Lori Ryan

Rachel Thompson

Aicha Zoubair

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Strange Year of Vanessa M. by Filipa Fonseca Silva #ReviewShare #4stars @poshpipa

The Strange Year of Vanessa M.The Strange Year of Vanessa M. by Filipa Fonseca Silva
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, the negatives. You literally have to wait for something to happen in the first half of the book. The pacing was painstakingly slow. But after you get past the first half, you won't want to put the book down. Maybe the contrast was the author's intention to further stress Vanessa's decision. It certainly felt that way to me.

Now to the positives. The plot, the characters, the ideas and the writing are worthy of an award. This book was one of the books most districts in our book club took the longest to discuss because of the issues it raised. The author has indeed created something truly amazing here.

A woman who wants to change her present life is a reflection of many people who feel trapped. Which then raises the questions of how do people deal with these emotions and where do they go. This if the first book I am reading from this author and she is definitely my new favourite author.

Plot is complex but well-developed. The characters are realistic and akin to people you know. The prose is descriptive and the concept of the book has a deep, dark undertone to it. All of this comes together in one beautiful storyline. developments, deep concepts, and one beautiful storyline. Thank you, Filipa for sharing Vanessa's story.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

#Free #Exercise #Health - Defying Age with Food by Freda Mooncotch @Kindleexpert

Reclaim Your Health, Energy & Vitality! 
It's What You Eat, Not How Much You Exercise 

In a society that spends billions of dollars annually in seeking better health and appearance through pills, powders, drinks, hormones, exercise obsession, gym memberships, and medical drugs, Freda Mooncotch is making a very bold proclamation with the title of her new book Defying Age With Food: Reclaim Your Health, Energy & Vitality. It’s What You Eat, Not How Much You Exercise! Can we really defy the aging process with what most of us take for granted each day — our food? Freda says we most certainly can in fact dramatically slow our inevitable passage of life while attaining superior health and vitality.

The pages of her new release are not filled with theories, conjecture or speculations; they tell the riveting tale of a woman’s plight to regain her health. In describing her story, Freda literally runs the gauntlet of healing protocols from both the orthodox medical and alternative health fields. What the author accomplished in her success not only gave back her health and beauty, but fired a few heavy artillery rounds across the bows of a good number of our “sacred cows” such as excessive exercise, fad dieting, mega-dosing on supplements, and a pharmaceutical drug reliance that has forged the industrialized world.

This is a must read for anyone wishing to seriously upgrade their nutritional knowledge.

Media celebrity, Kathy Hart said:
“What an eye-opener! I learned more about the effects of food on our body from Freda and her book, Defying Age, than I’ve learned in months of interviewing health experts! Her passion, knowledge and energy are a true inspiration … and those pictures of her in the book are absolute proof of how the right diet can give you a rockin’ body”.

Randy Roach of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors wrote:
“This is a story of tenacity where a strong determination saw Freda through a fight to reclaim a healthy mind and body while ridding herself of a number of addictions plaguing so much of our society.”

Along with her amazing story and nutritional revelations and tastefully done photos of Freda, this resourceful book also contains recipes that she promises will nourish one back to health, strength, and vitality.

Defying Age with Food by Freda Mooncotch
Rating – PG
Genre – Non-Fiction
4.7 (25 reviews)
Free until 28 January 2014

Beyond Neanderthal by Brian Bloom @BrianB_Aust

From Chapter 12 – Visit to a Blue Amber Mine

As Tara alighted from the vehicle, she found herself facing a ghostly white haze of wispy, low-lying clouds that hung as if suspended in time above the undulating hilltops. The peaks rose from the variegated emerald and olive valley below and stretched into the distance amid a virginal mixture of lush equatorial undergrowth. She drew a deep, involuntary breath.

‘Wow!’ There were no other words to describe the feeling of awe-inspired privilege that washed over her. The vista was about as far removed from Central Park as a New York city skyscraper was from the little pastel coloured huts lining the Carretera Turística.

Aurelio smiled. Intuitively, he seemed to understand that the most appropriate response to this magnificent sight was silence. It was a full two minutes before Tara gathered her thoughts.

‘Let’s get going,’ she said.

They made their way carefully—gingerly climbing over dead logs, negotiating their way around rocky outcrops, and grabbing onto available plant life to steady themselves as they walked and stumbled their way towards the valley below. On either side of the track, a mixture of tall, fronded plants grew in an array of shapes and sizes beside stunted and gnarled old trees with deep green foliage. Tara thought of the trees like friendly bystanders, their leafy branches protectively shading Aurelio and her from much of the glaring sunshine above. They came across a trickling stream, which they followed for a while; Tara ever mindful and vigilant, watching for any sign of wildlife in the undergrowth. Except for the background humming of insects, the occasional noisy squawking of a flock of parrots flying past overhead and, once, the silent imprint of a shoe sole on the muddy banks of the stream, they seemed to be alone.

Then, in a clearing, they came across a group of young men standing seemingly relaxed and chatting. A few feet away, under a lean-to made of branches and palm fronds, one of them squatted while cooking something on a small paraffin or gas stove. Aurelio and Tara had arrived at the mine.

Again, there was a short conversation in Spanish. Again, there was a wrinkling of noses followed by broad smiles of understanding and agreement. There were also some side comments and laughter amongst the men. The word ‘gringa’—foreigner from America—came up a couple of times. Tara thought she also heard the words ‘bonita’, and ‘sexual’, but she couldn’t be sure. She decided to keep a slight distance for the time being. They were in the middle of nowhere, miles from the nearest civilization.

Aurelio walked back towards her. ‘They will be happy to show you around, but we should remember our time limitations. We cannot spend more that half an hour here if we are to return to Santo Domingo before dark.’

‘Are you trying to protect me from these guys?’ she asked with a smile. Aurelio looked embarrassed.

‘What’s he cooking?’ she asked to change the subject. ‘It smells great.’

‘That is called arroz con abichuelas, a mixture of rice and beans. He is probably cooking some small pieces of beef with it, but it could be any meat.’

