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Spotlight: Prophet of the Badlands, by Matthew Cox

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Prophet of the Badlands , The Awakened (#1)

by Matthew S. Cox

Publisher: Curiosity Quills

Genres: Adult, Cyberpunk, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Release date: April 26, 2015

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For most twelve year olds, being kidnapped is terrifying. For Althea, it’s just Tuesday.

Her power to heal the wounded and cleanse the sick makes her a hunted commodity in the Badlands, a place devoid of technology where the strong write the law in blood. For as long as she can remember, they always come, they always take her, and she lets them. Passed around in an endless series of abductions, she obeys without question―mending those who killed to own her.

After three whole months in the same village, the affection of a young warrior makes her feel almost like a member of the tribe rather than a captive. Her brief joy shatters when raiders seize her yet again; for the first time in six years, being stolen hurts.

A reluctant escape sends her wandering, and she realizes her gift is a prize that causes as much death as it prevents. Her attempt to return to the tribe leaves her lost and alone, hounded at every turn. When a family who sees her not as the Prophet―but as a little girl―takes her in, she finds the courage to use her power to protect those she loves.

A strange man from a world beyond her imagining tests her newfound resolve, seeking to use her power to further his own agenda. Tired of being property, her freedom boils down to one question:

Can Althea balance the sanctity with which she holds all life against the miserable truth that some people deserve to die?

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Author-Matthew-Cox

Author Matthew S. Cox

Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place.

Hobbies and Interests:

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

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Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Guest Posts

 

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New Release: Beast Charming, by Jenniffer Wardell

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Summary: 

Beast Charming tells the story of Beauty, who works as a temp at an agency run by a high-tempered dragon. To avoid running into her conniving and desperately-craving-for-nobility father – conveniently named Noble – she takes on a peculiar job that will force her to converse with James, who got cursed by an ex-girlfriend and is now spending his days as, well, a beast. The rest of the story develops into a hysterical tale of a classic fairy tale romance gone modernly awry.

Deseret News review:

Salt Lake City author Jenniffer Wardell’s novel “Beast Charming,” a funny and clever retelling of the beloved “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale, is a surprisingly modern story with just enough fairy-tale elements to keep it whimsical. With plenty of banter, romance and just enough deviations from the original tale to keep things fresh, “Beast Charming” can easily fulfill all of a reader’s fairy-tale escape needs while sharing some lovely themes as well.

Goodreads reviews:

“Beast Charming is a great twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. This book stays true to the overall aspects but adds enough twists and turns to make it memorable. Wardell’s writing and whit are unmatched in any retelling I’ve encountered so far. Her characters are REAL and exaggerated at the same time.”

“I had a hard time putting it down, even when my husband threatened to turn the lights out. When I had to put it down, I couldn’t wait to pick it up again. I wanted to know where it was going and I wasn’t disappointed at the end. It is completely different than the fairytale done by Disney, but no less enchanting.”

Oh my goodness. This author just continues to blow me away. Jenniffer Wardell has this amazing, witty sense of humor that interweaves into her storytelling. Her writing just flows effortlessly for me. Beast Charming was thrilling, refreshing, full of wit, charm, & an amazing bit of humor all mingled together. It brought about new life to an old, classic fairytale!

Buy now:

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Jen

Meet the author:

Jenniffer Wardell is a fantasy romance author and general fairy godmother-at-large. She’s always on the lookout for witty dialogue and a well-earned happily-ever after. Anyone who wants to chat or trade jokes can find her at http://www.facebook.com/JennifferWardell, https://twitter.com/wardellwriter, or http://jennifferwardell.blogspot.com.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2015 in Guest Posts

 

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New Release: Craze, by Anne Conley

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Synopsis
When Krista catches her boss doing the unthinkable, the only
thing she can do is run.  Straight into the arms of the eye-candy she’s
been trying not to flirt with on her lunch break.  But whose side is he
on?
 
Ryan’s security firm is having a hard time getting off the
ground, and this may be just the job to help the company out.  But
pseudo-bounty hunter isn’t really what Pierce Securities is trying to get a
name for.  When he finds out their target is the classy lady from the
park, all of Ryan’s senses go on high alert.  What do these men want with
her?
 
Krista is forced into Ryan’s sanctuary in the woods, where she
realizes just how wild he is, but she doesn’t want to tame him.  He may
feel his methods of protection endangered her, but without Krista in his life,
Ryan is crazed.
 
This is book #1 in the
Pierce Securities, a Romantic Suspense series by Anne Conley, author of the
Stories of Serendipity and The Four Winds.
 

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Excerpt
“How cold is it supposed to get?”
 
“Not too cold.  Fifties?” 
 
“You should have told me to bring more clothes.”
 
