Review: Thicker Than Blood by Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley

Series: Standalone
Release Date: January 12, 2014
Publisher: Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley
Genre: Adult, Post-Apocolyptic 
Source: From Author for Review
Rating: ★★★★

A true friendship never dies.
Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…
Even an apocalypse.
Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.
Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.
Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.
But in such a savage world, is there room for love?
In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.
There are friends…
And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.
*Spoiler Free Review*

“Always together, Eve. Always.”

What happens when you mix Thelma & Louise with The Walking Dead? You get the masterful piece of work written by Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley. Set in a world that’s been ravaged by disease and death, Sheehan and Riley breathe life and humanity into this tale about friendship, love, hope, and survival. THICKER THAN BLOOD isn’t just about the walking dead or the apocalypse, it’s about the determination of two friends, who vow to fight for survival, no matter what, and at what cost. I’m not a huge reader of post apocalyptic zombie fiction, so for me to like this book as much as did is a pretty big deal.

We were together, and as long as we had each other, I knew we would be okay.


Sheehan and Riley totally slayed me with their first collaboration. There were times while I was reading this book that I felt like I had just been running as hard as the characters in this book. With my heart beating profusely, and my blood pumping through my veins at gushing speeds, Sheehan and Riley had me feeling every bit of terror while I imagined living in this world. Their vivid writing placed me right in the thick of this harsh world, and it was easy to imagine the abandoned and empty world they had created. It was like Sheehan and Riley plucked me right out of my comfortable home and dropped me right in the middle of the Walking Dead set. Their take on zombies was scary and horrific enough, but not too gory to where a non-zombie fiction reader would be totally turned off. But the scariest characters in this book weren’t the infected, but the humans. Humanity has been lost and the survivors of this new world are savages. They will hunt, steal or kill anything and everything they come across in order to survive. They were the ones I was most scared of and the ones that could inflict the most pain. Sheehan and Riley’s depiction of society in this new world was utterly scary and made me think that I would not survive one hour in this world. 

…what good is surviving an apocalypse without the battle scars to prove it…


In between all the zombie horror was a story about friendship that made this book so much more. While the threat of the infected, and other humans was what got your blood pumping, the personal journeys that Evelyn and Leisel took is what kept me so wrapped up in the book. The bond between these two characters is stronger than any friendship that I have ever seen, and thicker than any blood relationship that I have read about. Evelyn and Leisel’s friendship was able to survive all the hurdles they had been through and they walked hand-in-hand through their new nightmarish lives. I’m finding it really hard to describe just how strong their bond is. It’s something that you have to witness yourself. Eve and Lei brought a different dynamic to their relationship that both soothed and uplifted them. While they each filled a different role at the beginning, they somehow switch places as the story moves along. Their role reversal shows just how humanity or the lack of it, and their harsh environment makes a big impact on how you move forward. But even with their struggles, and up and downs, the bond that they share, and their dedication they had to each other was so unreal and beautiful.

I did love him in the sense that he held a place in my heart, one that was solely and irrevocably his and his alone. It might have been a different type of love than what I felt for Thomas or the way I loved Evelyn, but it was love nonetheless.

There’s also a nice bit of romance thrown in between Leisel and Alex, which provided a nice little break in between all the desolate times. Alex is a character that you meet early on, and is one person that helps Evelyn and Leisel leave the cruel life they were living in. Even though he leads them through another hellish world, Alex was the ray of hope that these two women needed at the time of their lives. Alex made a huge impression on me and he’s definitely one of my favorite characters. By the end of this book, your heart will be bleeding for Alex. He’s one character that I won’t forget for a long time. What I liked most about it was that Sheehan and Rilye didn let this romance over-shadow the rest of the book. The moments between Lei and Alex were poignant and showed me that even when you’re walking through hell, it’s still possible to find a connection with someone you totally unexpected. Through all of the horror and terror, Sheehan and Riley were able to demonstrate that nice and tender moments could happen even when you’re stuck in hell. 

I refused to let her go, even for a second. When she stumbled, I stumbled; when she fell, I fell. We were in this together; she was all I had left.