‘Can one buy that in a restaurant in Santo Domingo?’

‘Of course, but not exactly the same. This is a local dish for locals. To sell food like this to tourists would be like offering leftovers to your guests. It would not be right. In the restaurants it is much more carefully presented and is usually served with salads.’

The word ‘dignity’ popped into Tara’s mind. Aurelio seemed to have it, and that was what she had seen on the faces of the fruit vendor and the amber polisher and, now, even the miners as she approached them. Other than their initial jocularity, they seemed to consider her as their guest and themselves as hosts who happily welcomed visitors into their world. The men were just being men.

As they approached the entrance to the mine, a happy looking miner wearing a backward facing baseball cap sat with a short-handled pick in one hand, a lump of soft rock in the other.

Hola, señorita,’ he said, grinning broadly.

She smiled back at him, lifted her hand in greeting, but continued to follow Aurelio to the mine entrance. It was like standing at the entrance to the burrow of a large animal.

Beyond Neanderthal

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Thriller

Rating – MA (15+)

More details about the author

Connect with Brian Bloom on Twitter

Accountability Leadership by Di Worrall @DiWorrall

Accountability Starts at the Top

As a leader, accountability starts with you. You have a weighted relationship with your people. What you say, what you do, and even those things you don’t say or do, have a far greater impact on the people in your sphere of influence than you might think.

Your employees look to you not only for the big decisions, but also for the finer nuances of acceptable cultural norms in how to feel, how to behave, and how to respond. It’s crucial that you take your own responsibility and accountability seriously.

Di Worrall

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre - Business, Leadership, Workplace Behaviour, Human Resources, Executive Coaching

Rating – PG

More details about the author

Connect with Di Worrall on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.diworrall.com.au/

Monday, January 27, 2014

4 stars to Making Wishes by Marilyn Holdsworth @M_Holdsworth #ReviewShare #Fiction

Making WishesMaking Wishes by Marilyn Holdsworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For this reader, Holdsworth really captured a unique and believable slice of life. The story follows Elloree, a wife and mother struggling with a life that doesn’t fulfill her. She has some choices to make about the future and needs to examine the reality around her and explore what’s happening just beneath the surface.

A really good read, full of interesting and recognizable emotional struggle and dilemmas. You have the perfect life, if you believe the magazines and the hype, but is it really what you want, what you need? Or is there something missing? And then what do you do about it without ruining the lives of those around you?

Beautifully written and realistically tells a story that draws you in. Holdsworth does a fantastic job at making you really care about the decisions these people make. I enjoyed this book so much. It is both dramatic and touching at the same time – I really found myself caring about what would happen to the characters. As the story progresses I felt more and more like I understood the feelings and emotions being portrayed.
This is a must read!

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How the English Establishment Framed Stephen Ward by Caroline Kennedy @StephenWardBook

FBI director, J.Edgar Hoover, was convinced that British society was riddled with whores, pimps, sex maniacs and Soviet agents. His conviction was given a boost on Sunday, 16th June, when an article by British solicitor, Michael Eddowes, appeared in the Journal-American. In it Eddowes told of his meeting with Yevgeny Ivanov during the Cuban missile crisis. Eddowes described Ivanov as highly aggressive and full of blustering threats to wipe out England and to drop an atomic bomb in the sea 60 miles off New York. According to Eddowes, Hoover immediately ‘instructed’ him to make further enquiries into the security aspects and report back to him.
Washington was now buzzing with as many rumours as had swept London during the height of the scandal, so what happened next was not entirely a surprise. The White House became involved. The most likely explanation for President Kennedy’s sudden interest in the affair is that his brother, Attorney-General Robert Kennedy, told him of the long report from Hoover.
There were then both political and personal reasons for the President’s interest. One was that the scandal could provide Kennedy’s opponents in Congress with ammunition to attack his plans for a multi-nation NATO nuclear force. If Britain was so leaky, why should the US share it’s defence secrets? Another was a call in the Washington News for Kennedy to cancel his scheduled visit to London because it would provide moral support for the foundering Government of Harold Macmillan. ‘We can think of no better time for an American President to stay as far as possible away from England.’
And a third reason, a personal one, was that given Hoover’s animosity for the Kennedy family, the President became concerned that Hoover would somehow use the scandal against him….The only feasible reason for this widespread fascination is that all these people feared that the President of the United States was about to be dragged into the scandal, not on a political level, but on a sexual one…..The reason was that Robert Kennedy was worried that Christine or Mandy, or even both girls, might have slept with the President during their recent visit to the United States and he needed to know for certain so that he could protect the President from the scandal that would follow if the girls blabbed. It would have been simpler for Robert Kennedy to ask his brother if he had slept with either of the girls. But, as we now know, John F. Kennedy’s sexual appetite was so prodigious and so indiscriminate that he would not have been able to remember.

How The English Establishment Framed
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Politics, Espionage, Scandal
Rating – PG-16
More details about the author
Connect with Caroline Kennedy on Facebook & Twitter

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Along The Watchtower by David Litwack @DavidLitwack

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. In less than a minute, I found myself in physical therapy. Like the rest of the hospital, the room was green-tile sterile, but someone had made an effort to cheer it up. Porcelain clowns lined the windowsill. Stuffed circus animals—lions and elephants and a family of monkeys—surrounded the rack that held the free weights. And a variety of fresh-cut flowers had been set in mugs in the cup holder for each exercise bicycle and treadmill. Later, I’d learn from Ralph that Becky kept them fresh, paying for them out of her own pocket. He said she’d deny it, but he’d seen her sneak in on more than one Monday morning with an armful.

Fresh-cut flowers. Mom used to get them every Monday as well, to brighten up the gingerbread house. But after Dad died, she started leaving them too long, not replacing them until they’d decayed so badly they smelled. After Joey died, she stopped buying them altogether.

The girl I met in the courtyard stood over a rolling aluminum table, organizing things I didn’t much like the look of. She was sufficiently absorbed that she didn’t notice us until Ralph called out.

“Afternoon, Becky. Brought you some fresh meat.”

