Search Results for: no life but this

No Life But This by Brenda Margriet


No Life But This by Brenda Margriet
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Holiday
Length: Full Length (312 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Fennel

Abigail Garsson feels trapped in her safe, boring, conventional life. Desperate to escape, she signs up for an adventure vacation on the Portuguese island of São Miguel.

Santos Carregado enjoys introducing tourists to his tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic. At first he barely notices the unassuming Abigail. He soon finds her meek exterior hides a vibrant woman who teases his senses and ignites his passion.

Abigail is stunned to discover the handsome, confident Santos is attracted to her, but his fiery kisses and searing caresses convince her to accept a sensuous invitation.
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Will the realities of life shatter Abigail’s holiday daydream? Or can the shifting sands of a short-term fling become the rock on which a life-long relationship is built?

Ms Margriet weaves three different journeys together in her story No Life But This. The two emotional journeys experienced by her hero and heroine, as well as a third for her readers as experienced through mainly her heroine, but also from her hero’s point of view.

I have never visited the Azores, but now feel that I would recognize the destination her heroine, Abigail, chose to visit soon after her mother’s death. The scene setting is full vibrancy and detail and strung with garlands of emotional highs and lows. Ms Margriet sets challenges for her heroine that many readers might balk at, and yet can rejoice in for Abigail’s expanding courage and burgeoning self-belief. I kinda wished I’d been on that tour.

The secondary characters that were her adventure holiday companions help to highlight each step in the changes that Abigail encounters. They all played an integral part in the story without intruding upon the main characters.

Santos, along with his sister and mother run an activities tour holiday company and can’t understand his instant attraction to the shy and retiring single member of this week’s holiday guests. He never has an affair with any of his clients so why was this one different?

There is a solid underlying back-story of family loyalty and their consequences. It is these consequences that are responsible for the journeys taken by Abigail and Santos.

The writing is fluent, the sex scenes are spicy, the characters well rounded. The scene setting left me wanting to visit the Azores. And I finished the story in one setting feeling well satisfied and content at the outcome and the way this author presented it.

Six Months in the Life of a Debut Novelist: 10 Things I’ve Learned by Kathryn Freeman–guest blog and giveaway

My life changed in May this year when Choc Lit were kind enough to offer me two book contracts, one for Too Charming (published as an e book) and one for Do Opposites Attract? (July 2014).

So what have I’ve learnt since then?

1) Getting a book published is the start of the journey, not the end.

2) Embrace social media, don’t hide from it. Two years ago I scoffed when friends suggested having a twitter account. Six months ago I was following 5 people and had no followers. If I had my time again, I’d listen to those friends more seriously …

3) The book I thought I’d finished, and edited to within an inch of its life, was only part-way there. My editor saw things I, despite reading it until I knew it back to front, did not.

4) Editing a book is like bringing up a child – a lot of effort, but really rewarding to see it grow and bloom. Of course, as with children, there were moments I wanted to tear my hair out.

5) The word that bursts across my manuscripts with alarming regularity.

6) Books don’t sell themselves. What a disappointment.

7) The feeling of pride/joy/excitement on seeing my gorgeous covers for the first time was beyond what I’d imagined. The high was almost akin to seeing my newborn sons – though the gestation period was longer (and the birth much less painful).

8) I totally underestimated how nervous I’d feel at the thought of other people reading my published book. Friends, relatives, people I don’t know, people I know really well. Would they loathe it, like it, dare I hope a few might even love it? Of course there’s also the small matter of mothers/in-laws reading the sex scenes.

In that case, the person is viagra stores in canada said to go home within 24-48 hours. So, why to generic viagra in usa wait for that day? Lastly, but not the functionality. People along with the general information about for sale levitra also should be making long erections. levitra is the pill which fulfils all of the above mentioned conditions. One would think that this would be the limit for any tadalafil free pastor, but not for Ed Young of Fellowship Church. 9) My family don’t treat me any differently. My friends are all planning on writing books of their own. Obviously if I can do it…

10) The book loving community – writers, readers, editors, publishers – are the most supportive group of people I’ve had the privilege to work with.

What have you learnt in the last six months? Comment for a chance to win a Too Charming pen.

