Saturday, 20 August 2016

Book Blitz - A Chaotic Courtship




For as long as she can remember, Bethany Swafford has loved reading books. That love of words extended to writing as she grew older and when it became more difficult to find a ‘clean’ book, she determined to write her own. Among her favorite authors is Jane Austen, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Georgette Heyer.


When she doesn’t have pen to paper (or fingertips to laptop keyboard), she can generally be found with a book in hand. In her spare time, Bethany reviews books for a book site called More Than A Review.




Connect with the Author here: 

Twenty year old Diana Forester, a country bred young woman fears that her inexperience and uncertainties has driven Mr. John Richfield away. On arriving back home from London, she learns that he is already there, ready to continue their acquaintance. If Diana thought that it was difficult in London, courting takes on a whole new aspect when Diana's younger siblings become involved. She finds herself dealing with her own feelings, her sister, her younger brother, jealous members of a house party, a jilted suitor, and a highwayman as she falls in love with the charming Mr. Richfield.




Find all of the Authors books on:


Snippet:

“I thought you’d never get here!” Sarah said, ignoring my question completely as she spun to face me. I frowned  at her as I put my outside garments away. She seemed highly agitated, a state which I had seldom seen her in. “Diana, I must speak with you!”

“About what?” I asked calmly.

Sarah took up pacing, and for a moment I believed she wasn’t going to continue with whatever she wanted to say. “You must listen to me for once in your life!” she finally said, as though I had been disagreeable.

Sinking onto our bed, I tried to hide a smile. “Then come out and tell me what has you in such a state.”

“I think Mr. Richfield is the highwayman!”

My smile faded instantly as I stared at her. How had she come up with this ridiculous idea? “You what?” I asked in astonishment.

“There, I’ve said it!” Sarah collapsed into the chair at the dressing table. “I’ve considered the matter carefully, Diana, and as your sister, I could not let you become attached to such a black-hearted criminal!”

I couldn’t help but laugh in response to that absurd notion. “Blackhearted criminal? You cannot be serious, Sarah. I have never heard anything so outlandish. Have you been reading my novels?”

“Diana, I am being completely serious! Stop laughing!”

“How can I take you seriously when everything you say is utter nonsense? Why would you possibly think Mr. Richfield, a true gentleman if I’ve ever met one, is a common criminal?”

Sarah leaned forward, her eyes wide. “Don’t you remember what Aunt Forester said at dinner yesterday?” she asked, lowering her voice for some reason. She acted like she was about to disclose some deep secret to me, and I found myself leaning closer. “About the highwayman being around the Bath area?”

Thinking back, I did in fact remember the conversation and our aunt’s comment. “Yes, of course I remember. What about it?”

“Mr. Richfield was there!”

I failed to follow her line of reasoning. “I’m sure a great many people were in Bath at the same time, Sarah. Aunt and Uncle Forester, for example, were there for two months, I believe.”

Shaking her head, Sarah groaned. “Don’t be obtuse, Diana! You have to see the connection here. Mr. Richfield was in Bath when a highwayman terrorized innocent people. And now, he’s here, where a highwayman has mysteriously appeared to threaten our peaceful home!”


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Monday, 15 August 2016

Engines of Liberty Review and Author Interview




REBEL HEART
In 1776, the American rebels were thwarted by British magic. The leaders were executed, but the surviving soldiers went into hiding and kept the revolution alive. By 1984 they have developed better weapons and machinery to even the odds. Now all these "technomancers" need is an army for their arsenal, and their newest recruit is 15 year-old Calvin Adler of Baltimore. The problem is, he’s got a pretty strong will, and might give the technomancers at bit of trouble in training...
SUICIDE RUN
Calvin learns that the technomancers aren't all good guys like he'd thought, and soon runs afoul of the worst of them. Now, with a bomb in his chest and a lot of ground to cover, he has a little over a week to save his life, or else become another casualty in the revolution. Meanwhile, an old enemy comes back stronger than ever, with ambition to spare...


PATRIOT'S GAME
Calvin is on the brink of death. The army is scattered, the commodore is dead, and the British mages know about the technomancers' secret weapon. Just as all hope seems lost, Calvin and his friends find out the mages have a weakness, one that could end the war overnight and liberate the colonials.
But it will take a miracle to reach it...









