Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#Review: THE COURTESAN DUCHESS by Joanna Shupe

4 of 5 stars

What would you do if you married a man and then he proceeded to run away and ignore you for 8 long years. Eight long years in which you struggled to survive against a corrupt estate manager. With each reduction in her stipend, Julia, the Duchess of Colton, becomes more desperate and desperation makes people do things they wouldn't normally consider doing. Her only choice now is to find and seduce the husband who left her all those years ago.

The opening scene in the book immediately grabs the reader as the Duchess first sees her husband after eight years. His reputation as the Depraved Duke is not exaggerated.  She must steel her resolve and move forward with her plan. The story continues to draw the reader in as Julia is now the courtesan Juliet Leighton. Can she pull off the role of a lifetime?  As these two begin to interact, the tension is high and demands release. A note of warning for those who do not enjoy graphic love scenes. There are quite a few of them in this book. I do understand the need for these especially to show the depth of their passion, but  I found myself skipping them to get back to the action. There is a mystery that has haunted Nick for years and Ms. Shupe does a masterful job of exposing it, bit by bit. There were some nice twists and turns in the book as well. If you love your romances on the spicy hot scale, you'll adore this book. 

Amazon buy link:

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

#New Release: INFINITE EXPANSE by BC Powell

I immediately dig my feet into the grass and race across a meadow. As I sprint between two hills, I glance up at the sky. The scarlet light dims, the billows begin to swirl, and raindrops splatter against my face. Surrounded by full Darkness, I continue running until I enter the long valley that winds to the Empty Hill. I eventually reach the narrow gorge that leads to our habitat, but as I pass by, a smear of white catches the corner of my eye.
Grinding to a stop on the wet grass at the end of the ravine, I stare in the direction of our habitat. A black-veined beast leaps from a ridge and lands directly in front of the door. My eyes widen at the sight of the Murkovin one hundred feet in front from me. When his eyes shoot back at mine, I drop to one knee and plunge my fingers into the ground.
“Sash, Larn, Tork!” I blurt out. “Murkovin at Sash’s habitat!”
Red eyes flaring through the rain, the Murkovin charges at me. I drop my practice spear to the grass and rise into a crouch. As I clench my real weapon with both hands, every moment I spent sparring with Sash strobes through my mind. I have to anticipate, think, focus, but my body trembles with panic and my heartbeat throbs inside my head.
Bearing down on me in a sprint, the beast is ten feet away when he lunges his spear at my face. As the tip rockets towards me, I’m frozen in place, the world suddenly in slow motion. Waiting until the split second he’s off-balance, the moment before the point pierces my skin, I jerk my head to the side. The steel just grazes my hair before I uncoil in a frenzied spin.
While whirling my spear through the air, I lock my eyes on his head. Following my aim, the steel point slams straight into his skull. Light bursts around the shaft when the tip skewers his brain. Thrusting down with all my might, I crush his head against the ground.
I glare at the limp creature at my feet. Black blood spews from his head into the downpour of rain. I’m completely numb, unable to even feel my hands clamped around the shaft of my spear. Shaking from the rush of adrenaline, I feel no remorse at all from killing the beast. Sash’s words ring in my ears.
“When it’s kill or be killed, there’s no hesitation, no thought, and no regret.”
I snap my head to four more streaks of white on the hill above our habitat. The hideous creatures soar over the ridge and into the ravine.
“Shit!” I yell.
After ripping my spear from the skull of the corpse, I dash towards the Empty Hill. I may have killed one, but I won’t stand a chance against four.
Glancing over my shoulder as I run, I see all four Murkovin in pursuit. One suddenly blasts into dull beams of light. In an instant, the point of his spear gouges my calf, sending me sprawling to the ground. I slide to a stop on the slick grass and roll to my back.
With veins bulging from his spectral white arms, the beast rams his spear at my head. I swing my weapon up just in time to knock the point away from my face. Before either of us has time to make another move, a blur smashes into him and pounds him into the grass. In a flash, Sash’s spear splits his skull open. She wheels around to the other three Murkovin while I jump to my feet.
It’s not a battle. I wouldn’t even call it a fight. When Sash unleashes a torrent of death from her spear, it’s a massacre.