12_9 TC_small-new copy (2)Does a girl ever really learn from her mistakes?

The heroine of my book, Detective Sergeant Megan Taylor, likes to think so. She once lost her heart to a man who was too charming and she isn’t about to make the same mistake again – especially not with sexy defence lawyer, Scott Armstrong. Aside from being far too sure of himself, Scott’s major flaw is that he defends the very people she works so hard to imprison.

But when Scott wants something he goes for it. And he wants Megan. One day she’ll see him not as a lawyer, but as a man … and that’s when she’ll fall for him.

Yet just as Scott seems to be making inroads, a case presents itself that’s far too close to home, throwing his life into chaos.

As Megan helps him pick up the pieces, can he persuade her that he isn’t the careless charmer she thinks he is? Isn’t a man innocent until proven guilty?

About the Author: 12_9 KathrynI was born in Wallingford, England, and have spent most of my life living in a village outside Windsor. A former pharmacist, I worked for over twenty years in the pharmaceutical industry in medical communications. Two years ago I took the plunge and become a self employed medical writer who also loves to write romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…

I’ve two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) so the romance in my life is all in my head. Then again, my husband’s unstinting support of my career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

Creating a Natural Character by Norm Harris – Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Norm Harris will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

*****

Your goal is to craft relatable and vivid characters, but let’s exchange “character” for “living people.” Ernest Hemingway said, “When writing a novel, a writer should create living people, people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”

Creating a profile is a popular technique for developing genuine personas for your story. Sometimes your stories are born out of a person, while others begin with a plot shaping your person. A detailed profile will help shape a narrative and provide a handy reference point for their personality traits, backstory, goals, flaws, and challenges.

If you have done an excellent job trait building, your description of your person will bring him/her/it to life. I have lived with my fictional people for years. I thought I knew my protagonist Faydra pretty well. I recently learned something about her from a reviewer. “From the beginning, I connected with Faydra. She’s a flawed character who kicks butt on all levels, but her insecurities make me love her even more. No one relates to a perfect character.” I had not considered her “flawed” and “insecure.”

Your person will begin with a bundle of ideas and traits developed in your story outline. An example of a particular person or archetype can help narrow your focus. The personas in literature, mythology, and the human experience: are the hero, villain, lover, spirit, queen, and so on.

Our people profiles provide guidelines for their behaviors, emotions, and actions. For example, my Faydra is a lawyer/detective who is naturally curious, restless, and driven to push boundaries. She must be a Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, and Annalise Keating wrapped in one. You will want to layer characteristics and transform them from one to another as the storyline progresses. Adding an image to represent your character would be a good idea.

Once you’ve defined your person’s personality, you can begin to shape your person and make her an original. Create a bond between your readers, and work towards the desired outcome. Another example, again from a reviewer, “Arid Sea was a very intense and sad read that had me in tears on more than one occasion. I felt bad for Fay after she lost her memory, and some of the things that went on in Arid Sea just broke my heart.”

Create a backstory for your person. What is the journey she has taken up to this point? Her journey will allow you to examine her fears, weaknesses, and motivations. For my Faydra, being the daughter of a U.S. President, cursed her. She is never certain any of her accomplishments are of her own doing or because of her father’s famous influence.

Your person must have a personality that stretches beyond the story itself. She has to be bigger than life. Even somewhat flamboyant. What about her will a reader find attractive about her? Why is she different than anyone they know?

And let’s give her some quirks and faults while we are at it. She comes from an authentic grounding. She can be a bit extraordinary. In my Spider Green Series, Faydra is sometimes overconfident, impatient, and reckless. And she is sweet, intelligent, kind, generous, caring, and funny. These traits can add new dimensions to a hero and make them feel more relatable.

A believable character evolves as your story evolves. Just like real people, they adapt and respond to life’s events.

Consider where your person begins and how she changes along with developments in the story. We see Faydra overcoming obstacles by stepping back to gain a fresh perspective. Or when she decides to develop a friendship with a mob boss or an obnoxious CNN journalist. And in The Girl Who Knew Death, Faydra’s persona wins her the admiration of Azrael, The Angel of Death. Probably a hard thing to do?

