn’t snap myself out of it. I could just imagine how fast he’d be gone if I did tell him everything that was wrong with me at the moment. “I’d rather not talk about it right now.”
He knelt in front of me and took my hands in his. “You can’t expect me to not be curious.” “It’s a free country,” I said. “Be curious all you like.” I was pushing him away when normally I would have been doing everything in my power to keep him interested in me.
The sun had made its final descent. The haze of twilight settled all around us with the stars spotting the barely glowing sky. In a few minutes, I would be able to relax a little. Zach tugged my hand. “Do you wish to go join the others?” He sounded dejected.
Why was I acting like this? I needed to snap out of it. My mood wasn’t his fault. “If you don’t mind, I’d rather stay here for a while.”
He nodded then moved to a lounge chair opposite me, wasting no time in getting comfortable. “Why don’t you tell me of your home?”
The subject seemed safe enough. “Have you ever been to eastern Utah?”
He made an odd sound, sort of a half concealed groan. “It has been many years.” He wasn’t old enough for it to have been that long ago. I leaned back and put my arms behind my head preparing to give him details.
“I see,” he said in a sympathetic tone, his eyes soft with compassion.
I followed his gaze down to my exposed torso. How could I have been so stupid? The bottom half of my scar poked out from beneath the fringe. I bolted up, pulling awkwardly at the fabric.
He shook his head. “Everyone has imperfections, Rayla.” In an instant he moved to the edge of my chair. Calloused fingers caressed my shoulder before skimming down my arm. “Some are just more visible than others.”
I turned away. Then I got mad. “Really, where’s yours?”
His face crinkled thoughtfully. His eyes held haunted shadows. “You’d be surprised.”
I gave him a look. “Enlighten me.”
“There are certain things I want to change so badly about myself that it consumes my life.” Unless he was a fantastic actor, he was being sincere.
He grimaced, only slightly, but it was enough to make me wonder. “I would rather not get into that with you yet.”
I cocked my jaw, clicking my tongue. “It’s okay for me, but not for you, huh?”
He leveled his gaze to mine seriously. “If a scar is all you have to hide, you should be thankful.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
The truth burned me like a solar flare. I should have been able to put on a pretty bikini without so much as a second thought, but I wasn’t there yet. I hoped I would be some day. I felt ridiculous being so shallow. “You didn’t answer my question,” I said after a moment of hesitation.
The lines of his face turned hard. “I know.”
“There you are,” Natalie yelled, cresting the hill in a sprint with Sam close behind her.
“Help me, Rayla!” She crouched down between my chair and the stacked rock wall.
“They can’t save you,” Sam said coldly, standing by my feet. “You will pay.”
I turned back, whispering, “What did you do?”
She smiled proudly. “Put ice in his trunks.”
Zach narrowed his eyes at Natalie. His jaw tightened. “You deserve anything you get.” He grabbed my hand, pulling me to my feet.
Sam swept the chair sideways. Natalie squealed, trying to out-maneuver him. She didn’t make it.
Attempting to wrench away from him, she said desperately, “You can put ice in my suit. Rayla, do you have a drink?”
Sam smiled wickedly. He looked over at the edge of the falls. Did all male minds work the same? “I have something better in mind.”
She put her hands on his cheeks. “Please, Sam. I’m sorry. I won’t do anything like that again.”
He grabbed her wrists, pushing her into the river. She kicked at him and squealed the entire way.
“Not after this,” he said, grinning. Without another word, he pinned her arms to her sides in a bear hug. She smiled at him. I couldn’t see his expression, but her eyes flew wide just before he shouted, “Geronimo.”
Her “No” was squelched when they hit the water. Zach grinned down at me. My smile shriveled.
“Don’t even think about it,” I said when he came closer. Natalie’s laugh rang clear from below.
“Not that I don’t find the idea tempting once more, but I think I will pursue your affections another way.”
I grew up daydreaming about fairytales, and my love for discovering new worlds has never died. I am not one of those writers who always knew I would write. I thought that was what other people did until one day a few years ago, I took a challenge from a friend and typed my first words. My journey has been wonderful, and I cannot imagine a day where I would ever give up writing now. My love for reading is what fueled my imagination in the first place and still does. When I am not writing or reading, I am enjoying family time with my husband and two children. We live in a quiet community under the Wellsville mountains in Utah, and I am so thankful for the rich life I have been blessed with.
Where to find Christie:
Meet Rayla Tate... a recent high school graduate whose Aunt is set on having her attend the local college. Rayla on the other hand wants more from her life then living the rest of her life out in rural Utah. When her Aunt refuses to listen about going away for college, Rayla sets off a chain of events she never in her wildest dreams thought would ever be real.
When she cleaves Utan with her friend Carrie all of the sudden a motorcyclist turns into a huge frightening pegasus with a hulking driver riding atop the wild beast...but can Rayla trust what she is seeing, or is her mind playing tricks on her? When she stop her car to try to escape the scary things she thinks is out there it's suddenly gone. Her best friend is clamming up on her and won't tell her if she believes what they know they both saw wa actually real. They carry on to their new school with no other unusual events.
Events start to unravel from here. Carrie clams up more and they begin to have fights. ONe night Rayla takes a jog and runs ont a man in her path, and she is mysteriously drawn to him ,but knows nothing of this man in front of her. She manages to come to her senses and leaves with some new friend, Natalie. One afternoon in the bookstore they are approached by a group of four guys who all look like varying cultural versions of gods...Carrie is VERY jealous of the attention which focuses on Rayla and NOT her. They all try and offer to buy her a shirt for the upcoming football game, but she feels uneasy with the approach they take and gaining her affections. Then she meets Zach and her world tilts on its axis. He is nothing like the others and treats her well.
Meanwhile she is finding out more about what she is then she had cared to know, no thanks to her aunt. She is an elemental, a being capable of controlling one or more element - earth, air, wind, water or fire. She was sent to her aunts when her mother was "killed" and sent to be protected from a fate she never knew laid before her. The four guys fron the bookstore aren't humans, but Fey lords set to try and bond with her to gain power over her element and controlo over her. Her world isn't safe outside of Utah and college is not whats it's cracked up to be.
There is so much more to the story, but I can't give it all away or it won't be fun for you to read, but I really enjoyed the world building in her worlds, as you get a small glimpse of the certain parts of Faieria, where many of the characters are from. There are a lot of small revelations throughout the story which lead up to the cliffhanger of a climax at the end which I did NOT see coming! It has be waiting for the next novel. A very good Fey story with a ton of twists along the way.