Monday, 31 December 2018

My Year in Books - 2018


I read and reviewed 50 books in 2018, with 8,340 pages (according to Bookreads).

Which works out at an average of just under 1 book each week, or nearly 23 pages per day.

The shortest book was Liberty: An Electric Eclectic Book by Markie Madden. It was was just 24 pages and "a wonderful mix of fiction and well-researched history."

The longest book was Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek Philpot with 416 pages of "fabulous, laugh-out-loud" humour!

My 2018 Books:


Saturday, 29 December 2018

Alive: Shadows of a Living Past by Marcia Maidana



In death she found life.


Florence Sterling should be perfectly happy. She’s been given a second chance at life with her beloved husband. But all is not well. She yearns for more children, even though Alex is reluctant. Memories of the day she and her baby were murdered still haunt her. And she can’t shake the feeling she will be separated from Alex again.

As if in confirmation of her premonition, Alex is called on a dangerous mission to enlist America’s aid in WWII. Trying to distract herself, Florence investigates what really happened when her son died. As she searches, she becomes convinced her son is alive, although witnesses say otherwise. And with each clue she discovers, she unwittingly draws closer to her old enemy—the deranged woman who will stop at nothing to destroy her.

When Alex goes missing in action, Florence must reach deeply into her faith as she faces her greatest fears. If Alex is lost to the war, will she allow herself to love another man and fulfill her desire to have a family? Or will she remain alone the rest of her life?

Amazon ~

Snippet:

Will dropped the gardening tool and started to work through the clumps of dirt with his bare hands. “With the rain we’ve been getting, you’d think the ground would be a bit more forgiving.” When I didn’t say anything, his hands became still, and his gaze rose to meet mine. “Why are you looking at me like that?” 

I felt a wave of heat spread across my cheeks. Had he seen the consternation in my eyes? I was relieved when he answered his own question. 


“You look at me as if I were a child.” 


“A child who knows what he’s doing.” I gave him a warm smile and signaled to the ground in front of him. 


He chuckled. “No, I must disagree with that. I’m a man who half the time doesn’t know what he’s doing. But my father taught me a few things. One of them is that if I don’t do the job right, he’ll make me do it again—believe me, I never start something I don’t intend to finish, and I always do it right.”



Book one in this series WON the bronze medal with the Readers' Favorite International competition in the historical-mystery category!!! 

Make sure you Check out both books in this series!


Awaken: Shadows of a Forgotten Past
Book 1

Amazon ~



About the Author:

Marcia was born and raised in Argentina during the military regime which ended with the loss of many young lives in the invasion of the Falkland Islands. Amidst the devastating effects of military government and war, reading and writing became a passion which expanded and transported her imagination with the possibility of a brighter future.

At the age of eighteen, she moved to the United States, where she studied English and started her own family. She soon discovered that the love she has for her husband and children would naturally unfold towards her European roots, leading her to become a genealogist and family historian. A decade of searching, compiling, and learning the stories of thousands of people has instilled in her a profound gratitude for the strong ties that can be achieved in families through personal sacrifice.

So it is that through fiction, Shadows of Time duology (Awaken, Shadows of a Forgotten Past and Alive, Shadows of a Living Past) explores and exposes the characteristics of true love and loyalty in times of fear, war, and finally, death. But perhaps the most captivating element in the story is the battle within the souls of the main characters as they search to know who they really are and how they are connected.

Facebook ~ Amazon ~


Marcia's Top Ten List:

Fun Facts
  1. I was born and raised in Argentina among a mixed culture of Spaniards and Italians.
  2. I got my first library card when I was eight years old. It meant so much to me that after more than three decades, I still have it in my possession.
  3. The library allowed patrons to check out two books per week, which wasn’t enough for me. I then decided that I’d volunteer at the library so I could read books during breaks.
  4. I learned a little British English in Argentina.
  5. When I arrived in the United States, I had no idea what language was being spoken.
  6. I’m an International Genealogist specializing in the countries of France, Italy, and Spain.
  7. I love to plant flowers and see them grow. I love mint, so I grow it in my garden as well.
  8. My grandmother was Italian. She made her pasta from scratch and it was delicious. Very rarely do I eat store-bought pasta since its taste is so different.
  9. My childhood home is located a block away from a Catholic convent. I was fascinated with the nuns and priests; hence, there are nuns and priests in Shadows of Time Duology.
  10. My children laugh when I tell them who the most influential women in my life are (of course they aren’t the most influential, but I do appreciate them very much), they are: Agatha Christie, for her incredible stories which inspire me to be a better writer; Denise Austin, who has kept me in shape through her workout videos without having to leave the house; Mary Kay, whose make-up products I can’t live without.





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Monday, 24 December 2018

Hidden by Megan Morgan


Title: Hidden
Series: Fire and Iceland #1
Author: Megan Morgan
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy
Date Published: October 31, 2018
Publisher: Evernight Publishing


After a breathtaking journey through Iceland, Vanessa Evanston finishes her dream vacation with her two best friends in the capital city of Reykjavik—and wakes up the next morning on the ground, on a tiny island 250 kilometers north, with no memory of how she got there.