Visual references and inspiration can help bring your character to life when writing a novel. It helps to have an image in your mind of how your person appears to you. Does she look like your aunt Jean? Jennifer Lawrence? or your lawyer, Sue Yu?

Do not give your person too much responsibility for the drama in your story. Begin to build your supporting cast who compliment and contrast the traits of your person. The good, the bad, and the ugly. My Faydra is so sweet she would not harm a spider, so I was tasked with creating a man so evil she had to kill him. While at the same time, justify her need to kill him in the reader’s minds as well. Again, to create an over-the-top despicable man was my challenge. Again, here is how a reviewer stated her feelings about this man, “I don’t think Faydra is prepared for Justine. I fear what is to come. He is a PIG…In her words, ’a perverted douchebag’, but I feel he is so much worse than that. Depraved and Dangerous.”

In the end, we have created your natural fictional person. Your friend! Did you have one of those imaginary friends when you were a child? When you start to make-believe with her, it will lead to the backstory and perhaps the story itself. Next, tell your spouse, partner, or real friend about your fictional person as if this is a new friend. Who is she? What does she like/dislike? What does she look like? Have a discussion about your person. What questions develop during your talk about your person? This conversation will help you know your person better and create this person in your mind as if they are real.

Fruit of a Poisonous Tree, Book 1

Navy SEALs, with the help of a former president’s daughter, hijack the Russian Guided Missile Cruiser Moskva to stop a North Korean missile crisis.

Navy JAG lawyer Faydra ‘Spider’ Green is the daughter of former President William Green. His power and influence plagues her every move and she contemplate if her achievements are from her own merits or his. Faydra is both nervous and eager as she undertakes her first homicide investigation —the brutal murder of a Navy SEAL. Faydra discovers the accused man, a Special Ops Marine war hero, may be innocent thanks to her astonishing deductive capabilities. The Navy is using her as a pawn in an intricate cover-up. Will Faydra play along or leak the cover-up?

Seasoned Navy Sea Captain Egan Fletcher struggles to balance his Navy career with raising a son alone after his wife died eight years ago. When the Navy purposefully pairs him with Faydra, the two embark on an adrenaline-laced adventure. The top-secret mission will propel them halfway around the world in an attempt to avert a catastrophic act of biological warfare.

Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Puget Sound and the mystique of Asia, Faydra is a paradox: one minute she is pure as the driven snow and the next minute she thrusts herself into harm’s way, ignorant of the consequences. Determined to complete her mission at any cost, she defies logic and throws herself into dangerous situations. Will she succeed where everyone else has failed?

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree is book one in the riveting Spider Green Mystery Thriller series. If you enjoy razor-sharp dialogue, strong-willed characters, suspense, twists, and high-octane action, you’ll want to start reading this fast-paced adventure today.

Arid Sea, Book 2

Faydra “Spider” Green is a spirited Navy lawyer who wants nothing more than to do the right thing and see justice done. After reconciling with her father, former President William Green, Fay is asked to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Alvin Joe, a retired admiral. He has vanished – seemingly into thin air – from his Florida home, along with secret files for a top-secret military weapon. Alongside her bubbly, quick-witted sister and a handsome, affable Sheriff, Fay sets out to track down Joe. But she soon finds herself embroiled in a deeper and far more sinister plot involving an unscrupulous corporation, the mafia, and a truly evil man who has his sights set on destroying her.

Deception Pass, Book 3

Faydra “Spider” Green has had a storied career as a Navy lawyer, all while juggling being the daughter of a former U.S. President. She has successfully navigated complex diplomatic situations, pulse-pounding legal investigations, and dangerous military missions, managing each time to save the day. But now, Fay finds herself faced with a task unlike anything she has ever tackled before: fierce mafioso Roman Justine, the man who had nearly cost Fay her life, has seemingly returned from the dead. Now, Justine, hellbent on revenge, poses a threat to Fay and national security. Fay will have to go to extraordinary lengths to stop him, even tampering with the bounds of time and space.