“I packed some for you.”  He grinned at her outraged expression.
 
“You had clothes for me and let me parade around in that blanket all day?”
 
Flabbergasted, she watched heat creep into his face as he ducked his head, his grin turning sheepish.  “A guy can hope.”
 
“Hope for what?”  Heart pounding, she saw the evidence of his attraction as he avoided her gaze.  Was he actually as attracted to her as she was to him?  Why all the avoidance then?  It would certainly make their time together pass faster.  At least less awkwardly.  “Hope for what, Ryan?”
 
He looked up at her, the flush in his face making his complexion look ruddy.  Hot as hell.  She couldn’t stop herself.  Krista had never thrown herself at a man the way she was compelled to do with Ryan, but the way he looked at her—like he could devour her any second—made any semblance of decorum fly out the window… er… shelter.
 
Licking her lips, she watched as Ryan froze, every muscle in his body tensing up.  There wasn’t much space between them, but she closed it as she crawled into his lap, feeling a devilish grin on her face.  She could feel his arousal press against her core, and she automatically ground against it, eliciting a moan from him.  
She’d never been this way with a man before.  His hands came up to grip her hips, as if to stop her, but his eyes told her to keep going.  He looked helpless to stop his desires and seemed on the verge of giving in to them.
 
“Hope for what, Ryan?” she repeated in a whisper before leaning forward.  She knew he wanted this almost as badly as she did.
 
“Don’t…” he breathed at her, leaning his forehead against hers.  
Her pussy was so hot and wet; she couldn’t believe he was stopping.  He was hard and ready.  She rocked against him to illustrate.
 
“Don’t what?  You want this, don’t you?”  A shot of sobering indecisiveness rankled her.  “Or is this all one-sided?”  She backpedaled, crawling out of his lap and onto her pile of leaves.
 
“Fuck,” Ryan muttered under his breath.  “Of course I want it, Krista.  Like nothing I’ve ever wanted before.”  His voice was hoarse and gritty.  He adjusted the bulge in his pants, but didn’t come any closer, and Krista felt the sting of rejection all over again.  “You’re fucking beautiful.  And classy.  And perfect.”  He let out a whoosh of air she felt across the shelter.  “But I know that if we do anything, I’ll want to spend every day buried inside that sweet pussy and I won’t be able to protect you with a distraction like that.”  He stood, ducking in the low-ceilinged structure.  “I need to protect you.”  Without another word, he stalked out of the structure, into the rain.
 
Krista shivered in the sudden cold of the shelter.  The temperature hadn’t dropped physically, but the absence of Ryan left a definite chill against her heated skin.  What the fuck had just happened?  She had no doubt he wanted her.
 
 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author
Anne has
written her entire life and has the boxes of angst-filled journals and poetry
to prove it. She’s been writing for public consumption for the last four years.
Currently she is writing three romance series. In Stories of Serendipity, she
explores real people living real lives in small town Texas in a contemporary
romance setting. In The Four Winds, she chronicles God’s four closest
archangels, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael, falling in love and becoming
human. In Pierce Securities, she gives us Ryan, Evan, Miriam, Zack, Quinten,
and Simon. She lives in rural East Texas with her husband and children in her
own private oasis, where she prides herself in her complete lack of social
skills, choosing instead to live with the people inside her head.
 
 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in Guest Posts

 

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New Release & Review: Destiny’s Flame, by D.S. Schmeckpeper

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Blurb

Repercussions…

What happens after the battle is done? Do you think everyone lives happily ever after?

Lumernia has been left divided, leaderless. The ensuing power struggle cost the city more than just the knightly order, leaving the land and its people unguarded. Is the conquering army content with their prize, or do they have their sights set on more?

Celeste, Tarnelius, Arcus and Siobhan are back. After saving the land of Altierra from the threat of the ultimate evil, they expected life to return to normal and made plans to pay respects to a fallen friend. No good deed ever goes unpunished, though, and their actions have many consequences. Kuunkierto was defeated, but an ancient pact was broken and the first calls of war have sounded. Will they be able to right the wrongs of the world once more? Will they be strong enough to face what is coming?

Through the flames of war, new destinies arise.

My review: 

I couldn’t wait to see what the cast of characters we got to know and love in Destiny’s Wings would be up to now. Who could have foreseen the disastrous consequences of saving the world from the darkest evil?

Siobhan, Arcus, Celeste and Tarnelius return in force, and their challenges are even more testing than ever before. Their enemies are more formidable, but what hits hardest, at least for some (read it and see who I’m talking about), is the nemesis of your own blood. Standing up to such evil is never an easy decision, and the repercussions of your actions can scar you for life. Dark times, well handled. Ethical beliefs and traditional values are unquestionably challenged in this nail-biting adrenaline rush.