The story of Leisel and Evelyn’s friendship will have you biting your nails while you wait and see what happens next; and have you crying at times when you feel grave danger or sheer terror of what it’s like living in a post-apocalyptic world. Sheehan and Riley balanced the human story with zombie horror perfectly, and they had me spellbound with their compelling story-telling. THICKER THAN BLOOD isn’t an easy story that you can quickly breeze through. Evelyn and Liesel’s journey keep a tight grip on you as you watch them maneuver their way around a world that has been ravaged by death, disease, and the new evils – both dead and live – that walk their new world. Sheehan and Riley had me totally absorbed in this world, and they made you feel every bit of fear, anxiety, and horror of Evelyn and Leisel’s lives, from beginning to the bittersweet end. 

We should have learned by now that nothing was ever easy in this world. Yet, like children, we remained forever hopeful, optimistic that just once something would go right for us.


I was already a huge fan of Madeline Sheehan prior to reading this book, but after seeing what she can do in this genre, my love for her has grown exponentially. I’m also glad to have discovered Claire C. Riley. With this book being the first book of Riley’s that I have ever read, I am definitely looking forward to reading her other work. Even if you’re not a fan of zombie/apocalyptic/dystopian/horror stories, THICKER THAN BLOOD is definitely one book worth checking out. Eve and Lei’s friendship more than makes up for the lack of a heavy romance because in a way their relationship played out as it’s own love story. Sheehan and Riley writing duo has definitely made a huge impression on me, and I cannot wait to see what they have to offer us in the future. 

Book Links: Amazon | Amazon Paperback | B&N 
Kobo | iTunes | Smashwords  |  Goodreads

Fantastical realm dweller Madeline Sheehan is the USA Today bestselling author of the Holy Trinity Trilogy and Undeniable Series. 
A Social Distortion enthusiast, lover of mud and anything deemed socially inappropriate, Madeline was homegrown in Buffalo, New York, where she can be found engaging in food fights and video game marathons with her husband and son.
Connect with Madeline
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Claire C Riley’s work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult-classics while still feeling fresh and cutting-edge. She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy.


She lives in the United Kingdom with her three young daughters, husband and one scruffy dog!

Connect with Claire
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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Review + Giveaway: One To Leave by Tia Louise

Series: One to Hold #5
Release Date: December 29, 2014
Publisher: TLM Productions
Genre: Adult Contemporary
Source: Copy provided for honest review
Rating: ★★★★

Some demons can’t be shaken off.
Some wounds won’t heal.
Until a pair of hazel eyes knocks you on your ass, and you realize it’s time to stop running.
Stuart. I am #TeamStuart.  This man, my goodness.
Stuart is a man who knows exactly who he is and what he wants.  Unfortunately, his body won’t allow him to be and do what he wants.  A military injury has his world in a tailspin and he’s fighting his way to make it right.  When he does get his mind and body right, he’s gone.  Back to the world he knows.  The world of being a Marine, in the thick of the fighting.  Earning his honor bound place in the world.  It’s who he is, all he’s ever wanted.
Until Mariska.  The free spirit young woman who feels an immediate connection with this rough and tumble man and follows him to the middle of nowhere on a whim.
These two could not be more different.  Stuart is hard, controlling, demanding. Especially in the bedroom (which I LOVED).  Mariska is a bit hippie, completely caring and easy going.  Together they balance each other so well.  Stuart prompts her to attempt some control over parts of her life and take some big risks in others while she pushes him to look beyond his life long plan, to see that there is more to life then being a soldier.
But giving up your hopes and dreams isn’t easy.  For Stuart it is damn near impossible and it leaves Mariska with few options.
I really appreciated the hard lines that Louise wrote into this story.  Mariska is young but knows Stuart is her future and she was willing to make some tricky decisions in the attempt to make him see it.  She wasn’t a simpering heroine clinging to an impossible situation.  Stuart has his share as well.  He really fights his feelings for Mariska, which is sad, but so very real.
One To Leave is a great compliment to the One To Hold series.  Probably my favorite of them all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Review: Kick by Carmen Jenner