The Girl Who Knew Death, Book 4

Katrinka Lavrova is a young Russian espionage agent discovered by Russian Navy Captain Lavrov at the age of nineteen. Katrinka worked as both a spy and a sparrow since age thirteen to support her aged parents. Lavrov rescues the woman and becomes her guardian. Captain Lavrov introduces Katrinka to Fay. Fay asks Katrinka to help her steal the top-secret plans from Roman Justine’s office safe. Fay grows fond of Kat and offers her a fresh start in the United States. Katrinka dares to hope for a better life by accepting Fay’s offer.

Navy lawyer and former First Daughter Faydra (Fay) Green is no longer quite so haunted by the dark events of her recent past and is hoping for some well-deserved rest. But her world is once again turned upside down when a shocking secret about her adopted daughter, Katrinka (Kat), is revealed. But before Fay can help Kat make any decisions about her future, Kat is captured and thrown into an Egyptian prison. She manages to escape but must flee to safety across Europe, trying to stay one step ahead of several mysterious pursuers. Soon, Fay and Kat discover they are being chased by more than ordinary forces – Azrael, the Angel of Death, has taken a puzzling interest in their situation and a dangerous demon appears to be stalking Kat’s every move. It will take all of Fay’s strength and ingenuity to meet these and other challenges looming ahead of her, while Kat must ask herself what she truly wants out of life.

Enjoy an Excerpt from FRUIT OF THE POISONOUS TREE

“The killer? But consider this,” Fay said. “Paul was a valuable piece of Navy property. A million-dollar investment. when you stop to consider all of the training those SEALs go through.”

“I see what ya mean, ma’am. It would be expensive to replace him. To kill him would be costly.”

“There would have to be a very compelling reason for someone to want to execute him,” Fay said. “An argument between Paul and Simon is not a compelling reason, given the circumstances. Otherwise, Simon would be in big trouble with whomever he reports to. And yet he doesn’t seem to be.”

“Yet, Sergeant Linn has a Get Out of Jail Free card,” Pearce said.

“Yes. The Navy knows why and how Paul died.”

“Sanctioned?”

“More than likely.”

“But why, ma’am, was Paul killed in such a demonstrative way? I mean, you’d think someone would just tag him and bag him and throw him in the trunk of a car. Takes him to a wreckin’ yard and then turns him and the car into scrap metal. Kind of like they did to Jimmy Hoffa.”

Fay wondered where Pearce came up with some of her facts. She felt tempted to ask but decided it would be better to just let it go for the time being. “I wondered about that too,” she continued. “Unless someone wanted to draw a certain amount of attention to his death. To set an example for others to see.”

“Like leavin’ a trail?”

“Accountants call it an audit trail. Paul was a man who lived his life in the shadows, a ‘shadow warrior,’ Towsley called him. But the way he died placed him center stage and in the spotlight.”

“I see what ya mean.”

“I do know my meeting with Andrew Lawrence the other night at the Pollywog was not an accident,” Fay said. “And I would have never interviewed Wu and De Vinsone unless someone allowed it to happen.”

“Admiral May?”

Fay nodded. “I did some checking on Admiral Brandon May, by the way.”

“And?”

“Nada. There are several Admirals named May. When I tried to access their records, all were classified. And no one was named Brandon May.”

“No surprise.” Pearce pondered for a moment and then said, “Interestin’.”

“Even more interesting, I did locate a V. B. May. A flag assigned to the Pentagon. His present assignment is classified, but his biography says he was, at one time, a Terminator.”

“NCIS!?” Pearce’s eyes widened in surprise. “You gotta be kiddin’!”

About the Author: Norm Harris’ first novel debuted on an Amazon bestseller list in 2002. It was a one-and-done, but now he’s back with a plan to publish a couple of sequels to that first mystery/thriller of days gone by. Except for time spent in military service, he is a second-generation Seattleite (that’s what they call those who dwell in the shadow of Mt. Rainier), with his legal beagle son, K-K, and five giant tropical fish. His upcoming release, Arid Sea, is the third book in what he hopes to be an award-winning Spider Green Mystery Story series.

Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

Buy Fruit of the Poisonous Tree, Arid Sea, Deception Pass, and The Girl Who Knew Death from Amazon.

