Review: Haunt Me by Heather Long + Giveaway

haunt me by heather longFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook
Genre: paranormal romance
Length: 175 pages
Publisher: Entangled Covet
Date Released: January 27, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance

Recently divorced author MacKenzie Dillon has lost her writing mojo. When she inherits her great aunt’s haunted house in Virginia, she is determined to make a new start. The creepy old house provides inspiration but at what cost?

Successful architect and paranormal skeptic Justin Kent returns to Penny Hollow to fulfill his father’s dying wish of revitalizing their small town. To do that, he needs the allegedly haunted estate at Summerfield. Mac, the new owner, may be gorgeous and spunky, but she refuses to sell.

These two have a dangerous history that spans the ages, but will they discover the truth in time to save their lives?

My Review:

As a paranormal romance, Haunt Me is kind of a ghost romance. It’s not that either the hero or heroine is a ghost, or romancing a ghost, or any of the things usually associated with the phrase “ghost romance”.

Instead, the protagonists are haunted by ghosts who are attempting to finally get things right. Call it an “umpteenth chance at love” story.

As the hauntings continue through the story, even though you know where things are heading, the reader gets the feeling that the ghosts have been waiting for centuries for living people to get close enough to their old story that they have their chance at a happy ending. Or at least a satisfying resolution.

It is a big part of what makes the ending, well, haunting.

But at the beginning, we have Penny Hollow, Virginia, a town that wants to bill itself as the “most haunted town in the U.S.” in order to bring in some much-needed tourist income. It’s not a bad idea, especially since the town really is haunted!

Justin Kent wants to use Summerfield, the big house with a reputed curse, as the centerpiece of the tourist strategy. Justin doesn’t believe in the curse, he doesn’t believe in ghosts. He vehemently doesn’t believe in ghosts. (Yes, the gentleman doth protest too much)

But Summerfield house would be perfect as the town’s focus point. Perfectly creepy, perfectly legendary, perfectly haunted.

Unfortunately for Justin, when the aged owner dies, instead of leaving the house to the town as promised, she leaves it to her great-niece. And MacKenzie Dillon has no intention of selling out. She needs the house–not just as a home, but also as an inspiration for her stalled writing career.

She also needs the refuge from her abusive ex-husband.

Justin starts out by helping Mac fix up the place. He begins by wanting to buy the place, but decides pretty early on that things with the town will still work out if Mac is willing to allow the house to be used for ghost tours.

Even though his business is in restoring old houses, there’s something about bringing Summerfield back to its former glory that obsesses him.

Just as there is something about being in Summerfield that makes stories absolutely pour out of Mac to the point where she forgets to eat and even sleep. She feels compelled to work on her new historical romance, even though she can’t make it come to a happy ending.

The house wants Mac and Justin to resolve its story. Which ended tragically before, and might very well end tragically again.

Escape Rating B+: Haunt Me has all the elements of a potential tragic romance, along with the charm of a small-town romance with all its busybody fun. The people in Penny Hollow can’t resist interfering in Justin and Mac’s relationship at every turn.

The history of the house is very creepy. It becomes clear that the house is using Mac and Justin, even to the point of using them up, in order to get what it wants. It’s hungry to re-enact the old tragedy. The more Mac dives into the history of the house, the more she realizes that the romance novel she thinks she is writing is actually the true history of Summerfield.

In the end, she uses that knowledge so that it doesn’t use her.

Mac and Justin’s relationship develops slowly, from a position of distrust on her side and overbearingness on his to a sweet love story, but it takes time. Mac is still recovering from a lot of abuse, and its difficult for her to trust. With good reason, her ex is a nasty piece of work. He’s also a necessary player in the story that the house needs to resolve.

Justin comes around to admitting that the paranormal not only exists, but that it scares the crap out of him. He has to accept in order to see what’s really happening below the surface. He also has to come around to admitting that he’s willing to put down roots in the town he tried to hard to get away from.

The way all the elements swirl together makes Haunt Me a terrifically inventive paranormal romance, where the past and the present blend into a very satisfying ending.



Heather is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. Fantastic! To enter the giveaway just fill out the Rafflecopter below.