Graham Bradley is a truck driver by trade, but has been writing since age eight, thanks to the encouragement of a childhood teacher, Mrs. Peplowski.

Likewise, his grandmother made him promise to "do something" with his knack for drawing, so he illustrates as well.

He is fluent in Spanish, and knows the proper method of ironing a dress shirt. Despite spending less than 6 hours of his entire life in Indianapolis, the Colts are his team.

He lives in Henderson, Nevada, with his wife and sons.

Connect with the Author here: 
Instagram ~ Blog ~ Twitter ~


4 out of 5 Stars

Rebel Heart
If George Washington had lost because of both Magic, and bad press what would the world be like? Rebel Heart is based on an alternate history where the American Revolution was not only lost but completely forgotten about by the population as a whole. The English keeps the citizens in check and under their rule by using magic and generally terrorizing everyone. Our hero (Calvin) stands up to a few of the local wizards and in return is kidnapped by “Techromancers” people who oppose the kings run and are using illegal technology to try and fight back.
The world Author Graham Bradley has written is well thought out and believable. I enjoyed his tweaks to history which managed to intertwine his world into ours.  The characters are believable even down the annoying way some characters have an exaggerated belief in their own importance.
While I did enjoy the book on a whole I did struggle to understand how Calvin could come to the belief that certain people are evil. Nothing written in this book points directly to Evil. Yes annoying, controling and rude, but not evil. Yes trying to keep him away from the girl he fancies, but not evil.
Overall this is a fast paced book perfect for those who enjoy the YA Genre, steampunk, and alternate histories. It is clean, the most sexual content is as an almost kiss. There are a few swear words but mostly they are British, so if you are American you probably won’t even realise they are swear words. There is some war violence but again it is not gory or in too much detail.
I am interested to read the next book and see where this story goes.


4 out of 5 Stars 

Suicide Run
This instalment of the series has more action, is faster paced and has more characters. The new animals, technologies and magic disciplines turns a familiar landscape into a more exotic one. It adds to the story and enhances the depth and scope of the plot line. There are a few times I found myself thinking “that is really cool” particularly when it comes to some of the magical ability shown by the main protagonist in this book, the wizard Godfrey.
This story does however starts with Calvin being a total and complete twat. Like most teenage boys he thinks only of himself and his immediate needs regardless of everyone else around him. I am afraid it made me struggle to feel sympathy for his plight a bit later on in the book when he kind of deserved it. It also plays into my feelings from last book that his belief of certain people being evil doesn’t quite pan out. Yes it does paint one or two people as evil but not the majority of the ones he has pegged as evil.
I did enjoy this story, yes it did irritate me at times, but that irritation does drive the story forward, and it shows that hero’s do not always make the correct choices and are not always in the right.
Again I would recommend this book to fans of YA, Steampunk, Alternate History and fantasy. There is some mild swearing (mostly British words) and some non-gory war violence.


4.5 out of 5 Stars

Patriots Game
This book starts strong and doesn’t let up through the entire story. And I am relieved to see that Finally I was able to get the information needed to understand how Calvin could see someone as evil! It was a relief to say “Ok, yes he was right”
The whole book is face paced, bringing most of the characters back together, even the small bit players (at least the ones who are not dead).  You get to see how each person is able to fit into the whole scheme of things. This is done well so you don’t feel like the author has gone off on a tangent. Instead they all play a part in the main conflict and their choices and actions affect the outcome of the battle.  Because of the hints laid out in the books you will know what would have to happen at the end before you get halfway through the book, however that knowledge does not curtail the enjoyment of the scene any.
Author Graham Bradley has a rich imagination that has built a vivid and believable world that is as reliable as it is uprising. Well done!
Mild swearing, one fairly strong word (only if you understand British swearing, if you don’t it will completely go over your head). There is also war violence, more than the last two books but again it isn’t graphic.
I also recommend you read the whole series in order these are not meant to be read out of order or as stand alone books.
If you like YA, fantasy, steampunk or alternate history then this series is one you need to read.