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Point Of No Return by John Carson


Point Of No Return by John Carson
Publisher: Vellum
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

An old mystery solved after thirty-five years. And a new one just beginning…Millionaire Murdo Wolf took off in a small plane from the island where he lived, and neither he nor the plane was ever seen again. Until now. The Wolf family have gathered on the island they used to call home. They’re celebrating the life of their father, Oliver Wolf, who died six months ago. Now, one of Oliver’s sons has been murdered. And when his body is discovered, so is the body of his grandfather. Did the son know where his grandfather was hidden? Did he die because of it? DCI Harry McNeil is sent to the island to investigate the cold case and track down a killer who may or may not still be there. Helping with the investigation are two detectives from Glasgow, DCI Jimmy Dunbar and DS Robbie Evans. This isn’t an open-and-shut case and they discover the killer is still lurking on the island, and the body count is increasing. But with no clear motive and no direct links to the patriarch going missing all those years ago, this is going to be one of the hardest cases Harry has ever worked on.

I found this to be an excellent addition to the DCI Harry McNeil Scottish mystery series. With a small cast of long-standing characters and an interesting murder mystery plot this book was a solid addition. Best of all while I do feel readers who have read some of the previous installments will get a deeper understanding from the book, the characters and setting is well-laid and explained fully enough that readers should feel comfortable picking this up and reading it as a stand-alone.

I greatly enjoyed the “closed room” aspect to the mystery plot. The murder occurs on a small Scottish island – off the Isle of Mull – with a limited number of local inhabitants and the members of a wealthy family who have gathered for the patriarch’s funeral service. This lent the whole book the air of an older style who-did-it sort of mystery with a limited number of people who could possibly have committed the crime – with the rich family members right at the top of the list.

Indeed, I strongly feel the characters and their interactions are what make this story so wonderful to read. The author does a really good job to my mind of writing the Scottish police characters in a realistic and relatable manner, without being too cliched or over-the-top. I found the main characters to be particularly vivid and enjoyable, their camaraderie and clearly solid relationships were really well handled and made the reading quick and pleasurable for me. While the other characters and suspects were also very well drawn I was pleased a large part of the story focused on the police investigation and interactions. This might make the plot feel a little slow moving for some readers – those used to high-octane and strongly action orientated novels – but personally I enjoyed the deeper characterizations and slightly slower pace.

Readers who enjoy closed room murder mysteries – or smaller town settings like, say Agatha Christie or more plot and character centric novels with a little less action and adrenaline, should find this book really fits the bill. I found the mystery to be interesting and well handled, though admit there is an equal – if not slightly greater – focus on the main characters and their interactions and investigation. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to the next in the series. Recommended.

His Novice by Arabella Sheen


His Novice by Arabella Sheen
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Nathan Stockman controls his own destiny and answers to no one. But when Summer Jenkin erupts into his life, he finds it hard to resist the temptation to bed her. She’s everything he’s not. She’s classy, she’s young, and she’s … virginal.

Dare he be the man responsible for awakening her to the pleasures of lovemaking, or should he walk away before they become emotionally entangled?

Summer doesn’t care that Nathan is older than she is, and it certainly doesn’t stop her from wanting a night of passion in his arms. Offering to be his novice is no guarantee he will teach her everything he knows about love, but she’s ready and more than willing to learn how to please him … both in and out of bed.

He’s hot for her. She’s hot for him. But are they right for each other?

This is somewhat of a slow burn story, but if you’re looking for heat, then this one will singe. Arabella Sheen has written a hot story, packed with heart. I couldn’t put it down.

Summer needs a bit of education in the bedroom and she’s not afraid to ask Nathan for it. I liked how she wasn’t afraid to be what he wanted. I also liked that she had some backbone. Nathan wants a novice. He’s a bit older, a bit wiser and he’s attracted to her. They don’t fall into the romance part right away and that was refreshing.

This trope – older brother’s best friend and the virginal heroine – has been done before, but this time it’s fresh and hot. I liked it a lot.

If you’re looking for something hot, short, but worth the read, then check this one out.

