Saturday, 30 September 2017

Fields of Gold Beneath Prairie Skies by Suzanne de Montigny



Title: Fields of Gold Beneath Prairie Skies
Author: Suzanne de Montigny
Genre: Historical Romance

French-Canadian soldier, Napoleon, proposes to Lea during WWI, promising golden fields of wheat as far as the eye can see. After the armistice, he sends money for her passage, and she journeys far from her family and the conveniences of a modern country to join him on a homestead in Saskatchewan. There, she works hard to build their dream of a prospering farm, clearing fields alongside her husband through several pregnancies and even after suffering a terrible loss. When the stock market crashes in ’29, the prairies are stricken by a long and abysmal drought. Thrown into poverty, she struggles to survive in a world where work is scarce, death is abundant, and hope dwindles. Will she and her family survive the Great Depression?



Excerpt:
Chapter Three
The Ferry

After Lea swallowed the last sip of her soup, she settled herself on the main deck, finding a seat as near to the window as possible. Tucking her suitcase under her legs, she glanced about to see how crowded the ferry was. If there weren’t too many people, she might have the entire row of seats to herself, a safeguard from lonely men looking for company. She relaxed when an old woman made herself comfortable beside her. 

As they sailed away, the land behind them diminished, the greens fading to misty pale blues that disappeared into the haze. She watched the faint line grow thinner until water surrounded the vessel, lapping against the hull, only gray sky visible beyond. Lea’s pulse quickened as she remembered her mother’s worries. Could there still be U-boats left that haven’t heard the Armistice has been signed? No! Nap said it’s official—the war’s over, and if he says so, then I believe him. To convince herself of his words, she pulled out the stack of letters from her bag that he’d sent over the past year and filed through them until she found the one she was looking for. 


My dearest Lea,


I’m sorry I haven’t been by to see you for some time. You see, I wasn’t given leave, though we’ve been stationed close to Chatlineau a few times. We’ve been transporting POWs back to Germany from France and Belgium now that the armistice has been signed. You’d think it’d be easy work, but it’s not. It’s quite sad, really. These men are so thin and broken, and I worry, even though they’re the enemy, that they may not survive. My comrades say I shouldn’t concern myself after all the atrocities the Germans have committed, but aren’t all men equal? Weren’t they serving their country the same as we were? Don’t they have mothers and fathers who love them too? 


Yesterday, I spoke to a German who told me, in broken French, that he had a wife and a four-year-old daughter waiting for him back home. I wonder if they’ll find him changed, the way his hands tremble and the way he starts at the slightest sound. He’s a haunted man. We weren’t the only ones hurt. It’s a terrible thing war, where decent men are forced to kill each other because of decisions made by political leaders. 


One of our boys told me a touching story the other day. He said that one Christmas, the Allies near Vimy Ridge heard the Germans singing ‘Silent Night’. They were so moved, they joined in. Can you imagine? Germans and Allies singing together, each in their own language? Then a magical thing happened. Slowly, they all came out of the trenches, shook hands, showed pictures of their girls. Some even cried together. Others shared what small portions of food they’d received from back home. Then someone pulled out a ball, and they began playing soccer. Can you imagine? Soccer! But it all ended when they heard gunshot in the distance. Their brief Christmas was over. It was business as usual. They shook hands and then lowered themselves back down into the muck of the trenches and resumed shooting. My eyes fill with tears at the thought. What a terrible thing to befriend and kill your enemy on the same day. 


But there is one good thing that has come from this war, my beautiful Lea, and that’s you. As I sat in the mud-filled, rat-infested trenches before the armistice, it was you who kept me going. I could survive the cold and damp, the trench foot, and the lack of food just by filling my mind with thoughts of you, your beautiful blue eyes, your dark hair, your charming accent. It gave me something to hope for—a future.


As always, I love you,  Nap 

Lea let out a sigh. Her little Napoleon! She never grew tired of reading his letters! At first his correspondence had related the latest news, but as they got to know one another—be it live or through mail—he began leaving small hints, choice words that indicated they might have a life together! The day came when Lea received a short note saying he’d drop by that night, that he had something important on his mind to discuss with her. 


“I think this is it,” Lea had said to Mathilde in an excited whisper.
“What?” asked Mathilde, folding dried bed sheets, still checking for the telltale signs of lice—a slight blood stain—though many months had passed since the soldiers had spent the night. 


“Napoleon is coming—tonight!” 


“Tonight?”


“Yes, and I think he may ask me to marry him!” Her sister’s mouth dropped. 


“Marry him! You can’t be serious. You barely know him! He’s only been here a few times to see you.”


“Yes, but we’ve been writing back and forth. I know him well enough. He’s the kindest man I’ve ever met. He’s funny, he’s sweet, and besides, I would like to see these golden fields and blue skies he talks about.” 


“But you don’t know what’ll happen between now and then. You could be a widow with a baby.” 


Lea mulled her words over. It was true. She’d known three of the town’s girls who’d been furlough brides only to lose their husbands a few months later on the front. 


“You can’t rush into these things,” said Mathilde. “And what if you marry him and then don’t fit into his world. Remember, you’re Belgian. And he’s asking you to move to Canada, an untamed country.” 


Lea weighed the consequences of her decision, then replied. “Yes, but I love him.”


“But Lea...” Mathilde dug her hands into her hips and gave her a condescending look. A timid knock at the front door brought an abrupt end to the conversation.


