Monday, 31 March 2014

Book Blitz: Summoned by Rainy Kaye


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Summoned - Week Blitz
By Rainy Kaye
Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 3/28/2014

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Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally. Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well. When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can't tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn't the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl's ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

Summoned is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.




EXCERPT

I dislike having to murder someone. Kidnapping is worse. At least when I setup a kill, I know what's coming. No connections, no honesty, no surprises. Everything I say and do are just steps to luring in my victim. Once the victim falls right into the trap, the next move is swift: crushed windpipe, fatal concussion, or a good ol' fashioned headshot.

            Kidnapping, on the other hand, is a little trickier. First, the victim has an opportunity to respond. I don't like this. Sometimes they cry. Sometimes they manage to alert the authorities. And sometimes they escape, usually by inflicting bodily harm on me.

            Dead people don't retaliate. Kidnapped ones, well, they're a little more . . . lively.

            The second major difference between killing and kidnapping is my conscience. I get in and out with a kill. We have no chance to bond.

            Abductees require a little more one-on-one. As much as I try to keep the switch turned off, I can't help but listen to their pleas and demands. And I usually realize I'm a jerk.

            That's exactly where I find myself one late afternoon in June. I prefer doing this at night, but moreover, I would prefer not doing this at all.

            Instead, I have a belligerent nine year old girl sitting in the passenger seat of my Honda Accord, shackles on her wrists and ankles and a small stuffed bunny on her lap. She's eying me in a way that makes me self-conscious. Like I'm the bad guy.

            Probably because I am the bad guy.

Rainy Kaye Links


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Release Day Blitz: Bleak Devotion by Gemma Drazin




Bleak Devotion - Release Blitz
By Gemma Drazin
Young Adult Futuristic Dark Fantasy
Date Published: March 31, 2014

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Jessica doesn't know how long it's been, only that it seems like forever since she's allowed her feelings to show. Ever since they attacked her city. Monsters which appear human but are void of any expression, and seem bent on destroying all signs of sentiment in others. Their lethal blades shred anyone who shows even the slightest emotion.

After her only remaining friend is killed, Jessica flees the city hoping to find a place where emotions aren't fatal. A place to grieve those she lost and live out her meager existence. When she discovers the world of the emotionless creatures isn't what she believes, the love it leads her to may also be the path to her own death.



EXCERPT

Jessica clamped her teeth together and took a deep breath. “I can stay calm if he can.”

Zach shook his head. “I don't think—”

“Let her speak with me.” A deep male voice resonated through the crowded hallway.

Throwing on an emotionless mask, Jessica slowly shifted her body toward the voice. A tall male, whom she could only assume was the monster they called Blade, had managed to sneak down the stairs and stood mere inches from her. If she reached out, she would be able to touch him. The thought disturbed her and she struggled to maintain her composure.

The only thing she wanted to do was run screaming at this monster who had ruined her life. Every emotion that she'd been forced to hold in since the invasion begged to be launched at him. Grief. Torture. Outrage. Terror. All of it, she wanted him to feel. She wanted the rage to coat him inside and out, no matter what it would do to him.

Gemma Drazin
Gemma Drazin is the author of short stories and Young Adult Fantasies, sometimes mixing in a love story. She has a great love for cute shoes and can often be found outside with a book and a treat. When she’s not reading or writing she can be found enjoying time with her husband and children.

Author Links




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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Book Review: HIVE by Griffin Hayes


Nearly two hundred years after the planet was ravaged by millions of undead Zees, the human race is still struggling to rebuild. The Zees may be long gone, but so too are centuries of scientific advancement.

A group calling themselves The Keepers of Knowledge have set out to retrieve and protect what little technology survived the fall. When four of their Prospectors go missing, the Keepers turn to a no-nonsense mercenary named Azina and her eclectic crew of hardened veterans to find them.

The search leads the group to a crumbling underground city. But what looks like just another ruin from a bygone era isn’t nearly as deserted as it appears. Soon, a simple rescue mission becomes a slippery descent into hell as Azina and her men unwittingly awaken a savage, bloodthirsty world. Who will stand and fight, and who will be lucky enough to stay dead?


My Review: 
A mercenary team are sent into an underground complex to find four missing workers who were on a salvage mission. As Azina's team go further in they discover a mall and living quarters where rich people hid from the zombie apocalypse. But the zombies found a way in and there are thousands waiting in the dark...

This reminded me a bit of the Resident Evil film in places and it was a decent zombie read. As much as I love zombies, the books are pretty hit and miss these days and this is on the better side of the equation. These are proper scary ass zombies that move at speed to come and get you and they are pretty keen to get the fresh meat. These zombies also have the added genetic advantage of powers to track their dinner which makes them pretty darn hard to escape from.

