Aug 08

Book Spotlight: Ariah by B R Sanders

Ariah_FrontCoverOnlyARIAH, available now on Amazon, takes place in a sweeping world of racial politics and intercultural tensions. B R Sanders’ writing focuses on Ariah’s personal evolution with laser-like precision to craft this expansive universe. A book driven by the central character and his growth, Sanders has as much to say on our own world’s treatment of gender, sexuality, race and class as they do about Ariah himself. Enter the giveaway for a chance to win an ebook! Two winners will receive an ebook in the format of their choice (mobi, epub or PDF)

Book description:

Ariah’s magical training has been interrupted. Forced to rely on a mentor, Dirva, who is not who he claims to be, and a teacher who is foreign and powerful, Ariah is drawn into a culture wholly different from the elven one that raised him.

As his friendship with Dirva’s brother blossoms into a surprising romance, and he slowly learns how to control the dangerous magic in his blood, life finally appears to be coming together for Ariah—but love and security are cut short by a tyrannical military empire bent on expanding its borders.

War, betrayal, passion, and confusion follow Ariah as his perilous journey leads him beyond the walls of the Empire, and into unfamiliar territory within himself. Along the way, he’ll discover just how much he’s willing to give up to find his place in the world, and he’ll learn what it means to sacrifice himself for freedom—and for love.


Sorcha noticed me for the first time then. He looked me over, up and down, measuring and final like Abira when I first met her. He has an extraordinarily expressive face, and I could read his mind without help from any gift; anyone could have. He looked me over, he smirked at my Semadran clothes, the stiffness of my posture, and then he grinned a silent proposition. I burst into nervous laughter. His eyebrows flicked up, and his grin grew that much more canny. Abira shoved me towards him. I landed about two inches away from him. We saw exactly eye to eye; Sorcha and I were exactly the same height. “You get him settled in, would you?” she said. “I just want to get back to the Refuge and crash already.”

“You could crash here for the night,” Sorcha said. I had long since dropped my gaze and was peering idly out at the Square on no pretense at all, but I could feel him staring at me as he said it.

“No, I’m all right,” she said. “Fond memories and all, but my roof don’t leak. It’s all yours.”

She left me there with her younger brother. He ran a hand through his hair—a bright, shocking red—and nodded towards the dilapidated house. “Well, let’s get you in, get you settled. Your name’s


“Yes,” I said tentatively.

“Well, is it or isn’t it?”

“It is. Ariah. Ariah Lirat’Mochai. A pleasure to meet you,” I said, holding out my hand. We were still standing too close together, and it was awkward, holding my hand out in the thin thread of space between us.

He took my hand. “Yeah, sure. Same. You hungry? Thirsty?”

I stole a quick glance at the disheveled house. “No. Just tired, I think.”

He ushered me inside with an arm draped around my shoulders. I didn’t know how to react to that, so I chose not to react at all. Somehow, the interior of the building was worse off than the exterior. He made no apologies for it. Inside, a dozen or so scrawny, hard-eyed youths milled around, all of them obviously of mixed heritage. “This is the gang,” he said. “The Natives. Nahsiyya to a man, and all City-born. With your eyes you’ll fit right in.” He whistled the same piercing, sharp whistle as he had out in the Square. “Hey! This is Ariah. He’s bunking with us.”

A woman with creamy skin and wild, woolly black hair poked her head around a door frame. I felt my throat close up at the sight of her. I was terribly attracted to her. “You vouching, Sorcha?”

“Yeah. You’ll never guess where I found him.”

“We can all guess where you found him,” said a lanky girl with Qin eyes. She sat in the broken shell of what had once been a window, one leg trailing to the street.

“No, you really can’t. I’d lay a bet on it, but I’m not so heartless that I’d take everything you got. Caddie, hey, you got to hear this.” The attractive woman with the wild hair came back into view. She leaned in the doorframe, her chin held high and her face stony, expressionless. “Found him with Abbie,” Sorcha said. He was savoring it, the delivery of all this news. “Lor came back, and he brought this fella with him. Caddie, he came back.”

Author bio:


Pronouns: they/them/their. B R Sanders i a white, genderqueer writer who lives and works in Denver, CO, with their family and two cats. Outside of writing, B has worked as a research psychologist, a labor organizer and a K-12 public education data specialist. Stay in touch with B with their newsletter, at their blog, over on facebook or follow them on twitter @B_R_Sanders.