“It can’t be him already!” whispered Lea. She pinched her cheeks and bit her lips.


Her sister did a quick fold of the sheets and shoved them into the cupboard while Lea smoothed out her dress. 


Papa opened the door.


Napoleon stood on the steps in full uniform, his chest pushed out. He reached up, took off his hat and smiled. “Good day, Monsieur Decorte.”


Papa turned and shot Lea an amused hint of smile. “Lea. Are you in the mood for Mr. de Montigny’s company? Or are you too tired today?” Without waiting for an answer, he said, “I think she’s too tired.” He made as if to close the door. 


Lea rushed forward before her beau had time to flee from Papa’s wry sense of humour. “Of course I have time for Napoleon. Come in, come in.” She grabbed his arm and dragged him to the sofa where they sat side by side holding hands.
Napoleon looked uncertain. 


No wonder! After what Papa just put him through. 


They made small talk until dinner was served. When they sat down to eat, he barely touched the fish and potatoes Maman had prepared, wiping his forehead over and over again with his napkin and taking sips of water as though his mouth were dry. 


When the dishes were washed and placed in the cupboard, Lea led him to the sofa again while everyone conveniently disappeared except Papa who made an occasional entrance to cast a wary eye on the couple. 


“So the war is over now and as soon as we’re done transporting the POWs, I’ll likely be discharged,” Napoleon said after the older man left the room for the second time. 


“Oh?” said Lea. 


Nap cleared his throat. “Yes, and then I’ll be going home to Canada. I’ll join my father and brothers in Saskatchewan.” 


Lea moved closer, hoping for an arm to encircle her. “I’ll miss you.” 


“As I will you.” He slid his hand over her shoulder only to remove it again when Maman wandered in and began polishing the silverware. 


Lea flashed her an impatient glare, but Maman ignored it and continued rubbing the cutlery until every individual piece shone before leaving. 


“Tell me more about Saskatchewan. Have you applied to the government for your homestead yet?” She loved pronouncing the English word. It seemed so worldly. 


“No, not yet. I’ll do that when I get home.” Napoleon’s face paled. “But I...I...I was wondering if...” 


“Yes?”


Papa sauntered in and began sweeping the floor.


Napoleon let out a frustrated sigh and then changed the subject. “We’ve been lucky with the weather, haven’t we?”


“Yes, indeed,” replied Lea, throwing an angry look at her father.


Papa pushed crumbs into the dustpan and poured it into the trashcan, oblivious.


“It’d be nice to go for a picnic,” suggested Lea.


“Ah, yes, it would. We could pick up a baguette from the boulangerie, then take it to the park.”


“That would be lovely.” The grandfather clock that stood in the corner of the room chimed. Ten o’clock. 


“And we could get some fromage bleu too,” she added. It was getting late. If Maman and Papa didn’t leave them alone, Nap would never propose.
Papa cleared his throat and eyed Lea. 


Lea hurled him a desperate glare, the effect obviously not working because he dragged a chair to the grandfather clock and began winding it. 


On seeing his actions, Napoleon took in a sharp breath and stood up. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was so late. I should be going.” 


Lea’s heart fell. Her lips pressed together in a tight line as she walked Napoleon to the door. 


He squeezed her shoulders, and cast a glance toward Papa, before saying, “I’ll be back as soon as I can. Maybe in a couple of weeks.” He kissed her cheek, then retreated into the night. 




Author Bio:


Suzanne de Montigny loved writing stories as a child, creating her first novella at the age of twelve. She has kept it on her shelf between her textbooks and novels all her life. As an adult, she pursued a career in music education, teaching school for twenty years. It was there she discovered she had a knack for storytelling. When her father passed away in 2006, she developed an overpowering urge to begin writing again. She has received awards for her “Shadow of the Unicorn” series and her young teen novel, A Town Bewitched.

She lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the four loves of her life, her husband, her two boys, and Buddy the bichon frisé.




Friday, 29 September 2017

AM13 Outbreak Series by Samie Sands

I liked the concept behind the stories in these three books, it was different than the usual zombie tales.


Lockdown: Although it made a change for the story to start before the ‘outbreak’, the first half of the book was painfully slow, but worth sticking with for the latter half.
It’s written from Leah’s point of view and has a twist that you may, or may not, see coming. Leah, herself is an annoying person, who without a man to ‘look after’ her would have been one of the first to die!


Forgotten: The second book has new characters and alternates between Alyssa and Ethan’s points of view, alongside the report/journal written by Dr. Jones. This story is tenser than the first and the characters are more developed and likeable. The story itself had unexpected twists and was fun to read, although the portrayal of the ‘mindless’ zombies, doesn’t sit well in the context of the book!


Extinct: Another change of characters in the final book, this time told from Georgie’s perspective, and dealing with life in the island sanctuary, ‘safe’ from the zombies (or not)! This book wrapped up most of the threads and loose ends well, but not all of them. There are still unanswered questions… maybe it’s not the final book of the series!

*I voluntarily reviewed Advance Reader Copies of these books.



Synopses:

Lockdown

Leah Watton’s practical joke has spiralled way out of control—all to impress a crush…

With a prank online video, Leah hopes to catch the attention of Jake Colton, a cute, blond-haired, blue-eyed co-worker she’s had a crush on for months. But instead of sending it to Jake, she manages to forward the clip to her boss—who buys every gory second.