The group of mercs and civilian guides aren't the nicest bunch in the world but as they are being used pretty much as zombie fodder, the lack of decent character traits doesn't matter that much and doesn't really detract from the story. Usually I'd object to obnoxious characters but it's different if some are going to get ripped apart and eaten! There is a nice mixture of zombie attacks and building tension as they try to find a way out, which the author does nicely. There are a couple of nice twists in the story which blows open what you think the mission is and I like a bit of betrayal! I'm not going to spoil the book by telling you about it but the story did evolve in different ways as it progressed.

Overall there was the tension, the gore, the zombies, the victims, the evil bosses, the run for your life...everything you expect in a nice zombie tale. Recommended for zombie fans.
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Book Review: Ten Days by Dymphna

Once bitten ten days. Ten days till the end and a new terrible beginning.

She is bitten by a zombie in a stupid reckless moment of not paying attention and now she is in hospital, waiting for the infection to start, the man she loves watching helplessly. On average it takes ten days from infection to death and the clock is ticking.

This was totally different from other zombie short stories that I've read and I did like it. It is powerful prose, describing in detail each stage of the infection shutting down her body, telling it from her point of view. We share her fears, her regrets and her pain as the infection increases. WE see the nervous hospital staff trying to look after her without risking infection. We see her lover's despair and terror as he tries to comfort her with words that are lies. It actually made me wonder if this is what it would feel like and if I am bitten by a zombie, I hope I don't have to suffer this fate. Horrible stuff.

I got this as a free download and I would certainly read more in this genre by the author. I liked the way she told the story and although it lacks action, it has emotional depth to it. A nice short story in the zombie genre.

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Book Review: Split by JJ Westendarp

Erika kills vampires, but not in the usual manner. Her way leaves a body behind, the demon cleansed from the vessel it tried to control. Mitch is a Hunter and Erika's trainer. However, Mitch is ever the traditionalist and focuses more on the physical training and not on Erika's unique ability. Adonis has no qualms about training Erika to use her ability. As long as she uses it to achieve his goals.

Buffalo, New York is a long way from Dallas, where the events surrounding the Spiral X nightclub are fading from memory, but the Eternal War knows no boundaries, and battles aren't always won with a stake to the heart.


My Review: 
Erika hunts vampires with her mento and friend Mitch but not in the traditional way. When a vampire tries to bite or attack her, it just dies. Adonis, a mysterious friend of Mitch wants to help her adapt this skill to kill from a distance but Erika is starting to think that she might be being used for another agenda.

Erika was a character who is not fully comfortable with who she is and what she can do. She can be reckless, going out hunting on her own before she is fully in control of her abilities which annoys Mitch who wants to keep her safe. When Adonis comes along he is less rigid about rules and wants to speed up her training to develop her mental killing skills, while Mitch wants to train her in self defence first. I liked her as she was tough but vulnerable and pretty smart.

The plot was interesting and entertaining and was certainly character based. There was good development and the story had a nice mix of vampire death and training. I liked the twist onhow Erika can kill the vampires, which was a bit different from the usual vampire story. I did guess part of what was happening with Mitch but not the major reveal with Adonis. The big finale of the book was satisfying and I did very much enjoy this story. I'm quite keen now to read Spiral X which has been on my wishlist for a couple of years.
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Stacking the Shelves #29


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!
   
Last week I was still doing a Kobo blitz, trying to get my tbr books read. I am happy to report that in 9 days, my tbr has been reduced from 997 to 963, which I am pretty pleased with! It would have been more if I hadn't bought a few books this week. *sigh* I have little restraint! It's a good start at least. I've taken a couple of days off reading now just to relax in front of the TV but plan to get back to it tonight. I have LOADS of reviews to get written for them which is a bit daunting and I'm way behind of that so extra effort is needed to tackle that this week! I'm really hoping that this summer I'll be able to tackle the physical and digital tbr and get the pile down by another 150 books. Quite a target but I really do need to get on with it. Wish me luck!!!

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Friday, 28 March 2014

Book Blitz: Sunset Rising by SM McEachern


Sunset Rising by S.M. McEachern 

(Sunset Rising #1)
Publication date: November 12th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

Synopsis:

February 2024: Desperate to find refuge from the nuclear storm, a group of civilians discover a secret government bio-dome. Greeted by a hail of bullets and told to turn back, the frantic refugees stand their ground and are grudgingly permitted entry. But the price of admission is high.
283 years later… Life as a slave in the Pit had never been easy, but for seventeen-year-old Sunny O’Donnell it was quickly careening out of control. Her mother was killed in the annual spring Cull, leaving her alone with a father who decided to give up on life.  It’s not that she blamed him for grieving, but if they didn’t earn enough credits to keep their place inside the Pit, they would be kicked out into a world still teeming with radiation. That left her to earn the credits for both of them.  It didn’t help that her boyfriend, Reyes Crowe, was pressuring her to get married and abandon her father.

