“A world without war?” Alchemy by Ailsa Abraham [Blitz & Giveaway]

Alchemy

“Alchemy” (Alchemy Series #1) by Ailsa Abraham

Published as… Magic Realism/Religion

Ailsa Abraham’s Excerpt

Daniel stood beside me, pointing out the “Who’s Who” of this august gathering.

“The guys in leather are the Odinists, old Norse religion. Obviously, the chap with the sickle is the Chief Druid, yes, that is a fox-head he’s wearing as a headdress. Now, that one there, the shaven-headed one in a kilt-type thing. He’s the High Priest of the Egyptians. I think they have a few sub-divisions but… oh yes, here comes the High Priestess of Isis, she’s his female counterpart.”

By this time my jaw was dropping. The lady in the wig, smothered in jewellery was like something straight out of a Cleopatra movie and eye-wateringly gorgeous. Daniel nudged me again and I thought for a moment that a Christian monk in traditional brown robes had sneaked in.

“That tall woman in white. That is Lady Solus, she will probably try to take over. She’s a bit of a tartar and that young man with her is her assistant. Bright chap by all accounts. Oops! Looks like one of the Dianics is going to make a fuss.” I had no idea what one of those was but just made sure the camera was running, kept my mouth shut and watched. A woman with a shaven-head and a bow slung across her back stood up and pointed at the painfully thin monk-like youngster.

“Abomination!” she hissed. “He leaves!”

The priestess indicated to me as Lady Solus turned very slowly and gave her a glare that would have frozen water in two seconds.

“He stays. I do not argue with stray cats.”

The young man in question had said nothing, remaining two paces behind his boss. I caught his eye and thought there was something vaguely familiar about him. Although his face remained impassive, a pair of bright blue eyes fixed me and very slowly one eyelid dropped in an almost imperceptible wink. I was too busy to think about it then but I would have to remember where I had seen him before.

About the Book

A world without war?

Professor Sawhele Fielding stumbles across an invention that would change the world; something so monumental, it could spell the end of environmental disaster and conflict. With the help of her father, a shadowy figure in the world of international banking, she begins to set into motion the biggest upheaval the planet has seen.

But in a changed world, dark forces are threatening the fragile peace. Where modern technology is proving useless, old magic from a bygone era might just save the day. Adrian Oliver, expert in ancient religions is skeptical until faced with incontrovertible proof that ancient evil is abroad once again.

How could a Utopian dream of free fuel and peaceful co-existence turn into a nightmare?

Iamo, a priest of the Mother Goddess and Riga, a Black Shaman assassin captain, are thrown together – reluctantly at first – to face a threat that nobody could have imagined before “The Changes”.

ALCHEMY is the prequel to Shaman’s Drum which features the adventures of Iamo and Riga through their world in the near future, where the established religions of our own days had been banned.

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About the Author

Ailsa Abraham Author Photo
Ailsa Abraham writes under two names and is the author of six novels. Alchemy is the prequel to Shaman’s Drum, published by Crooked Cat in January 2014. Both are best-sellers in their genres on Amazon.

She has lived in France since 1990, enjoys knitting and crochet and until recently was the oldest Hell’s Angel in town. Her interests include campaigning for animal rights, experimenting with different genres of writing and trips back to the UK to visit friends and family. She runs an orphanage for homeless teddy bears and contributes a lot of work to Knit for Africa. She is also addicted to dressing up, saying that she is old enough to know better but too wise to care.

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“Is this the life she wants?” Finding Rachel by H. J. Harley [Release Blitz & Giveaway]

Finding Rachel

“Finding Rachel” (Love Lies Bleeding #3) by H. J. Harley

Published as… Contemporary Romance

H. J. Harley’s Excerpt

The driver got out to greet me.

“Miss Fallon.” He nodded his head. “I’m Decker …” he began, but I walked right past him and opened the back door to get in. He waited until I shut it, then climbed back into the driver’s seat and looked at me in the rear view mirror.

“As I was saying, I’m Decker. I’ll be your driver.”

“Great, got it, you’re Frank’s monkey boy,” I snapped at him. “Can you just take me to the hotel or wherever the hell it is I’m staying? Thanks.”

He put the truck in drive, but we remained idle. “Okay then. Is there anything you need to get before we go to wherever the hell it is you’re staying? Would you like to stop anywhere to pickup lunch?”

I wasn’t paying attention to a damn word that man was saying. I was zoned out looking at the picture of Tyler and me. It was my favorite one …

“Are you high?” Decker asked.

“What? No? Why would you ask me that? Not like it’s any of your fucking business if I was,” I shot back at him, whipping my sunglasses off my face.