She turned and grinned. “Always love a new victim.”

“Great. I’ll leave you two alone. Sounds like you need some privacy.”

After he left, she went back to finishing her preparations, making me wait. Finally, she came over and extended a hand.

“We already met, but let’s make it official. You’re Lt. Williams, but I can call you Freddie. I’m your worst nightmare, but you can call me Becky.”

I reached out and shook her hand. She didn’t seem scary.

“Ralph says you’re the best, that if anybody can bring me back, you can.”

“Ralph’s wrong. I’m just the guide. You’re going to do most of the work.”

“But are you the best?”

“Let’s say I haven’t lost one yet.”

“So I’ll be back on the basketball court in no time.”

Her grin vanished. She grabbed a chair, dragged it over and sat next to me.

“We’re going to be spending a lot of time together, Freddie, so we need to be straight with each other, right from the outset. My goal is to get you back to as normal a life as possible. If you work hard, I’ll have you out of that wheelchair and on crutches in a month. A month after that, maybe a cane. Beyond that, we’ll see. I make no promises other than to work as hard as you will.”

She stared at me. I stared back, captivated by my reflection in her gray-green eyes. She blinked first and went back to the rolling table.

. . . . . . .

She sat down again and undid the Velcro from my brace.

I winced. I hadn’t looked at my leg much since my peek the week before. The incision was less angry and the oozing had stopped. But what shocked me were the muscles. Where once I had bulges, now there were hollows. Not the leg of an athlete or soldier. Not the leg of a guy who might someday dunk. The leg of an invalid. Becky’s words rattled around in my brain. Crutches, then a cane. After that, we’ll see.

“It may not be pretty,” she said, as if she’d read my mind, “but it’s yours. Take a good look. Let it motivate you when you start making progress. And trust me, you will make progress.”

She squeezed some ointment from a tube onto her hands and rubbed them together.

“This will feel a little cold.”

She spread the ointment, swirling her fingertips over what had once been my quad. When she started the e-stim treatment, I felt the muscle spasm and contract involuntarily, a strange but not entirely unpleasant feeling. As she slid the wand around, humming along to its buzz, I noticed her touch more than the current.

She spoke out of nowhere. “I read the report. Says you have no family.”

I kept staring at her making figure-eights on my leg.

“Is that right?” she said.

I nodded.

“What happened?”

“I was born an orphan.”

She turned off the e-stim and looked up at me.

“Want to talk about it?”


“Ralph said you don’t talk much.”

“I talk when I want to. I don’t want to talk now.”

“Fine with me.” She resumed the treatment, hummed a few more bars, and then spoke without looking up. “Ralph was right about another thing.”

“What’s that?”

“You are a hard case.”

She was quiet after that, going about her job while I focused on the clowns at the windowsill. Every now and then, I’d sneak a look at her. A beautiful, happy optimist. But she’d never lived my life.

Crutches and a cane. After that, we’ll see. I was different from her—a realist. I knew what “we’ll see” meant. I’d need more than physical therapy to bring me back. I’d need a miracle.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy

Rating – PG

More details about the author and the book

Connect with David Litwack on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.davidlitwack.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

#ReviewShare #PNR City of the Fallen (Dark Tides, #1) by Diana Bocco

City of the Fallen (Dark Tides, #1)City of the Fallen by Diana Bocco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did the plot pull you in or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book? In general, Diana Bocco’s writing is good and the plot pulled me in but some parts of the story seemed forced to me. The sex scenes seemed hurriedly thrown in as a way of rewarding the reader so I didn’t find these too appealing.

How realistic was the characterisation? Most of the time, the characters were plausible. But again, the convenient sex scenes seemed unreal. The pacing wasn’t rushed so you could take your time to get to know the characters and I especially liked the inner turmoil of the main characters.

Did you feel you were experiencing the time and place in which the book was set? The scene building in this story deserves an applause. It was like a 3D movie. By the time you are finished with how Diana Bocco describes a certain scene, you can smell, breath and touch the background she has created.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

View all my reviews

Indiestructible: Inspiring Stories from the Publishing Jungle by Jessica Bell, Melissa Foster, Susan Kaye Quinn, Leigh Talbert Moore, Anne R. Allen, Cindy M. Hogan, Dawn Ius, Michelle Davidson Argyle, Roz Morris @MsBessieBell

Letter from the Editor

Let me be clear—I don’t take sides. I appreciate the self-published author, the author published by a small press, and the New York-published author. Because you know what? No matter what publishing route any of us decide to take, we are all still authors.

We write because we can’t not write.

No label will ever take that passion away from us.

The purpose of this book is to inspire you to consider indie publishing, i.e., self-publishing or small press.

Each of us has our own path.

Each of us has our own voice.

The beauty of indie publishing is the very thing that critics say is its downfall: there is room for everyone. Have a unique voice that doesn’t fit the mass market? Want to write another angel book, even though publishing experts say angel books are “dead”? Indie publishing allows the readers who love exactly the kind of books you write to find you, even if that number is too small to interest a mainstream press. And if you have written a book that has mainstream appeal? There are even more readers who will scoop up your value-priced indie book.

Indiestructible will help you see this side of the industry from those who have experienced it first-hand. There is nothing more invaluable than advice about indie publishing from people who have lived in the indie trenches, from those who are passionate, inspiring, motivated, and eager to pay it forward.

Authors who are… indiestructible.

The climate of the publishing industry nowadays is pretty exciting for us. The authors. And the stigma attached to non-traditional publishing is well on its way to the paper shredder. Take a look at this article.

More and more authors are finding the courage to self-publish or sign contracts with small presses dedicated to building niche markets. They’re proud of their work, and they’re making serious money selling it to readers around the world. They are reaching readers by the thousands, tens of thousands, and even millions, without securing a contract with a mainstream publisher. The fact is, the market is saturated, especially as more and more indie authors make bold steps toward self-publishing. Mainstream publishers are driven by market trends, leaving a unique opportunity for indie authors to cater to niche markets and target audiences.