When mass panic ensues, Leah learns the video is more than a staged act…

The government is calling the virus AM13. As the outbreak spreads, citizens are forced to stay indoors while they assess the gravity of the illness. Most people are quarantined in their homes, but Leah, Jake, and Leah’s best friend Michelle are some of the unlucky few who are stuck at work when the Lockdown occurs.

That’s where she first encounters one of the infected…

Aside from a contaminated woman devouring one of her co-workers, Leah has another problem. Does she do as she’s ordered and stay at work? Or should she disobey government orders and break free to reunite with her family?

She can’t go it alone—after all, Leah has none of the skills needed to survive—but with Michelle and Jake by her side, not even a contagious virus and a sea of the dead can keep her from…

Breaking out of the Lockdown…




Forgotten

Every attempt to contain the deadly AM13 virus has failed, leaving humanity on the brink of extinction…

The plague is spreading out of control with no cure in sight. Then the government announces its new plan—a sanctuary in an area completely untouched by the infected—as long as you can get there alive and unscathed.

Ethan Watton has managed to survive this long, even with OCD making every day more hellish than it already is…

Ethan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder dramatically affected his life before the infection began. Now he’s desperate to get as far away from the zombie virus as humanly possible. Isolated and afraid, Ethan thinks there is no way in hell he will survive the epidemic.

Alyssa Turner has spent her teenage years prepping for the undead to challenge her zombie killing skills…

Alyssa knows with absolute certainty that she will survive the AM13 virus. She’s read all the books, watched all the films, and done all the research. She’s strong, tough, and a self-proclaimed badass. Any group would be lucky to fight alongside her…until the unthinkable makes her doubt every skill she’s acquired.

Dr. Jones is a scientist who doesn’t understand why he was selected to produce a cure…

Surely there are survivors more experienced in virology than he is. And what will happen to him—and the rest of the species—if he fails? Is the fate of the human race really resting on his shoulders? Or are there others working toward the same goal?

With the zombies multiplying and survivors struggling to make it to the sanctuary, Ethan, Alyssa, and Dr. Jones fight to fulfill their destinies. If they fail, their fate is sealed, and they will join the millions of others who have been…
Forgotten.



Extinct

Writing books about the horrors of the zombie apocalypse is one thing—but Georgie Blake can’t believe it has become her reality…

She never expected her fictional stories of blood, death, and the consumption of human flesh to jump off the page into the real world. She certainly didn’t think she’d survive this long if they had. As a shy novelist, she was sure she’d be one of the first to die.

Safe in the Sanctuary, Georgie holds on to hope for a cure…

But that’s not all she holds on to. The government has promised the people of the Sanctuary that they can return home. The rumours are rife that there is an antidote on the horizon. But even if not, the infected are dying out, throwing the treacherous AM13 virus to the brink of extinction. If the infection dies out, this horrible nightmare Georgie is living in will be a distant memory.

Until everything that’s right goes terribly wrong…

Soon after meeting some new friends in the Sanctuary, Georgie learns she’s going to have to face the monsters outside the walls if she wants to return to her old life. But for a scared, introverted bookworm, it may be too much to consider…

Will Georgina conquer her fears of the dead to return home, or will she be one of the countless others who have gone Extinct?




The Author:

Samie Sands is a 28 year old freelance graphic designer who has recently decided to follow her lifelong dream and use her creativity in a new way by writing.

She has a degree in Media Studies and PR and has already had articles published in a number of e-zines, including one of the most popular pieces at Zombie Guide Magazine. She has also had short stories included in a number of successful projects.

She lives in a small seaside town in the UK, but loves to travel to gain inspiration from new places and different cultures.

The Peacock Door by Wanda Kay Knight



Title: The Peacock Door
Author: Wanda Kay Knight
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy



In a magical tale of adventure, eight cousins sneak through forbidden treehouse doors, only to find themselves separated from each other and lost in strange worlds. In their quests to return home, they must unravel mysteries, escape snares and villains, find one another, and search for the elusive Oracle. The Peacock Door is a rich story of camaraderie, loyalty, love, and determination with a bit whimsy sprinkled throughout.





Excerpt #1:

Grizzles and Lola:

He hobbled and wobbled when he walked as though sharp tacks protruded from the floor; his shoulders were hunched, and his head bent forward; he was ancient, no doubt about it—he was an ancient, old man. Giant folds and wrinkles covered his face; his white hair fell in large loopy whorls about his head, and they might have redeemed the face if it were not for the huge bulbous nose and the tiny squinty eyes. But the part they noticed the most was the fingers; gnarled, wrinkled fingers with long, yellowed talons for fingernails.


He twisted around and snarled at them; his raspy voice interrupted by his own heavy, noisy breathing, “Can’t you see that I am busy? I don’t like people, and I especially don’t like children. I ate the last child that came here.” He picked his tooth with a dirty fingernail. “What do you want?”













Author Bio:

Wanda Kay Knight lives in the Pacific Northwest, teaches literature, strives really hard to keep up with her adventurous/competitive family, makes things out of yarn (mainly unique hats), enjoys collecting pretty rocks, and writes a lot.

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Excerpt #2:

The Doors:

The others smiled, nodding innocently. Gramma laughed and turned to go out the peacock door; but, as soon as she grabbed the handle, she pivoted back facing them.


A bizarre expression clouded her face. “Whatever you do,” she said, “Whatever you do—listen to me!” She pointed her finger at each of them, and after staring directly into each set of eyes, she continued. “There are journeys and treasures beyond those doors,” she said, “There are long forgotten wisps of alchemy and lost keys and crystals and mirrors of illusions; but, you must not go out any of those doors. Her voice lowered as she leaned forward. “I gotta tell you—those keys are especially hard to find. You think it’s easy; but, nooo, it is not! Everything is fine as long as you don’t go out any doors except the peacock door, right here. This is the door to use—only this one.” She patted the door.


Her voice lowered even more—almost to a whisper. “You see, kiddies, even if you’re ready to search for the keys, it’s real hard to—um—well—to—to feel them—to experience them.” She rubbed the fingers of each hand together, rotating the thumb around the fingertips. “Yeeessss, to feel them; it’s just not the time to feel them. That’s the hard part. Do you understand?”













Framed by Wayne Kerr



Title: Framed – A Black Swann Investigation
Author: Wayne Kerr
Genre: Mystery / Thriller


Toronto’s newest homicide detective, Reggie Swann, seemed to have it all: great career, handsome husband and plans to start a family, until she was framed for murder…

A cop has very few friends in prison. After surviving ten brutal years behind bars, Reggie’s conviction is finally overturned thanks to her tenacious mother, a new forensic test and a very clever lawyer. She quickly discovers that getting her old life back won’t be as easy as she hoped. To many, she was still as the media had dubbed her: ‘Black Swann – murderer and cop-gone-bad’. The Toronto Police Department still considers her to be a suspect, Reggie’s husband has remarried and the real killer is still on the loose.

Before Reggie can return to Toronto and solve the crime that ruined her life, she reluctantly agrees to investigate a murder in her home town of Penticton, only to discover the two cases which are separated by ten years and five provinces might somehow be connected. Will anyone believe the wild theories of the disgraced detective?

The real murderer does. He framed her once, this time Reggie Swann must die!





Author Bio:

Canadian author, Wayne Kerr, was born and raised in the small town of Biggar, Saskatchewan (New York is big, but this is Biggar). He married his high school sweetheart, Marlene, thirty-nine years ago and has lived happily ever since. They resided in the United States for the past twenty years, but recently returned to Canada and now call the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia home. The writer honed his story-telling skills while keeping his five younger siblings and later his daughter entertained during long cold winters. When not reading or writing thrillers, Wayne is probably hiking, biking or playing tennis.

Website  Twitter  Amazon





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Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Halfling by Melissa H. North



Title: The Halfling
Author: Melissa H. North
Genre: Fantasy

“There are three things I know are certain in my life. Firstly, I am a cursed halfling—part faerie, part human. Another thing I know is I hate faeries. They are deceitful, evil, and conniving.
The third thing I know—and it is a certainty—nothing is guaranteed in this life, including your sanity, your family, and your world as you know it.” - Eliana

Eliana finds herself propelled into a world she longs to stay away from; a world where nothing is what it seems. In a race against minds, she must master her magic and fight an unimaginable darkness, stretching throughout the realm of Grandelione. The same darkness that cursed her mother and, now, her half-brother is laying dormant in her too.

It grows stronger with each passing day.

Left with two options, she must choose to fight and bring peace back to Grandelione or plunge into a world of darkness and murder.

Can she learn to harness her magic and bring peace back to Grandelione and her family?

Or will the darkness within consume her?

Pursued by her brothers from the Faerie realm of Grandelione, Eliana Ariarose flees through the streets of New York City.

Her brothers are sworn enemies, with the youngest, Caelian, having battled to earn his title of Crown Prince from Aemon – a royal who vows bloodshed in order to have his claim to the throne restored.

As Eliana flees, she makes startling discoveries about herself and her real identity, as well as the truth about her upbringing.

Eliana meets many beings from the Faerie world. Some would die to keep her safe, while others would happily steal her immense and unusual powers, right before destroying her heart and soul.




Excerpt:

I’m going to die, she thought as claws large enough to crush a car reached for her. Her stomach launched into her throat as the creature picked her up. She screamed, her voice lost amidst the screech of its wingbeats. She groped for the zeitgeber in her pocket but feared that it would slip out of her hands because of her damaged shoulder. They were high in the sky, flying towards a red glow in the mountains. She had never imagined such a creature in her life. It was from hell itself. Panic engulfed her, sending bile into her mouth. Gagging, she tried to hold back the surge of vomit but couldn’t. Hot, acidic fluid gushed in sporadic intervals. The beast swung to the right and low to the ground as she continued to heave. The nauseating ride felt worse than a roller coaster. Her head swung from side to side as the motion of the flying beast slowed. Groggily, she turned her head and looked down as her stomach lunged once more towards her throat. A pair of burning eyes below her caught her attention. A figure, dressed in smoky black clothes and hidden inside a dark cloak watched her being carried like a helpless rabbit in the claws of an eagle. She did the only thing she could. As she opened her mouth and felt her stomach contents rise, she directed it towards the figure with the burning eyes. A tiny act of defiance in the face of approaching death.



About the Author:

Writing has always been a hobby and cathartic experience for me. Turning my passion into a fulfilling career as an Author has been one of my greatest dreams. I write because creating something that didn't exist before is as close to magic as I'll ever get. All you need is imagination.
I’ve always been passionate about storytelling and impressed by the influence it has on people and the decisions they make in life. I love engaging with the projects I work on, diving headfirst into the research, investigation, and production of stories I feel are worth writing about. I am a curious and proactive Author, interested in preserving the foundations set by classical literature by adapting them to modern themes and trends.







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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Ambrosia: A Poetry Anthology


 Delight in the nectar of the gods.
Feed your mind with Ambrosia


Whispers to the gods are like honey from a poet's lips. When several poets raise their voices together, it's a sacred feast of memories and dreams. Poetry is divine food for the soul, full of emotional and celestial feeling. Join us in our longing, our pain and passion, heartache, logic and insanity, fear, faith, confusion, hope, unity, solitude, daily life, political strife, and more.

From the creative minds of Eric Keizer, A.L. Mabry, Sam DeLoach, Alyssa Trivett, Mello Sakia, Stacy Overby, Phillip Matthew Roberts, Veronica Falletta and Stephanie Ayers.

The Poets of this project have partnered with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and all royalties will be donated to this charity.







One of the authors of Ambrosia is Stephanie Ayers and I'm delighted that she has joined us for an interview!

Stephanie is a publisher, author, poet, and graphic designer living in central Virginia with her husband and two kids, 3 cats, and a pitbull. She began writing as a child and discovered writing to be a great escape from her daily life.


Hi Stephanie, welcome to Just Books.

Would you please begin by telling us when you first started writing poetry and what made you feel the need to express yourself in this way?
I began writing poetry in my senior year of HS. I sought fame and fortune and at that time, poetry was a hot commodity, easy to get published with. In later years, it became a method of release and therapy.


What style of poetry do you prefer?
Most of my poetry rhymes, but I don’t really have a set style.


Has your idea of what poetry is changed since you began writing poems?
Yes, poetry has changed over the years, much like fiction. When I started writing poetry, rhyming was the thing. Now, it’s freestyle, with the lack of punctuation, stanzas, and verses. I’m old school so this style just doesn’t grab me the way the classics do.


How do you begin a poem?
With the first line. HAHA.
It usually starts from an emotion or an idea for a song.


Which of your poems is your favourite?
My favorite poem is “Soul Survivor,” a horror poem about being lost at sea.


What kind of work are you most drawn to reading yourself? Do you find yourself reading work similar to your own, or completely different?
I am more of a fiction writer, settling in the speculative fiction area with paranormal, supernatural, horror, thriller, and fantasy writing. I lean more towards fantasy for reading, always a Stephen King, and the Cross detective series from Patterson.


Do you have a favourite poet that continually go back to?
Yes. His name is Eric Keizer.


Do you have a writing routine?
I aim to write for 10 minutes a day. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.


What made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others?
I am what one would call an “attention whore.” I need to have others read what I write to feel successful. I’m all out of sorts when I have no views.


Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?
Mostly in my poetry, as it is very personal, but some of my experience finds its way into my fiction also.
I have one character that I think is very much like me. Her name is Tribba and she is the MC in my fantasy novel-in-progress, The Elven Games.


What can we expect from you in the future?
I have a short story collection (horror), The 13: Tales of Illusory, releasing in October 2017.
I am working on the final draft of my epic fantasy serial’s (Master of the Relics) first book, Coterie of Prophecy, hoping for publishing in 2018.
The Elven Games needs a conclusion, and another short story collection titled “Cheap Thrills” is in the making.


What advice would you give to an aspiring poet?
Listen to your heart. It will give you the words you need to express yourself.


And finally...
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I spend most of my non-writing work time doing graphics for authors.
On my non-working time, I am doing stuff with my family, watching tv (currently binging on Criminal Minds), and reading.

Thank you for joining us, Stephanie. 😊

Catch up with Stephanie on Facebook, Twitter, and her Website.





Tuesday, 26 September 2017

HER by Danielle Rose


Title: HER
Author: Danielle Rose
Genre: YA Horror, Short Story
Publisher: OfTomes Publishing
Cover Art: Gwenn Danae
Cover Text: Eight Little Pages


Kemper Academy is over a hundred years old, but it has only recently reopened after a series of murders and stories of hauntings shut it down. Avlynn, a new student, refuses to let the rumors scare her, chalking them up to a bit of friendly freshman hazing. But when night falls and screams draw her from her room, she finds the truth is much more horrifying than any ghost story.








Author Bio:

Danielle Rose holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine. Currently residing in the Midwest, where she spends her days dreaming of warmer temperatures, when she’s not writing, she enjoys pretending she lives in California, spending an embarrassing amount of time at Hobby Lobby, and binge-watching Netflix.








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Monday, 25 September 2017

Ruin Me by Shana Vanterpool

Title: Ruin Me
Series: Crystal Gulf Book 3
Author: Shana Vanterpool
Genre: NA Romance


Crystal Gulf, Texas, breeds bad boys. Unapologetic when it comes to their desires, they destroy, they damage, and now they’re going to ruin …

Jona can’t see his lifestyle the same way after what happened to Hillary in Damage Me. Partying and getting high has amounted in only hurting himself and others. But he’s lost sober, and everything feels wrong without his one true love in his life.

Returning to Crystal Gulf was inevitable for Justine. The loss of her dreams sends her back to where they started. But there’s one silver lining, the same one that’s gotten her this far. Jona Kyles is waiting for her. The moment they reconnect, the destruction is painfully addictive.