“Great, now that I have your attention, how about you let me know if you need to stop anywhere before getting to your destination. I’ll keep it simple for you … a head nod or some sort of gesture will suffice,” he teased.

“I’ve got a gesture for you,” I went back at him. I flipped him off, but down low where I thought he wouldn’t see it.

“Ahh, dammit.” He gave an exaggerated frown. “Frank bet me twenty bucks you’d give me some inappropriate answer or gesture within the first three minutes of meeting. I bet him you wouldn’t. I’m a benefit of the doubt kind of guy. You almost made it. Two minutes and thirty three seconds.” He picked up this phone and showed me the stopwatch timer.

“Just drive, please.” I put my glasses on, and a small laugh escaped my lips.

“There we go. See, isn’t that better than being a cranky pants?” In the rear view, I could see a hint of playfulness in his eyes. “You’re in Miami. It’s beautiful.”

“Yes, you’re one hundred percent correct, so much better. Now go.” Again letting out a small laugh. I failed miserably at my attempt to be demanding.

“What’s the magic word?”

Holy shit, man. You’re like the worst employee of all employees on this planet. Please drive me somewhere besides crazy.” I begged.

“There we go. Another milestone. You survived being pleasant.” He began to drive off.

About the Book

Rachel Fallon is gone. With everything changing at a pace she can’t control, she isn’t sure whose life she’s living anymore. Is this the life she wants or the life everybody else wants for her? When Rachel decides to leave her fiance, Tyler, and best friend, Jordie, behind, the journey to rediscovering herself takes her places that she never expected. It also leads her to meet someone who could be everything she wants. Her choices aren’t easy ones and will bring her laughs, tears and heartbreak regardless of what she decides. All that matters is she’s finally Finding Rachel.

Buy the Book at Amazon or iBooks

About the Author

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“The scarred princess and the gentle giant must silence the murmurs of the past…” Murmur by Anne Conley [Cover Reveal]

Murmur

“Murmur” (Pierce Securities #5) by Anne Conley

Published as… Contemporary Romance

Anne Conley Teaser Image

About the Book

Valerie Dunaway is a former socialite who has hidden from the public eye for years due to a horrific attack that left her scarred—physically and emotionally. When a strange masked man makes himself at home with her, she’s unable to run. She calls the cops, but the agoraphobic won’t go into protective custody, so Detective Hollerman calls the only people he trusts: Pierce Securities.

Quinten Pierce is a Renaissance man—artist, lawyer, fighter—but his latest assignment has him losing his ever-present control. He’s got one fight left in his career, and although he can’t wait for it to be over, his opponent seems to have ties to Valerie, thus forcing him to hold on until he finds out exactly who he’s working with.

With the help of the Pierce team, the scarred princess and the gentle giant must silence the murmurs of the past that threaten their future.

About the Author

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“How long has a puppet master been pulling their strings?” The Veritas Deception by Lynne Constantine [Book Blitz]

The Veritas Deception

“The Veritas Deception” by Lynne Constantine

Published as… Thriller

About the Book

Days after he changes his vote on a bill he sponsored, US Senator Malcolm Phillips is murdered and his death disguised as an accident. He contacted one man before he died: investigative journalist, Jack Logan. He leaves Jack one clue that is supposed to help him uncover the truth and keep Phillip’s widow, Taylor, safe: search for Jeremy. But Jeremy who?

Friedrich Dunst, pardoned for war crimes and living in the States, never gave up the quest for what he believed to be relics of evil that provide untold power. Upon his death, his adopted son, Damon Crosse, took up the cause, and now helms a vast network of corrupt authority, controlling everything from social media and television programming to law enforcement and US legislation. His elite and well-known training facility recruits top students from around the world, but its legitimate programs are a front for something more insidious. Shrouded in secrecy and guided by dark forces, Crosse’s true agenda is known only to his own son who has now jeopardized it all by betraying him.

As Taylor and Logan begin to unravel the complex web of lies, they discover that the hunt for the set of ancient relics, dating back to the time of Christ, has driven Crosse and those before him to acts of atrocity and violence. But what do these relics have to do with a senator’s death? How long has a puppet master been pulling their strings—and will Logan and Taylor trust the right people long enough to win what becomes a colossal battle for souls?

Buy the Book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or iBooks

About the Author

Lynne Constantine Author Photo
Lynne Constantine is a coffee drinking, Twitter-addicted fiction author always working on her next book. She likes to run her plots by Tucker, her golden retriever, who is always enthusiastic about her ideas. Lynne is the co-author of CIRCLE DANCE, and the author of THE VERITAS DECEPTION as well as several short stories.