Sunny didn’t think life could get any worse, until she was forced upstairs to the Dome to serve and entertain the elite at a bachelor party. That's where she met Leisel Holt, the president's daughter, and her fiancĂ©, Jack Kenner. Now Sunny is wanted for treason. If they catch her, she'll be executed.

She thought Leisel's betrayal was the end for her…but it turns out it was just the beginning.

Sunset Rising is Book One of a series. 


AUTHOR BIO
S.M. McEachern (also known as Susan) comes from the rocky shores of Canada’s East Coast.  As a resident of Halifax during her early adult years, she attended Dalhousie University and earned an Honors Degree in International Development Studies with a focus on ocean development.  Throughout her academic studies and early career, Susan had the privilege to work with many developing countries on resource management projects. 

Becoming an author has been a lifelong dream for Susan. “Sunset Rising” is her debut novel and the first of many she plans to write.   

Author Interview with S.M. McEachern

How did the idea for Sunset Rising come to you?
I’m asked this question a lot and it really is one of the most difficult questions to answer. I’ve always wanted to write and attempted to pen a few novels in the past, but I never found a topic interesting enough to stick with it. When my oldest daughter started reading young adult fiction, we decided to do buddy reads together and that’s when I discovered the YA genre. I fell in love. I suddenly had tons of ideas for a plot, but only one really persisted. Back in my university days, I did some research on a biodome in Arizona and had to ask myself the obvious question of why would humanity need a hermetically sealed environment capable of sustaining life? Given the current geo-political climate, it wasn’t difficult for me to come up with a good reason, and the foundation for the “Sunset Rising” series was born.

Sunset Rising is a series? Where do you see the story going?
If someone hit the reset button on Earth, how would you change the future? Would you try to rebuild what was already here or go in a different direction? The series is a cautionary tale and I try to show an entertaining, yet realistic, vision of how civilization might rebuild itself.

Sunset Rising is the first book in the series and focuses on how humanity might evolve when forced to live in close quarters in order to survive a nuclear apocalypse. This book deals with issues like bonded slavery, caste systems, physical and sexual abuse, and how limited resources can lead to war. The second book of the series, entitled Worlds Collide, was just released, and I think I surprised a lot of readers with it. SR was often compared to The Hunger Games and The City of Embers, so Worlds Collide blindsided a few readers. This book picks up exactly where SR leaves off and continues to build upon the story. I introduce a lot of new characters and construct an entirely new political system. The third book will pick up where the story leaves off in WC, but you can probably already guess I’m building a whole new world in this book as well.

Sometimes it’s hard to keep at it – what keeps you going?
I love writing, especially world building, so I don’t actually need any more motivation for that pursuit. The hard part is trying to juggle family life with being an independent author. Marketing takes up an enormous amount of time, leaving little left over for writing. It’s a difficult balance.

What movies do you like to watch?
I love watching action movies—especially if there’s a hot guy starring in it! Some of my favorites were The Avengers, Star Trek (all of them!), and Red (the first one). I don’t usually watch typical “chick flicks”, although I was talked into watching Crazy Stupid Love on Valentines Day. The scene when Jacob (played by Ryan Gosling) takes off his shirt in front of Hannah (played by Emma Stone) and she just stares at him, mouth agape, and finally says “Seriously? It’s like your Photoshopped!” was hilarious.

Action heroes, huh? Which one—Ironman or Thor?
Although Thor is hot, he’s a little too melancholy for my liking. Ironman’s not only a hero, but he’s witty, funny, charming and filthy rich. Definitely Ironman.

As an author, how do you work through self-doubt and fear?
I think everybody on the planet has to work through self-doubt and fear no matter what s/he does for a living. Writing isn’t any different. I understand that when I put my work out there for people to read, I invite their opinion. Most of the feedback has been fantastic and a real confidence boost, but there are some critical reviews that keep me grounded. Accepting that I’m never going to write a book that every single person on this planet is going to like is the first step conquering my fears.

Do you find it hard to share your work?
Yes! Especially with people I know. My husband’s still not allowed to read my books.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
I have a LOT of people to thank for supporting me. My family for putting up with me locked away in my office for hours; my husband for his technical expertise on my blog and ebook formatting; and, most of all, for complete strangers who got in touch with me because they read Sunset Rising and loved it. I have a lot of beta readers as well that have taken the time to give me their valuable opinions and critiques. I’m really just blown away and humbled by the amount of support I’ve received by so many people.