It’s impossible not to pick up where they left off. After an impassioned night together, they didn’t expect it to come back and haunt them. Forced in the same reality, they must battle against their pasts and fears to give their second chance the future it deserves.

But some second chances come with scars …

Ruin Me, book three in the Crystal Gulf Series, is a powerful and raw second chance romance about forgiveness and growth, with a swoon-worthy bad boy and a heroine who is as strong as she is fierce.



Win an eBook copy of Ruin Me.




Author Bio:

When I walk into a book store I feel at home. When I smell the pages of a brand new book things make sense. When I read I am who I always wanted to be. I read to escape and I write so others can as well. My family, my actress dog Bella, coffee, and a steamy love story are a few of my most precious things.


Swoon Romance on:











Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Ydron Saga by Raymond Bolton


Series: The Ydron Saga
Author: Raymond Bolton
Genre: Paranormal Epic Fantasy


Awakening
Book 1


How does a world equipped with bows, arrows and catapults, where steam power is just beginning to replace horses and sailing ships, avert a conquest from beyond the stars? Prince Regilius has been engineered to combat the Dalthin, a predatory alien species that enslaves worlds telepathically, and to do so he must unite his people. But when his mother murders his father, the land descends into chaos and his task may prove impossible. Faced with slaying the one who gave him life in order to protect his world, he seeks a better way. Set in a vast and varied land where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events, Awakening goes to the heart of family, friendship and betrayal.


Excerpt:

In this scene, Prince Regilius, or Reg as he’s called by his frinds, is fleeing the city of danYdron. At this point in the story, he has become inexplicibly telepathic and clairvoyant and is overwhelmed by the thoughts of its citizenry:

Reg was awash with faces. Their stories came upon him like a flood. Wave followed wave and inundated him to the point of drowning. These were not simply imaginings. They were beyond any concepts he had ever known and many were contrary to his way of thinking. As he fought to retain stable footing in what was rapidly becoming a maelstrom of misery and despair, he grew uncomfortably aware of the vividness and intensely personal feeling each experience brought. These were not other lives. Each seemed to be his own. It was he, Regilius Tonopath, who had been beaten, who drank, who failed and despaired. It was he, the heir to the throne of Ydron, who was the robber, the washerwoman, the child. On one hand, he knew this could not be, and contrarily he recalled each life with the clarity and certitude with which he knew each step and turning of the palace corridors.


Beneath this misery, simmering steadily to the surface, arose ever new and alien thoughts. Immersed as he was in these lives, his perceptions of things familiar were changing. Soldiers, his lifelong protectors, were not to be trusted, but rather, feared. No longer guardians and enforcers of the law, they were the source of brutality and kidnappers of husbands and children. Women hid themselves from the helmet and shield of the throne.


It did not pay to be successful outside the palace walls. Any surpluses or gains were sure to be confiscated. One could never quite pay one’s tax. The collector made sure of it. When one had managed to acquire a little more than one’s customary lot, a visit from the taxman was inevitable. Since none ever knew how the news got out, each suspected his neighbor. It probably was true spies were everywhere. A word in the right ear would likely put food in an empty belly, so distrust abounded.


Reg’s head hurt and he trembled as he drove through the horror. He could not believe any of this could be true in the land his family ruled, but the images were relentless. This flight from danger had become a plunge into reality. He was unprepared for and unable to come to terms with what each moment drove home. Had he been so sheltered he could not see his world as it was?


Somehow—he knew not by what providence—the roadster hurtled on without incident. Even when he tried, he could barely focus on his surroundings. Carts, streets, banners, men, women and children all blurred into a stream, while the dreams or revelations—he could not say which—bombarded him until he was lost in the confusion. He no longer knew where he was, yet the car careened onward.


Eventually he passed through the city’s outermost wall. He did not remember the gate or the guards, but the density of outer danYdron thinned into scattered farms and villages and his head began to clear. He breathed deeply, with only dim recollection of his purpose as the cacophony of sights and sounds receded. Like a badly beaten fighter trying to see through senses numbed by countless blows, staggering toward his corner and his seconds for relief, Reg drove westward. Familiarity kept him on his path, though his mind was still dazed, unaware of the road spinning under the wheels and away behind him.


Thought Gazer
Book 2

Everyone who touches you transforms you, if only a little. But if you enter their minds, think what they have thought, in effect do what they have done, how complete will that transformation be?

If he had been born an ordinary man, his family would be safe--safe as anyone can be in a land torn apart by war. It is his singular gift, however, that causes his wife and children to be imprisoned and held hostage and him to be used as a tool. Caught up in a struggle between opposing warlords and refusing to play the game, Peniff elects to take the moral high road. This is the story of a man, in all other ways ordinary, rising above his fears to do what he must. Can he free his family before his betrayal comes to light? Moreover, what will he become before his journey is over?


Excerpt:

At this point in the story, two prescients, Roanna and her daughter, Pandy, are on board a ship with Harad, whom readers will remember from Thought Gazer.

“I won’t leave you here,” she said. “If we have to leave, we’re leaving together. We’ll jump ship if we have to.”


She turned and took Pandy to the railing across from Harad. She grasped it and stared out over the water. Her head spun through what could happen if both were to go, and all of the outcomes were tragic and black. Panicked and uncertain what to do next, she stood watching the bow wave stream past in an endless ribbon until a tug on her sleeve returned her to the present.