The real monsters are not always the ones you can see in front of your eyes, and that notion is an eye-opener for more than one of the band of heroes who, once more, protect what is valuable. What is good without evil, light without darkness, peace without the struggle to make it so – these are questions that were dancing in my mind all through reading this book.

Yes, at its core this is an epic fantasy novel, but to me it was so much more.

Beautiful prose, an incredible plot delivered flawlessly, and clearly the promise of more adventures to come are only a few of the gems that make this exquisite novel shine. An exceedingly satisfying read, wholeheartedly recommended. You won’t be disappointed. I would love to see this series made into film.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Book Reviews, Guest Posts

 

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New Release and Review: Sunstone, by Holly Barbo

CORRUPTION MEETS REVOLUTION IN THIS FAST-MOVING STEAMPUNK THRILLER

 

Sunstone

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Before there was a history, the sun goddess Navora visited a moon within her realm that held primitive ocean life. She dipped her staff of power into the primordial sea and stirred. Pleased with what she had wrought, she departed, not at all troubled that a divine spark had touched two small dying sea creatures. As centuries pass, life on the moon develops into a geothermal steam-powered industrial age. A triumvirate of politicians, banks and corporations bring strain and suffering to the masses they rule over. Unbeknownst to the people of the moon, there may be help. With the gears of time evermoving and trouble spiraling to a crisis point, can three individuals and a handful of fossils prevent a violent revolution?

 

~~~

My review: I don’t often read steampunk novels. It is a difficult genre to master without getting lost into gadgetry details at the expense of the plot, and I am picky. You won’t have that problem with Sunstone. The stakes laid out right at the very beginning are high, and they rise higher and higher as this world spirals fast into its own destruction. There is plenty of mystery shrouding this society, secrets which must be unraveled before all is lost, and the steampunk classic elements are there to enrich the story beautifully. It took root in my mind and I could not get it out of my head for days on end. I still think of parallels between the Sunstone society and ours. Sunstone is a very well-written steampunk thriller, a perfect example of the genre, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

 

~~~

HollyHolly Barbo’s world is shaped by her love of her family, the beauty of the natural world in Northwest Washington State and an irrepressible creative drive.

Living where the scenery is incredible with a rich abundance of wildlife “is so special and soothing that it feels like a quiet kind of magic,” according to Barbo. She is drawn to creating stories where there is just a bit of something unworldly, perhaps it is magic or psychic skills. Her stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building a discordant drama inside the peaceful frame.

The above is the official author statement that I didn’t actually write. I’ve kept it as it is an accurate summation but here is the rest of the story:

You see, I never intended to write or to be an author though I have always written and told stories. I just never connected the two. I was working in my store.. actually nothing much was happening in the store. It was tax week of 2009 and things were very q.u.i.e.t. I was sitting at the computer and this story came out of my fingertips.

It probably started with me thinking of my Grandmother Chérie and how I would walk down the hill to see her at her cabin at the bend of the river. Throw in my love of raptors, the science/fantasy I enjoy reading and thoughts of the innocence we lose as we leave childhood. Sprinkle in characteristics of people I have known and places I have been. Add a dash of the only pet I ever had, even for a short time, my little skunk Thumper. (Yes, she had had her spray gland removed and I do still miss her.) Then finish with touches of my core beliefs and concerns about what is happening in our world.

These things were elements, colorful threads (“gems” as my cousin David would call them) that were woven into what ended up being a series of several books. The story was something that grew all by itself. Seriously! I don’t know where it came from. The first book was a little disconcerting as it was happening without my control. It was two years later, as I was querying for an agent, that I learned that I should have written a synopsis prior to starting the book. Oh. I missed that point.

I suppose all authors get attached to their characters. I have. I hope you do, too. There are currently five completed books in the Sage Seed Chronicles. I am working on an unrelated story called: Sunstone.

Follow Holly Barbo’s releases on Amazon. Connect with her here.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Book Reviews, Guest Posts

 

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Author Spotlight: Bad for Me, by Codi Gary

Callie Jacobsen isn’t about to open her heart to just anyone. Not so very long ago, trusting someone changed her life forever—and not in a fun way. Now she’s better off focusing on her career, her friends, and her dog. So when former Marine Everett Silverton takes an interest in her, Callie’s more than a little wary. No matter how charming he is, men are a bad idea. In fact, she’s got the scars to prove it. But Everett isn’t convinced Callie should shut everyone out—especially not him. He may be a hero to the people of Rock Canyon, but he’s got his own demons, and he bets they’re not that different from Callie’s. Still, he knows it’s going to take more than chemistry to get her to let her guard down. Everett will do whatever it takes to show her she’s safe with him. All she has to do is take a chance, take a step … and take his hand.