Every writer has her/his own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
As a debut author, for me success is being able to write something that readers want to read! Luckily, I’ve been able to do that, so I guess it’s time to set the bar a little higher. I’d like to expand my audience. Quite a few of my readers said they’d like to see Sunset Rising made into a movie—that would be super cool!

Tell us about your new book—what’s it about and why did you write it?
Worlds Collide is the second book of the Sunset Rising series. It picks up exactly where Sunset Rising leaves off—with the two main characters, Sunny and Jack, outside the Dome exploring a world they always believed had been devastated by nuclear war. They discover the Earth is fine and there are people living outside! As they uncover the horrifying truth of President Holt’s plans for the Pit, they realize time is running out to not only save the urchins, but the world.

If you could do any job in the world, what would you do?
That’s easy. Be a writer.

What’s the reason for your life? Have you figured out your reason for being here yet?
I’m here because I was born, so I might as well use my time wisely. Reading, writing, researching, interacting with others, teaching, learning, raising two kids, being a wife, being a friend—this is what life is all about. We take what we need and then we give back. Learn about the world you live in and see how you can contribute.

Do you do much research for your books?
I do a ton of research for my novels. As a reader, nothing takes me out of science fiction story faster than bad science. For Sunset Rising, I had already done quite a bit of research on the Biosphere in Arizona, so that was a bit easier. For Worlds Collide, I got in touch with a scientist from the National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) to advise me on theme in that novel. I’m currently doing some research for the third book, which I’ll keep secret for now

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I’ve had writer’s block a few times and I cured it by going to see an action-packed movie. A really good book can get my creative juices flowing too. On a daily basis, I also go for a run with my iPod loaded up with inspirational music, like Moby, Keane, Cold Play, and Lana del Rey.

Have you started another book yet?
I have started the third book in the Sunset Rising series. I’m doing a lot of research at the moment, so not many words have put on paper yet.

Do you have any advice for writers?
Invest in your craft. Listen to what readers are telling you through their reviews. Constantly seek to improve your skills. If you truly like writing and want to make a career of it, join a writer’s group, take workshops on writing and network with people in the industry. Research is an important component of being a successful writer, both in terms of writing a story and selling one. If you’re going to self-publish, find an editor you can work with, a good cover artist, and beta readers who can give you critical feedback. Learn to accept that the bad reviews are just as important as the good reviews.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
I’m not so sure I’d want to invite a dead person to a dinner party… ew! I’ve been lucky in that I’ve met a lot of influential people. My mentor in university was Elizabeth Mann-Borgese, the daughter of author and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann. Her entire life was devoted to finding a way to foster world peace and, like her father, she’s been nominated for the Nobel Prize. I’ve also been to Buckingham Palace for a tea party with Queen Elizabeth (alongwith 3,000 other of her “closest” friends!). And I once had the opportunity to meet President Bill Clinton when he was in Halifax for the G-9 Summit meetings, but got tired of waiting for him and left. I always regretted that. So, if I had to choose someone to come to dinner, I’d probably pick the President of the United States. I wonder if Mr. Obama would come?

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I have a hectic family life. My oldest daughter is a competitive swimmer and my youngest is competitive in martial arts. My husband just returned from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan. So, honestly, I don’t spend much time relaxing. If I do find some time, I like to read a good book and sip a nice vintage.

Are you a city slicker or a country lover?
I’m a city girl who likes to escape to the country from time to time. I prefer to have modern amenities within walking distance in my day-to-day life. I’ve lived in the country before and ended up doing way too much driving for my kids extra-curricular activities, shopping, doctors, etc. However, I do like to go hiking, kayaking, bird watching and exploring coastlines, so the occasional escape to the countryside is fun.


Cover Reveal: Paradox by Kelly Carrero


Paradox by Kelly Carrero
(Unearthly Paradox #1)
Publication date: April 2014
Genres: Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Never in a million years would I ever fall for the son of a drug lord. Or so I thought until I moved two doors down from Jett.
Zara thought her life was over when she had to move just days before graduation. The situation went from bad to horrible, when she discovers just how cruel the kids at her new school can be.

When Zara is set up by some bullies and almost raped, she somehow gets free, but she’s haunted by the eyes of the one she believes rescued her.

Later, bad boy Jett is only too willing to step in and help. In fact, Zara can’t seem to get rid of him or his family, who all seem to have a strange obsession with her.

Will letting down her guard be one of the biggest mistakes of her life, or is Zara destined to become a part of his life, an existence that no human could ever understand?

Author links: 

Throwback Thursday #14

This Meme is hosted by Melissa at My World in Words and Pages. Go to her blog and join us!

I blog about great looking new releases, new books sent to me for read and review, book reviews of what I've read and features about exciting new authors to try.

