Monday, February 20, 2017

The Soul Seeker Series, Affliction by Marilee Brothers - Tour and Giveaway




THE SOUL SEEKERS SERIES
by Marilee Brothers

Welcome Marilee Brothers Author of the Soul Seeker Series.  She has an interesting post about what to do when you are writing and get stuck.
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Stuck

Okay, fellow writers, artists and others who must dip daily into your well of creativity. What happens when the well goes dry? What happens when you get stuck? I’m not talking about writers’ block. In my opinion, getting stuck is a whole different thing.

I recently started a new book and, since I fly by the seat of my pants, I had main characters in mind and a vague idea of the plot line. I’d learned to trust my process. In the past, the act of writing stimulated the creative part of my brain, resulting in forward progress. Sure, once in a while, I’d write myself into a corner and have to backtrack, but it was usually an easy fix and I considered it a learning experience. Six chapters flew by and then my fingers froze on the keyboard. I was stuck. Here’s what happened next:

1.     I brooded and indulged in a lot of negative self-talk. What the heck’s wrong with you? Yikes! After ten books are you out of juice?

2.     I forced myself to write. As the saying goes, you can’t edit a blank page. When it took me an hour to write two sentences, I knew it wasn’t working. This was followed by . . .
3.     More brooding.

4.     I tried writing in long hand, a technique that sometimes works for me. Not this time.
5.     I comforted myself with junk food which, in turn, led me to . . .

6.     The Solution. Concerned about putting on weight from the aforementioned junk food, I hit the elliptical machine at our local fitness club. Something about the music feeding directly into my brain via ear buds, mindless repetition as I sweated and pedaled, plus the oxygenated blood surging through my body did the trick.

Remember my term, “vague idea of the plot line?” I realized I was a little too vague. I was writing romantic suspense, for Pete’s sake! I had a spunky little heroine named Mel. I had a sexy Harley-Davidson riding ex-Marine named Billy. I had dead bodies, nasty villains, stolen babies and human trafficking. Way too many moving parts for an author flying by the seat of her pants. I needed details. I needed more characters. I needed more plot details. OMG, was I becoming a plotter? Were my pantser days over?

Happily, I’m back on track after taking some time to answer the obvious questions. Who? What? Why? Where? When? Part plotter, part pantser. It works for me. And, if it happens again, I know how to get through it.

Eat junk food.
Exercise.

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GENRE:  Paranormal

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BLURB for AFFLICTION (Book One):

Twenty-two year old Honor Melanie (Mel) Sullivan has an affliction. Due to childhood trauma and inappropriate social behavior, she is diagnosed with Aspergers, a form of autism. But, Mel knows Aspergers is not her true affliction. She prefers not to gaze into a person’s eyes because she is a soul reader, and what she sees can be frightening. It can also get Mel into trouble.

After a brush with the law, Mel leaves her family home in Southern California and travels to Oregon where she meets Harley-Davidson riding William McCarty (Billy the Kid) and stumbles upon a human trafficking/baby-selling scheme involving a foreign girl from Kazakhstan, and others. Even though Mel's life is in danger, she won't stop until she finds the answers that will help those unable to help themselves.

BLURB for ALLEGIANCE (Book Two):

Transplanted California girl, Melanie Sullivan, vows to stay in Oregon until she nails the killer of her best friend, Dani. Mel’s ability to search a soul for innocence or guilt is a big plus. Her love for Billy the Kid, former Marine and now a detective with the 3 Peaks police department is also a factor in her decision. She’s not quite sure what’s going on with Billy. Has the PTSD from his Middle East deployments returned?

When a hate crime is committed in 3 Peaks, Mel is recruited by sexy Homeland Security agent, Mick, who requires her soul-reading ability. Mick doesn’t hide his feelings. He’s more than eager to step in if Billy steps out, a complication Mel doesn’t need or want. As she goes undercover, Mel embarks on a dangerous journey, aided by her Uncle Paco and devoted friends. Along the way, she learns a valuable lesson about the power of forgiveness.

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Excerpt:

I lean down to drop a chaste farewell kiss on his forehead. A split second later, I’m flat on my back, pinned to the bed and Billy the Kid grins down at me like a naughty little boy. He rips out his ear buds and pulls the cord free until the music washes over us. It’s a rock and roll tune, a blast from the past.