Since I decided to go indie, I wear the badge proudly. Because, yes, it’s in my best interests right now. My best interests. This is a choice I’ve made, and it’s working out well. I sell around 400 books a month. And bit by bit, that number is increasing. To some, this might seem like peanuts compared to self-published successes like Hugh Howey and Colleen Hoover. But to me, whose intention was to connect with readers, the figure is certainly nothing to laugh at. With these sales, I cover all my marketing expenses, and earn a little extra cash. And most importantly, I’m being read, and my visibility is growing. I’d rather have my work out there, and organically garner interest now. I have the control to attract new readers every day, build a loyal fan base for my other works, rather than leave my manuscripts sitting in a drawer waiting for consumer trends to change in my favour. I may not have millions of readers, but 400 a month is a lot better than zero.

Indie publishing is not the only solution, but if you don’t get that big break because the mainstream publishers are only publishing a select number of books, and yours doesn’t happen to be what they’re looking for, then submitting your work to a small press, or publishing your books yourself, may be your best option. In fact, for some authors, even if a mainstream publisher is interested, indie publishing may still be the route you prefer to take.

Indie publishing allows all writers of all stripes access to the world’s readers.

The industry has changed, forced into embracing the digital revolution, just like the music industry. Independent artists are everywhere now. Authors don’t self-publish because they’re too lazy to go through the slog of submitting queries to agents, or editing their manuscripts properly, or simply out of impatience to see their work in print, just like independent musicians aren’t too lazy to find a record deal. They simply have a different sound. Or they don’t want to be told by the record label what they should and shouldn’t record. In a saturated market, where publishers/music producers have millions and millions of queries and proposals, independent artists are driven by self-belief and a passion that their work deserves a place.

Independent artists are, in fact, some of the most motivated and tough-skinned artists I’ve ever known. A lot of them, including me, have huge stories behind the reason they publish independently. Stories that most people will never know about, because when someone releases a book, it’s not like you can say on the blurb:

“This book is self-published, but the author actually once had an agent and a book deal with a Big 5 publisher, but decided to go the indie route because she felt it was better for her, both professionally and emotionally.”

Or …

“This book is self-published because the author spent years and years querying it, was told that the writing was great, but no agent believed they could sell it. So ... here’s the book. The author doesn’t need to sell a million copies, a few hundred is enough. Plus it’s been through so many edits after all the agent feedback, you won’t be able to find a thing wrong with it.”

Or …

“This book is self-published because the author looked at the future changes coming in the industry and decided to leap ahead, to follow a path that had not been trodden a thousand times before. This author isn’t afraid to be different.”

Every indie author’s path is unique.

Because every author is unique.

So, I urge everyone who is skeptical about indie publishing, to think about the story behind it, and the effort it’s taken to get it out there, and the determination the writer has. Indie publishing is not for the impatient ... it’s for authors who want their fate to rest in their own hands.

There are many pathways to success as a writer. Whether you choose to pursue a mainstream contract, go the small press route, or dive straight into self-publishing, your path will be unique to you. Between all the different varieties of indie experiences, you will find, among your friends, and within this book, an experience that resonates with you. Inspires you.

Empowers you to make the choice.

You are a writer.

So be an author.

~Jessica Bell


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre –  Non-fiction

Rating – G

More details about the author

Connect with Jessica Bell on FacebookTwitter

Blog http://thealliterativeallomorph.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo by Holy Ghost Writer @SultanOfSalem

After the much-needed bath, Dantes puts on his dressing gown and lies down on his old bed, which he finds deeply comforting. He has played and traveled hard over the past few busy years, and he knows it has worn on him; there is more silver in his hair than before. He hopes to slow down soon, for he loves his new home with his family close by and misses them terribly. The sweet, baby faces of his daughters loom in the darkness of his closed eyes. How blessed he is! He resolves to enjoy Paris while he is here, though. He wants to go to the opera while he is in town and also visit a few of his favorite haunts. Finally, he falls fast asleep, only to awaken to a servant telling him the meal is nearly ready.
The servant helps Dantes dress and leads him to the dining room.
“The table looks divine,” Dantes says, thinking how nice it is to be out of his traveling clothes and into something more refined. He looks at the spread before him—fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as two huge pheasants with mint jelly. The yeasty smell of homemade bread fills the air and makes his mouth water.
“I hope this pleases you, sir,” Valentine tells him. “I know the food in America is quite different. Perhaps you have become too accustomed to their fare to appreciate ours.”
“Oh, nothing can compare to a good French meal, although American food has its own charms. When the baby is old enough to travel, you will all have to visit my estate in Georgia. It’s a different world, but one I believe you will enjoy,” Dantes tells them.
Just then, he hears the creak of a wheelchair. In comes M. Noirtier. Dantes rushes over to him and bids him hello.
“My old friend!” he says. “My heart fills with joy to see you—let us enjoy this magnificent feast as well as one another’s company.”
The next morning, Dantes plans to visit more of his old friends, at least those who still reside in Paris. A carriage awaits him in the hazy light of dawn, and he is flooded with memories as he drives through the streets. He wishes Mercedes and Haydee could be at his side, but knows his daughters are far too young for such travel; it would exhaust them.

Holy Ghost Writer
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG-15
More details about the author
Connect with Holy Ghost Writer on Facebook & Twitter
Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Howling Heart by April Bostic

* * * *

That night, I invited some close friends and a few coworkers to my apartment. Trevor was there, but we couldn’t act like a couple. It really sucked that I couldn’t express my feelings for him in my own home.

My best friend, Julie, was at the party and decided to help our situation. While I chatted with a few guests, she approached me and whispered in my ear. “Take Trevor into the bedroom for a few minutes and make out with him.”

I almost spit out my champagne. She laughed, and her olive green eyes blinked innocently. “You know you want to. Just look at him over there.”

I turned around and saw Trevor leaning against a wall with a champagne glass in one hand. He looked delectable and handsome in his simple, black T-shirt and denim jeans. He had hit the gym extra hard lately, and it was definitely paying off. The short sleeves showed off his muscular arms.