Jul 18


You guys….I’m so sorry, I just put together two and two that my email client has not been receiving my emails from since April!! (I was wondering why my lovely indie authors were so quiet!)  Gah!! I will personally get back to each and every one of you in the next few days, thank you for your patience!! 

Happy reading, 


Jul 17

Captured by Erica Stevens

Captured by Erica StevensCaptured by Erica Stevens
Format: eBook
Buy the BookGoodreads
Blood Slave.

Captured, taken from her beloved family and woods, Aria’s biggest fear is not the imminent death facing her, but that she will be chosen as a blood slave for a member of the ruling vampire race. No matter what becomes of her though, Aria knows that she must keep her identity hidden from the monsters imprisoning her. She has already been branded a member of the rebellion, but the vampires do not know the true depth of her involvement with it, and they must never know. Though hoping for death, Aria’s world is turned upside down when a vampire named Braith steps forward to claim her. He delays her execution, but Aria knows it’s only a matter of time before he drains her, and destroys her. Especially once she learns his true identity as a prince within the royal family; the same royal family that started the war that ultimately brought down humankind, reducing them to nothing more than servants and slaves. Aria is determined to hate the prince, determined not to give into him in anyway, but his strange kindness, and surprising gentleness astonish her. Torn between her loyalties to the rebellion, and her growing love for her greatest enemy, Aria struggles to decide between everything she has ever known, and a love she never dreamed of finding.

Mature YA/New Adult. This book contains some language, violence, and sexual situations. Recommended for ages sixteen and up.

WOW. I’m usually not a fan of sweet teen romances but this one blew my socks off!

I loved Arianna. The name, the personality, the whole shebang. She’s the perfect combination of sweet and tough (thanks to having a hard childhood of being on the run from vampires) and I could connect with her immediately. I CARED for her as a character. AUTHOR told Arianna’s story without spending too much time in her head, sparing us of the teen angst that tends to grip us when we are adolescents. And that really does Arianna justice because her life is too traumatic to be wrought with frivolous angst, she’s more concerned with staying alive.

So imagine her dismay when she’s captured and sold into slavery by the dominant vampire race. Her fate lands in the hands of Braith, a vampire who doesn’t seem to be like his brethren physically or mentally. He’s taken a liking to young Arianna but we can’t be sure why.

What impressed me the most was AUTHORs handling of the romance between a teen human and an ancient vampire. If it wasn’t such an insult to AUTHORs superb storytelling skills, I would compare it to EL JAME’s TWILIGHT. There was lots of hot and heavy lusting but no inappropriate touching.

Overall, Captured is an excellent read and I highly recommend for anyone looking for a captivating summer read. I give Captured 5 out of 5 stars.

Jul 17

Book Spotlight: The Shortstop by A.M. Madden

Book Spotlight: The Shortstop by A.M. MaddenThe Shortstop by A.M. Madden
Format: eBook
Buy the BookGoodreads

“Quint and Annie sitting in a tree…K.I.S.S.I.N.G.”

Quint Lawson and Annie Weber heard that childhood song over and over and it never bothered them. Even though Quint was only five, Annie wasn’t just his neighbor. She would become his best friend and the love of his life. Annie wasn’t interested in dolls, or girly things when growing up. A tomboy at heart, having a boy as a best friend suited her just fine. That same boy captured her heart.

Quint had two passions, his girl and baseball. From kindergarten to college, Quint tore up every baseball diamond he played on. His position was shortstop. His talent was undeniable. Professional ball was most definitely in his future, and he was ready for it. Annie would be right by his side.

When everything in life is perfect, it’s hard to imagine heartbreak in any form. Quint wasn’t immune to its power. This shortstop had no idea what any form of heartbreak could do to his perfect world. When it hit, there were many casualties left in its wake…the most important one was Annie.

Can a person be prepared for, understand, or even endure a misfortune if they’ve never experienced one before? In Quint Lawson’s case the answer is no.

The Shortstop is a contemporary romance stand alone novel meant for readers who are 18+ due to mature content.

Jul 15

Book Spotlight: Future of Flames series by Lisa Messier

by Lisa Messier
Format: eBook


Kateraina was born FireKin, a true child of power. Her once mighty clan was decimated in the last Great War. Hunted her entire life, Kateraina has struggled to control abilities she barely understands. Her fate screams at her from the nightmares that plague her, a constant reminder of the violence she fears she holds.

Now, if she is to have any hope of survival, she must follow a NightWalker far into darkness and embrace shadows that lurk deep within. She must discover the truth about herself, a truth buried for for over 1300 years. Kateraina must find her hope hidden in the past, or will she face her Future of Flames.



