Guest Post: Tara Fox Hall on the Love of Books

I am very pleased to welcome Tara Fox Hall to Reading Reality. Tara is here on her Broken Promise tour. As part of the tour, I read and reviewed both Promise Me and Broken Promise (terrible completist, I hate starting series in the middle!) and the Promise Me series is a paranormal romance series with an interesting twist, the human heroine rescues the vampire, then the promises start getting made, and broken, over and over. 

But let’s hear from Tara about her love of books, and how she got started writing them!

The Love of Books: An Evolution 

A huge thank you to Reading Reality for having me here today!

I’m here today to promote Broken Promise, the second book in my paranormal romance Promise Me series. But before I get to that, I’d like to talk about my love of reading, and how I got hooked on books in the first place.

When I was in grade school, I remember loving my school library. Taking the long walk to the end of the school every Tuesday at 11AM, and the following hour when we could select books to check out. In those first years, I can’t remember many of the books I read, only that they almost always involved horses. Before I left grade school, I had read the entire Black Stallion series, including the Island Stallion books and related works, at least twice. I liked the library so much that I even entered the library’s weekly contest in my final year there, because I enjoyed the word finds and answering other questions about the books I selected. Much to my surprise, I got a library award at the end of the year, a small plaque I still possess.

My mother—as a teacher—was also the member of several book clubs for her class, and placed orders each month for books for her students. I remember being so excited each month to get the short double page pamphlet for each club, to see what was offered. Most times, my mom was able to get me free books, and I made good use of those coupons. I had a strict book budget of $10 a month, and remember deliberating over my choices, trying to stretch that to as many books as I could. In my later years, my mom would let me help her sort the books into piles with the orders. It was so exhilarating to see the piles, especially my own, form up. It was hard not to try to sneak in a little reading on the way home that night. But I still stuck rigidly to scary stories and horse stories.

Later on, in middle school and high school, my mother would take me to the public library near our house. It was there I picked up my first copy of Interview with the Vampire, and was forever hooked on vampires. That library was also where I discovered the many works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, and other horror authors. Eventually, I had read most of the books in the library that were horror…much to my lament. A year later, I was in college and working part time. The latter let me shift my habits to buying instead of borrowing, as I had money, but no longer the luxury of reading a book from cover to cover in a few sittings. Bookstores afforded many new delights, such as Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series, “other” Anne Rice Novels, Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World Series, and Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula series. Now my world had broadened to thrillers, horror, vampires, fantasy, and erotica. But there were still a lot of genres I wouldn’t touch….like romance.

As the economy tanked and the price of gas doubled, there was less discretionary income for books. To stretch my dollar even further, I began attending book sales, and also began buying used books through secondhand stores, yard sales, or anyplace they were cheap. Here I discovered a completely new world of books I’d never seen in the bookstores or libraries. It was here I discovered Michael Moorcock’s Elric, the Redwall series, and many new-to-me horror authors, like Andrew Neiderman and William Johnstone. I also tried a lot of genres I’d never tried before, like romance, true crime, western, action-adventure, and historical fiction.

Now is the next evolution in books: e-books! While I do not yet have a Kindle, I have the Kindle App for my computer, and I also enjoy books in PDF. Between reviewing for several sites and free e-books, I am awash in far more books than I can read. Like the other stages of my own evolution, I hope this one brings me even more new and exciting discoveries.

Tara is an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. She has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. Her writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Meseries. She divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.Visit her website or her Facebook page or her Goodreads blog, or follow her on Twitter.

Broken Promise by Tara Fox Hall


Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?


“Thank you,” Devlin said with a sigh. “Let us not speak of that. There is something that troubles me, Sar. There is more in your voice than sorrow when you speak of Danial. There is fear, too.”

“I’m not afraid of Danial,” I said quickly.

“Not this moment, no,” Devlin countered. “But at times I hear it, unmistakably. I expect you to fear me, but I find it odd you are scared of him. Tell me why.”

“We fought,” I said reluctantly.

“And?” Devlin prodded.

“He hit me.”

“Repeat your words,” Devlin said frostily. “And look me in the eyes as you say them.”

I turned to him defiantly. “He hit me,” I said bitterly. Then I turned from him again.

“I would not have believed it,” Devlin said slowly. “But you aren’t lying. Where and when did this happen?”

“In the face,” I said bitterly. “As for when, we were separated when it happened.”

Devlin fell silent, thinking.