But what about all the books that are already on my TBR, waiting for me to read them? Don't they deserve a mention and a chance to be highlighted? Yes they do!

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where I will take the time to tell you about some of the books that have been on my shelves for a while and maybe a few of you will add them to your wishlists/tbrs. If you have read them, why not leave a comment to tell me what you thought of it-but no spoilers please! This week I have chosen three more books to tempt you with. 

I'm a day late in posting this week due to my computer playing up yesterday. It better start behaving today because I have LOTS to get done!!!

DYSTOPIAN CHOICE:
Alenna Shawcross is a sixteen-year-old orphan growing up in a police state formed from the ashes of Canada, the US and Mexico after a global economic meltdown.

But when she unexpectedly fails ‘the test’ - a government initiative which supposedly identifies teens destined to be criminals - she wakes up alone on a remote island reserved for the criminally insane.

Terrified and confused, she soon encounters a group of other teen survivors battling to stay alive, including Liam, a boy who will become her love... and her lifeline.

Soon Alenna makes the terrifying discovery that there’s more to the island (and her past) than she could ever have guessed... But who can she trust? And can she ever escape?



DYSTOPIAN/HORROR CHOICE:
The outbreak tore the USA in two. The east remains a safe haven. The west has become a ravaged wilderness, known by survivors as the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead and delivers peace.

Now Homeland Security wants Marco for a mission unlike any other. He must return to California, where the apocalypse began. Where a secret is hidden. And where his own tragic past waits to punish him again.

But in the wastelands of America, you never know who - or what - is watching you.






URBAN FANTASY CHOICE:
Queen Victoria rules with an immortal fist.

The undead matriarch of a Britain where the Aristocracy is made up of werewolves and vampires, where goblins live underground and mothers know better than to let their children out after dark. A world where being nobility means being infected with the Plague (side-effects include undeath), Hysteria is the popular affliction of the day, and leeches are considered a delicacy. And a world where technology lives side by side with magic. The year is 2012 and Pax Britannia still reigns.

Xandra Vardan is a member of the elite Royal Guard, and it is her duty to protect the Aristocracy. But when her sister goes missing, Xandra will set out on a path that undermines everything she believed in and uncover a conspiracy that threatens to topple the empire. And she is the key-the prize in a very dangerous struggle.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Cover Reveal: The Wild Hunt by Ron C Nieto


The Wild Hunt by Ron C. Nieto
(Faerie Sworn #1)
Publication date: June 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Synopsis:Magic still lingers in the mist-covered corners of the world, wherever the Old Ways are remembered. However, as civilization and reason scoff at the Fair Folk, the paths to power have been forgotten by all but a few.

Lily Boyd was meant to become a faerie doctor, a warden of humans and a keeper of balance, until disbelief and pragmatism led her away from the hidden world and into a mundane life. But truth has a way to be Heard and she will be forced to face it if she wants to save her family.

Armed with nothing but her childhood memories and protected by a debt of gratitude she doesn’t understand, Lily must decide who to trust while she navigates a world that is darker and more twisted than she is prepared for.

And should she make the wrong choice, should she mistake friend and foe… the eternal balance between the Faerie Courts may shatter, and then there will be more than Lily’s life on the line.


AUTHOR BIO
Ron C. Nieto is a fantasy and romance author who has been writing in her secluded fortress for the longest time. Recently, she had a talk with her cat and decided that she should share her creations, because it was selfish to hoard them all for herself.
If you would like to know more about her, please visit her website.

Author links: 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

AOTW #19 E Bell


Welcome to Author of the Week! Every week on my book group, an author member is chosen to be Author of the Week and will be featured here, tweeted on Twitter, shared on Google Plus and Pinterest and generally treated like royalty! Group members are asked to do features and talk about our AOTW to help each one to promote his/her work to the book community. 
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/114319-my-big-fat-indie-book-gang

This week: E Bell!

Where can I find this author?
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982543.E_Bell 



It is 2049, and sixteen-year-old Lucia Carboni carries a weight on her shoulders not typical of a teenage girl. Her burden is not clothes, boys, or school; it’s saving the world. Born into the Ascended Ones, Lucia’s mission is to help the cult depopulate the world, take over, and enslave the survivors. If all goes well, by 2050, there will be a New World Order—a plan the Ascended Ones have been working toward for centuries.

After Lucia is sent undercover to public school, she attempts to fit in and develops friendships with the very people her cult seeks to destroy. But what no one knows is that Lucia is immune to her cult’s brainwashing techniques. Torn between her upbringing and hope for her future, Lucia makes a bold decision to escape to Ground Zero in New York City, where she hopes to find her mother, pose as an alter, and seek proof of the Ascended Ones’ plan. As she embarks on a journey to the truth, Lucia soon discovers that nothing is as it seems.