I took another sip of my champagne and mumbled, “Ummm, maybe later.”

Julie shrugged before she walked away. “Suit yourself.”

Later became sooner when I finally decided I wanted a private moment with my boyfriend. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find him. I decided to ask Julie, but ironically, she was anxious to tell me something.

She approached me with a worried look on her face. “Paige, you need to go outside,” she said urgently.

In less than a second, my expression changed from concern to confusion. “What?”

“Go outside. I would go with you, but you need to see it for yourself.”

“See what?” I felt uneasy by her insistence and swallowed hard. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see this.

“Just go! Hurry!”

She took my glass, and I walked swiftly out my apartment door and down the hall. I had almost made it outside but didn’t need to take another step. I saw what Julie wanted me to see—Trevor and Heather in a romantic lip-lock.

Anger boiled inside me and quickly bubbled over. “Trevor!” I was surprised my voice didn’t break the glass on the entrance door.

Still in a lover’s embrace, Trevor and Heather unsealed their lips from one another and looked at me standing in the hall. My vision quickly blurred with tears of betrayal. When Trevor’s wide eyes met my gaze, I ran out the entrance door and attacked him. My fists pounded into him, but he managed to push me off his body.

He grabbed my arms in a vice grip. “Paige! Calm down!”

I struggled against his hold until he released me. Then, I slapped his face as hard as I could.

He doubled over, and I heard Heather’s shrill voice. “You’re one crazy bitch!”

I think primal rage took control of me after hearing her annoying voice, because the next thing I remember, Julie pulled me off Heather, and she ran down the street crying.

Trevor leaned against a parked car, his left cheek bright red from my hand. I approached him slowly, and his whole body stiffened in caution. I felt tears on my cheeks, and my vision was still blurry.

The boil inside me had cooled to a simmer, so I spoke calmly. “You were just using her, right? That kiss meant nothing? She means nothing?”

He took a deep breath and looked me in the eye. “Yeah.”

I wasn’t surprised he lied to my face. I scoffed and felt insulted he thought I was stupid and blind. “Yeah, right.”

I turned to walk back into my apartment building. That’s when he said, “Paige, I swear! You have to trust me!”

I wanted to keep walking, but I like to have the last word. I turned around and shook my head. I even smiled, but it wasn’t friendly. “Fuck you. Why should I ever trust you, again? Get out of here, and don’t ever come back. Don’t text me or talk to me at work. We’re over.”

Luckily, he didn’t argue with me, or I would’ve had to kick him in the balls. My hands ached, and I felt something itchy. I looked at them and saw long, blonde strands wrapped around my fingers. I must’ve pulled out Heather’s hair during our fight. I smiled to myself. I hope she has a bald patch.

When I got back inside my apartment, I put on a mask of indifference. I didn’t want people to see I was on the verge of exploding into tears.

Julie came up to me with gentle and kind eyes. “Do you want everyone to leave? I’m sure they’ll understand.”

“This is great, isn’t it? I’m supposed to be celebrating the opportunity of a lifetime, and instead, I find my boyfriend cheating on me.”

I laughed, and I think I approached delirium, because I couldn’t stop. Julie gave me a concerned look and put her hands on my arms, stopping my crazed, laughing fit.

“I’m sorry, but you had to know. I saw them when I was going outside to smoke a cigarette. They didn’t see me, so I ran back in to tell you, so you could see it for yourself.”

“Gee, thanks,” I said with false gratitude.

I went to the kitchen counter to pour myself another drink. I gulped down an entire glass of champagne and then proceeded to pour another one.

Julie took the bottle from me and spoke gently. “Don’t worry. You’ll meet a guy who will love you the way you deserve.”

“Not in this city,” I scoffed, pessimism lacing my words.

She smiled sympathetically, stood behind me, and slipped her arms around my waist as she placed her head on my shoulder.

She sounded wistful when she said, “Yeah, maybe not, but he’s out there…just waiting for a girl like you.”

My house phone rang, and I sluggishly made my way over to answer it. I saw my mother’s number on the Caller ID.

“Hi, Mom.” I remembered I hadn’t told her about my promotion. “Guess what? Nina promoted me at work, today. I was going to call and tell you. She named me Creative Designer.” I tried to sound cheerful, but I was too weary from my break-up with Trevor.

“That’s nice.” She didn’t sound thrilled, and my heart dropped like a stone to the pit of my stomach. She sighed heavily. “Oh, God. Your promotion makes what I have to tell you more difficult.”

“What do you mean?” Something told me this might be a private conversation. “Hold on. I’m going to talk to you in my room. I’m having a party to celebrate my promotion, so it’s a little noisy.” I carried the cordless phone into my bedroom and closed the door. “Okay, what were you saying?” I sat on the bed and cradled the phone against my ear.

“It’s your father.” She paused, and I had a feeling she was about to drop a bomb on me. “He’s dead.”

Yep, she did.

I stood and yelled into the receiver, “What do you mean he’s dead?”

“He had a heart attack this evening. The doctors at the hospital couldn’t save him.”

My brain tried to process this horrifying news, and I couldn’t spare tears to burst out crying like I wanted. I had used so many on Trevor’s infidelity.

“Look, I can’t handle this right now. I just caught Trevor cheating on me, and…”

“To hell with Trevor! This is your father! He’s dead!”

“I know! I said I can’t handle this right now!”

“Well, you’re going to have to. You’re his only child, so you have to arrange his funeral. Come to the hospital, now. I’m not dealing with this alone.”

I couldn’t speak. I felt like my world just crashed down on me. Earlier today, a new path to my future shined brightly with promise. Now, my lips trembled violently, and my tear ducts finally exploded. Grief struck me hard, and I fell on my bed. I dropped the phone next to me and cried. This was the only way I knew how to handle losing my father. I hope my mother was satisfied, now.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Paranormal Romance

Rating – Adult

More details about the author

Connect with April Bostic on Goodreads

Website http://www.aprilbostic.com/


Quality Reads UK Book Club Disclosure: Author interview / guest post has been submitted by the author and previously used on other sites.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Onio by Linell Jeppsen @nelj8


Mel rode the elevator down to the parking garage and got in her car to drive home. She drove around and down until she reached ground level, and was taken by surprise when a snowplow plunged past her on the access road. She gripped the steering wheel tightly and stared in shock at the blizzard in front of her windshield. The snow whirled in dizzying eddies and settled in hillocks on the road.