A Woman of Endurance by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa


A Woman of Endurance by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
Publisher: Amistad
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

A Woman of Endurance, set in nineteenth-century Puerto Rican plantation society, follows Pola, a deeply spiritual African woman who is captured and later sold for the purpose of breeding future slaves. The resulting babies are taken from her as soon as they are born. Pola loses the faith that has guided her and becomes embittered and defensive. The dehumanizing violence of her life almost destroys her. But this is not a novel of defeat but rather one of survival, regeneration, and reclamation of common humanity.

Readers are invited to join Pola in her journey to healing. From the sadistic barbarity of her first experiences, she moves on to receive compassion and support from a revitalizing new community. Along the way, she learns to recognize and embrace the many faces of love—a mother’s love, a daughter’s love, a sister’s love, a love of community, and the self-love that she must recover before she can offer herself to another. It is ultimately, a novel of the triumph of the human spirit even under the most brutal of conditions.

“When are you going to see that the only way we can carry our burdens is to share them?”

Pola, the woman once called Keera, has many reasons to be closed off emotionally, and definitely reason to be bitter and angry at everyone. In the beginning the author disclosed Lola’s broken spirit. The reader gets to see Lola at a point where she had given up and commits herself to the sea. The hurt and damage due to inhumane conditions and treatment, along with the deplorable brutality in the cold hearts of many men that surely can break a person physically, mentally and emotionally. I am glad that I kept reading and now understand that the details were important to knowing her full journey.

The author’s writing is impeccable. The content matter is one that can be hard to read but the author’s words were full of grace and shared so poetically. The untranslated Spanish phrases and words made me feel closer to the story. The purposeful word choice painted a picture that fit and flowed very well. Reading Pola’s story I felt an emotional pull. Reading about the social structure within slavery acknowledged that there’s some freedom only our mind can give us.

I loved seeing Pola’s strength and how the events became clearer and everything fell into place for her.

It has been a long journey, a journey that has taught Pola the greatest lesson of all, how to endure. What a treat for readers to see the damaged and broken Pola evolve to find security, to being loved and mostly she come to terms with those she lost or that were taken from her while on her journey.

Being enslaved it’s often that families are formed outside of blood ties. So this story is not only about Pola but those that accepted Pola, those that were patience while she healed. Those that offered her a family, and support , and that helped fill the emptiness that use to consume her. Pola has dwelt in the darkness for long enough and now she only needs to make a little space for others to enter and grow.

My takeaway from this book is we can get stuck in grief and loss, we have to face and address our hurts and we need the community of others to survive. This story is well worth reading.

When Earth Shall Be No More by Paul Awad and Kathryn O’Sullivan – Spotlight and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Paul Awad and Kathryn O’Sullivan will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Environmental scientist Constance Roy is one of forty-nine refugees rescued from Earth’s destruction and transported to the ark spaceship Orb by an automaton race called the Curators. Twelve months have passed since their rescue. But now, with the ship’s orbit decaying, the refugees seem doomed to crash into Jupiter’s fiery belly.

In a parallel universe on present-day Earth, another version of Constance seeks answers to the questions that have haunted her since childhood: How and why did her mother die? The head of a mysterious corporation housed at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility can give her the answers, but not without a price.

Two timestreams collide when the Constance on Earth discovers that Nicolas, her son, has the ability to save the Orb and its inhabitants. Now she must battle treacherous Curators wishing to destroy Nicolas, while on the Orb, another Constance must fight to save the ship from Jupiter’s fatal pull. Only together can they save their son – and future generations of humankind.

Enjoy an Excerpt

Constance Roy cupped her hands around her eyes, pressed them against the cold window glass, and peered into the dark vista. She squinted at the sea of stars and spotted the constellations Ursa Major and Minor, Cygnus, and her favorite, the Dog Star, Sirius. She wiped away condensation and focused on the ferocious red eye in the distance. Although she was safe in her cabin, Jupiter’s massive storm, the Great Red Spot, gave her pause. She pictured herself tumbling through Jupiter’s clouds, her suit ripped away by the three-hundred-mile-per-hour winds, her breath squeezed from her chest by the enormous pressure, gasping for air, for life, as she was wrenched into the planet’s cyclone. This terrifying event was only in her imagination—for now. She had survived the nightmare of the migration. She was one of the “lucky” ones. Unless something changed, however, in three days the ship’s life-sustaining resources and their luck would run out, and her alarming imaginings would become inevitability.