In this exciting futuristic tale, a teenager races against time to enlighten the world and stop an evil plan before it is too late.


Listina Bello has been on a perpetual search for happiness ever since she graduated from high school ten years ago. Legal assistant by day and partier by night, Listina thinks she is functioning perfectly fine. She drinks a bottle of Pinot every night, but still manages to keep her dead-end job, her Manhattan apartment, and her social life. Unfortunately, she could not be more wrong.

With a bottle of wine as her companion, Listina trolls Facebook one night, finally landing on a photo she thought she blocked. As she stares at the old yearbook picture of the smiling girls who relentlessly bullied her back in high school, she suddenly realizes she has been suppressing her emotions for years and hiding behind a myriad of distractions, hoping to numb, or even kill, her feelings altogether. With no other way out but up, Listina relies on old diary entries to dig deep inside herself, return mentally to her seemingly perfect hometown, and finally face her harsh label, relive the taunts, and experience the heartache all over again.

In this poignant novel, a young woman torn between her past and her future must finally shake the identity she was unfairly given in order to begin to find her own.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Book Review: Cherry Kisses by Erica Hayes(Shadowfae #4.5)

Sexy con-artist Lena Falco isn't a witch, not technically. She uses her cache of stolen magic tricks to seduce and bedazzle her marks. When she's hired by a demon to steal a cursed magical amulet from a monstrous tower in Hell, it must be her lucky day. The prize? A single wish—whatever she wants.

The catch? There's competition: Ethan Benford, swordsman and enchanter, arrogant, maddeningly sexy and the only incorruptible man in town.

Lena's been burnt before by Ethan's easy charm, and she vows he'll meet his match this time. But is ultimate power worth betraying the only man who truly believes in her?


My Review:
Lena is a con-artist Lena Falco who steals magic from others to use on her victims. Now a demon has made her an offer-go to Hell and retreive a box for him and he will grant her a wish. The other complication is that her failed mentor Ethan wants to find it too and they have to pair up if they are going to make it back alive.

I don't normally read book 4.5 before any others in the series but I was told that it could be read as a stand alone book and it was also free. Did I mention that I really loved the cover as well? Lena is a fun character-crooked, feisty, daring and always looking for the easy way out. Instead of learning magic from Ethan, Lena prefers to be lazy and steal small bits of magic but this demon wish could grant her all the power she has dreamed of. Ethan is the nice guy who wants to help Lena get a better life but she won't help herself.

I liked the plot. The idea that junkies can take a drug that lets them visit Hell for a short period where they can do whatever they want and if they are still alive when the time is up, they are brought back home. This is how our heroes get to Hell on their mission. From the second they get there, they are under attack from all kinds of interesting monsters and the pace of the plot is relentless. This book is certainly urban fantasy based, not paranormal romance based so expect violence and monster gore!

I liked the ending as well. It fits with the Lena that we have followed through the book and I found myself smiling a bit at it. It was nicely worked out and I certainly enjoyed the whole adventure. The author does a good job of character development and mixes the plot with some snarky humour and fun stuff.

This made me want to read the rest of the series but it has been described as erotic paranormal romance which does not appeal to me. The reviews I've looked at seem to back it up and I can't be bothered with endless sex scenes interrupting a good plot. What a pity, as I thought I'd uncovered an author that I was going to really like! Bummer.
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This book is FREE on Smashwords! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/348677

ApocalypZe: Those left behind by Ivan Turner

Matt Baker is a neuro-biologist working for a prominent laboratory. He awakens one Thursday morning to a call from one of his colleagues.

"Are you sick? Everyone's sick."

The changes to the world are noticeable almost as soon as he steps out the door, but the full impact of what is upon them only becomes clear as they begin their research on the unfortunate victims left behind.

By the end of this story, you will get to know Matt Baker and some of the people that will accompany him on his journey through the ApocalypZe. Is he a survivor or just another meal for the ravenous hordes waiting on his doorstep?


My Review:
Three scientists turn up to work and are stuck indoors with dying colleagues and zombies trying to get inside. Matt wonders if they could examine the brain of one of the recently dead to get some answers but with the threat all around them, is there time?

These short stories are being released free to tempt you to buy the main series and from what I saw here, it could be a good read. The author introduces us to Matt with as much character development as you can do in a short story and he builds up the tension nicely as the sick colleagues start to die in front of them and go zombie, while the survivors try to decide what to do next. The plot is good, it is well written and enjoyable.

I did however wonder why Matt would go to the trouble of wanting to examine a newly dead brain to see what is there and if it offers hope of a cure, only to decide minutes later that he should leave the relative safety of the building. He wants to take a colleague to hospital who is going to die any second and become a zombie. That seemed a bit dumb to me for a scientist, especially when he doesn't even like her! I would think that he would have a plan in mind before wanting to run out of the building! But that is just a wee niggle because that plot decision is for dramatic purposes and takes the story forward in a new direction.