Series: Rock Canyon #5
Publication Date: April 6, 2015 by Avon Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance

An obsessive bookworm, Codi Gary likes to write sexy small-town contemporary romances with humor, grand gestures, and blush-worthy moments. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading her favorite authors, squealing over her must-watch shows, and playing with her children. She lives in Idaho with her family.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Guest Posts

 

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Author Spotlight, Excerpt and Giveaway: A Sh!t Storm, by Lisa Gillis

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Title: A Shit Storm

Series: Six Silver Strings E String Set

Author: Lisa Gillis

Editor: Pedantic Punctuator

Page Count: 328 pages

Genre: New Adult – Rock Romance

Published: March 13, 2015

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Goodreads A Shit Storm

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Synopsis
Tristan Loren is the first to admit he’s lived a privileged life.
However, the top schools, the best games and phones and cars, the finest of whatever his heart desired has come with strangers yelling for his attention and camera flashes in his face.
His classmates have visions of college life in the fall following senior year, while his fantasy is a normal existence. Whatever normalcy is, he’s sure it’s not graduating with honors–and his virginity.
Aside from having a paranoid mom who has made it her mission to see that he’s never alone with a girl, he wants his first time to be with someone who doesn’t know him as Jack Storm-of-the-multi-platinum-Jackal Junior.
Chasing the vision of a woman and a world who doesn’t know of him takes him from the sunshiny suburbs of Dallas to the snowy streets of Detroit.
When he sees Sash in person, the girl he’s texted, phoned, and Skyped for the better part of a year, he’s drawn to her secret smile, and the tattooed half sleeves decorating her arms. Her fiery, fun personality and musical skills make her seem the soul mate he’s been seeking.
But Sash has her own secrets—secrets that make him wish he’d never met her. Falling for Sash and finding his own identity may cost him more than what’s in his wallet.
A Shit Storm can stand alone but for fans of Six Silver Strings Series, this novel includes scenes with characters from G-Strings and D-Strings with several appearances of Jack and Marissa Storm.


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Series
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Rock Star Reads

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Excerpt

I clamp my teeth together to keep from saying some stupid something.

No, I don’t want her going out like that. I don’t want her going out at all tonight. But certainly not dressed as if she’s looking to hookup.

Getting up, I turn away, laying my guitar in the case and speak over my shoulder. “Thought we had practice?”

“I’m about to text Sladen and Mark. I think they’ll be good with it. I mean we’ve moved practice around a couple of times when things come up with them, right?”

Her tone sounds different. A blatant, innocent pitch. Similar to the couple of times I told my mother Dusty and I had a test to study for, and then he and I cruised the mall parking area, whistling at every hot babe we saw.

“Did something come up?”

“Some guy asked Mindi out today, and she doesn’t want to meet him alone.”

“You and Mindi are meeting some guy who asked her out?”

“He’s bringing a friend.”

“You have a date?”

“Not a date. It’s not like that. She can’t go meet a stranger alone. And when she told him, he said I should come. That he has a friend.”

“That’s a date.”

“No. Technically, it’s not.” Her dark brows rise, and her head tips a bit. “Because… No one ever asked me out!”

I’m sensing a double meaning here. Because I’ve never asked her out. But the thought of some shithead’s eyes—and possibly hands—on Sash is making me crazy. “If you’re meeting some douche at Bill’s then it’s a date!”

“Oh. ’Kay! Okay, Trey. I’m meeting some douche. I have a date!”

“No. No, you don’t!” My feet have slowly eaten up the space between us, and now I’m in her space—in her face. “You’re not going on a date!”

“And who’s going to stop me? Last I checked, I don’t have a boyfriend.”

Again, I feel these are not idle words. That they are as much a test as they are a taunt. And all I can do is hold my ground with no good argument. “You’re not going.”

“I’m going!”

“You’re not!”

“Get outta the way! What’s your problem?”

When she tries to push past me, my hands automatically shoot up, gripping her upper arms to stay her. With a shriek of rage, she attempts to twist from my grasp.

And behind me, Sladen’s voice booms. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Get your hands off her!”


Author

Author-Lisa-Gillis

Lisa Gillis lives in Texas among family and loves it all, from the beaches deserts to the sprawling metropolises. Her loyal, loving musician husband inspires her fictional men, and her beautiful-hearted son brings the light to her world.

Writing is her passion, and she strives to blend the perfect mixture of fantasy and reality into her books. While listening to music, the little voices in her head become the fascinating characters in her novels, and each series, including Silver Strings, is infused with her love of music, bands and concerts.

When she’s not writing or making her own music on her guitar or drums, she’s catering to her spoiled, hyper and lovable chocolate lab, Bailey.

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Graphics courtesy of Author Lisa Gillis.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2015 in Guest Posts

 

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