Interview with Author Graham Bradley
1. Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
Irrational dreamer seeks satisfaction by flogging the English language (and others besides) into a rough approximation of prose, augmented on the drawing board when words will not suffice. It has been stated—rather accurately—that I am not a precision instrument. Also, go Colts!
2. What do you love most in the world?
The easiest answer is the truest: I love my wife, Schaara. I could drown you in anecdotes and still fail to paint the right picture of who and what she is to me.
3. What do you fear most?
As a secret vigilante, it would pretty foolish of me to throw this one out into public.
4. What is your largest unfulfilled dream, and what are you doing to reach it?
I will write and illustrate full-time, and make a really good living off of it. That starts here, at the ground level. I’ll get an agent for some projects, and others I’ll publish independently, and I’ll get better at my craft until people like what I do. (Right now I work in demolition for a living. I like to blow things up, but I do not love to do it.)
5. Now that we've gotten to know each other, tell me a story. It can be long or short. From your childhood or last week. Funny, sad, or somewhere in between. Just make sure it's yours. What's your story?
Oh, now you’ve stepped in it.
Two days before Christmas in 2002, my little brother got a call from one of his hoodlum friends, informing him that a mutual acquaintance of ours was going to haul a car out into the desert and light it on fire, and would we like to come?
I was 18, my brother was 15, and most of the young men involved in this soaring display of good adolescent judgment were in that same range. The car belonged to a guy named Milan. It was a crappy Peugeot, not worth the $100 he had paid for it, and since it was broken beyond the value of repairing it, this method of disposal was of course the most reasonable alternative.
So at 9PM on a Monday, roughly twenty of us helped rig Milan’s car to the back of someone’s pickup, and we towed it down a dirt road into the desert south of Mission Hills in Henderson. Gasoline and road flares soon made short work of the car, and oh, what a spectacle it was!
In fact, it was such a spectacle, that the police decided to stop by and check out the party. (I suspect it was a local, who had seen us towing the car through his neighborhood at the edge of town, that had made the call.)
We had dilly-dallied long enough with the car that the police had time to drive one of their fine Chevy Tahoes down an adjacent desert road and cut off our escape into the nocturnal wasteland. Once the conflagration was at full power, we noticed an odd arrangement of headlights bearing down on us from a distance in the darkness, and it was at this time that someone suggested we get the heck out of there.
We scrambled for the vehicles that had brought us there. I myself jumped into the back of someone’s Dodge pickup, and we were soon flying down a desert road at about forty or fifty miles an hour, in the dark. Let me just say that this road was not intended for these speeds, as it was not even technically a road, but when you see those red-and-blues closing in on you in the pitch black December night, you find that a 4X4 can turn just about anything into a road.
Me being the stalwart religious man that I am, I opted at that moment to send a prayer to The Man Upstairs, promising all manner of future righteous behavior in exchange for immediate deliverance from this bad decision. I got a busy signal, and a recorded message to the effect of “God’s not here right now, some boneheaded kids just got caught burning a car before Christmas, and He’s cheering on the cops.”
The cops—we’ll call them “Henderson’s Finest”—didn’t become the Finest by being stupid. No sooner had we thought that we had secured our escape, having returned from the desert to the edge of town, than did we find ourselves facing a blockade of more police cars, and a fire engine to boot. Orders were shouted through megaphones, skies were reached for, vehicles were disembarked from, and suspects were lined up on the ground.
Motives were questioned. Names were taken. Profanities were uttered by the Finest, which, I thought, seemed a little unfair, given that a certain Entity had opted to grant them their purpose rather than to grant me mine, and even though I’d been party to vehicular arson, at least I hadn’t cussed a lot, but I figured I wasn’t in the best position to make a moral argument on my own behalf.
I looked around for my brother. He was several suspects away from me in the lineup, but didn’t seem rattled. That’s my brother for you: the original Honey Badger. I also noticed that some of our number had escaped capture. These had been members of the high school’s Cross Country team, and they had wisely chosen to get away on foot, themselves being no strangers to running across uneven desert terrain.
As Milan explained his ownership of the vehicle to the Finest, they laughed when he confessed that it was, in fact, a Peugeot. The tension abated slightly, but the Finest still had to do their thing, and that included getting everyone’s information. One officer did all that, starting at my right and working his way down the line. When he got to me, I told him my name and age. He frowned at his notes and asked if I had a brother there that night. Yes sir, I did. He informed me that I wasn’t being a very good example to my brother. This was apparent to me.
The officer informed me that I should call my parents to come pick us up. Now, you don’t know my mother, so you don’t understand that this man was—by default—ordering me to commit suicide. Sighing my resignation, I pulled out my archaic cell phone and dialed my doom.
Sparing you the details of the call, my mom and dad got our location and hopped in the car. It was only then that Officer Judgment (not his actual name) came back to me, checking his notes, and saying “Oh hey, I just noticed that you’re 18. You didn’t need to call your parents, you’re of age, I could’ve just let you take your brother home right now.”
Unspoken cuss words. Lots of them.
In the end, that night was a turning point for me with regards to the example I wanted to set for my brother, regardless of whether he heeded it. It also set the tone for the most awkward Christmas spirit ever, but I suppose I deserved that one.
The moral of the story is this: take up Cross Country.
The End.