If you like your zombies traditional and deadly, this may well appeal to you. Good short read.

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This book is FREE on Smashwords! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/310361

If a billion people had been spared the horror of the zombie infection, that would still leave five billion zombies on the planet. If only the odds had been that good. Lieutenant Dan Killmeyer is sitting on a powder keg. Every sick person on base is about to die. And every dead person will become an aggressive, flesh eating zombie. The order is evacuate. But evacuate who?

Lieutenant Dan Killmeyer and Corporal Dwayne Martinson are very different people. Young and smart, Dan has earned his rank by displaying calm leadership and a spotless record. But when the colonel summons him in the middle of the night and shares with him the knowledge of what the world is about to become, Dan must make some very difficult decisions in order to ensure the survival of those around him.

Martinson, on the other hand, is older, more seasoned, and very happy to remain a corporal. A brilliant sharpshooter, Martinson's talent gets called into play in a way that he would have never expected.


My Review:
Dan is summoned by his dying Colonel who informs him that the rampant flu on the base is a zombie plague that will kill everyone if not controlled. Dan and his men must evacuate the sick, including his own wife, in buses to a location where they can be disposed off to keep the base safe and dependable. But the evacuation is time consuming and the people are already starting to turn...

I enjoyed this zombie tale, the second one I have read by the author, setting the scene for the main series which is to come. Dan is given quite a bombshell to deal with, trying not to grieve for his wife's fate while trying to take control of a situation that could explode at any minute. This is fast paced with the soldiers running around trying to get the sick onto buses and get weapons, while Dan is keeping in radio contact with the soldiers who are taking the sick away. When things go pear shaped, events speed up and the tension goes through the roof.

This is the kind of zombie story that I like to read-good characters, tension, plot, zombie attacks. Very enjoyable short story.
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This book is FREE on Smashwords! https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/328247

Monday, 24 March 2014

Meet Chucklesthescot! #1




Hi everyone! It has been pointed out to me that I've never really introduced myself to those visiting my blog. So I've decided to put together a nice wee feature with some of the questions I'm asked and a few fun facts about me, for your entertainment.

1) Why are you called chucklesthescot?
I had to make up a username for a book site so I picked Scot because I'm Scottish and chuckles because I'm actually quite a grumpy person. I figured I was being ironic!

2) Why do you have Count Von Count all over your profiles?
I loved the Count from the first time I saw Sesame Street as a kid and I just think he is really cool. Heh Heh!

3) Are you male or female?
Female

4) Why did you start blogging?
I started my first blog a few years ago because I thought it would be fun to chat about stuff I was doing-until I realised my life is pretty dull! Then last July I got interested in reviewing Indie writers on Goodreads and thought I could do a book blog to tell people what I'm reading, promote Indie authors and books, write reviews, and have some book chat.

5) Do you prefer physical books or ereaders?
Nothing beats holding a real book in your hand! The shiny new cover, that new book smell, the swish of the turning pages...love it! If I read an ebook I got free online or from an author to review and I love it, I try to buy a paperback copy for my collection. I get the real book and the author gets a sale!

6) Do you have an ereader?
Yes, I got my first Kobo in August 2013, then a Kindle Paperwhite from Santa for Christmas. I do like ereaders because I can read faster and don't have to take lots of books on holiday now but they have their faults. Every time Kobo desktop issues an update, I have to factory reset the blighter to get it working again! 

7) What genres do you read?
I LOVE gory horror with disturbing scenes and mega violence, action packed urban fantasy with kickass characters and funny sidekicks, dystopian, mountain disaster non fiction, tudor fiction, mythology, dark fantasy and paranormal. I don't read everything in these genres, I go purely on how the story sounds. Love zombies, apocalypses, vampires, shifters, demons etc

8) What books do you not enjoy?
I HATE girlie romance/chicklit, epic fantasy, paranormal romance with all sex no plot and violent bullies for heroes, westerns, science fiction, gothic vampires, crime, historical sagas, erotic, religious works and ordinary YA. 

9) Why would I want to read an Indie book? Aren't they just crap that publishers don't want?
NOOOO! A lot of writers choose to self publish to keep full control over their book ie choosing their own covers, not having their unhappy ending changed by an editor etc. Yes there is some crap out there in the indie world but the same is true of some mainstream stuff I've read. I've also read some pretty amazing self published books as well.

10)Where do I find Indie books?
You can try a lot of Indie books free or cheap online through your Kindle, Nook, Kobo etc. You can also get a lot of good freebies on Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/ Check out my blog for lots of Indie book reviews and promotions!