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***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Interview with Author Heather Long + Giveaway

As a lover of science fiction romance (over at Book Lovers Inc. I’m The Rocket Lover because of it!) I’m absolutely thrilled to welcome Heather Long to Reading Reality today. She’s here to talk about her fantastic  (see review) new SFR superhero romance from Carina Press, Yesterday’s Heroes.

Marlene: Heather can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Heather: I live in Texas and nearly every animal I have is a stray or a rescue. I’m a freelance writer and copyeditor, I am a mom, a quilter, a reader, and a friend. But at the heart of all of these things, I’m an author. I’ve always written, and when I was little, my grandmother used to read me Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts. I’m always working on my next project, and I fall a little bit in love with every hero I write.

Marlene: Yesterday’s Heroes is a little bit science fiction, a little bit time-travel, and a lot superhero romance. What inspired you to come up with this mix of genres for Yesterday’s Heroes?

Heather: The In Death series. The X-Men. The Teen Titans. The Avengers. Batman. Terminator. Time Cop. Star Trek.  Changing the past is a provocative challenge, never mind the inherent paradox that exists when you travel into your past. If you recall from H.G. Wells The Time Machine — the reason he could never save his wife is that saving her would have negated the creation of the time machine itself. So these elements create a tapestry of conflict–internal and external — that I just couldn’t leave alone.

Marlene: What did it feel like when you got the call from Carina Press that they were publishing Yesterday’s Heroes?

Heather: I actually wrote about that call for an anthology, because I was in a changing room trying on bras when I got the phone call. I was over the moon thrilled and almost speechless, which never happens to me. It was an awesome feeling.

Marlene: Were you thinking of any particular superheroes when you put together the mix of powers that make up the Boomers?

Heather: Not exactly–I took elements that I enjoyed from different variations on different superheroes over the years — the elements that made me reach for those comic books over and over. Most of the Boomers then introduced themselves to me one at a time.

Marlene: Who are your favorite superhero movies or TV shows?

Heather: The Avengers blew me away when that came out – in fact, I have been over the moon with all the Marvel products in the last few years. As a writer and a fan, it’s amazing to see how well they’ve folded the worlds together with each film and then Whedon’s Avengers just knocked it out of the park. I watched Smallville for the entirety of its ten year run and prior to that I watched Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and even the Superboy series in the late 1980s. I enjoy Nolan’s Batman – even if I think they went far too dark and at the same time I wanted to see more with the internal mythology of that series.

Marlene: Who first introduced you to the love of reading?

Heather: My grandmother. She read for years and she used to read to me from Harlequins when she was little.

Marlene: Who influenced your decision to become a writer?

Heather: I’ve wanted to write since I fully grasped reading, so it would have to be my grandmother.

Marlene: What book do you recommend everyone should read and why?

Heather: Read Yesterday’s Heroes — it’s one of the best books I’ve ever written – and I can’t wait to spend more time in this world.

Marlene: Will there be more books about the Boomers? Can you tell us a little about your upcoming projects?

Heather: I hope there are more Boomers — fingers crossed! Also coming is The Lady is a Thief, the third and final installment in the Fortunate Buddha trilogy, Micah & Mrs. Miller, book three of the Fevered Hearts series and No Regrets, No Surrender which is the full length follow up to Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here (Always a Marine series).

Marlene: Morning person or night owl?

Heather: Morning person!

Somebody please tell Carina Press I want more Boomers. Right now! In the meantime, I’ll just have to indulge my guilty little addiction for 1Night Stand books, now that I know Heather’s written a whole series of them. Thanks Heather!


As part of her blog tour, Heather is offering ten copies of Yesterday’s Heroes and one copy of Marshal of Hel Dorado.

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Review: Yesterday’s Heroes by Heather Long

Format read: ebook from author and tour host
Formats available: ebook
Genre: science fiction romance
Series: Boomers #1
Length: 89 p.
Publisher: Carina Press
Purchasing Info:Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks

Rory knows she’s being watched, and she’s not about to let the hunter catch her in his trap. She’ll confront her stalker, a man she suspects is involved in the disappearances of other superheroes—if she can ignore the sensual heat that fills her every time he’s near…

Michael Hunter
Codename: Hard Target
Abilities: expert tracker and sniper
Mission: kill Rory Graystone

One of five desperate men sent back in time to save the future, Michael believes eliminating Rory is the key to his mission. But even as he takes aim, a split second of doubt causes him to miss his shot.