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“Allow yourself to sink into other worlds…” The Hero of Lost Causes by Phillip Frey [Review]

“The Hero of Lost Causes” (Part of the Slow the Place Anthology) by Phillip Frey

Available from: Amazon
Released on: February 21, 2016
I received one short story of this anthology free in exchange for any honest review.

Description for the Anthology: They call it the Rat Race. The hustle, bustle, slam-bang pace of the world in which we live. Rush, rush, rush seems to be our motto, our credo, our way of life.

It can’t be good for us. What is this hurry-up lifestyle doing to our bodies and minds? Sure, we may be getting ahead and “living the dream,” but what is the cost? Shorter lifespans, ulcers, a general feeling of being worn out and frazzled? Aren’t we supposed to like what we pay for?

Take the time to consider how you are journeying through this life. Are you part of the Rat Race? If so, we implore you to avoid the haste. You should take time out to enjoy the slower side of things. To be calm while surrounded by a world of chaos. To slow the pace of life and relish every second.

“Slow the pace.” Such beautiful words that are full of meaning and importance!

Please, step out of the Rat Race, and let everything just whiz on by. Allow yourself to sink into other worlds. Allow yourself to forget, to be carried away, to enjoy the power and splendor of the written word.

The rats can keep racing—they have for thousands, maybe millions of years—but we need to quit that race. We need to sit back, take stock of our lives, and definitely Slow the Pace.

“Slow the Pace” is an anthology containing fifteen incredible stories written by very talent authors. These are stories that will trigger your imagination, pull you out of the real world, and allow you to escape from the everyday routine. Stories of family loss, workplace revenge, discovery, not-so-gentle aging, hidden monsters, fantasy, magic, dealing with the public, futuristic conflicts, and overcoming lost causes.

Review: This was a short story, so it’s a short review! It was well-written and light. Fairly engaging and humorous. I’m not sure I could say it hugely stood out for anything in particular, but was a pleasant enough read. 3.5 Fireballs.

3.5 Fireballs

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“What if you were trapped between two cultures?” The Lost Girl by Liz Harris [Spotlight & Giveaway]

The Lost Girl

“The Lost Girl” by Liz Harris

Published as… Historical Romance

About the Book

What if you were trapped between two cultures?

Life is tough in 1870s Wyoming. But it’s tougher still when you’re a girl who looks Chinese but speaks like an American.

Orphaned as a baby and taken in by an American family, Charity Walker knows this only too well. The mounting tensions between the new Chinese immigrants and the locals in the mining town of Carter see her shunned by both communities.

When Charity’s one friend, Joe, leaves town, she finds herself isolated. However, in his absence, a new friendship with the only other Chinese girl in Carter makes her feel like she finally belongs somewhere.

But, for a lost girl like Charity, finding a place to call home was never going to be that easy…

Buy the Book at Amazon

About the Author

Liz Harris Author Photo
Liz Harris lives south of Oxford. Her debut novel was THE ROAD BACK (US Coffee Time & Romance Book of 2012), followed by A BARGAIN STRUCK (shortlisted for the RoNA Historical 2013), EVIE UNDERCOVER, THE ART OF DECEPTION and A WESTERN HEART. All of her novels, which are published by Choc Lit, have been shortlisted in their categories in the Festival of Romantic Fiction. In addition, Liz has had several short stories published in anthologies. Her interests are theatre, travelling, reading, cinema and cryptic crosswords.

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“Promises to resonate with all who once had a dream.” Scorpio’s Kiss by M C Domovitch [Spotlight]

Scorpio’s Kiss

“Scorpio’s Kiss” by M C Domovitch

Published as… Romance

About the Book

Scorpio’s Kiss is a spell-binding tale of love, ambition and greed that will keep the reader turning the pages until its surprise ending. Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio’s Kiss takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes.

There is Alex Ivanov, the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves.

Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser.

Domovitch’s novel is a compelling tale, filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio’s Kiss promises to resonate with all who once had a dream.

Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

M C Domovitch Author Photo
Monique Domovitch lives with her physician husband and their two dogs. They divide their time between their farm on the west coast, their home in Toronto and the Florida Keys. She started writing later in life, after retiring from her television career, “proving that one is never too late to follow one’s dreams,” as she points out. When she is not writing or traveling, she is an avid redecorator. Which might explain why we move so much,” she says, laughing. “Once a house has been re and re-done, it’s time to move on.” Monique is working on her ninth book, in the genre of Scorpio’s Kiss, tentatively titled Under a Libra Sky.