Book & Author Details:
The Infinite Expanse by B.C. Powell
(The Journals of Krymzyn #2)
Publication date: March 31st 2015
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Science Fiction

Evil lurks in the desolate Barrens of Krymzyn. For millions of Eras, predators with insatiable cravings have prowled the wasteland. When a traitor of the Delta enters their realm, the solitary beasts may finally have a leader to unite them.

As a new order emerges in the Barrens, Chase and Sash begin their lives together. While Chase fights to prove he belongs in Krymzyn, the power inside Sash flourishes in ways no one could have imagined. But a vengeance from the wasteland is soon unleashed upon them.

After Chase is trapped deep in the Barrens, his only escape is into the Infinite Expanse. Unaware of the deathly perils that take shape there, he may be lost forever. For Sash to return him from the endless wilderness, she’ll have to harness a mystical energy not seen since the beginning of time.


Purchase book 1 (on sale for .99 on Amazon during the Blitz and a few days after - March 31 - April 8)

BC Powell is a fantasy author from Los Angeles, CA. His debut science fiction fantasy novel "Krymzyn" was published in October, 2014. "The Infinite Expanse", the highly anticipated second book in "The Journals of Krymzyn" series, is scheduled for release on March 31, 2015.

Powell has a diverse background, having held several creative positions in the entertainment industry, including executive roles at ABC-TV and Technicolor. In recent years, he's authored several non-fiction works, primarily educational books and training programs for trading the financial markets. He dual majored in journalism and philosophy at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Writing fiction has been his lifelong passion and goal. “The Journals of Krymzyn” represents, in his words, “finally finding the story I want to tell with characters that are able to bring that story to life.” He's an avid reader and lists Ernest Hemingway, Frank L. Herbert, Stephen King, Jane Austen, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. as his favorite authors.

Brad, as he prefers to go by in personal communication, lives with his longtime girlfriend, three sons from a previous marriage, and their rescue dog and cat. He enjoys hiking, ocean kayaking, spending time at Southern California beaches, movies, and reading.

Author links:

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#Excerpt: THE SOUL RETRIEVAL by Ann W. Jarvie

After finishing the second nocturne, he looked up at her. “You know that I’ve been researching the high incidence of spontaneous healings here, right?” Jeff was both a lead physician and medical researcher at the Medichero Indian Hospital. He reached for a pack of cigarettes from the pocket of his short-sleeved white shirt.

“Uh-huh,” Henrietta said. She barely heard what he said. How am I going to get into it? How am I going to tell him? She had asked herself these questions at least a million times. She picked up a pen and notebook from the coffee table, trying to keep her hands busy.

Jeff smoked in silence a moment before continuing. “There’s more to it than even I imagined.”

“More to what?” she asked. She absently doodled on the page without looking up. How am I going to tell him?

Jeff blew smoke. “The spontaneous healings that I’m so interested in ... the medicine men here seem to be doing something real to affect the recoveries.”

Now he had her attention. “They are?” She looked at him. “Like what?”

Instead of answering, Jeff got up and turned toward the bay windows that cradled the piano in a small alcove off the living room of the doctor’s cottage. His silhouette against the bright morning light was a man-shaped eclipse, his muscled edges luminous and blurred by the smoldering tobacco. It gave him an unworldly appearance, and Henrietta was reminded about how often she felt like an outsider here, and even back home.

Inspired by a true story, The Soul Retrieval is a suspenseful tale of love, loss and healing which follows traumatized southern beauty Henrietta Clayborn as she moves between her home in a small South Carolina town and the New Mexico Native American reservation whose spontaneous healings keep drawing her physician husband back. Tortured by her awful secrets, Henrietta struggles to thrive in either locale, but it is her unlikely friendship with Joe Loco––an eccentric Native American mystic with an Elvis fetish and a gift for healing––that shows her the way to be whole again.

Set in the late 1950s, The Soul Retrieval is richly woven with spiritual insights but also deadly secrets, forbidden healings, a murder mystery, stunning scenery and an unforgettable cast of characters.