Series: Savage Saints MC #1
Release Date: January 26, 2015
Publisher: Carmen Jenner
Genre: Dark Romance / Thriller
Source: Copy provided for honest review
Rating: ★★★★

When I was ten, my father indoctrinated me into the family.
A
brotherhood who would fight, protect, and give their lives for one
another. A club whose ties ran thicker than blood, murkier than the dirt
and grime that tainted my soul. Stronger than the bonds that connected
me to my own family.
A band of brothers, where loyalty was kept and paid in a currency of blood.
When I was twenty-seven, I betrayed that brotherhood.
I’ve spent every day since running, avoiding paying back that debt.
My name is Daniel Johnson. I have betrayed everyone I ever loved.
And I’ll betray her too.
This is my story—if you’re screwed up enough to want to read it.

Warning: Kick
contains graphic violence, profanity, drug use, and explicit sexual
situations of a taboo nature. Intended for an 18+ audience only. Not
intended for pussies.

Kick is not a love story.
Kick is not an erotic story.
Kick is a not a story of redemption.
Kick is a story of survival.
Kick is a fucked up ride through a dark underbelly filled with violence, murder, monsters, drugs and rape.
And I enjoyed every moment of it. What does that make me?
In need of some sort of therapy, I’m sure.
Jenner gives clear warning that Kick is ‘not intended for pussies’, it’s a warning that should be heeded.  It’s not an easy read.  She didn’t shy away from writing graphic, horrific scenes.
If you go into Kick looking for a bad boy turns good type story, you’re in the wrong frame of mind for this one.  It’s not that story.
Sometimes life hands people nothing but shit and they have to learn to survive in it, to maybe come out of it not whole and not broken, but irreparably fractured.  That’s what this story is.  For Kick and for Indie.

Kick has known little but violence and hard times growing up an MC brat.  He’s a selfish fucker and gives shit as good as he takes it.  Little penetrates his hardened exterior.  The people who get a glimpse inside him inevitably find themselves fucked over by him.  He’s got a temper and it’s easily lit up.  He likes to deliver trouble, control and pain.
Two times in his life he’s been placed in a situation of seeing pain delivered by someone else.  Both situations set off him off.  Not because he really felt sympathy for the victim, but because he wants their pain and suffering for his own.  That’s the kind of guy Kick is.  He knows it’s fucked up, he just doesn’t really care.  He gets off on the tears, the blood, the fight.
Kick doesn’t want to hold and cherish your heart. He wants to rip it from you, wrap it in barbed wire and lick up the blood every time it swells just a fraction in size.

Indie didn’t grow up in violence. Indifference maybe, but not violence.  That didn’t stop her from finding herself in hell though.  Now she has the chance to walk out of it, but who will she be in the end?  Surviving is one thing, becoming a monster in turn is something else.
I liked the journey these two took, both together and separately.  It’s not so much a story of growth as just acceptance and I’m okay with that because I don’t know how you come out of situations like these as a better person.  I think you come out of them with an understanding that it’s maybe not so fucked up to have that dark soul and finding someone else who not only understands the darkness but embraces their own…is maybe the purest kind of acceptance. And maybe, when you’re fucked up that’s better than love.
Again, I’ll say this isn’t a love story.  It’s not an easy read. I felt like I should be running to the bathroom to vomit, not getting excited about what the next page held. But hey, I’m fucked up.  If you are too, you might like this one.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23318098-kick

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New Release: Thicker Than Blood by Madeline Sheehan & Claire C. Riley

A true friendship never dies.

Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…

Even an apocalypse.

Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.

Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.

Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.

Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.

But in such a savage world, is there room for love?

In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.

There are friends…

And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.

Amazon Paperback  |  B&N  |  Kobo  |  iTunes  |  Smashwords
Fantastical realm dweller Madeline Sheehan is the USA Todaybestselling author of the Holy Trinity Trilogy and Undeniable Series. 
A Social Distortion enthusiast, lover of mud and anything deemed socially inappropriate, Madeline was homegrown in Buffalo, New York, where she can be found engaging in food fights and video game marathons with her husband and son. 
Connect with Madeline
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter
Claire C Riley’s work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. She fuses multi-genre elements to develop storylines that pay homage to cult-classics while still feeling fresh and cutting-edge. She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy.