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“He accidentally creates a monstrously large sawfish…” Sawfish by Rick Chesler [Review]

“Sawfish” by Rick Chesler

Available from: Amazon
Released on: February 21, 2016
I purchased this book on my own.

Description: Marine biologist Dr. Mason Rayman is experimenting with gigantism in sea creatures when he accidentally creates a monstrously large sawfish. When it grows so big he can no longer keep it in his Miami lab, he is preparing to have it destroyed when he learns he is being terminated from his position. By way of revenge, he dumps the oversized shark relative into the ocean, where it soon roams out of control, slaughtering bathers at nearby trendy South Beach.

Dr. Rayman doesn’t let on that it’s his fish responsible for the killings, but someone knows what he did, and she’s blackmailing him. He plays along for a while but then decides she needs to be eliminated. Breaking into a lab at his former workplace, he deliberately creates more monster sawfish and releases them into the local waters.

Rayman then attempts to get his job back by stepping forward as the expert on how to stop the scourge of gigantic predators now ravaging swimmers and water sports enthusiasts on South Florida beaches. But his blackmailer will not let up, leading to an ultimate confrontation between woman and beast, and finally, woman and man.

Review: Despite it having a lot of elements that I liked, this book wasn’t ultimately for me.

There were elements that I liked. It was fast-paced and the flow of it was generally good, and the use of the sawfish as our Monster Du Jour was also good. I love monster lit about big sharks as much as the next person, but something a little different is always neat too. This definitely had that going for it. I also found the use of Stiltsville to be very creative.

However, that all wasn’t enough to save it from the stuff I didn’t like.

Our two “main characters” were both unlikeable. Rayman was sexist, racist, and classist. With no redeeming values that I could see whatsoever. (And definitely Chekov’s Gun feeling to the injury/blood scene at the end of the first chapter, but it never came back up?)

Elise was a complete idiot, felt somewhat like a stereotyped character, with considerable morality issues who seemed to only exist in the book to poke the other unlikeable main character and show readers what an ass he was. (We didn’t need the help.) The blackmail plot felt jammed into things without much smoothness, and her “change of heart” at the end was insulting on some levels.

There were way too many Point of View changes with probably half of the book made up of “one time use” characters there to be victims. Some of that is good, but too much is annoying. While most characters–especially Rayman and Elise–made decisions based on obvious plot devices rather than anything resembling realism for how humans would behave. (Semi-related, but catching the giant monsters seemed to happen too easy.)

*Spoiler* For example, Elise KNOWS what’s going on and what’s happening, but she still is gonna take her kid with her on a pleasure cruise on the water when she KNOWS there are several sixty foot monsters out there? Really? No, the author just needed her lined up where he wanted her. But it was a pretty idiotic move on her part.*End*

It also struggled between not knowing if it was Limited PoV or Omniscient, and couldn’t make up its mind on a Tense.

Overall, I found it to be a good idea that was ultimately poorly executed. With no heart and only two types of characters–shitty ones or dead ones–and me feeling the most sympathy for the manatee. It’s 2 Fireballs for this.

2 Fireballs

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“As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart…” Kings or Pawns by JJ Sherwood [Character Interview & Giveaway]

Kings or Pawns

“Kings or Pawns” (The Kings, Book One) by JJ Sherwood

Published as… Epic Fantasy

A Chat with…Itriel

Bella: What is the name of the book where we’ll find you? Can you tell us a little about it?
Itirel: First, Bella, let me thank you for the pleasure of speaking with you. I am first seen in Kings or Pawns, which is, first and foremost, an epic fantasy and secondly, a political thriller. The first half of the story lays the foundations of the world-building, characters, and conflict. In the latter half—where you will find my appearance—the problems climax and we all find ourselves in very precarious situations. But the gods so rarely do to us that which we do not bring upon ourselves.

Bella: Tell us a little about yourself. Where do you fit into the story? What should we know about you?
Itirel: I am Sellemar’s long-standing friend and, unsurprisingly, one of the few souls with the constitution to tolerate his pig-headedness. Thus, when danger calls and he finds himself in need of aid, it is often I whom he calls upon. I, myself, am a healer and warrior for the Noc’olarian people of Sevrigel, though I have seen my fair share of both continents. With such a vision of the world, my nature is often classified as neutral. I wish no ill will on anyone and I do my utmost to see the positives in all people and all times. And if I say no more, it is indeed my intent to remain vague.