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Saturday, 6 August 2016

A Living Hope



It was a match made in heaven. Or so everyone thought. Sadie Mae Cummings is all set to marry her childhood sweetheart, Kyle, when she is assigned to tutor Lincoln, the new college football running back. This sophomore phenomenon has all the girls on campus knocking on his door. But Sadie isn't interested in his advances.

Lincoln’s overblown ego doesn't take well to being shunned, and he resolves to make Sadie his own. He pursues her relentlessly, until finally Kyle finds himself shut out of Sadie's life, with their shared future crumbling around him.

After two years, Sadie’s relationship with Lincoln ends, and she is left having to put the pieces of her life back together. She desires nothing more than to recapture her relationship with Kyle. He has stayed true to the dreams they had planned together, living the vision even without Sadie by his side.

When she moves back to her hometown, she labors to rekindle their love. But things have changed, and Kyle has moved on. Sadie quickly discovers how hard it is to rebuild burned bridges.

Follow Sadie’s story as she fights for a chance to restore broken dreams. Will love endure?

This inspirational romance by E. C. Jackson is book two of the Hope series and is a standalone book.


~ Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo ~ Amazon UK


E. C. Jackson began her writing career with the full-length play Pajama Party. For three and a half years, she published the Confidence in Life newsletter for Alpha Production Ministries, in addition to writing tracts and devotionals. Teaching a women’s Bible study at her church for eleven years led naturally to her current endeavor, writing inspirational romance novels. Her mission: spiritual maturity in the body of Christ through fiction.
Connect with the Author here: 





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Thursday, 28 July 2016

31 Ghost Novels to read before you Die Review



"As readers of Deb Atwood’s blog Pen In Her Hand know, Atwood is passionate about ghost fiction. Since 2011, Atwood has read, re-read, and written about ghost literature. 31 Ghost Novels to Read Before You Die presents a selection of the best of these posts. 

Among the books discussed are old favorites (The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson) as well as some indie gems few people will know about (The 20’s Girl, the Ghost, and All That Jazz by June Kearns). There are ghost novels for every reader, in genres ranging from historical to literary to romance. "





Deb Atwood holds an MFA and lives in California with her husband and rescue dog Nala. Her time-slip novel Moonlight Dancer was selected as a front page Featured Review by Book Ideas. Deb's work has appeared in numerous anthologies. Her interests include ghost fiction, Korean culture, quilting, and, of course, reading.


Connect with the Author here: 
 ~ Website ~ Twitter ~


5 out of 5 Stars


I have not started reading any Ghost novels but I have wanted to… the problem is I don’t like really creepy subject matter. So this book was a heaven sent! I was able to read through all the different sub-genres and get a great overview of a large collection of books. Some that I found really fascinating and are now on my “To Read” list and some that I think “Wow I am really glad that I did not accidentally start my introduction to the Ghost genre with that book!”