“Hey, baby,” he says. “Wanna dance?”

Before I can form an answer, I’m swept off the bed and twirled around until I’m dizzy and laughing uncontrollably.

He sets me on the floor and pulls me tight against his body. “You sneaking out on me, Minnie Mouse?

I manage a weak, breathless protest. “I’m supposed to meet Steve at 9:30 a.m. I need to get going.”

He cups my face between his palms and brushes his lips across mine. “You sure about that?”

“Well, um...”My body says bring it on. My brain chimes in, promptness is overrated.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Marilee Brothers is a former teacher, coach, counselor and the author of ten books. Marilee and her husband are the parents of three grown sons and live in central Washington State. After writing six young adult books, Marilee is once again writing romantic suspense for the adult market. She loves hearing from people who have read her books.

Feel free to contact her at http://www.marileebrothers.com and sign up for her newsletter The Obsessive Page Turner. Her author page on Facebook is: www.facebook.com/marilee.author and she occasionally tweets @MarileeB.

Check out Marilee’s Amazon page here:http://www.amazon.com/Marilee-Brothers/e/B003RL7EWQ/

Marilee’s blog is Book Blather, http://bookblatherblog.blogspot.com where she features aspiring and published authors as well as some tidbits of her own.

Buy Links:

Affliction:



Allegiance:



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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION 

The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to one randomly drawn winner and print copies of AFFLICTION and ALLEGIANCE to another randomly drawn winner (US only) via rafflecopter during the tour


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Asmodeus by Brooks Hansen - Review Tour and Giveaway



Asmodeus: The Legend of Margrét and the Dragon
by Brooks Hansen

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GENRE: Romantic Historical Fiction

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BLURB:


…Here again, his natural figure crouched beside her in the dank darkness of the cave, watching her in silence as she slept, struggling with cravings which were new to him, both tender and violent, and which he could only really compare to hunger… (from ASMODEUS)

On the cusp of the Great War, an even more pitched battle is waged in the furthest corner of the Nordic highlands, the final chapter of a centuries-old rivalry, pitting a troubled bloodline of thieves, journeyman, and politicians against the last and greatest dragon of the hemisphere, Asmodeus.

Until now, the source of this antagonism has been a single gemstone, the fabled shamir, whose history traces to the coffers of King Solomon. The present clash, however, has been sparked by the emergence of an even more desirable, more defiant, and more powerful force than that.

Inspired by the golden legend of St. Margaret, Brooks Hansen’s Asmodeus is a masterfully woven tapestry of history, myth, and fantasy, in the tradition of J.R.R.Tolkien, Bram Stoker, and C.S. Lewis. By turns a romance, an adventure, and the darkest imaginable Gothic, his tale is also, as seen through the eyes of the maiden Margrét, an unflinching exploration of our divided nature — what makes us beasts, what makes us human, and what makes us divine.


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REVIEW:

Asmodeus weaves a story that seems to be set in both the past and the present.  Asmodeusu is the last of the dragons and Margret is a figure from both legend and fantasy.  The characters moved the story from one place to another as Asmodeus searches for the jewel that was stolen from him years ago.  It seems that the jewel is at the heart of the plot but Margret plays a more important part as the story progresses.  The characters, plot and setting kept my attention.  I did not know what to expect from one page to the next and I got a surprise at the end.  A nice blend of history, fantasy and myth.

Asmodeus
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EXCERPT

His golden eyes flicked open, blinked, and narrowed to a squint as he finally lifted up his great, horned head. He shrugged the veil of wings. He uncoiled from his most precious gem and lumbered upward, following the airborne trail up through the high tunnel to the opening just beside the cataract.

Only his muzzle appeared at first, shining like tar in the slanting sunlight, but even that merest of appearances stirred notice among the hovering hawks and vultures: Look. Be warned and wary. The master had awakened.

His head slid further out, taking in the day. The clouds had lifted. The sky was polished glass, but the familiar whisper was still there, coming from below. Down on the near shore of the inlet was a scuttled boat. Again his eyes narrowed, trying to figure from the tides just how long ago the wreck had occurred, and whether its victims were still on premise. He hoped not. Men had their place, but it wasn’t here.