Gulping, Mel fumbled for another cigarette. She wasn’t accustomed to driving, and had only done it since her mother had grown too ill to drive herself back and forth to the hospital for treatments. Now she had an eighty-mile drive back home in a snowstorm to deal with. She briefly considered spending the night in the hospital waiting room (she didn’t think that the nursing staff would kick her out just because their patient had expired) but disregarded the notion immediately. She just wanted to go home, curl up on the couch and sleep for a week. Staring into the maelstrom of winter, Mel gritted her teeth and turned left on to the road that led home.

Two hours later, she coasted to a stop by the side of the road, trembling with nerves and fatigue. After following the snowplow for almost thirty miles, as long as she didn’t go too fast she felt fairly confident that her mom’s old Subaru was up to the task. Then the plow pulled sharply to the right, flipped a U-turn and headed back the way it came, leaving her alone at the foot of Sherman Pass. Mel was now at the Stevens-Ferry County line, the snow had tapered off, and Mel could see the wan, pale face of the full moon staring down at her from the ragged sky.

Forty miles and she would be home, but the miles between where she sat and her home encompassed one of the highest and most treacherous mountain passes in Washington State. One more smoke, she decided…just one more, and she would quit smoking forever.

She lit up and poured the last of the coffee from her thermos into a cup. The moon was bright now, painting the rising hills in shades of gray, silver and black. It was beautiful, and right now, deadly. The thermometer on the dash said that the outside temperature was fourteen degrees. Mel could see shiny rivers of light reflecting off the tire tracks on the road. It reminded her of the silent, silver tear tracks that lined her mother’s cheeks in the moments of her death.

She finished her coffee, butted her cigarette, sucked in a deep breath and took off. For a moment, she thought she might be stuck, but the little car heaved itself out of the snow and settled into the plow marks on the highway.

Twice in the first leg up the pass headlights approached, both of them set high off the ground…log trucks coming from the high hills to drop their loads at the closest mill in Kettle Falls. Mel gripped the steering wheel tightly and held on as the big rigs sprayed her car with clouds of blowing snow and ice. Then she was alone.

It was 4:45 a.m. when she reached the summit. Heaving a sigh of relief, she grinned. It was smooth sailing now. Soon she should be catching up with the snowplows for Ferry County. Staring down the road, she felt the emotions of the long sad night and the tension of the drive home dissolve into a fugue of fatigue. Like magic, her eyes began to feel gritty and her fingers twitched in a spasm on the wheel.

She shook her head and thought, Hold on…only twenty miles to go and you’re home!

A sudden movement caught her eye. Her first thought was that a deer was crossing the road, but it was too far in the distance and she was driving too slowly for a deer to cause her alarm. But when she forced her tired eyes to focus, she caught her breath in surprise.

It was a man…or a bear standing upright. Her first thought couldn’t be right, because first, what man would be standing stock-still on a deserted mountain pass at five o’clock in the morning in the middle of January, in freezing temperatures? Also, the shape of the creature was far too large and bulky to be human.

But then again, shouldn’t the bears be hibernating? Mel knew that sometimes a male bear would roam during a balmy winter season, preying on rabbits, deer and coyotes. But it had been a long, cold winter, and this kind of season would drive even the most restless bear to den. Besides, since when did a bear stand upright for such a long time? She had been approaching slowly for maybe thirty seconds. Most bears would have been long gone at the first glimpse of the headlights.

Mel started to brake as the creature was bathed in light. Her eyes grew wide in shock, and she gasped as she saw clearly what her mind tried to process in terms she could understand and accept.

The creature that stood upright on the road in front of her was huge, nearly eight feet tall, and was covered from head to toe in mottled dark fur. He wore a sort of loincloth and carried a large sack in his left hand. As Mel watched he set the sack down on the side of the road and lifted his hand to shade his eyes from the glare of the headlights.

His face was humanoid and distinctly handsome. Although his features were heavy, with a dark, slashing brow line and thick, finely etched lips, it was his eyes that mesmerized Mel’s dazzled senses. They were huge, intelligent, humorous and knowing. The creature’s eyes met Mel’s and in an instant a connection was made. Although Mel’s conscious mind screamed in disbelief and denial, her emotional core understood that she had just been touched, probed…deeply, by something she had only ever read about in shock rags and books on mythology. She was driving up on, and about to run over, a sasquatch!

She watched the creatures eyes widen as she gripped the steering wheel hard, turning it sharply to the left to avoid hitting the thing in her path. It was instinct, pure and simple, but she had forgotten about the snow and ice on the road.

Now her back wheels lost traction and her front tires spun uselessly. The little car skewed violently back and forth across the road. Everything she had ever learned about driving on ice flew out of her mind as the car, carried out of control by its own momentum, went into a full spin. Once…twice…three times the car spun around, painting the trees, cliffs and rocks on either side of the road in strobe-like flashes.

Screaming inarticulately, the last thing Melody Carver saw before her car climbed the railing and sailed over the trees was the creature as it ran toward her, faster than any human was able to run, faster even than the eye could follow.

Onio revised (2)

In this modern world of science and high technology, in secret places deep under the ground and in the forest primeval, legends still walk the earth and what we think of as myth and fairy tale are all too real.

Driving home late one night, Melody Carver, bereft and grieving after the death of her mother, sees a strange creature standing on the lonely road. This being will change her world-view forever, and open her eyes to a reality beyond her imagination.

Melody’s chance encounter on that dark and snowy road will mark the beginning of a journey of discovery and wonder that will bring two worlds together in hope and despair.

Can one person bridge the gap between the ancient and the modern, the mundane and the magical?

An urban fantasy filled with adventure, romance, war, heartbreak and triumph!

ONIO! Unlike anything, you have ever read before!