Drawn together by passion, and on a collision course with fate, can Rory and Michael work together to change the future? Or have they set in motion the horrific history the time travelers are trying to prevent?

Tomorrow is yesterday.

It is for Michael Hunter and the men of his Bio-Mechanical Recon Unit. The Boomers. In 2115 this group of men with forbidden superpowers is sent back in time, in order to prevent the future that has branded them worse than outlaws.

In 1969 they start over as sleeper agents, blending in and waiting. Hoping to prevent the key events that their future believes will make a better tomorrow. In addition to the superpowers they were born with, they’ve been given a chemical cocktail to help them heal and survive the 150 years of waiting…while they change the future. Or is it the past.

Telepath, shapechanger, bioweapon, supersoldier, and tactician. A team. With instructions about the key points and people that should make the timeline shift in favor of less retrictions on supers. Heck, less restrictions on everyone.

9/11 was one of those key points. That’s a chilling thought. And it grounds the story in the real. The only problem is that the Boomers weren’t successful in derailing the train to future nightmare city.

Forty plus years after their insertion point, things aren’t going so well. They’ve missed their targets. The bad future is still on course. That’s when the story begins, and the future changes.

The Boomers know who the bad guy is in 2115. Their plan is to wipe him out before he takes power. In order to bring Hans Geiger out of the shadows, the plan is to assassinate his daughter, Aurora Greystone.

But the data is faulty. Aurora Greystone is a super. Just like the Boomers. She thinks they’re responsible for the disappearance of two of her teammates. So instead of a planned hit, this is a game of cat and mouse. Her super ability to sense the probabilities cancels out his tactical skills.

Michael Hunter has to confront the only person he’s ever shot at, and missed. He’s followed her for weeks, and she tempts him beyond all reason. This confrontation, it shouldn’t happen, but he can’t resist.

Rory knows she’s being stalked, and she’s let it happen. She’s told herself it’s to find out what happened to her teammates, but that’s not all it is. She wants to hunt the hunter. He tempts her beyond all sense.

Their confrontation is explosive in a way that neither of them imagined. They should kill each other. Instead, they claim each other. To the point that Michael turns on one of his own to protect Rory.

And his implant, silent for twenty years, comes back to life. Rory might bring the future back on track. Or destroy it.

If they can figure out which before it’s too late.

Escape Rating A-: Mix the Terminator with the X-Men, and add some werewolf fated mate trope for flavor, and you’ve got something like Yesterday’s Heroes. But there’s more.

The idea of traveling back in time to fix the present is definitely Terminator-esque, but what I liked about the way that it gets handled in Yesterday’s Heroes was that knife-in-the-gut twist, that the Boomers might have created the bad history they want to prevent by going back in time.

There’s also the heartbreak that one of the Boomers had a life in the future he wanted to get back to, one way or another. Once Rory and Michael change the path, the future that the Boomers came from will not be the one they live to see, if they manage to live to see it. For Rex, there’s a ton of pain in the new future. His story would be a three-hankie special.

I ended up with some questions. Who is/was Hans Geiger? In the future, he’s the dictator. He’s supposed to be Rory’s father. She says he’s not. She’s being honest, but that may mean that she doesn’t know that he’s her father. Or, since in the future he’s the big bad (he’s also immortal) the whole Boomer project may have been designed to bring about his reign of terror. The whole thing could be a conspiracy.

I’d also have liked a bit more explanation of why Michael and Rory literally had the instant chemistry. And it seemed to be actual chemistry. It was necessary for the plot to work, but it never got explained. Was it something about them both being supers? Did it have to do with the chemicals used on the Boomers, and if so, why did it also affect Rory? Or was it part of Rory’s talent for finding the only avenue to survival, and if so, why did it work on Michael?

Too many possibilities, and no way to get answers until the next book. I want the next book!

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 9-9-12

In theory, it’s Fall. I say theory, because in Atlanta, it’s still way up into the 80s. On that chilly other hand, my friends in Alaska tell me that the first overnight frosts of the season have been reported, right on time.

Loved the summers, hated the winters. Atlanta and Florida are the other way around. Clearly I need to find a happy medium.