She lives in the United Kingdom with her three young daughters, husband and one scruffy dog!

Connect with Claire
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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Reveal + Giveaway: Now Leaving Sugartown by Carmen Jenner

Title: Now Leaving Sugartown
Series: Sugartown #4
Author: Carmen Jenner
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Cover Designer: Cover It! Designs
Release Date: March 2, 2015
Pepper
Ryan grew up the troublesome, spoiled child of a rock god. With her
less-than-stellar parentage, and the bipolar disorder that has plagued her
existence, to say this little firecracker is a handful would be the
understatement of the century.
Sammy Belle
spent more than half his life saving Pepper. He’d been her strength, her
sanity, and the protective brotherly figure she never wanted to have.
They were never meant to be
together.
They gave in anyway.
And
just when Sammy thought he had everything he wanted, Pepper ran.
Now
twenty-three, Pepper returns to Sugartown, a failed tattoo artist with one too
many screws loose who’s down on her luck, wielding an ice cream van as beaten
up as her heart.
Sugartown’s
most coveted bachelor has always been content with the quiet life he leads
until Pepper, the hellion from his past, returns to test his strength, his
patience, and perhaps even his sanity. But two can play at that game, and
Pepper is about to learn that Sam can give as good as he gets.
Can
this good country boy survive Pepper’s cruel city world, or will the whole
thing be put down to a bout of temporary insanity?
One
thing is for certain:
He’s crazy about her.
She’s just crazy.

Warning: Intended for an
18+ audience. Contains sexual content, oodles of profanity, a firefighter so
hot you may need a very cold shower, and one pink-haired crazy Harajuku girl.

Pre-Order

**Sorry, no
Amazon pre-order available**

Available Now

#1 Welcome to Sugartown
AMAZON US / UK / AU
#2 Enjoy Your Stay
AMAZON US / UK / AU
#3 Greetings from Sugartown
AMAZON US / UK / AU

Sam
I squirt a little lotion from the bottle–Pepper’s expensive
stuff that smells like cupcake batter–and run my hand over the head of my cock,
and down the rigid length as I think about her in that dress. Then I think
about tearing off that dress, and covering her tattoos with my mouth as I take
her on the bathroom sink. I slide my cock in and out of my grip, imagining it’s
her perfect, wet pussy. Pinching my nipple hard, I picture her teeth clamped
down over the sensitive flesh.

I groan. My muscles tense, my balls shrink up close to my
body, and then my orgasm rips through me at the same time that the bathroom
door is flung wide. Pepper hobbles into the room, her hands clutching the hem
of her dress. I turn in an effort to hide the evidence from her, but my cock is
still spilling seed. Come hits the fan and flies off in all directions as I
grind out the last of my orgasm, and a final burst of semen spills from my
cock.

Fuck.

I don’t even have time to bathe in the afterglow because
Pepper is sending me death glares in the mirror and her mouth is twisted into a
sneer.

“YOU. GOT. COME. IN. MY. HAIR!”

I practically bust a nut laughing. Loud, unruly guffaws that
are so incredibly inappropriate right now that I’m afraid she might actually
hurt me.

“You got come in my hair!” She screams again.

“I’m so sorry.” I say, still howling with laughter.

“You got come in my hair ten minutes before my mother’s
wedding.”
Carmen Jenner is a
thirty-something, USA TODAY Best
Selling Author, doctor, pilot and CIA agent.

She’s also a compulsive,
flagrant prevaricator who gets to make things up for a living.

While Sugartown may not
technically exist, Carmen grew up in a small Australian town just like it, and
just like her characters, she always longed for something more. They didn’t
have an Elijah Cade, though.

If they did, you can
be sure she would have never left.