Overall the reviews are thought out and well written, but they do not reveal the plot, which in my opinion is a MUST for reviews. Also as I really enjoy just reading blurbs at times (see about me on the side bar) this book was a perfect mix of information and fulfilling my odd enjoyment of finding out about a book without reading the whole thing.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves the Ghost Genre or is looking into finding the perfect book to get you into this genre on the right foot.


Snippet

I had great fun dipping into The 20’s Girl, the Ghost, and All That Jazz by June Kearns. I loved reading about the main character Gerry draped in her Aunt Leonie 20’s designer fashions from Patou to Vionnet, embellished with guipure lace and tiny seed pearls, especially since the creations are ostentatious in Texas and outdated in England. Gerry often observes herself in social situations overdressed but outdated and with no alternative since she cannot afford to buy a stitch. Nor would she if she could, for she never feels closer to her aunt than when she is wearing her clothes.
This novel will interest people looking for a clean, no-sex romance and would make a fitting mother-daughter book club selection. The Girl, the Ghost, and All That Jazz is not a chilling novel that will send you scurrying to check the deadbolts. Instead, you’ll find yourself warmed by non-traditional family ties and the sparks that fly when romance, along with a high-spirited ghost, is in the air.


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Saturday, 23 July 2016

Summer Reads Day 12




Donna Hatch, author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” has won writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award. A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she is a sought-after workshop presenter, and juggles multiple volunteer positions and her six children. A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.


Q&A With the Author:


5.    What is your favorite part of writing?
The first few chapters of the rough draft are the most fun. Usually that evil little voice hasn't started talking to me yet--you know, that little voice that whispers it's not good enough? Yeah, that one. Getting a jump on it is great for my ego. The first few chapters of a rough draft is also the point where I have not yet realized that I don't have a very well thought-out plot. Ah, that part is bliss.

6.     Do you have any advice for other writers?

1. Don't listen to that evil little voice. 2. Finish the rough draft before you begin revisions. 3. Accept advice and critiques with grace and humility, even if you don't plan to do what they suggest you do. 

Connect with the Author here: 


"Determined to help her father with his political career, Jocelyn sets aside dreams of love. When she meets the handsome and mysterious Grant Amesbury, her dreams reawaken. But his secrets put her family in peril.                                                 Grant goes undercover to capture conspirators avowed to murder the prime minister, but his only suspect is the father of a courageous lady who is growing increasingly hard to ignore. He can’t allow Jocelyn to distract him from the case, nor will he taint her with his war-darkened soul. She seems to see past the barriers surrounding his heart, which makes her all the more dangerous to his vow of remaining forever alone. Jocelyn will do anything to clear her father’s name, even if that means working with Grant. Time is running out. The future of England hangs in the balance...and so does their love."


~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK


Snippet:

“How can I thank you properly?” Jocelyn said.
Mr. Amesbury blinked as if unaccustomed to such an outpouring of gratitude. “No need. Their safety is enough. I enjoy administering a bit of justice now and again.”
The corner of his mouth twitched and an unholy gleam shimmered in the hardness of his eyes. For a fleeting moment, a vision of Grant Amesbury hunting down the criminal who’d attacked her and exacting some form of vengeance upon him flashed through her mind. He was like a rogue knight with his own code of honor and his own methods of justice.
Jocelyn studied Mr. Amesbury’s profile, fascinated with his cautious probing. He was so solemn, so intense. If only he’d smile. But no, perhaps it was best he didn’t. He’d probably be so handsome she would be rendered unable to utter an intelligent word.
When the butler opened the door to announce dinner, she said quietly, “I hope you don’t mind, Mr. Amesbury, but I’ve seated you next to me.”
He blinked as if he’d forgotten she stood next to him. “Why would I mind?”
She huffed out a self-deprecating laugh. “You seemed a bit ill at ease yesterday when you came for tea.”
His pale gray eyes passed over her. Again came that intensity. His hard edges softened. “Not because I object to your company, Miss Fairley.”
It was ridiculous, really, the warmth that wrapped around her like a blanket at his words. She probably grinned like some kind of silly schoolgirl. His crusty, protective barrier returned in his posture and his expression. How long would it take her to break open his emotional armor and find the real Grant Amesbury?


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