Speaking of happy mediums, let’s recap last week’s reviews:

A- Review: Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes #12) by Laurie R. King
A- Review: Wicked As They Come (Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson
B+ Review: Senator, Mine (All Mine #1) by Kerry Adrienne
B- Review: Druid, Mine (All Mine #2) by Kerry Adrienne
B Review: Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
C+ Review: Blind Traveler Down a Dark River by Robert P. Bennett

But that was last week and this is, well, this week. The Labor Day holiday is over. No more long weekends until Thanksgiving, at least for those of us in the States.

But there’s still a lot to look forward to. So many books, so little time. Isn’t that on a t-shirt somewhere?

After Monday’s Ebook Review Central (this week the feature is Dreamspinner’s July titles) I have a couple of tours on tap.

Wednesday’s guest will be Lia Davis, because she’s on tour to promote her latest book, Ravished Before Sunrise. I will confess that the 1Night Stand series is kind of a secret vice, (not so secret now) so it’s great whenever one of their authors does a tour. They’re always fun reads, and Ravished Before Sunrise was no exception.

Thursday is a real treat. I love science fiction romance, and Heather Long has written a fantastic start to a new science fiction romance series. Yesterday’s Heroes mixes science fiction with superheroes and even time-travel for something really, really cool. So I’m very excited that she’s my guest for an interview and I had a chance to review Yesterday’s Heroes. I hope this first book in her Boomers series is the start of something big.

And looking ahead to next week, I’ll have one of the most interesting combinations I’ve seen in a while. Vampires and cowboys. Together. Specifically, Blood and Whiskey by Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall, the second book in their Cowboy and Vampire series. Clark and Kathleen are on tour, and they answered a bunch of my interview questions. I’ve got both books to look forward to for next week.

But first, this week, Shannon Stacey’s All He Ever Needed. Yes, that’s right. The fourth book in her Kowalski Family series is out on Monday and I’ve got a review copy (I have to review it for Library Journal). Expect a review on Reading Reality on Tuesday!

What are you up to this week? How’s your fall shaping up?


The Sunday Post AKA What’s On My (Mostly Virtual) Nightstand? 9-2-12

This Sunday’s version of the Sunday post takes place at Dragon*Con, so today’s motto is: “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup”.   I’ve probably picked up some signed copies of too many books in the Hucksters’ Room by now. And added way too many t-shirts to my t-shirt collection. (I’ve got to weed some of the ones I really can’t wear…one of these centuries)

And as happy as I am to be at Dragon*Con, there a part of me that’s sad not to be at WorldCon this weekend in Chicago. We would have managed, somehow, if it hadn’t required a TARDIS. <sniff>

This is Labor Day weekend here in the States. The last three-day holiday weekend that a lot of people get until Thanksgiving.  That’s what makes it the end of summer.

Before we forge ahead to Fall, or even to the upcoming week, there’s one big giveaway from last week that you still have plenty of time to get in on.

If you love small-town romance, take a look at Susan Wigg’s Return to Willow Lake. I reviewed it on Thursday (I’m afraid I waxed really eloquent), and Susan is offering a giveaway of one print copy of the book. So if you like her work, here’s a great chance for a free book. (US only this time, sorry.)

Coming up this week, I’ve got one review/interview combo this Thursday, too. Kerry Adrienne will be here on September 6 to talk about the first two books in her All Mine series under the Decadent Press 1Night Stand series, Druid, Mine and Senator, Mine. (Not US Senators, Senators in Ancient Rome, much yummier) Mixing the 1Night Stand concept with time travel, yes time travel, turns out to be pretty cool. Both books were a LOT of fun.

Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty of other books to talk about this week. I’m in the middle of Laurie R. King’s new Sherlock Holmes/Mary Russell book, Garment of Shadows. (No, I can’t resist Sherlock Holmes, apparently ever).

And looking ahead to next week, I’ll be hosting visits from Lia Davis, to talk about her paranormal entry in the 1Night Stand series, Ravished Before Sunrise.

I’ll also have a special treat, because it’s science fiction romance. I have an interview with Heather Long to get the scoop on her new superhero/time-travel/science fiction romance story, Yesterday’s Heroes. Even better, it’s the first book in a series, so there are more for me to look forward to.

So what are you reading to welcome Fall?