…He crawled further out onto the ledge and extended his neck toward the curtain of water, which was fuller today than usual, gushing down from the mountains after all that rain. He helped himself to several gulps. He let the bracing cold beat on his head a while, then shook free with a glistening, majestic explosion, lifted his wings and leapt. He glided most of the way down, turning three wide circles in the crux of the fjord, his great spanned shadow dashing along the cliff-side, flicking across the cataract, then across the blue surface below, around and up and around again three times before finally re-meeting him, claw to claw, on the strand beside the boat...

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

BROOKS HANSEN is an author, screenwriter, essayist, and teacher. His novels – THE MONSTERS OF ST. HELENA, PERLMAN’S ORDEAL, THE CHESS GARDEN, and BOONE (co-authored with Nick Davis) were all New York Times Notable Books. THE CHESS GARDEN was also selected as a PW Best Book of the Year in 1995. He has written one book for Young Readers, CAESAR’S ANTLERS, which he also illustrated. In 2009 he released his first memoir, THE BROTHERHOOD OF JOSEPH, and in 2005 he received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for his most recent book, JOHN THE BAPTIZER, which was published in 2009 by W.W. Norton. More recently, his fiction appeared in CENTRAL PARK: AN ANTHOLOGY (Bloomsbury USA, 2012), and he has an essay slated to appear in another upcoming anthology THE GOOD BOOK (Simon & Schuster, 2015).


Brooks Hansen is the critically acclaimed author of The Chess Garden and 7 other books, most recently Asmodeus: The Legend of Margret and the Dragon. He has recently launched his own imprint, Star Pine Books. He lives in Carpinteria, California with his wife and children.

Website link is brookshansen.com


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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION

Brooks will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other tour sites for further information and chances to win.

January 30Long and Short Reviews
February 6The Avid Reader
February 6Natural Bri 
February 13Two Ends of the Pen
February 13Deep In the Crease
February 20Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
February 20Mixed Book Bag

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 75 - The Golden Gate by Robert Buettner, Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh, Baby by Accident by Caro LaFever

The Golden GateThe Golden Gate by Robert Buettner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I did not know what to expect from this near future novel. What I did find was a interesting story line that was a mystery set in the near future making it Science Fiction. Kate Boyle and Ben Shepard are tasked with finding out why the car driven by Manuel Colibri was the target of a bomb. What follows is an interesting mystery that goes into the past while looking into the future. Buettner did a great job building the story line while keeping the suspense going. I had no idea who was responsible for the bomb. A interesting story that kept me reading into the night. This is one for both mystery and science fiction fans.


Someone to Hold (Westcott, #2)Someone to Hold by Mary Balogh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Camille Westcott was not a nice character in the first Westcott novel. In Someone to Hold Balogh wrote a story that allowed Camille to become a much more likable person. It did not happen overnight but did happen in a fairly short period of time and with the help of Joel Cunningham another character from the first book. I loved the pace of this story and how both Camille and Joel had to release the past and embrace the future. A very good addition to the Westcott series. All of the characters from the first book are back and help move the story along making the story even more enjoyable.


Baby By Accident (International Billionaires, #3)Baby By Accident by Caro LaFever
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa Helton and Vico Matter meet and the lust is immediate. What drives the story is the fact that neither want to act or acknowledge it. The story line is familiar. They do act on it and the result is something neither of them want. Marriage and distrust drive the story. A fun easy to read romance that was free on Amazon.

View all my reviews

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 - February 17, 2017



I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

"Many hundreds of light-years from the solar system you call home, inside a spindly crystal structure floating at the edge of a great nebula shaped like an eye, a yellow light began to blink."

Page 56:

"Paolo unzipped the duffle bag and tossed a pressuresuit at Phoebe. "Get dressed." He threw two more suits to Liam and Shawn."

From Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson. I am part of a blog tour for the book today so visit my other post for more information about the book and the author.

Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson - Review Tour and Giveaway



Last Day On Mars
BY
KEVIN EMERSON
Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Series: Chronicle of the Dark Star (Book 1)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Walden Pond Press (February 14, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062306715
ISBN-13: 978-0062306715

Synopsis 

It is Earth year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova. The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while we prepare for a second trip: a one-hundred-fifty-year journey to a distant star, our best guess at where we might find a new home.

Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the very last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.

Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space, and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a desperate struggle for survival.


REVIEW:

The last day on Mars starts with Liam and two friends leaving their class to have one last adventure.  What should have been a fun adventure turns out to be anything but.  It is the start of something unexpected that brings danger and the threat of death to the remaining few humans that are left on Mars.  That danger follows Liam into space.  This is a great set up for a series.  The plot is full of unexpected twists and turns.  Look for the first mention of Phase One and see if you can figure out what it was.  There is no resolution to the problems humans leaving the Solar System are having.  There are hints but nothing is spelled out.  You must use se your imagination until book two comes out.



Praise for LAST DAY ON MARS

“Emerson’s writing explodes off the page in this irresistible space adventure, filled with startling plot twists, diabolical aliens, and (my favorite!) courageous young heroes faced with an impossible task.” --Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of The Unwanteds series

“Last Day on Mars is thrillingly ambitious and imaginative, a rousing space opera for any age, meticulously researched and relentlessly paced. A fantastic start to an epic new series.” --Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil

“This is perfect science fiction: a terrifying yet very cool vision of the future, lots of technological awesomeness, mind-bending alien mysteries, a mission to save the human race—and two funny, resourceful, very real kid heroes who I’d follow to the edges of the universe.” --Tui Sutherland, New York Times bestselling author of the Wings of Fire series

“A hugely enjoyable blend of adventure, humor, science, and kids trying to find their place when humanity itself doesn’t have one.” --Emma Trevayne, author of The Accidental Afterlife of Thomas Marsden

“Action-packed science-fiction adventure.” --Brightly.com



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author of the EXILE series, THE ATLANTEANS series, THE FELLOWSHIP FOR ALIEN DETECTION, the OLIVER NOCTURNE series and CARLOS IS GONNA GET IT. Musician in THE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Former K-8 science teacher, currently teaching with Richard Hugo House and Writers in the Schools. Originally from Cheshire, CT, now living in Seattle, by way of Boston.



--Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter

7 Copies of Last Day on Mars (Chronicle of the Dark Star #1) by Kevin Emerson




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Book Beginnings and The Friday 56 - February 17, 2017

I'm linking up with Rose City Reader for Book Beginnings and Freda's Voice for Page 56. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Pick the closest book on your book stack and join the fun.

The Beginning:

"I looked at the profusion of mourning jewelry spread across my dressing table and sighed. "

Page 56:

"Whenever I catch my first glimpse of the Parthenon, I know the Greeks were superior to the Romans, but I will never admit this in any other circumstance."

From A Terrible Beauty, A Lady Emily Mystery by Tasha Alexander. I have followed this series from the beginning. According to the blurb, this latest one has a twist I never saw coming. I got it at the library yesterday and it is on top of my TBR pile.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Casket Girl by Maggie Mae Gallagher - Book Blast and Giveaway





Casket Girl
by Maggie Mae Gallagher

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GENRE: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

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BLURB:

All he wants is to find a killer...

FBI Special Agent Josh Blake has seen some bizarre cases in his day. His latest case is one for the record books. He has multiple homicides, corpses drained of every ounce of blood, and no suspects. When rumors surface that the French Quarter may be hiding an insidious monster bent on drenching the streets in dead bodies, he must suspend logic and place his trust in the mystical.

She wants a fresh start...

Isabelle Toussánt left her family home in the bayou five year ago, cutting all ties with her abusive whiskey swilling stepfather, to forge a new life in the French Quarter. Now a successful business owner of Madam Toussánt’s Mystical Gifts in Jackson Square, and a Seer with voodoo roots. The foundation of her new life shatters when one of her employee’s winds up dead and she is dragged into a deadly game where she becomes the target of a serial killer.

A passion neither expected...

Determined to stop the brutal slayings, Josh must rely on the beautiful Isabelle who makes him question everything he has ever known about life and death all while surrendering to a desire hotter than a Bayou night. When Isabelle disappears without a trace, with tourists flocking to the party capital for Halloween, and the body count continues to mount, Josh will be forced to push beyond the boundaries of what he thinks is possible and rescue the woman he loves before it's too late.

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EXCERPT

“Miss Toussánt.” Captain Tremayne addressed her above the din and chaos.