About the Author:

Paul Awad and Kathryn O’Sullivan are an award-winning husband and wife writing and filmmaking team. They have collaborated on feature and documentary films, screenplays, and a web series. WHEN EARTH SHALL BE NO MORE is their first book collaboration. Paul is a cinema professor and Kathryn is a theatre professor at Northern Virginia Community College. Kathryn is also the author of the Colleen McCabe mystery series.

Paul Awad Website | Kathryn O’Sullivan Website | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Book Sirens, or Secant Publishing.

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Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir


Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Middle Grade (8 – 12 y.o.), LGBTQ, Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Anne of Green Gables with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and The Secret Garden on 81st Street, this full-color graphic novel moves Anne Shirley to modern-day West Philadelphia, where she finds new friends, new rivals, and a new family.

When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to foster a teenage girl for the first time, their lives are changed forever. Their redheaded foster daughter, Anne Shirley, is in search of an exciting life and has decided that West Philly is where she’s going to find it. Armed with a big personality and unstoppable creativity, Anne takes her new home by storm as she joins the robotics club, makes new friends in Diana and Gilbert, experiences first love, and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. But as Anne starts to get comfortable, she discovers one thing she wasn’t looking for: a family.

No, you do not need to be familiar with the original Anne of Green Gables series to enjoy this retelling of it. Anyone who has read it before will receive some marvelous surprises here, though.

One of my favorite parts of reading this graphic novel was seeing how the same story can change in meaningful and exciting ways when it’s set in a different century. For example, Marilla and Matthew weren’t surprised to receive a girl instead of a boy this time around because their social worker talked to them about Anne in advance and worked hard to ensure the placement would be a successful one for all involved. Little moments like these popped up everywhere and provided the characters with faster resolutions to problems in some cases and brand new conflicts in others. As I said earlier, this is equally accessible for brand new and longtime fans of these characters, but I did have a wonderful time taking note of everything Ms. Weir changed in the plot order to better suit twenty-first century culture and technology. Some of her tweaks were quite clever, and nearly all of them suited the storyline beautifully.

On a related note, I was quite puzzled to see this tale set in West Philly as the original Anne Shirley never so much as visited the United States. I wish the author had gone into more detail about why she made this choice and how she thought it would affect the characters. If she simply wanted to choose a more diverse setting, why not pick one of Canada’s big cities instead? If L.M. Montgomery had some special connection to Philadelphia that most readers are unaware of, why wouldn’t that be made known in a preface? I so desperately wanted to give this five stars and would have if this hadn’t been a point of confusion for me.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. I love seeing how the characters reacted to Anne’s new placement and what she thought when she learned that her foster parents were siblings instead of a married couple. This acceptance of others and appreciation of diversity was repeated as Anne got to know other people in their neighborhood and settled into her new life. It was especially cool to see the nods to some long-standing fan theories about the sexual orientation of a certain character that was finally discussed openly here.

Anne of West Philly was a heartwarming read.

* Risky by Aurora Rose Reynolds


* Risky by Aurora Rose Reynolds
Publisher: Montlake Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Larkspur

Everly never expected to move back in with her parents, and she definitely didn’t expect to do so as a single mother. But with the father of her son suddenly out of the picture, she’s had to make some adjustments to her plans.

Now Everly has one priority: to make a life for herself and her boy. And Blake, her sometimes infuriating but admittedly handsome employer at Live Life Adventures, doesn’t factor into her future as anything more than her boss.

But it seems the guy who’s about as friendly as a grizzly bear has a soft spot for her and her son…and the more time she spends with him, the more difficult it is to remember why giving in to the chemistry between them is a bad idea.

Now, with their future on the line, they’ll have to decide if love is a risk worth taking.

Risky is a heartwarming, small town story with wonderful characters. Aurora Rose Reynolds has a way of writing that makes me feel like I am right there with the two main characters, Blake and Everly. I thought Blake and Everly made a great couple and I found it easy to like and connect with both of them.