A story of transcendent and inspiring power that is both entertaining and enlightening, readers will be cheering for the uptight woman from South Carolina to push through her fears of the forbidden as she searches for truth and healing, faces great obstacles on the frontier of self and ultimately becomes more than she ever thought possible.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ann W. Jarvie has a B.A. in journalism and more than twenty-five years’ experience as an award-winning writer in advertising and public relations agencies, both in South Carolina and Chicago. She now lives near Phoenix, Arizona, where she spends part of her time as a freelance copywriter and the rest writing fiction.

The Soul Retrieval was inspired by Jarvie’s maternal grandmother’s fascinating life on Indian reservations, where she lived with her physician husband until his mysterious and untimely death.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Interview with Natasha Boyd, DEEP BLUE ETERNITY

Tell us about your current release release?
My new release is DEEP BLUE ETERNITY. I am so excited about this book. It’s a definite departure from the world of EVERSEA but no less true to my writing style. Formerly known as The Cottage (and funnily enough the cottage in the book is almost like an additional character in the story, bearing witness to the love story), my UK publisher felt that Deep Blue Eternity, a phrase used in the book to describe love would be a better fit. And I agree! Why didn’t I think of it first?

What genre would you say the book is? 
Contemporary definitely, as it is present day. And of course romance. However, there is a suspenseful and gothic undertone to the story as it is set in an area rife with superstition.

If you had to sum your book up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
DEEP BLUE ETERNITY is a deeply emotional book and while it deals with some tough issues, it’s about the aftermath and recovery of those things in our past. It’s about forgiveness and it’s about how falling in love changes us.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?   
Darynda Jones. I love her sense of humor. I think we’d be besties.

Do you prefer eBooks, paperbacks or hardcover? 
My son says the books he reads that he holds in his hands stay with him longer. I might be inclined to agree. But in the end, I just love books. For ease of transport and instant gratification (1-click buy anyone?)  - eBooks. 

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
Great question! This doesn’t happen very often, does it? I’m so glad they turned outlander into a show so we could keep the detail that made the book so extraordinary. The Beach, The Princess Bride, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – oh, and Fifty Shades of Grey!

So what are you working on next?
Aaaah the age old question.  I’m actually working on several projects. But hopefully the next thing that will be ready, finally, is a spin off of the Eversea series featuring the heroine’s best friend Jazz.

What are 4 things you never leave home without? 
Book, Kindle, phone (with kindle app), pen and paper for inspiration, updated inspiration playlist.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad – ?
In the beginning of my writing career I felt like I had bipolar, one review would make me high, the next would cut me down so hard I wouldn’t want to ever write again.  But than fully that phase was short-lived. If you do all you can to make sure it’s your best work  - then bad reviews have to be ‘water off a ducks back’... But seriously, bad reviews probably bother you most when you know deep down you could have done something better.  That’s probably a backwards way to look at it… but I guess that makes me backwards J Good reviews?  Aaaah, good, honest, unexpected reviews… there’s nothing like it.  And the reviews where someone lets you know that reading your book got them through a tough time, or started a new love of reading? Well, that makes it all worth it!

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday? 
Macchu Picchu in Peru.

One of your favorite quotes - 
Man will never discover new oceans, unless he has courage to lose sight of the shore – André Gide.

Book & Author Details:
Deep Blue Eternity by Natasha Boyd
(Deep Blue Eternity #1)
Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Livvy is on the run. And she’s escaped to the one place nobody will ever find her.

But the isolated cottage isn’t empty. Her refuge is home to a troubled stranger, Tom, there for reasons of his own.

In the intimacy of the abandoned cottage, and the remote wilderness of the island, the electrifying connection between them is impossible to ignore. Both running from their histories and shielding dark secrets, their pasts catch up with them and collide in an unimaginable way.

Deep emotions and powerful chemistry face a painful battle with the tangle of lies, and scars of the past. When the truth emerges, hearts will be shattered.

Reviewers comments:

"A captivating, heart-wrenching, beautifully written story about those who scar us and those who help us heal. I could not put it down and am still thinking about it!" - Mia Sheridan, New York Times Bestselling author of Archer’s Voice

"Boyd skillfully navigates the scorching physical desire and personal insecurities of her protagonists, crafting a relationship that is tense, torrid and sure to keep the pages turning." ~ RT Book Reviews

“Fans of the Sea of Tranquility or Mia Sheridan will absolutely love this story.” ~ MissIngrid’s reviews.