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Fantasy/Romance

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Linell Jeppsen on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://neljeppsen.weebly.com/

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Icarus Rising by Rob Manary @robmanary

Thursday, Day 4

I’ve decided to leave for Toronto tonight. After hearing Wayne’s report I might have left immediately, I am that taken with St. Claire, but guilt holds me here. I visit my sister, Elise, each week without fail, but I doubt she would realize if I have missed a week, or indeed if I never visited her again.

My mother was “not well” is how it is politely put. My earliest memory is of scalding hot water and the stink of bleach. I remember vividly my mother pouring bleach on my tender young skin and scrubbing my hands raw with a wire brush. “Dirty, so dirty, how do you get so dirty?” she would intone over and over again as she flayed the skin from my hands. I would cry out in agony and Elise, my saviour, my older sister, would come to my rescue.

I can hear her shaky, terrified little voice as she interceded on my behalf. “Mother,” she would say in that weak voice, struggling to be strong for me, to take the pain from her younger brother. “Look at my hands. I’m filthy, so dirty.”

Mother would drop my hands and appraise Elise as my sister held out her hands to Mother for inspection. Elise was my Christ. But Mother didn’t stop with Elise’s hands. Mother would also attack Elise’s beautiful sweet face with the wire brush and scrub raw her porcelain skin.

This terrible ritual seemed to bring Mother to a cathartic release of sorts. Realizing at last what she had done to her children she would hold us close and weep, begging us for forgiveness, promising to never lay a hand on us again. And then she would take to her bed for weeks or months. Her “lazy days” is what she called them and how thankful I was when they would come.

Home was a sprawling twelve bedroom prison to me. Most of the rooms were never used and we were not allowed to go into much of the house. At night I was tied to my bed, and there were days when Mother would leave me restrained, days when I would scream and scream because I didn’t want to empty my bowels and be left in my own excrement.  Mother kept the place like a museum. Her husband, my father, left her before I was born. Elise told me years later that Mother thought her love would one day come home and she must keep the house as he left it.

We had two servants that served the family faithfully for decades, a married couple, Charles and Abigail. They served my grandmother before my mother inherited the family estate and by all accounts my grandmother was, like my mother, “not well.” They were, therefore, accustomed to my painfully eccentric family. They were kind to Elise and me, but kept silent about what went on under the roof of their long time employers.

I’ve never blamed them. They lived in the little cottage house on the grounds, were paid little, and were already advanced in age when I was young. I don’t think either can read or write and serving our family was all they knew. They must be in their late seventies now and they still live in their little cottage house on the grounds of what is now my estate, I suppose. They care for my museum prison.  I pay them well and Abigail keeps the place spotless for visitors that will never come. Charles, I am told, still maintains gardens that are the envy of the neighbourhood. They were kind to Elise and me so I am kind to them.

My fondest memories are of working in the garden with Charles when Mother had her “lazy days” and of sitting in the kitchen and listening to Abigail sing as she prepared elaborate meals that only my sister and I would eat.

When Mother began wandering the halls of the estate in her faded and tattered wedding gown, cradling a shotgun, Abigail was finally moved to call the police.


Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Erotic Romance

Rating – R

More details about the author and the book

Connect with Rob Manary on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://robmanary.com/

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Post-Human #Series Books 1-4 by David Simpson @PostHuman09 #MustRead #Kindle

LIMITED TIME OFFER! This collection of the first 4 books of the Post-Human Series tells the epic and fast-paced story of the future of humanity and the extraordinary benefits--and profound dangers--of powerful artificial intelligence.

Book 1: Sub-Human

(Age Range: 14 years and up)
Before he was Old-timer, he was Craig Emilson, a young doctor, sucked into military service at the outbreak of World War III. Enlisting to become a Special Forces suborbital paratrooper, Craig is selected to take part in the most important mission in American military history--a sortie into enemy territory to eliminate the world's first strong Artificial Intelligence. The mission is only the beginning of Craig's story, and for the story of humanity as well, as they accelerate towards a world that is post-human.

If you're already a fan of the smash-hit Post-Human Series, this prequel to Post-HumanSub-Human, will answer the previously unanswered questions of how the post-human world came to be. And, if you're new to the series, Sub-Human will serve as an engrossing introduction to a possible future that has enraptured tens of thousands of readers in 2012 alone!

Book 2: Post-Human

(Age Range: 12 years and up)
The future should have been perfect. Microscopic robots known as nans could repair any damage to your body, keep you young by resetting your cellular clocks, and allow you to download upgrades like intelligence, muscle strength, and eyesight. You were supposed to be able to have anything you wanted with a simple thought, to be able to fly without the aid of a machine, to be able to live forever. But when a small group of five terraformers working on Venus return to Earth, they discover that every other human in the solar system has been gruesomely murdered. Now, James Keats and his four companions must discover what happened to the rest of humanity and fight back if they wish to avoid the same, horrifying fate. Welcome to the post-human era.

Book 3: Trans-Human 

(Age Range: 12 years and up)

In this sequel to Post-Human, humanity will be forced to face a future more advanced than it could have imagined if it wants to survive. Nineteen months have passed since the A.I. turned against humanity and was subsequently destroyed. In the meantime, James Keats has turned over the A.I.'s powers to a non-intelligent, easily controlled operating system. He and Thel have left the planet and spent six months vacationing on Venus, which has been newly terraformed without the consent or knowledge of the Governing Council. The A.I. has been deleted, but the message it sent out into the abyss of space in search of a companion has been answered. An alien force dwarfing the Earth is on its way to find out why the A.I. has stopped communicating. Keats and company can only assume its intentions will be hostile when it finds out the truth. Only one thing is for sure: nothing will ever be the same again. Welcome to the Trans-Human era. Welcome to the singularity.

Book 4: Human Plus 

(Age Range: 14 years and up)

The Post-Human Trilogy is done, but the Post-Human series is just heating up! Human Plus is Book 4 in the smash hit science fiction series. Not exactly a sequel, not exactly a prequel, Human Plus will defy expectations. No matter what you thought was coming next, you're in for a surprise! 