Luckily, handsome and kind-hearted local Gunnar Heimirsson stumbles upon her—unluckily, he can’t explain her mysterious journey either. Nor can anyone explain why Vanessa soon discovers “last night” actually happened a year ago, and everyone thinks she’s dead.

Iceland is known for its folklore, but beyond the elves and mountain trolls, there are other creatures: beautiful, powerful, and vengeful, known as the huldufólk. Gunnar has been alive for a century, trapped by their curse after angering them. From the far flung Westfjords to the black sands of Reynisfjara, the answer to Vanessa’s missing year might be connected to Gunnar’s punishment—as well as his long-lost wife, Hera—but the truth lies somewhere in the realm of magic, myth, and love, and Vanessa has only just discovered fairy tales are real.


Excerpt:

         The path meandered up the hill, and she soon realized both the jacket and sweater were overkill as she began to sweat. She would take the jacket off at the top. Until then, she kept her eyes on the uneven ground and tried not to stumble in her too-large boots. The wind whipped harder as they climbed, adding to the difficulty.
         At the summit she stopped to catch her breath, heart pounding and uncomfortably hot beneath her layers. They looked back over the town, the houses now miniature at the bottom of the slope. The water spread out glimmering in all directions. The sun hung red beneath the canopy of clouds.
         “What’s it like, living so long?” She peeled the jacket off. “You’ve seen some history, huh?”
         The wind ruffled his wild, loose curls. “It’s just been my life, nothing more. You see history too, every day. Do you think of it that way?”
         The air rushing up under the sweater and cooling the sweat on her skin was bliss. “I guess not. Does it ever get boring?”
         “As boring as it is for anyone, I suppose.” The sunset caressed his face, turning it golden. “I have things to keep me occupied.”
         She gazed at him, mesmerized. God, he was handsome. Not pretty, not cute. Handsome. Solid and finely sculpted, like carved ice. His eyes held her spellbound. They were so clear, so pale and blue. They reminded her of the glacier she’d walked on with her friends, smooth and bright and so cleanly cold.
         A sensation stirred deep inside her, some old, familiar feeling, much like the notion she’d had on the boat that she knew him. It felt as ancient and enduring as the land they stood on. What the hell did it mean? She couldn’t grasp or define it.
         “Yeah.” She pushed her hair back from her face. “You’ve moved all around the country, fallen in love. You drive a boat. Find passed out strangers.” She smiled. “It sounds a lot more exciting than most lives, actually. More exciting than packing pills.”
         “I’ve been out of the country, too.” He smiled in return. “But not for a long time.”
         “They let you leave?”
         “My body is my prison, not Iceland.”
         That brought up uneasy questions. Would they follow her home? Would she always be their victim, even when she left here?
         “How far does their magic reach?” She tucked her hair behind her ear to keep it from blowing around. “Can you ever escape it?”
         “I’ve never managed to.” He turned, toward the flat stretch of land in front of them. Another hill rose in the distance, dark against the deep blue sky.
         She draped the jacket over her arm. “I suppose we’re going up that one, too?”
         “Yes, the place we’re going is a place where people don’t usually visit.”




Author Information:

Megan Morgan is an award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance author from Cleveland, Ohio. A mild-mannered airport bar supervisor by day and purveyor of things that go bump in the night, she lives on the often-wintry shores of Lake Erie with her spoiled cat and adult son, both of whom shed too much.









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Saturday, 22 December 2018

Death By Payback by Gary Evans



Title: Death By Payback
Author: Gary Evans
Genre: Thriller
Date Published: November 2018
Publisher: AuthorSource


After confessing to killing fourteen young men in La Crosse,Wisconsin, sultry serial killer Genevieve Wangen escapes custody for the second time. Aided by her Mafia contacts, she settles in at a remote cabin in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. Now, safely hidden behind her new identity as Samantha Walters, she happily continues her deadly work for the Carbones. But Detective Al Rouse and Deputy Charlie Berzinski are bent on locking her away for good. When they finally catch up to her, as she is about to wed her latest debonair lover, Genevieve finds that she must escape more than just the law!