I loved everything about Blake. He is a protective alpha male and an all-around good guy. He is the strong silent type and hard to read but he finds it easy to open up to Everly. In fact, Everly is the best thing that has ever happened to Blake. She brings happiness and laughter into his life. Blake isn’t turned off because Everly is a single mom and he is great with her son, Samson.

Everly and Blake are perfect together. Everly can’t believe how lucky she is to have found Blake. Being a single mother isn’t easy for Everly but she works hard at whatever she decides to tackle.

There are a few issues Blake and Everly have to deal with but overall this is a light, and easy read. What I love best about Aurora Rose Reynolds stories are her heroes. They are protective alphas with big hearts and once they fall in love, they are all in. This is a captivating story and I never wanted it to end.

In One Lifetime by Graham Forlonge – Exclusive Excerpt and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Graham Forlonge will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

This book is an autobiography of a man who had over 50 mostly major PTSD events in his life. It recounts the trials, struggles, and lessons learned over a life span of 67 years. It recalls his childhood, time as lifesaver, police diver, police driving instructor, member of SWOS, professional NRL footballer, running Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC), Security Manager of the world renowned Porgera Gold Mine in PNG and world record holder of going around Australia in under 10 days on a motorcycle. The events accounted whilst a police diver as well as a Highway Patrol Officer includes plane crashes, train accidents, body recoveries and numerous fatal road accidents, some of which are major historic events in Australian history. It also includes native raids, murders, abuse and many more traumatic events while working in PNG. Some of the accounts are captivating and others highly emotional. His life and determination to succeed was mostly driven as a result of having been sexually abused over many years at the hand of his tutor as a child. It is a true Australian story and displays considerable endurance and survival skills.

Enjoy an Exclusive Excerpt

The diving course was deliberately tough, but it had to be. At night, I would come home, eat and crash. I had been an erratic sleeper for some time but during this course, I actually slept well. I also loved the diving course because of the thrill factor; it would push me again and again and I knew I would have to be strong to overcome the challenges it placed before me. Graduating from the course lifted me into a whole new level of danger in my work, a level that I accepted, even longed for.

In my first week of joining the Diving Squad, we received a call out to the wharf area, known as “The Docks”, where a body had reportedly been seen in the water. We were given a reasonably precise location of the body, despite the fact that it was not floating on the surface! Upon diving in, we located the deceased male within five minutes. The man had apparently been murdered by a fairly savage blow to the head. His body had been there for about twenty-four hours, and as we lifted it to the surface we could see that the flesh around his eyes and lips had been eaten away by sea life, and much of his brain matter was missing, presumably also eaten. We could see through the back of his head; not a pleasant sight for a young fellow on his first diving job.

It was not to be my last such hideous experience, though, nor my worst. During one particular week, there were four separate dives for bodies. I believe that was a record in those days, and it was just my luck I was involved in every one of them.

The first of the four was the most distressing. It involved a boy who had been out for a swim in the Lane Cove River, a popular swimming spot in my local childhood area. As he had probably done on many previous occasions, he swung out on a rope tied to an overhanging tree branch and dropped into the water, Unbeknownst to him, an old fallen tree had floated down the river during a recent flood and the boy became wedged between a large branch and the trunk under the water.

As I approached the site, my stomach knotted up and my blood ran cold. I lived within walking distance from this swimming hole and knew the river well, having swum there many times as a kid, having swung off the same rope a hundred times.

About the Author:Graham Forlonge is a father, footballer, policeman, diver, security officer and the author of IN ONE LIFETIME.

In the 5-Star Review from IndieReader C.S. Holmes writes, “In the memoir In One Lifetime by Graham Forlonge, the author experiences murder, plane crashes, mine explosions, and more…on his way to healing from PTSD…Graham Forlonge’s memoir In One Lifetime is an expansively honest and brutally detailed submersion into aspects of trauma that left the author with a lifelong case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is most touching when detailing his healing process.”

It took 10+ years to write his memoir. Now, Graham works as a part time counselor for the underprivileged.

Website | Goodreads

Buy the book at Amazon, Amazon CA, Amazon AU, Bookshop, Chapters Indigo, Barnes and Noble, or Book Depository.

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