Shadow weaves and fire burns. Kateraina carries both the night and flame. Born FireKin, the shadows have claimed her, binding her to Dinan NightWalker. She will need his love, and the strength of both their clans to see her through.

Nightmares plague her as the Dreamers call to her fire. Fated to restore them, Raina must embrace all she is meant to be. But an echo from the past haunts her. Will fire and night be enough to stop the darkness determined to break her future of flames?







Shadowed flames dance on a winter’s breeze, drawing Kateraina into the world of the Dreamers. Her fate rests in the hands of the one who Guards her. Dinan NightWalker must show her the strength of the darkness she holds. Wrapped in his arms, she must stand firm against the nightmares she endures.

Shadowed secrets lie buried in a long forgotten shrine. Sweet winds whisper twisted truths, turning friend into foe. Searching for answers will test the bounds of their loyalty. Will betrayal tear them apart, or will a fate cloaked in prophecy guide them through their Future of Flames?

Jul 07


Howdy folks!


I’m so glad to be back, I missed my dear indie authors :) In the next few months, you will see a lot more activity around these parts. I’m talking giveaways (more free books, y’all), new reviews, and lots of new book releases! Be sure to sign up for The Brainy Bookshelf’s newsletter to stay updated.

A few things:

1) I’m currently accepting cover reveals, interviews and book releases. Please send me an email with your name, book title and book information at

2) My TBR list is still full, sorry!

3) If you find that you need more time in the day to write, please consider my author assistant services.

My services include:

Managing your professional calendar
Helping to set up and maintain websites
Managing your social media accounts
Securing reviews on various blogs and websites
Sending press releases
Completing research for a variety of vendors: graphic designers, editors, etc.
Serving as a beta reader for your work providing in depth critiques

I offer low rates and first time customers get 50% off! I’m so excited to work with more authors, I love you guys!

Till next time,



Jun 24

Review: Psychopomp by Angela Roquet

Review: Psychopomp by Angela RoquetPsychopomp Published October 2014
Format: eBook
Buy the BookGoodreads
In war, everyone loses...

Reaper Lana Harvey is finding out the hard way. When Grim's new second in command, Jenni Fang, recruits her for a special mission, the biggest victory over the rebels is tainted by a crushing and immediate reprisal. The rebels have a new general working in the shadows of Limbo City, luring gods, reapers, demons, and souls to the dark side.

The Afterlife Council’s orders to locate the new rebel base are overshadowed by a desperate and mysterious plea from Grim to find the abducted Greek god of sleep, Hypnos. Where Lana and Jenni find one, they hope to find the other. But some discoveries have a way of bringing one to their knees.


Note: So on New Year’s Eve I had a baby. Pregnancy was a crazy, wonderful and long journey that has of course morphed into motherhood, which is another crazy, wonderful and long journey. The only downside is that my other baby, The Brainy Bookshelf, suffered.  I was wondering when the right book would come along to pull me out of the shadows , force me to put on a clean shirt, dust off my computer and get back to work.  Here you have it…


I fell in love with the Lana Harvey series over two years ago and was eagerly awaiting the newest installment, Psychopomp.

Let me just tell you–it was well worth the wait.

We jump back into the realm of Eternity with our favorite reluctant Reaper, Lana Harvey, who has been dragged into yet another top secret mission, this time by Grim’s second in command. Apparently there’s more trouble in paradise–the rebels are ramping up attacks and there is a promise of something big happening that has Grim on edge.

Lana (who has a past of being an underachiever and bit of a rule breaker) now has to deal with being a model captain of her new team, a good student, an even better friend and maintain her status with her super hot (as in Hell) boyfriend, Beelzebub. All while maintaining her sanity…and staying alive of course!

Roquet’s world building skill is simply superb. Eternity (the world that Lana lives in) is rich with description and you feel as though this really does exist out there. There are only a handful of authors that can make me fall in love with characters and Angela Roquet has joined that list. I felt bad for Lana as she moved from crisis to crisis. I teared up a little at the end (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you).  And there are so many good actions scenes it’s hard to have a favorite. So naturally, I was clamoring for more when the book ended. You know when your favorite tv show ends on a cliffhanger and you go “Gah! What the hell?! I need to know what happens next!!”? Yeah. That. Those are the feels that hit me whenever we wrap up another chapter of Reaper, Inc. history.

If you haven’t already checked out this series, stop what you’re doing and pick it up. Right now. And then call me in the morning so we can rave about it together.  Of course, I give Psychopomp 5 out of 5 stars.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Apr 07

Up and Running!