“I can’t recall ever reading a novel that made me laugh, smile, cry… just, feel as much as this one did.” ~ Books over Bros Reviews


Natasha Boyd is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author with a background in marketing and public relations.  Her debut novel Eversea was a finalist in the 2013 Winter Rose Contest for Contemporary Romance and won the 2014 Digital Book Award for Adult Fiction.  She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Georgia Romance Writers and Island Writer’s Network in coastal South Carolina where she has been a featured speaker on book marketing.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and lives with her husband, two sons and the cast of characters in her head.

Author links:

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Interview with Tania Johansson, RIDDLE OF FATE

Can you give us a brief overview of your latest book? Is it part of a series?
Khaya doesn’t know she was meant to die when she was five years old. She doesn’t know her boyfriend is not all he seems. And until now, she didn’t know she had a second ability, but when it manifests, it throws everything into chaos. A first ability means you are gifted. A second ability, they say, means you are headed for madness.

She realises the Company is willing to kill her before her mind breaks and, worse still, angels are trying to kill her too.

Riddle of Fate is a stand alone novel.

Do you have a favorite character?
You are asking me here to choose between my children. I love them all and if you ask me again tomorrow, the answer might be different, but if I had to pick today, I would say Derrin. He is tortured by his past and driven to prevent history from repeating itself. Even if that means being cast into damnation.

What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
My ideal writing time is sitting in my local Costa with a massive coffee, wafer biscuits and my headphones on. I listen to music on Spotify, which is great as I can choose the right mood of music for the scene I’m working on.

Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
This to me is a sliding scale. I’ve sat firmly on the discovery writing end of it with my first novel, Book of Remembrance, and right over to the outline end of the spectrum with my second novel, Of Folly and Fear. I did a chapter by chapter outline for OFaF. This, however, felt like an icy hand of death on my reserve of imagination. Since then, I have moved along the scale, trying to find where I’m comfortable.

Now, I’ll write down some general ideas to work out how the magic system and the world functions and who will be my main characters. I also like to have a good idea of where I am starting and where I want to end, but keep the middle fairly vague with only a few ideas jotted down for where we are heading.

Sometimes, I will press pause on my writing and go back to planning, mapping out the next three or four scenes (not too much detail) and then carry on writing.

Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Absolutely. My editor, Janet Philip, has a low-key public profile, but she is fantastic. The books wouldn’t be what they are without her. 

What have you’ve learned during your self-publishing journey?
I guess that writing and finishing the book is only the very start of the journey. There is so much else involved with it and I am still learning about these other bits every day. I am not great at keeping up my public profile and I guess this is where my learning curve is still pretty steep.

What kinds of marketing [twitter, facebook, blog, forums] are you involved with for promoting your book(s)?
I am on Twitter (@TaniaJohansson), facebook (www.facebook.com/tjwritesbooks) and I have a website (www.tjwrites.com) where I have a blog and a section where I review books I’ve read (read, gush over books I loved).

Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I do. And ultimately, writing the next book usually (if not always) wins. I find marketing really challenging and time consuming. I much prefer to lose myself in the next story!

What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
It won’t be easy. BUT, if you love writing, it is worth every bit of effort, frustration and sacrifice.

What’s next for you?
Writing, some more writing, um, writing and then some more writing! I have a completed manuscript, Tainted Ink. I am looking for an agent for it, but in the mean time, I have started writing my next book.

Thank you so much for having me on your beautiful blog today and taking part in Riddle of Fate’s blog tour!

Book & Author details:
Riddle of Fate by Tania Johansson
Publication date: May 29th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Khaya’s life, a life the Order say was never meant to be, is thrown into turmoil when she discovers she has a second ability. The Company who employs people like her – with rare and special abilities – insists that having more than one inevitably leads down a dark spiral into madness. So they are watching and waiting, ready to terminate her at the first sign of trouble.
Now, on the run from the Company’s agents while trying to prove her sanity, Khaya realises they are not the only ones she should fear. Angels are working towards her demise as well.
The question that haunts her is this: What did she do that was terrible enough to elicit the wrath of angels? And can she trust the mysterious Derrin, or is he the cause of all her tribulations?


I grew up in a small town called Ficksburg in South Africa and moved with my family to England aged fifteen.