Excerpt:

         The April sun scratched its way up the back side of Mount Cleveland, in the Bitterroot Chain of western Montana, its promised glow casting the proud peak as an angelic being. At least that’s how it appeared from the rustic cabin in the woods inhabited by Genevieve Wangen, now known as Samantha Walters. This Thursday promised to be a busy day for the eighty-three-year-old, who looked not a day over 55. She’d risen before dawn and now was bathing in the still-icy waters of the lake that she fondly referred to as “My Lake.”
          Of course, no one had seen the body of water since she had moved there, and therefore no one knew of the name she had given it. She hoped that wouldn’t change for a while, although once again she longed for company. While talking to either men or women fascinated her, it was the company of men she missed most. She had now been without male companionship for more than sixteen months, since arriving here from New Orleans two and a half years earlier.
         In her wake she had left a trail of bodies—many more attributed to her than were due—that had resulted in the posting of an old picture of her on post office walls from Bangor, Maine to San Ysidro, California, and from Baudette, Minnesota, to Brownsville, Texas.
         Few were the people in the United States who had not seen a picture of the woman known in various places and at various times as the Wisconsin Whacker, the Black Widow of the Woods, and the Murderess of the Mountains. Few also were the people who, happening along on this cloudless day, would suspect a relationship between that woman and the darkly-tanned woman in the lake, softly singing to herself in the early morning light.
         In fact, although no one in the Bitterroot Valley knew where she lived, many knew her by sight. She was a person who, in times of financial hardship, reached into her purse and found money for the unfortunate, although anonymously.
         People in these parts, if they knew her at all, knew her simply as “Sam.” She had appeared on the scene without introduction but, before the first winter was out, had established herself as someone who belonged. And if people in these parts felt you belonged, then damned be those who would seek to take you away. Sam was known by a few business associates from Polson to Finley Point, Bear Dance, Woods Bay, and Bigfork on the east side of Flathead Lake to Kings Point, Elmo, Dayton, and Somers on the west. But though those few people called her by name, bought her a drink whenever she was in town, and even took her to lunch, none knew where she lived. The best anyone would say, if pressed, was, “Somewhere in the hills, I guess.”
         On this day, she hoped to end her temporary celibacy; the idea of having a man in her bed excited her as she soaked herself in the lake waters and dreamt about the pleasure of wrapping her legs around a real human being.
         She planned to drive some forty miles, the first twelve of it on a rutted, private dirt road, to Kalispell, Montana, a community of 22,000 about 30 miles north of Flathead Lake that served as the “capitol” of the Flathead Valley. The community served as the retail, professional, medical, and governmental center for the more than 140,000 people who inhabited the area.
         In previous trips to Kalispell, Sam had cultivated a friendship with Molly O’Leary, general manager of the Golden Lion Hotel. On her last trip to the community, the two women had talked candidly about their likes and dislikes and the things they missed in their adopted Montana homeland.
         As one drink became two, and two became a half dozen or more, and Sam decided to rent a room and stay the night, she told Molly that her biggest need was male companionship.
         “I’m sure that stuns you. There are some things you never get over, and I have always needed and wanted sex.” Taking another sip of her drink, she swallowed. “When I was married, my husband was a great lover. He developed my appetite for assignations and I’ve never lost it.”
         Molly tapped a finger against her chin. “Sam, I’m not sure why you’ve brought up this subject with me. Perhaps you think you know something? If you do, all I can say is you shouldn’t.” Glancing around the empty room, she tugged her chair closer to Sam and leaned in. “As a bit of a side business to build my retirement nest egg, I do a little matchmaking. I have always chosen my customers carefully, mostly to make sure they have tightly-controlled lips.” Her eyes narrowed as she leaned back and studied Sam. “Now I have to wonder, which one of those people has the kind of lips that they say sink ships? I am very bothered by this.”
         Sam blinked. “Oh, my goodness, Molly, there is no reason for you to be worried. I haven’t talked to anyone. I had no idea that you might be doing a little, how should I say this, moonlighting? I was simply commenting on my situation, and I felt I knew you well enough to tell you about the thing I miss most.”
         Molly contemplated her a few seconds more before her face broke into a wide smile. Grabbing a cocktail napkin from the table, she wiped sweat beads from her forehead. “Then have I got a deal for you. Come on, let’s take the bottle to my apartment where no one will overhear us.”
         She led Sam to a door directly over the check-in desk on the second floor of the Golden Lion. The spacious and comfortable apartment surprised Sam, both for its size and for how tastefully it was decorated. There’s more to Molly than a hotel manager. A lot more.
         “This is lovely.” Sam waved a hand around the room. “If this was mine, I’d love to manage this hotel, no matter the pay. It’s big and it’s comfortable. If you did the decorating, I must commend you for a great touch.”
         “For better or worse, I did it all. I was pleased to get the job and even happier when the owners told me to furnish the apartment to my liking, using their money. I spent it carefully, but this is what emerged. To me it’s home. And, Sam, the best part is they pay me very well for the work I do. I think I may be one of the highest-paid residents of Kalispell—better than almost anyone but the docs.”
         Sam grinned. “That’s impressive.”
         “Yes, I do very well. And my side business has begun to produce a handsome profit. I’m very careful to recruit quality clientele and to match them with people who are talented and committed to pleasing their customers in every way. You wouldn’t think that would be an easy thing out here in the middle of nowhere, but the rugged individuals who come here to live seem to be skilled in the bedroom arts. You just never know, do you?”
         “I guess not, but I sure would like to have a night with one of your most skilled gentlemen. If you could set me up, I think you’ll have earned repeat business from a very needy customer.”
         “I believe I have just the guy. A real stallion. And equipped like one, too. Sound good?”
         “Perfect. What’s his name?”
         “Pete Pernaska. He came here to join a timbering crew. He did that for a few years, but he’d wander in here now and again looking for women. I fixed him up a couple of times and it wasn’t long before the girls started asking for him. I wondered what made him so special, and decided to try him for myself. Wow! That’s the only description I have for it. I offered him a job. He took it, he’s busy, and he loves it. He quit his timbering job. If you’re not happy, I’ll be stunned.”
         “I’m sure I will be. My life is close to perfect right now, and Mr. Pete Pernaska sounds like he just might be the last piece of puzzle I’ve been missing.”



Author Bio:

Gary Evans has turned his passion for novel writing into a post-retirement career, with book four soon to be released, and book five already in the works. Evans spent 30 years in Midwest newsrooms as an award-winning writer, editor, and publisher. He spent 12 years as vice president at Winona State University. He ended his career as the president and CEO of Hiawatha Broadband Communication, one of the nation’s first alternative entrant telecommunications firms, after 15 years. Married to Ellen, they have two grown children, Gregory and Natalie.




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Friday, 21 December 2018

A Christmas Story of Light by Ora Smith



God’s light shines in all of His creations, from the Star of Bethlehem, to the angel proclaiming Christ’s birth, to the Son of God Himself—the light of the world.

Through this light, He illuminates darkness, gives us guidance, and shows us how to love one another.

Experience the rich artwork and inspirational messages of A Christmas Story of Light this holiday season and let God’s light bring you the brightness of hope.




Picture1

Ora is an artist, genealogist, seamstress, lover of a good book, traveler, antiquer, upcycler, and history buff. She’s one of those people who always has a project she’s excited about. Although she’s lived in Arizona since 1986, she spent her early life in Lake Tahoe, California, where her passion to write blossomed on a tranquil riverbank with a beautiful backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

She recently received her Master of Arts in Nonfiction Creative Writing at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She also writes children’s books and historical fiction. In 2013, she placed first in a short-story writing contest sponsored by Writers Unite to Fight Cancer, in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Creative Writing Center at Arizona State University. Her historical novel, White Oak River, won first place in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest sponsored by Christian Writers of the West (an ACFW affiliate).

Ora’s been a wife and mother for more than thirty-six years, raising four sons and one daughter. She has the three cutest grandchildren in existence.

For more than twenty years Ora’s taught family history research at conferences and to individuals. Read an article she wrote for the online magazine, Almost an Author, about “Using Ancestor’s Stories in Fiction.” Also visit her blog, Writing About Ancestors, to learn how you can write about your ancestors.

As a mother, genealogist, artist, and faithful follower of Jesus Christ, Ora blends her understanding and unique skills to create faith inspired stories that she hopes will give others an added testimony of God’s goodness.




Top 10 Favorite Things:
  1. Spending time with my family and most especially my grandchildren (who live in different states than me )
  2. Feeling God’s love (I could write a book about this and probably should)
  3. Lunch with friends
  4. Writing/Writing groups
  5. Reading a book with lots of unusual metaphors (wish I could write like that!)
  6. Art and crafting (Creating in general. Creation is one of my favorite words.)
  7. Researching (for family history and for books I’m writing)
  8. Watching a bonnet movie (some people call them corset movies)
  9. Strolling an antique mall
  10. Traveling



A retelling of the Christmas Story, alongside the author's personal views on the Light of God and it's meaning.

The illustrations are beautiful, and it was those that kept me turning the pages.

I can't find an age guide for this children's book, but I would think it's beyond young readers as it is quite wordy.

Pesonally, I found it to be a bit 'preachy' in places.



Picture3




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Thursday, 20 December 2018

Vengeance by Gail Z. Martin



Title: Vengeance
Series: A Darkhurst Novel (Book 2)
Author: Gail Z. Martin
Genre: Fantasy (epic)


When undertaker brothers Corran and Rigan Valmonde became outlaw monster hunters and fled beyond the walls of Ravenwood, they thought they had defeated the source of the abominations that killed so many of their friends and loved ones. But the more successful they become at destroying the creatures, the more they realize a greater evil is at work – larger and more monstrous than they ever could imagine…




Excerpt:


“Did you find the ghost? Could you get rid of it?”

Rigan caught a warning glance from Corran, but his temper burned too hot for him to care. “We found the ghosts—all five of them. And the monster who killed them. Did you know the wheelwright was the creature? Did you give him the children to save your own skins?”

For an instant, shock and fear glinted in the mayor’s eyes before cold calculation took over. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Rigan’s slammed the burlap sack down on the table, and the men jumped, sliding back in their chairs. The rest of the crowd in the common room fell silent.

“I think you knew,” Rigan said, looming over the mayor until the man had to crane his neck and his multiple chins to see. “The ghosts said people in the village helped the monster. Supplied the children for it to eat. Who else could go unnoticed for so long?”

“You’re crazy. That’s… insane,” the mayor sputtered.

“You found them? The missing ones?” A man stood near the back of the pub. From his clothing and the dirt streaks on his pants, he looked like a farmer, probably stopping for a meal after bringing goods to market. His broad shoulders and muscular arms spoke of hard work, and while sun and hardship had weathered his features, Rigan guessed the man might only be a few years older than Corran.


Author Bio:

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Vengeance is the second in the new Darkhurst epic fantasy series. Also new is The Dark Road, the second in the Jonmarc Vahanian Adventures series, and Assassin’s Honor (coming, October 2018), the first in the new Assassins of Landria series.

Her Deadly Curiosities urban fantasy series set in Charleston, SC has a new novel, Tangled Web, and two new collections, Trifles & Folly, and Trifles & Folly 2.

Other work includes the Chronicles Of The Necromancer series, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms series, and the alternate history novel Iron & Blood and the Storm & Fury collection (co-authored with Larry N. Martin) She is also the co-author (with Larry) of the Mark Wojcik monster hunter series (Spells, Salt and Steel) and the upcoming Wasteland Marshals series and the Cauldron/Secret Council series from Falstaff Books.

As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance. New and upcoming books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, Badlands, and Lucky Town.



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Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Undaunted by Helen Hardt


Title: Undaunted
Series: Blood Bond Saga Vol 3
Author: Helen Hardt
Genre: Romance/vampires
Release Date: 18th December


Breaking into a cemetery isn’t anything Dante Gabriel ever thought he’d do, but he has no choice. He must recover his father’s body so he can claim his estate. Help arrives from two unexpected sources, but their plan is interrupted.

Erin Hamilton’s best friend is a wolf shifter. The man she loves is a vampire. His father is a ghost. She can deal with all of that, but new worries have surfaced. The missing doctor has returned to the hospital, and his strange actions are disturbing…but not as disturbing as the odd dreams that begin to plague her. She finds comfort and love in Dante’s arms, even as he slowly begins to change.

More secrets are revealed, and Dante and Erin recruit his cousin and her brother to help them find the missing women and discover the secrets of the Vampyre Texts, even as external forces work against them. But as Dante develops some unusual abilities and the darkness targeting him becomes more menacing, he must proceed, undaunted.

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Interested in other books in the series:

Unchained
Blood Bond Vol 1

Vampire Dante Gabriel is starving. What he craves is red gold—human blood. After being held captive as a blood slave to a female vampire for years, he has finally escaped. Unchained at last, he follows his nose to the nearest blood bank to sate his hunger.

ER nurse Erin Hamilton expects just another busy night shift…until she finds a gorgeous stranger vandalizing the hospital blood bank. Though her logic tells her to turn him in, she’s pulled by stronger and unfamiliar emotions to protect the man who seems oddly infatuated with her scent. Chemistry sizzles between them, but Dante, plagued by nightmares of his time in captivity, fears he won’t be able to control himself…especially when he discovers a secret she doesn’t even know she’s hiding.


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Meet The Author:

#1 New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.





Tuesday, 18 December 2018

What A Widow Wants by Jenna Jaxon


Title: What A Widow Wants
Series: The Widow's Club
Author: Jenna Jaxon
Genre: Historical Romance


Widowed by the Battle of Waterloo, the ladies of Lyttlefield Park are returning to London society—with their futures in their own hands . . .

The widowed Lady Stephen Tarkington, Fanny to her friends, has finished mourning her cad of a husband and is ready to enjoy her freedom. The kind of freedom neither a gently bred miss nor a close-watched wife is permitted: dressing up as Aphrodite for a masquerade, drawing gentlemen away from the party, and hinting at late-night assignations with her dance partners. All is going pleasurably according to plan—until the Roman god Fanny kisses during a masquerade turns out to be Matthew, Lord Lathbury, whose proposal she refused years ago . . .

Lathbury is charming, passionate, inventive, everything Fanny wants in a lover—but unfortunately, he’s on the hunt for a wife. He’s more than willing to use all his wicked skills to persuade her back to the altar, but he can’t wait forever. And now Fanny’s position is more precarious than she once thought. If the tongues of the ton set to wagging, it’s possible no offer in the world will save her from ruin. But does she want to be saved? . . .


Excerpt:

Heart pounding, Fanny ran on tiptoes in an effort to keep up with him. This was madness. Wherever was he taking her? And what on earth did he have in mind? Oh, but she knew what that was. That deep desire in his eyes told her exactly where his intentions lay. Would she allow him to have his way with her? She didn’t quite recognize him; the mask hid just enough of his face. Still he reminded her of someone. Someone who had been most dear to her what seemed a lifetime ago. But that man had left London, swearing never to return to the ton years before. He’d retreated to his country estate and had not been seen in Town for seven years.

They raced down the corridor, Pollux still in the lead, Castor right behind her. That gave her some comfort. Pollux wouldn’t ravish her in front of his brother, or friend rather. Still, the urgency of his headlong flight, dodging wide-eyed guests left and right, persuaded her that this man would stop at nothing to get her alone.

He turned a corner into a deserted hall and slowed finally. Stopping at a door on the far end, he glanced around then put his hand on the latch. “Keep watch, Cas. No one enters.”

Castor grinned. “Not a soul, Pol. My word as a gentleman.”

Pollux pushed down the latch, opened the door into a shadowy room, and drew her inside.
The flickering fireplace across the room gave the only light. Fanny’s eyes took a moment to adjust to the dimness. A moment in which Pollux pulled her hard against him, crushing her breasts against his unyielding chest. He wrapped his arms around her, pinning her to him, and sank his mouth onto hers.


Author Bio:

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical romance in all time periods because, she says, “passion is timeless.” She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She’s a theatre director when she’s not writing and lives in Gloucester, Virginia with her family, including two very vocal cats and one silent one.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as an active member of Chesapeake Romance Writers, her local chapter of RWA. She has four series currently available: The House of Pleasure, set in Georgian England, Handful of Hearts, set in Regency England, and Time Enough to Love, set in medieval England and France, and The Widows’ Club series, also set in Regency England and available from Kensington Publishing in both print and digital.

She currently writes to support her chocolate habit.





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Monday, 17 December 2018

Paper Bag Mask By Brock Heasley



Title: Paper Bag Mask
Author: Brock Heasley
Publisher: Pen Name Publishing
Published: October 23rd
Pages: 252


At the same moment he catches his teacher giving illegal drugs to a student, Redmond Fairweather loses his friggin’ mind and steals Mr. Street’s prized possession—a stupid wooden sword with round edges that will never, ever cut through anything—“The Whomper.”

Redmond has no idea why he stole the Whomper. He guesses his extreme dislike (okay, hate… so much hate) of the school’s most popular teacher probably has something to do with it. To his surprise and delight, the hottest girl in school, Elodia Cruz, hates him too.

Soon, Redmond’s small band of misfit friends joins up with Elodia and the most popular kids on campus to hold the Whomper for ransom, pull off an elaborate, broad daylight heist to steal something even bigger from Mr. Street, and expose their teacher for the scumbag he really is.




About the Author

Brock Heasley is a writer and artist who, to the shock of absolutely no one visiting this site, was a member of such prestigious high school organizations as “The Nerd Herd,” “Last Picked for Teams,” and “They Who Eat Alone.” He is a graduate of California State University Fresno, the creator of the online comic The SuperFogeys, and the award-winning filmmaker behind The Shift.

Brock lives with his wife and three daughters in California where they enjoy Pixar movies, dancing in the living room, and eating breakfast for dinner.



Guest Post by Brock Heasley:

The first book that made you realize reading means a lot to you
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” - Frank Herbert, Dune

“Fear is the mind-killer.” I can’t think of five words in fiction that have resonated so immediately and strongly with me than those. Maybe only “With great power comes great responsibility” (Stan Lee, Spider-Man) even comes close. As an insecure teenager just entering high school, Frank Herbert’s Dune hit my still-developing brain with all the world-expansive force of the in-universe, mind-altering spice so much of the plot revolves around.

When I was younger, I didn’t feel exactly “desired” in any real sense. Not by the girls whose attentions I longed for, sure, but I also didn’t imagine that the guys in my P.E. class or in church youth group wanted to hang out with me. I felt unwanted and like I didn’t have anything to offer that anyone would ever take. I was pretty sure everyone was making fun of me, all the time.

And most of that was in my head.

I know that now, but back then I couldn’t find my way around those insecure feelings, and they crippled me. They made me fearful of every social interaction. The first time a girl asked me to dance, I told her “No” for two reasons:

1)Because I figured she must be asking me on a dare and didn’t really want to dance with me. Because who would?

2)I was worried she wasn’t pretty enough and what friends I did have would make fun of me.

Again, this was all in my head. And, on some level, I knew that. It was just fear, taking over my brain and convincing me of things, that especially now looking back, simply weren’t true.

When I read Frank Herbert’s words about fear being the “mind-killer” and his recipe for dismissing it, it was an empowering moment. It became something I repeated to myself and used to calm my anxieties and rise above my insecurities. And it was just words; only words.

Not only was Dune a great book I would revisit again and again, but I learned through the character of Paul Muad’dib just how powerful words could be and how much they could mean to me. Reading became, in those long moments of struggle against myself, not just entertainment but a lifeline and a force for change.





12/17   YA/NA Book Divas   Excerpt
12/17   Just Books   Guest Post
12/18   The Page Unbound   Review
12/19   All the Ups and Downs   Interview
12/19   Blunt Book Blog   Review
12/20   Unbound Book Tours   Interview
12/20   Rebecca R. Cahill   Guest Post
12/21   A Striking Viper, Caught in a Tangled Web   Excerpt
12/21   Oh Hey! Books.   Guest Post


Blog Tour Organized By:


Saturday, 15 December 2018

Immortal Kiss Series by Laura Daleo


Series: Immortal Kiss
Author: Laura Daleo
Genre: Dark Paranormal Fantasy
Publisher: Story Bound Publishing


Immortal Kiss
4/28/17

Centuries ago ten powerful vampire gods first walked the earth; their blood thirst knew no boundaries. The destruction of mankind was inevitable. Recognizing their weakness, they selected twelve wise human beings to transform with their godly blood. These twelve, known as The Old Ones and The Council, govern The Ten. A blood lottery appeasing The Ten’s hunger was set forth into the human world and passed down every fifth generation, continuing into the present day.

All of Beth Ryan’s life a mysterious mist has watched over her; a mist she believed to be a vampire. On a cold winter night, Philippe Delon, a 700-year-old vampire walks into Beth’s life. She is drawn to him, certain he is the vampire behind the mist...but is he?

Beth and Philippe cannot deny their love for each other, nor do they try to fight it. Within days of their encounter, Beth accepts Philippe’s invitation to move into his mansion. The mansion unlocks the door to the vampire world and exposes secrets from Beth’s past. Within its walls, she learns the true identity of the mist, her link to the blood lottery, and betrayal of her loved ones. Surrounded by lies, Beth stands before The Council begging for resolution.


Excerpt:
PROLOGUE


      Just after midnight, Danny’s beat-up Mustang convertible pulled into my driveway. With a turn of the key, he silenced the soft rumble of the engine before leaning over to kiss my cheek.
“Happy birthday, Beth.”
      A gust of humid summer air tousled my hair. As I tucked the strands behind my ears, I gave his shoulder a nudge. “That’s number seven. You can stop now.”
      He grinned, calling forth a set of adorable dimples. “Seventeen is going to be epic. Feel any different?”
      Danny was such a dweeb. “You’re acting like I won the lottery.”
      He pursed his lips and gave a slow nod. “Now that would be truly epic.”
      “Yeah,” I responded, my gaze drifting toward my open bedroom window. The moon hung low in the sky, peeking through the trees surrounding my house, but complete darkness lurked behind the curtains. I squinted. I could’ve sworn I’d left the light on.
      “You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?” Danny mumbled, but his words emerged loud enough for my ears to catch their meaning.
      His use of the word “it” scratched at my bones like nails on a chalkboard. I twisted in my seat to face him. “Don’t call him that.”
      Tensing his jaw, Danny fixed his gaze on me. “What should I call it? It’s mist, Beth. It’s not human.” He breathed a little easier, the rosy red returning to his cheeks. “I get it. It’s been around for most of your life, but so have I, and you can see me, touch me, and talk to me.”
      I bit my tongue and swallowed my smartass remark. Danny was right, yet I didn’t care. The mist’s voiceless gestures had conquered my heart. Closing my eyes, I sat quietly, listening to the crickets sing like drunken fools. When we’d been kids, the mist had drawn Danny in, like an addict. He’d dubbed the shapeless mass Commander Vapor—his superhero. Every night of our childhood, Danny had camped out in front of my bedroom window, his eyes bulging from their sockets as he waited for the mist to appear.
      “It can’t give you what I can,” Danny pressed, breaking through the memories.
      You’re wrong, Danny. Opening my eyes, I turned toward him. I didn’t say a word, just stared at him in silence.
      He squirmed and looked away, like a dog being reprimanded by his master.
      I slouched down in my seat as I said, “The mist is part of me. I can’t let go. I…I don’t know how to.”
      Danny inched closer, narrowing the gap between us. “I’m not asking you to let go.” He touched my hand. “Just give me a chance.” The corners of his lips pulled upward to form a toothy grin. “You and I have things in common.”
      I blinked and cocked my head. “Like what? I collect shoes, you collect creepy bugs. I read poetry, you read comic books. I paint, you play paintball.”
      Shrugging his shoulders, he fired back, “We’re both seventeen, next door neighbors, and go to Emery High.”
      I smirked. None of those things were shared interests. “Nice try.”
      He lifted his chin and snapped his fingers. “Got it! We’re near doppelgangers. My eyes are greenish-blue, and your shade mimics the sea. I’m covered in freckles, while you have just a few sprinkled across your nose. I’m a carrottop to your apple-red.”
      I eyed him, letting his words sink in. Danny’s lips quivered, making it impossible to keep a straight face. Exploding with laughter, we fell into each other, our foreheads colliding.
      He curled a strand of my hair around his finger. “Give me a chance.”
      I stiffened and pulled away. “I care about you, Danny, but we’re—”
      Bobbing his head, he finished my sentence. “Just friends, I know, but I may be able to change your mind.” He tapped his temple. “I’ve been doing some research. Found some pretty interesting stuff in my comic books.”
      I clamped my lips shut. Comic book research? This should be good.
      He held up his hand. “Hear me out. I mean, we’re dealing with mist that forms into a man. Comic books aren’t such a far stretch.”
      He had a point. “I’m all ears.”
      “I’ve narrowed the possibilities down to three types of beings.” His expression screamed ‘wait for it,’ just like when our science teacher, Mr. Mayor, hesitated after every word, letting the anticipation build. “An alien…a warlock…or a vampire.” He paused before adding, “In comic books, all three can turn their bodies into mist. You should ask him which of the three he is.”
      His words crept across the surface of my brain. The nagging itch to do just as he’d suggested filled me. I have to know, I thought as I pushed open the car door and stepped onto my driveway.
      Danny flashed to my side, taking my hand. “Let me come up with you?”
      I didn’t look at him, my gaze fixed instead on my bedroom window. “No.” I dropped his hand. “Go home, Danny. I’ll see you tomorrow.” As an afterthought, I faced him and pressed my hand over my heart. “Thanks for making my seventeenth birthday special.”
      His lips stretched into a goofy grin. “I love you, Beth.”
      I couldn’t say it back, because I didn’t love him. Forcing a smile, I backed along the drive and up onto the porch. As I turned and opened the front door, the Mustang’s engine whined to life again. I waved to Danny as I slipped inside, closing the door behind me.
      In the darkness, I climbed the drab, carpeted stairs. My mother wasn’t one for color. Muted gray décor claimed every surface of our home. She called it modern; I called it boring. In contrast, my cotton-candy-pink bedroom screamed of my personality. Danny called it the “Pink Palace,” and the space was my palace.
      My bedroom door stood ajar, releasing the scent of dewy rosebuds. Inhaling the intoxicating air made my head spin. I inched closer, running my hand along the wall and peering through the partially opened door. The mist drifted past the opening, and my heart jumped into my throat. Pushing the door wide, I hurried inside and flicked on the light. Red rose petals cascaded like a waterfall of blood from my bed’s comforter onto the carpet. I opened my mouth, but no sound escaped me, and my feet seemed rooted to the floor. He’d prepared this surprise for me, for my birthday. As I struggled to catch my breath, I shut the door, closing us off from the outside world.
      The mist shifted to form the silhouette of a man, who glided across my room toward my bed. His translucent finger pointed to a pink sheet of folded paper resting on my pillow.
      My palms tingled in anticipation of clutching up the filmy page. Could it be a love letter? I ran to my bed, scooped the pink note into my hands, and fell backward onto the silky blanket of rose petals. They fluttered around me, caressing my skin as gravity called them back. I bit my lip as I stroked the coarse paper between my fingers before opening it. My gaze roamed over the page.
      If I had to choose whether to breathe or to love you, I would use my last breath to tell you that…I love you.
      The paper trembled in my grasp, his words blurring inside my tears. He loved me and I him. I rose to my feet to face the mist, my mouth dry as a jarful of cotton balls. I forced out each of my words. “What…are …you?”
      He waved his hand over the petals, spinning them faster and faster. As they came to rest upon my bedding, a letter began to take shape, becoming a V. Others followed, creating sense from chaos. My small human life shrunk into the background. All that remained in that moment was the word…VAMPIRE.