 Author Links


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WTF Friday #9: Some of Kindle’s Strangest Titles

**WTF Friday is a weekly feature here at Black Heart, where we explore the stranger side of life.  It will not always be suitable for ages under 18, for work or for people lacking a sense of humor.  This is all in the name of entertainment, don’t take it too seriously.**
It’s been a minute since we had a WTF Friday post! Welcome back! 
Today, we’re sharing some strange title finds with you.  Know of more? Leave us a head’s up in the comments. 

You can click on the image to be taken to the Amazon page, if you have that burning desire to find out more.


http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Play-Lions-Testicles-Unexpected-ebook/dp/B00BAH8RA2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1583940855


http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0985710306


http://www.amazon.com/Penguin-Telling-Cute-Animals-Whats/dp/0345518160/ref=pd_sim_b_8?ie=UTF8&refRID=1A5DQXKM3DX1PYX8XF8W
http://www.amazon.com/Practical-Guide-Racism-C-Dalton/dp/1592404308/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1420774268&sr=1-1&keywords=a+practical+guide+to+racism


http://www.amazon.com/Images-You-Should-Not-Masturbate/dp/0399536493/ref=pd_sim_b_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=11ZMGPR52EH8F68RT2SP





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Spotlight + Giveaway: The Shadows by J.R. Ward

Hi, my name is Debbie and I am a Black Dagger Brotherhood addict. I have been a BDB/JR Ward fanatic for a few years now and will still go crazy fangirl whenever the Warden releases a new installment. On March 31st, THE SHADOWS, the 13th book in the series will be released and you bet yo’ sweet ass that my nose will be glued to that book from start to finish. J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood is my absolute favorite adult paranormal romance series, ever. If you haven’t started reading this series then you are totally missing on some seriously sexy and badass vampires with dark and extremely damaged pasts. The series is a definite must read and I’m sure you will easily fall in love with a brother or two or three. 
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #13
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: NAL/Penguin
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance
Trez “Latimer” doesn’t really exist. And not just because the identity was created so that a Shadow could function in the underbelly of the human world. Sold by his parents to the Queen of the S’Hsibe as a child, Trez escaped the Territory and has been a pimp and an enforcer in Caldwell, NY for years- all the while on the run from a destiny of sexual servitude. He’s never had anyone he could totally rely on… except for his brother, iAm.
iAm’s sole goal has always been to keep his brother from self-destructing- and he knows he’s failed. It’s not until the Chosen Serena enters Trez’s life that the male begins to turn things around… but by then it’s too late. The pledge to mate the Queen’s daughter comes due and there is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no negotiating.
Trapped between his heart and a fate he never volunteered for, Trez must decide whether to endanger himself and others- or forever leave behind the female he’s in love with. But then an unimaginable tragedy strikes and changes everything. Staring out over an emotional abyss, Trez must find a reason to go on or risk losing himself and his soul forever. And iAm, in the name of brotherly love, is faced with making the ultimate sacrifice…

   
   
   
Dark Lover (BDB #1 – Wrath): Amazon  |  B&N   |  Goodreads
Lover Eternal (BDB #1 – Rhage): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover Awakened (BDB #3) – Zsadist): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover Revealed (BDB#4 – Butch): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover Unbound (BDB #5 – Vishious): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover Enshrined (BDB #6 – Phury): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover Avenged (BDB #7 – Rehvenge): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover Mine (BDB #8 – John Matthew): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover Unleashed (BDB #9 – Payne): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover Reborn (BDB #10 – Tohrment): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
Lover At Last (BDB #11 – Qhuinn/Blay): Amazon  |  B&N   |  Goodreads
The King (BDB #12 – Wrath): Amazon  |  B&N  |  Goodreads
J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times and USAToday Best Selling author of erotic paranormal romance. She lives in the south with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. After graduating from law school, she began working in healthcare in Boston and spent many years as Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. Writing has always been her passion and her idea of heaven is a whole day of nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot.

Connect with J.R. Ward  –  Website  |  Facebook
Win a signed (personalized) hardcover copy of THE SHADOWS by J.R. Ward
(Book will be ordered via the JR Ward virtual signing and will be mailed out by March 31st)

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