“What is it?”


“There isn’t much time, Mother. A critical moment is approaching.”


A critical moment was a concept Roanna had taught Pandy long ago when she was trying to describe a point in time when an opportunity could either be seized or lost forever. Roanna thought of time as a river and had always pictured herself floating down the stream on a platform. Most of the time, all one could do was move the platform a little to one side of the stream or the other, changing the view a bit as one headed towards an unvarying destination. Every now and then, however, the stream branched and a new platform, heading down the other fork towards a new destination would present itself. Sometimes one would have a great deal of time to consider the consequences of jumping onto the second platform, sometimes almost none at all. But there was always a point in the flow of events when, if a decision were not made and acted upon in that instant, the opportunity would disappear forever. Pandy was saying that one of these instances—a critical moment—was almost upon them.


“There’s lots of time between now and daybreak. We can find a way,” she said, trying to diminish the urgency in the girl’s words. Roanna was about to ask her to clarify what she had seen when Pandy said, “I love you, Mother. Grab the log.”


“What … ?” she started to say, but Pandy pushed hard against her middle with both hands, almost knocking the breath from her lungs as she launched Roanna over the railing.


Not all outcomes are foreseeable. Too many unmade decisions cloud the yet-to-be. But as Roanna cleared the railing, floating weightless—before her heels struck wood and upended her— she thought she saw a look of satisfaction in her daughter’s eyes and knew Pandy’s choice had been correct. Never mind they would not see each other for a long time to come. Pandy would live and so would she. Her feet flipped upwards and sent her spinning and plummeting downwards.



Foretellers
Book 3

In a world facing two divergent futures—eventual freedom or complete domination—too many unmade decisions cloud the yet-to-be. Those who can see even a tiny portion of the inevitable wield great power.

In this world where young and old, rich or poor, are at the mercy of armed marauders and the armies of the powerful, a warlord’s wrath forces a mother and daughter to flee for their lives. Despite being prescient, they cannot foresee all that lies ahead. Quickly separated, their every effort centers around reunion and survival. Without losing sight of these goals, one of them foresees that, if she travels to the conflict’s center and lends support to one of the two major powers, she has the ability to influence the final outcome.

Foretellers, the third volume of The Ydron Saga, is the second book of Awakening’s prequel trilogy.


Excerpt:

At this point in the story, Peniff, the Thought Gazer, has been kidnapped by Harad, the minion of a warlord who is seeking to use Peniff to locate his enemy’s sister. Harad has has been driving his party to the breaking point. He controls Peniff by collaring him and leads him around with a leash.

To say Harad was relentless is to understate the rage that drove him. He had pushed his party mercilessly until eventually, one of the horses, driven to exhaustion, fell and refused to rise. When Harad began flogging it, Peniff tore his leash from Kord’s grasp, strode up to Harad and grabbed him by the wrist, arresting the whip at the top of its arc. Harad turned to glare.


“You will kill it and still it will not rise.” In a soft, but deliberate tone, Peniff went on. “In fact, if you continue to deny the other horses rest or sleep, you will kill them all. Then what? Do you expect us to walk all the way to danHsar?”


Harad’s face became a mask of hate, but Peniff persisted.


“Even now, the man and the woman are entering the prison. Do you expect that somehow they will run away and evade us? I promise you, they will not escape any time soon. Look at your men. Even should we stumble on the pair in the next minute, they would be too exhausted to act.”


Harad was breathing heavily, but he opened the fist he had formed with his free hand and lowered it.


“We all want the same thing,” said Peniff. “Even this poor, dumb creature wishes to rise and avoid your wrath, but it cannot. Look at its eyes. They are filled with terror, but the animal is spent. It can do no more and neither can we.”


Harad could not deny the truth. The horse’s chest heaved, its mouth frothed and the whites of its eyes showed how deeply it feared the next strike of the lash.


“Very well, Thought Gazer,” Harad said as he looked from the horse to his men. “We will rest, even sleep if you like, but not one minute past Jadon’s rising. I intend to arrive at the city’s gate tomorrow.”


“And this poor beast will carry you there, if you but allow it to sleep the night, then feed and water it in the morning.”


As the two stood staring, it was hard to say who was in charge: the one with the whip, or the one with the collar around his neck.


“There are some things even you cannot simply will into being,” said Peniff.


Harad stared a moment longer, then threw the whip to the ground.




Triad
Book 4

Heroic battles are not always won by the mighty. There are times when even the least likely among us play decisive rolls. Less able physically than anyone he knows, but paranormally unique, Bardik is recruited by a pair of psychics in the hope that, by combining his talent with theirs, they can turn looming defeat into victory.

In this, the concluding chapter to The Ydron Saga, a young man who has lost the use of his legs—someone whom earthly culture labels paraplegic—agrees to lend his telekinetic talents to the effort to bring down a tyrannical warlord.


Excerpt:

Bardik is telekinetic: able to move objects with his mind. His powers are still unfolding when he, his father, Hammat, his mother, Ada, and other refugees like the three of them are attacked by one warlord’s soldiers.