11)Can I send you my book to review?
Due to time constraints I'm not doing a lot of reviews for books sent to me by authors. Deadlines are a bit of an issue at the moment and I'm trying to clear my own book backlog! So I'm mostly doing a few for authors I know where I've read other books in the series. Requests can be sent to me through PM at Goodreads, but no promises.

12)Favourite TV?
Deadliest Catch, The West Wing, The Walking Dead, The Tudors, Alias, Miami Vice, Lost, Nikita, Blake's Seven, Stargate Atlantis, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Grimm, Torchwood, 24, Coronation Street, V(original series), Whitechapel, Stargate SG1, Father Ted, Only Fools and Horses, NCIS, Bottom, Ab Fab, Dallas, House of Cards(UK), Columbo, Prisoner Cell Block H, Buffy, Angel, The Shield, Takeshi's Castle, Gold Rush, Wicked Tuna, Yukon Gold, Bering Sea Gold, Jungle Gold, Ax Men, Big Rig Bounty Hunters, Tenko,...and lots more!

13)Series you want to watch? 
I haven't had time to see any of these yet! Homeland, Arrow, Revolution, The Blacklist, The Following, Teen Wolf, The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, Sanctuary, Haven, Continuum, Almost Human, Da Vincis Demons, Penny Dreadful, NCIS LA, Cold Water Cowboys, Pretty Little Liars, Lost Girl, Dollhouse, Flash Forward, Blood Ties, Alphas, Agents of SHIELD, Bitten, Witchblade, Farscape, Warehouse 13, Vikings, Under the Dome, Tomorrow People, Sleeper Cell, Strike Back, Veep, Scandal, The Newsroom, Breaking Bad, House of Cards(US), Hannibal, Dexter, XIII, The Tunnel, The Bridge,

14)Favourite mainstream books and authors?
Erk! Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Jennifer Rardin,  Kelly Meding, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, Christina Henry, Jeffery Deaver, James Patterson, Patricia Briggs, Jaye Wells, Rob Thurman, Rachel Caine, 

15)Indie Authors to watch out for?  
Kendra C Highley, Ken Mooney, Stephanie Jackson, Judith Post, Claire C Riley, David Estes, Eli Constant, Ivan Amberlake, Ada Adams, Suzy Turner, Melissa Eskue Ousley, Matt Drabble, JG Faherty, Dave Ferraro, Jason Rowe, Brian Palmer, ZA Recht, Nikki Jefford, Johnny B Truant, DelSheree Gladden, AZ Green, Isabella Modra, Amanda Lyons, Amber Michelle Cook, SP van der Lee, Aoife Marie Sheridan, Sharon Sant, James Todd Cochrane (more will be added!)

16)Favourite things?
Reading, music, films, TV, making news scrapbooks, football, darts, cricket, baseball, American football, rain, chocolate, dinosaurs, Yoda, supporting St.Mirren, lounging about in a onesie, Amazon packages.

If you have questions you want to ask for the next round, ask them in the comment box. All comments are moderated so rude crap and ads are deleted. 

*Waves at readers*


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My Monday Musings #2


I've decided each Monday to talk a bit about my previous week and what I enjoyed reading and watching, and my plans for the coming week-not that they are greatly exciting if you take the books out of the equation! Heh! Oh shut up and get on with it!

So how did I get on last week? A bit mixed really! I didn't get the books read that I'd listed but I did catch up on Timber Kings and get the whole series of Big Rig Bounty Hunters watched which was GREAT! I am a sucker for these strange/dangerous/cool jobs reality TV shows. Maybe this week I'll get to watch Catching Fire if I'm not too busy reading.

The good news is that I was finally scared enough to take control of my out of control digital downloads and start reading them at last. This is why I didn't get to the planned books. On Wednesday I picked up my Kobo and read 10 short books in 4 hours which was pretty good. Thursday I read 11, Friday 10, Saturday 10 and Sunday 6. Pretty happy with that so this week I plan to read more! I'm tackling the books 70 pages and under first so I can make a dent in the pile before moving on to the big stuff!

BEST READS LAST WEEK:



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18165876-advice-by-clyde
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19232766-what-waits-through-the-trapdoor
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17931988-cherry-kisses



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13419558-hive
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14624643-frat-house-of-the-dead
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18441912-spawn

These books are all FREE on Smashwords except for Spawn.
https://www.smashwords.com/


Spawn, Frat house of the dead, What waits through the Trapdoor can be bought on Kindle.
Cherry Kisses and HIVE are FREE on Amazon.
Advice by Clyde unavailable.


PLANS FOR THIS WEEK:
Attack the Kobo to get more books read!!! 
Get reviews written on Goodreads, Smashwords and this blog

READING:

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