Bound by Blood
3/17/17

Five years crawled by at a painfully slow pace for young vampire, Beth; each year more agonizing than the next. The powerful unyielding spell which masked Amon’s whereabouts showed no signs of weakening. Influenced by the binding ritual and Amon’s blood surging inside her, Beth will stop at nothing, and risk everything, to find him and turn the tables on Osiris, Isis, and Hathor. In foggy streets of London, lives are threatened by a new breed of hunter, and nothing is what it seemed. Beth once again finds herself surrounded by betrayal. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between Philippe and Amon – knowing that her decision will change one life forever. But whose?







The Vampire Within
3/16/18

Brandon Cass is not your average teenager. He has a taste for blood—human blood. For sixteen years, he stumbled through life without a hitch until the enigmatic aroma of blood awakened something dark within him. Visions of a beautiful young woman with chocolate brown hair and ocean blue eyes haunt his mind, yet her identity is a puzzling mystery.

His hunger for blood strengthens, and the cravings become too powerful to control. No one is safe, not even his family. To safeguard all he once found dear, Brandon sets out on a quest for answers. In an unfamiliar city, he comes face-to-face with the beautiful young woman, confronts the dark force which controls him, and learns what he must endure to reclaim his soul.





Author Bio:

Laura Daleo was born and raised in San Diego, California where she majored in Fine Arts at Mesa College.

She is best known for her love of animals and shares her home with three humorous Basset Hounds, Stuart, Morgan, and Dexter, her toughest critics.

Laura has held positions in several industries, Restaurant, Telecom, Biotech, Research, and Retail.

Throughout Laura's professional career, she furthered her writing skills by taking courses and by joining writer’s critique groups and Writers Digest. She is now the owner of Story Bound Publishing, a fresh voice in the supernatural realm of ebooks and traditional print, committed to publishing unearthly tales of Aliens, Angels, Demons, Fairies, Ghosts, Shifters, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Zombies and all other creatures that go bump in the night.







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