I lay there in his arms, trying not to feel sorry for myself, trying to plan of what to say next, of some way to convince him to let me go. I tried scenario after scenario, and came up with nothing.

“That you were separated does not matter,” Devlin said suddenly. “You had taken an oath out of love to him, and he to you. It does not matter what you had done, or said. Oathed Ones are never to be struck.”

“I guess I picked the wrong brother,” I said sarcastically.

“Yes, you did,” Devlin said seductively. He turned me to face him, his hand on the side of my face. “I see no mark on your skin. When was this?”

Reluctantly, I grasped his cool hand in mine, and slid it upwards. “There is a tiny scar there from his ring.”

“Yes,” Devlin said, “I feel it.” He leaned in close, giving the scar a gentle kiss. “I’ll take him to task for this, Sar. You have my word.”

“Since when are you my champion?” I said sarcastically. “You kidnapped me. If you really want to help me, just take me home.”

“I’d love to take you home,” Devlin said meaningfully. He kissed me gently, his cool lips brushing mine.

“Stop.” I moved my head, breaking the kiss. “I meant my home.”

“Oh, kiss me,” Devlin said longingly. “There are several miles yet, and I’ve learned enough to know you are not oathed to Danial.” He raised his eyebrows in a meaningful motion. “I’ll restrain myself, I promise. We’ll wait to make love until later.”

Buy at Amazon

Review: Broken Promise by Tara Fox Hall

Format read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: Trade paperback, ebook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Promise me #2
Length: 222 pages
Publisher: Melange Books
Date Released: September 23, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s WebsiteGoodreadsAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?

Broken Promise picks up right where Promise Me, the first book in the series, leaves off. (This is a hint that this review will contain spoilers for Promise Me. It’s difficult to review book 2 of a series without revealing a few things about book 1.)

The title is also a hint and a half. Danial broke all of his promises to Sar. Over and over and over. Have you ever heard the old joke about the three biggest lies? Number 1 is the one about the check being in the mail. Danial, even though he’s a vampire, managed to break number 3. The one that goes, “I can’t get you pregnant”. He took some really magic potions so he could. The big problem was the he forgot to tell Sar. She found out when she miscarried. Then she left his lying arse. Of course, this was after she gave him her oath of loyalty. It figures.

And the vampire is possessive. Of course he is. It’s all part of the power trip. He may actually love her, but his definition of love is very last millennium. And then there’s Devlin the Vampire King, who just so happens to be his brother. And a little bit too bwahaha crazy into the bargain.

So Sar and her oath to Danial, along with Danial’s lying to Sar, get caught in Danial’s power battle with his crazy brother. A battle that’s been going on for centuries. They’re vampires.

And even though Sar has given her oath to Danial, she realizes that she made a mistake in more ways than one, because she either doesn’t love him or falls out of love with him.

All along, she’s had a terrific, bantering friendship with the head of Danial’s bodyguards, Theo. Except that the banter has been concealing some feelings that are much more than friendship. And Theo isn’t a vampire. He’s a were-cougar. Sar seems determined to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.

At least were-cougars are not immortal. Of course, that means that Danial might murder his former bodyguard. Unless the vampire king kills them all in a crazed fury first.

Escape Rating C+: For a widow who spent a year keeping to herself, once Sar got back into the game, she really got back into the game. That’s not a criticism of her deciding not to stay home and mourn, but she does have a tendency to leap before she looks.

Danial was a mistake, and Theo, while he may be a much better guy, she’s still staying in the supernatural world where she keeps putting her life in extreme danger. Adrenaline-junkie, maybe?

Then there’s the half-demon, Terian, waiting in the wings.

While Darian’s conflict with his brother, Devlin, created a lot of the external tension, and ratcheted up the suspense factor, Devlin’s motives, or Devlin’s insanity, seemed a bit too over-the-top for this reader.

I did like seeing how Sar helped Theo resolve his issues with being a were-cougar. There was a lot of healing in their relationship that worked well. I enjoyed their banter from the beginning of the series.

***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.

Review: Promise Me by Tara Fox Hall

Format read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: Trade Paperback, ebook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Promise Me #1
Length: 269 pages
Publisher: Melange Books
Date Released: May 25, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

When young widow Sarelle McGarran finds the vampire Danial Racklan unconscious and hurt in her woods, intuitive concern quickly becomes passionate love. Together Danial and Sar work to overcome their own past heartbreaks, their vastly different lifestyles, and Danial’s relentless enemies. Yet Danial needs more; an Oath of forever. But can Sar give Danial his greatest desire?