JUST ONE CAUTION: When you're finished, you're going to want to share the surprises with everyone online...Please don't! Please respect future readers and let them enjoy the surprises just as much as you did!
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre - Science Fiction
Rating – PG
More details about the author
Connect with David Simpson on Facebook & Twitter

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#Free Colorworld by Rachel E. Kelly @colorworldbooks #Romance

Wen knows what love looks like. Since her mom died over a year ago, she’s seen it every day on her orphaned younger brother’s face. Wen’s made good on her promise to her mom that she’d take care of Ezra, even quitting her carefree party-girl ways to become a hard-working college student so she can provide for him. 

Wen knows what love feels like, too. Because when she touches people, she feels what they do. "Uniquely perceptive" is what her mom called it, and Wen’s not going to argue; she doesn’t know any different. 

But an energy therapy study changes not only what Wen knows about her unusual gift; it also changes her. Now, instead of feeling emotions, her touch brings death to others. No one is safe around her, especially Ezra. 

Wen turns to energy healers for help. And that’s where she meets him: Mr. Tenacious and Audacious, Gabe Dumas. He knows about love, too; he speaks it in ways Wen has never experienced. And he’s never even touched her. 

With her heart unravelling, Wen discovers a world only she can see. It may offer hope for her condition… or it may be better left hidden. 

*Intended for 16 and up

Rating – PG13
Genre – Romance / Sci-Fi
4.6 (19 reviews)
Free until 15 January 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Superhuman Nature by Brandon Overall #SciFi #MustRead

Superhuman Nature is Brandon Overall's first novel. It was written and published during his first deployment to Afghanistan as a 2nd Lieutenant in late 2013.
Neil Hitchens was a senior ROTC Cadet in college. He was just weeks away from graduating and becoming an Officer in the United States Army, until a strange dream set off a chain of events that would twist his life into something he could have never prepared for.
In the days following his dream, several strange happenings occurred that he began to suspect were the result of his own actions. Before long, he discovered that he had the ability to control the world around him with his mind.
What started out as an unpredictable ability quickly evolved into an extraordinary power that had the capacity to change the world. It didn't take long for the government to find out what Neil could do.
They knew having such limitless potential on the side of the US Military could give them limitless political influence, and they would stop at nothing to get Neil to do their bidding. They would find out what happens when you back a dangerous animal into a corner.
Neil spent his whole life believing he would amount to greatness, but he never expected how greatness could corrupt even the most innocent of minds.
Buy @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Science Fiction
Rating – PG-13
More details about the author
Connect with Brandon Overall on Facebook

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Goodnight, Gustav Klein by Elliot C. Mason @ArthurRay44 #Politics #Romance #Travel

Goodnight, Gustav Klein
Chapter I - Change

Stark parades of wintry air pounded the reddened face of Gustav Klein. He was unadorned, not bothering to notice the skilfully rehearsed tricks of the Scottish wind; he was lost in a burning recollection, sketches of the past inside his mind hurling from one side to the other, dipping a steady toe into consciousness, ablaze and frantic. A crack expanding between ruptured stone, the dam burst and a flood of memories enthralled the wayfarer, whose hair jittered in the gale, who considered the season of intrepid sadness, lust and turmoil which had brought him to this point, to the peak of his sorrows, where the only way now to go is down.

              He was standing atop a small mountain near Aviemore, in the Cairngorms. The air was not warm, but it never is. And the fatigued rambler looked down, back to his trail of hope, drenched in the blood of reality, at the slopes and crevasses of his journey.

              To wind back through the broken ruins of history, the scratched dance floor: the ballet pumps of time stretch outward, arms fixed parallel with the ground, holding a tendu: he remembers a woman behind a window, sunlight glaring off the glass, turning her eyes into red dots and her cheeks as pale as the clouds. The left leg is raised, holding a firm countenance, leaning forwards into an arabesque: he remembers the sound of the fireworks, the celebrations, the cheering euphoria which brought him into the current year, and forgets why. The slender body of memory gracefully peeling away from its core, balancing a perfect adage: he remembers a round of applause, remembers the miserable beat of the train rolling through sodden tracks. And the dancing clock stretches farther, reaching down to the distant floor, allongé, allongé: he remembers grey clouds; remembers the sun endeavouring to break through, or hide away; remembers not being able to tell which.

The strings of space grow, forceful plucking and an ominous ring, the hands of the conductor ravaging the air; the left leg beating in unison, the grand thump of a balançoire: he remembers a beautiful woman in a splendid city, and enjoying it for a while, before the Christmas lights were put up. Turning, tightening, the dancer of memory, rolling in, the plié lifting with heavy breath, and turn, turn, a pirouette into the past: he remembers tears and arguments and the stains of red wine. Bending at the knee, the ballerina who whisks the memories into a flamboyant concerto for the pensive thinker, the sweat of the conductor drowning the orchestra, the deafening blow of horns for the final soubresaut: he remembers saying goodnight to the journey that tantalisingly slipped through his heart like a fresh blade, and saying hello to the reflection of Mr Klein’s face, the single man who tried to escape, through the window of a train.

Time leaps. It hauls the body through the cesspit of regret. It silences the past and darkens the future. It guides with a rough hand, leading the memory to where it all began; the descent to the top of a mountain. The misty confusion of the mind is cleared, and all that is left are the dim, yellow lights of a small budget hotel in Munich switching off, the radiators crackling as they cool, the ‘For Sale’ sign twitching in the wind, the discarded rubbish blowing through the car park as the last car leaves. And the driver winds down the window, leaning out into the mild night of Bavaria, and his lethargy conquers each speck of his existence. He stares blankly at the building, the empty rooms, the moribund memories, and then he drives on.

              Time patters through the gloom of the memory in bourrée, and Gustav Klein merely thinks, hauling thoughts back to the foreshadowing bitterness of autumn.


Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Travel, Political, Dystopia, Romance
Rating – PG15
More details about the author and the book
Connect with Elliot C. Mason on Facebook & Twitter