The Brainy Bookshelf is back open!

Unfortunately, I am not accepting any submissions as I have a full TBR list. But fear not! As soon as my list has been whittled down I will reopen. :)

Stay tuned for more reviews!

Mar 25

Review: The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare Series) by Lilo Abernathy

Review:  The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare Series)  by Lilo Abernathy The Light Who Shines Format: eBook
Buy the BookGoodreads
When Supernatural Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime it's obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run. Using her innate sixth sense, she uncovers a powerful magical artifact nearby. She soon discovers it acts as a key to an ancient Grimiore that was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between Earth and the Plane of Fire.

Blue and her clever wolf Varg follow a trail that starts at the Cock and Bull Tap and leads all through the town of Crimson Hollow. Between being sidelined by a stalker who sticks to the shadows, and chasing a suspect who vanishes in thin air, the case is getting complicated. If that isn't enough, Dark Vampire activity hits a record high and hate crimes are increasing. However, it's her growing feelings for Jack Tanner, her magnetic Daylight Vampire boss, that just might undo her.

While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, it seems someone else is conducting a search of their own. Who will find whom first?

Danger lurks in every corner and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.



This book was huge. Sitting at 136k words, I found myself up to my eyeballs in lore, character back history and the current story itself.  It actually took me a few days to get through the whole book, which surprised me because I’m such a fast reader. Abernathy takes her time building up to the climax, so be prepared to hunker down and spend some time wading through a lot of information about the world she’s building. Besides, the ending was so worth it I didn’t mind the lengthy beginning and middle.

Bluebell is a bad ass. No questions asked, no further explanation really needed. She may be only human, but she makes up for it with true grit. And the writing is fantastic. At one point when things got particularly harry for Bluebell, I had to put the book down because it was so graphic. I was actually upset about what was happening to her! “It’s awful!” I cried out. My husband reached over gently, patted my knee and said, “You know it’s just a book, right?” Yeah, the writing was that good.

I’d definitely read book two, even though I was bummed that Bluebell and her sexy boss/love interest Jack didn’t get very far in their relationship. Their buildup was so slow that I can only hope that in the sequel they really reach some milestones to keep us interested. I also wondered what was going on with Gambino and Bluebell. There seems to be some type of unspoken tension there (Perhaps sexual? Sibling? Who knows?) and I would be game to explore it.  Gambino reminds me of the saying, “Still waters run deep.”

In this universe, those who have special powers are called ‘Gifted’. And just like in the real world, there are humans who do not like those that are different from them. It was interesting to see how these ‘breedists’ mimicked the prejudiced people of our own universe and how that related to Bluebell’s own personal history.

Overall, The Light Who Shines is a top notch debut novel. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it for someone who’s looking for a fresh new take in Paranormal Romance.


Mar 20

See How She Runs (The Chronicles of Izzy) by Michelle Graves

See How She Runs (The Chronicles of Izzy) by Michelle GravesSee How She Runs by Michelle Graves
Series: The Chronicles of Izzy
Format: eBook
Buy the BookGoodreads
One delivery changed her whole life.

Izzy was a normal girl living in Chicago as a bike messenger before that fateful day. She delivered one package and set into action a chain of events she never could have expected.

Now she is running for her life from the Corporation, her best friend is not at all who he seemed, and to top it all off she keeps having visions.

Will she survive to navigate the waters as a Seer? Will her feelings for Kennan be her very downfall? Find out in See How She Runs.


Who doesn’t love a headstrong bicycle messenger who has to uncover a hidden past before a lunatic kills her? I know I do!

This book was a lot of fun to read and offered an interesting take on the paranormal world. The history behind Izzy is refreshing and the story had an abundance of spunky characters to make it a page turner.

Izzy and Kennan were a cute couple and their growth as a couple kept me hooked to the end. But! There wasn’t much passion. I mean, it was written that she felt passionate about Kennan and he certainly growled when appropriate (which is always nice…and hot), but I couldn’t feel any real physical tension between them. And the love scene kind of disappointed me. After all of that verbal buildup, I was hoping for a bit more.

Even though I liked every single character in the book, I didn’t feel a particular pull to one of them. They were all equally dynamic, so I didn’t necessarily have a favorite. I will say that I hope Ian gets his own book, because he was fantastic! Kudos to Graves for writing such a funny character!

See How She Runs has lots of action, entertaining snark from all parties involved, and a rich world full of magic. What’s not to love?

I give See How She Runs 4 out of 5 stars. 

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