The interesting thing about Tara Fox Hall’s Promise Me series is that the story of Danial and Sar points out one of the underlying problems of a relationship between vampires and humans–the power is always unequal.

You know that old saying that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”? Well, it’s true. Think of Eric and Sookie if you need another example.

It’s not that things start out badly, it’s that these two people have very, very different expectations. Sar expects equality. And trust. Although it’s terrific being swept off her feet, she knows that it won’t necessarily last. She’s a young widow because her husband died in a climbing accident. She knows all too well that life can change in an instant.

But Danial seems perfect. And perfectly overwhelming. Except that he’s a vampire. He tells her exactly whatever she wants to hear in order to get what he wants. A lifelong pledge of loyalty from her. The length of her life, of course, not his.

The only problem is that her love for Danial is based on the lies he has told her, and not on the truth. Because he only tells her the truth when he has no choice.

The reader knows their relationship is doomed. The questions are how long it will take Sarelle to figure it out, and how badly Danial will react when she does. And just how deep a hole Sarelle will dig herself before she starts having to dig herself out.

Escape Rating B-: I was glad that this wasn’t the typical vampire romance, although it started out that way. Danial seemed perfect to Sarelle, and she kept buying into it. Every time he did something that should have sent her running for the hills, she forgave him. Even worse, she got in deeper. She should have known better, and the warning signs were all there.

Of course, if she’d listened to her better self, there wouldn’t be a story.

***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 11-18-12

It’s Sunday, do you know where your post is?

The way things are going right now, it’s more a question of whether I know where anything is. I would probably kill for Hermione’s time-turner from Harry Potter. I don’t think I could actually get less sleep than I am right now, but I might have a chance at getting stuff done. It’s amazing how HUGE a block of time 2 days seems when you’re looking at it from a month in advance, and how tiny it actually is when it rolls around.

We’re home again, for slightly less than 48 hours. My life is again being choreographed by Willie Nelson, and I don’t even like country music.

The fun, and crazy-making thing about perpetual connectedness is that the blog goes on, wherever the blogger happens to be. This week I’ve been sleeping in Seattle (I still haven’t see Sleepless in Seattle, must fix that) Atlanta, and Cincinnati. Next week, Atlanta and Little Rock.

Since the blog never sleeps, what did happen?

The winner of the Autumn’s Harvest Blog Hop was Tina. And the winner of the NetGalley copy of Samantha Kane’s The Devil’s Thief was Gaby. Congratulations to the winners!

Remembrance Day –Veterans’ Day 2012
B- Review: Ice Cold by Cherry Adair
Interview with Cherry Adair + Giveaway (there’s still time to enter!)
Guest Post: Marie Treanor on Writing Unreality + Giveaway
B- Review: Tudor Rose and Tudor Rubato by Jamie Salisbury (giveaway in the comments!)
B Review: Lady Alexandra’s Excellent Adventure by Sophie Barnes
B+ Review: There’s Something About Lady Mary by Sophie Barnes
Interview with Sophie Barnes + Giveaway (still time to enter this one too!)
On My Wishlist-Waiting on Wednesday-Desperately Wanting Wednesday-On the Weekend

This coming week is going to go by in a blur! For those of us in the U.S., this week is Thanksgiving. It seems kind of early this year, but it’s the fourth Thursday in November, whether we’re ready for it or not.

On Tuesday, I’ll have a guest post from Tara Fox Hall, and I’ll also be reviewing two of her books, Promise Me and Broken Promise. Just before the Thanksgiving feast, we’re going to be talking about vampires and werecreatures. Should be fun.

On Wednesday, I’ll have a review of a fascinating historical spy novel by Kit Brennan. I couldn’t resist this one, just from the title alone. The full title is: Whip Smart, Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards. But so far in my reading, I don’t think Lola Montez is really Lola Montez. That’s part of the fun! The story is set in 1842, so this Lola Montez was Mata Hari way before Mata Hari–if she did half what she’s accused of.


On Thursday, Reading Reality will be one of the stops on the Fall in Love Giveaway Hop, hosted by Reading Romances. This blog hop runs from November 22 through November 29, so there will be plenty of time to stop at all of the hop sites.

And that’s important, because on November 23, one day only, I’ll also be a stop on the Black Friday Blog Hop. Just because Black Friday is only one day. Thank goodness!

Tune in next week for another chapter in the Perils of Marlene, or, as the move turns!