Bella: What do you think of the author? Be honest. We won’t tell.
Itirel: Ah, J.J. She is a good soul. Too hard on herself and, dare I say, sometimes too hard on others, but she means well. If honesty and loyalty are virtues of high praise, then she deserves the highest—even if her tactless tongue weaves her into trouble. Like Sellemar, she indeed could learn to relax. Her impatience and perfectionist nature are sometimes quite intolerable.

Bella: How do you feel about the story you’re in?
Itirel: How I feel about this story is no different than the next or the one that came before. Feelings are always valid, but rarely relevant. I attempt to keep to the facts and not let my feelings shift my judgment. While the events in Kings or Pawns are certainly grim, the history of our world and the suggestion of the future are seamless with such incidents. But so too is it seamless with the good. The story is neither good nor bad, it simply is. And in order to change the course of events in the favor of those I care for, I strive to assist Sellemar in his ambitions.

Bella: Do you like being a character in the book?
Itirel: Adventure is good for the soul just as exercise is good for the body. And certainly, had I not accompanied Sellemar in his feat, my dear friend may no longer be walking the face of Aersadore. So in that regard, I must say there is no place I’d rather be.

Bella: How do you see your future? Without giving anything away about the story, naturally.
Itirel: Ah… (sighs*) It was our… that is, Sellemar and my, agreement to remain outside the great shifts in the world. And yet here we are again. I know what this means and it is never pleasant. I expect great bloodshed. If I can keep the innocent alive until it passes, then I suppose I have done my part.

Bella: What do you know about your author’s plans? Can we expect to see you in any future stories?
Itirel: I am but a minor character and it is my intent to remain so. While I do attempt to find and protect a far more major player in the current events of the world, that is the only influence I wish to have. And I must insist to J.J. that it remains so.

Bella: Let’s say they make a movie about this book. Who do you want to play you, and why?
Itirel: Ah, I’m certain there is an unlimited number of talented individuals who might be capable of reflecting myself, but my top choice would be Takeshi Kaneshiro, from House of Flying Daggers for his physical resemblance and acting talent.

About the Book

8,994 P.E.—The elven city of Elvorium has become corrupted to the core by politics. With his father dead and the Royal Schism at his back, Prince Hairem ascends the throne as king of the elven world on Sevrigel. Young and bold, Hairem is determined to undo the council’s power, but the brutal murders by an assassin loosed within the city threaten to undermine the king’s ambitions.

As corruption and death threaten to tear Elvorium apart from within, the warlord Saebellus threatens the city from without, laying siege to Sevrigel’s eastern capital. With the elven world crumbling around him, Hairem finds himself in a dangerous political balance between peace and all out war.

Buy the Book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About the Author

JJ Sherwood Author Photo
J.J. Sherwood lives in Ohio with her husband and four near-identical cats. Her childhood was spent tearing through the woods, playing out fantasy worlds, and tying Barbie to the roof so that the Power Rangers might rescue her. Middle and high school carried on this roleplaying, while college encompassed creating and refining over 250 characters in the world of Aersadore. When not orchestrating the lives and deaths of the people of Aersadore, JJ’s hobbies include drawing, video gaming, wearing a bathrobe, and eating too many baked potatoes.

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“Love, lust…and loss…” Bionic Lover by M. Christian [Review]

“Bionic Lover” by M. Christian

Available from: Amazon
Released on: March 13, 2016
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Description: A powerful and erotic lesbian romance exploring love, lust…and loss

Pell was lost, alone, and lonely―until Arc appeared. Fiery, enigmatic, and with a mesmerizing cybernetic eye, Arc was everything Pell needed, wanted, and most of all, desired.

The next time Pell saw Arc the eye wasn’t the only thing artificial about her new lover. And the time after that, and the time after that: each time the passionate and mysterious Arc drifted into her life, Pell saw more and more of her being replaced by refined and precise machinery…and with each departure of her natural body for the artificial, Pell grew more and more terrified.

One day, she knew, there’d be nothing left of her lover but the cold, the engineered…the bionic.

Pell knew what she had to do…but the end, when it came, was worse than she ever could have imagined.

Review: This was a novella that had a strong feeling of allegory to it, which by the end had be wondering if it was a metaphor for the obvious or something deeper. It reminded me of Tanith Lee and the Secret Books of Paradys, which is a compliment.

At the start, it felt like the author was a little too in love with his own verbal artistry but it did fall into a rhythmic flow. The world building was fascinating, and somehow the points where there was a lack of world building just seemed to bolster the intrigue rather than hinder it.

In the end it was intriguing, although I don’t know if I could call it a romance. It balanced on the edge of erotic and grotesque, with sex scenes that were both interesting and discomfiting. I give it a 3.5 Fireballs.

3.5 Fireballs

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