Hammat’s team was backing way from the fight, threatening to move his wagon into Ada’s. Her own were rearing up to avoid the collision. Horrified, Bardik watched as her wagon began rolling backward, before pivoting on its transom to swing toward the ditch. Lacking an unimpeded view of their reins, he was trying to decide how he might alter her team’s direction when the wagon’s right rear wheel travelled off the roadway. As her wagon began tilting, he found himself wishing there were some way he could level it. His thoughts became deeds when, in the next instant, the wagon came upright. The wheel hovered over empty air and Bardik, in wide-eyed surprise, found he could support it. As her team continued to back, the other rear wheel left the roadway and Bardik struggled to keep the wagon level. Sweat beaded on his brow and his body started to shake under the effort. Curling his fingers into his bedding, uncertain how much more exertion he could tolerate, he struggled to prevent the wagon from overturning. He cried out as, all at once, he found himself suspending the entire load with all of its wheels hanging. He did not know what he would do if Hammat’s wagon did likewise.


In the next instant, just as Bardik’s vision started to tunnel under the strain, Ada’s horses began walking forward, drawing the wagon back onto solid ground. The pressure on him lifted and Bardik collapsed, breathing deeply as he stared at the sky from his bedding, marveling at his accomplishment and the ways things were changing. He no longer needed to assess an object’s mass or dissect the elements of his intended action before assembling the parts of the problem to put them into action. He no longer performed the act of moving something distant. Now he was the act. He was the object he transported. And at the same time, he was the mover. It came to him he was all of these: act, object, and telekine. Moving those objects had become like moving a limb. Just as one does not analyze the elements of hefting a rock and throwing it, neither did he when he acted moments before. And though what he had done had required a great amount of effort, robbing him of more energy than anything prior, he could already feel himself recovering, as if the exercise had strengthened him.


About the Author:

Raymond Bolton lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Toni, and their two cats, Georgie & Sophia.

Regarding his debut novel, Awakening, multiple Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author, Mike Resnick says, “In Awakening, Raymond Bolton presents us with an intricate and interesting problem, characters you care for, aliens who are alien, and a carefully-thought-out future.”

Matthew J. Pallamary, author of Land Without Evil and Spirit Matters said, “Raymond Bolton’s genre shattering Awakening is a skillfully woven hybrid of science fiction and fantasy that brings cultural conflict to a whole new, thoroughly believable level that goes straight to the heart of what really matters.”

International award-winning author of the Daimones Trilogy, Massimo Marino, endorsed Awakening, saying, “Bolton navigates through the plot lines and the mixed genres (Science Fiction but not exactly, Fantasy but not entirely, Paranormal but not completely) with the clear gesture of the conductor of a large orchestra. A new voice and author who is bound to grow a faithful readership.”
Finally, Britain’s BookViral.com states, “it’s a grand debut. An ambitious and well considered SF crossover [that] breathes originality into the genre.”

Raymond's goal is to craft gripping stories about the human condition, whether they are set here or another world. He has written award-winning poetry and four novels. Awakening, an epic, was released in January, 2014, and Thought Gazer, an adventure and first volume of a prequel trilogy, was released on January 1, 2015. The third in the series, Foretellers, came out on March 1 , 2016. The trilogy’s conclusion, entitled Triad, aired January 1, 2017. Awakening was recently translated into Spanish and was released as El despertar – La saga de Ydron on July 1, 2015. Amazon has already listed El despertar as the Number One New Release in Ciencia Ficción.



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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Twilight Court Series by Amy Sumida


Title: Fairy-Struck
Series: Twilight Court Series Book 1
Author: Amy Sumida
Genre: Urban Fantasy RH Romance

From the Award Winning author of The Godhunter Series comes an exciting new Urban Fantasy series!

Would you like to hear a real fairy tale? A story about the war between us and them. A war which led to a truce and a truce which led to the creation of a secret society. There are councils you know nothing about, councils of fairies and of humans who write laws which govern us both. Laws you also know nothing about, yet you are held accountable to them. If you break these laws, the Wild Hunt of Fairy will come for you, but don't worry too much, it's hard to break laws concerning things you don't believe in. Fairies tend to break the truce more than humans and that's where I come in. I'm part of a military force which monitors the Fey. When they cross the line we extinguish their light... permanently. I'm Extinguisher Seren Sloane and I can tell you a real fairy's tale, if you're brave enough to listen.

This is a slow building Reverse Harem series–multiple men with one woman. The series becomes RH in book 6.


Fairy-Struck is free every 10th of the month!




Other Books in the Series:



Link to the whole Series:

Pixie-Led
Book 2

Raven-Mocking
Book 3

Here There Be Dragons
Book 4

Witchbane
Book 5

Elf-Shot
Book 6




About the Author:

Amy Sumida is the Internationally Acclaimed author of the Award-Winning Godhunter Series, the fantasy paranormal Twilight Court Series, the Beyond the Godhunter Series, the music-oriented paranormal Spellsinger Series, and several short stories. Her books have been translated into several languages, have made it to the top sellers list on Amazon numerous times, and the first book in her Spellsinger Series won a publishing contract with Kindle Press.

She was born and raised in Hawaii, and brings her unique island perspective to all of her books. She doesn't believe in using pen names, saving the fiction for her stories. She's known for her kick-ass heroines who always have a witty comeback handy, and her strong, supporting male characters who manage to be sensitive and alpha all at once.

All she's ever wanted to do, since she was a little girl, was to write novels. To be able to do so for a living is a blessing which she wakes up thankful for every day. Beyond her books, she enjoys collecting toys, to keep herself young, and cats, to keep herself loved.








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