She swung around, her long dark hair, the silky wave of it, shimmering and rippling as she faced the captain. Josh took one look at Miss Isabelle Toussánt and felt like a thoroughbred had just kicked him in the stomach.

She was exotic, with caramel skin and looking taut and lean in her formfitting tank that displayed delicate arms. He sucked in a sharp breath when she glanced at the captain. Cat eyes. The mahogany color reminded Josh of his chestnut mare as a child, Daisy. They were framed by black brows. One of them was currently raised in his direction as she spoke to the captain.

“Yes, Captain Tremayne? Can I interest you in a cup of coffee?” Her voice reminded him of a shot of smooth, single malt whiskey.

“Miss Toussánt, this is Agent Josh Blake with the FBI. He has some questions, if you’re up for them.”

A wounded shadow passed through her magnetic eyes for a moment before she shifted her gaze toward him. The unabridged effect of her stare was electric and compelling, until he found himself immersed in her eyes. Unexpected lust zinged along his spine, not that he would give in to the temptation she presented, but his body resonated with the siren’s call her body echoed. 

“Agent, can I interest you in some coffee?” She held up a glass carafe of steaming brew, already half empty.

“Not right now, Miss Toussánt. Thank you for the offer, though,” he murmured gently but firmly. It smelled like heaven, but he didn’t want to coddle her. She needed to understand he was in charge and would dig into her background no matter how sweetly her hips swished as she walked.

“Please call me Isabelle,” she offered with a slight smile, but it didn’t spread to her eyes. No amount of coffee or alcohol would erase the vision of death. He knew what that first time was like, though, the horror of it, the way it twisted your insides. Seeing for the first time how fragile life truly was made you face your own mortality. And, more important, you began to understand that some individuals just wanted to watch the world burn.

“Is there somewhere we can talk privately?” he asked, assessing her response, both verbal and non-verbal, ignoring the intense desire churning in his gut as he studied her. If there was one thing Miss Toussánt was, it was off-limits. It didn’t matter how long it had been since he’d done the horizontal tango. If there was one thing he was strictly by the book on, it was that he never blurred the lines in a case. The evidence either convicted a person or set them free. As it was, she was a witness to a horrific murder, possibly more.

There was something off about her that he couldn’t quite put his finger on. The way her eyes darted nervously around, and she kept wetting her pouty bottom lip. It could be signs of trauma and shock from discovering the body, or it could be she was hiding something. Perhaps she’d witnessed the incident and feared the killer would come back for her if he knew.

“Certainly, follow me.” Isabelle returned the carafe to the coffeemaker, wiped her palms along her skirt and nodded toward a doorway in the far corner.

He would have followed her into hell if it meant listening to her sultry voice some more and siphoning whatever information she had on this case.


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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Maggie grew up listening to Cardinals baseball and reading anything she could get her hands on. She remembers her mother saying if only she would read the right type of books instead binging her way through the romance aisles at the bookstore, she’d have been a doctor. While Maggie never did get that doctorate, she graduated cum laude from the University of Missouri-St. Louis with an M.A. in History.

Maggie is a bestselling and award-winning author published in multiple fiction genres. She also writes erotic romance under the name Anya Summers. A total geek at her core, when she is not writing, she adores attending the latest comic con or spending time with her family. She currently lives in the Midwest with her two furry felines.

Visit her website here:

Visit her on social media here:
Facebook: FB.me/MagMaeGallagher   
Twitter: @magmaegallagher

PURCHASE LINK:  https://goo.gl/6WdMKj

Don’t miss these exciting titles by Maggie Mae Gallagher!

The Mystic Series
REMEMBER ME
CASKET GIRL

The Cantati Chronicles

RUPTURED
ANOINTED
ASCENDED

And if you like your romance with a bit of spice and kink be sure to check out Maggie Mae Gallagher writing as Anya Summers!

The Dungeon Fantasy Club Series
HER HIGHLAND MASTER, Book 1
TO MASTER AND DEFEND, Book 2
TWO DOMS FOR KARA, Book 3
HIS DRIVEN DOMME, Book 4
HER COUNTRY MASTER, Book 5
LOVE ME, MASTER ME, Book 6
SUBMIT TO ME, Book 7
HER WIRED DOM, Book 8


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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION 

Maggie Mae will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway