Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Labyrinth Society: The Versailles Vendetta" by Angie Kelly

Labyrinth Society:
The Versailles Vendetta
by Angie Kelly

Labyrinth Society: The Versailles Vendetta is a middle grade fantasy. This book blast and giveaway is brought to you by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.

When 12 year-old Mia Cornell is sent to live at the Tarpley Estate, her ninth foster home, she has no idea what she’s in for. Having a kind but mysterious foster mother and three quirky foster sisters is all well and good. Discovering that her new family is a secret society - they use a portal in their garden labyrinth to travel the globe seeking lost art, artifacts, and OSOs (objects of supernatural origin) - is something else entirely.
Mia barely has time to wrap her head around the truth when the Society’s latest job, tracking down Marie Antoinette’s necklace, goes sideways. Mia and her new siblings - Tomi, the historian; Devon, the hacker; and Lily, the muscle - must use their wits, plus a few cool OSOs filched from the Society’s vault, to stay a step ahead of a sinister enemy from their foster mother’s past. But just how far back does Mrs. Tarpley’s past go? And will Mia stand by her new family or cut and run when they need her the most?

Featured Review
I can see a lot of places this series can go. It is a fun adventure. The characters are likeable, young, adventurous that you want to see more of them. The setting was from Ohio to France. It has a good plot and a little paranormal on the side. It is a clean book that anyone can enjoy reading and dreaming.
Mia is 12 year old in foster care. She is taken to live at Tarpley Estate to a mansion. There she finds Tome, Devon and Lily already living with Mrs. Tarpley. Mia realizes that they are hiding things from her so she decides to find out. She ends up following them to France when she grabs one of the other girls.
There they find out that others want the same thing they are after. Two henchman try to grab them but they split up. There is lots of action and drama, there is kidnapping, rescue, fire, ghosts and lots of fun adventure as they try and trace down Marie Antoinette's necklace that has been lost to history.
There many magical items with power that the girls sneak out with them to help them accomplish their missions. The girls also use their talents to help. Their brains , physical skills and fast thinking.
I would love to read more of this series in the future. I would also like to travel like they can from Labyrinth to Labyrinth anywhere in the world fast.

About the Author
Angie Kelly is the pseudonym of a former member of the Labyrinth Society. When she’s not writing about her adventures, or reading about other people’s adventures, she’s busy traveling the world and indulging her inner twelve year-old. Although she was last sighted lurking around the British Museum after hours, her current whereabouts are unknown.

Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.


"The Sea Maiden" by Mary Speer

The Sea Maiden
by Mary Speer

"If LOVE was a GAME than she had to play to WIN!"
Read now how this spirited heroine fights for her freedom, her life and the love of the dashingly handsome but roguish captain trying to seduce her.
In 1790 a dying English Lord with a failing shipping business gives his daughter's hand in marriage to a wealthy Lord and colleague. Upon learning of her forced engagement and revelation of an older half-brother living in New England, the young woman flees aboard a trade ship bound to America with the help of friends. Disguised as a cabin boy she leaves behind a life of rich and plenty to endure sea sickness, toiling work and a crude environment in search of her brother. Along the way she encounters several obstacles including, highwaymen, pirates, a hurricane and the handsome but roguish captain who can break her heart while she tries to outrun his villainous older half-brother, hot in her pursuit.

“Captain Drake! Captain Drake!”
He looked up…it was Karina, even more beautiful in the moonlight, and coming straight toward him with her arm extended, and holding something shiny in her hand that he recognized as the missing gold cufflink. He increased his pace and as he reached for the cufflink with his left hand, the touch ignited him with a sudden desire to feel her soft full lips and in one swift moment, wrapped his right arm around her waist, arching her back slightly as he covered her lips with his own. The arresting moment caused Karina to let out a small moan as she fell into his fiery embrace. Sensing acceptance the kiss deepened.
A heated tingling sensation radiated through Karina at the unexpected intimate contact with the dashing Captain, a feeling so intense unlike anything she ever felt before. Gone was the earlier chill she had felt with the warmth of his body now pressed against hers. His lips were warm and smooth and tasted like red wine; she was momentarily frozen in time. Not wanting the euphoric moment to end, she slowly began to respond to his touch as she shyly placed her hands on his arms. Suddenly, she was awakened by a deep male voice calling her name.
“Karina!” Gunther called.
Frightened, Karina gasped and broke the embrace.

Featured Review
Enjoyable quick read that keeps you wanting to read til your finish. Loved it! Don't hesitate to add this to your library!

About the Author
Mary Speer is an esthetician/massage technician and recently became a commissioned Notary Public. The Sea Maiden is Mary's first novel. Mary lives in San Diego, California.


Friday, May 30, 2014

"Liminal Lights" by J. M. Bogart

Liminal Lights
by J. M. Bogart

Liminal Lights, the first book in a new YA trilogy by J. M. Bogart, is currently on tour with Enchanted Book Promotions. The tour stops here today for an excerpt. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

What if faerie magic is real?
Nadia discovers an ancient truth hidden by Liminals, coveted by Shadow Monsters, and protected by humans.
Somewhere, between faerie legends and story books, lies the truth to magic. It grows in children, matures, and is eventually captured by Liminal beings. These small, faerie-like creatures harvest and manipulate it, crafting it into the talents and skills inherent in humans. The rest, they keep for themselves in an effort to sustain their own life forces.
The human race is evolving, forcing Bean, Pritt, and Tissa to find new ways of harvesting human magic to save their own kind. Nadia’s power, found in her talent as an artist, is the last hope for these Liminal beings who find themselves caught between light and shadow. Liminals aren’t the only ones after her magic, so are the creatures who lurk under the bed, hide in the darkness, and go bump in the night.
This is the first book of a trilogy.

Pressing my nose against the cold glass of the window, I watch her coax the images to life, creating magic from nothing more than her imagination. She shifts on the bed, allowing the light to briefly illuminate her unfinished drawing. Its vibrant essence is exposed for a fleeting moment before her calm demeanour changes, and she viciously attacks the page with the wrong end of her pencil. I place the palm of my hand on the window allowing desperation to wash over me. I will her to stop the destruction, but I am too small for her to notice. The sketch is obliterated; only the scattered shavings of a brief moment in time remain in its place. Her magic fades, and once again I am left with nothing.
Silly mortal, doesn’t she know that every time she scrubs the page clean, another opportunity is lost?
A flickering light distracts me from the task of watching over my charge. Carefully, I skip across the ledge and peer around the corner in an attempt to discover what took away my attention. Of course, it’s only Pritt, up to his usual mischief. I wonder what dreams he plans to bestow on the boy who lives two windows over and breathe a sigh of relief when he whizzes past in a blur of blue-green light, bypassing my window altogether.
I return my gaze to the bedroom to find the girl has disappeared from view. I check the moonstar, note the time, and realize she must be preparing for sleep. Finally, I might be able to get some work done. Watching and waiting are tedious but necessary work, especially now that time is critical. Any minute now the world could tilt, shifting the shadows, and leaving my kind to drown in the dark.

Featured Review
I read Liminal Lights as a beta reader for Jennifer, we met on Authonomy. I liked her book (without really knowing her at the time) and just started reading it while providing some editorial suggestions. It was already pretty polished at that stage.
Liminal Lights is the story of fairy-like creatures (but they're not fairies) who harvest a small amount of human magic in exchange for remolding it into something we can use. The Liminals do this in a friendly way, which they believe to be beneficial for both themselves and the humans involved. But there is a problem, the Liminals are running out of magic, they're pinning their hopes of survival on the coming of magical age of the one child, Nadia. Bean is Nadia's guardian, but she doesn't even know the child's name. The dark ones, the shadow creatures, have also noticed Nadia, and would think nothing of ripping the magic away leaving her a husk of herself. Will Bean be able to convince this child of magic that she's a friend and only wants to help, or is interacting with the humans more than Bean is capable of?
I thought this was a book that middle grade children and young adults would enjoy, I certainly did.

About the Author
J. M. Bogart believes there’s a spark of magic in every person, regardless of age or background. Her upper Middle Grade novels are written with bright and imaginative youth in mind. She hopes to provide fun and appropriate content combined with challenging language and concepts for readers drifting in those precocious middle years.
J. M. also writes women's fiction as Jennifer Bogart. Her titles include: Remember Newvember, Reflections, and Money, Masks & Madness.
Ms. Bogart spends her days writing, editing, and caring for her very busy family. She used to dream of the day when Mary Poppins would swoop in to help with the children, but now that they are older she wishes those chaotic days filled with giggles and sunshine hadn't disappeared quite so fast.


"The Hunt" by Ben Woodard

The Hunt
(A Shakertown Adventure)
by Ben Woodard

The Hunt is a short story. Also available in Ben Woodard's Shakertown Adventure Series featuring Tom and Will: The Trestle (FREE), A Stairway to Danger (read my blog post), and Steps Into Darkness (read my blog post).

Two boys. Guns. Laughter, and a haunting memory.
Not Tom and Huck, but Tom and Will in this Twain-like short story of a hunt in the Kentucky countryside. Tom's inexperience leads to hilarious antics until they finally bag their animal. Tom finds that hunting is fun, but the killing is not.
The Hunt is a chuckle-worthy teen adventure hinting of a past that won't stay hidden. A YA short story.

They left the shade of the woods, and shuffled into the pasture baked by the afternoon sun. Tom panted, sweat dripping off his nose. His feet hurt from the wet boots. Flies swirled around his head and his shoulder ached, but his thoughts were of the deer. Its eyes. He’d never killed an animal before, and while pulling the trigger was easy, the killing was not. He had seen death. Up close. And her eyes seared his brain.

Featured Review
This is absolutely a 5 star book. I purchased this book and will purchase more stories by this author.
It is a story about two cousins. One from the country who is teaching his city cousin to hunt. The author masterfully creates the story line using imagery and humor so the reader feels as if they know the characters personally with in the first few pages. It is such a good story that it ends too soon and leaves the reader wanting more. I once heard that you could recognize a great writer through a short story as only masters could do this perfectly in this type of form. I understood what they were talking about after I read this book. Ben Woodard is a true Master of story telling.

About the Author
A spellbinding storyteller of high adventure, Ben has walked the Great Wall of China, hiked in Tibet, and climbed to 18,000 feet on Mt Everest. And recently learned to surf in Hawaii.
Ben is active in SCBWI and a member of a local children's writing critique group. He is a former Marketing Manager for a major corporation and ran his own marketing consulting business. He started writing children's stories in 2008 and has written picture books, middle grade and young adult. Stories of adventure and wonder. Stories that inspire and educate, and, most of all, entertain. His titles include The Trestle (FREE), The Hunt, The Boy Who Flew With Eagles, A Terrible Price (FREE), A Stairway to Danger, and Steps Into Darkness.
Ben lives in Kentucky with his wife Lynda.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Anything For Love" by Darry Fraser

Anything For Love
by Darry Fraser

Anything For Love is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Tilla is the managing director of a temping staff agency who finds herself enmeshed in Kent Taylor’s business world, which includes an IT takeover. When she decides to work in his office as one of his temporary staff members they clash, so she keeps her identity to herself. When they both decide to take a break from their crazy business lives, they have no clue it’s at the same place, in the same house and at the same time, on the isolated north west coast of rugged Australis Island
She tells herself she can’t bear to be near him one moment longer ... until they find a way to be together. But when he has to suddenly leave their hideaway and doesn’t give her a backward glance, she realises she shouldn’t have done just anything for love.

Her dream was a loud one. There was stumbling and cursing, unlike any of her dreams before, but she was reluctant to come awake ... too tired.  She tossed and moaned her protest, but when she heard the crash of a dozen bottles of wine she bolted upright, wide awake, heart hammering and her throat suddenly constricted.
She clutched the bed-clothes to her chin, gulped in great breaths of air. Tried to shake herself fully awake.
The cursing and snarling continued, the bottles crashing and clanging on the slate floor.
Terror struck her very soul.
There was a drunk in her little haven.
Oh no, oh no ...
She couldn’t see a thing—it was pitch outside, no moon. She leapt out of the bed dragging the sheet with her and groping in the dark for her clothes. Where were her clothes—? Oh God—in the bathroom ... how’d she possibly defend herself ... ?
Another curse and then another. “What the bloody hell—?”
Stopped her frantic panic, covered her mouth with one hand. She knew that voice. It was unmistakable. Tilla shook herself. It couldn’t be. She must still be asleep … It just couldn’t be. Her heart pounded.
“Who the bloody hell put that there?” the gravelly voice boomed.
She tried to distil the solid block of fear which weighed on her chest like a sack of potatoes.
There was no mistaking that voice. No mistaking it at all.

Featured Review
Last thing Tilla Cormack needed one week before going on vacation was a crisis and that is exactly what her biggest client had just created for her. Owning a temp help agency takes a lot of human interaction and interpersonal skills. Her temps were recognized as the best to be had, only Taylor Industries was sending them back in tears and rejected. Tilla is on her last nerve as she leaves her office to pay a visit to Kent Taylor and give him a "piece of her mind".
Tilla's introduction to Kent Taylor is one of my favorite highlights in this book. The scene as the elevator goes up, down, jerks up again and finally spits Tilla on Taylor's floor missing her shoe is delightful. As human interactions go, this scene where Tilla and Kent Taylor meet is delightful. It sets the stage for a comedy of errors that leads this couple to a multitude of interactions worthy of Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
Fate continues to play tricks with our couple throwing them together in some rather unusual circumstances. The chemistry they both feel for each other finally wins and a love affair begins with all the passion worthy of these spirited characters. Misunderstandings continue to plaque our couple and tempers flare. All of this just adds to the plotline and keeps the reader on the edge of their seats.
Darry Fraser's writing style is both easy going and delightfully descriptive. I found this book extremely entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable. I will be looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Interview With the Author
Welcome fellow Aussie, Darry Fraser. Thanks for joining me today to discuss your book, Anything For Love.
Thank you for having me!
For what age group do you recommend your book?
I think it’s good for late 20s to late 30s. It’s the sort of read which might appeal to those who are career driven, but who know there’s another life out there and they hope they can find someone to share it with.
What sparked the idea for this book?
Anything For Love came about because of something that happened while I was working in an industry which hosted travelers into very isolated places. One of those isolated places was an island very much resembling Australis Island which I created for my stories.
At one point an unfortunate travelling couple happened to be placed with another couple in what they’d been sold as their own private space for three days. Needless to say the agents who made the booking were a little red-faced and things were quickly sorted.
I began to think about two single people who might have been thrust into the same situation, how it might reasonably have come about and what might reasonably be expected to happen!
The story was called "An Isolated Incident" for a very long time; it was changed last minute to its current title.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
That a hard one! Sometimes I get characters first and they bring their own story. I even get a name before I get anything else. Other times I have a story idea – not even an idea, just a sentence or two, or a subconscious nudge which compels me to take it further.
I always ask for overnight assistance: I go to sleep asking for more information and generally within three days I have an outline, my main characters, my timeline … the secondary characters pop up out of the blue when they’re needed. Mostly I don’t even know they’re there. I know you’ve heard of authors saying things much like that, but it is a fact – we get surprises.
That's incredible. What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I wondered how I was going to have her maintain Tilla's dignity back in their office. She wanted to, of course she did, but was she going to be able to? I hate things which read contrived – if they read that way, generally they are, so whilst I know I’ve made up this story and given my characters some interesting twists and turns, to me it still has to read as if it really might work in real life.
So in real life, you suck it up, don’t you? You don’t run around being like a princess, you get on with it. Put on a brave face. Do your job. Burst into tears at home. It was hard to keep her on track.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope they laugh at the funny bits – and there are some funny bits – feel her exhaustion and his bewilderment, live her indecision and understand her. Most of all I hope readers identify with the last few days in the cabin just after Kent left.
How long did it take you to write this book?
Wow! This story had many incarnations over quite a few years. At first it was written when satellite phones or mobile (cell) phones were not around, so changing those bits and making it work was an interesting task.
All in all, I’d say about ten years - mainly because when I started and finished it I had no idea where to submit it. In fact, I was probably just writing for me. And by the time I did submit it, I had five others in similar states of completion waiting for a home.
What is your writing routine?
Because of other things I need to be doing (like my day job…) I write at nights between 8pm and midnight. Saturday is also mostly a "work" day for me so I write late Saturday afternoon and Sundays. I guard my Sundays … but there’s never enough time for everything.
How did you get your book published?
I’m very lucky. One of the previously mentioned five books came to the notice of my current publisher in a very serendipitous way, or so I think.
I’m the owner of a local print/business support shop. In 2013, Nicola of Steam eReads came by my shop looking for assistance to produce 200 booklets to promote her publishing company at a Romance Writers of Australia conference.
I said I was a member of RWA, that I had been published before, showed her a book of short stories I had produced. She offered to read my longest (now published) novel, Money For Blood, and voila! She offered to publish it. Steam ereads has so for contracted five of my novels.
That's fantastic, Darry. What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Keep writing. Learn from your peers. Take the criticism and the critiques and above all, learn. Enter competitions when you can, join groups to help and learn, learn, learn …
The groups you join will have expert tips on how to become published; one thing will work for one author but not the other. Build relationships, build your social media profile, get yourself marketed but above all else, have a good product.
Great advice. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I work a lot, but I have a dog who needs exercise and lots of loving. He’s a rescue dog from the little town I live in, he’s an Australian kelpie, black as black can be and his name is Hamish.
I love reading, I cook, I love my friends.
What does your family think of your writing?
I don’t believe any one of them has read anything I’ve done … well, my mum has. She thinks I could be doing something other than romantic fiction. Enough said.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
Australian, more country than city, though I spent a lot of time in Melbourne growing up and hated it.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I was a voracious reader of all things adventure and horsey. I was hoping my life would be adventurous and horsey, but alas not. I get to write about it though. But not about horses. The only thing I know about horses is that they’re magnificent creatures and quite mysterious to me
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
There’s never been a time in my life when I haven’t been a writer.
Great answer! Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Yes – I just wanted to escape. No dire problems, just the sort of kid I was.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
I don’t know if any have in a conscious way. I think I maintain my own voice, my own idiosyncrasies. I love seeing blocks of dialogue when I read others’ work because that’s what I love to do, too. I do check how much narrative is currently acceptable in popular fiction, how much character description – that sort of thing, but not any one particular author has influenced me.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Can’t say I’ve heard from a lot yet…
Hopefully this blog tour will change that! What can we look forward to from you in the future?
More fun stories. More HEAs and HFNs, those which will have a touch of reality to them. I love a little bit of the esoteric, too, but only where it fits with characters well grounded in reality. There’s not a lot of that in these last few titles, but it might sneak in now and again.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Darry. Best of luck with your future projects.
And thank you, too. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity and look forward to hearing from some of your readers.

From the Author
I have been writing since a very young age. I was the one at school with the home-penned plays and stories, the entertaining ideas and the grand vision, believing I had great talent. Wrong.
I believed that because I could put words on a page in a grammatically acceptable way and tell a reasonable story that I was "an author". Technically, I suppose I was, but the apprenticeship as a ‘writer' – to labour the difference - is a long and hard road.
One day, I had what I still call a little "thing" – I saw my late grandfather in his World War One trench gear talking to "me" at my desk and suddenly the words flowed and so did the short story which was published within two weeks in an Australian national women’s magazine.
So I revisited all my short stories and my novel-length stories and found success again with four short stories and then two short novels in 2001/2.
Alas, life got in the way once more. I kept writing, but in the dark so to speak. I used it as a means of escape, as a retreat and I was able to create my own HEA or HFN.
Then life took another turn and I figured that I had nothing to lose. I dusted off quite a number of manuscripts and began to whip them into shape. At a serendipitous meeting with my current publisher, Nicola at Steam eRreads, she agreed to read my current work at the time. It was a 67,000 word unedited novel, which she accepted. It was published in June 2013 – Money For Blood.
Since then I have had three other novels and two novellas accepted, all HEA/HFN.
I currently have four books published with Steam eReads.

Darry will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Berry Flavours to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour (closes 12 June). So, follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.