I then completed my schooling through a correspondence course from South Africa. This challenging time taught me a lot of self-discipline and determination. Qualities that have been invaluable while writing my first novel.

In 2004 I started studying optometry at Aston University in Birmingham, UK and currently I live and work as an optician in Kent.

In 2008, I married my wonderful husband, Tor. He has been such an amazing support and wealth of internet wizardry from when I started writing through to designing a cover for Book of Remembrance, to publishing my book on amazon as well as setting up this website. I cannot thank him enough.

Reading has always been one of my passions. I have fond memories of trawling through the library aged five (yes I was a geek from a young age!). More recently, I found myself wondering about the process writers must go through to complete a novel. I started thinking about how they would go about planning out a story and keeping track of all the various aspects of it. Finally, I decided to try my theories out. I have not looked back since!

I started writing Book of Remembrance end of May 2011 and finished it in December 2011. Since then, I have self-published it as an e-book on amazon. I have also started writing the follow up novel, which is untitled at the moment.

Author links:

Excerpt: PLUGGED by Jill Cooper

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Lara Crane is stuck in her mind, in an indefinite stream of timelines where her life is perfect, just the way she wants it to be. But it's not real. It's all made up to give those who want to use time travel for their own personal ambitions. To give time to finish their experiments and turn Lara into a deadly time travel assassin. 

If Lara wants to survive and to stop them, she needs to risk her own mind and soul to get out of a prison so perfect it completes the one dream Lara has always had.   Family.  
Preorder on Amazon for $2.99!  
Read book 1 - 15 Minutes




Enjoy an excerpt:

I step down from the stand and smile at my family, ignoring the penetrating glare from the defense’s table. I ignore the eyes that follow me. I only take Donovan’s hand and we step outside of the court room.
Taking a deep breath I lean against the wall, but a small, satisfied smile dances across my face. Donovan caresses my arms and kisses my forehead. “You did it. I’m so proud of you.”
“So am I. I just want to put everything behind us. You know? All of us.”
“We’ll get there,” he says softly and caresses my chin. Such a small movement and it makes my heart skip a beat. “How about I take you out of here now for some ice cream?”
“Yum.” I grin and take his hand. We start down the hall toward the elevator. Donovan pushes the down button and we wait. He plays with my hair and I rest my head against his shoulder. 
The elevator dings.
We wait for the doors to swoosh open. A darkened figure wearing a ski mask is inside. His arm is held out straight and trains a gun on me.
“Lara!” Donovan screams and pushes me out of the way as the gun goes off.
I drop to the ground, my shoulder taking the bulk of the shock. With a grimace I sit up and the dark figure races down the hall away from us.
“Donovan!” I screech. My eyes fall to his crumpled body on the tile beside the elevator. His skin has already gone pasty and there is blood on his button shirt. I press my hand to his stomach and he cringes.
This isn’t how it’s supposed to go. This isn’t supposed to happen.
“Just a … flesh wound.” Donovan whispers with a grin, but his eyes are lidded and what color is left in his face fades fast.
My teeth grit. “You hold on. I’ll get an ambulance on the phone. You’re going to be fine, you hear me? Just hold on?”
People swarm into the hall, charging to see what’s going on. My hands tremble as I search for my phone, but I can’t find it. Then I remember I left it on my bedroom dresser that morning.
Damn it. Of all the days to forget my phone.
My jaw tenses. My skin burns with rage. “Rex!” I scream. The pounding in my head, the one I’ve spent so much time wishing would go away, returns.
And then the fantasy of my life, the fleeting happiness, disappears. It disintegrates around me one pixel at a time until there is nothing there but me.
In the darkness it all fades.
I blink my eyes and real life breathes and sways in front of me.
I’m in a cage.



About the Author:

I could write this in the third person. I could tell you what I like, where I was born, and what my favorite things are.

But instead, I'll say I don't want to write like everyone else. I don't want to craft stories you've read a thousand times before. I want my novels to be a cinematic experience, blending themes, genres, and situations unlike any you've ever read.

I want to break the rules. I want you to break out in a cold sweat as you read my books out of fear, love, and excitement. I want my books to be an experience. When you finish, I want you to feel something. Good or bad.

If you do, then I'll have succeeded. If not, I'll keep trying.

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